IL divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce is like navigating a stormy sea, filled with emotional turbulence and financial challenges. The unraveling of what was once a shared vision of the future introduces a wave of uncertainties, particularly in the realm of finances. It goes beyond the immediate concerns of possibly drastic changes in monthly income and for some people, military benefits for spouses. The journey becomes even more intricate due to the notable divorce rate among military couples, where an estimated 20,000 divorces occur annually. If you are a military spouse it is important that you understand the complexities of not only ending a marriage but also the intricacies of military-related benefits. You need a skilled divorce Illinois attorney to help you sort it all out.

How Are Military Pensions Divided?

When it comes to splitting military pensions during a divorce in Illinois, it is different from regular pensions. It depends on where you file for a military divorce. In Illinois, the state can only decide how the military pension gets divided if:

  • The military person lives there.
  • The military person is a legal resident there.
  • The military person agrees to let the state decide.

If these things do not happen, the state cannot say how the military pension should be divided. So, having a good divorce lawyer who knows about these things is super important.

What Is the 20-20-20 rule?

After the divorce, keeping military benefits in Illinois depends on the 20-20-20 rule which works something like this: if the military member served for at least 20 years, the couple was married for 20 years, and there is a 20-year overlap of military service and marriage, then a former spouse can still get military benefits after the divorce. If you are going through a divorce, especially if you are somehow connected to the military, it would be recommended that you talk to a divorce lawyer who knows their stuff. They can help protect your rights and figure out all the details about military benefits. The last thing you want is to lose some very important benefits that you are rightfully entitled to.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Kane County, IL Divorce Lawyer

If you are in Illinois and need legal help with your divorce, especially if you or your spouse is in the military, reach out to an experienced St. Charles, IL divorce attorney. Call Shaw Sanders, P.C. at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation and see how they can help.

Is a Prenuptial Agreement a Good Idea?

Posted on in Divorce

IL family lawyerThe future is unpredictable, therefore, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements empower couples to plan for various scenarios. Ultimately, whether a prenup is a good idea depends on the specific needs and priorities of the individuals involved. It is a personal decision that should be made with careful consideration and, ideally, with open and honest communication between partners. You should consult with an Illinois family law attorney who can provide valuable insights into the legal implications of a prenup and help ensure that the agreement is fair and enforceable.

How Do Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Differ?

Marital agreements help provide clarity and set terms for financial matters in the event of a divorce, but the timing and circumstances surrounding their creation vary in the following ways:

  • Prenuptial agreement – Typically initiated when a couple is planning to get married and wants to establish the terms of their financial arrangement in case of divorce.
  • Postnuptial agreement – Created after marriage, often prompted by a change in circumstances, a desire to formalize financial arrangements, or simply a realization that certain matters need clarification.

Why Are These Marital Agreements Growing in Popularity?

In the past, prenuptial agreements were primarily associated with the wealthy elite, but this perception has undergone a significant shift in recent years. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements have become increasingly popular among couples from diverse backgrounds, serving as crucial legal documents to determine the fate of assets in the event of divorce or death. Couples from all walks of life now opt for prenuptial or postnuptial agreements for various reasons, including:

  • Wealth disparity – When one spouse has significantly more wealth than the other, a prenuptial agreement can prevent financial motives from influencing the marriage.
  • Blended families –In cases where one spouse has children from a previous marriage, a prenuptial agreement safeguards the inheritance of those children.
  • Business ownership – If one spouse owns a business or a share of a business, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement ensures the business remains intact and is not subject to division in the event of divorce or death.
  • Debt considerations – If one spouse enters the marriage with substantial debt, a prenuptial agreement can absolve the other spouse of responsibility for that debt in case of divorce.
  • Asset or Debt Acquisition – Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements can exclude specific items from the property division process during a divorce, particularly assets or debts acquired during the marriage.

 Schedule a Free Consultation with a Kane County, IL Family Law Lawyer

 If you and your significant other are considering the protection offered by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, reach out to Shaw Sanders, P.C.. A skilled St. Charles, IL family law attorney will assist you in drafting and negotiating the necessary legal documents to move forward with your plans. Call 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

IL family lawyerCollege expenses keep climbing in Illinois every year. If your ex is not exactly on board with chipping in for those hefty tuition bills, the court can step in and decide on payments. If you are a divorced parent or about to be one, it is crucial to know what Illinois law says about kicking in for your child’s college. You need help with child support. At Shaw Sanders, P.C., a St. Charles, Illinois family attorney can help you navigate this legal journey. 

How Can The Law Help Me and My Child? 

If your ex is giving you the runaround, it is time to take action. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is your ally. Under Illinois law, unmarried or divorced parents are required to contribute to college tuition, housing, and other costs. You or your legal guardian can file a petition with the court and make your ex cough up their share of the college fund. The court has some serious tools in its arsenal. They can slap your ex with fines, hold them in contempt, or even order their wages to be garnished.

If your parents agreed in their divorce settlement to help with college costs, they are legally bound to do so. It is not just a suggestion; it is the law. If your parents did not specifically address college expenses in their divorce decree, you can still file a petition asking the court to decide if your parent should contribute.

What If Both Parents Cannot Agree on Who Pays What?

 If both parents cannot agree on who pays what, the court steps in and decides. It looks at how much each parent can pay, any cash you are getting from scholarships or other support, and your own money.

There is a limit to what the court can make your parents pay. They will not have to cover more than what it costs at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign for one year, which is a little over $20,000. So, an out-of-state private school may be out of the question. The law allows for up to five college applications, two college entrance exams, and one prep course. Contributions stop when you hit 23, tie the knot, join the military, or if your child’s grades slip below a "C."


IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce is tough. When it comes to your business, it is not just about the emotional rollercoaster but the legal puzzle. If you are worried you will lose your business in the divorce, it is a good idea to have a business valuation performed. You need an experienced divorce attorney skilled in business valuation on your side. If you and your spouse can maintain a civil relationship, you may negotiate a settlement without heading to court. However, if you anticipate a contentious divorce, it is best to let your Illinois attorney handle the negotiations on your behalf. 

What is the Value of Your Business?

In Illinois, businesses are considered property, just like your home. So, if you are going through a divorce, it is essential to figure out how your business fits into the picture and what it is worth. Your first move should be to get a precise and thorough appraisal of your company's value. Whether it is a small home-based business or a larger corporation, an accurate valuation is crucial to determine its worth during the divorce process. Working with a professional business appraiser is key to creating a comprehensive report that covers your business's assets, debts, and current value.

What are My Rights Regarding Ownership?

In Illinois, most property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. Unless you have legally separated your business through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, there is a good chance that part or all of your business falls under marital property. This means your spouse has a claim to a share of your business's value. If you choose to retain the company, you may be required to compensate your spouse for their part.

Is My Business a Marital Asset?

Your business may be considered a marital asset if you acquired ownership during your marriage. However, if you started your business before you got married, it does not automatically become a marital asset, though there can be exceptions. In some cases, only a part of your business may be considered marital property, while the rest remains separate and not subject to division. But, here is the game-changer: if you have a valid and enforceable prenuptial agreement, it can shield your business from being divided.

Are There Ways to Keep My Business?

If your business is deemed a marital asset to be divided during your divorce, it does not necessarily mean your spouse will become a co-owner. Here are some options to consider:


IL custody lawyerThe news of a divorce can be distressing for your child, but engaging in arguments and conflicts with your spouse can be more unsettling for them. If you use mediation instead of confrontations in the long run, it is better for your child's well-being. Research indicates that children who do better after a divorce have parents who communicate and compromise without getting into fights. If you believe you and your spouse can have a civil discussion, a skilled Illinois mediation attorney can try to help.

How Can Mediation Reduce Turmoil?

Mediation involves using a neutral third party to assist parents in resolving custody-related issues. A mediator, often an attorney, looks at all the pieces involving the divorce. Engaging in a bitter custody battle can be emotionally traumatizing for a child, but when children witness their parents communicating and finding common ground, it can mitigate the emotional turmoil they experience. So, even if you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse do not see eye to eye, an experienced mediator can guide you back on track and ensure that discussions are less stressful.

Can Mediation Lead to Easier Co-Parenting Plans?

Mediation gives parents important skills, such as effective communication, flexibility, and negotiation abilities. It is essential for both parents to play an active role in their child's life and learn how to compromise for the child's sake.

Researchers have compared the effects of mediation to litigation in child custody cases. They found that twelve years after a divorce, mediation encourages both parents to stay involved in their children's lives without increasing conflict. It also found that parents who do not live with their children were three times more likely to have weekly contact with their children compared to parents who went through a court battle. 

Mediation allows both parents to discuss their parenting plans while a mediator helps them reach agreements. This is important because if a judge has to make the decision, he or she may not consider unique family circumstances or holidays. Mediation gives parents more control over the decision-making process. And parents are more likely to follow through if they collaborate on a plan for raising their children post-divorce.


IL divorce lawyerDivorce is a life-altering decision, and in Illinois, it is a process with substantial financial consequences. However, an aspect that often gets overlooked amidst the emotional turmoil is the significant tax implications that accompany the dissolution of a marriage. Do not wait until tax season to discover that you are facing unexpected tax bills or missed opportunities for savings. You need an Illinois tax implications divorce attorney to help you minimize your tax liability and maximize your tax advantages.

What Tax Factors Should I Consider During a Divorce?

You may think that once the divorce papers are signed, the ordeal is finally over. However, taxes are looming, and your emotional state is often not considered when it comes to paying the IRS. Under Illinois law, when assets are divided, decisions about spousal maintenance, child support, and property settlements can have a massive impact on your tax liability. Ignoring these factors during your divorce could lead to unpleasant surprises when you file your next tax return.

What if I Kept the House after the Divorce?

Another pressing matter is the family home. If it is decided that one spouse will keep the house, they should be aware of the capital gains tax implications. There is a tax exemption for home sales, but it is crucial to understand the requirements and deadlines to avoid unexpected tax bills down the road.

Are There Tax Advantages if I Get Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance in Illinois is often a significant part of divorce negotiations. In Illinois, the spouse who pays spousal support cannot deduct those costs on federal or state tax forms. The person who receives spousal maintenance does not have to declare spousal maintenance as taxable income.

 Who Benefits from the Child Tax Credit?


IL divorce lawyerDivorce rates among individuals over 50 are on the rise, with those aged 65 and older seeing a threefold increase in divorce since 1990. Amidst the emotional strain of any divorce, financial uncertainties loom large in what is recently being called a gray divorce. These couples often have substantial retirement assets and what you once considered exclusively yours may need to be reevaluated. After a divorce, the last thing you want is to discover that you did not receive the complete retirement benefits you were entitled to. You need an Illinois retirement assets divorce attorney to assist you with the legal aspects.

Will I Be Penalized for Early Withdrawals During a Divorce?

Under Illinois law, in a marriage, retirement savings are considered marital assets, regardless of the account holder's name. Whether you have a pension, 401(k), IRA, or any other retirement plan, it could be divided during a divorce if it is considered a marital asset.

If the account existed before the marriage, only the growth in its value is typically divided during a divorce, unless a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement states otherwise.

When splitting these assets, it is essential to consider the tax implications of early withdrawal. 

There are two primary methods:


IL divorce lawyerSame-sex marriages are allowed in Illinois, but there are still many couples who opt for civil unions. In Illinois, civil unions provide couples with the same legal rights and responsibilities as marriage. When it comes to a civil union dissolution, the same issues need to be addressed as in a divorce. If you have been cohabitating and are planning to call it quits, it is best to work with an experienced Illinois civil union dissolution attorney to protect your rights.

How is Property Divided if We Were Just Living Together?  

Same-sex marriages have been legal since 2015 in the United States. But the reality is that many same-sex couples were already living together in Illinois. A civil union dissolution can complicate how their property is divided if the couple is considering parting ways. Illinois law states that assets acquired during the marriage are considered marital property, while assets acquired before the marriage are non-marital property, with some exceptions. If a couple lived together but did not marry, the money and possessions they obtained during that time may be seen as non-marital property.

How Can Same-Sex Couples Deal with Child Custody Issues?

Child custody can also be a complex issue for same-sex couples. For instance, if one spouse has a child with a previous partner, their current spouse may not automatically have any legal rights to parenting time or parental responsibilities. This can be tough for both the step-parent and the child involved. The good news is that Illinois law allows step-parents to request visitation with the child in specific circumstances. In these situations, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney who can strongly represent your rights in and out of family court.

What Happens to Our Children if We End Our Civil Union?

In Illinois, the courts act in the best interest of the children when determining child custody.

Sorting out child-related matters is often the trickiest and sometimes most conflict-ridden part of ending a civil union. If both partners are legal parents to the children, they need to create a parenting plan for the court. This plan outlines how they will divide parental responsibilities and parenting time. If both partners agree, they can submit a joint parenting plan.


St. Charles, IL spousal support lawyerIt is a myth that spousal support is a form of revenge. It is not about one spouse penalizing the other for past mistakes such as infidelity. Instead, it is determined by a couple's financial situation and needs. This holds significant weight, especially for women facing a midlife divorce. Research reveals that women are more likely to live below the federal poverty line compared to men. The harsh reality is that women still often earn less than men, and this earnings gap often widens as they age. You need a skilled Illinois divorce attorney to advocate for your long-term needs and ensure that spousal support is handled fairly in your divorce.

What Should Be Considered When Asking for Spousal Support?

Recent trends reveal a rising number of men and women in long-term marriages choosing to call it quits. Unfortunately, the financial repercussions tend to hit women the hardest, often resulting in a 45 percent decrease in their standard of living.

It is important to reach out to a skilled divorce attorney if you are seeking guidance on spousal maintenance and how it can help you maintain your current lifestyle. You should consider the division of marital assets, which can include pension plans and stock options. Couples should also address the allocation of marital debt and establish arrangements for child support. Your financial future is at stake, so it is crucial to navigate these matters wisely.

How is Spousal Maintenance Calculated?

When going through a divorce, safeguarding your assets and minimizing risks is crucial. Under Illinois law, there is a formula to determine the amount and duration of spousal maintenance once a judge determines that a spouse is entitled to spousal maintenance.

Keep in mind that the length of support awarded depends on the duration of the marriage, with the court possibly granting permanent maintenance for marriages lasting 20 years or more. The spousal maintenance amount is calculated as 30 percent of the payor's gross income minus 20 percent of the payee's gross income.


How Can I Request a Child Support Increase?

Posted on in Divorce

St. Charles child support lawyerRising costs in Illinois after COVID-19 have strained many people, making it tough to manage finances. Amid labor shortages, some employers boosted pay to keep employees. If you suspect your ex received a substantial raise, you can petition the court to reassess child support payments. If you have custody of your children and need increased child support to cover added expenses, consult an Illinois attorney for guidance on modifying your support order.

What Is the Process to Change a Child Support Order?

Child support is typically paid to the parent who is awarded the most parenting time and with whom the child lives. The non-residential parent is the one who pays child support. Under Illinois law, if you want to change the amount of money you pay or receive for child support, there is a legal process you must follow. You need to prove to the court that there has been a significant change in your circumstances that justifies adjusting the child support payments. This legal adjustment is often called a modification.

If you know that your ex-spouse got a higher-paying job while you are facing increased expenses, you can ask the court to reconsider your child support payments. To succeed in modifying child support, you must demonstrate substantial changes, such as a significant income increase or decrease, a change in custody arrangements, or other substantial shifts in your financial situation. The court will carefully evaluate these changes before deciding whether a modification is warranted.

How is a Child Support Amount Decided?

The court determines how much money is needed to care for a child by looking at both parents' incomes together. Then, they split this amount between the parents, considering how much money each parent gets after taxes and other deductions. They also consider how much time each parent spends with the child and their responsibilities to the child.

Usually, the law has clear rules to decide how much child support should be paid each month. But sometimes, there can be arguments about what counts as a parent's net income and whether extra money should be given for things like the child's health, education, and activities outside of school.


Kane County divorce lawyersYou may believe that getting a divorce should be straightforward if you are in an abusive relationship and want to break free. In Illinois, one out of every three women is in an abusive relationship, including physical harm to emotional abuse. Unfortunately, getting a divorce in Illinois is not necessarily easier if there is a history of domestic violence. However, the presence of domestic abuse can significantly influence other aspects of the divorce process, especially child custody. Only an experienced Illinois attorney can help you understand the process.

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

Illinois follows a no-fault divorce system, which means neither spouse can blame the other for calling it quits. Factors like physical or mental cruelty, adultery, or even issues like alcohol abuse can no longer be used as reasons to seek a divorce. In order to file for a no-fault divorce in Illinois, you will need to demonstrate these three key elements:

  • Irreconcilable Differences – You must show that these differences are the primary cause of your marriage breaking down.
  • Failed Reconciliation Efforts – You should be able to provide evidence that you have tried to work on your marriage without success.
  • Not in the Family's Best Interests – You must show that continuing the marriage is not in the best interests of your family.

Courts do prioritize the safety and well-being of individuals involved, particularly children, when there is a history of domestic violence. In such cases, orders of protection may be put in place, and the court may take extra precautions to ensure the safety of the abused spouse and children when making custody and visitation decisions.

How Can I Get an Order of Protection?

Physical harm like punching and hitting is not okay. If you or your kids are in immediate danger, you should quickly file for an Order of Protection. In Illinois, you can usually get a temporary Order of Protection right away. But to make it permanent, you will need to attend a hearing.

You cannot simply claim domestic violence. You must be able to prove the abuse during divorce proceedings. It is imperative that you gather and preserve evidence to support your allegations. Photos, police reports, medical records, emails, texts, and videos will help establish the abuse and help paint a picture in court.


Is Mediation During My Divorce Right for Me?

Posted on in Divorce

St. Charles mediation lawyerIf you want to dodge the courtroom drama, mediation during a divorce could be a game-changer. Instead of fighting in court, a mediator will step in to help you and your soon-to-be ex settle your differences quickly. You will be able to address everything from child custody to property division. A mediation attorney in Illinois can make a complicated divorce process smoother and ensure your agreements meet legal requirements. 

What is Mediation?

Under the Uniform Mediation Act couples can talk with a neutral person who is not on anyone's side to work out their problems instead of going to court. In many cases, the court will ask a couple to go through mediation first.

The process of mediation is a helpful way to solve problems in many legal situations, but it is especially useful in family law cases like divorce. Here is why:

  • No More Fights – Mediation helps people work together to solve issues without arguing or fighting.
  • Keep a Good Relationship – After divorce mediation, people usually get along better, which is great for parents with children who still need to work together.
  • Save Time – Mediation is faster than having lawyers argue in court, which can take a long time.
  • Save Money – Mediation costs less than going to court and hiring lawyers for a big fight. 

Is there an Advantage to Having a Mediator who is also an Attorney?

Having a mediator who is also an attorney in Illinois can be beneficial during a divorce, especially when things get complicated for some of the following reasons:

  • Court-Ordered Mediation – In many Illinois counties, the court may require mediation for parental responsibilities and parenting time. If you hire an attorney-mediator upfront, you will not be assigned a mediator, and you will have someone with substantial legal knowledge helping you.
  • Legal Knowledge – They know Illinois laws well and can ensure that you understand the legal and financial implications of your decisions. They can also create a Memorandum of Understanding that could become a legally binding agreement when signed by a judge.
  • Children Issues – In Illinois, a parenting plan is crucial for sharing parental responsibilities and time with your kids, and this can often lead to disagreements. A mediator who is an attorney can help smooth this out.
  • Spousal Support – Figuring out financial support for a spouse based on the length of the marriage can be sensitive. An attorney-mediator can help you navigate this issue.
  • Skilled Negotiation – A certified mediator who is also an attorney is great at helping the divorcing couple talk through tough issues and find solutions. 

Schedule a free consultation with a St. Charles, IL Mediation Attorney

At Shaw Sanders, P.C., we understand that sometimes couples simply want to go their separate ways quickly.


Kane County divorce lawyerDivorce is often a complex and emotionally charged process, especially when financial matters come into play. The division of marital assets is a critical aspect of divorce proceedings. Illinois law mandates that both spouses provide complete and accurate financial disclosure. Unfortunately, some individuals may attempt to conceal or hide assets to gain a financial advantage during the divorce. However, the consequences of such actions can be severe and far-reaching. Suppose you suspect your spouse is trying to hide assets in your divorce. In that case, it's imperative to consult with your St. Charles high asset divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Legal Obligation of Full Financial Disclosure

In Illinois, spouses have a legal duty to provide complete and honest financial information during divorce proceedings. This disclosure is essential for ensuring an equitable distribution of marital property and spousal support arrangements. Both parties must provide a comprehensive list of all assets, liabilities, income, expenses, and financial documents. Attempting to hide assets or misrepresent financial information breaches this legal obligation and can have serious repercussions.

Consequences of Hiding Assets in Divorce

Hiding assets in any type of divorce can have serious legal, social, and practical consequences, such as the following:

  • Loss of Credibility: Concealing assets undermines your credibility in court. Judges and legal professionals rely on transparency and honesty throughout the divorce process. If you are caught hiding assets, your credibility can be significantly damaged, potentially affecting the outcome of other aspects of your case.
  • Financial Penalties: Courts take asset hiding seriously and may impose monetary penalties as a consequence. You could be required to pay the other party's legal fees or fines aimed at discouraging such behavior and compensating for the time and resources spent uncovering hidden assets.
  • Voiding Agreements: If you succeed in hiding assets and reach a settlement or agreement based on inaccurate financial information, the court can nullify the agreement once the hidden assets are exposed. This can lead to prolonged legal battles and additional expenses.
  • Criminal Charges: In extreme cases, deliberately hiding assets can lead to criminal charges of perjury, contempt of court, or fraud. These charges can carry severe legal penalties, including fines and imprisonment.
  • Loss of Trust and Cooperation: Divorce is undoubtedly emotionally taxing, and trust is often strained. Attempting to hide assets further erodes trust between spouses, making it more challenging to work together on other divorce-related matters, such as child custody and support.

Attempting to hide assets during an Illinois divorce is a risky and ill-advised strategy. The consequences of such actions can be severe, ranging from financial penalties to damaged credibility and even criminal charges. The divorce process is inherently complex, and it's in your best interest to approach it with honesty, transparency, and legal guidance to ensure a fair and equitable resolution for both spouses.

Protecting Your Interests in a High Asset Divorce

If you believe your spouse is hiding assets during a divorce, it is essential to consult with an experienced St. Charles high asset divorce attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the legal process, gather evidence, and advocate for your rights in court. By enlisting professional help, you can ensure that the division of assets is conducted fairly and transparently, minimizing the potential for long-term consequences. Contact Shaw Sanders, P.C. online or by phone at 630-584-5550 to schedule a no-obligation case review.


A person does not need to be a blood relative of a child in order to love and care about him or her. If you married someone who already had a child, it is possible that you have spent a great deal of time getting to know the child and providing for his or her needs. You may even think of the child as if he or she was your own biological offspring. If this situation describes you, you may be wondering what it takes to adopt your stepchild. Stepparent adoptions can sometimes be complicated personally as well as legally. This is why it is a good idea to work with a skilled Illinois stepparent adoption lawyer who has experience handling stepparent adoption cases.

Stepparent Adoption Criteria

Stepparent adoption is a significantly different process than other types of adoption. In many cases, an investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services or background check is not required. In order to qualify for a stepparent adoption, the following criteria must be met:

  • The stepparent is legally married to the child's parent. Boyfriends and girlfriends cannot proceed with a stepparent adoption even if they have been heavily involved in the child's life.
  • If the child is 14 years old or older, he or she must agree to the adoption. Teenagers have the ability to block a stepparent adoption.
  • The parental rights of the child's other parent have been terminated.

According to the law, a child can only have two legal parents. If your stepchild's other parent is still alive, he or she will need to terminate his or her parental rights in order for you to be able to adopt the child.

Reasons for the Termination of Parental Rights

In some cases, a parent may voluntarily terminate his or her parental rights in order to allow a stepparent adoption. However, if the other parent does not consent to the adoption, the process becomes more complicated. If you wish to adopt your stepchild but your child's other parent objects to the adoption, the only way you can adopt the child is by having the other parent's parental rights involuntarily terminated. The court will terminate the parent's rights if it determines that the parent is "unfit." According to Illinois law, a parent may be considered unfit if he or she:


Life after divorce can be overwhelming, and seeking professional guidance is crucial to navigating the legal complexities successfully.Divorce can be an emotionally challenging and life-altering experience. As you navigate the process and move forward with life after divorce in Illinois, it's essential to be aware of the legal considerations that can significantly impact your future. From financial matters to child custody arrangements, understanding your rights and obligations is crucial. When you work closely with an experienced St. Charles divorce attorney, they can help you explore the essential legal considerations for life after divorce.

Property Division and Asset Management

In Illinois, the division of property during a divorce follows the principle of equitable distribution. This means that marital assets are divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Reviewing the final divorce decree is essential to ensure that all property settlements are accurately reflected. 

After the divorce, you must take charge of managing your share of the assets, including bank accounts, investments, real estate, and personal property. Consider updating beneficiaries on insurance policies, retirement accounts, and wills to reflect your changed circumstances.

Alimony or Spousal Support

If alimony (also known as spousal support) was awarded during the divorce proceedings, you must understand your rights and obligations regarding ongoing payments. Adhering to the court-ordered terms is essential whether you are the recipient or the paying spouse. Changes in financial circumstances, such as job loss or significant pay raises, may warrant a modification of the alimony arrangement, but this must be done through proper legal channels. Having your St. Charles divorce attorney help you with any necessary modifications is best.

Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody and visitation arrangements are of utmost importance for divorces involving children. Illinois courts prioritize the best interests of the child when determining custody. Life after divorce may require flexibility and effective communication with your ex-spouse to ensure that your children's needs are met. If necessary, you can seek modifications to custody or visitation arrangements if there are substantial changes in circumstances.


How Does Mediation Work in Illinois?

Posted on in Mediation

St. Charles Mediation AttorneyNo two divorces are the same. Each spouse and marriage are unique, with different issues to resolve. Some divorcing couples can work out agreements amicably, while many others are not able to speak to each other and rely on an experienced St. Charles mediation attorney to assist them in reaching their goals for their divorce and their future. At Shaw Sanders, P.C., we can help you no matter what type of divorce you are seeking and even if you choose to utilize mediation. 

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces

In an uncontested divorce, the couple agrees on the terms of their parting, their children, their debts and assets, as well as alimony and child support. Because of their agreement, there is no need to have hearings, negotiations, or court procedures. Even though this type of divorce is usually straightforward, it’s still essential that you hire a St. Charles mediation attorney to represent your interests.

In a contested divorce, the couple can’t agree on the essential issues, so they retain separate attorneys and head to court to let the judge decide. The couple will be required to attend hearings, settlement negotiations, and sometimes even a trial. Divorces that involve a high net worth, many assets and liabilities, or other complex issues may need to use this process over others. 

Divorce Mediation in Illinois

Couples who can’t agree on the issues in their divorce but want to stay out of court can also opt to have mediation. Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) used in many legal cases. A mediator assists the couple in identifying and talking through the problems but does not make decisions as an arbitrator does. 

During this process, a neutral third-party mediator helps divorcing couples work through the issues and conflicts that arise during the divorce. The mediator acts as a facilitator, not as a judge or decision-maker. They help the couple identify and discuss their concerns, interests, and divorce-related needs. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-79.jpgHigh-income child support cases are situations where one or both parents earn a substantial income that exceeds the guidelines set in state laws. In these situations, the court agrees to deviate from standard regulations to accommodate a high income family's unique needs and lifestyle. This article explores different aspects of these complex cases and their outcomes. 


Calculating High-Income Child Support

Under usual circumstances, Illinois courts adopt a formulaic approach to determine child support payment amount.

The court uses an income-share model, where the final amount is based on how many nights a child stays at each parent’s house. This number is multiplied by the number of children one party has in this or another relationship.  The state uses these regulations to ensure every child of a divorce receives a quality life through financial support offered by the parents. 

Generally, the non-custodial parent, meaning the one with lesser parental responsibilities and parenting time, will pay a pre-decided amount to the custodial parent (meaning the parent that lives with the child). Child maintenance is paid in installments to ensure the child’s needs are effectively met. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-67_20230726-155333_1.jpgWhen going through a divorce, it is crucial to recognize the significant impact your social media activity can have on the outcome of your case. Opposing counsel will undoubtedly delve into your private life, including interactions on social media and online communications with friends and family. Any missteps in this realm can potentially give your soon-to-be-ex spouse an advantage, particularly in high asset divorce cases.


Impacting Your Credibility

In a contentious divorce, one party may attempt to portray the other as immoral or untrustworthy. Social media posts can be used as evidence to support such claims. For example, if you claim financial hardship to avoid spousal maintenance, but then post pictures of extravagant parties on luxury items and lavish spending, it can seriously undermine your credibility and weaken your position during negotiations.


Child Custody Decisions

Child custody decisions are heavily influenced by the best interests of the child. Any evidence of alcohol or substance abuse, inappropriate interactions, or aggressive behavior found on social media can be used against you. Such posts can raise doubts about your ability to provide a stable and safe environment for your child. It is crucial to refrain from posting anything scandalous or inappropriate, even with a private profile setting, as mutual friends can be asked to share screenshots of your online activity.


b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-40.jpgHigh net worth divorce cases come with high risks and secret agendas. Forensic accounting can be vital in providing an equitable resolution during your divorce. Accountants use their experience to share valuable insights during valuation, track complex transactions, and uncover hidden assets.  We explore the key advantages of working with forensic accounts in a high asset divorce below. 


Use It to Identify Discrepancies in Financial Records 

Navigating a high asset divorce can be tricky, especially if your soon-to-be-ex-spouse falsifies information to reduce spousal or child maintenance obligations. Forensic accountants can catch lies by tracing financial transactions and verifying records. 

This includes:

  • Reviewing financial documents and reconciling bank statements to ensure they are accurate. 
  • Tracking financial activity to ensure funds are transferred to legitimate bank accounts. 
  • Analyzing family business records and assets to identify discrepancies. 
  • Checking tax returns and associated paperwork to catch inaccurate representation of the opposing party’s financial status. 

These steps minimize fraudulent activity by ensuring a comprehensive and accurate understanding of your spouse's finances and investments. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-19.jpgThe difference between contested divorce and uncontested divorce in Illinois lies in their execution and how the soon-to-be-ex-spouses communicate during legal proceedings. Both scenarios require legal representation. A divorce lawyer will handle negotiations, paperwork, and other aspects of the dissolution of marriage to streamline the process. We highlight the distinguishing factors between each divorce type to help you make an informed choice during your separation. 


The Control Shifts in Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce  

A contested divorce typically goes to trial because the couple does not agree on how to distribute marital assets or manage child support after separation. 

Since the divorcing couple cannot reach a settlement, one or both parties request the court to intervene. The court uses the legal framework to determine an effective way to divide marital property and assets, parental responsibilities, and set conditions for child and spousal support. 

On the other hand, spouses undergoing an uncontested divorce make mutual decisions favored by one or both parties. This can mean deciding who gets the family residence and who gets the car or agreeing on how often the spouse moving out of the house gets to see the children.  


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