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

Wheaton debt division attorneyDid you know that the average amount of personal debt for Americans aged 40-55 is over $135,000? Whether through a home mortgage, personal loans, credit cards, or student loans, most people have at least some debts. If you are planning to get a divorce, you may be wondering how debt will be handled. Typically, marital debt is handled similarly to marital property during an Illinois divorce, but each case is different.  

Illinois Laws Regarding Marital Debt

In many marriages, one spouse is more of a spendthrift than the other. Often, differences in spending habits and financial goals are one of the issues that lead to divorce. If your spouse has accumulated a considerable amount of debt, you may wonder if you will be expected to repay it after divorce. You may also wonder if your spouse will be on the hook for debts that you have acquired.

Illinois courts divide marital property according to a legal doctrine called equitable distribution. Property and debts are divided fairly but not always evenly. Marital property and debts, meaning property and debts obtained during the marriage, are divided between spouses. Non-marital property, which includes assets and debts acquired by a spouse before getting married, is assigned to the spouse who originally acquired it. However, in the majority of cases, the court does not decide the allocation of marital property and debts during divorce. The divorcing couple instead reaches an out-of-court settlement regarding property and debts through negotiation, mediation, or another dispute resolution method.

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DuPage County divorce attorney for children and datingWhether you are planning to get a divorce, or you have already begun the process of ending your marriage, you have probably thought about dating. One of the silver linings of divorce is that the spouses are free to search for new romantic partners who are a better match for them. Getting back into the dating world after being married can be exciting. However, when you are a parent, there are additional issues to consider. One of these issues is when to introduce a new partner to your children. There is no perfect time to introduce a new partner, but there are certain considerations you could keep in mind when dating after divorce.

Wait Until After the Divorce Is Complete

Most experts suggest waiting to date until after your divorce is finalized. However, no one can predict when they will meet the right person. If you already have a new romantic interest, and your divorce is not complete, it may be best to avoid introducing the new partner to your children until the divorce is finalized. 

Divorce can have a major impact on children. Kids whose parents are divorcing may worry that their parents will abandon them or that they will no longer have a family. Children often feel possessive toward their parents, and they may see the new partner as a threat or as something that will negatively impact their family relationships. Introducing a new partner before the divorce is complete can also increase the tension and stress during the divorce process. Your spouse may be offended, and they may act out in revenge and attempt to make the divorce more drawn out and difficult.

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DuPage County paternity attorneyIf you are an unmarried mother who is expecting a child, you probably have several questions and concerns. If your pregnancy was unexpected, or if you are no longer in a relationship with your baby’s father, you may wonder whether you should tell the father about the pregnancy or list him on your baby’s birth certificate. You may also wonder if you will be entitled to child support or if your child’s father will have a right to spend time with the child after he or she is born. The term “paternity” refers to a father’s legal relationship to his child. There are several benefits to establishing paternity in Illinois.

Paternity of a Child for an Unmarried Father

When a married woman has a child, the law presumes the woman’s husband to be the father. The couple does not need to take extra steps to establish paternity before writing the father’s name on the birth certificate. If a mother is not married, there is no presumption about the child’s father. Paternity or legal parentage must be established by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. Paternity may also be established through the courts or via an administrative process through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Effects of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity opens several avenues for you and your child’s father. Raising a child on your own can be extremely difficult personally and financially. Once you establish paternity, you will be able to file a petition for child support. Having extra income in the form of child support can be a huge advantage to you and your child. Establishing paternity also means that the father will be entitled to visitation or “parenting time” if he chooses to petition the court and request it. 

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Wheaton divorce attorney for infidelity and asset dissipationCheating and affairs in a marriage often lead to divorce. In some cases, spouses file for divorce immediately after the affair comes to light. In other cases, a couple may try to salvage their marriage after an affair, but they may ultimately decide that too much damage to the relationship has occurred. If you have found yourself in this situation, you may be unsure of what to do. Whether the unfaithful partner was you or your spouse, you probably have questions about how marital infidelity can influence an Illinois divorce. Regardless of the exact circumstances, infidelity can lead to additional contention and confusion in a divorce. An experienced divorce lawyer can help.  

Grounds for Divorce

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. The state’s laws previously included fault-based “grounds” or reasons for divorce, such as abandonment, cruelty, and infidelity. However, Illinois has since eliminated these grounds. Now, the only grounds available when filing for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” Infidelity or other reasons for ending their marriage will not be included in a spouse’s petition for divorce.

Financial Implications of an Affair

Although there are no longer fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois, a spouse’s infidelity can still impact the divorce. If a spouse used marital funds or property to finance their affair, the other spouse may file a “dissipation of assets” claim against him or her. According to Illinois case law, dissipation occurs when a spouse uses marital property on a purpose not related to the marriage while the marriage is undergoing an irreversible breakdown. Funds spent on gifts or vacations with an affair partner may be considered dissipated assets. During the divorce process, the spouse who dissipated the assets may be required to reimburse the marital estate for the value of those assets.

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Posted on in Mediation

Dupage County family law attorney for divorce mediationIf you are ready to end your marriage, you are probably looking for ways to eliminate drama, reduce legal costs, and reach a fair divorce settlement. In many cases, divorce mediation can help couples reach a resolution about the terms of their divorce without going to court. Divorce mediation is a process during which a couple works on addressing and resolving their outstanding legal issues with the help of a specially-trained mediator. During mediation, you and your spouse may discuss the division of marital property and debts, the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, spousal maintenance, and other issues. However, it is important to understand what divorce mediation is and is not before deciding to use mediation as your primary means of reaching a resolution.

Myth: Your Mediator Will Make a Decision for You

A family law mediator is trained in conflict resolution, communication, and negotiation. He or she will help you and your spouse discuss any unresolved divorce issues and work with you to find potential solutions. A mediator does not choose one spouse’s side over the other or make any decisions on your behalf. His or her job is to ensure that divorce negotiations and discussions are as productive as possible.

Myth: Mediation Is Right for Everyone

Mediation can be an effective tool for resolving your outstanding legal issues and reaching a divorce settlement. However, mediation is not the appropriate choice for every divorce case. Mediation requires communication, transparency, and cooperation.  If a spouse is unwilling or unable to be honest about financial matters or other issues relevant to the divorce, mediation will not be effective. Mediation may also be inadequate or inappropriate for couples who own complex assets such as a family business, have a history of domestic violence, or simply cannot communicate well.

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