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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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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:


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.


Is Divorce Mediation Right for Me?

Posted on July 29, 2021 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:


joliet custody lawyerIf you and your divorcing spouse have children together, you are required to create a parenting plan that details how the two of you will continue to care for them after you are separated. Some of the information needed in this plan includes transportation arrangements, a parenting time schedule, and an allocation of parental responsibilites. However, matters can get complicated if you and the other parent cannot agree on a plan.

What Will Occur If and Your Spouse Cannot Come to an Agreement

Sometimes parents cannot seem to agree on a child custody arrangement. In this situation, a judge may order parents to go to mediation. During a mediation session, a court-appointed mediator will sit down with both parents and facilitate a discussion about the issues they disagree on. A mediator will not make decisions for either parent. Instead, he or she will attempt to help them come to a compromise they can both live with.

It is important to come to mediation with an open mind. If you are willing to hear the other parent and mediator’s viewpoints, you may be more likely to reach an agreement quicker. Before your mediation session, write down your proposals in a notebook so that you do not forget to bring them up. When coming up with your proposals, be sure that they reflect your child’s needs rather than your own.


naperville divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce is never easy. If your spouse makes allegations of abuse against you, it can make the process even more stressful. You may understandably be upset that your spouse is making up horrible lies about you and worry that the allegations will negatively affect the outcome of divorce or child custody proceedings. If you have found yourself in this situation, it is important to maintain your composure and take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.

How False Allegations Can Affect Your Divorce

Family law judges take accusations of domestic violence or abuse very seriously. A judge may order an emergency order of protection that requires you to leave your home or prohibits you from contacting your spouse and children.

Because change is hard on children, Illinois courts typically try to maintain the “status quo” in child-related legal matters. Consequently, an order of protection may give your spouse an advantage in your custody case. Since your kids will be with your spouse during the protection period, your spouse may argue that granting joint custody could disrupt their routines. 


naperville divorce lawyerIn a perfect world, your divorce would get settled quickly and not involve any complications. Unfortunately, however, there are several matters that can complicate your Illinois divorce, including a personal injury settlement. If you are waiting for your personal injury claim to settle while getting a divorce, you should educate yourself on how your settlement may be divided between you and your spouse.

Defining Marital Property in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, marital property refers to any assets acquired during a marriage. There are particular types of property that are non-marital, such as items received as a gift or inheritance to one spouse, property obtained before the marriage, property obtained after legal separation, legal judgments given to one spouse, and assets excluded from marital property by mutual agreement. One might assume that personal injury settlements would be considered non-marital property in a divorce. However, in the state of Illinois, personal injury settlements, workers’ compensation benefits and disability benefits can be, and often are, part of the marital estate.

Perhaps the most important element in determining whether a personal injury settlement should be considered in a divorce is the date of the incident that caused the injury. For example, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident before you got married, any compensation for your losses would be considered non-marital--even if you receive the settlement during your marriage. 


Naperville, IL attorney for contested divorce

If you have been unhappy in your marriage for a long time, you may have decided to file for divorce. While the decision may not have come easy, you knew it was a necessary one. However, what if you are faced with the dilemma that your spouse refuses to sign the papers. This can definitely prolong the process and make it more stressful, but it is still possible to get a divorce.

Common Reasons Why Spouses Do not Sign Divorce Papers

It is frustrating when a spouse refuses to sign divorce papers, but it can and does occur. Some spouses may be religiously opposed to divorce, while others feel that you cannot get divorced unless both spouses sign the documents. In other situations, spouses may feel so bitter that they were served with papers that they want to retaliate.  


Will County divorce attorney for pregnant womenA divorce is stressful enough on its own. When you and your spouse are expecting a child, it can make matters even more complicated. In addition to dealing with legal paperwork and feelings of hurt and resentment, you are facing the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy. If you have plans to get divorced, you should consult an Illinois divorce attorney promptly.

Can You Get Divorced in Illinois While Pregnant?

In Illinois, there are no laws that prohibit you from divorcing your spouse because you are pregnant. However, it is important to understand that certain issues can still arise. For one thing, you will not be able to get a simplified divorce. If you are expecting a child, you can anticipate proceedings to take longer to complete.

There is also the matter of paternity. If you become pregnant while married, it is generally assumed that the husband is the father. However, if there is a chance that the father could be someone else, you will have to order DNA testing to establish who is actually the biological father. Once paternity is determined, both biological parents will have parental rights to the child.


Naperville, IL family law attorney

As with many life events, change is inevitable during and after a divorce. For families with children, divorce can be especially stressful. Children may experience difficulties since their entire life is being turned upside down. Small things, like who will be there to tuck them in at night, can be a source of great stress and discomfort for children when regular patterns change suddenly. As a parent, there are certain things that you can do to help your children through this time of transition while also easing some of your own stress as you learn how to co-parent your children with your ex-spouse. 

Follow Your Parenting Plan

One of the easiest ways to keep your co-parenting relationship positive is to obey the terms of your parenting plan. Before you can finalize your divorce, you will be required to file a parenting plan with the court that contains a variety of information about how you and your spouse will raise your children. If you both make it a point to follow your parenting plan, there will be less of a chance that a disagreement or fight will occur over something.


Will County divorce attorney for Temporary OrdersEven though no two divorces are exactly the same, most divorces follow a similar pattern. Most divorces begin when one spouse files a petition for divorce, prompting the other spouse to file a response. The divorce is not final until you and your spouse both appear before the judge to receive your final decree, which officially divorces you from your spouse. However, this process does not happen overnight. Sometimes, it can take months or even years to complete a divorce. In the meantime, you may be wondering what you are supposed to do regarding parenting time or even child support, if your spouse no longer lives with you. Thankfully, this is the exact reason temporary orders exist for Illinois divorces.

Types of Remedies in Temporary Orders

Many times, temporary orders that are requested during a divorce have to do with financial issues such as support, however, there are various issues that temporary orders can address during a divorce. If you request orders that only last the duration of the divorce, they may include:

  • Temporary spousal maintenance and/or child support: One of the biggest reasons people file temporary orders while they are going through the divorce process is to establish their right to spousal maintenance and/or child support. You can ask the judge to make a preliminary determination on amounts that are needed for you to run your household and support your children while you are going through the divorce.

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