Category Archives: Family Law

DuPage County Divorce LawyerOnce a homeowning couple in Illinois decides to get divorced, further decisions must be made: Who is going to move out? Should one of us try to keep the house, or sell it and split the proceeds? While each couple’s answers will depend on their unique situation and long-term financial goals, there are some things every couple should think about before they make a major decision about homeownership after divorce

Homeownership on One Income is Challenging

Many people, especially mothers who are reluctant to move their children during all the upheaval of a divorce, will negotiate other marital assets to keep the family home. But those who do this often find themselves with no savings plus the major financial burden of keeping a house afloat with just one income. If even a minor financial crisis arises, such as a spouse who stops paying child support or spousal support for any reason, the family may have no cash reserves to fall back on and the house could be in jeopardy. Experts recommend taking time to negotiate an equitable asset division that carefully considers whether maintaining a home on one income is feasible for either partner. 

Selling a Home Is Not Free

While a couple may dislike the idea of only one spouse owning the home after a divorce, selling a home has costs associated with it as well. Real estate agent commissions, inspections, repairs, and deposits or down payments on new residences can quickly eat through any equity a couple has in their home. Some experts say that the cost of selling a house can be as much as 10 percent of the sales price. If one spouse wants to keep the home while the children finish growing, but anticipates selling the home just a few years later, he or she will have to shoulder the entire burden of the expenses associated with selling. 

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Hinsdale Divorce LawyersSometimes during an Illinois divorce, an attorney fails to represent their client in an appropriate or adequate manner. Other times, a client may simply be dissatisfied with the level of service an attorney provides, or unhappy with how quickly the case is moving. Whatever your reason for firing your previous attorney, you will likely want their case records so you can begin working with someone new without having to return to square one. Even if you have not fired your attorney, you can request copies of your case files for any reason. 

Unfortunately, sometimes attorneys are reluctant to hand over case files. They may want a client to pay them for past work or they may be worried that the client will discover that the attorney kept improper records about billing or the divorce case. If you are waiting to get your files from your former attorney and wonder if they can legally keep your records, read on. 

Attorneys Must Promptly Surrender Client Files

The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct states that attorneys will promptly hand over files and other reasonable requests for information, even when an attorney has been fired. Lawyers are responsible for continuing to treat client information with the utmost privacy and giving clients detailed notes showing how they spent the client’s money on casework. Lawyers cannot charge a fee for copying client files, although they may charge a client for shipping costs. 

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Hinsdale Family Law AttorneysLike many other states, Illinois no longer uses the term “custody” as it pertains to a parent’s legal relationship with their child. Instead, when parents get divorced or otherwise determine parenting arrangements, Illinois law divides what was formerly known as custody into two separate categories: parenting time and parental responsibilities. In our last blog post, we discussed the concept of parental responsibilities in detail. This blog will focus on parenting time and what parents can expect from this area of Illinois law. 

What is Parenting Time? 

Parenting time is essentially what it sounds like - the time a parent spends with a child, taking care of their daily needs, and ensuring their health and happiness. This includes feeding the child, monitoring the child’s whereabouts, keeping up with the child’s hygiene habits, making sure a child meets their educational and personal responsibilities, and any other appropriate parenting needs the child may have. 

How Do Courts Allocate Parenting Time? 

Illinois courts take the wellbeing of children very seriously, so, whenever possible, courts encourage both parents to play an active role in a child’s life. To avoid expensive and drawn-out court battles, judges will try to encourage parents to come up with a parenting agreement themselves. Parents often find mediators to be helpful when creating parenting arrangements, and both parents are more likely to be satisfied with the arrangement when they are both involved in creating it. 

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DuPage County Parental Responsibilities LawyerA common reason couples in Illinois cite for their divorce is substantial differences of opinion when it comes to raising the children. While these differences can make being married challenging, they do not necessarily get better during or after a divorce. Parents may no longer share a household, but they still have to negotiate a parenting agreement and communicate with each other about the children, often for many years into the future. 

Parents who create a parenting agreement must handle several different aspects of sharing custody. The most important of these, parenting time and parental responsibilities, are important to understand because they influence nearly every aspect of a joint parenting plan. Parenting time is fairly straightforward: it is the time each parent spends with the child, caring for them and providing their daily needs. Parental responsibilities, however, can be a little more complicated. 

What Are Parental Responsibilities in Illinois? 

Put simply, a parent with parental responsibilities has the authority to make significant decisions on behalf of their child. Illinois courts tend to divide these decisions into the following four categories:

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DuPage County Divorce LawyersStatistics suggest that more couples than ever are getting divorced later in life. While many couples still divorce when they have young children, there is an increasing number of couples who get divorced after their children leave the home. Known colloquially as “gray divorce,” these couples are over age 55 and have often already retired.

Without child support and parenting agreement issues, gray divorces are less complicated in some ways. Yet the long-term financial entanglement of spouses presents some unique challenges that younger couples often do not have to deal with. Here are three things that can complicate a couple’s financial picture and make the divorce process more difficult. 

Inheritance and Individual Property

By the time a couple has reached age 55, either partner’s parents may have passed away and left that partner an inheritance. Whether the inheritance is money, property, or invaluable sentimental items, it is generally not considered marital property. However, commingling non-marital property with marital property, such as placing inherited funds in a joint bank account, can cause inheritance to become marital property. Separating marital from non-marital property can prove quite challenging when it comes to an inheritance that was received many years before the divorce. 

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