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Arlington Heights divorce lawyerAfter years of unhappiness and frustration, you and your spouse finally took the necessary steps toward dissolving your marriage. The process was not easy—few divorces are—but you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is possible to be happy again, and your post-divorce reality offers the opportunity for you to reclaim your life and your health. In accordance with the law, the terms of your divorce are formally recorded as part of the judgment of dissolution of marriage. Going forward, it is the responsibility of both parties to remain in compliance with the judgment, which, as a court-issued directive, is enforceable with legal action. If your spouse is failing to keep up his or her end of the arrangement, though, it may be up to you to take control of the situation.

Common Reasons for Needing Enforcement

Every divorce is different, of course, as the challenges facing an individual couple are the result of their own unique circumstances. However, certain aspects of a divorce judgement are more likely than others to be the source of non-compliance. Spousal maintenance and child support obligations, along with concerns regarding parenting time, commonly create issues when one spouses refuses or is unable to comply with judgment. There may also be complications in completing the division of property process as, in many cases, the transfer of assets from one party to the other may take place over the weeks and months following the divorce.

Try to Communicate

When your ex-spouse is failing to comply with your divorce agreement, you have option of going right back into court with a petition to enforce the order. For child support issues, you may have other alternatives as well, but filing in court is certainly one of them. However, turning immediately to legal action may not set a desired precedent for your life after divorce. It may be better to try to discuss the issue with your ex-spouse, if he or she will communicate with you. You may find that there is a justifiable reason for his or her actions and that finding a resolution may be possible, either between the two of you alone or through mediation. On the other hand, if communication is not possible, the courtroom may be your only recourse.

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Arlington Heights divorce attorneysWhile the term “narcissist” is often used to reference a person who is very self-absorbed, it may also refer to an actual psychological condition. People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) often believe that they are superior to other people, require constant attention and praise, and engage in manipulative or controlling behavior.

If you are considering divorce and you are married to a narcissist, the road ahead will likely be filled with challenges and frustrations. Fortunately, you do not have to face these challenges alone. An experienced family law attorney can help you end your marriage as quickly and efficiently as possible while ensuring that your rights are fully protected.

Keep Copies of Communication and Financial Documents

Narcissists often lie, so having evidence of the real facts of your case is essential. Your spouse may attempt to hide assets or even purposely waste assets in order to reduce the property your receive in the divorce. Make copies of financial records such as tax returns, bank statements, retirement account statements, and credit card statements. Also, save emails, text messages, and other communications between yourself and your spouse that show his or her true nature. Evidence like this is extremely useful in proving your side of the case during your divorce proceedings.   

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Arlington Heights divorce lawyersWhen you got married, did you and your new spouse move into a home that one of your already owned or did you find a new house? Have you purchased a new home since your marriage?  The answers to those two questions could directly impact the division of property process should you and your spouse ever divorce.

Prior Ownership

According to the law in Illinois, all assets that were owned by either spouse prior to the marriage are considered individual property and are not subject to division upon divorce. Determining ownership is fairly easy for smaller items. For example, if you paid cash for a washing machine before you got married, you own it. Larger purchases and investments are a bit more complicated. Let’s assume that you made a $25,000 down payment on a house, for example, but you are only 15 years into a 30-year mortgage. Technically, the mortgage lender still owns about half of the house.

If you and your spouse moved into a home that you had already paid off at the time of the marriage, the house, in all likelihood, would not be considered marital property. If, however, you were still paying the house off for the first several years of the marriage, the funds used to pay off the mortgage were marital funds. Thus, the house, or at least a portion of its value, must be accounted for during the division of property.

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Arlington Heights family law attorneyStatistics regarding the prevalence of abuse and domestic violence are shocking. One in three women and one in four men have been physically abused by a spouse or significant other according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Of course, domestic violence does not only involve physical abuse. Verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, stalking, psychological manipulation, gaslighting, and controlling a person through threats and intimidation are also forms of domestic violence. If you are considering divorce, and your spouse has abused you either physically, mentally, financially, or otherwise, there are several considerations you should keep in mind.

Filing for an Order of Protection

The foundation of most abuse involves the abuser’s desire for power and control. Sometimes, when a victim of abuse decides to leave an abusive partner, the abuser realizes he or she is losing that control and becomes even more violent. If you are planning to leave your abusive spouse, you may want to obtain an order of protection, sometimes referred to as a restraining order. An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) is a legally-binding court order that prohibits an abusive or potentially abusive person from coming within a certain distance from or contacting the person who requested the order. An EOP can be obtained at your local county courthouse and lasts for up to 21 days. If you require protection after this period, you may petition the court for a Plenary Order of Protection which lasts up to two years. The order may also instruct the abusive person to stay away from your children. If you obtain an EOP against your spouse and he or she violates the terms of the EOP, you can call the police and have him or her immediately arrested.

Child Custody Concerns and Reaching a Fair Divorce Settlement

Domestic violence can have a significant impact on the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. Illinois courts make all child-related decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests and will never place a child in a dangerous situation. This means that if your spouse has a history of violent behavior, his or her parenting time is likely to be limited. The court’s primary goal is to ensure that your children are safe and that their best interests are served. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you petition the court to give you full parental responsibilities. A lawyer is also an invaluable asset when it comes to reaching a fair property division arrangement and requesting spousal support, or alimony.

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Arlington Heights family law attorneysThe state of Illinois believes that children deserve to benefit from financial support from both of their children. If your child’s father refuses to pay child support, there are several things you need to know. First, in order to request a child support order from the Illinois family court system, your child’s father must be formally established. There are several ways to accomplish this. Secondly, only child support orders established through the court can be legally enforced. Illinois courts do not have the authority to enforce informal child support orders. If you need help establishing paternity or child support or enforcing a current child support order, a qualified family law attorney can help.

How Do I Officially Establish Paternity?

If you and the child’s father were not married at the time your child was born, the state does not assume paternity. In such a situation, there are three ways that you can establish paternity. First, you and the father can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and file this document with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). However, if your child’s father does not admit that he is the father of your child, you may not be able to convince him to sign this document. The second way to establish paternity is to pursue an Administrative Paternity Order through the DHFS. Lastly, you can request an Order of Paternity to be established through the court. The father may be required to submit to DNA testing in order to establish that he is indeed the biological father of your children.

How Do I Get Child Support After Paternity Has Been Established?

After the legal relationship between your child and your child’s father is established, you will be able to pursue child support through the DHFS. If you already have a child support order but your child’s father is not paying, he faces several serious consequences. Child support nonpayment in Illinois is punishable by wage garnishments, property liens, driver’s license suspension, and more. In extreme cases, a father who does not pay court-ordered child support can be sentenced to jail. For help establishing child support for the first time or enforcing a current child support order, contact a family law attorney who is experienced in handling child support nonpayment issues.

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