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Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.
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Wheaton divorce lawyerIf you are planning to divorce, you probably have questions about alimony or spousal maintenance. There are two avenues through which maintenance is typically awarded in Illinois: a marital agreement or a court order. If you and your spouse have already decided upon a spousal maintenance arrangement through a valid prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, you will likely be subject to the terms contained in that agreement. If no such agreement exists, you or your spouse may petition the court for a spousal maintenance order during your divorce. If you are considering divorce, it is important to know the basics of how and when spousal support is awarded in Illinois.

Is Spousal Maintenance Always Ordered During an Illinois Divorce?

Only a small number of divorce cases involve an order for spousal support. When determining whether or not a spouse is entitled to maintenance, the courts consider a variety of economic and circumstantial factors. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Each spouse’s income, assets, present earning capacity, and future earning capacity.

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Wheaton divorce lawyerFamily law mediation is a process during which a divorcing couple attempts to resolve issues such as the division of assets, allocation of parental responsibilities, and spousal maintenance. The couple works with a specially trained family law mediator who helps them negotiate the issues, find common ground, and reach practical solutions. Mediation can be a very useful tool in reaching a divorce settlement; however, it is not right for everyone. There are some situations in which mediation may not be an appropriate choice. In cases such as these, it is recommended that the spouses work with their respective attorneys to reach a resolution about the terms of their divorce.  

Uncooperative Spouses  

Some married couples get a divorce and the split is mostly amicable. The spouses may still have some bitterness toward each other, but they are willing to put those feelings aside to focus on resolving their divorce issues. Other divorcing spouses have deep feelings of hatred or vengeance. If you and your spouse are not able to be in the same room without screaming at each other or your spouse simply refuses to cooperate, mediation may be futile. Mediation is also not the ideal choice when a spouse has a drug or alcohol addiction that prevents him or her from entering into mediation with a clear head.

Hidden Assets and Financial Deceit

The terms of a divorce are largely based on each spouse’s finances. In order for the spouses to determine a fair and reasonable division of property during mediation, each spouse must disclose his or her assets, income, and debts. The court also uses this information when calculating child support payments. If a spouse hides assets, underreports income, exaggerates debts, or otherwise lies about his or her finances, any resolution reached during mediation will be based on false information.

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DuPage County child custody attorney

Technology has changed the way we communicate with loved ones, do our jobs, and generally interact with the world. If you are getting divorced, there are several things you should keep in mind with regard to your digital life. Social media is becoming increasingly relevant in divorce cases and family law disputes. Your use of technology and the Internet may seem unrelated to your divorce at first glance, but there are many different ways that social media, smartphones, email, and other online-based services can impact the outcome of your divorce. In some cases, it can affect spousal maintenance (alimony) and the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody). 

Change Your Passwords

According to one study, 67 percent of respondents reported that they knew their spouse’s log-in credentials. Even if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are on amicable terms, it is still a good idea to change your passwords when you separate from your spouse to maintain a sense of privacy. It may also be helpful to turn off “location sharing” on applications and websites. You may be logged into your email, Facebook account, or your bank’s website on shared devices like tablets or laptops and not even realize it. It is recommended that you change passwords for:

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Wheaton, IL divorce litigation attorneyTV shows and movies often depict divorces as dramatic confrontations inside the courtroom. However, the vast majority of divorce cases do not go to trial. Litigation is only necessary when a divorcing couple is unable to reach agreements on issues such as property division, the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, and spousal maintenance. Most divorcing couples are able to resolve these issues through lawyer-facilitated negotiations, mediation, or collaborative law. If a couple cannot reach a settlement, the case may go to trial. 

What Should I Expect During a Divorce Trial?

Divorcing spouses may need to make one or more court appearances during the dissolution of their marriage, even if the couple agrees about divorce issues. However, these court appearances are not the same thing as a divorce trial. During a divorce trial, a judge hears arguments from both sides and then issues a ruling regarding the unresolved issues. Divorce trials do not involve a jury, but they are otherwise conducted similarly to other types of civil trials. 

Before the start of the trial, each spouse and his or her attorney will gather information and evidence that support their arguments. This information-gathering process is called “discovery.” Discovery may involve written interrogatories, requests for admission, depositions, and other means of obtaining information about the facts of the case.

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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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