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Wheaton Family Law Attorney
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dupage county divorce lawyerThe overwhelming majority of divorce cases end in a settlement. This means that the couple is able to come to an agreement about various divorce issues without having to go to trial. However, court involvement may be necessary if spouses cannot reach an agreement. If the case does end up going to court, the couple will no longer have the final say over the decisions made -- a judge will. The judge will make determinations that are in line with the law, but before they can do that, they have to understand all of the facts of the case. This is typically done by each spouse’s attorney presenting evidence, but in some cases, expert witnesses can also be called to the stand to give testimony about certain issues. A consulting expert may provide insight and help your attorney build a strong claim before the case advances to trial.  

Property Division Issues

During the property division process, the judge will use a variety of factors to determine how the couple’s marital property will be distributed amongst the two of them. These factors include things such as each spouse’s income and earning potential, how long the marriage lasted, what the potential tax consequences of distribution may be, and the age and health of each spouse. In order to provide the judge with accurate information, your attorney may put an expert witness on the stand to allow them to give their opinion on your situation. Many times, expert witnesses are forensic accountants or financial analysts who can speak about issues relating to property division, such as asset valuation and developing a basis for the couple’s standard of living during the marriage. 

Child-Related Issues

Experts can also be useful in cases involving child custody disputes. In many cases, these experts are child psychologists, parenting coordinators, family counselors, or even child custody evaluators. These expert witnesses can help paint the picture that you want to convey to the judge by providing their opinion on child-related issues, such as parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.

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wheaton child support lawyerDivorce can be financially taxing, even for the wealthiest of families. When a divorce is contested, it can be even more expensive and time-consuming than expected. For those who have children, child support can be one of the most important financial aspects of divorce. Ensuring that your children are adequately provided for may mean that you need to include child-related expenses above and beyond what typical child support payments provide. 

Expenses to Consider Adding to Your Support Order

In some cases, a child may have additional needs or expenses that the custodial parent needs assistance with. In these cases, the custodial parent can request that these additional expenses be added to the child support order so the cost can be split between the parents. Though parents can create their own individual child support agreements containing whatever provisions they see fit, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides for specific child-related expenses that may be added to the support order. These expenses include:

  • Medical Expenses - Either one or both parents must provide health insurance for the child or obtain state-sponsored health insurance if it is not available from their employer. You may be able to add certain medical expenses to your child support order if they are not covered by insurance. These expenses can include things like prescription medication costs, co-pays, portions of medical costs not covered by insurance, and costs related to dental or vision care.

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dupage county business lawyerIf you are a business owner, there are various issues that you must address if you get a divorce. Asset division can be a messy process, but when you own a business, there are many more financial aspects that you must consider before you divide your assets and liabilities. When it comes to dividing your property, the state of Illinois uses an equitable distribution process to ensure both spouses get their fair share of the marital assets. This means that your spouse could potentially be entitled to a portion of your business if the business is deemed to be marital property. If not, your spouse could still be entitled to a portion of the profits the business has made during the time you were married, which is why it is important to get a fair valuation of your business before beginning the process.

Business Valuation Methods

When valuing a business during a divorce, there are usually three main options that you have. You can choose to value your business based off of its assets, its market value, or the income it generates. There are benefits and downsides to each method, which is why you should consult with an attorney before deciding.

  • Asset approach: Valuing a business using the asset approach method requires you to add up all of the business’ assets, including both tangible and intangible assets. Then, you subtract your liabilities from those assets and you are left with the value of your business. This method can have downsides, such as conflicting ideas about how much each asset is worth.

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Wheaton divorce lawyer for parenting time and mental health issuesDealing with mental illness during divorce is not an uncommon issue. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 51.5 million people, or around one in five adult Americans, live with some type of mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. While most adults who live with these illnesses find ways to adapt and cope with everyday life, divorce can be a particularly difficult period of time, especially if it involves conflict between spouses. One of the biggest issues that many divorcing parents disagree on is parenting time, which can be exacerbated if one parent has a mental illness. But can a parent actually lose their right to parenting time if they have a mental illness?

Determining the Best Interests of the Child

Any action that the court takes or decision is made involving children must be done based on the child’s best interests.  It is not of the opinion of the state of Illinois that having a mental illness, in general, means that you should not have parenting time or that you should be subject to any restrictions to your time with your children. However, a judge does have the authority to do so if he or she feels that the mental illness would endanger your child’s mental, emotional, physical, or moral well-being.

Mental Illness and Caring for Your Child

Determining parenting time when a parent has a mental illness is done on a case-by-case basis. Mental illnesses range in severity and do not affect all people in the same way. For example, a parent who has schizophrenia might pose more of a danger to their child than a parent with anxiety. Mental illnesses like schizophrenia also have a higher chance of causing a parent to be hospitalized or require care themselves. The judge will consider things such as the frequency of the occurrence of your mental health issues, the severity of the issues, and whether the issues would interfere with the child’s life.

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DuPage County divorce attorney for irreconcilable differencesDivorce looks different for every couple. Some divorced couples end their marriage and never speak to each other again. Other couples remain on good terms and even take family vacations together after their split. Some may even continue to live together after getting divorced. If you are in a situation where it may make sense to continue living with your soon-to-be-ex, you may wonder, “Can I get divorced in Illinois if we are still living together?”

Understanding Illinois’ Rules Regarding Living Separately and Apart

One of the many changes to Illinois divorce law that took place in 2016 was a revision of the grounds for divorce. In the past, divorcing spouses could assert fault-based grounds such as adultery or the no-fault ground of “irreconcilable differences.” If the spouse alleged a fault-based ground, the mandatory separation period was six months. If the couple alleged irreconcilable differences, the mandatory separation period was two years.

Presently, there are no fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois. The only grounds available is irreconcilable differences. There is also no mandatory separation period. You do not have to live apart for any length of time before you qualify for divorce. However, if a spouse contests the claim of irreconcilable differences, living apart for six months may be used as proof that irreconcilable differences have been established.

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