1776 S. Naperville Road
Building B, Suite 202
Wheaton, IL 60189
630-462-9500630-462-9500
New client after hours number: 630-690-6077
Wheaton Family Law Attorney
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Recent blog posts

Illinois family law attorneysFamily violence and abuse are not a new issue in divorce cases. Many parents have had to fight to protect their children from a violent spouse. In contrast, parental alienation is a new concept in family court. However, some experts say the issue has been around as long as divorce (if not longer). Still, other psychologists believe parental alienation is nothing more than a clever defense for abusive parents – a way for them to control and punish an already beaten-down spouse. Sometimes, the latter is correct, but determining whether a case is a matter of family violence or parental alienation is rarely easy.

Parental Alienation as a Defense for Abuse

It is true that there are documented cases in which parental alienation was used as a defense strategy for an abusive parent. Retaliation and control are often the game, and the individuals who play it know how to win. They use every strategy possible. They hire bulldog attorneys that demonize an abuse victim. They propose family reunification camps that, to date, lack any evidence of efficacy. Some even issue threats to the child to encourage them to play along.

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Illinois child support attorneysIllinois law states that children have the right to receive support from both of their parents; this includes financial support. Unfortunately, some parents struggle to care for themselves financially. Perhaps they have a spending problem, or maybe they simply cannot hold a job. Whatever the reasons for their shortcomings, failure to pay child support can negatively impact their child and the receiving parent. It can also spark feelings of anger and frustration in the receiving parent, which may cause them to make choices that might cause them more harm than good.

Parenting Time and Child Support Are Separate Issues

Parenting time is related to the child’s right to have a healthy relationship with both parents. Child support is about to their right to receive financial support from each parent. Although both matters are related to the child, and therefore interconnected, each is considered a separate legal issue. True, child support may be determined, at least in part, by the amount of parenting time that each parent has, but there is much more to each of these matters.

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Illinois divorce lawyersSome divorcing couples experience few obstacles, challenges, and contention and end up completing the process relatively quick. Others struggle tremendously with concerns over how their business, children, or marital estate will be divided. They endure heated arguments, asset hiding, or a depreciation of their marital assets. In these situations, and others like them, slow and steady may be the optimal pace. Learn more about divorce planning, including what it is and what you can expect from the process.

What is Divorce Planning?

Divorce planning is all about hoping for the best but planning for the worst. It helps you prepare to make difficult decisions using logic instead of emotion. You consider the challenges that you might face, and you take steps to mitigate against them before they occur. More importantly, you feel more confident as you move through the divorce process.

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Illinois divorce lawyersWhen going through a divorce, couples often struggle to see anything past the present situation. Part of this is due to the emotionally stressful and overwhelming nature of divorce itself. However, there are often other factors at play. For example, divorcing parties may not be fully aware of the tax implications of the assets they receive in divorce, or they may not consider what could happen if they eventually sell an asset they receive. Unfortunately, that type of short-sidedness can have grave financial consequences. Learn more with help from the following.

Recurring Taxation After Divorce

Certain assets, like real estate, are taxed on a recurring basis. If you receive a distribution of these assets in the divorce decree, you then become responsible for their recurrent tax. Before you accept a divorce settlement, carefully consider the tax implications of each asset, you are asking for in the divorce. Your divorce attorney and a financial advisor can give you more insight on your specific situation and circumstances.

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Illinois divorce attorneysLiving with and being married to a narcissist can be an emotionally draining experience, but divorcing one is even worse. Ever ready to make you look like the “bad guy” in the relationship, narcissists often thrive on the attention they receive during the divorce process. They also tend to manipulate the legal system and will often go to extreme lengths to get it to work in their favor. Thankfully, there are some things that you, the victim, can do to improve the outcome of your divorce case. The following explains.

Stop Feeling and Start Thinking

A true narcissist often finds the emotional torment of their victims amusing. Indeed, your pain is not just a by-product of their insensitivity or meanness; it is an intentionally sought after goal. In short, the worst thing you can do is engage the narcissist in divorce, and the most effective strategy is the stop feeling and start thinking instead.

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Posted by on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyerWith divorce comes the division of debts and assets. For many couples, this can be a contentious issue. However, it may be made worse if one divorcing party has a spending problem. Assets can be depleted, sometimes significantly, which can result in a decreased settlement. Be it an intentional depletion of assets or a simple issue with knowing how to budget and spend accordingly, the following information can help you deal with a wasteful spouse during a divorce.

Why Continued Sharing of an Account May be Necessary

On the one hand, the solution to asset depletion might seem simple: just stop sharing accounts. Unfortunately, this is not always an option. In some cases, it may be difficult to untangle joint assets. As such, the assets may need to be shared until the divorce is finalized. In other cases, one of the spouses may be caring for the children but not have enough to support them; since the children should not have to suffer, sharing of assets may be required.

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Posted by on in Family Law

Illinois family law attorneysWhen your relationship with an ex-spouse or ex-partner involves an element of abuse, it can be difficult to think of your child spending time with that person. However, a history of abuse may not cancel out the child’s right to a relationship with their other parent. Understanding this, and dealing with it can be difficult, but there are things that you can do to put your own mind and heart at ease. Learn more about your options regarding possible parenting time restrictions when there is a history of abuse, including when and where to seek assistance.

Presenting Your Case

One of the biggest challenges in bringing forward a case of abuse to the courts is ensuring that you are not somehow deemed as a someone who is trying to interfere with the rights of the other parent. As such, it is so crucial that you approach abuse issues carefully. Documentation is helpful, but the most important step you can take is to talk to an attorney instead of trying to handle the issue alone. Doing so could also be highly beneficial if you believe you may still be in danger; not only can a family law attorney protect your rights and the best interests of your child, they can also help you pursue a restraining order against the abusive parent.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersThe decision to divorce is rarely made in a day. In fact, it is not uncommon to spend months or years deliberating and wrestling with the possibility of ending a marriage. Unfortunately, this means that some may become impatient to move forward with their lives. As such, they may move too quickly through the divorce process, upset their spouse, and ultimately create a negative divorce experience. Thankfully, there is a better way.

Remember That You Had a Head Start

One of the most common mistakes that deciding parties make is they forget that they have already had a head start in dealing and coping with the idea of divorce. Your spouse, who may not have even been aware of your unhappiness, has not had this advantage. They may be shocked. They may get upset or angry. At the very least, they may be in an emotionally fragile state. As such, it is recommended that you carefully consider your words, your timing, and your response to the possible reactions of your spouse.

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DuPage County family law attorneysManaging summer schedules can be difficult for any parent, but those who have recently separated or divorced can find the summer shuffle especially challenging. Duties, errands, activities, and supervision needs that were once met by two parents in the same household become more complicated because they must now include moving the child from one parent’s home to the other. Further, parents may need to work more frequently to accommodate their higher cost of living, and all that can add up to a hectic and stressful summer after divorce or separation. Thankfully, there are ways to mitigate against the issues.

Start Planning Early

Efficient and early planning are crucial to reducing the stress of summer schedules. Not only does this ensure you have thought of common challenges, such as where your child will be on what days, but it also helps you to accommodate special interests and needs, such as summer school, swimming lessons, baseball games, and summer holidays.

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DuPage County divorce lawyersWhile every divorce is unique, most can be placed into one of four categories. Each has its own set of potential advantages and disadvantages. Understanding them, and what they might mean for your future, can be crucial to the outcome of your case. Learn more about the four types of divorce, and how you can determine which one may be most appropriate for your situation, with help from the following information.

Litigated Divorce

Litigated divorces, which are otherwise known as “traditional” divorce, is the most common form. Typically, each party works through an attorney to negotiate possible settlements agreements. If they can reach one, it is presented to the judge. If they cannot, then the judge is left to determine the outcome of the case. Various factors are used in his or her decision. For example, cases involving children will consider the best interests of the child. Assets and debts are divided by considering aspects related to income, ability to earn income, age, health, etc.

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Wheaton divorce lawyerAlthough divorce is a somewhat common occurrence, there are many misconceptions about how it works. More specifically, divorcing couples are often misinformed or confused about how the division of assets operates in Illinois. The following addresses these common misconceptions, and explains where you can find assistance for your divorce.

Assets Acquired During Marriage Are Not Always Community Property

Often, divorcing couples assume that all assets obtained during marriage are community property. However, this is not always the case. There are many circumstances in which assets may belong only to one party. For example, if a gift is given explicitly to one spouse, the money was never co-mingled, and the spouse can prove that it was a gift solely for them, they may be able to keep the asset as personal property, rather than community property. If you have questions about community property versus personal property in divorce, talk to an experienced lawyer.

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Posted by on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce attorneysOverall, Americans are living longer, healthier lives than just a few decades ago. Ultimately, that is a positive thing, but this increased longevity is having a somewhat adverse effect on the older generation. With divorce rates for this population now double what they were just twenty years ago, many people entering retirement have found themselves financially strapped, despite having planned for their golden years. Why is this happening, and what can be done about it? The following explains.

Understanding Why the Financial Risk Exists

Couples usually start planning for retirement while in their 20s or 30s. Most assume they will still be together at that stage in their life, so they plan for a single home, one set of expenses, and one lifestyle. If they then divorce as they near retirement, all they have saved must then be split. Now, most couples only suffer a brief financial struggle after divorce, but they still have time to repair any damage that divorce may have done to their retirement plan. Individuals who are nearing retirement age may not have that same ability. Hence, they may be at a higher risk for long-term financial troubles. In extreme cases, couples may even have to completely revamp their retirement plan to accommodate the depletion of funds.

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DuPage County divorce lawyersFor most couples, divorce does not end upon decree. Instead, there are little details that must be sorted out, issues that must be resolved. Unfortunately, some couples fail to handle these matters and then place themselves at risk for long-term financial consequences. The following information can help you avoid making the same mistake after your divorce.

Dividing Property and Assets After Divorce

Now that you and your spouse know what goes to whom, it is time to start dividing up the assets. To do this, you may need to obtain a certified copy of the divorce decree from the court. Also, as you work through the various assets, pay close attention to details. As an example, rules from one type of retirement account to another can vary. Failure to follow the properly execute the split of a pension plan could end up costing you more than you had planned.

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Wheaton family law attorneysParents who wish to divorce often grapple with the idea of moving forward. This conflict often comes from fears about how their children will fare during and after the emotional process. A new study on the effect that children may experience after divorce may not ease those concerns, but it does offer some advice on how parents can do things differently. Learn more with help from the following information.

Children Often Internalize Divorce

In an analysis of 10,000 surveys from children and parents of divorce, a child psychologist determined that children often internalize divorce. Many see themselves as the cause of the stress that fractured the relationship between their parents and often lie about their feelings, telling their parents what they want to hear, instead of divulging the truth. Even worse is that approximately 70 percent of children who attended therapy during their parent’s divorce felt it had not helped. The study author said this lack of benefit may have been due to a lack of connection between the child and therapist, and may also be attributed to the overall awkwardness of disclosing one’s deep, personal information to a stranger.

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Posted by on in Family Law

Illinois family law attorneysFamily structures have changed significantly over the last 50 years. In fact, data from the Division of Vital Statistics suggests that more couples are shirking the idea of marriage and, instead, participating in cohabitation. Unfortunately, this can present some unique legal challenges, should the couple ever decide to split up. Learn more about protecting your assets as a cohabitating couple with help from the following information.

Cohabitation is Not Treated the Same as Marriage

Back in 1979, the Illinois Supreme Court determined that common-law marriages would not be treated the same as legal ones. This ruling extended to the division of property and other assets. Last year, the court revisited the issue and ruled in the same manner. Though the premise for doing so was different, the reasoning is nearly the same: all couples have access to legal marriage. As such, those who choose not to engage in the institution do not receive the same legal benefits (i.e. alimony, legal division of property and assets, etc.).

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Posted by on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce lawyersMost books and advice columns focus on saving marriages, and for a good reason: divorce is hard, often painful, and expensive. Sometimes, though, it is better to know if you should let go. Marriages that are toxic, abusive, or beyond the point of salvaging are prime examples. No amount of work would likely repair such a marriage, and staying could result in more harm than good. So how do you know if your marriage is on route to divorce? The following information may help.

Time Apart Feels Like Relief

Spending time alone or with your friends can give you the chance to socialize, de-stress, or recharge. Unfortunately, this positive influence can turn into a bad one if you are using time away to avoid time with your spouse. The same goes for spending extra time at work, at the gym, or pursuing personal interests. If these things have become more of an escape and less about the sheer enjoyment, it may be time to consider moving forward with a divorce.

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Illinois family law attorneysWomen tend to be relational in nature, but relationships themselves may place them at financial risk. More specifically, marriage and divorce can be dangerous endeavors for women. This information comes from a new report, which was published by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). The following examines this phenomenon more, and explains how women may be able to mitigate their risks.

Understanding Why the Disadvantage Exists

Despite misconceptions, women continue to be at a financial disadvantage in America. They earn less for the same jobs. Older women are less likely to have substantial earnings in social security or retirement savings. Further, men continue to be the primary or sole breadwinners within the family. True, more women are working, but they are far from equal in terms of earnings, pay, and opportunities as a whole.

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Posted by on in Divorce

Illinois high net worth divorce lawyersWhile nearly every divorce is painful and difficult, it is those with a high net worth that tend to be the most contentious. Sadly, it is often the lower-earning or non-earning spouse who is at a severe disadvantage during the case. What is worse, many do not realize that the asset hiding and deception that sometimes occurs often takes place long before the divorce starts. Learn more about protecting your finances in a high net worth divorce with help from the following information.

Asset Hiding Often Starts During the Marriage

Non-earning and low-earning spouses are often kept in the dark when it comes to their marital finances. Sometimes it is because the disadvantaged spouse was not concerned about their finances or divorce. In other instances, the lack of knowledge is intentional; their spouses may have been hiding money for years - perhaps since the start of the marriage.

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Illinois divorce lawyersDivorce can be stressful for all parties, but a new study suggests that it may be more so for women. Previous studies have also shown that women are more likely to experience other negative effects from divorce. There could potentially be a direct correlation between those negative effects and stress levels among women. Thankfully, it may be possible to reduce stress levels during the divorce process. The following explains.

Women and Stress During Divorce

In the study, researchers asked 2,000 British adults to rate what their stress level would be in a variety of circumstances (death of a loved one, divorce, imprisonment, etc.). On average, women ranked each situation at about 0.56 percentage points higher than men. This included divorce, which ranked as the sixth most stressful life event.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersDivorce can be painful and difficult for everyone involved, but children tend to be the most vulnerable to emotional trauma during the process. Further, children are at a higher risk for long-term negative effects from divorce. A new study indicates that stress may be one of the biggest factors. Learn how to mitigate this issue for your child during your divorce with help from the following information.

Understanding Why Children Experience Stress During Divorce

Although the stress of divorce has been linked to numerous health problems for adults, few studies have examined how stress in divorce impacts children. Yes, there are those that have examined the emotional impact of divorce, both in the short and long term. There have also been others that have examined how contention in divorce can affect children. Yet none have looked specifically at stress.

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  • I would highly recommend Tony Sammarco to anyone needing a divorce lawyer. He explained all my options to me and he made sure I understood the process. I am glad I had him there to help me through this difficult time.

  • Thank you doesn’t seem enough for all that Bill Stogsdill and Brett Williamson have done not only for me, but my children as well. When I first met both of these gentlemen, each presented themselves with such self-confidence. I instantly knew...

  • The Stogsdill Law Firm and I were able to obtain sole custody of my son. I am fortunate for the outcome and I am to be a father to my son. Secondly, my ex-spouse was awarded limited portion of the marital estate. Bryan Estes is more than an excellent lawyer...

  • Whenever my opinion is asked by any of my clients, friends or family regarding what law firm someone should use for their divorce my answer is always the same –The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. The kids and I are forever indebted to Bill and his firm.

  • Bryan's ability to listen and understand my situation and then offer his advice on how we should proceed was the main reasons I hired Bryan as my attorney. That was the best decision I made, for myself and my children. Bryan helped develop action plans as well as a strategy ...

  • I wanted to thank you for your professional and respectful help with my case. Before entering your law firm, I felt as if my life might be at an end. After being greeted by your office manager, I was completely put at ease. Then after my consultation with you, I knew I was in good hands...

  • Mr. Smit has demonstrated a high degree of loyalty and trust worthiness to his work and to his associates. Justin certainly is an asset to your Law Firm, his organization skills are second to none. I have and will continue to recommend Justin ...

  • I recently made the life-altering decision of ending a 30 year marriage. While the support of family and friends was very important, I knew that choosing the right attorney was vital. In large part, my future would be determined by his legal advice and skills…

  • You've clearly established a client-focus in your office -- providing your clients with the warmth and understanding they need as they go through a very difficult time. Thank you, again, for all your help.

  • Taking that step to file for divorce was probably one of the most life changing decisions I have ever made. The process is very painful and emotionally draining. I retained Robert Boyd and Justin Smit of The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C...

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