Category Archives: Family Law

IL divorce lawyerDivision of marital assets, or marital property, is a big part of divorce. Illinois is an equitable property division state, which means that all marital property is divided fairly, though not necessarily equally. Income, real property, small business ownership or growth, stocks, and pensions are all examples of property that can be divided equitably between spouses if acquired during the marriage. However, a few types of property do not follow the normal procedure of equitable division. One of these types of property is money from a personal injury settlement or lawsuit.

When Did the Injury Occur?

Usually, all property acquired during an Illinois marriage is considered marital property. Lawsuit verdicts and even out of court settlements for personal injury cases can take multiple years to be awarded or agreed upon, respectively. As such, a settlement check may arrive during a marriage for an injury that occurred before the marriage began. In this case, the court would typically award all of the personal injury settlement money to the spouse who was injured because the money would not be considered marital property. If the accident did occur during the course of the marriage, whenever the verdict is reached or the settlement distributed, it could be considered marital property. This is not always the case, however.

Other types of civil settlements have been considered marital property even when the incident in question occurred before the course of the marriage, such as the Marriage of Rivera, 2016 IL App (1st) 160552, in which the court decided that a wrongful conviction settlement was considered marital property because the lawsuit occurred during the marriage. Yet, the forced coercion that leads to the wrongful conviction occurred before the marriage.

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IL divorce lawyerChild support does not necessarily stop when your child turns 18, the “age of majority.” In fact, some of the largest expenses, in terms of dollars per year, may lay ahead of that age. The average cost of tuition and fees for attending just one year at a public college is close to $10,000. For private school, the national average is over $35,000 per year. At four years, these expenditures would amount to $40,000 and $140,000, respectively, and that is only the cost of tuition and school fees. The average college graduate walks away from college with $30,000 of student loans looming over their heads.

However, when taking into account all of the graduates who did not take out loans in the first place, the average student loan debt is actually much higher. $100,000 of student loans is not uncommon, and that number can easily double or triple for advanced degrees. The last thing you want for your child is to avoid going to college because of the expense or to start out on the job market with that type of financial stress making decisions for them. An experienced child support attorney can help you negotiate a new child support agreement with the child’s other parent, or petition the court to create a child support order that will help cover the costs of higher education.

Additional College Expenses

College tuition is expensive, but the cost of classes is just the beginning; college students have much more to pay for than just tuition fees. An Illinois family court has the ability to include additional college expenses in the child support order. These may include the following:

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IL divorce lawyerWhile many couples think they know just about everything regarding the other party before they get married, there are often some big surprises that get revealed after a bride and groom say their vows. Everyone has bizarre, and typically harmless, habits that they either keep under wrap early in a relationship or unconsciously avoid doing around others. However, some individuals have more damaging habits, addictions, and ways of living than is good for them, or their spouse. One of these is compulsive spending. Compulsive spending and the financial strain that it causes on a relationship can ruin a marriage. A family law attorney may provide an option for you before it comes to this, however.

What Is Compulsive Buying?

It is reported that six percent of the U.S. population has compulsive buying behavior, which is not a diagnosable disorder but certainly derives from a serious behavioral issue. Compulsive buying or spending is more common in women — 80 percent of people with compulsive buying are women — though with online shopping it is expected to increase in the male population as well. Compulsive buying is characterized by an obsession that compels the individual to continue a repetition of behavior (buying unnecessary things) even though there are obvious adverse consequences, such as not being able to afford necessities, credit card debt, going into bankruptcy, and getting divorced.

How a Postnuptial Can Help

According to a number of surveys, financial fighting between spouses is the leading or secondary contributor factor in divorce, with 41 percent of Generation X spouses reporting that they got divorced because of disagreements about money. Nearly half of married and cohabiting couples argue about money, with the majority of the arguments involving a spouse saying that the other spends too much, or a spouse that says that the other is too stingy. Other fights are common, such as whose responsibility it is to pay the bills or what the couple’s financial goals are. A postnuptial agreement can help resolve these conflicts by cutting money disagreements out of the marriage altogether.

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IL divorce lawyerAs a noncustodial parent, you, unfortunately, do not have much say, or any legal say at all, about your child’s education, day to day activities, healthcare, or living arrangement. The custodial parent with sole legal custody has legal authority to make all of these decisions without the noncustodial parent’s input. As such, many noncustodial parents feel hopeless when they hear that the other parent wants to move out of the county or state, or country, with their child in tow.

The Custodial Parent Must Petition the Court for Permission to Move

Child relocation must be authorized by an Illinois judge before the custodial parent is allowed to move out of the county, state, or country. Even if the other parent has no custodial rights, the parent wishing to move must go to court to get permission before they move with their child. Without doing so, they could be charged with parental kidnapping and lose their custodial rights altogether.

What Is in the Child’s Best Interests?

Children raised by single mothers are more likely than children raised by both parents to:

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IL divorce lawyerThe national divorce rate is about 40 percent, meaning that 40 percent of marriages end in divorce. However, this rate changes based on circumstances married couples face. For example, poverty, having been in previous failed marriages, having a low level of education, and a large age difference between spouses all increase the chances of divorce. However, one element seems to dictate a marriage’s failure rate more than anything else: illness. Marriages in which one spouse is chronically ill have a divorce rate of 75 percent.

A Major Determining Factor in Failed Marriages with Chronic Illness Is Resentment

Chronic illness within marriage is hard on both partners, not just the sick spouse. As a caretaker, one spouse is heavily leaned upon or feels an obligation to be leaned upon by the sick spouse. They may be required to give up leisure activities, direct finances towards the illness, or spend extra time around someone who is not always in the happiest state of mind. Being a long-term caretaker often leads to depression, and spousal caretakers are more prone to depression than adult children caretakers of parents because of the intimacy between the caretaker and the sick party. As a subconscious response to this mounting depression, and the general inability to do the things they enjoy doing in life, the caretaker spouse often builds resentment towards their ill spouse. With time, enough resentment creates a loss of love, and the only option becomes divorce.

Couples Are More Likely to Get Divorced if the Wife Gets Sick Than the Husband

Oddly enough, married couples are less likely to get divorced if the husband gets sick, versus the wife getting sick, according to research. Men typically have fewer close friends and family members than women, leaving them with fewer people to rely upon during difficult times. Men tend to rely only on their wives for emotional support, and when their wives get sick and cannot provide the emotional support that their husbands are accustomed to, their husbands have nowhere to turn due to the poor support system they built for themselves. Additionally, men are more likely to divorce their wives when their wives get sick because of the following:

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