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Recent Blog Posts

Moving In with a New Partner May Terminate Spousal Maintenance Eligibility

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

ending payments, spousal maintenance, Illinois family law attorneysIf you are divorced or are in the process of getting divorced, it is understandable that you might feel lonely and desire the companionship of a romantic partner. New relationships are exciting and often rejuvenating, especially for an individual coming out of an unhappy marriage. However, if you are receiving spousal maintenance or have asked for maintenance in your divorce, it is important to understand the potential impact of a new relationship, especially if you are considering moving in together.

Spousal Support

The law in Illinois recognizes that, after a divorce, it is sometimes necessary to assist a lower-earning spouse in regaining his or her independence. Based upon a consideration of a number of factors related to the marriage, a court may order one party to provide spousal maintenance to the other for a period of time—or permanently, if the marriage was long enough. The specific calculations are expected to follow a standard set forth in the law, but the original determination of necessity is left to the court.

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"Life is Short" but He May Be Telling the Truth

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

infidelity, ashley madison, Illinois divorce attorneysHeadlines around the world are ablaze with news of a data dump including the hacked information of some 37 million people. The accounts are associated with subscribers of Ashley Madison, a website that advertises itself as a forum to connect married users looking to have an affair. Email addresses found among the hacked data have been linked to TV personalities, politicians, and military personnel, along with countless private citizens. The exposition of Ashely Madison’s subscriber lists has forced many couples into unexpectedly dealing with allegations of infidelity, and probably have some already considering divorce. Before making any rash decisions, it is important to realize that your spouse may not be lying about his behavior.

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My New Spouse Wants to Adopt My Children

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Adoption

stepparent adoption, Illinois law, Arlington Heights Family LawyerIn today’s world, blended families are becoming increasingly common. For some, it may be the result of a remarriage, while others are waiting longer to get married for the first time. Whatever the case, a marriage involving children from previous relationships can be both extremely challenging and very rewarding. What happens, however, when your new spouse expresses interest in pursuing the adoption of your child?

Why Adoption?

When you chose to marry your new spouse, you probably gave a great deal of thought to his suitability as a stepparent. Like most parents, you probably consider your child’s happiness and best interests in virtually every decision you make. Hopefully, the transition to a new parental situation has been a positive one for your child and his or her relationship with your spouse is becoming stronger every day. A stepparent bond does not require adoption to be effective; it is based on human interaction, trust, and mutual love.

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We Are Getting Divorced and My Spouse Is Spending All Our Money!

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

dissipation, wasting assets, Illinois family law attorneyOnce a couple has decided to separate or divorce, there will obviously be some expected costs. Often, the separation period currently required under Illinois law will force one spouse to find a new place, incurring expenses for rent, utilities, and day-to-day living. You and your soon-to-be ex may also spend money on counseling services, legal fees, and other incidentals, in preparation of or in reaction to the process of divorce. Sometimes, however, one or both spouses will use marital funds for other purposes while the dissolution is pending, which may be considered dissipation, depending on the circumstances.

Dissipated Assets

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers defines dissipation as "the use of marital property or funds for the benefit of one spouse for a purpose unrelated to the marriage." The caveat is that, in order to be dissipation, such use must occur while the marital relationship is irreconcilably breaking down, or after it has broken down completely. For example, a spouse in the midst of an otherwise healthy marriage who spends money on a lavish vacation with his or her friends may be guilty of misusing family money, but not dissipation. That same vacation taken as the marriage is falling apart may, in fact, be dissipation.

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Homework for Children with Two Homes

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Children of Divorce

homework, coparenting, Lombard family law attorneysAs the new academic year gets underway, recently divorced or separated parents may be dealing with certain issues for the first time. You may feel embarrassed going to meet with your child’s teachers, letting them know that this year might be a little rocky as you all adjust to a new post-divorce dynamic. Depending on your relationship and the circumstances of your split, your ex-spouse may be fully invested in helping your child minimize distractions and to make the most of the new school year. A cooperative approach is always preferable to contentiousness and, together, there are some steps the two of you can take to make your coparenting situation work.

Communicate

Above all else, the relevant people involved with your child’s education must be able to communicate with one another. Of course, you should be able to maintain an open dialogue with the other parent, but it is also important to communicate with teachers and administrators. More than just telling teachers that your child might have a rough time, take the time to talk with your child’s teacher. Be willing to accept feedback and professional opinions. Chances are, the teacher has dealt with shared custody situations before and may be equipped to quickly identify areas of concern. Additionally, if you, the other parent, and educators are all on the same page, your child will be less likely to "forget" about an assignment or to succeed at hiding poor performance.

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A Prenuptial Agreement Can Protect Your Children’s Inheritance Rights

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Prenuptial Agreement

inheritance, prenuptial agreement, Illinois Family Law AttorneyWhile many may view prenuptial agreements as necessary only for the rich and famous who stand to lose millions in divorce, the reality is much different. In fact, many marriage and financial experts recommend such agreements for all couples, especially those entering a second or subsequent marriage. In addition to outlining what is to happen with marital property in the event of death or divorce, can also be used to identify your own personal assets prior to marriage and establish a plan for their disposition as well.

Heirlooms and Inheritances

Consider a fairly specific, but not terribly uncommon scenario: For several generations, your family has passed down an item of both physical and sentimental value to the oldest child. This item previously belonged to your father, to his mother before him, and to her father before her. You inherited the asset prior to your marriage and long before you ever had children. Since the heirloom is an inheritance, and since it was acquired before marriage, it is not considered marital property by law. However, a prenuptial agreement can help you solidify the item’s status as personal property, retaining your ability to pass it down to your oldest child regardless of the state of your marriage.

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Be Wary of Dating During Divorce

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

dating, dating during divorce, Lombard Family Law AttorneysIf you are going through a divorce, you probably feel that your marriage was over a long time ago. The legal process of divorce may represent little more than a necessary formality so that you can get on with your life. As the proceedings continue, however, you may be inclined to begin a new romantic relationship, one in which you finally feel appreciated and empowered for the first time in quite a while. Of course, you have every right to seek happiness in your post-divorce situation, but until your divorce is finalized, it is probably a good idea to stay out of the dating scene.

Legal Considerations

From the standpoint of Illinois divorce law, there is nothing preventing you from pursuing a new relationship once the process of divorce has begun. If you choose to date, you will need be careful about what assets you may be using to fund your activities, though. Using your own money is fine, but inappropriately spending marital funds prior to the property division process may be considered dissipation, and you may be required to pay it back.

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Illinois Child Removal Laws Changing

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Child Custody

relocation, child removal, Kane County Family Law AttorneyA parent with primary physical custody of his or her child in Illinois will soon be subject to more stringent limitations regarding a move to a new residence. The changes are part of a larger family law overhaul passed by the state legislature earlier this year, and signed in July by Governor Bruce Rauner. Scheduled to take effect in 2016, the new amendment looks to address a loophole of sorts that has existed for years in Illinois law that, as of now, gives a custodial parent the freedom to move anywhere in the state without prior approval.

Two-Parent Involvement

Most of the provisions regarding family law in Illinois emphasize the best interests of a child and the positive impact of a healthy relationship with both parents. In almost every situation regarding custody and visitation, a court is required to consider how its decision will affect the parent-child interaction for both the custodial and non-custodial parent.  The current law does address a parent who wishes to move with the child, but only if the move is to a location outside of the state. On in-state moves, the law is silent. This potentially means that a parent could move from northern Chicago nearly 300 miles to East St. Louis, and according the provisions in the law, be entirely within his or her right to do so. The only exception would be if the custody order in force specifically prohibited the move.

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How Does Annulment Work in Illinois?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Dissolution of Marrage

annulment, Illinois law, Lombard family law attorneysUnder certain circumstance a marriage can be ended by an annulment or, as it is legally called in Illinois, a declaration of the invalidity of a marriage, instead of a divorce. An annulment means that, legally, the marriage never happened. There is no property division or spousal support when an annulment is granted. But, very few circumstances qualify for an annulment.

Annulment Requirements

The law presumes that a marriage is valid in most instances. You can only get an annulment in Illinois to a marriage performed in Illinois. Justifiable reasons for seeking an annulment include:

  • One spouse cannot legally consent to the marriage;
  • One spouse cannot have sexual intercourse and the other spouse did not this before the marriage;
  • One of the spouses is under 18 and failed to get the proper parental permission; and

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Child Representation: The Guardian ad Litem

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Child Custody

guardian ad litem, Illinois law, Arlington Heights family law attorneyIf the court presiding over your child custody or visitation dispute has appointed a guardian ad litem to your case, it is important to recognize the significance of such an appointment. It is also helpful to understand the guardian ad litem’s role so that you can be prepared to work closely with him or her in the fulfillment of the assigned duties. When utilized properly, a guardian ad litem can be a valuable resource in finding a workable, healthy resolution to any child-related legal matter.

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

Under Illinois law, only a qualified attorney can be appointed as a guardian ad litem (GAL) in family law cases. The attorney must also be properly trained and certified to serve in such a capacity, as required by the county or jurisdiction. Once appointed, the GAL works as an extension of the court and not as legal counsel for any party to the case. He or she is expected to determine a recommended outcome that will serve the best interests of the child and then to present that information to the court as, essentially, an expert witness.

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