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arlington heights divorce lawyerModern technology has made it very easy to record every moment of our lives. Photo, video, and voice recordings of people acting poorly are all over the internet. Although people getting divorced in Illinois may believe that recording their spouses doing something threatening or illegal would be justified and therefore no big deal, Illinois and federal law are quite strict regarding legal and illegal recordings. 

Many people have legitimate reasons to fear their spouse during an ongoing divorce process and may want to surreptitiously document threats or abusive behavior. Although there are times when secret recording can be done legally, it is easy to violate these laws and a recording could be inadmissible as evidence - or worse, get the person doing the recording in serious legal trouble. 

When Can Conversations Be Legally Recorded in Illinois? 

Illinois is an all-party consent state when it comes to recordings. This means that everyone involved in a conversation must be aware that recording is taking place. They do not have to consent to the recording; they must only be aware of it. 

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Arlington Heights family law attorneyGetting a divorce can have a major, ongoing impact on your finances. After the divorce is over and all the court and attorney expenses have been paid, many divorcees must continue to make spousal maintenance payments to their former spouses.

Knowing how spousal maintenance is handled and what kinds of maintenance there are in Illinois is crucial for managing your options and expectations. In this article, we will explore what the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act allows in terms of spousal maintenance, how payments are calculated, and how long you can expect to make these payments. 

How is Spousal Maintenance Calculated? 

Maintenance payments are allocated based on a fairly simple equation but judges have wide leeway to adjust payments depending on other factors as well, such as child support obligations or spousal support payments already being made to previous spouses. The basic formula for spousal maintenance is 33 percent of the paying spouse’s annual net income, minus 25 percent of the receiving spouse’s annual net income. 

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cook county custody lawyerDeciding how to arrange a parenting time schedule is never easy, but it can be particularly difficult when both parents are extremely hostile toward each other or when a parent is poorly equipped to care for their child. Sometimes, the court cannot determine the most appropriate arrangement without the assistance of other professionals, such as guardian ad litem or custody evaluators.

What Does a Custody Evaluator Do? 

A custody evaluator is a trained professional who is usually a psychologist, psychiatrist, or attorney. Custody evaluators are different from child representatives because they do not legally represent the child or anyone else. A custody evaluator’s job is to work with the judge, the parents, the child, and any other relevant parties to objectively assess what would be in the best interests of the child. 

In order to do this, evaluators may employ a wide range of strategies. These include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_737110144-min.jpgFor many divorced individuals, the prospect of remarrying a former spouse is the last thing on their minds. However, this is a choice that a surprising number of people make - and, according to the research, they frequently do it successfully. 

People who seek to remarry their former spouse often have very good reasons for wishing to do so. After some time apart, a couple may realize that getting divorced does not rid them of the responsibility to raise their children together. A shared history and vision for the future often make it possible to overcome past hurt and rekindle a relationship. 

However, marriages that ended once can end again. Former partners getting remarried should consider several things before taking a second leap into commitment. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyerStatistics about domestic violence in Illinois are tragic and shocking. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that nationally, about 35% of both men and women experience harm by an intimate partner during their lifetime. In Illinois, these rates are even higher for women.

Unfortunately, domestic violence often occurs within the context of a marriage. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional manipulation, and withholding necessary financial resources are common forms of marital abuse. If you are a victim of spousal abuse and are considering divorce, there are a few additional actions you may want to consider. 

File for an Order of Protection

Orders of Protection are legally binding orders from the court that prohibit an abusive person from contacting or coming within a certain distance of their victim. You can file for an Emergency Order of Protection (EOP), which will give you immediate protection for 21 days. After the EOP expires, you may need to attend a hearing to get a Plenary Order of Protection that can last up to two years. Orders of Protection can also prohibit an abuser from contacting or coming near your children. Violations of Orders of Protection are punishable by arrest and incarceration.

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arlington heights divorce lawyerDividing marital assets between a divorcing couple is often one of the most complex and difficult aspects of the divorce process. Couples who cannot reach an agreement during the property division process may find themselves involved in a contentious litigation process.

One common disagreement occurs when determining whether an asset is owned individually by one spouse or belongs to both spouses in the form of marital property. Complex and illiquid assets such as real estate, pensions, investment accounts, businesses, and vehicles could all be considered either marital or nonmarital property, depending on when they were acquired. An asset that began as nonmarital property may become marital property through a process known as “commingling.”

What is Commingled Property? 

Only marital property is subject to division in a divorce. This includes both assets and debts that you, your spouse, or both of you together acquired during your marriage. However, even if an asset was acquired during the marriage, that does not necessarily make it marital property. For example, an asset acquired during the marriage could be considered nonmarital property if it was:

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IL family lawyerIf you are expecting a child and do not anticipate having the father present in the child’s life, you may have some questions and concerns about the impact of the father’s absence. Among the issues women in this situation face are whether you should tell the father you are pregnant or list his name on the child’s birth certificate. You may be unsure whether you want to pursue child support, or whether the father will ask for parental responsibilities or parenting time. Many women are in this situation, and your concerns are normal. There is no right answer, as there are benefits but also potential drawbacks to establishing paternity. Ultimately, whether you want to do so depends on your situation.

Establishing Paternity for an Unmarried Couple

When a couple is married and the woman has a child, Illinois law presumes the husband is the child’s father. The couple does not need to establish paternity to put the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate. However, if the mother is not married, the law makes no presumption about who is the child’s father and paternity can be legally established in one of three ways:

  • Both parents sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form
  • An Order of Paternity is entered in a court by a judge
  • An Administrative Paternity Order is established by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS)

What if I Do Not Want to Establish Paternity?

If you do not want to list your child’s father on the birth certificate, you do not have to. Many women choose to not even tell the child’s father about their pregnancy due to concerns about violence or any other serious negative reaction. However, that does not mean the father will not want to try to establish paternity later if he finds out about the child.

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IL divorce lawyerIn an Illinois divorce or divorce decree modification, courts are primarily concerned with discovering one thing: What is in the best interests of the child? A judge’s decision regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as “custody”) will take many factors into consideration.

Understanding the things judges look for in potential custodial parents can help increase your chances of being given those responsibilities and spending valuable time with your child. Here, we will explore some of those factors in detail:

  • The Ability and Willingness to Work with Your Co-Parent – Research shows that children do best when both parents are involved in their lives. However, if one parent is particularly combative, a judge may limit the child’s time with that parent in order to minimize the child’s exposure to conflict.
  • Involvement in Your Child’s Education – Even if your child spends the school week in their other parent’s home, you can still be involved in their education. Attend parent-teacher conferences, encourage academic success, and expose your child to educational opportunities.
  • Appropriate Boundaries – When you do not get to see your child every day, it can be tempting to make your visits based on fun and excitement rather than a responsible, parent-child relationship. Ensure your child eats wells, sleeps well, and spends their time well during their time with you. If your child reports that you spend your weekend visits together eating only fast food and playing video games this will not reflect very well on your parenting capabilities.
  • A Child-Friendly Home – Your child’s needs are different from your own. Everything, from age-appropriate dishes to clean clothes and bedding, should reflect the fact that a child lives with you. Making sure your child has what they need and knows where to find it will go a long way toward making them feel comfortable in your home.
  • Consistent Conduct – Children need consistency and predictability. If you are late, cancel last-minute, or are otherwise unreliable, your child could feel unimportant, abandoned, or as though they cannot trust you. Give your child the respect they deserve and keep your promises and commitments to them.

Speak with an Arlington Heights Family Law Attorney

Your relationship with your child is one of the most important things in your life. Having an experienced Cook County, IL divorce attorney on your side during your divorce will help you understand your options and advocate for your and your child’s interests. To learn more about what the family law attorneys with A. Traub & Associates can do for you, call us at 847-749-4182 today and make an appointment for a confidential consultation.

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IL divorce lawyerMarried spouses and any children they have typically live in the same home. During and after divorce, spouses in Illinois are unlikely to want to remain under the same roof long-term but may feel uncertain about who, if anyone, will continue to live in the family home. Spouses can feel an emotional attachment to their home, especially if it has been inherited from cherished family members, and parents may have concerns about the destabilizing impact of moving to a new home on their children.

Determining Ownership

Whether one spouse owned the home before the marriage or whether the spouses bought a new home together will impact the way the marital home will be handled in the event of a divorce. Illinois law says that assets owned by either spouse prior to entering the marriage are usually considered individual property in the event of a divorce.

Large appliances and cars with your name on the title are fairly easy to distribute, as their ownership is clear. But homes are more complex, especially because spouses make mortgage payments and do not usually own them outright during the marriage.

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IL divorce lawyerNo matter how amicable your divorce may be, the process of getting divorced is unpleasant. Very few divorce cases are resolved quickly, and in the most complex or high-conflict cases, divorces can drag on for years. A protracted divorce in Illinois will take its toll on everyone and everything involved – spouses, children, relatives, bank accounts.

Some things are out of your control during divorce: You may have to wait longer than you want for a court appointment to be available, or for the discovery process to finish. Fortunately, you are not totally helpless when it comes to speeding up the process. Here are a few things you can do to make your divorce move more quickly.

Reach Agreement Before the Divorce Begins

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that a couple only needs to cite irreconcilable differences as grounds for divorce. But if one spouse denies that there are irreconcilable differences, or does not agree that a divorce is necessary, there is a mandatory six-month waiting period of living “separate and apart.” In order to bypass this six-month waiting period, both spouses must agree to get divorced. Try to talk to your partner and reach an agreement that divorce is in your best interests before either party begins divorce proceedings.

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IL family lawyerWhen a couple is growing their family, they often use an egg donor. Whether they are choosing an egg donor for an embryo to be carried by a gestational surrogate or the intended mother herself, there are several factors to consider when choosing the right donor.

Choosing an egg donor is an intimately personal experience, and only you can know all of the factors that will contribute towards finding the right fit. Here, we discuss some of the most common issues couples and individuals consider when choosing an egg donor.

Personal and Family Health History

Modern genetic testing shows that certain people are carriers for genetic diseases, or at higher risk of certain types of cancers. Some diseases are more common within populations for whom finding a matching donor is important.

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IL family lawyerIt is every parent’s worst nightmare: The person you hoped would share your responsibility in caring and providing for your child may actually be abusing them. It is far easier to recognize and prevent abuse from strangers than from an ex-spouse who has custody of a child, but all the more important to do so because of the important role a parent plays in a child’s development. If you believe your former spouse is abusing or neglecting your child, there are steps you can take to protect your child and ensure the abuse does not carry forward into the future. The strategy you use will depend on your living situation, your custody rights, and how urgent the need is for intervention.

In an Emergency, Call the Police

If you suspect your child of being in imminent harm or subject to immediate physical abuse, call the police and report the situation immediately. Likewise, if you are the custodial parent of the child and your former spouse has just committed an act of domestic violence against you, call the police and file a report right away.

Request an Order of Protection

In Illinois, an order of protection can serve the purpose of removing a child from the custody of an abusive parent while requiring that same parent to stay away from you, your home, and your children. An order of protection can require that an abusive parent may not leave the state with a child or hide that child from you.

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IL family lawyerContemporary medical practice provides couples and individuals in Illinois who are struggling with fertility challenges with several options for growing their families. Those in the midst of considering the various possibilities available to them have to consider several factors, such as the time, potential cost, and third parties that may be involved, like egg donors and gestational surrogates.

When you take these together with the emotional impact of making the life-changing decision of having a child, knowing which option to choose can seem difficult and overwhelming. Having a skilled lawyer who knows the intricacies of the law can simplify the process and give you peace of mind while making sure you are aware of your rights and responsibilities under Illinois family law.

Here, we discuss the difference between two of the most common methods of bringing a child into your loving family: In vitro fertilization and gestational surrogacy.

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IL family lawyerAlthough parents are typically understood as wanting the best for their children, individual interpretation of what is “best” varies, and parents often disagree. Unfortunately, sometimes parents are accused of being delinquent or neglectful in the care of their children. Illinois law provides a comprehensive listing of parental obligations in caring for children, setting the legal standard for what a child is able to expect of his or her custodial parents.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • A child’s immediate physical needs - This includes providing good nutrition, ensuring the child gets enough sleep, teaching and attending to the child’s hygiene, and caring for the child when he or she is ill or injured.
  • A child’s developmental needs - A child has many developmental milestones, and parents must be involved in helping their child achieve them. This includes things like learning to walk and other basic motor skill development, toilet training and table manners, and teaching the child to play well with others.
  • A child’s disciplinary needs - It is the responsibility of parents to help their children develop into functioning adults, and sometimes this requires discipline – within reason. This can include assigning and supervising chores, and ensuring children have the skills needed to behave with self-control and personal restraint.
  • A child’s social needs - Parents are also required to facilitate positive relationships with a child’s siblings, peers, extended family, and, unless there are extenuating circumstances, the other parent. Although Illinois law regarding parental alienation is complex, there can be serious consequences (beyond the negative impacts to the well-being of the child) when a parent attempts to alienate a child from his or her other parent.
  • A child’s educational needs - Parents must ensure a child attends school, including any remedial or extenuating special services that a child may need. Parents must also communicate with teachers and counselors, and supervise the child’s homework.
  • A child’s needs when the parent is not present - If a parent cannot be present with the child for any reason, it is their responsibility to secure an appropriate caregiver such as a babysitter or other family member.

Contact an Illinois Parenting Time Lawyer

It is normal for parents to have reasonable differences in their understanding and expectation of how each of these responsibilities should be carried out, and some compromise will be necessary. However, parents are always responsible under the law for ensuring the needs of a child are met.

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IL divorce lawyerAlimony or spousal maintenance refers to financial support that one spouse pays to the other spouse after divorce. “Temporary relief” spousal maintenance orders may also be ordered for the duration of the divorce proceedings. If you are getting divorced and you are concerned about the financial implications of the split, you may want to consider seeking financial assistance in the form of spousal maintenance. Read on to learn about when and how spouses may receive maintenance in an Illinois divorce.

Reaching a Spousal Maintenance Agreement with Your Spouse

Some spouses reach an alimony agreement long before they file for divorce. If you and your spouse already agreed on a maintenance arrangement in a valid prenuptial agreement or separation agreement, the terms of this agreement will likely be upheld by the court. However, if you have not already made these arrangements, you may need to negotiate a maintenance agreement as part of your divorce settlement. Your divorce lawyer may be able to help you reach an arrangement that you can both agree on. Divorce mediation may be another avenue for negotiating a spousal maintenance agreement.

Petitioning the Court for a Spousal Maintenance Award

If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement about maintenance terms, the court may step in and decide for you. Illinois courts do not award maintenance in every divorce case. Maintenance is awarded when spouses’ financial, employment, and life circumstances justify these payments. The court will consider the duration of your marriage, the standard of living experienced during the marriage, your employability, your spouse’s ability to pay maintenance, and several other factors. If maintenance is deemed appropriate, the court will use a statutory formula to determine the amount of maintenance that you will receive.

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IL divorce lawyerTypically, when a couple gets married, very little emphasis is placed on the financial implications of the marriage relationship. We prefer to think of marriage as a romantic union rather than a legal or economic arrangement. However, the financial consequences of marriage and divorce can be profound. If you are getting divorced in Illinois, it is important to be aware of the various asset division issues you may encounter.

How Will You Divide Your Property?

When most people think of property division during a divorce, they imagine divvying up furniture and other physical property. However, property division includes much more than physical property such as this. You may also need to consider how to handle investments, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, cryptocurrency, real estate, businesses, and professional practices. Assets that are hard to value or have fluctuating value will be especially difficult to value and divide in divorce.

How Wil You Address Property with Sentimental Value

It is crucial to remember that some property is meaningful not because of its financial value but because of its sentimental value. Have you considered who will keep family heirlooms, keepsakes, collectibles, or other sentimental items? What about the family pets? Although Illinois law does distinguish pets from other types of property, family pets are still subject to property division laws during divorce. Because these are often highly emotional questions, dividing property with personal or sentimental significance can become contentious.

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IL family lawyerHousing, childcare, extracurricular activities, and other child-related costs can create a significant financial burden on a single parent. Child support payments can ease this burden substantially. Unfortunately, consistently getting the child support you need is not always easy – especially if the other parent is not consistently employed. Your financial needs and the financial needs of your child do not change simply because the paying parent or “obligor” loses his or her job.

Illinois Child Support and Unemployment

In Illinois, child support payments are based on a statutory formula that takes both parent’s income into account. The lower a parent’s income compared to the other parent’s income, the lower his or her child support obligation. The parent with the greater share of “parenting time,” or time spent with the child, is the child support recipient and the other parent is the obligor. If a parent’s income is zero because of a job loss, his or her child support payment may or may not be reduced.

Voluntary Unemployment or Involuntary Unemployment

Illinois law makes a distinction between voluntary unemployment and involuntary unemployment when it comes to child support payments. If a parent quits his or her job, the court will be less likely to grant him or her a reduced child support obligation. If a parent is laid off or fired, the court will consider the parent’s attempts to regain employment. If an unemployed parent makes genuine efforts to become suitably employed, the court may allow the parent to pay a lowered child support obligation until he or she regains employment. If a parent makes little effort to find another job, it is unlikely that the court will be sympathetic to the parent’s situation. The parent may be expected to continue paying child support at the rate he or she paid it before the job loss.

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IL family lawyerThe relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is very special. Unfortunately, divorce, family arguments, and other circumstances can sometimes get in the way of this relationship. If you have grandchildren, you may be curious about your legal right to see them. You may ask, “Can my child prevent me from seeing my grandchildren?” or “Can I get visitation rights?” In Illinois, grandparents may petition the court for court-ordered visitation in some circumstances.

When Are Grandparents Awarded Visitation?

The law presumes that it is in a child’s best interests to have each of his parents involved in his life. Consequently, parents have a right to visitation, technically called “parenting time,” unless there is a good reason to restrict a parent’s parenting time. The same presumption does not exist for grandparents. However, grandparents can petition the court for visitation under certain circumstances. Illinois courts only grant grandparent visitation if at least one of the following is true:

  • The parents are divorced, and at least one parent agrees to grandparent visitation
  • The parents are unmarried and do not live together
  • At least of the parents is deemed “unfit” due to neglect, abuse, addiction, or other concerns
  • At least one of the parents has been absent from the child’s life or in jail for three or more months

Illinois courts always make decisions about child custody or visitation based on what is in the child’s best interests.

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Arlington Heights family law mediation attorneyIn Illinois, child custody is now referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. Parental responsibilities include decisions about the child’s education, healthcare, and other major issues. Parenting time, which used to be called “visitation,” is the time a parent spends with his or her child. Divorced, separated, and unmarried parents in Illinois describe how they intend to divide parenting time and parental responsibilities in their “parenting plan.” Family law mediation or child custody mediation is a means of reaching an agreement about the terms of the parenting plan with help from a mediator.

Mediation Can Help You Reach an Agreement About Your Parenting Plan

Many parents are surprised to learn just how detailed the Illinois parenting plan must be. Parents cannot simply decide that a child will spend time with one parent on the weekdays and the other parent on the weekends. Parents must also decide how parenting time will be handled on holidays, school vacations, and in other special circumstances. The parents will need to determine how they intend to handle any future proposed changes to the parenting plan, what happens if a parent moves, and several other issues.

Per Illinois law, there are more than a dozen provisions that must be included in a parenting plan, but some parents decide to add more. Understandably, many parents are overwhelmed by the number of decisions they need to make during the creation of their parenting plan. A mediator can help parents determine what issues they agree on and what issues still need to be resolved. The mediator can then guide parents through negotiations and discussions regarding the unresolved issues.

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Arlington Heights, IL family law attorney child support

For high school seniors, the beginning of spring means that graduation is just around the corner. Many high schoolers are already preparing for college next fall. If you are a parent of a school-aged child, you may have concerns about how you will finance your child’s college education. You may have questions such as, “Am I required to pay child support after my child turns 18?” or “Which parent pays for university costs?”

Paying for College as a Divorced or Unmarried Parent

If you are a divorced or unmarried parent in Illinois, it is important to know the law regarding college-related costs. Many parents assume that their child support obligation ends once their child turns 18 and graduates high school. This is generally the case. However, parents may be required to contribute to their child’s post-secondary education. Unlike typical child support, there is not a statutory formula for calculating the amount that a parent must contribute to post-secondary expenses. However, there is a cap on the amount that a parent may be required to contribute to college costs. Parents cannot be required to pay more than what it would cost for their child to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

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