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Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.
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DuPage County adoption attorneyEvery child deserves a safe home full of people who care about him or her. For many children, adoption is their best hope of finding a loving home. The decision to adopt a child can be one of the most consequential choices a person ever makes. It is important to remember that adopting a child is also a major legal decision. Before you start the adoption process, it is essential to know the law in Illinois regarding adoption.

Who Can Adopt?

If you want to adopt a child, you should know about the adoption requirements established by Illinois law. To adopt in Illinois, you must:

  • Be an adult over the age of 18

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DuPage County divorce lawyer for parental alienationDivorcing or divorced spouses are not typically on great terms with each other. While some divorces are relatively amicable, other divorce cases are filled with hostility and revenge-seeking behavior. Sadly, children are often the ones who get hurt in extremely contentious divorces. Sometimes, a parent even intentionally attempts to turn a child against the other parent. This is known as parental alienation, and it can happen when an adult uses brainwashing and other manipulative strategies to damage the child’s relationship with their parent. If you have been a victim of parental alienation, you should know that you have certain rights under Illinois law. The alienation may even be cause for restriction of the other parent’s parental responsibilities or parenting time.

Types of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a controversial subject. However, the phenomenon is very real. The term was conceived in 1985 to describe undue influence on a child that causes the child to fear or despise his or her parent. Some experts have suggested that parental alienation can cause an actual psychological disorder called Parental Alienation Syndrome, but this disorder is not listed in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual or recognized by the American Psychological Association. Nevertheless, there have been many documented cases in which a parent or other party willfully attempts to destroy the parent-child relationship, and these types of actions can have a direct impact on child custody issues.

Parental alienation may include actions such as:

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Wheaton, IL high conflict divorce lawyerIf you are planning to get a divorce, you may be concerned about how conflict with your spouse will affect the divorce process. In an ideal world, divorcing spouses would be cooperative, cordial, and kind to each other. However, the reality is that some divorce cases are filled with bitterness and disputes from beginning to end. Regardless of why your divorce is contentious, working with a skilled lawyer is one of the best ways to avoid drama during your divorce. Your lawyer can help you properly prepare for the divorce so that it goes as smoothly as possible.

Take Stock of Your Financial Situation

If you suspect that your divorce will be less than pleasant, it is important to prepare for divorce in advance. One issue you should be concerned with is whether your spouse will be truthful and forthcoming about financial information. Finances can influence everything from child support to the division of marital assets and debts, so having an accurate assessment of your finances and your spouse’s finances is essential. Take inventory of your income, assets, debts, and expenses. Gather tax returns, bank statements, loan documents, and other financial information. You may also want to take photographs of valuable personal property in case your spouse tries to hide or destroy it.

Build Your Support System

A high-conflict divorce is likely going to be one of the most difficult things you ever go through. It is crucial that you set up a strong support system. Let your close friends and family know how they can best support you during this challenging period in your life. You may also want to seek professional guidance from a counselor, therapist, or religious authority.  

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DuPage County property division lawyer for hidden assetsMany of the important issues raised in a divorce involve financial matters. In order to equitably divide marital assets and debts, determine a spouse’s child support payments, or establish spousal maintenance, a truthful and complete account of both spouse’s finances is needed. Spouses are expected to disclose all sources of income or revenue during divorce. However, some spouses lie about their income and assets. They may underreport income or hide sources of revenue in an effort to gain an advantage during the divorce or avoid paying their fair share of support. If you are worried that your spouse will hide income or assets during your divorce, it is important to speak with a divorce lawyer experienced in uncovering hidden assets right away.

Gathering Financial Information During Divorce

As one of the initial steps in the Illinois divorce process, spouses are required to fill out and submit financial affidavits. These documents should list the spouse’s income, property, debt, and expenses. A spouse who wants to manipulate the outcome of his or her divorce may “forget” to include certain assets or sources of income on the financial affidavit. He or she may also overstate debts or expenses, create fake debts, or falsify business revenue. Lying on the financial affidavit may lead to sanctions or even criminal penalties.

Finding Hidden Assets and Unreported Income Through Discovery

There are several different stages of a divorce case. One of these phases is referred to as the “discovery phase.” During discovery, the spouses and their attorneys gather facts and information that are relevant to the case. Your attorney may use a variety of techniques to uncover financial information. Written interrogatories may be used to formally request information about assets and income. Requests for production may be used to make your spouse surrender copies of tax returns, bank statements, and other financial documents. Depositions, or meetings in which parties are asked a series of questions under oath, are also often used to investigate a spouse’s financial situation. Statements made during a deposition may be used in court to confirm the facts of the case or add credibility to an argument.

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Wheaton business asset division attorneyWhen a married couple divorces, the spouses divide their property and debt. When most people think about asset division during divorce, they think about dividing physical property such as furniture or vehicles. However, a business is an asset just like any other piece of property. If your business was purchased or established during your marriage, both spouses have a right to the business according to Illinois law. If you are a business owner who is considering divorce, it is crucial that you understand how businesses may be valued and divided in an Illinois divorce.

Does My Spouse Have a Right to My Business?

If you are solely responsible for managing your business, you may assume that you are entitled to keep the business upon divorce. However, this is not always the case. Illinois law considers any property acquired during the marriage to be part of the marital estate. Property that was acquired before the marriage is classified as “separate property” and assigned to the spouse who originally acquired the asset. However, even if you founded or acquired a business before you got married, an increase in the value of the business during your marriage may be considered marital property. This is especially true if your spouse contributed to the increased value of the business, and in these cases, you may be required to reimburse your spouse for their contributions.

The Business Must Be Valued Before it Can Be Divided

Having your business accurately valued is a crucial step when you are getting divorced. The most commonly used business valuation methods include an asset approach, earnings value approach, and a market value approach. An accountant or business valuation expert can work with you and your attorney to help you determine the best way to value your business. Once you have determined how much your business is worth, you must decide how to account for the business’s value during asset division. You may choose to “buy out” your spouse’s share of the business by assigning him or her marital assets of an equivalent value. You may also decide to sell the business and divide the proceeds between you and your spouse.  Your attorney can help you and your spouse negotiate a property division arrangement that takes the value of your business into account.

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