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Wheaton, IL 60189
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Wheaton, IL divorce attorney for appealsMost divorcing spouses hope to avoid going to trial. They may attempt to reach an agreement about unresolved divorce issues through their attorneys, with help from a third-party mediator, or through the collaborative law process. Unfortunately, not every couple is able to reach a settlement outside of court. During divorce litigation, a judge hears arguments and evidence from both sides and then issues a judgment. If your divorce judgment did not turn out the way you had hoped, you may wonder what your options are for appealing the court’s decision.

When Should I Seek an Appeal?

Many people assume that they can file an appeal if they disagree with the terms of their divorce judgment. However, successfully appealing a divorce judgment is a complex legal pursuit that is only possible under certain conditions. A person cannot appeal a divorce simply because he or she is unhappy with the outcome of the case. Circuit court decisions, including divorce judgments, may only be appealed if there is a possibility that the decision resulted from errors of law. Examples of situations in which an appeal may be justified include:

  • The judge made his or her decision based on incomplete or false information
  • There was a procedural mistake that influenced the outcome of the case
  • The decision was based on the judge’s incorrect interpretation or application of the law
  • Evidence was used which was inadmissible or insufficient

What Does the Appeals Process Involve?

If there are reasons to warrant an appeal of your divorce judgment, it is important to act quickly. Appeals must be filed with the Illinois appellate court within 30 days of the final judgment. The appealing party must explain the grounds for the appeal and what the alleged mistakes are. The appellate court’s function is to examine what happened during the trial court proceedings and determine whether legal errors occurred. Illinois appeals are heard by three judges. They will evaluate the evidence, hear arguments, and then make their decisions. The judges may uphold the circuit court’s original decision, amend the divorce judgment to correct the mistake, or vacate the judgment and send the case back to the circuit court.

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Wheaton divorce lawyerWhether it is from medical bills, student loans, credit cards, or another source, most adults have debt. In fact, the average American is about $38,000 in debt. If your spouse has a high amount of debt, you may have questions about who is responsible for paying this debt after you get divorced. You may assume that any credit cards or loans that are in your spouse’s name will be his or her sole responsibility after you end the marriage. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are several different factors that influence how debt is divided in an Illinois divorce.

Debt is Divided Similarly to Property

Illinois is an equitable distribution state. Any property that was obtained during the marriage is considered part of the marital estate and is subject to division during divorce. Property that a spouse obtained before getting married is considered separate property and is not subject to division. Debt is handled in a similar way. Any debts that were acquired by either spouse during the marriage are generally considered to be marital debts shared by both spouses. Debts acquired before the spouses got married are typically considered separate and are assigned to the spouse who acquired the debt.

However, there are exceptions to these generalities. For example, if a spouse’s student loans led to a higher salary and therefore increased standard of living for both spouses, it is possible that both spouses would be responsible for repaying the loans. On the other hand, if a spouse’s gambling addiction accumulated significant debt, the other spouse may not be responsible for paying it off since the debt did not benefit both spouses.

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DuPage County asset division attorney

Asset division during divorce involves much more than simply splitting a couple’s bank accounts. Complex assets, such as stocks and retirement funds, must also be accounted for. If you are considering getting a divorce in Illinois, you may have concerns about how your combined property will be divided between you and your spouse. You may also be unsure of which assets your spouse is entitled to and which assets are yours alone. Retirement account assets may be the result of years, if not decades, of hard work so they are often a significant portion of the marital estate. Understanding how these assets are divided during divorce is essential to ensure a fair settlement of the marital estate.

Classifying Retirement Assets as Marital or Separate

Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that property is distributed in an equitable, but not always even, manner during a divorce. Property division is based on many factors, including each spouse’s financial circumstances, their contributions to the acquisition of property, child custody arrangements, and much more. Only marital property is divided during an Illinois divorce. Marital property includes any assets that were acquired during the marriage. Nonmarital, or separate property, includes property acquired through inheritance or gift as well as property obtained by either spouse before the marriage. Retirement funds that a spouse accumulated before getting married are classified as nonmarital, and therefore, not subject to division. However, the portion of the retirement assets that were accumulated during the marriage is considered a marital asset and will need to be divided. It is essential to note that retirement plans will not be divided if a divorcing couple has signed a valid prenuptial agreement that excludes retirement assets.

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DuPage County divorce attorney division of property

When a married couple decides to divorce, one of the most pressing questions is often, “What should we do with the family home?” Some individuals decide to stay in the family home and “buy out” their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Other times, one spouse takes ownership of the home while the other spouse receives property that is roughly equal in value. For some divorcing couples, the choice that makes the most sense is to sell the home and split the profits. Selling your home while going through a separation or divorce can be very complicated both personally and legally. There are several things you should keep in mind when deciding how to handle your family home when it comes to the division of property in your Illinois divorce.

Financial Concerns Regarding the Sale of Your Home

Before proceeds from the sale of your home can be divided, you will need to pay off the mortgage as well as any second mortgage or home equity line of credit. You must also pay the brokers’ fees and any capital gains tax that applies. Tax liability may not be high on your list of concerns, but it can have major financial ramifications during the sale of a house. 

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Wheaton, IL parenting plan lawyerDisagreements about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time are often some of the most contentious issues in a divorce case. When parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, they have several options: they can try to find a resolution through mediation, collaborative law, or negotiations facilitated by their attorneys, or they may take the case to trial. If you are a parent who is involved in a child custody disagreement, you may be unsure of how to handle the situation. Although there is no perfect way to manage a child-related legal dispute, there are certain mistakes that parents should always try to avoid, including:

Putting Children in the Middle of the Conflict

Multiple studies have shown that parental discord can be harmful to children’s emotional and psychological well-being. Parents should make every attempt to keep their children out of legal and personal conflicts. While it can be tempting to criticize your child’s other parent, doing so in front of your child can make him or her feel like he or she has to choose sides. Experts encourage parents to keep adult conversations out of earshot of children and to never ask children to act as a messenger between parents.

Oversharing on Social Media

The majority of U.S. adults use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or some other type of social media. It is important that parents involved in a custody dispute use extreme caution when sharing information or pictures on social media. Even if your account is set to “private,” anything you post on social media could potentially be used against you during court proceedings. For example, if a parent posts a picture of himself or herself drinking alcohol at a party, it could be argued that the photograph is evidence of the parent’s inability to be a responsible caretaker for the couple’s children.

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