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

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Recent blog posts

DuPage County legal separation attorneyThere are many different factors that influence the sustainability of a marriage. For many married couples, knowing whether it is time to formally end a marriage through divorce is not easy. One option that many married couples utilize when they are not ready to divorce is legal separation. However, it is important to understand that living apart or separating from your spouse is not the same as obtaining a legal separation. Couples that are legally separated are still technically married, but they gain much greater protection under the law than couples that are simply living apart. Some reasons you may consider legal separation include:

There Is Still a Chance for Reconciliation But You Want to Separate Finances

Divorce is a very definitive action. There is no undoing a divorce. If you and your spouse have had major marital trouble, but you believe that there is still a chance for you to reconcile in the future, a legal separation may be right for you. If you obtain a legal separation, you will be able to gain many of the benefits of divorce without actually ending your marriage.

When spouses are simply living apart, the spouses’ finances are still legally intertwined. This means that a spouse may be responsible for the consequences of the other spouse’s financial decisions during the physical separation period. Spouses who are legally separated are subject to a court order called a separation agreement that formally separates the spouses’ finances. Furthermore, a spouse is not responsible for debts accumulated by the other spouse after the legal separation has gone into effect. 

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Wheaton, IL divorce lawyer for order of protection defenseDomestic violence is taken very seriously in Illinois, and victims of abuse can protect their safety and that of their children or other family members by obtaining an order of protection. An emergency order of protection (EOP) can be granted to a person based on his or her testimony alone, and it goes into effect immediately. The respondent (the subject of the order of protection) does not need to be present in order for the petitioner to be granted an EOP. An EOP lasts up to 21 days and typically prohibits the respondent from contacting or coming within a certain distance of the petitioner. A restraining order may also prohibit the respondent from seeing or contacting his or her children, and it may require him or her to surrender any firearms. If you are the subject of a protection order during divorce, there are several crucial steps you should take.

Follow the Directions Contained in the Order of Protection

Restraining orders offer important protections to actual victims of domestic violence. Unfortunately, an order of protection may be obtained by a petitioner who does not actually need protection. A bitter spouse may get an order of protection during a contentious divorce in an attempt to gain an advantage during divorce proceedings – especially those involving child custody. Even if the order of protection your spouse obtained against you was based on false allegations, it is essential to follow the directions contained in the order. Do not confront your spouse or violate other terms of the order. Instead, contact an attorney immediately to determine your best options for defending against the accusations and protecting your rights.

Attend the Plenary Hearing to Tell Your Side of the Story

If your spouse wants to extend the protection period after the EOP expires, he or she will need to attend a court hearing and request a more permanent type of order called a plenary order of protection. The plenary hearing is your opportunity to defend yourself against your spouse’s accusations. When preparing for this hearing, you will want to gather evidence such as text messages, call logs, and documents that support your testimony. Find witnesses who can confirm your side of the story and are willing to testify in court. Your attorney will use witness testimony and other evidence to argue on your behalf during the hearing.

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DuPage County collaborative divorce attorneyWhen many people think of divorce, they imagine a tense courtroom scene involving two bitter spouses intent on “winning” the divorce. Fortunately, there are many ways to end a marriage without the need for aggressive court battles. If you are planning to get divorced, you and your spouse may understandably struggle to see eye-to-eye about certain things. You may have different opinions about who should retain ownership of the family home, how bank account balances should be divided, who should have the majority of parenting time, or other issues. Collaborative divorce offers a way for divorcing couples to work on finding a resolution to divorce issues without the hostility, expense, and stress associated with divorce litigation.

The Collaborative Divorce Process in Illinois

During a collaborative divorce, each spouse retains an attorney who has been trained in collaborative law. The spouses and their respective attorneys hold a series of meetings to identify unresolved divorce issues and work on finding solutions to these issues that both spouses agree to. Before negotiations begin, spouses and their lawyers sign a commitment called a “Participation Agreement.” In the agreement, each member of the collaborative team commits to work together cooperatively and honestly. The spouses also agree to voluntarily provide any relevant information needed during the collaborative process, such as financial documents. The collaborative team may also include experts such as child specialists, divorce coaches, and financial planners.

Working as a Team Toward a Common Goal

Unlike public courtroom proceedings, the discussions that take place in collaborative divorce meetings are confidential. The meetings take place in an informal setting that is much less intimidating than a courtroom. Parents who have disputes regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time often find collaborative divorce to be especially beneficial. Instead of parents working against each other, they work in a cooperative, productive fashion to create a parenting plan that works for both of them and provides for their children’s best interests. Once the spouses reach an agreement about the unresolved divorce issues, their lawyers write the terms of the agreement into legally binding documents. They file these documents with the court, and the spouses can then finalize their divorce during a final hearing.

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Wheaton, IL divorce lawyer default judgmentMarriages end for countless reasons. Sometimes, spouses get divorced because they both agree that the marriage is simply no longer working. In other cases, only one spouse wants to divorce, while the other spouse believes that the marriage is still salvageable. If you are ready to end your marriage, and your spouse does not want to get divorced, it is important to know that he or she cannot stop you from filing for divorce. However, when a spouse does not agree to the divorce, he or she may take actions that could delay and complicate the divorce. Fortunately, you have options if your spouse refuses to cooperate with the divorce process.  

Spouses Who Do Not Respond

The only grounds for divorce in Illinois is “irreconcilable differences,” and either spouse may name this as the reason he or she is petitioning the court for a dissolution of marriage. The person who files the Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage is called the petitioner, and the other spouse is the respondent. During the divorce filing process, a court hearing will be scheduled. The petitioner is responsible for making arrangements to serve notice of the petition and the hearing to the respondent. The respondent has 30 days to respond to the notice, and his or her response may state why he or she disagrees that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. If the respondent does not respond and does not show up to the hearing, the petitioner has the opportunity to request a default judgment granting his or her requests for how matters such as child custody and property division will be handled during the divorce. The court may schedule a default judgment hearing in order to give the respondent a second chance to participate. If the respondent does not attend this second-chance hearing, the court will typically grant the petitioner a default judgment.

Spouses Who Cannot Be Found

In some cases, an uncooperative spouse may hide from the petitioner or the individual serving the notice of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in an attempt to prevent the divorce. You can still be granted a divorce if your spouse is missing, but you must take certain steps. You will typically need to show that you:

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DuPage County asset division lawyer for real estateReal estate considerations are often one of the most complex parts of property division during divorce. If you and your spouse own one or more rental properties together, you may be unsure of what will happen to this property after you are divorced. You have probably put a great deal of time, effort, and money into maintaining the property, and you may rely heavily on the income generated by tenants. As with any complex property issues during divorce, it is highly recommended that divorcing spouses who own rental properties receive legal guidance from an experienced attorney.  

Options for Rental Properties During an Illinois Divorce

Divorcing spouses in Illinois have the option of working out their own agreements for property division outside of the courtroom. With help from your lawyer, you and your spouse may be able to negotiate a rental property arrangement that does not leave either of you at a major financial loss. There are several different ways that spouses may divide rental properties during divorce. Some choose to have the rental property appraised so they can sell the property and split the profits. Another option is for one spouse to retain complete ownership of the property and “buy out” the other spouse. The spouses may also agree upon a property division arrangement that assigns ownership of the rental property to one spouse while the other spouse is assigned other marital property of similar value. For example, one spouse may own the rental property, while the other spouse will own the family home. Divorcing spouses may also choose to retain joint ownership of the property and continue to share the rental income.

If spouses cannot reach an agreement regarding their rental property through negotiation or mediation, the court will have to intervene. Illinois courts divide property during divorce according to “equitable distribution.” This means that assets are divided fairly based on each of the spouse’s financial circumstances, contributions to the marital estate, and several other factors. Only marital property is divided in an Illinois divorce. Property that was acquired by either spouse before getting married is considered non-marital property that is not subject to division. Due to the complex issues involved when dividing rental properties and other marital assets, the assistance of an experienced divorce lawyer is often needed.

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