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naperville divorce lawyerMany difficult decisions are made during a divorce, one of which is choosing who will remain in the family home. Like many other legal questions, the answer to who gets the house relies heavily on a divorce's unique circumstances. Spouses must consider many factors to decide who will remain in the home, including addressing legal ownership, how much money each spouse makes individually, and if there are children or pets involved. With the help of experienced legal counsel, spouses can take a few steps during their divorce to address ownership of the home

Negotiation and Mediation 

The first way to address who will retain residence in the shared family home is through communicating directly. An open line of communication between both partners is advantageous. However, the dissolution of a relationship can cause tension between spouses, leading to a contested divorce. If both spouses can not agree on a decision as to who will remain in the home, there is a legal tool known as mediation that can help assist the situation. Mediation is where a neutral third party joins the conversation between the spouses to help negotiate. A mediator might help a couple decide by considering:

 Which spouse has the majority of parenting time or custody with the children


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. 


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. 


shutterstock_1934029718.jpgSeparating from a spouse and filing for a divorce is difficult, but creating a successful co-parenting plan can help alleviate quite a bit of stress. It is helpful to outline parenting time and child custody before completing a divorce agreement so that there is little confusion for the parents and children. Using mediation, hiring a trusted divorce attorney, and even seeking therapeutic help can contribute to a successful parenting plan that keeps everyone's best interest in mind. Below are three steps that parents can follow to create a co-parenting plan in Illinois. 

Make Custody Decisions First

Divorce decrees, which often include parenting plans, are legal documents that must be upheld. Illinois parents are asked to create a parenting plan that describes where the children will live and how much parenting time a parent will receive. They will also describe how major decisions about the child’s life will be handled including where the child goes to school or what types of medical care the child receives. 

In Illinois, divorcing parents with children must decide which partner the children will stay with primarily. Spouses can create joint-custody agreements that allow for both parents to maintain an active role in the children's lives. Typically, one parent will receive the majority of parenting time, which means the children will primarily live with that parent. Child custody decisions can help the parents make decisions about asset division. For example, the parent with the majority of parenting time may stay in the home to keep the children in a familiar environment.


shutterstock_1329029675-1.jpgThe divorce process can be grueling. Between the long hours debating finances with your spouse, finding a new residence during a separation, or determining child custody arrangements divorce is stressful and time-consuming. It can be a difficult decision to decide to divorce a spouse, but there are ways to help make the process a bit easier. Divorce attorneys are available to assist spouses during a marriage dissolution, and they are there to help you with a lot more than just filing paperwork. 


During a divorce, couples must agree upon multiple financial and personal decisions. Often, these decisions are difficult and it is hard for both parties to come to a consensus. A divorce attorney can help assist a couple through what is known as divorce mediation. This process involves assigning a neutral third party who can act as a mediator between both spouses when coming to an agreement. Many family law attorneys are also trained in mediation and may be able to act as a mediator between both spouses. 

Contested Divorce Litigation 

Divorce attorneys handle divorce proceedings in a variety of ways depending on the nature of the situation. Litigation is typically a last-resort option for couples going through a divorce. Appearing in court to fight for rights during a divorce is usually a product of a contested divorce, or a marriage dissolution that can not be agreed upon. Contested divorces may occur for different reasons including a partner refusing a divorce or the inability to agree on the terms of the divorce. During this process, your attorney will be your advocate and representative. 


How Long Does an Illinois Divorce Take?

Posted on February 14, 2022 in Divorce

Naperville divorce lawyerWhen deciding that it is time for a divorce, many couples wish to speed up the process. Ending a marriage is not only an incredibly emotionally trying time, but it is also physically and financially difficult. Sometimes, divorces take months or years, which only increases the level of mental distress for both parties. There are many factors that can determine how long a divorce in Illinois will take, including the number of joint assets, children, and contested decisions. 

The Divorce Process

The process of getting a divorce may be different for every couple. There are many decisions to be made including how to divide assets or who will receive majority parenting time with the children. In Illinois, it is not necessary to provide the court with documentation of your spouse’s wrongdoings because of the state’s no-fault divorce laws. This means that despite infidelity, mistreatment, or other mistakes your partner made that led you to a divorce, Illinois is only interested in dissolving your marriage equitably and typically will not factor in those circumstances. 

Couples proceeding to divorce must:


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)


shutterstock_629079296.jpgThe decision to end a marriage can be both emotionally and physically taxing. Between child custody, property division, and spousal support, divorce orders can be very complicated. But what happens when a spouse contests a divorce? In a contested divorce, complications increase and conflicts tend to escalate. If your spouse and you disagree about how to handle divorce issues like asset division and child concerns, reach out to an experienced divorce attorney for help exploring your next options. 

What is a Contested Divorce?

In the state of Illinois, a contested divorce is defined as any disagreement or unwillingness during the divorce process. This can include:

  • Refusal to agree to divorce


IL divorce lawyerWhile it will not be appropriate in every divorce case, there are some situations where one party will be required to pay spousal maintenance to the other. This form of financial support, which is commonly known as alimony, may be awarded in cases where one spouse earns a lower income than the other, where a spouse is a stay-at-home parent, or where a person would require assistance in order to maintain their accustomed standard of living. Once a spousal support order is created, financial support will need to be paid from one party to the other on an ongoing basis. However, following a couple’s divorce, situations may arise in which a spouse may believe that maintenance should be modified, or a person may request that their support obligations be terminated altogether.

Reasons for Modifying Spousal Maintenance

In most cases, spousal maintenance will be awarded for a fixed term that is determined based on the number of years the spouses were married. There are certain situations where a person may be ordered to pay maintenance indefinitely, including when a couple was married for at least 20 years. In some cases, maintenance may be reviewable, and after a certain period of time, the court may consider the circumstances of each party to determine whether payments should continue or whether they should be modified or terminated.

Requests to make changes to fixed-term or indefinite spousal maintenance will usually need to be based on changes in the circumstances of one or both parties. A change of circumstances must be substantial, and it will usually need to affect the financial needs of either party or impact a person’s ability to continue paying support to their ex-spouse. For example, if the person paying support experiences a disability that affects their employment, resulting in a lowered income, they may ask that for their spousal support obligations to be reduced or terminated. The payor may also ask for a reduction or elimination of support if they can show that their ex-spouse has begun earning a larger income and can fully support themselves without assistance.


IL divorce lawyerThe cost of attending college or university has skyrocketed in the last few decades. It is more expensive than ever to attend a two- or four-year college program. If you are a parent who is in the process of divorcing or already divorced, you may wonder how you and your ex will cover this cost. Will you split college tuition and housing costs 50/50? What if the other parent refuses to contribute to your child’s college education?

Illinois Law Regarding College Expenses for Divorced Parents

Illinois is unique in the fact that the state can require divorced parents to contribute to their child’s college education. Many parents are surprised to learn that mandatory financial support may continue even after the child has turned 18 and graduated high school.

Unlike child support payments, which are calculated using a specific formula that uses both parents’ net incomes, the amount a parent may be required to contribute to college expenses varies. Illinois courts have discretion to determine how much each parent pays. If the parents cannot agree on how to cover college costs, the court will divide costs between the parents. Sometimes, the child himself or herself is also expected to contribute to his or her college education.


IL divorce lawyerWhen two people marry, they join their lives as well as their finances. A huge part of the divorce process is reversing this financial entanglement. Spouses will need to either decide how to divide their jointly held assets or have the court divide assets for them. This process can become very complicated, especially when spouses have complex or high-value assets.

Out-of-Court Property Division Settlements

Ideally, divorcing spouses can work out a property division agreement on their own. Out-of-court settlements can save divorcing spouses time, frustration, and money. There are several alternative resolution methods that may help spouses reach an agreement on the division of debts and assets. Mediation is a process during which spouses meet with a mediator who helps them discuss unresolved divorce issues and develop a solution that works for both parties. Collaborative law is a process during which the spouses and their attorneys work collaboratively to reach a divorce settlement.

Property Division Decided by the Court

Some spouses are unable to reach a property division settlement through alternative resolution methods or other means. In this case, the court will divide marital property based on a legal doctrine called “equitable distribution.” The couple’s shared property will be divided fairly based on many different factors, including:


IL divorce lawyerDivorce cases range in complexity. In some divorces, the spouses are able to agree about most if not all divorce issues. They spend little time in court and resolve the divorce relatively easily. Other divorce cases are wrought with conflict. The spouses are unable to reach agreements and the court must intervene. In cases like these, witnesses may provide insight into various aspects of the divorce.

Character Witnesses in a Joliet Divorce

Many divorce cases become “he said – she said” situations. Character witnesses may provide insight into a party’s personality or behavior in a divorce case. The information provided by the witnesses may help the judge reach a decision on the case. For example, a child’s teacher may testify about the parents’ involvement in their child’s education or interactions between the child and the parents. A neighbor may testify about the arguments he or she has witnessed between the parties.

Expert Witnesses in Family Law Cases

Character witnesses are usually laypersons who are providing personal accounts or opinions on the divorce dispute. Expert witnesses, on the other hand, are witnesses with particular qualifications or professional expertise. These individuals are asked to provide their professional opinion about the outcome of the case. Expert witnesses in a divorce may include:


Bolingbrook Child Support LawyerChild support payments help unmarried and divorced parents share child-related costs. In Illinois, child support is usually calculated using the Income Shares formula. Each parent’s net income is factored into the formula so that the amount of child support is reasonably affordable and allows the child the same standard of living as he or she would experience if the parents were married. Unfortunately, calculating child support is not always this straightforward. Unusual income sources, unemployment, financial deception, and other issues can complicate child support calculations significantly.

What Counts as Income?

The amount of child support a parent pays is based on a carefully designed formula that uses each parent’s net income. Net income includes not only wages, but all other forms of income as well. Bonuses, commissions, self-employment income, income from rental properties, investment income, pensions, Social Security, inheritance, and even personal injury settlements or workers’ compensation awards may count as income. Net income excludes taxes and child support or spousal support orders from a previous relationship.  

What if a Parent Lies About Their Income?

Unfortunately, some parents are less than forthcoming about finances during a divorce or child support proceeding. If your spouse is not disclosing all income sources, contact a family law attorney for help. Child support payments should always be based on the most up-to-date, accurate financial information.


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.


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:


5 Tips for Divorcing an Addict in Illinois

Posted on December 10, 2021 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.


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.


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.


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.


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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