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naperville divorce lawyerEvery divorce is different and unique to the family undergoing marriage dissolution. When spouses cannot agree upon these decisions together, there are many different routes that families can take to complete a divorce, such as mediation between spouses. During a divorce, litigation is usually seen as a last resort. Litigation can be intimidating, time-consuming, and expensive. If a settlement is not reached, litigation will move to trial.   

The Reason Why Divorce Cases Move to Trial

The main reason divorces move to trial is because spouses are unable to reach an agreement about one or more divorce issues. A trial will leave the decision-making to the court, not the spouses themselves. Many decisions made during a divorce are problematic because they drastically change the family dynamic moving forward. For example, many couples will disagree regarding child custody and visitation arrangements or ownership of shared marital property. Firm disagreement over divorce issues results in a contested divorce

Three Steps to Prepare for Trial

Litigation, especially during divorce cases, can be nerve-racking. The idea that decisions will be left for a judge to decide makes many individuals feel uncertain about their futures. It is critical to work alongside a skilled divorce attorney who can advocate on your behalf during the divorce trial. Here are three steps to take to maximize your chances of a favorable divorce outcome:

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naperville child custody lawyerIt can seem like a nightmare scenario when your ex-spouse withholds visitation or parenting time with your children. However, there are many legal avenues that a parent can take to ensure they receive their fair share of parenting time with their children. Typically, the allocation of parenting responsibilities and parenting time is detailed in the divorce agreement — a legally binding document. Since the divorce decree is a court order, spouses must uphold it. If either spouse or parent chooses to breach the terms in a divorce decree, they can face significant consequences. 

Option 1: Mediation

Sometimes, parents need to reevaluate the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time and make modifications to their Parenting Plan. Parents may be able to reach an agreement about parenting time and parental responsibilities through mediation. Alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation offer ways to handle legal issues without going directly to a court judge. Mediation involves a neutral third party to assist parents in resolving legal matters. 

If you and an ex-spouse are having trouble sticking to the custody, parenting, or visitation plan outlined in your divorce agreement, a mediator may be able to help. Seeking mediation rather than court intervention could save you time and money. However, mediation only works if both parents are willing to communicate. Mediation is appropriate for parents looking for a trained individual to help facilitate negotiation. However, mediation is not helpful if there is contempt between spouses, ongoing refusal to adhere to the parenting plan, or if a parent suspects abuse or neglect by the other parent. 

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naperville divorce lawyerLike any divorce process, divorcing during retirement has its unique challenges and hurdles. Divorces alone can be complicated, especially if the couple has been married for an extended time. Spouses wind up sharing many financial assets throughout a marriage, including retirement pensions and other savings accounts. An individual might be entitled to their spouse's retirement plans even if there was no contribution on that individual's end. When divorcing during or after retirement, spouses must be vigilant in protecting their savings to ensure financial health for their future. 

Protecting Your Retirement Plans

Individuals typically open retirement plans such as a 401(k) or an IRA when preparing for retirement. These are considered financial assets, which could be divided equally between two spouses during a divorce. Pension benefits from a spouse's career may also be regarded as a shared marital asset and divided equally between both partners. According to Illinois law, retirement plans, including pension, are often considered shared marital property and must be divided as such. In a no-fault divorce state such as Illinois, the court emphasizes the equitable division of finances and other property. If you are considering or actively pursuing a divorce and wish to have your retirement plan and pension separated from your spouse, it is in your best interest to work alongside an experienced attorney who can help you understand ownership of retirement assets and how best to divide assets between you and your spouse. 

Will My Spouse Split my Social Security Check?

At the age of 62, Illinois residents can collect social security benefits. Depending on how long you and your spouse were married and the amount of social security your spouse collected, you may be entitled to social security benefits based on your spouse’s employment history. Typically, spouses married for ten years or longer may be entitled to the higher-earning spouse's social security. 

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naperville child support lawyerThere are many reasons why parents choose not to pay child support payments. Whether a parent doesn’t feel the child support order is justified, or a financial loss makes it hard to maintain payments, real legal consequences follow nonpayment of child support. After the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more parents found themselves in tight financial situations, causing difficulty paying child support. To avoid legal penalties for avoiding child support payments, parents in a tight financial situation can follow a legal modification process to change their child support order.

Legal Consequences

Child support orders are written as part of a divorce decree. The divorce decree is a legal document drafted for spouses after a divorce. Parents choosing not to pay child support are breaking a legal document and can face severe penalties. 

If a parent is not paying child support, the recipient parent may contact the Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to enforce the child support order. After six months of avoiding child support payments, or after over $5,000 in outstanding child support has accumulated, the DCSS may choose to submit a prosecution request to the obligor parent through the state. 

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naperville retirement plan division lawyerDuring a marriage, couples share virtually everything from a home, to cars, to children. Property division can be a difficult, and often contested, hurdle to overcome during a divorce. Many times, physical property holds an important or sentimental value to you and your family, and it can be hard to decide who gets what during a divorce. It is important to protect each party’s financial wellbeing during a divorce, and this often includes dividing retirement plans. 

Understanding Your Retirement Plan and Marital Property

Any retirement plan strategies financial savings over the course of a person’s life to allow them the means to stay comfortable after retirement. It is fairly common for married couples to have retirement plans. As wealth is accumulated during a marriage and over the course of someone’s career, the money that is put into a retirement plan. Retirement funds accumulated by a spouse during the marriage are marital property to which both spouses have a right. When dividing assets during a divorce, this can be a tricky situation when deciding how much each spouse receives. Types of retirement plans can include:

  • Your 401(k)

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