IL divorce lawyerMost people would like to know that once their divorce is finalized by the courts, it is truly over. However, that is not always the case and many spouses often want to modify court orders issued as a result of a divorce. Modifications are not granted easily by the courts. They will take a number of factors into consideration, such as the order an ex-spouse wants to be modified, and the reasons for changing it. If you have recently gotten a divorce and now wish to modify some portion of the divorce decree, below are some of the most important things to know when making changes.

Reasons for Post-Decree Modifications

Typically, only two changes in a person’s life allows them to modify court orders. These include a change in their financial situation or a change in their family situation. Common reasons for post-decree modifications include:

  • A party paying support suffers a disability and can no longer work as a result
  • A party receiving support has been promoted or has received a significant increase in their salary
  • A party has had a significant reduction in their earnings
  • One party has remarried or has had another child
  • The needs of a child receiving support have changed
  • The child has reached an age of maturity and wishes to live with the other parent
  • A parent wants to move to another state

Even when these scenarios occur, it is crucial that both parties comply with the original order before making any changes. If they fail to do so, they may be held in contempt of court.

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IL divorce lawyerBusinesses in Illinois divorces are typically considered marital property. Even if only one spouse operated the business, it is generally assumed that the profits from the business contributed to the needs of the couple, the children, and the household. Due to this, when one or both spouses operated a business during the marriage, it is subject to the property division rules of the state. Dividing a business is one of the most complicated aspects of any divorce and typically, there are three ways in which it can be done.

Give Your Spouse Something of Equal Value

You can give your spouse something that is equal to their portion of the business in one of two ways. If you operate the business and want to continue doing so after the divorce, you can simply buy your spouse out. In this method, the value of the business is divided and you will have to pay your spouse their equal share. In some cases, you may not have to buy out your spouse, but you may allow them to keep more assets during property division hearings. For example, if you want to keep the business and your spouse wants to keep the family home that is approximately the same value, you can forfeit your rights to the home and retain control of your business.

Sell the Business

If you do not wish to continue running the business after divorce, selling it might be a good option. In this instance, the business is simply sold and you and your spouse will divide the proceeds fairly. This is not always a good option, as many people do not want to lose the hard work they have put into a business to simply sell it. However, if neither spouse wants it, or you both co-owned and operated the business and you will not be able to continue doing so once the divorce is final, this may be the only way to do it.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen a couple gets divorced, they may be able to come to a mutual agreement about child custody arrangements, but that is quite rare. In most instances, the two spouses must go through child custody hearings, where a judge will award either sole custody, typically allowing the other parent reasonable visitation, or joint custody, in which both parents will receive custody of their child or children. Of course, during these hearings, you want the best result possible and there are some tips you can follow to ensure that happens.

Your Child Cannot Decide

During the proceedings, a judge will award custody based on what is in the child’s best interests. This means that the child cannot decide which parent they want to live with. Although a judge will weigh a child’s preference when making the decision, and more weight is given to a child’s preference the older the child is, the deciding factor is always what is in the best interests of the child. A judge will also look at the reasons why a child wants to live with a certain parent. For example, if it is only because one parent is not a disciplinarian, that reason will likely not be enough.

Keep Track of How Much Time Is Spent with the Child

A judge will also look at how much time each parent currently spends with the child when making child custody decisions. The more time that is spent with a child, the more likely that parent will be awarded custody. As such, it is important to keep track of how much time you spend with the child. This includes helping them with homework, taking them to extracurricular activities, and driving them to and from school.

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IL divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce is difficult enough, and no one wants the process to drag on for a long time. It is for this reason that so many people choose alternative dispute resolutions rather than going to trial, which undoubtedly takes the longest amount of time. Alternative dispute resolutions include collaborative divorce and mediation, two methods of divorce that are often quicker than litigated divorces, but that are also largely misunderstood. So, if you are going through a divorce, what is the fastest way to do it?

Timeline for a Litigated Divorce

Going to trial will generally take the longest when going through divorce, even though judges typically try to get the parties to agree on a settlement before going to trial. Family courts generally have heavy caseloads and they simply do not have time to take every case to trial. Judges may even provide recommendations that can help the two parties come to a settlement before trial. If a case does go to trial, the parties involved can expect it to take anywhere between 12 and 24 months, and perhaps even longer if there are very contentious issues.

Timeline for a Collaborative Divorce

The length of time a collaborative divorce takes really depends on how much the two spouses fight about the different terms of the divorce, such as child custody and property division. It is true that just like with any other method of divorce, you and your spouse will not agree on everything in a collaborative divorce. However, conflict in a collaborative divorce is typically less than in a litigated divorce.

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IL divorce lawyerDuring a divorce, any retirement account either spouse holds is subject to property division proceedings. These funds are some of the most difficult to divide and the process can sometimes be lengthy. These funds also require a court order that is separate from the divorce settlement agreement. To ensure that these assets are divided properly, individuals must work with a family lawyer that is familiar with how these assets are divided, and that can help you navigate through the process.

Determining How Many of the Funds to Divide

Only marital property, which is property that was acquired by the couple during the marriage, is divided during a divorce. This concept can become complex when dividing retirement funds because in many instances, a person has acquired some of their funds prior to the marriage, but continued to build the retirement fund after they were married. As such, a portion of those funds are considered separate property and the remaining funds are considered marital property. The first step then, when dividing retirement funds, is to determine how much of the account is considered marital property.

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders

All divisions of retirement funds require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This lengthy document will detail how much of the retirement fund each spouse is entitled to receive after the divorce, as well as a number of other details. To begin the process, it is essential to work with a divorce lawyer that can contact the administrator of the plan. There are a number of specific steps that must be taken when dividing these funds, and your lawyer and the plan administrator will work together to ensure those steps are followed properly. The administrator must also approve the QDRO before it is submitted. The funds cannot be transferred until the administrator has approved the QDRO.

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