kane county divorce lawyerThere are so many factors to consider during a divorce that certain issues can get overlooked. Divorcing spouses often fail to consider the tax implications of their divorce in Illinois. In this blog, we will discuss some of the tax issues associated with divorce. For personalized guidance, contact a Kane County divorce attorney.

Child Support

Illinois courts calculate child support payments based on the parents’ income after taxes. According to current laws, child support payments are not deductible by the payee and not taxable to the receiving parent.

So if you receive child support in Illinois, you do not have to worry about those payments being taxed.

Claiming Eligible Children

Clients who claim eligible children on income tax returns receive greater tax refunds, which makes this a serious point of contention in many Illinois divorces. However, it is not always as beneficial as divorcing parents may think.

There are several ways to allocate child dependency exemptions during a divorce in Illinois. Parents may split and claim children in all years, or alternate the years in which each parent claims them.


st. charles divorce lawyerThere can be many points of contention during a divorce. However, retirement assets are often a significant source of disagreement, especially for those who have worked hard to save for their golden years.

In Illinois, the retirement assets earned during the marriage are subject to equitable distribution during a divorce. Equitable distribution means that assets must be divided fairly among both parties, but not necessarily equally.

Of course, a skilled St. Charles divorce attorney can help you better understand your rights, and how your particular retirement assets may get divided during a divorce in Illinois.

Identification & Evaluation of Retirement Assets

The first step in dividing retirement assets during a divorce is to identify them, along with all of the assets that are considered part of the marital estate. In Illinois, any assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution.

This can include your 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions, and other such retirement accounts. Since these are some of the most valuable assets for most people, they are a major point of concern during a divorce in Illinois.


st. charles divorce lawyer Child support is a key aspect of any Illinois divorce that involves children. It is designed to ensure the best interests of children, and that both parents contribute financially to the care and upbringing of their children.

If you are going through a divorce in Illinois, it is important to understand how child support is calculated and how much you or the other parent may be required to pay.

The Income Shares Model

Illinois child support payments are determined based on a calculation model known as the Income Shares Model. It takes into account key things like the income of both parents and the number of children involved.

The model or formula is based on the idea that each parent should contribute financially to the child's care in proportion to their income. Every case is different and your St. Charles divorce attorney can better guide you regarding the exact numbers of your case.

Basic Child Support Obligation

To calculate child support in Illinois, the court will first determine each parent's net income. This includes all sources of income, such as wages, investment income, bonuses, etc.


Kane County Divorce LawyerAn uncontested divorce in Illinois is one where both parties agree on all aspects of their separation, including property division, child custody, and spousal maintenance. It might seem straightforward, but hiring a divorce attorney can still make a significant difference in navigating the legal complexities and ensuring your best interests are protected. Today, we will discuss why you should still hire an attorney regardless of whether your divorce is uncontested.

Reasons to Hire an Attorney During an Uncontested Divorce

The following are reasons why it is a best practice to hire a lawyer for an uncontested divorce, including:

  • While an uncontested divorce may appear simple, it still requires a thorough understanding of Illinois divorce laws. A divorce attorney is well-versed in the legal intricacies of Illinois laws and can guide you through the process to ensure your rights do not become infringed. They can also help you avoid the common pitfalls and ensure that you comply with all necessary requirements, ultimately saving you time and stress.
  • Proper documentation and filing – Filing for divorce requires numerous forms and paperwork, which can be overwhelming for someone without legal expertise. A divorce attorney can help you complete and file the necessary documents correctly, ensuring that you meet all deadlines and avoid potential delays. They can also help you gather and organize any supporting documents required for your case, such as financial records and parenting agreements. 
  • Negotiating fair agreements – Even in an uncontested divorce, reaching appropriate agreements on property division, spousal support, and child custody is crucial. A divorce attorney can provide valuable advice on what constitutes a fair settlement and help you negotiate with your spouse. They can also review any agreements you reach to ensure they are legally binding and in your best interests.
  • Peace of mind – Divorce is generally stressful, even when uncontested. An effective way to alleviate some of your stress is by hiring an attorney so that they can focus on the legal side of things while you focus on your well-being and moving forward with your life.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Divorce Attorney

Remember, the main functions of a divorce attorney are to protect your rights, advise you of your legal options, and guide you through the legal process while advocating for your best interests. Contact the experienced Kane County divorce lawyers with Shaw Sanders, P.C. to ensure your uncontested divorce is as smooth as possible. Call 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.




Kane County High Net-Worth Divorce LawyerThe process of divorce in Illinois is a complicated one, but it becomes even more complex when high-value assets are involved. High-asset divorce cases require the knowledge and skills of an experienced attorney who understands the unique challenges and complexities of such cases.

Equitable Division of Property

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs high-asset divorce cases in Illinois, providing guidelines for property division, spousal maintenance, and child support.

Under the IMDMA, marital property is divided equitably or fairly, but this does not necessarily mean that it is divided equally. Such a division can be a complex process, as it requires determining which assets are considered marital property and which are separate property.

Marital property includes any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title. This can include real estate, investments, retirement accounts, and businesses. Separate property, on the other hand, includes any property that was acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage or by gift or inheritance during the marriage.

Financial Professionals May Be Needed to Value and Divide Assets

Property division in high-asset divorce cases can become even more complicated due to the fluctuating value of the assets involved. They often require the assistance of financial specialists or appraisers. For instance, the division of a family business can require a detailed valuation of the business and negotiations over how to divide the assets.


Kane County Child Support LawyerChild support helps parents cover child-related costs including housing, education costs, daycare, and much more. In Illinois, child support is considered the child’s right. The court will typically require the parent with less parenting time to pay child support payments to the parent with the majority of the parenting time. This support helps distribute child-related costs between the parents. But what happens if a parent fails to pay child support?

In this blog, we will discuss the consequences of child support nonpayment and what parents should do if they are not receiving child support.

Penalties for Not Making Child Support Payments

It should be noted that Illinois courts only have the authority to enforce formal child support orders. If your child’s other parent had a causal agreement and the other parent has suddenly stopped paying, there is little the court can do to enforce the agreement. You need to have an official child support order through the court or the Illinois Health and Family Services Division of Child Support Services. For some parents, this will require establishing parentage or paternity first.

If a parent fails to pay an official child support order, he or she can face penalties including:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Asset seizure
  • Liens against real estate or other property
  • Suspension of a professional license or driver’s license
  • Interception of tax refunds
  • Criminal prosecution

Criminal charges for failure to pay child support are the last resort. However, Illinois takes child support payment seriously and will pursue criminal prosecution if a parent willfully refuses to make payments.


Kane County Divorce LawyerFinancial issues are often the main source of conflict in a relationship, and that conflict can intensify during a divorce. Divorcing spouses are required to disclose their assets, all sources of income, and other financial information during a divorce. Financial disclosure is needed to ensure that any settlements or verdicts are based on accurate financial information. However, some spouses lie about their income and property during the divorce process. If you are considering or going through a divorce, it's important to be aware of the signs that your spouse may be hiding assets or income.

Common Ways Spouses Fabricate or Falsify Financial Information During a Divorce

Some spouses try to sway the division of marital property in their favor by lying about their assets and debts. They may also lie about income in order to increase the amount of child support or spousal support they receive or decrease their support obligations. Spouses may hide income or falsify income by:

  • Hiding cash or other property
  • Underreporting income or exaggerating expenses
  • Omitting assets from asset disclosure forms
  • Lying about the value of possessions 
  • Making large cash payments for goods or services 
  • Moving funds to offshore accounts or hidden accounts
  • Selling valuable items for less than their true value
  • Gifting assets to family members or friends
  • Lying about the value of their business

Signs Your Spouse May Be Hiding Assets or Income During a Divorce

While it can be difficult to determine if your spouse is lying about their finances, there are some signs that could indicate they are concealing assets or income. If you notice any of the following red flags during your divorce proceedings, it may be time to contact a divorce attorney:

  • Unusual spending habits or significant changes in spending patterns
  • Frequent or large withdrawals from bank accounts
  • Refusal to discuss financial issues
  • Missing items around the house
  • Failing to provide the information requested by the court or your attorney
  • Claiming to be unemployed when they are working
  • Unexplained changes in salary or employment status
  • A sudden increase in debt
  • Sudden changes in lifestyle

Contact our St. Charles Divorce Lawyers

Truthful financial disclosure is essential in a divorce case. If you suspect that your spouse is not being honest about his or her income, assets, debts, or other financial matters, contact Shaw Sanders, P.C. for help. Our Kane County divorce attorneys can help you uncover the truth and fight for a fair divorce settlement. Call 630-584-5550 for a free initial consultation.



Mediation for Child Relocation Disputes

Posted on in Family Law

Kane County Child Custody LawyerWhen divorced or unmarried parents share custody of a child, moving to a new residence can present a significant challenge. Courts typically approve parental relocations if both parents agree to the move and the move is in the child's best interests. However, the situation becomes much more complicated legally and personally if one of the parents disagrees with the move.

If you or your child's other parent intend to move and you disagree with their intention, family law mediation may help you and the other parent negotiate a mutually-agreeable arrangement.

Illinois Law Regarding Child Relocation

"Relocation" describes moving to a new residence that is a significant distance away from the old residence. For parents in the collar counties of Illinois, a move is considered a relocation if the new residence is 25 miles away or more. For Illinois residents outside the collar counties, the cut-off is 50 miles.

Under Illinois law, the relocating parent must obtain permission from the court or approval from the non-relocating parent to move with the child to a new residence. If the other parent does not agree to the relocation, the next step is to petition the court for permission to move. The court will make a determination that is in the child's best interests after evaluating all of the evidence and arguments presented by the parents.

However, you may be able to avoid the stress and expense of a court hearing by working out an arrangement with your ex through mediation.


How Does Fault Impact an Illinois Divorce? 

Posted on in Divorce

Kane County Divorce LawyerTypically, blame for a marital breakdown is not black and white. Rarely is one spouse purely at fault and while the other spouse shares no part of the blame. Human relationships are much more complicated than this. There are usually countless factors that lead to a divorce.

That being said, it is important for anyone getting divorced to understand how the legal concept of fault may influence their case. In this blog, we will explore the ground for divorce in Illinois, the meaning of “no-fault divorce,” and how marital misconduct like cheating can impact a divorce case.

Illinois Grounds for Divorce in 2023

Illinois used to have fault-based grounds for divorce. However, Illinois is presently a no-fault divorce state. "Irreconcilable differences" is the only ground for divorce accepted by state courts in Illinois. This means that a spouse does not need to prove fault on the part of their soon-to-be ex-partner in order to obtain a divorce.

How to Get a No-Fault Divorce

To get a no-fault divorce in Illinois, one spouse files a petition with the court declaring that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. The petitioning spouse will not be expected to list the specific circumstances that led to the marriage breaking down.

The other spouse, called the respondent, will respond to the divorce petition. If that spouse believes that reconciliation is possible and that divorce is not the answer, he or she may contest the divorce. 


Tips for Business Owners Getting Divorced

Posted on in Divorce

Kane County Family Law AttorneyIf you own a restaurant, retail store, tech start-up, or another type of business, getting divorced can be especially complicated. As you navigate the emotional and personal challenges of ending your marriage, you will also need to consider the legal and financial implications of divorce on your business. In this blog, we will describe the steps you should take to protect your business when getting divorced. However, each case is different, and business owners are encouraged to work with an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure their legal and financial interests are protected.

Understand the Value of Your Business

One of the first steps you should take during a divorce involving business assets is to get an accurate and comprehensive appraisal of your company. Whether you own a small business you run out of your own home, or a large corporation, it is only possible to properly account for the business's value during divorce with an accurate valuation. Work with a professional business appraiser to develop a thorough report of your business's assets, liabilities, and current value.

Know Your Rights and Obligations Regarding Ownership

Illinois classifies most property acquired during the marriage as marital property. Unless your business is kept separate from the marital estate through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it is likely that part or all of your business is marital property. This means that your spouse is entitled to a portion of the company's value. If you keep the company, you may be required to compensate him or her for his or her share of the business.

Negotiate Skillfully and Strategically

During the property division negotiation process, it is important to keep your emotions in check and focus on your end goal: resolving your divorce. If you and your spouse are on good terms, you may be able to negotiate a settlement without the need for litigation. However, if you anticipate a contentious divorce, it may be in your best interest to allow your lawyer to handle negotiations.

Document Everything and Keep Accurate Records

Throughout the process of divorce, it is essential to keep accurate records and detailed documentation of all income, expenses, and transactions related to your business. Keep records of your own financial accounts as well. Financial matters during divorce can become extremely complicated, and it is important to keep everything straight and understand what you own and what you owe.


Kane County Paternity LawyerParentage refers to the legal relationship between a child and a parent. Typically, a mother’s parentage is easily established because she gives birth to the child. However, establishing parentage, or paternity as it was previously called, can be much harder for fathers.

Establishing parentage can help both the parent and the child in many ways. The legal recognition of a parent-child relationship provides a host of financial, emotional, and logistical benefits to both parties. If you are an unmarried parent, establishing parentage can provide financial stability, legal protection, and emotional security for your child.

Establishing Parentage is the First Step in Getting Child Support

When a parent is legally recognized, they can be required to make child support payments. This financial assistance helps ensure that the needs of the child are met. If a woman has a child and paternity is not established, she cannot ask the court for a child support order until the father's paternity is legally recognized. In some cases, this may necessitate DNA paternity testing. In other cases, establishing paternity is as simple as signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity at the hospital when the baby is born.

Establishing Parentage Secures Certain Legal Rights and Protections

Legally recognizing a parent-child relationship not only provides financial security, but also legal protection. Parents who have established parentage can take advantage of certain legal rights and protections. As the legally recognized parent, a mother or father can petition the court for "parental responsibilities" or the right to make significant decisions about their child's upbringing. This may include decisions about medical treatments, school or sports team programs, and religious or cultural affiliations. The parent can also request "parenting time" or visitation with the child.

Establishing Parentage Can Lead to Deeper and Lasting Emotional Bonds

In addition to the financial and legal benefits, establishing parentage can lead to stronger emotional bonds between parents and their children. For example, when a man is legally recognized as a father, he is more likely to be involved in his child's life in a meaningful way. This can help the child to feel secure and connected, knowing that their parent is an active part of their life.


St. Charles, IL child relocation lawyerAnything from a new job to a new relationship may prompt a change in residence. If you are a divorced parent currently sharing custody of your child with an ex, it is important to understand Illinois laws regarding child relocations.

Co-parents have certain rights and responsibilities regarding child relocations, previously called child removals. In some situations, a parent must get permission from the other parent as well as the court before relocating with his or her child to a new residence.

Relocation Requirements Depend on the Distance Between the Two Homes

Illinois laws prioritize a child’s best interests above all other factors when it comes to child custody or other child-related legal matters. Taking a child away from one of his or her parents can be quite stressful for the child (and the parent). Consequently, courts require parents to meet certain criteria before moving with a child.

Special relocation requirements are triggered if a parent has the majority of the parenting time or an equal amount of parenting time and wishes to move a significant distance.

Specifically, a parent will need court approval to move if:


St. Charles, IL parenting plan attorneyIn 2016, Illinois updated the language describing child custody. Today, the state recognizes “parenting time” and "parental responsibilities," which refer to physical custody and decision-making authority respectively. Divorcing parents will need to determine how they will make decisions about their child's education, involvement in church or other religious activities, medical care, and more. They must also determine how they will share responsibility for supervising the child and meeting his or her day-to-day needs. A parenting plan provides an agreement between two parents regarding who has what rights or responsibilities related to the children. Developing a mutually-agreeable parenting plan is rarely a simple task, so it is important to start thinking about these issues early in the divorce process.

Parenting Time, Parental Responsibilities, and Other Crucial Matters in Your Parenting Plan

Whenever possible, parents are encouraged to create their own parenting plans as opposed to letting the court determine the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time for them. Sometimes, this requires help from their respective attorneys or a divorce mediator.

As you work on your parenting plan, make sure you discuss the following topics:

  • The parenting time schedule - The parenting time schedule describes when the child will live with each parent. It may include who will have the child on holidays and vacations, as well as how transportation arrangements will be handled.
  • Parental responsibilities - The parenting plan should also address which parent has decision-making authority over certain matters pertaining to the child's upbringing, such as education or religion. The parents may also decide that they will make all major child-related decisions jointly. 
  • Resolving disputes - All parenting plans should include a dispute resolution procedure, such as mediation. Disagreements are bound to arise, and parents will have an easier time resolving disagreements if they have planned for this possibility in advance.
  • The right of first refusal - This clause states that one parent must notify the other if he or she is unable to care for a child during his or her designated parenting time. It specifies that the other parent must be given the opportunity to care for the child first before a third party such as a babysitter or grandparent is asked to watch the child.
  • Future modifications to the parenting plan - As the child grows up and the parents' lives change, there may come a time that the parenting plan needs to be modified. The plan should include a clause specifying how future changes will be handled.
  • How and when the child will communicate with both parents - A parenting plan should include a clause specifying how and when the child will communicate with a parent during the other parent's parenting time. This is an issue that can sometimes cause conflict, so it is best to address it early in the process and make a mutually-agreeable plan. For example, you may specify that the parent who has parenting time will have the child call the other parent before bed, or use text messaging to stay in touch with the other parent throughout the day.

Contact a St. Charles Parenting Plan Lawyer

The Kane County divorce attorneys at Shaw Sanders, P.C. can help you develop a parenting plan, address any child custody disputes, establish a child support order, and much more. Call our office at 630-584-5550 and set up a free initial consultation to learn more.



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:

  • All-or-nothing mentality - A high-conflict person sees the world in black and white and refuses to see any other perspectives. Any perceived slight or disagreement is seen as an attack and they will go to extreme lengths to prove they are right.
  • Sees themselves as the victim - A high-conflict partner often plays the victim, claiming that everyone else is to blame for their situations and problems in life. They may view themselves as victims of injustice and feel that no matter what they do or how hard they try, they will never get what they want.
  • Lacks empathy - A high-conflict partner is often unable to sympathize or empathize with others. They may not take into consideration the feelings of other people and can be insensitive to their needs.
  • Unpredictable behavior - A high-conflict person has a volatile temper and their behavior is hard to predict. They may have extreme emotional outbursts at any time and can be easily provoked.
  • Overreaction - A high-conflict partner tends to escalate minor disagreements into major fights. They may become irrationally angry or hostile in situations where other people would simply brush it off.

Strategies for Divorce

If you are divorcing someone who meets some or all of the criteria listed above, your divorce may be more complex than the average divorce case. Alternative resolution methods like mediation may be unsuccessful. You may need to limit direct communication with your spouse and instead communicate through your respective attorneys. It is also important that you are prioritizing your own needs during this tumultuous time. Consider attending therapy or joining a support group. Practice self-compassion and self-care. It will not be easy, but with the right support system and legal help, you can get through a high-conflict divorce.

Contact a Kane County High-Conflict Divorce Lawyer

The St. Charles divorce attorneys at Shaw Family Law, P.C. are familiar with the difficulties and complexities a high-conflict spouse can bring about during divorce. We can protect your rights and provide the legal support you need. Call 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.


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.

In civil contempt proceedings, the judge will consider several factors, including the nature and severity of the violation, whether there was intentional disregard for the court's orders, and whether the party has a history of noncompliance. The judge will also look at any mitigating circumstances that may have caused the spouse to fail to comply with the divorce decree. If the judge finds that the spouse willfully violated the court order, then a finding of contempt may be made with consequences such as fines or jail time.

It is important for spouses to seek legal advice before attempting to modify their divorce decree, as there are strict procedures and deadlines associated with these actions. If these processes are not followed, it can lead to a finding of contempt. It is always better to seek legal counsel and modify the decree if you are having trouble complying with its terms, than to risk being found in contempt of court.


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. 

Stay-at-home mothers are not guaranteed to receive custody of their children in Illinois divorces. The court considers the "best interests" of the child when deciding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time arrangements. Factors such as the age of the child, the wishes of the parents, each parent’s relationship with the child, and other factors will be taken into consideration when making this determination. Because children spend so much time with stay-at-home parents, it is likely that a stay-at-home mother would be favored during any custody dispute. However, the situation is rarely this black and white.

Spousal Maintenance for Stay-at-Home Mothers

The reality of the situation is that stay-at-home moms are often at a major financial disadvantage during a divorce. However, some may be entitled to spousal maintenance, also called alimony. Maintenance payments are based on a statutory formula that uses both parties' incomes. The duration of maintenance payments is usually based on the length of the marriage.


What Happens During Divorce Mediation?

Posted on 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.

A mediator helps the couple put emotions to the side and focus on the facts of the case. If the couple starts arguing about unrelated issues or veers off course in a conversation, the mediator is there to gently guide them back to the task at hand. Mediators can help couples break down complicated issues and contentious disagreements into small, manageable steps.

Mediation sessions vary in duration and frequency. Some couples are able to reach an agreement within one or two sessions. Others may need as many as eight sessions. Each situation is unique.


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.

Modifying a Child Custody Order After Two Years  

The only thing certain in life is change. Many parents find themselves in a situation where they need to change their allocation judgment after a divorce. If it has been more than two years since the child custody order was established or modified, you will need to demonstrate the following to modify the order:

  • There is a substantial change of circumstances that directly affects the child
  • The modification is in the child’s best interests

Countless different situations may constitute a major change in circumstances. For example, if a parent moves a significant distance away, a child custody modification may be needed to change the parent with primary decision-making authority.


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:

  • Spending money during an extramarital affair
  • Selling marital property to fund a drug addiction
  • Destroying a spouse’s property in revenge

However, one lesser known type of dissipation of assets occurs when a divorcing spouse gives gifts of money or property to other people during the breakdown of the marriage. Giving a $20 birthday present to a family member or other small gifts are not considered dissipation. However, loaning large amounts of cash to other people or buying extravagant gifts for others may be considered dissipation.

Dissipation of assets may even involve gifts to a child. Consider the following example: A divorcing father has children from a previous marriage. One of his children from the previous marriage turns 16 years old and he buys her a car. If marital funds were used to buy the car, the marriage was undergoing a breakdown, and the gift was not approved of by his current wife, the wife could potentially have a valid dissipation claim.   


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.

The course requirements and costs depend on the county the court hearing the custody case is located in:

  • Kane County – Parents who live in Kane County are required to take the KiDs1st Program. Classes are offered both in-person and via Zoom. The program must be completed within four months of the initial filing of the child custody. The current cost of the program is $90.00.
  • Cook County – Cook County offers two different programs for parents. The first program is Focus on the Children and is an in-person, four-hour program. The cost of the program is $50.00. The second option is the Child In Between program. This four-hour program is completely online. Once enrolled, participants have 30 days to complete the course. The cost of this program is $49.99.
  • DuPage County – In DuPage County, programs are available both in-person and online. The course a parent takes depends on the status of their case. If the custody case is between two parents who are divorcing, they need to take the Co-Parenting Course. If the parents were never married, they need to take the Parents and Kids program.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney

If you are ending your marriage and need to work out a custody and parenting time plan, contact a St. Charles, IL child custody lawyer to find out what legal options may be available to you. Call Shaw Sanders, P.C. at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free and confidential schedule.


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