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

DuPage County collaborative law attorneyIf you are planning to divorce, you will need to make decisions about issues such as asset and debt division, child custody, spousal maintenance, and more. Reaching an agreement about these issues can be nearly impossible without the help of an attorney. Collaborative law is one option that may help you resolve divorce issues. During a collaborative divorce, spouses and their attorneys work together to find mutually-agreeable solutions to the unresolved issues and avoid going to trial.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?

In a collaborative divorce, both spouses retain attorneys who are trained in collaborative law. First, each spouse meets with his or her attorney to identify the unresolved issues and discuss their desired outcomes. Next, the spouses and their respective attorneys hold a series of meetings during which they negotiate divorce issues and discuss possible solutions.

One of the most unique aspects of collaborative divorce is the use of a “collaborative agreement” or “participation agreement.” This is an agreement that every participant signs before negotiations begin. In the agreement, the spouses promise to negotiate in good faith, disclose any information or documentation relevant to the negotiations such as tax returns or mortgage documents, and maintain confidentiality. The participants also agree to keep the case out of court. If the collaborative process does not result in a settlement, and the case goes to litigation, the attorneys may not represent the spouses during the divorce trial. The spouses will need to hire new attorneys and bring those attorneys up to speed about the unresolved divorce issues.  

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Wheaton grandparent visitation lawyerIf you are a grandparent, you know just how special the relationship with your grandchildren can be. However, when a grandparent’s relationship with their adult child is complicated, they may worry about how this will affect their relationship with their grandchild. Illinois law recognizes the positive impact many grandparents have on their grandchildren’s lives. Because of this, there are certain situations in which grandparents may be granted legal visitation with their grandchild.  

Illinois Law Regarding Grandparent Visitation

Grandparents often question what their rights are when it comes to seeing their grandchild. Typically, parents have the right to restrict a non-parent’s access to their child. There is a presumption that a child’s parents are “fit” or capable of making sound decisions about their child - including decisions about who the child spends time with. However, a grandparent may petition the court to request mandatory visitation with their grandchild under certain circumstances.

The court may grant you visitation with your grandchild if you can demonstrate that:

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DuPage County divorce lawyer for division of pension benefitsIf you are like most working adults, you probably plan to enjoy your retirement to the fullest. This can make retirement funds a serious concern during divorce. Retirement accounts are typically treated the same as other types of marital assets. The portion of the retirement funds that were accumulated during the marriage are a marital asset subject to division, while the portion of the retirement funds that were accumulated before the marriage are not subject to division. However, accurately valuing retirement funds is not always as straightforward as it may seem. Pension plans are often especially difficult to accurately quantify and divide during divorce because the value of the pension relies on the future payout of the plan.  

Methods of Valuing Pensions

Three of the most common valuations methods used to determine the present value of a pension for the purpose of asset division during divorce include:

  • Life Expectancy Method: This approach is based on the pension holder’s life expectancy and the expected pension benefits he or she will receive.

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Wheaton child custody lawyer parenting time restrictionsIn 2016, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) underwent significant updates. What used to be called child custody is now called the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” The time that a parent spends directly caring for his or her child is referred to as “parenting time.” Although the terms “sole custody” and “joint custody” are outdated, these terms are still sometimes used to refer to different types of parenting arrangements. If you are a father who is considering divorce, you may want to know if you could be awarded sole custody, or more accurately, all of the parental responsibilities and/or parenting time. The answer to this question will depend on a variety of factors.

Reaching an Agreement About Your Illinois Parenting Plan

Parents who divorce in Illinois are asked to create a parenting plan in which they describe how they plan to divide parental responsibilities and parenting time, as well as how other important matters will be addressed. Many divorcing couples struggle to reach an agreement about the provisions in their parenting plan. If you and your spouse disagree about child custody issues, a family law attorney may be able to help you negotiate a parenting plan that you can both agree to. Alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or collaborative law may also enable you to resolve custody disagreements.

Do Illinois Family Courts Favor Mothers Over Fathers?

If you cannot reach an agreement through other means, the court will step in and determine a parenting plan on your behalf. Many people are under the assumption that mothers are favored over fathers during child custody disputes. However, the laws in Illinois treat parents the same, regardless of their gender. Illinois courts make all child-related decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests. Some of the factors courts consider when allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time include:

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DuPage County child custody attorney for social media useNow that so many adults are working from home, we are relying on technology even more often than we did before the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are using cellphones, laptops, and home computers for everything from answering work emails to paying their bills. Because technology is such an integral part of our lives, addressing technology concerns during divorce is crucial. It is important to guard your privacy, watch what you say, and ensure that your online activity does not lead to negative consequences during your case.

Social Media Is Less Private Than You Think

Due to COVID-19 lockdowns, many people have replaced in-person meetups with social media communication. While websites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn can be great places to network and keep in touch with loved ones, using social media during divorce can be risky. Most family law attorneys have seen a marked increase in the role of social media during divorce. It is very possible that pictures, videos, and messages you post online could be used against you. Do not make the mistake of assuming that your social media activity is private just because you have set your profile status to “private.” There are many different ways to access online information that was only intended to be viewed by a small number of close friends.  

Do Not Share Evidence of Your Financial Activity

You may be so used to sharing information about your daily life through social media, text messages, or email that you do not actually realize how much financial information you are revealing. Evidence of new purchases, vacations, or shopping sprees may be used against you during property division, spousal maintenance, or child custody determinations. Many assume that text messages are private, but it is possible for a party to request text messages to be turned over during the discovery process – especially if there is suspicion of hidden assets.

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