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arlington heights divorce attorney

One of the most challenging parts of any divorce is the property division process. Ideally, a couple can work together to create an agreement for splitting their assets and debts equitably. However, sometimes court intervention is required for spouses who cannot negotiate productively or when there are other extenuating circumstances. 

One of the circumstances under which a court may get involved in dividing property is when one spouse has engaged in wasting, or “dissipating,” marital property. In this blog, we will discuss what marital asset dissipation is, how it can be proven, and how dissipated assets might be recovered. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyerAlthough it may seem difficult or even impossible, many spouses have been able to work through their differences and successfully negotiate a divorce agreement through mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods. One important but challenging issue that many couples must address is that of spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance

Avoiding the hassle, expense, and conflict of litigating a divorce in court is usually best for everyone - especially if there are children involved. Although negotiating spousal support may be difficult, it is well worth the effort. Here are three tips for helping you begin. 

Successful Alimony Negotiations 

  • Focus on finding a solution - Rather than hashing out old differences, stay task-oriented and work towards an outcome. Try not to make accusations; instead, communicate your feelings and focus on your priorities. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyerGetting divorced involves learning an entirely new vocabulary. Discovery? Allocation? Retainers? Although the amount of new information can seem overwhelming, taking it step-by-step and having a great divorce attorney can help you understand everything you need to know about the divorce process

But most people who are getting a divorce have never hired an attorney before, so even that can seem daunting. In this blog post, we will explain the basics of how someone can retain an attorney and how attorneys usually get paid. 

How Do Lawyers Get Paid in a Divorce Case? 

Not everybody has the same needs or budget in their divorce, so hiring an attorney can look a little different for everybody. Many attorneys offer hourly rates, limited scope representation, contingency fee agreements, or flat rate representation. However, for most people, the process of getting the help of an attorney means paying a retainer first. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyerAlthough some people getting divorced in Illinois want to hire an attorney who will represent them from the moment the divorce begins to the moment the final divorce decree is handed down, this is neither financially nor practically feasible for everyone. If you anticipate a simple divorce, have budgetary restraints, or simply have the desire to handle certain issues yourself, you may have another option: Limited scope representation. 

Illinois allows attorneys to limit the scope of their representation to clients if there are reasonable circumstances and the client understands and gives their consent. Attorneys can coach divorcees who wish to represent themselves, prepare evidence, and can even appear in court if necessary - but only if the client seeks that representation as part of their legal services. If you are considering getting divorced in Illinois and doubt that full-scale legal representation is right for you, read on. 

Divorce on a Budget

One of the reasons people avoid hiring an attorney during their divorce is because of financial concerns. Hiring an attorney, paying a retainer, and committing to making payments throughout the divorce process may simply be out of the question. Although these concerns are legitimate, it is rarely a good idea for people to pursue divorce without any legal assistance whatsoever. It is easy to overlook pitfalls, make mistakes, or fail to realize that you are getting taken advantage of. 

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Arlington heights child support lawyerChild support payments are a crucial part of ensuring children are raised in a way that meets their physical and emotional needs following a divorce. Generally, child support ends once a child turns 18 or graduates high school or college. For some adults, mental and physical disabilities make it impossible for them to live independent lives. In cases like this, child support payments may be extended so the child can maintain a reasonable standard of living, even as an adult. 

If you are parenting a disabled child and want to know more about what this might mean for child support payments, this blog may be helpful to you. Keep in mind that every situation is unique and that a qualified Illinois child support attorney is the best person to give you advice tailored to your situation. 

Determining Child Support for Disabled Adult Dependants

In Illinois, child support payments are based on both parents’ incomes and the amount of time each parent spends with their child. This allows parents to split the cost of raising a child in a way that is fair to everyone. Illinois has standard tables it uses to calculate child support payments, but judges have leeway to modify payments if they would be unfair or insufficient. 

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Arlington heights child support lawyer Child support payments are legally binding obligations. Once a divorce order has been finalized, parents cannot simply choose not to pay child support because they feel it is unfair or they cannot afford it, nor can former spouses renegotiate child support payments themselves without the assistance of the court. 

If a parent fails to make child support payments, in addition to jeopardizing their children’s well-being, they face serious legal consequences. For the parent who should be receiving child support, the lack of resources coupled with the frustration of recovering payments can present a very difficult challenge. Having the help of a qualified attorney can make the process easier and take some of the burden off of your shoulders. 

Consequences of Failing to Pay Child Support

Illinois has many strategies to bring non-compliant parents current on their child support payments. If a parent does not pay child support, the other parent can notify the Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS), which then begins monitoring the parent who is responsible for paying child support. Additionally, the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act provides criminal charges for parents who fail to pay, especially if they do so repeatedly. 

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arlington heights child support lawyer Child support is a notoriously difficult area of family law, both because of its emotional impact on the parents who give and receive it, and because of the complexity of the rules involved in determining and modifying the amount. 

Parents who are ordered to pay child support may feel angry or panicked if they worry they will not be able to make payments and maintain their own quality of life, but once a  child support order has been handed down, it is difficult to modify - even if the paying parent feels the order is deeply unfair. If you have been ordered to pay child support and you fear you cannot meet your obligations long-term, do not stop making your payments and consult a qualified Illinois child support attorney. 

When is it Possible to Modify an Illinois Child Support Order? 

During a couple’s divorce proceedings, judges will often order temporary child support. This can be modified at any time before the divorce decree is finalized. Once a divorce decree is finalized, the child support order can be modified at any time before the child support obligation terminates. There is no mandatory waiting period. That being said, Illinois law requires a “substantial change in circumstances” to have occurred before judges will approve an increase or decrease in child support. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerParents going through a divorce in Illinois may experience some understandable anxiety when faced with the prospect of making or receiving child support payments. The paying parent may worry whether they will be able to afford their payments and sustain their current standard of living. The receiving parent may worry that payments will not get made and that their children will suffer as a result. 

Illinois courts and judges take many factors into account when establishing a parent’s child support obligations. Understanding how these decisions are made is an important part of planning for your financial future. In this blog, we will explain the methods generally used to determine child support payments. It is important to remember that the exact calculation can be a lengthy and complex process, and the best person to answer your questions is an experienced Illinois family law attorney. 

What Factors Does a Court Consider Regarding Child Support? 

Courts can consider many factors, but the most important consideration is always the best interests of the child. In addition, the court can consider the following:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_415745011-min.jpgAlthough most spouses could comfortably walk away from their partner after a divorce and never speak to them again, reality does not work that way. Even after a couple gets divorced, several things can keep them connected long into the future. This is especially true if children are involved. Child support, spousal maintenance, and arranging shared parenting schedules often compel former spouses to work together for many years after the marriage has ended. 

This means that the decisions of each partner often affect the other, and few decisions have as much of an impact as the remarriage of a former spouse. Former spouses who wish to get remarried often wonder how their finances will change, and whether they will need to support two families and two spouses. This article will discuss the two most common issues a remarriage can impact - child support and spousal maintenance

How Does Remarriage Affect Child Support Payments? 

Child support orders are seldom terminated in the event of a remarriage. However, the remarriage of a paying spouse can affect his or her overall financial situation and be grounds for a modification in the amount of monthly child support payments. 

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arlington heights family law attorneyIn the rush and excitement of planning for a wedding, many couples overlook the importance of a prenuptial agreement. But after the wedding is over and they settle into real life as a married couple, they may want to create a shared arrangement regarding their finances. 

In many ways, postnuptial agreements are similar to prenuptial agreements. They can address how a couple will deal with day-to-day finances, work together towards retirement, and how they will allocate separate and marital property in the event of a divorce. Although prenuptial and postnuptial agreements may not seem romantic, they are actually a great way loving spouses can protect each other - whether they stay together or separate. 

Who Can Benefit From a Postnuptial Agreement? 

One common misconception about marital agreements is that they are only beneficial to older spouses, those who already have substantial financial resources, or those who share children from previous marriages. Although it is true that a prenup or postnup can be valuable to people in those circumstances, a postnuptial agreement can be equally valuable to a young couple just beginning their journey together in life. 

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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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