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Recent Blog Posts

Are You Headed for Illinois Divorce Court?

 Posted on January 30, 2023 in Illinois Divorce

St. Charles, IL divorce lawyerMany couples reach a point where they are no longer sure if they want to be married any longer. Even good marriages can hit bumps in the road. So how do you know when you are in a “this too shall pass” moment or if the marriage really has too many problems to work through and it would be better to divorce? The following are some signs that indicate it may be time to contact a Kane County divorce attorney and find out what your legal options may be.

Apathy

Just like the old song “The Thrill Is Gone” laments, one of the most difficult realizations a person can have when examining the state of their marriage is that they are no longer in love with their spouse. The spark that once was there has disappeared. If you no longer feel as if fighting for your marriage is worth it, it may not be. 

Avoidance

Having time to yourself is important, especially when juggling children, household duties, and work. But spending time with your spouse is also important to the health of your marriage. If you find yourself avoiding spending time with your spouse, looking for excuses to leave the house when they are there, and just avoiding making plans together, this is another indicator that there are issues in your relationship that may be impossible to fix.

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Planning Financially for Your Illinois Divorce

 Posted on January 23, 2023 in Illinois Divorce

St. Charles, IL divorce lawyerGetting divorced brings about myriad changes in a person’s life. One of the most significant of those changes is the impact that divorce has on a person’s financial landscape. In many situations, a person getting divorced is going from a two-income household to a one-income household. If you are thinking about ending your marriage, there are some important steps you should take to protect your financial future.

Figure Out Your Budget

It is important to know what your monthly expenses are. Make a list of what your typical monthly expenses are, including your mortgage or rent, electric, heat, internet, phone, vehicle payment, child care, insurance, etc. This list should also include other expenses you may have such as entertainment expenses, vacations, out-of-pocket medical expenses, children’s extra-curricular activities, etc.

Once you have determined what your expenses are, take a look at what your monthly income is, including what it will be once the divorce process is complete. In addition to your income, will you be receiving child support and/or spousal support or will you be paying those obligations to your ex?

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Can a Prenup Protect You From Your Spouse’s Debt?

 Posted on January 16, 2023 in Family Law

Kane County prenuptial agreement attorneyMost people who hear about prenuptial agreements think that these legal contracts are used by engaged couples who have high assets in order to protect those assets should the marriage not work out and they divorce. And while that is true, what is also true is that prenuptial agreements can also be used to protect one spouse from the other spouse’s debt should they divorce.

How Much Debt Are We Carrying?

Years ago, most people did not “live on credit.” Other than the mortgage on their home and vehicle loans, cash was king. If you wanted to purchase a large ticket item for your home, take a vacation, etc., you saved your money and then paid for the item in cash.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, retail stores began offering customers store credit cards, where the customer could charge their purchases and pay the balance off over time. Although there were some bank-issued credit cards during this time, MasterCard, Visa, and other major cards did not really gain popularity until the 1980s. Today, the average American owes approximately $5,200 in credit card debt.

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Is an Illinois Legal Separation an Option for Your Marriage?

 Posted on January 10, 2023 in Illinois Divorce

St. Charles, IL legal separation lawyerIt is not uncommon for married couples to sometimes go through periods of difficulties. The couple may try to work through these problems, but find them too overwhelming and question whether they want to stay married. While many of these couples will go straight to the phone and call a divorce attorney, some couples may be unsure if divorce is the right option for them. They may not be ready to take that permanent step of ending their marriage, yet they also know they do not want to live with their spouse at this time. In these situations, a legal separation may be the solution.

Legal Separation

When a couple decides to divorce, one spouse will file a divorce petition and the process will begin – working out a parenting plan, deciding the division of assets, setting spousal support, etc. When a married couple decides to take a break from each other, they may not think that they need to involve the court, without realizing that there are still legal issues that should be addressed.

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Tips for Illinois Child Custody Cases

 Posted on December 27, 2022 in Child Custody & Allocation of Parental Responsibility

St. Charles, IL family lawyerChild custody cases are rarely simple. Unfortunately, many parents lose sight of what is really important and instead are determined to “win” at any cost. This mindset usually continues after the case is over and it can be challenging to co-parent with these types of people. If parents are unable to collaborate during the negotiations for determining the allocation of parental responsibilities and a parenting time schedule, this can have a negative impact on the final outcome of any custody agreements.

It is critical for the child’s emotional well-being that both parents focus on being the best parents for their child during these negotiations and beyond. The following are some of the issues that parents should absolutely avoid. For more detailed information about your particular circumstances, contact a Kane County family law attorney.

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Do You Qualify for an Illinois Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage?

 Posted on December 20, 2022 in Illinois Divorce

Kane County divorce attorneyMany of the divorces we hear about in the media that involve celebrities, athletes, and politicians often involve knock-down, drag-out fights, taking months – if not years – to settle. These types of divorces can also be found in our own social circles. If you are considering divorce but cannot imagine you and your spouse engaging in this type of process, you may just qualify for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage.

Contested and Uncontested Divorces in Illinois

If a spouse contests a divorce, it does not mean that they will permanently stop the divorce. It just means that the couple does not agree on at least one major issue they need to decide on, such as asset division or child support. While a contested divorce usually ends up taking much longer and costs a lot more than an uncontested divorce – one where the couple does agree on all major issues – it will eventually come to a legal conclusion.

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Social Security Benefits and Divorce

 Posted on December 13, 2022 in Illinois Divorce

Kane County divorce lawyerIn an Illinois divorce, the assets the couple has amassed during their marriage have to be equitably distributed between the two. If the marriage is young, that marital estate is often not a complicated one. However, in today’s society, one of the fastest-growing types of divorce is a “gray divorce.” Gray divorce is one in which couples over the age of 50 decide to end their long-term marriage. Due to the length of the marriage, the marital estate is often a more complex one to distribute than an estate from a marriage between a younger couple. Not only may the older couple have property to divide up, but there are also often complex financial accounts, such as pensions and 401(k)s, that are part of the marital estate. This leads many people to wonder how their Social Security retirement benefits could also be impacted by their divorce.

Social Security Retirement Funds

The good news is that the court does not consider Social Security retirement benefits as part of the marital estate. Divorce is handled on a state level, with each state making its own dissolution of marriage laws. However, Social Security rules and regulations are handled by the federal government. States have no oversight or input into how that system is run.

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Divorce and Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Violence

 Posted on December 06, 2022 in Illinois Divorce

St. Charles, IL divorce attorneyOn January 1, 2023, the SAFE-T Act (Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today Act) will go into effect. The Act addresses a number of criminal justice reform issues, including the elimination of cash bail. According to the new law, judges will determine whether defendants charged with a specific set of violent misdemeanors and specific felonies pose a flight risk, pose a risk to another person, or pose a risk to the public or if they can be released. The changes mean that a judge has the discretion to release a defendant who is charged with domestic violence or other violent crime without the requirement of monetary bail.

This has led some state prosecutors to begin filing individual petitions to keep violent defendants – who could qualify for release when the new law goes into effect – in jail while they await trial. One county’s state prosecutor’s office has already filed petitions on more than 50 domestic violence defendants.

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Proving Paternity in Illinois

 Posted on December 01, 2022 in Paternity

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_526720966-1.jpgMany people are familiar with the line, “You are (are not) the father!” The line – often repeated tongue-in-cheek – was made famous by daytime talk show host Maury Povich. Many episodes of the show were centered around participants who were either trying to prove or disprove allegations that they were the parent of a child. At some point during the episode, the results of a paternity test would be revealed to the show participants and the audience the results, with the host delivering his famous line.

The reality for many people, however, is that paternity of a child is anything but entertainment. Proving paternity means a father will have parenting rights, as well as being required to contribute to the financial support of a child. In Illinois, paternity is determined in several ways.

Presumptions of Paternity

The state of Illinois has enacted presumptions of paternity in certain cases where there is a question of who a child’s father is. The state may presume the person is the child’s father in the following situations:

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Is Your Ex Guilty of Parental Alienation?

 Posted on November 16, 2022 in Child Custody & Allocation of Parental Responsibility

Kane County, IL parental alienation lawyerParental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) has been recognized by some in the medical community since 1985 when one child psychologist identified the similar behaviors that children exhibit when they have been exposed to parental alienation by one or both parents. In the decades since, the syndrome has yet to be recognized by the American Psychological Association or the American Medical Association.

Despite the debates over whether PAS per se actually exists, there is no debate about the existence of parental alienation. Unfortunately, it occurs far too often in divorce and child custody situations.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation is when one parent disparages the other parent to their child, deliberately manipulating the child’s perceptions of the parent, with the goal of turning the child against that parent. For example, a father may tell his children that their mother will stop loving them just like she did him or a mother tells her children that their father is going to forget all about them now that he has a new girlfriend.

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