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Category Archives: Family Law

IL divorce lawyerA recent study has shown that 53 percent of Americans have kept financial secrets from their partner. When two people are going through a divorce and dividing property, keeping these money secrets becomes even more common. People often hide assets when going through the divorce process so they are not divided and they do not lose them during the divorce. So, if you are going through a divorce, how can you tell if your spouse is hiding assets? Below are some of the biggest warning signs to look for that may indicate your spouse is not being honest.

Warning Signs of Financial Fraud

When one spouse tries to hide assets to protect them from being subject to Illinois’ property division laws, it is considered financial fraud, and the courts take it very seriously. Some of the most common signs that your spouse is not providing full disclosure, or that they have undervalued assets include:

  • Insisting that they completely manage the family’s finances and pay all of the bills
  • Refusing to talk about money with you, or they become upset when financial subjects are broached
  • Making large cash withdrawals or money transfers
  • Hiding mail from you, or rerouting mail to a post office box
  • Traveling out of the country frequently and opening offshore bank accounts
  • Reporting a major loss in business, investments, or other marital property
  • Opening a number of different bank accounts
  • Developing a gambling or substance abuse problem

Upon spotting any of these signs of financial fraud, you may think the situation is hopeless and that there is nothing that can be done. Fortunately, that is not true.

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IL divorce lawyerAfter the pandemic hit Illinois in late March, unemployment claims in the state increased by more than 178,000. To put that in perspective, that is an increase of 1,833 percent in just one week. With so many people being furloughed, laid off, or permanently terminated from their job, it is no surprise that many parents are also wondering how they are going to meet their child support obligations. Although it is understandable that this is an expense that you may not be able to afford right now, it is crucial that you do not simply stop paying. In Illinois, there is a procedure for modifying child support and you must follow it.

Reasons for Modifying Child Support

There are several acceptable reasons for modifying child support. A judge may change the amount you pay if you can show:

  • There has been a substantial change in circumstances
  • The modification is necessary for the healthcare needs of the child, or
  • The child support obligation deviates from the guidelines set out in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

The most common reason for a court to modify a child support order is when there has been a substantial change of circumstances. These changes may include cost of living increases, additional needs of the child, and the financial ability of the parents, such as if one or both of them lost their job due to the pandemic.

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IL divorce lawyerPeople face many complexities when getting a divorce. For most, these challenges include disputes about child custody, property division, and other terms of the divorce. Some people, however, face a much different problem. They want to get a divorce, but they cannot find their spouse. Perhaps their spouse left the city or state, or maybe the couple was only married for a very short time before going their separate ways without officially getting a divorce. In these situations, fortunately, it is still possible to divorce, even if you cannot find your spouse.

Requirements when Serving a Spouse with Divorce Papers

In Illinois, you must serve your spouse with divorce papers in one of two ways. The first is to have the sheriff or a personal process server deliver a copy of the petition for divorce personally to your spouse.

The second option involves the sheriff or personal process server leaving a copy of the petition with someone older than 13 that lives in another home with your spouse. In the second scenario, the sheriff or process server must tell the person they leave the papers with the purpose of the documents, and they must mail a copy of the petition to the same address.

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IL divorce lawyerAfter making the difficult decision to divorce, most people would like the entire process to be over with as soon as possible. Unfortunately, divorce is not an automatic process and in Illinois, there are two different waiting periods couples must be aware of. Individuals that wish to file for divorce must have lived in the state for a certain period of time, and then comply with the mandatory waiting period.

The Residential Requirement

The legal statute governing divorce in Illinois states that the couple must live in the state for 90 days prior to filing. In many cases, this is not an issue but there are instances in which this waiting period may present an issue. For example, if the couple has physically separated and one spouse has been living in Texas for some time, they may want to file in that state instead, particularly if laws on the terms of divorce, such as property division laws, would favor them in a different state. In this situation, it is crucial to speak to a lawyer that can help you determine where the case should be heard.

The Separation Requirement

Historically in Illinois, the couple had to separate for two years before a divorce, if a spouse filed under the no-fault divorce laws at the time. If the filing spouse had alleged fault on the part of their spouse, such as mental cruelty, that waiting period could be reduced to six months. Illinois has not operated under these laws for a long time.

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IL divorce lawyerUnlike child support in Illinois, spousal maintenance is not awarded in every divorce case. A judge will weigh every case on its own merits and determine whether a need for maintenance exists. If you believe that you deserve spousal maintenance as part of your divorce, it is important to review some important factors to determine if you are eligible, and then explicitly ask the judge to consider awarding you spousal maintenance.

Marital Misconduct Is Not Considered

When one spouse’s wrongdoing contributed to the breakdown of the marriage, such as if they had an affair, the other spouse often thinks that is enough to obtain spousal maintenance. This is not true. Spousal maintenance is intended to help you if the divorce will leave you in financial hardship. Illinois law specifically prohibits judges from considering marital misconduct when making determinations about spousal maintenance. Although misconduct may play a part in other aspects of the divorce, such as property division, it is not a consideration in maintenance decisions.

Lower Earning Potential

While marital misconduct is not considered in spousal maintenance decisions, your earning potential is a factor. If, during the marriage, you were unable to reach your full earning potential, a judge will consider that when making maintenance decisions. For example, you may have planned to go to school to secure a better career but put those plans on hold so your spouse could pursue their lucrative career. In this case, a judge will likely determine that you contributed to your spouse’s earning capacity and so, award you spousal maintenance. Although in this scenario maintenance may be only temporary until you can increase your earning potential, it will help with your case.

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