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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 divorce parenting plan attorneyBeing a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Cooperatively raising a child with an ex-spouse or former partner can be even harder. If you are a divorcing or unmarried parent who plans on sharing parental responsibility with your ex, you probably have many concerns about how a joint custody arrangement will work out. Effective co-parenting takes patience, perseverance, and planning. One of the best ways to prevent disagreements and problems in a co-parenting scenario is to have a solid strategy for how you plan to share parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Illinois Requires Parents to Create a Parenting Plan

If you are getting divorced in Illinois and wish to share parenting time with your spouse, you are required to submit a parenting plan to the court. Ideally, you and your spouse can agree to a plan, but if you cannot agree, the court will intervene and decide what should be included in the official parenting agreement. This plan will assign important decision-making responsibilities (formerly called child custody) and parenting time (formerly called visitation) to each parent. Additionally, the parenting plan must contain provisions which address:

  • The child’s official residential address

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DuPage County order of protection attorneyAccording to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an astounding 10 million men and women are victims of intimate partner abuse every year in the United States. Data shows that about 20 people per minute are abused by a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse in the U.S. Anyone who has been a victim of domestic violence knows just how terrifying and overwhelming the experience can be. Domestic violence or abuse can also have a tremendous impact on divorce proceedings. If you are considering divorce, and you have been mentally, emotionally, or physically abused by your spouse, there are several issues you need to be aware of.

Negotiation and Mediation May Not Be Appropriate in Situations Involving Domestic Abuse

Generally, couples getting divorced are encouraged to work out issues related to child custody, property division, and spousal support on their own or with help from a qualified mediator. However, when there is an imbalance of power between the spouses or a history of domestic violence, this may not be appropriate or even possible. It is highly encouraged that you speak with an experienced family law attorney if you are getting divorced and have been abused by your partner. Your attorney can help you understand your legal options and choose the course of action which is best for your unique situation. If you worry about the effect that your partner’s abuse has or will have on your children, your lawyer can also help you determine the steps you can take to protect your children’s safety, including requesting sole custody or requiring that your ex-spouse’s parenting time be supervised.

An Order of Protection May Help

Your safety and the safety of your children should be your top priority if you are planning to leave an abusive relationship. If you have reason to believe that your spouse will harm you in any way during the transition, you may want to consider getting an order of protection. There are three types of protection orders available in Illinois: an emergency order of protection (EOP), an interim order of protection, and a plenary order of protection. An EOP can be obtained at your local county courthouse and can remain in effect for 14 – 21 days. You will not need to notify your spouse if you get an EOP. This emergency order may require your abuser to stay a certain distance away from you and/or your children as well as your place of work, school, and your residence. A hearing will be held to determine whether a plenary order of protection should be issued to provide more permanent protection.

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DuPage County spousal support lawyer

If you are getting divorced and earn a lower income than your spouse, you probably have many concerns about finances. Making ends meet on a single income can be a daunting prospect. This is especially true if you have been out of the workforce for many years because you were raising your children. Spousal support, also called maintenance or alimony, may offer the financial relief you desperately need. However, only individuals meeting certain criteria will be eligible for spousal support in Illinois.

When Is Alimony Awarded in Illinois?

Not every person who gets divorced will qualify for spousal maintenance. The courts typically only award a spouse maintenance if it is “reasonable and necessary.” There are many factors considered by Illinois courts when deciding whether or not maintenance is appropriate. These include but are not limited to:

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