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Plainfield Divorce AttorneyDivorce involving older couples differs from traditional divorce in many ways. The legal, financial, personal, and familial issues divorcing spouses face are often unique to their stage in life. If you are thinking about ending your marriage and you are over the age of 50, you may be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain. These types of feelings are normal. After all, divorce is a huge decision. Learning about the challenges you may face during a “gray divorce” can help you prepare to tackle those challenges and create a brighter post-divorce future.

Getting Divorced When You are Retired or Close to Retirement

Divorce rates have skyrocketed among older couples in recent decades. Many spouses are simply unwilling to stay in an unfulfilling marriage during their golden years. Unfortunately, getting divorced near retirement age can present unique financial obstacles. In Illinois, courts divide marital property equitably. Retirement accounts, including pensions, 401(k)s, and IRAs are often classified as either fully or partially marital property. Both spouses are entitled to an equitable share of retirement funds that either spouse earned during the marriage.

Divorcing spouses may be able to negotiate an out-of-court property division agreement. Some spouses choose to split retirement funds while others assign the retirement account to one spouse and compensate the other spouse for his or her portion with other marital assets, such as the marital home. A divorce lawyer experienced in gray divorce issues can help you determine what option makes the most sense for you. If you were married for at least ten years, you may also be entitled to Social Security benefits through your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

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Plainfield Child Custody LawyerFor divorcing parents, child custody is usually one of the most important aspects of divorce. Some parents are able to reach an agreement about child custody issues relatively easily while others struggle to find any common ground at all. If you and your spouse are divorcing and you have different opinions about how you should handle child custody issues, you may be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Child custody disputes can be contentious. However, there are many alternative resolution methods available to spouses in this situation that may help them reach an agreement.

Parenting Plans in a Naperville Divorce Case

Parents who file for divorce are asked to create a parenting plan and submit it to the court. The parenting plan covers everything from who keeps the children on what days to how parents will handle any future modifications to the plan.

The two main issues you must address in the parenting plan are:

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5 Tips for Divorcing an Addict in Illinois

Posted on in Divorce

Bolingbrook Divorce LawyerDrug and alcohol addiction touches the lives of millions of people in Illinois and throughout the United States. If your spouse has a substance abuse problem, you know first-hand how impactful addiction can be on a family. Sadly, many marriages cannot survive the turbulence brought on by an addiction.

If you have decided to end your marriage and your spouse suffers from alcoholism or addiction, the road ahead may be bumpy. However, there are steps you can take to make the divorce process go as smoothly as possible.

Retain Experienced Legal Counsel

A spouse’s drug or alcohol addiction is sure to complicate any divorce. Nearly every aspect of the divorce process can be affected, including child custody, the division of marital assets and debts, and child support. Make sure to work with an attorney experienced in divorce cases involving substance abuse or addiction. Your lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected and act as your legal advocate throughout the divorce.

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Bolingbrook Divorce LawyerDivorce involves much more than ending the marriage relationship. Divorcing spouses must also allocate the property they have earned throughout the marriage. If you or your spouse own business interests, real estate, stocks, investments, and other complex assets, property distribution will be especially challenging. Spouses have a right to an equitable share of the marital assets during divorce, however, some spouses try to cheat the other spouse by lying about financial concerns during a divorce. Hiding assets is unlawful and it can impact the outcome of your divorce dramatically. It is important for spouses to recognize signs of financial fraud during divorce and take swift action.

Signs Your Spouse May Try to Lie About Finances During Divorce

Nearly every aspect of the divorce process is influenced by finances. The distribution of assets and debts, child support, and spousal maintenance or alimony are all directly impacted by the spouses’ financial resources. Some spouses try to gain an advantage by undervaluing assets, overvaluing debts, or failing to disclose assets. If you are getting divorced, make sure to look for signs your spouse may be hiding assets or otherwise trying to manipulate the outcome of your divorce:

  • Secrecy about financial matters – If your spouse is trying to keep financial information a secret from you, this is a major red flag. Changing the passwords on online bank accounts, hiding or destroying financial documents, and deleting computer programs or files containing financial information may all be signs of financial deception.

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Plainfield Divorce LawyerStay-at-home moms and dads who get divorced face a unique set of circumstances. For many parents, the justification for staying home with the kids was largely based on the other spouse’s income. If you are a parent who has sacrificed a career to care for your children full-time, you may be worried about the financial implications of divorce. You may also worry about how you and your children will adjust to life after the separation. There is no getting around it: Divorce as a stay-at-home parent is complicated and emotionally taxing. Fortunately, Illinois law provides options that may help.

Temporary Relief Orders Can Provide Financial Support and Stability

Unfortunately, many stay-at-home parents stay in unhappy or even abusive marriages because of concerns about money. If a parent has not held a job in several years, they may worry about having the financial means to leave their spouse. If you are in this situation, you should know that you may be able to get financial assistance from the other spouse through a temporary relief order.

Divorce cases may take months or even years to resolve. Fortunately, you do not have to wait until the divorce is complete to get child support or spousal support. You can petition the court for a temporary relief order which will require your spouse to pay child support and/or spousal support. The court will consider both spouses’ financial resources, the standard of living during the marriage, and the children's needs when deciding on a child support or spousal support temporary relief order.

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DuPage County Divorce AttorneyThe internet has become a huge part of most people’s everyday lives. We can pay our bills, shop, or even get a degree, all from our home computer. If you are thinking about divorce, you may wonder if you can reduce divorce costs and speed up the process through an online divorce or “do it yourself” divorce. While the idea of a DIY divorce may initially seem attractive, many people who choose this route are met with unforeseen consequences.

DIY Divorce Services are One-Size-Fits-All

Getting divorced is one of the most significant things you will ever do. The financial, legal, and personal implications of your divorce will likely affect you for years after the split.  So-called “online divorce” usually consists of little more than forms that you can fill out with basic information. These divorce services are one-size-fits-all and do not take into account the particulars of your situation

You Could Make Costly Mistakes that Drag Out the Divorce

Most people look into DIY divorce because they are hoping to save money. However, when considering the cost of your divorce, you must also consider the long-term financial consequences of your actions. If you make a mistake during the divorce process, you may suffer financial consequences for years.

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Bolingbrook Family Law AttorneyOriginally Posted April 13, 2020 ---- Updated Post November 11, 2021

Any parent can confirm that raising children is expensive -- especially when you are doing so on a single income. If you are divorced or soon will be, it is important to know how Illinois child support laws will apply to your case. Well-meaning friends or relatives may try to give you advice about child support or help you estimate your payments. However, the way that Illinois calculates child support changed significantly in recent years. The best way to receive trustworthy guidance regarding child support is to work with an experienced family law attorney. 

Illinois no longer bases child support on only the paying spouse’s income and the number of children to be supported. Now, both parents’ incomes determine child support payments.

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Plainfield Divorce LawyerDeveloping a parenting plan is often one of the hardest parts of an Illinois divorce. If you are a divorcing parent, you may have many different questions and concerns about child custody. You may be worried that you will not get to spend enough time with your kids after divorce. You may also have questions about your rights as a parent under Illinois law. One aspect of the parenting plan many people misunderstand or overlook is the “right of first refusal.”

Parenting Time Schedules in an Illinois Divorce

Illinois law no longer refers to “child custody” and “visitation.” Instead, the law breaks parenting duties into two components:

  • Parental responsibilities – Parental responsibilities are how parents make decisions about their children such as where the child goes to school or the types of medical care the child gets.

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Will County Collaborative Divorce AttorneysThe complexity of a divorce case depends on how quickly and easily spouses can resolve divorce issues. Spouses must divide debts and assets, handle child-related concerns like child custody and child support, and determine if one spouse will pay spousal maintenance to the other. When a couple owns a business or professional practice or other complex assets, property division will be much more involved. Disputes regarding parenting time and responsibilities can also complicate the divorce process considerably.

In situations such as these, spouses have several options: They can pursue traditional divorce litigation or they can use an alternative divorce resolution method like collaborative law.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Divorcing spouses often want to resolve divorce issues with as little hostility as possible. Contentiousness adds to the stress and expense of a divorce. If you are interested in resolving your divorce amicably, but you still want guidance from divorce professionals, collaborative divorce may be right for you. In a collaborative divorce, both spouses hire their own attorneys. However, the attorneys and the spouses work collaboratively to resolve divorce issues.

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Wheaton Divorce LawyersEvery parent dreams of the perfect family. Unfortunately, many parents reach a point where they realize that getting divorced may be the best option for them and their children. When kids are constantly exposed to their parents’ hostility and disagreement, they can suffer emotionally, developmentally, and academically. For some families, divorce is the right option.

If you are ready to call it quits on your marriage and get divorced, you have probably spent a good deal of time thinking about how to tell the children. When is the best time to tell children about divorce? How much information should I tell them? What if my spouse is not ready to announce the separation?

Plan the Conversation Carefully

Telling your children that you and their other parent are divorcing is one of the most important conversations of your life. Consequentially, it is important to decide in advance what you will say and when. Experts explain that it is best to wait until you are absolutely certain before you tell the children about the divorce. If possible, sit down with your soon-to-be-ex and all of your shared children and have the conversation as a group. If you have children of varying ages, you may need to go back and have age-appropriate follow-up conversations with each child specifically. However, the first announcement should occur with every child present. Telling one child before the others can make them feel as if they have to lie to their siblings – which can increase their stress.

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Naperville Marital Property Divorce LawyerPeople often assume that the emotional and personal aspects of their divorce will be the hardest issues to deal with. However, many are surprised to learn just how complicated the financial and logistical parts of the divorce are. The division of marital property can be particularly complex – especially if the spouses have high incomes or own complex assets. If you are planning to divorce in Illinois, you may have questions about what property belongs to you, what belongs to your spouse, and what property is contained in the marital estate.

Marital and Non-Marital Property

Per Illinois law, assets and income that a spouse earns while he or she is married is marital property contained within the marital estate. There are a few exceptions to this rule, including inheritance and gifts. Property that a spouse owned before getting married is separate property and belongs solely to that individual during divorce.

However, as with many legal issues during divorce, differentiating between marital and non-marital property is not always this simple. Numerous factors can complicate property division, including:

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Will County Child Support AttorneysDisabilities come in all forms. Some disabilities, such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida, are often immediately apparent. Other disabilities, like autism, are invisible to a casual observer. Whatever the specific disability, having a disabled child can be extremely challenging for parents. Many disabled children require specialized medical care, education, and assistive devices. Parents may also need to forgo working outside of the home to care for a disabled child. This can lead to significant financial stress. For unmarried or divorced parents, child support payments can help cover these costs. However, what happens when a disabled child becomes an adult?  

Continuing Child Support After Adulthood

Child support typically ends once a child reaches adulthood and/or completes an undergraduate degree. At this point, the child is expected to provide for his or her own needs. However, a disabled child may be unable to reach the same level of financial independence as a child without a disability. Fortunately, Illinois law reflects this reality. Parents with disabled children may be able to receive non-minor support or child support that continues past childhood.

Financial Support for a Disabled Child

As a parent of a disabled child, you may wonder what types of disabilities qualify a child for non-minor support. Illinois law defines “disability” as a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits a major life activity. Physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and mental health conditions may qualify a child for continued support from the other parent.

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Will County Divorce LawyerYou may have heard that experts consider divorce to be the second-most stressful life event a person can endure. Divorce is second only to the death of a spouse in terms of emotional and psychological pain. Understandably, many divorcing spouses are eager to get the divorce process over with so that they can move on to a happier post-divorce future. If you are ending your marriage in Illinois, you may ask, “How long will it take?”

Factors that Influence the Duration of a Divorce Case

Each divorce is unique. Countless factors can influence the length of a divorce, including:

  • The amount of conflict regarding divorce issues – Couples who agree on the terms of their divorce are in for a much faster resolution than couples who disagree. You and your spouse may be able to reach an agreement about who should keep the marital home, how to divide marital property, and other divorce concerns on your own or with help from a divorce lawyer or mediator. If you cannot agree on these issues, you may reach a resolution through collaborative divorce or litigation. A skilled divorce lawyer can sit down with you and help you figure out the best way to address disagreements about divorce issues.

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Will County Divorce LawyerIf you are a parent who is in the middle of divorcing your spouse, you may be feeling overwhelmed at the thought of the back-to-school season. For many parents, the beginning of the school year is already stressful. Ending a marriage during this hectic season only adds to the stress. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to mitigate this stress – for both you and your kids.

Establish Consistency and Reduce Conflict with a Temporary Child Custody Order

You probably already know that divorcing parents must abide by a “parenting plan” which describes the parenting time schedule (previously called visitation) and allocation of parental responsibilities. However, the parenting plan does not go into effect until after the divorce which may take months or years to finalize.

Fortunately, you can petition the court for a temporary child custody order that dictates parenting time while the divorce proceedings are ongoing. This may help avoid confusion and arguments as well as give your child the consistency and stability he or she needs during this difficult time.

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Will County Divorce LawyerIn a divorce, each spouse must provide current, accurate financial information. Whether the divorce is settled out of court or it goes to trial, financial data is crucial. Spouses cannot reach a settlement on the division of property and debts or spousal maintenance without this information. The court cannot determine a reasonable child support payment amount without accurate financial information. Nearly every aspect of your divorce case is influenced by finances. So, what happens if a spouse lies about income or property during the divorce?

Undisclosed Assets and Hidden Property

In an attempt to sway the terms of the divorce in their favor, some spouses lie about their financial situation in the divorce. They may “forget” to disclose an offshore account or fail to mention their expensive jewelry collection. They may transfer wealth or real property to friends or family members to shelter it from division. Some spouses overpay the IRS or use a small business to hide assets. This type of financial manipulation during divorce is unlawful. If a divorcing spouse is caught lying about finances under oath, they may be held in contempt of court and subject to serious penalties.

Ensuring Your Divorce Settlement or Judgment is Based on Truth

Any agreement spouses come to regarding the terms of their divorce should be based on complete, up-to-date financial information. Undisclosed assets and financial deception must be uncovered in order for this to happen. Divorce attorneys often use discovery tools like requests for production, interrogatories, and requests for admission to gather financial records and information in a divorce. The spouses and their respective attorneys may be asked to attend depositions in which testimony is gathered while the spouses are under oath. Divorce lawyers may also work with specially trained accountants called forensic accountants to trace assets and reveal hidden income or property.

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Plainfield Child Support AttorneyOriginally published: May 11, 2020 -- Updated: August 25, 2021

UPDATE: Parents who have experienced financial issues that have affected their ability to pay child support will want to take the correct steps to avoid the issues described below. This has been a major concern for many parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, and those who have lost their jobs or who have experienced health issues that have affected the income they are able to earn will want to make sure they take the proper measures to avoid penalties for failing to meet their financial obligations.

Family courts will often recognize financial hardship experienced by parents, but unless a parent takes action to inform the court of these issues, they will be required to follow the terms of their child support order. This means they must continue making monthly payments, and in addition to making up any missed payments, they may also be required to pay interest on these past-due amounts. To avoid these issues, a parent can file a petition for a modification of their child support obligations as soon as they have experienced financial issues that affect their ability to pay. While the court may not immediately grant a request for modification, any modifications that are made may be retroactive to the date the modification request was filed. 

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DuPage County Spousal Maintenance AttorneyWhile a divorce can lead to financial difficulties for both spouses, there are some situations where one party may struggle to support themselves or maintain their standard of living on their own. If there is a large difference between the incomes earned by divorcing spouses, or if one spouse is a stay-at-home parent who is not currently working, a divorce court judge may decide that spousal maintenance would be appropriate. This form of support, which is commonly known as alimony, will usually be paid for a temporary period following a couple’s divorce, and it is meant to help the party who earns a lower income meet their needs while also providing them with the means to obtain the education or training they need to return to work or increase the income that they are able to earn so that they will be able to support themselves. Spouses who may pay or receive spousal maintenance will want to be sure to understand how these payments will be calculated.

Spousal Support Calculations and Examples

If a judge determines that spousal support is needed, Illinois law uses a specific formula to calculate the amount that will be paid. This formula applies in cases where a couple’s total gross income per year is below $500,000. For those who earn more than that amount on an annual basis, a judge may order an amount of support that would be appropriate based on the facts and circumstances of the case.

The statutory formula takes one-third (33 and 1/3 percent) of the payor’s net annual income and subtracts one-fourth (25 percent) of the payee’s net annual income. The resulting amount may be paid on an annual basis, or it may be divided by 12 and paid on a monthly basis. However, when the amount of spousal maintenance is added to the payee’s net income, the result cannot be higher than 40 percent of the combined net annual income earned by the parties.

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DuPage County Child Custody AttorneyThe divorce process can be difficult for parents and children. Even if it would not be healthy for parents to stay together, and a breakup will help ensure that children will not be exposed to arguments and conflict between parents, children are likely to struggle with the changes they will experience in their lives. Both parents and children may experience strong emotions during the divorce process, including anger, sadness, guilt, betrayal, and anxiety about the future. Parents will want to help their children work through these feelings in a healthy way while providing emotional support and reassurance. Unfortunately, some parents choose to take advantage of their children’s strong emotions and use them as a weapon against their former partner. This is known as parental alienation, and parents will want to understand how to recognize this behavior and the steps they can take to address the issue.

Signs That May Indicate Parental Alienation

Parental alienation involves a parent attempting to harm their children’s relationship with the other parent, such as by influencing the children’s feelings about the other parent, convincing them to choose sides in disputes between parents, or making them feel like they should not spend time with the other parent. In some cases, parental alienation may be committed unintentionally, but in others, it can be a deliberate strategy used with the intent of influencing the outcome of a child custody dispute.

Some signs of parental alienation include:

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DuPage County Divorce AttorneyDuring the divorce process, spouses will need to address multiple types of financial issues. Many of these issues will be related to the division of marital property, in which spouses must determine how all of the assets and debts they acquired during their marriage will be allocated. While dividing some types of property may be a straightforward process, a variety of complex considerations may arise when addressing assets such as retirement savings and benefits. A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) may need to be created to ensure that these assets are divided properly, and an experienced family law attorney can make sure this type of order is created and executed correctly.

Benefits of Using a QDRO

Spouses will often save money in retirement accounts, including 401(k) accounts provided through an employer or individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Depending on the decisions made during the property division process, the funds in an account may be divided between the parties. However, if the proper procedures are not followed, withdrawing funds from an account before the account holder reaches the age of retirement can result in penalties, and taxes may also apply to these withdrawals.

Early withdrawal penalties and taxes can be avoided through the use of a QDRO, which is a court order that instructs the administrator of a retirement plan to distribute funds to someone other than the account holder. A QDRO may state that a specific dollar amount or a percentage of the funds in an account should be withdrawn and transferred to the account holder’s ex-spouse. In addition to allowing funds to be transferred without incurring penalties, taxes will not apply if the recipient rolls the funds over into a retirement account in their own name.

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Is Divorce Mediation Right for Me?

Posted on in Divorce

 

naperville divorce lawyerIf you are getting a divorce from your spouse, it is important to learn about all of your options. An alternative resolution option many divorcing couples find beneficial is mediation. The mediation process involves working with a trained mediator to negotiate various issues in your divorce, from child custody to division of assets. Mediation may help you and your spouse reach an agreement and avoid the often stressful process of divorce litigation. However, mediation is not right for everyone. 

Advantages of Mediation

During mediation sessions, you and your spouse will sit down in a quiet room and try to come to an agreement on how your divorce matters will be dealt with. Rather than providing legal advice, a mediator will facilitate the discussion and help you stay focused on the issues at hand. Here are several benefits of mediation:

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