Call Today for Your FREE Consultation


650 Diehl Road, Suite 117, Naperville, IL 60563

Recent blog posts

IL family lawyerBeing involved in a high-conflict child custody case is almost always very stressful for everyone involved. It can go from stressful to downright terrifying if your child’s other parent poses a threat to you or your children. Your primary concern is likely keeping your child safe. There are a number of reasons a parent might not be safe for a child to visit unsupervised. A parent who has an active substance abuse disorder or serious mental illness may not be able to provide adequate supervision or may behave unpredictably. A parent who has a history of violence towards you or your children is unlikely to stop the abuse if they are able to see the children without a trustworthy adult present. If your goal is to obtain sole custody, you will need to work with a highly skilled Illinois child custody attorney. You will need evidence showing why it is not safe for the kids to be left alone with the other parent. 

When Is Sole Custody Possible in Illinois? 

While courts generally want every child to enjoy a relationship with both parents, there are certainly cases where keeping one parent away from the child is in the child’s best interests. If the court believes that one parent is harmful to the child’s emotional or physical health, it will not hesitate to take steps to protect the child. Sole custody is typically only awarded when there is substantial evidence showing why and how the other is dangerous to the child. 

More commonly, supervised visitation is ordered. In supervised visitation, the dangerous parent may visit the children only when supervised by a trusted adult. These are almost never overnight visits. 


IL divorce lawyerIf you and your spouse achieved your goal of becoming homeowners during your marriage, either you or the court will need to determine what to do with the home during your divorce. A house is often a married couple’s most valuable asset. It is also - plainly - not possible to cut a house in half so you can each keep your share. While using tape to divide living space might work briefly in comedies, it is almost certainly not a practical solution in real life. Under Illinois law, all marital property is to be divided equitably. “Equitably” means in a way that is as fair as possible to both parties in light of all the facts and surrounding circumstances. If this decision is left to the court, it will consider a lot of different factors to decide what is fair. You and your spouse also have the option of using mediation to establish your own solution. It is very important to be represented by your own attorney, even if your divorce is amicable. 

When the Court Divides Real Estate

Many spouses going through divorce tend to think that one spouse is likely to be given the house with no strings attached. It rarely works out that way, unless there are some extenuating circumstances. Often, when one spouse does in fact keep the house as their sole property, it is because the pair has young or disabled children who would be better off continuing to live in the home they are familiar with. However, the spouse who does not keep the home is likely to be compensated for giving up their ownership interest in the house in some way. 

In some cases, the court may decide that it is most fair for the parent who has the children most of the time to keep residing in the marital home. However, the court would likely grant other valuable property to the spouse who must move out. So, one spouse may keep the house, but the other may keep a larger share of the stock portfolio or retirement savings. In rare cases, the court may decide that the only fair course of action is to order the house sold and the profits split.


What Young Adults Should Know About Divorce

Posted on November 14, 2023 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerGetting married young is not always a great thing. People in their late teens or early twenties may not have fully grown into their adult personalities or truly realized their identity yet. It is common for those who marry young also to divorce young. In fact, young divorce should likely be more common than it is. Many individuals who are getting divorced in middle age or later adulthood have been unhappy in their marriages for a very long time - often since they were roughly your age. In many ways, ending an unhappy marriage while you are still in your 20s or early 30s is the smart move. Even if you have young children together, separating and co-parenting is likely better for your child than staying together but making each other miserable. It is important to be represented by a lawyer with experience representing young adults in divorce, as there are specific issues more likely to affect them. 

Legal Issues for Young Adults in Divorce Cases

Certain legal issues in divorce might affect young adults differently than they might affect older people who have been married for a very long time. Issues you and your lawyer might need to address with care include: 

  • Limiting marital property - It is a common misconception that everything a married person owns is also the property of their spouse. In Illinois, a married person can have separate property - property their spouse has no claim to. Your separate property generally includes anything you personally owned before you got married and anything you personally received as a gift. This may be quite a large portion of your belongings. 
  • Pursuing spousal support - Illinois courts generally disfavor alimony. If you are young, you may not have been married long enough to qualify for spousal support. This may be worrisome if you are a homemaker and lack job qualifications. However, many factors courts consider when deciding whether a person needs alimony will likely weigh against you. Unless you have disabilities or care for a disabled child of the marriage, the court will likely determine that you can support yourself. Short-term support may be possible in some cases. 
  • Lack of a prenuptial agreement - People who marry young are less likely to have a prenuptial agreement in place. There are a number of possible explanations for this, such as that young adults are less likely to have a lot of property to protect and, therefore, do not see a need for one. However, it does mean that each issue in your divorce will need to be resolved at this time. 

It is important to be represented by a lawyer while you are going through your divorce. The process can be complicated and confusing, so you will want an attorney who is skilled at navigating divorce. 


How to Modify a Divorce Decree

Posted on November 08, 2023 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerAlthough a divorce decree is considered “final,” it can sometimes be modified under the right circumstances. When a divorced person experiences a substantial change in circumstances, they might be able to have their divorce decree modified to reflect those changes. Illinois law recognizes that a divorce decree might have made sense at the time it was made, but can become impractical when circumstances change. If you have had a significant life change that makes following your divorce decree as it is currently written impossible or very difficult, you should speak with a Will County divorce lawyer about petitioning the court for a modification. Modifying your divorce decree based on your current circumstances can ensure that you continue to be treated equitably after going through a life change. 

What is a Substantial Change in Circumstances?

If you can show the court that you - or in some cases, your spouse - has experienced a relevant and significant change in circumstances, the court is likely to grant you a modification. Significant changes include, but are not limited to: 

  •  Job loss - If you have lost your job and cannot keep up with support obligations, you may be able to have the court reduce the amount of support you must provide to your child or former spouse. 
  • Health status change - If you recover from an illness and are able to take on greater parental responsibilities, or become disabled and can no longer work, the terms of your divorce decree can likely be modified to reflect the change. 
  • Change in child’s needs - The child’s best interests come first in all matters concerning the child. If your child’s needs change, the court will likely be happy to modify the parenting plan to better meet the child’s needs. For example, if a child develops health issues and needs more care, the court may alter the parenting time schedule so that the child is with the parent who works from home and can be there around the clock. 
  • Parental relocation - If one parent is moving a significant distance away, a change to the parenting plan is likely to be necessary. Moving with children can be a highly complicated issue, as there are numerous factors the court will consider. 

If you or your child has experienced a significant change in circumstances like these, you might be eligible to modify your divorce decree. 


How do I File for Divorce in Illinois?

Posted on October 25, 2023 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerThe first step toward getting divorced in Illinois is submitting a petition to the court in the county you live in. Filing this petition starts the divorce process. A petition for divorce is a document that tells the court you intend to legally divorce your spouse. Certain information must be included in this document, including both of your contact information. Your petition for divorce must also claim a legal ground for divorce. Grounds for divorce used to be things like infidelity, habitual intoxication, and extreme cruelty. Now, there is only one recognized ground for divorce - irreconcilable differences. After you file, formally serving your spouse with divorce papers is usually the next step. While you technically are not required to have an attorney, it is not a good idea to try to do this alone. Divorce can be a complicated legal process, and it is best to have a qualified Illinois divorce attorney representing your interests. 

What Does “Irreconcilable Differences” Mean?

Since you have to state that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences when you first file for divorce, it makes sense to want to understand what that means. In Illinois, the term means that disagreements between you and your spouse have caused the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. Fortunately, courts generally do not scrutinize this claim too closely. Especially if you and your spouse agree that you have irreconcilable differences, the court is likely to take your word for it. 

Serving Your Spouse

After you have filed your petition for divorce, you will need to have your spouse legally served. In some cases, you may be able to serve them yourself. In others, you may need to hire a third party to see to it that your spouse receives their divorce papers. If you genuinely do not know where your spouse can be found, there are alternative ways to serve them. 


IL divorce lawyerIt is fairly normal for one parent to want to move away after getting divorced. However, when making child custody decisions, a court can consider how difficult moving the child back and forth between their parents’ residences is. It is one of the factors Illinois child custody law requires judges to consider when making parenting time arrangements. When divorced parents live close to each other, it is usually very easy for them to coordinate frequent custody exchanges. When they live far apart, custody exchanges may not be possible nearly as often. This could result in an arrangement where the children need to live with one parent most of the time so that they can attend school regularly. The other parent may only be able to have parenting time during school holidays. It is important to speak with your Illinois family lawyer about how moving away could affect your child custody case. 

Difficult Custody Exchanges Can Affect Parenting Time

All child custody-related decisions in Illinois must be made based on what is in the child’s best interests. Illinois state law lists a number of factors that courts should use in determining what type of custody and visitation schedule is best for the child. One of these factors relates to how easy or difficult custody exchanges would be from a practical standpoint. 

Courts will consider the distance between the parents’ households. Traveling long distances frequently can be very hard on children, especially young children. The difficulty and cost of transporting the children back and forth also matter. If the parents can afford frequent travel and the children are old enough to fly alone, long-distance custody exchanges may not be too difficult. The situation might be different if one parent would need to fly with young children and the cost would stretch the parents’ resources. 


Tips for Surviving a Difficult Divorce

Posted on October 13, 2023 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerMost divorces are not easy. In fact. Getting divorced is considered one of the most stressful life events people can go through. Even when the spouses are amicable and can work together fairly easily, the divorce process can be emotionally taxing. If your divorce is more contentious, you may have an even more difficult road ahead. It is important to take some steps to protect your mental and physical health during this stressful time. Although it may feel like your Illinois divorce is going to go on forever, it will come to an end. It is important to be represented by a skilled Illinois divorce attorney who can look out for your legal interests while you focus on yourself. Our lawyers understand how hard it can be to get through a divorce and we will support you in any way we can. 

Self-Care is Critical

Self-care is very important during a divorce. Self-care can mean a lot of different things to different people. Take the time to do things you find relaxing, whether that means getting a massage, going hiking, or having a night out with your best friends. 

Avoid Social Media

Posting about your spouse or your ongoing divorce is more likely to add to your stress than to relieve it. Although you might have every right to be angry with your spouse, engaging in a social media battle may do far more harm than good. 


What is a Complex Divorce in Illinois?

Posted on October 05, 2023 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerIf you have started reading up on divorce in Illinois, you might have heard the term “complex divorce.” This term is fairly self-explanatory. A complex divorce is a divorce that will be more complicated than most, usually because the spouses have a lot of assets that are difficult to divide up. Your divorce might also be considered complex if you will need to contest it in court rather than trying to settle it by agreement, or if you have a complicated child custody situation. Having even one or two unique or challenging issues might mean that your divorce will be complex. If you are going into a complex divorce, it is important to be represented by a highly experienced Illinois divorce attorney. Complex divorce cases require special care. 

Reasons a Divorce Might be Complex

There are a wide range of reasons your divorce could be considered a complicated one. Common factors that lead to complex divorce cases include: 

  • Complex assets - Owning complex marital property can complicate divorce. If you have investments together, a retirement account, or a rental properties, your divorce may be a little trickier than most. Assets like stocks can be hard to divide fairly because their value fluctuates. Real estate usually cannot be divided at all. 
  • Family business - If you and your spouse own a business, dividing the company fairly can be difficult. You will need to consider a lot of factors, like who does more of the day-to-day work and whose skills are most needed. 
  • Foul play - If there has been foul play by one spouse, such as hiding or dissipating assets, this issue is likely to take center stage in the divorce. You may need to hire a forensic accountant to help. Domestic violence is another type of foul play that can complicate a divorce, as protecting the survivor becomes paramount. 
  • Custody complications - There are some issues that can lead to a complicated child custody situation. For example, if one parent is planning to move out of the state shortly, or if you have children with disabilities who need special care, you may need a lawyer who has experience with these unique issues. 

It is important to look for a lawyer who has experience with complex divorce. Addressing special challenges takes skill and experience. 


Is Legal Separation or Divorce Right for Us?

Posted on September 27, 2023 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerLegal separation and divorce are both methods of separating from your spouse. Both legal processes can help you and your spouse decide who will keep control of certain assets and how you will share parenting rights and duties once you are apart. However, this is roughly where the similarities end. Divorce is a far more permanent step than legal separation

Additionally, while divorce terminates the marriage, legal separation does not. Spouses who legally separate are still married in the eyes of the law, even though they no longer live together in a marital relationship. This can offer some benefits, as legally separated spouses can still file taxes jointly or keep each other on their health insurance policies. Your attorney can help you determine whether divorce or legal separation is the right option for you. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Divorce and Legal Separation

There are a number of factors to carefully weigh when deciding whether you should get divorced or legally separated. Factors to discuss with each other and with your respective attorneys include:


Naperville, IL alimony lawyerOne common cause of stress and tension that can continue even after a divorce is finalized is spousal support (previously known as alimony). In many marriages, the earning power between spouses is uneven and results in a lopsided financial arrangement that can hurt a lower-earning spouse after divorce. This is especially true if one spouse gave up career ambitions to care for a couple’s young children. 

Nevertheless, it is common for the paying spouse to disagree with the necessity or fairness of spousal support and to not make these payments. If this sounds familiar, you do not have to solve this problem on your own. Consult with an experienced spousal support attorney who can help you with the enforcement process and ensure you receive the money you are entitled to under the law. 

Why Is My Spouse Not Making Spousal Support Payments? 

People sometimes come on hard times and fall behind in making spousal support payments for many reasons. If your ex typically makes spousal support payments on time and has only recently fallen into arrears, you may want to consider reaching out to them directly and asking for an explanation. You may be able to work something out between the two of you, although it is wise to get such an agreement in writing. 


Naperville Divorce LawyersInfidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce. This kind of betrayal can sever the bond between a married couple. Although it is a common cause of divorce, many people are still confused about whether it can affect spousal support and parental responsibilities in Illinois. You can consult an experienced attorney to help you navigate this complicated divorce process. 

Can Your Ex-spouse Still Get Spousal Support if They Cheated?

Illinois is a state that mandates no-fault divorce, so there is no requirement to establish grounds for divorce, such as adultery. As a result, infidelity itself usually does not directly affect spousal support payments. 

The role of spousal support is to ensure that both spouses can maintain a living standard that is roughly equivalent after a divorce. The criteria for calculating spousal support include the following: 


DuPage County child custody lawyerHandling issues of child custody is tricky under the best of circumstances, but unmarried parents can present additional challenges. In the state of Illinois, if you are not married to the other parent of your child, then you must establish paternity if you are a father hoping to get parental rights for a child. A knowledgeable attorney can help you navigate this difficult process. 

Does Signing the Birth Certificate of Your Child Establish Paternity?

If a couple is married and has a baby, the man is assumed to be the child’s legal father. If a couple is unmarried, however, both parents must complete a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. If one parent cannot or will not sign the VAP, then it will be necessary to try to establish paternity through a court order or through an administrative order from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). 

Who Has Legal Custody of a Child in Illinois?

Creating a parenting plan that includes parental responsibilities (formerly known as custody) and parenting time (formerly known as visitation) can only be done after establishing paternity. One or both parents will need to submit a parenting plan to the family court system to have it approved by a judge and made enforceable in the future. 


DuPage County Family Law AttorneyDivorce cases involving disputes over substantial assets, intricate property division, or child custody conflicts require thorough advanced preparation in Illinois. Understanding key steps is crucial when navigating high-stakes divorce complexities.

Compile Comprehensive Financial Documentation

Gather an exhaustive inventory of all financial assets and debts, including recent tax returns, pay stubs, property deeds, mortgage statements, retirement and investment accounts, stock options, company equities, and valuations of collectibles. Detail which assets were acquired before versus during the marriage. Organize records systematically.

Document Your Parenting and Child Care

To strengthen your custody argument, gather compelling evidence showcasing your dedication as a parent. Include a comprehensive range of supporting documents such as:


DuPage County Divorce LawyerHiding assets from your spouse during a divorce may seem strategic initially, but it carries significant legal and financial risks that can end up harming you in the long run. 

Illinois Law Mandates Complete Financial Disclosure

Illinois divorce law requires full disclosure of all assets, debts, income, expenses, and any financial information acquired during the marriage. Many spouses think they can get away with hiding money in undisclosed accounts, underreporting income, or not mentioning certain properties. This is a dangerous legal strategy.

Intentionally concealing assets or lying during sworn testimony constitutes perjury. It also violates statutes requiring truthful financial affidavits from both parties. The courts treat failure to disclose and fraud very seriously. Any spouse caught purposefully hiding assets will face consequences.


Naperville Divorce LawyerIf you are planning to get divorced, you are likely hoping that the process will be relatively easy. A more financially complex divorce that needs to be contested can take several years to finalize. However, if you and your spouse have a complicated financial situation, it is likely worth it to take the extra time needed to sort through these matters. A variety of financial factors can lead to a more complex divorce. Depending on the nature and extent of property each of you owns separately as well as that of your marital property, your divorce may be somewhat challenging. If either of you has ownership interest in a business, or you have joint investments, or have built up a retirement account together, these types of property will need to be addressed in your divorce. The best strategy for dividing complex assets or working through complex financial situations will depend on the nature of the assets involved. It is important to be represented by your own attorney throughout the divorce process. 

Complex Financial Situations to Resolve During Divorce 

Common types of complex financial issues that must be resolved during divorce include: 

  • Retirement plans - If you and your spouse have shared retirement accounts or plans, each spouse will likely be entitled to a share of these assets, regardless of whose income contributed to it. However, there may be concerns such as penalties for early withdrawal or tax implications to be concerned with. 


Will County Family Law AttorneyIf you have decided to divorce your spouse, you likely do have a reason. It could be that your spouse has committed adultery, or has become addicted to drugs. Or your reason could simply be that you no longer have romantic feelings toward your spouse. In the past, you might have needed to prove your reasons to a court. There used to be defined grounds for divorce like “extreme cruelty” and “abandonment.” Now, Illinois courts generally only recognize one ground for divorce, and that is that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences.” Since 2016, this is the only ground for divorce in Illinois’s new “no-fault” system. While your spouse could certainly be the one who took a course of action that directly caused you to choose to divorce them, you will not likely need to prove it. Courts are more interested in completing your divorce and getting you a final decree than in hearing evidence related to why the marriage has not worked out. It is still best to be represented by an attorney, as there are some facts you may still need to prove. 

How Can I Prove That My Spouse and I Have Irreconcilable Differences? 

In nearly all cases, Illinois courts will simply take your word for it when you say that your marriage has reached a point where you and your spouse cannot reconcile and continue to live as a married couple. Illinois courts have no interest in forcing someone to stay in a marriage that is making them unhappy. You may have some evidence that you have tried to reconcile with your spouse, such as proof that you attended marriage counseling. However, in most cases it is simply not necessary to introduce this type of evidence. 

What if My Spouse Disagrees That We Have Irreconcilable Differences? 

Your spouse could well attempt to prevent the divorce by arguing that your differences are not irreconcilable, or that you have not tried to reconcile. However, they are highly unlikely to succeed. At best, your spouse may be able to slow down the divorce process by forcing you to go to court instead of settling. However, your spouse does not have the power to prevent you from leaving them. You should note that if you live separate and apart from your spouse for a term of six months, there is a legal presumption that you have irreconcilable differences. If your spouse intends to contest the divorce, it is especially important to be represented by counsel. 


DuPage County divorce lawyerRecklessly spending money before a marriage is completely over could land a spouse in trouble in divorce proceedings. All spouses must obey the divorce order once the judge has entered it, but before a divorce is finalized, each spouse has the obligation to preserve marital assets to the fullest extent possible. If not, they could be considered to be dissipating marital assets and may face punishment from the court.

The Legal Definition of Dissipation in Illinois

Dissipation does not mean simply wasting marital assets. The Illinois Supreme Court had defined dissipation as the "use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time that the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown."

While the classic example of dissipation is spending money on a new lover, the definition could also apply to situations that reach beyond that. For example, Illinois courts have even found dissipation when one spouse donated money to a church. If the spouse made a large purchase for themselves, or they failed to properly tend to marital assets, they could be found to be responsible for dissipation.


DuPage County, IL divorce lawyerThe first meeting with your divorce lawyer may feel uncomfortable and frightening. After all, you are embarking on a process that will have plenty of uncertainty and possible stress. While you may not be able to control other parts of the divorce process, you do have some level of control over your initial meeting with the lawyer. Your first conversation will be more beneficial when you come prepared.

Keep an Open Mind

You may have an idea in your mind of how your divorce will proceed. Unfortunately, your ideas will sometimes run into the realities of the divorce process and the law. You may hear something that you did not expect. You should not have any firm preconceptions in your mind. Instead, you should prepare to be flexible based on what your attorney tells you. It may take some time to know where your divorce is heading, and you should not expect to leave with any concrete plans after your first meeting.

Communicate Your Situation and Goals

Your attorney will provide you with tailored legal advice based on your own specific situation. They should take the time to get to know and understand you before they counsel you on a potential course of action. You should come prepared to discuss yourself and your end goals, even if they are not entirely formulated. Your attorney will need to give you advice early in the process, so they will need to have at least some knowledge of what you want from the divorce.


Naperville, IL child custody lawyerThere are times when two parents cannot work together to make decisions that are in the best interests of their children in a custody case. In other cases, a child may have special needs that require additional involvement in the decision making process from someone whose job it is to advocate for and represent their interests. A court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the child. Essentially, they act as a lawyer for the child throughout the custody process.

The Guardian’s Role Is to Make Recommendations to the Court

A judge can appoint a guardian ad litem in a custody case after one parent has filed a motion in court or because the judge has concerns about the getting facts of the case correct. The term “guardian” is somewhat misleading, however. The guardian ad litem does not have any legal authority over the child; only the court retains the authority to make decisions about the child when necessary. 

Instead, a guardian ad litem will assist the court in reaching decisions about the minor child. They usually speak to both of the parents about a situation to learn more about the parents, their home environment, the child, and the child’s needs. The guardian then makes a recommendation to the court. In essence, the court is delegating some of its fact-finding to the guardian. 


Naperville, IL child custody lawyerIn any child custody case, the court will consider the best interests of the child in reaching a decision. There are times when a judge will want to hear directly from the child, especially if they are old enough to voice their own opinions. Parents may worry about whether their child will need to testify in open court, which could add to the stress that they are already facing. Illinois law provides procedures for how children testify if it is necessary.

The Judge May Want to Hear from Your Child

It is within the judge’s discretion to request testimony from your child. Illinois law recognizes that testifying in open court is a very stressful situation for a child.Thus, your child will not be required to testify in open court. They will not be examined by a lawyer or cross-examined by the other attorney. 

The Judge Does the Questioning

Your child will be interviewed by the judge in their chambers. Judges know that children are in a difficult situation, and they will try to handle the situation as delicately as possible. They will generally try to avoid lengthy questioning that involves putting the child on the spot. Usually, the judge will try to have a conversation with your child, as opposed to subjecting them to more formal questioning. The judge may also have a trained professional speak with the child to learn more about the situation. 

avvo mh three lod isba cba aba acr dcba wcba
Back to Top