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Recent blog posts

DuPage County family law attorney for marital asset distributionWhile we often think of marriage as a personal or romantic union, it is also a financial partnership. When two people get married, they combine their financial resources, either intentionally or unintentionally. Therefore, the end of the marriage comes with considerable financial implications. If you are planning to get divorced, you may have questions about how your property will be divided. You may specifically wonder if the spouse who earned the majority of the income during the marriage is entitled to more of the marital estate during divorce.

What Property Is Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

When you file for divorce in Illinois, there are several issues that you will need to resolve. One of these issues is the distribution of marital property. The marital estate consists of property that either spouse accumulated during the course of the marriage. It includes real estate, personal property, collectibles, investments, retirement accounts, and other assets that were obtained while the couple was married. Separate property includes property gained by inheritance or property that a spouse acquired before the marriage took place or after a legal separation. However, understanding what is included in the marital estate and what is separate property is not always easy. Issues like commingled or combined assets can complicate property division during divorce.

Reaching a Property Division Settlement

There is a misconception that the courts always divide property in a divorce. In reality, the vast majority of divorce cases are resolved through a settlement or mutual agreement. You and your spouse may decide how to divide your assets on your own, with help from your attorneys, during divorce mediation, or through another avenue. If you cannot reach an agreement, then the court will step in and divide marital property for you. Illinois courts follow a legal doctrine called equitable distribution in contested divorce cases. Property is divided equitably but not always evenly, and this division is based on factors such as:

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Wheaton family law attorney for divorce petitionsMarriages end for innumerable reasons. Sometimes, one spouse wants the divorce, while the other spouse believes that the marriage is salvageable. Other times, the spouses both agree that it is time to call it quits. Whatever your situation, you may have questions about the divorce process and how to get started. One particular question you may be asking yourself is, “Does it matter which spouse files for divorce?”

The Basics of Filing for Divorce in Illinois

In Illinois, a divorce is called a Dissolution of Marriage. The spouse who files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the petitioner, and the other spouse is the respondent. To file for divorce in Illinois, at least one of the spouses must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days prior to filing the petition. 

Illinois is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that the spouses will not be asked to assign blame for the marriage ending. The only grounds for divorce in Illinois is “irreconcilable differences.” When determining the terms of a divorce, Illinois courts do not consider which spouse is the petitioner and which is the respondent. Both spouses are treated equally under the law.

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DuPage County order of protection attorneyWhen parents divorce, they will typically share parental responsibilities and parenting time. A shared custody arrangement can be a great way to ensure that a child gets to spend time with both of his or her parents. Illinois courts typically favor parenting schedules that keep both parents in the child’s life.  However, there are some situations in which spending time with a parent may not be in the child’s best interests. If you are an unmarried or divorced parent, and you have concerns about your child’s safety during the other parent’s parenting time, you should know that you have the right to ask for his or her parenting time to be restricted.  

Take Steps to Protect Your Children’s Immediate Safety

If there is an immediate threat to your child’s well-being, do not hesitate to take action. Your child’s safety comes first. If you believe your child is in a situation in which they could be injured or killed, call 911. You may also take steps to obtain an order of protection that will prevent the other parent from committing any actions that could harm you or your child. 

If you need to violate your parenting plan to prevent your child from being harmed, you are allowed to do so. However, you will need to justify your actions to the court. Violating your parenting plan without a good reason can result in negative consequences, including restriction of your own parenting time. You will need to tell the court when and why you violated the parenting plan, so make sure that this is a last resort.

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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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