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1776 S. Naperville Road, Building B, Suite 202,
Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

Wheaton divorce litigation attorneyJust as no two marriages are the same, no two divorces are the same. There are several different paths that a person getting divorced in Illinois may choose to pursue. Some couples are able to work out the terms of their divorce on their own. Others require help from a qualified mediator to come to an agreement about property division, child custody, and other divorce-related issues. Collaborative law offers yet another option for couples ending their marriage. In some situations, especially those involving spouses with a high net worth, a divorce case may require courtroom litigation. Here are some situations in which a divorce may need to be resolved in court:

Cases Involving Financial Fraud

In order for a divorcing couple to reach a fair settlement, the spouses must fully disclose their incomes, assets, and debts. If a spouse is unwilling to be honest and transparent about his or her financial circumstances, effective mediation or a successful collaborative divorce may not be possible. Some spouses will attempt to hide assets or income in hopes that these assets will not be divided during divorce. A person may misreport the income they earn in hopes of influencing decisions about spousal maintenance or child support. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is hiding assets or revenue streams, speak with a divorce attorney right away.

Couples With a History of Abuse or Domestic Violence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have been the victim of intimate partner violence. If your spouse has physically abused you, used threats to manipulate your actions, or made you feel unsafe, mediation is typically not recommended. You may be coerced or intimidated into accepting a divorce settlement that is not fair. Many victims of domestic violence find that litigation is the only way to get the divorce settlement they truly deserve.

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DuPage County dissipation of assets lawyerBeing cheated on by your spouse can be heartbreaking. Not only do you have to deal with the sadness and anger caused by the betrayal, but you may also have to deal with the financial consequences of your spouse’s infidelity. If you are getting divorced, and your spouse has been unfaithful to you, you should know about a legal concept called “dissipation of assets.” Through a dissipation claim, you may be able to receive compensation for marital assets that were spent on an affair during the end of your marriage.

Defining Dissipation in Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court has identified dissipation as the use of marital assets for a purpose unrelated to the marriage and that only benefits one spouse. Assets may be dissipated, or wasted, through an affair, gambling addiction, substance abuse problem, intentional destruction of property, or other means. However, in order to be considered dissipation, the wasting of assets must have taken place during or after the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. A marriage is generally considered to be undergoing a breakdown if the spouses are not living together, spending free time together, having marital relations, or have decided to divorce.

Dissipation Claims Related to an Extramarital Affair

There are several ways that a spouse can dissipate marital assets through infidelity. Perhaps your spouse spent a substantial amount of money on expensive jewelry or other gifts for his or her lover. Your spouse may also have dissipated assets if he or she spent marital funds on airfare, hotels, and other travel expenses related to visiting the other person or taking a vacation with him or her. You spouse may have even given away marital property to his or her paramour.

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DuPage County family law attorney for adoptionsAdoption gives a child without a family the wonderful gift of loving parents. Adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding decisions a person can make. There are many different avenues that a potential parent can take to adopt a child. If you are considering adoption, read on to learn about the four main types of adoption available in Illinois and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Often, the adoption process can be very complicated, so it is important to work with a family law attorney who has experience helping families make their dream of adopting a child a reality.

International Adoption

When a family adopts a child who was born outside of the United States, this is called an international adoption. Internationally adopted children are typically orphans who do not have a family to call their own. This means that you would be giving a child in desperate need of parents the love and attention all children deserve. It also means that the birth mother cannot change her mind, which can happen with other types of adoption. The international adoption process can be expensive and time-consuming. There may also be difficulties caused by the distance and possible language barrier associated with international adoption.

Agency Adoptions

An agency adoption is enabled by a public or private adoption organization. Some parents adopt a child after providing him or her with a home as a foster parent. This can be a great way for a family and child to get to know each other before adoption. In Illinois, the adoption of foster children is managed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). It is important to note that some individuals pursuing adoption through a private adoption agency have been the victims of corruption and fraud. If you are planning to adopt a child through a private agency, retain a lawyer to ensure that no unlawful acts are taking place.

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Wheaton divorce attorney for child custody and property divisionThere is no doubt that social media can have a huge impact on divorce proceedings and family law matters. Although you may not realize it, the things you post on social media can be admissible as evidence in court. If you are getting divorced, you should know that the messages, photographs, and other information you are sharing online may be scrutinized and potentially used against you.

Proceed With Caution When Using Social Media During Child Custody Disputes

If you and your spouse disagree about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, you should be especially cautious about what you post on social media. When Illinois courts are considering what type of parenting arrangement is in a child’s best interests, they will consider a wide range of factors listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, including the child’s relationship with his or her parents, the parents’ physical and mental health, and more. One factor that often gets overlooked is “the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.” If you make disparaging comments about your spouse, it could be construed as an unwillingness to encourage a good relationship between your child and his or her other parent.

Social Media May Provide Clues About Financial Fraud

Courts can only make appropriate decisions about spousal maintenance, child support, and asset distribution when both parties are honest about their financial circumstances. If you suspect that your spouse may be lying about finances in order to manipulate the divorce settlement in his or her favor, social media may contain clues about this deception. For example, if you are pursuing spousal maintenance, your spouse may underreport his or her income in an attempt to avoid paying his or her fair share of alimony. However, if he or she posts pictures of expensive purchases and luxury vacations on Facebook, the court may have reason to look more closely into his or her true financial circumstances. If you have reason to suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, contact an experienced divorce attorney right away.

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DuPage County divorce mediation lawyerIn previous blogs, we have discussed the many advantages of divorce mediation. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that is much less stressful and expensive than court litigation. When a couple disagrees about child custody, spousal maintenance, or other terms of their divorce, mediation can help them reach an agreement that works for both parties. However, mediation is not right for every divorcing couple. A qualified divorce attorney can help you decide whether or not mediation will be in your best interests while working to protect your rights throughout the divorce process.

Marriages Involving Domestic Violence or Abuse

The main element of any abusive relationship is an imbalance of power. An abusive spouse may use physical violence, threats of harm, intimidation, gaslighting, and other tactics to maintain power and control over his or her victim. It is important to note that domestic violence does not only include physical abuse. It can also involve financial abuse, emotional or verbal abuse, and sexual abuse. If a person is leaving an abusive marriage, divorce mediation is rarely recommended, because the imbalance of power makes a cooperative mediation process virtually impossible.

Divorce Involving Financial Fraud

Many divorce issues discussed during mediation involve finances. In order for spouses to negotiate the terms of their divorce, both spouses must be transparent and honest about the assets they own, the income they earn, and the debts they owe. If a spouse is hiding assets or lying about income, property, or debts, mediation may be a waste of time. Some spouses may even dissipate, or waste, marital assets prior to divorce by spending money on an affair, drug or alcohol addiction, gambling addiction, or for other reasons. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is lying about their finances or has dissipated marital assets, you should contact an attorney right away.

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