Category Archives: Family Law

Illinois custody lawyer, Illinois family attorneyThe adage that it “takes a village to raise a child” is making a comeback with limitations. Children learn an enormous amount of information and behaviors from their parents and guardians, but as they grow, children begin to watch the world around them. The truth is, to become well-rounded and functioning adults, children need guidance from positive adult role models around them. Naturally, the group of most trusted individuals remains within the family. When a couple is married or in a domestic partnership, the children involved often have two family trees. Deep-rooted bonds form, occasionally stronger than even that of the parent-child bond. If the marriage comes to an end resulting in a divorce those ties do not break, nor are they forgotten. However, all-too-often the divorce and child custody battles raise the question of the rights of the other family members for visitation of the child.

The Situation Example

In many single family homes, a marriage dissolution comes about due to irreconcilable differences, basically meaning that there is something detrimental that exists within the union that is irreparable. Most cases result in some agreement either handed down by a judge or determined between two agreeing parties. Consider, however, the situation in which one party is volatile, and the family runs from the home in the dark of the night to avoid negative repercussions. Often restraining orders begin for the safety of the lives involved. If due to the circumstances, a judge determines the parent in which the injunction is against should not have visitation rights to their child, the primary link to that side of the family may be lost. Grandparents and other family members often worry that they may lose legal rights to see the children.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family attorneyDuring the divorce process, a lot is going on. Not only are you dividing up visitation schedules, living arrangements, and possessions, you are coping with your life adjustments. It is easy to see why everyday tasks can slip through the cracks. Between changing addresses, packing boxes, and updating billing information monthly bills often go unnoticed, at no fault of either party. However, there are several reasons why it is imperative that the monthly bills remain paid each month, especially during divorce negotiations.

How Putting Off Payment Impacts the Divorce

Continuing to the pay the bills has some benefits but also has a few downfalls. First and foremost, you want to ensure that you protect your credit report. Good credit is necessary for most things in life now, including getting a job, renting or buying a house, and even getting re-married. To come out of a divorce with poor credit makes a difficult situation worse. However, set up a payment agreement with your ex-spouse about who is responsible for which bills each month. Once you have filed for divorce, anything outside of the marriage is no longer considered marital property, which is not subject to equitable distribution. In the court of law, making payments in “good faith” does not earn you any points with a judge unless there is a binding contract to go along with it.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyOne of the very basic tasks to be completed during an Illinois divorce proceeding is for the parties to indicate the assets they have and to either divide these assets amongst themselves or to submit the list of assets to the court and allow the judge to divide the assets . If this duty of asset division falls to the court, the judge will divide the assets in a way that appears to treat both parties fairly. The general idea behind property division is that both parties should obtain a fair share of the property and assets they accumulated during the marriage (there are some important exceptions to this general rule, however).

In a perfect world, even divorcing spouses would treat one another with fairness and respect. As most know, we do not live in a perfect world. Some spouses, in an attempt to gain a larger distribution of the marital estate from the court, will deliberately attempt to hide or misrepresent the amount of assets they hold. The other spouse usually becomes aware of this when the spouse hiding assets files a disclosure or other document listing his or her assets and the innocent spouse notices several “big ticket” items are missing: a house, a collector car, or other similar item. But what can a spouse do if he or she believes the other spouse is hiding assets?

Hiding Assets Is Not a Good Idea

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Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family lawyerOne of the most contentious areas of developing a parenting plan is how the holidays will be shared between parents. When most of us think of the holidays, it is often just the events during November and December that come to mind. But a solid parenting plan also addresses the holidays that occur throughout the year, such as Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day. Another issue that may need to be addressed is what happens if Mother's Day or Father's Day falls on a day that the child is scheduled to be with the other parent?

You may include a clause about how your children will spend the holidays in your custody arrangement. If you are currently working through the divorce process, discuss family holidays with your spouse and with your attorney. You will likely have to compromise with your spouse regarding how the holidays are split up, but if you both take a proactive stance and work together from the start, you stand a better chance of reaching a positive, productive outcome.

Ways to Divide the Holidays

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Illinois prenup laws, Illinois divorce lawyerWhen you make the decision to enter into a marriage, you, like those before you, believe that the union will last forever. You have visions of your happily ever after and holding the hands of your loved one well after your hair loses its color. However, for a significant portion of the population, life happens, and the plans change. Especially due to high divorce rates, more couples inquire about entering into a prenuptial agreement, also known as a prenup, before tying the knot. For most Illinois cases, this contract is enforceable. However, this is not true for all situations.

Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act

After the engagement and before the wedding a discussion about what happens if things go sour is a good idea. Although no one likes to taint the joyous occasion with negativity, marriage is a binding legal union, and it is well-advised to create a plan of action for if the contract collapses. A prenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement, delegates when everyone is on agreeable terms what should happen to property, investments and other earnings when everyone is not-so-willing to negotiate. This agreement must be in writing before signing the marriage certificate and becomes valid only after the union legally begins. Most areas of marriage may be included, except child support and visitation rights. A few items often included in such an agreement are:

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