Recent Blog Posts

5 Signs You are Married to a High-Conflict Partner and How to Divorce One

 Posted on January 13, 2023 in Divorce

St. Charles, IL divorce attorneyDivorce inevitably involves conflict. However, some divorce cases are extremely contentious. One of both parties may intentionally draw out the divorce process, refuse to compromise, lie about finances, or use unscrupulous tactics to get what they want. They may overreact to small issues or be completely unwilling to negotiate.

A "high-conflict partner" is someone who constantly blames others, fails to take responsibility for his or her actions, uses threats or manipulation to control others, and has extreme emotions. If this sounds like your spouse and you are planning to end your marriage, you may be facing a very challenging divorce. It is highly recommended that you work with an attorney who can provide the legal support you need and advocate on your behalf throughout the divorce.

Signs of a High Conflict Personality

A high-conflict person is one who is constantly embroiled in conflict. Here are five signs that your partner may be a high-conflict person:

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Can You Be Found in Contempt of Court for Failure to Comply with the Divorce Decree? 

 Posted on January 06, 2023 in Divorce

St. Charles, IL divorce modification lawyerOnce a divorce is finalized, the divorce decree will contain the specific rights and obligations of each party. Often, this includes provisions describing the terms of spousal maintenance, child support, or child custody. Spouses are expected to comply with the terms of the divorce decree.

Failure to comply can result in civil contempt of court, a form of punishment for not following a court order. If you are found to be in contempt, there may be significant consequences, including fines or even jail time. This is meant to ensure that each spouse meets their legal obligations according to the court order.

Divorce Decree Noncompliance 

Spouses who cannot meet their obligations should seek a modification through the appropriate administrative or judicial avenue. It may be possible to change a child support, spousal support, or child custody order. The worst thing a person can do is to simply fail to meet his or her obligation. Failure to comply with a court order can lead to being held in contempt of court. A spouse who does not pay support may also be subject to wage garnishment, property liens, bank account seizures, and other collection procedures.

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Getting Divorced When You Are a Stay-at-Home Mom 

 Posted on December 31, 2022 in Divorce

St. Charles, IL stay at home mother divorce lawyerWhen you have dedicated most of your time to raising children, career advancement and financial security become less of a priority. Many stay-at-home parents rely on their spouse’s income to pay bills and cover everyday expenses. When divorce occurs, it can be difficult for a stay-at-home parent to adjust to life without this income.

Many stay-at-home parents also worry about how the divorce will affect their children. Will they be forced to move? Will the children need to change schools? Who will receive the majority of the parenting time and parental responsibilities after the split? These are just some of the many questions stay-at-home moms contend with during a divorce.

Child Custody Issues in an Illinois Divorce

Divorcing parents are asked to create a parenting plan that describes each parent's decision-making authority and parenting time schedule. If the parents cannot reach a decision, the court decides on these issues. 

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What Happens During Divorce Mediation?

 Posted on December 20, 2022 in Mediation

St. Charles, IL divorce lawyerEnding a marriage is often an emotionally exhausting process that involves difficult decisions regarding asset division, child custody, and other important matters. Divorce cases are sometimes ligated through the court system, but this is not the only option for resolving a divorce. There are alternatives such as mediation that allow divorcing spouses to have more control over the outcome of the divorce. Instead of letting a judge make decisions about whether each party should receive certain assets or which parent should have custody, divorce mediation gives parties the opportunity to work out an agreement outside of the courtroom.

If you are considering mediation to settle disputed issues in your divorce, you may have several questions. What happens during mediation? What does the mediator do? What does the mediation process look like?

Mediators Facilitate Productive Communication and Negotiation

Getting divorced involves much more than simply deciding to end the marriage. Spouses must also address complicated issues, such as how to divide shared property and debts and how to allocate parental responsibilities. During mediation, divorcing spouses have an opportunity to discuss these issues and explore various options. Most divorcing spouses have a very hard time doing this on their own. Married couples often have years of memories – both good and bad. Emotions are running high during divorce and this makes it difficult to think clearly.

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Modifying Parental Responsibilities in Illinois

 Posted on December 13, 2022 in Child Custody / Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

St. Charles, IL child custody modification lawyerIn 2016, Illinois changed how courts handle child custody matters. Child custody now involves two components. The allocation of parental responsibilities refers to the allocation of child-related decision-making authority. Parenting time, which used to be called visitation, is the time each parent cares for the child.

In order to promote stability in a child’s life, the court only allows parents to modify their child custody order under certain circumstances.

Modifying a Child Custody Order in the First Two Years

The rules about child custody modifications depend on when the order was established or last modified. It is generally believed that maximizing consistency is in the child’s best interests after a divorce. Consequently, the courts want to prevent the parents from making unnecessary changes to the child custody order. If it has been less than two years since the child custody order was first established or last modified, there is a higher burden of proof needed to change the order. If you want to modify parental responsibilities within two years, you usually must submit an affidavit to the court affirming that the current allocation of parental responsibilities is endangering the child’s physical, mental, psychological, or moral health.

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Gifts and Asset Transfers During Divorce in Illinois

 Posted on December 06, 2022 in Property Division

St. Charles, IL asset division lawyerWhen a couple gets married, their financial lives become intertwined. Untangling the spouses’ finances is a major aspect of the divorce process. Marital property, which is jointly owned by both spouses, must be distinguished from non-marital property, which is owned by only one spouse. Any assets and debts included in the marital estate will need to be valued and divided between the spouses. Divorcing spouses can negotiate their own property division agreement, or, if no agreement can be reached, the court will determine how to divide property.

Because assets must be divided equitably, transferring assets or giving gifts to others during divorce can be problematic. In some cases, transferring assets, even though a seemingly harmless gift, can lead to accusations of dissipation.

Dissipation of Assets

Illinois law defines dissipation of assets as the use of marital property for reasons that are unrelated to the marriage, only benefit one spouse, and during a time when the marriage is breaking down. Some classic examples of dissipation of assets include:

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Do I Have to Take a Parenting Education Course for My Illinois Custody Case?

 Posted on November 29, 2022 in Divorce

Kane County divorce attorneyThere is no denying that divorce is hard. Even the friendliest of divorces can have moments of tension and acrimony between the couple, never mind situations where the relationship is downright contentious. As difficult as it may be for a husband and wife who are ending their marriage, the impact of divorce on their children can be significant. The more difficult it is for a child to adjust to this major change in their lives, the more of a struggle they can have in other areas of their life, including school, with friends, and extracurricular activities.

This is why it is critical for divorced parents to put aside their differences and make a genuine effort to co-parent cohesively. It is also why Illinois requires all divorcing parents to participate in a certified parenting education program.

Parenting Education Programs

In Illinois, parents who are involved in any type of child custody case (referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time under Illinois law) are required to take a parenting education course, unless they can show a good reason not to. The purpose of these programs is to educate parents on communication skills and working together to co-parent post-divorce. Both parents are required to take the course – although they are not allowed to take the course together or with the child.

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How Are Pension Accounts Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on November 21, 2022 in Property Division

St. Charles, IL pension division lawyerFor many married couples, planning for the future includes saving money for retirement. This can include 401(k) accounts and pension plans. And just like other assets, should a couple of divorce, any retirement funds they have are often deemed part of the marital estate that must be divided equitably between the two. Unlike other assets, however, dividing pension accounts can be more complex.

Determining Pension Value

There are two things that need to be considered when determining the value of a pension in order to determine how it should be divided in the divorce. The first issue the court must decide is whether or not the pension is, in fact, marital property. In most situations, the value of the pension that was accrued during the marriage is considered marital property, while the value of any portion of the pension that was accrued prior to the marriage is considered separate property. There are situations where the judge may determine that all the pension funds have been commingled and are therefore all part of the marital estate.

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Do You Really Want the Family Home in Your Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on November 14, 2022 in Divorce

St. Charles, IL asset division lawyerOne of the most common issues in divorce cases is the family home. For many couples, their home is often the largest asset of their marital estate and becomes a central focus in asset and property division. Along with the financial aspect of the family home, there are also emotional attachments that may exist that can make it harder to give up. Although a spouse may want to keep the family home as part of their share of the marital estate, there are several factors that should be considered when weighing the options.

Financial Factor

One of the main factors to consider when it comes to keeping the family home is the expense. Illinois uses the equitable distribution method for dividing assets in a divorce. This means that if one spouse is awarded the family home, they will either have to buy the other spouse out of the home or give up their share of other assets that have an equitable value as the home. Either way, the spouse who decides to keep the home is usually left with less cash on hand than the other spouse.

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Legal Options for Parenting Time Interference in Illinois

 Posted on November 08, 2022 in Visitation and Parenting Time

 Kane County parenting time lawyerWhen parents decide to divorce, part of that divorce process involves establishing allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. Even if parents were never legally married, they should still petition the court to legally establish custody if they decide to end their relationship.

Unfortunately, once the court has made its final custody determination, there are parents who will not be happy with the outcome. They may feel the child should be with them for longer periods of time than the court established and even take steps to interfere with the other parent’s parenting time.

There are also parents who will attempt to interfere with the other parent’s parenting time because of some other issue. They may be angry over the breakup or because the other parent has started to date again. Some parents will also interfere with parenting time if the other parent is not meeting their court-ordered child support obligations.

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