We are open for business and offering phone and video consultations during business hours.

Free Initial Consultations

Phone630-580-6373
With offices in Naperville, Joliet, Wheaton & Chicago
Livas Law Group
Recent blog posts

DuPage County divorce attorney parental relocation

After a divorce, it can be challenging to co-parent between two different households, and the challenge is bound to increase the farther apart the two parents live. Nevertheless, you may find yourself in a situation in which you need to move for career or personal reasons and want your children to come with you. Illinois law allows for a parent’s relocation under certain circumstances, but if you are planning to move more than 25 or 50 miles away from your children’s other parent, depending on the county where you currently live, you will be required to present your case to the court for approval.

Preparing for Questions in Your Relocation Hearing

As the court considers your relocation request, they will ask you a variety of questions to determine whether the move is in your children’s best interests. These questions may include:

...

Illinois parental alienation attorneysWhile most parents only want what is best for their children, there are those who are more focused on “winning” than the child’s best interest. Some may even go so far as to commit parental alienation. In today’s post, you will learn more about parental alienation, including how to determine if your child may be a victim, and what actions can be taken to protect the child. 

What is Parental Alienation?

Minor issues, such as arguments in front of the kids and ill-spoken words are fairly common in the initial stages of a divorce or separation. Though still harmful, these negative behaviors typically dissipate over time. Each parent heals from their grief or anger, sees the nature of their wrongs, and strives to improve for the benefit of the child. 

Parental alienation is different, specifically in terms of severity and the long-term continuance of the offending parent’s poor behavior. Their reasons behind it are varied (i.e. a need or desire to control, fear of losing the child’s love or affection, wanting to hurt or get even with the other parent), but the results are often devastatingly similar. The child suffers mentally and emotionally and, as a result, they may develop maladjustment issues, such as an identity crisis, depression, or even outright hatred toward a parent that they once loved dearly. 

...

Illinois divorce attorneysPreparation is the key to a smoother, less tumultuous divorce. How you go about it—the steps you take and the methods you use to prepare—is important as well. Give yourself the best possible chance at a positive outcome by preparing for your Illinois divorce in the following five ways. 

1. Focus on Your Finances

In a divorce, spouses must value and then divide their marital estate in an equitable manner. For most, this means a significant reduction in assets, which may be combined with an overall decrease in each household’s income (i.e. one income instead of two). Parties are strongly encouraged to create a budget and a financial plan to help them prepare for this shift. It is also advised that parties gather any and all documentation on marital assets to increase their chances of receiving a fair settlement in the divorce.

2. Protect the Children

How you protect your children in a divorce will depend greatly on the situation. Some may need to seek orders of protection and specialized help (i.e. a Guardian Ad Litem) to ensure the safety of their children. However, most children simply need support as their parents separate. They may need room to express their feelings, a chance to ask questions, and perhaps a little extra love and attention as they come to terms with the divorce. Therapy and support groups may also be necessary to help a child through the process.

...

DuPage County divorce lawyersIn a divorce, parties may face numerous obstacles and challenges. If not handled thoughtfully, any one of them could result in negative consequences. There is one mistake that trumps all others, however. Learn what it is and how to avoid it in today’s post. 

The Biggest (and Most Common) Divorce Mistake

After months, perhaps even years of fighting and arguing, most divorcing parties want to quickly and peacefully end their marriage. Unfortunately, if you are too agreeable, you could place your own future at risk. As an example, consider this all too familiar scenario: 

Your spouse files paperwork. You look it over, but the jargon is confusing. Still, you trust that your ex has the same goal as you—to end things peaceably and get on with your lives. You sign the paperwork and discover, far too late, that your spouse has done something underhanded. 

...

Illinois prenuptial agreement attorneysPrenuptial agreements are designed to minimize the risk of complications in a divorce, but this is not their only potential benefit. Used correctly, this legal document can also benefit a couple during their marriage. Get the details on how a prenup can benefit (and possibly even strengthen) your marriage, and discover how a seasoned family law attorney can help to smooth the conversation, should you decide to get one before you wed.

1. Prenups Can Bolster Your Marriage Against Money Issues 

Money is the second leading cause of divorce—and not just because one party has it and is trying to control it. Couples may earn close to the same amount but have wildly different views on how money should be spent or saved. As a result, they may argue incessantly over money, which can erode the foundation of their marriage. Alternatively, their financial goals may not align with one another, so the parties may work against one another instead of together toward a common goal. 

When creating a prenuptial agreement, couples typically discuss their financial habits and goals. This allows the parties to predict and potentially strategize against some of the financial issues that may arise over the course of their marriage. It also requires them to compromise and agree on some common financial goals. All this work, painful and stressful as it might seem, can bolster the marriage against money issues later on down the road. 

...

Wheaton family law attorneysIn an ideal world, every divorced or separate couple would put their differences aside and make great efforts to effectively co-parent their children. Unfortunately, the world is quite far from ideal. Some parents are narcissistic or vengeful. Some are abusive. In either case, the healthy parent is hindered in their co-parenting efforts, and the child may suffer. Parallel parenting may be a solution to these difficult situations. 

What is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting requires each parent to focus on their own interactions with the child. You do not concern yourself with the rules at your ex’s house. You let go of concerns over diet, bedtimes, and discipline (unless there is abuse, in which case you are encouraged to talk to an attorney about your options). In short, you do you and allow the other parent to do the same.

While it may seem strange to let go of what happens when your child is away, odds are, the other parent also wants what is best for the child. They may not make the same decisions that you would, and their rules may be different, but that does not necessarily make them wrong. 

...

Illinois divorce attorneysMost couples aim for an amicable divorce or separation, but some situations seem to breed conflict (i.e. domestic violence, vengeful spouse, child-related issues, etc.). In these scenarios, a peaceful end to your marriage may feel impossible, yet it is still possible to mitigate the issues. Learn how by checking out today’s tips on navigating a high conflict divorce.

1. Minimize Contact (Especially When the Kids Are Around)

One of the fastest and most efficient ways to reduce conflict in your divorce is to minimize contact with your spouse. First, eliminate any unnecessary contact. Do not meet in person if a phone conversation will suffice. Choose not to accept their call if you are busy, hurried, or stressed. Avoid conversations with them around the children. Opt to communicate through email instead of over the phone. Really, just find what works best for you and your situation. Above all, remember that how you speak to (and about) your spouse can either help or harm your children. 

2. Set Firm but Loving Boundaries for the Kids

Children and their feelings are often forgotten in the high conflict divorce. Too much focus and attention go into dealing with the issues. However, kids often feel off-center, angry, confused, or sad when their parents split up. If not given the chance to talk about these emotions, they may start to act out. Children may also struggle to follow the rules of two separate households. Choose to do things in a healthy, healing way in your home. Set firm but loving boundaries, and stick to them. Be there for your child, strive to understand why they are struggling, but do not let bad behavior go unnoticed or neglected.

...

Illinois divorce lawyersA seasoned divorce attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. However, they may not be the only professionals you need on your side. Familiarize yourself with the various and additional key players that can aid you in protecting your children, assets, and sanity in a pending Illinois divorce

Start with Your Attorney

The first call a divorcing party should make is to a seasoned and competent divorce lawyer. They are the most qualified to examine your situation to determine which additional professionals may be needed for your case. Additionally, your lawyer can take legal action on your behalf, early on, affording you greater protection throughout the entire divorce process. 

Appraisers and Forensic Accountants

Besides divorce attorneys, forensic accountants and appraisers are among the most commonly hired professionals in divorce. They can aid in providing an accurate appraisal for common and uncommon assets, including your home, vehicles, collectibles, artwork, jewelry, businesses, and more. These financial experts can also help track down stolen or hidden assets, increasing your chances of receiving a full and fair settlement in your divorce. 

...

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneysBetween the pandemic, record job losses, riots, and economic downturn, the future of America might seem grim. Thankfully, the economy will eventually recover. What may not survive is your marriage. 

Some couples drew closer under the imposed stay-at-home orders, banding together to withstand and prevail in these uncertain times, but others came to realize that their marriage is unsalvageable. Too much time together agitated unresolved marital issues, bringing them to the surface. Financial problems, job losses, and illnesses only added further stress. 

If your marriage crumbled under the stress of recent events, rest assured that you can still move forward with the divorce process. More than that, you can (and are encouraged to) cope with the end of your relationship in a healthy and productive way, as doing so can improve the long-term outcome for yourself and any children. 

...

Illinois divorce lawyersOnce divorce proceedings start, parties will sometimes change their spending habits. For some, it is an act of revenge. For others, it is a strategy they employ to increase their overall settlement amount. In either case, excessive spending habits could lead to serious financial consequences in the divorce. Learn what you can do to combat excessive spending in a pending divorce, and how a seasoned divorce lawyer may be able to help with the process. 

Defining Excessive Spending

For some, the phrase “excessive spending” applies to all frivolous or luxury purchases (i.e., going to the salon, wine subscriptions, etc.). However, in a legal setting, it is only applied when a party’s purchases go above and beyond their normal spending habits. 

As an example, consider the divorcing spouse who recently spent $400 at the hairdresser. While such expenditure may seem excessive, it would only be regarded as such by the courts if such appointments were not “typical” for the party. For the spouse who has routinely gone to the hairstylist throughout their marriage, this is considered a regular, reoccurring expense. Because of this, it would likely be factored into their cost of living. 

...

DuPage County divorce attorneysNo two families are the same, so it stands to reason that no two breakups are exactly alike. As such, the attorney that worked for your sister, friend, or colleague may not be the most suitable for your situation. Increases the chances that you will find the right divorce lawyer for your case by checking out the following five tips.

1. Consider the Type of Divorce You Want

Divorces used to take place in a courtroom. Today, there are numerous options for those who want to end their marriage. Litigated divorces follow the traditional path, which involves hiring lawyers, discovery, and a court date. Collaborative divorce options include a myriad of methods, including mediation and arbitration. These allow parties to work toward an amicable ending in their marriage, which may be more suitable for couples with children or high net worth.

2. Determine What You Want Most

For some couples, the main priority is ending the marriage amicably. Others focus on the cost. Still, there are those who want specific items, such as a particular asset or equal parenting time. Whatever your goal, there is an attorney who specializes in it.

...

Wheaton domestic violence attorneysAccording to data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), as many as one in three women and one in four men will experience at least some level of domestic abuse in their lifetimes. Of those, one in three women and one in nine men will experience severe abuse. As alarming as these statistics are, victims can lead a normal, healthy, and functional life after a violent relationship. The first step is recognizing that there may be a problem. 

Early Signs of Domestic Violence 

Contrary to what some people may believe, abusive relationships rarely start out violent. In fact, most abusers are quite skilled at being charming, and while they may come on strong, their actions and behaviors seem loving and genuine. In time, things change and these early signs of domestic violence start to emerge, such as:

  • The abuser wrongfully accusing the victim of cheating or flirting;
  • The abuser losing their temper and throwing or breaking things;
  • The abuser attempting to impose stereotypical gender roles;
  • The abuser accusing the victim of changing and blaming their actions on this;
  • The abuser being unreasonably jealous of friends, co-workers, and other family members;
  • The abuser attempting to isolate the victim from their social circle;
  • The abuser telling the victim that everyone else is bad for them;
  • The abuser making excuses after losing their temper;
  • The abuser referring to their cruelty as a “joking;”
  • The abuser pressuring the victim into sexual activities;
  • The abuser attempting to control money, transportation, or internet and cell phone usage; or
  • The abuser going through the victim’s phone or personal belongings, looking for “evidence.” 

Signs the Abuse is Progressing 

Once the abuser has a foothold, the violence may escalate. Rather than simply yell or throw things, they may pinch, bite, shove, or slap the victim. Once the physical aspects start, the cycle becomes more vicious, often to the point that victims will do anything to avoid setting off their abuser. 

...

Wheaton divorce lawyersWhen it comes to protecting wealth, affluent families typically focus on matters pertaining to tax and estate laws. Unfortunately, there is another major (but often overlooked) threat to any large estate: the divorce.

Almost half of all U.S. marriages end this way, yet only a fraction of the affluent have an existing prenuptial agreement in place. In lieu of one, the estate is valued and then divided equitably among the divorcing parties. 

Unfortunately, the untangling of a marital estate can be a complex and difficult process. Foreign held assets pose even bigger challenges and greater consequences. Learn how to overcome them, and how a seasoned Illinois divorce lawyer can improve the outcome in your case. 

...

Illinois parenting plan attorneysWhen parents divorce, they must prioritize what is best for their children. More often than not, this means that each parent should stay emotionally and physically involved in their child’s day-to-day life. How do you do that while living in separate households? In most cases, the details are outlined in a document known as a parenting plan

What is a Parenting Plan?

Parenting plans are legal court documents that are used to outline each parent’s roles and responsibilities as it pertains to meeting the needs of their child. 

What is Included in a Parenting Plan? 

Parenting plans cover more than just parenting time allotment. Designed to address all the needs of a child during the divorce, parenting plans cover a host of child-related issues, including:

...

Wheaton family law attorneysWhether your wedding plans have been delayed by the virus or your big date is quickly approaching, now is the time to lay down financial plans and boundaries. One way to accomplish this is through a prenuptial agreement. Not just for the rich, this legal document can protect you in the event of a divorce, and encourage an open conversation about money management before you tie the knot. Still, there are some important mistakes to avoid when drafting your prenup. 

1. Being Afraid to Bring It Up

When it comes to romantic gestures, discussions about prenuptial agreements are likely the last thing to come to mind. You may even view such discussions as a threat to your impending marriage. Rest assured that a prenuptial agreement is unlikely to be the reason a would-be marriage ends. Instead, it is far more plausible to assume that the parties reached an impasse and realized they were financially incompatible. While such a discovery could be painful, it may also save you from years of heartache and a financially devastating divorce. 

Completing a prenup before your marriage could also protect your marriage from one the leading causes of divorce: arguments over financial matters. Unlike those who do not take the initiative to discuss money before marriage, you and your partner will have an agreement—a clear path to reach and achieve your agreed-upon financial goals. You will also have communicated through a highly complex document, which can further safeguard your marriage against a future divorce. 

...

Wheaton orders of protection lawyersThe coronavirus shutdown may have been a reprieve for the overworked and disconnected. Still, for the victims of domestic violence, the entire experience may have more closely resembled an inescapable nightmare.

Trapped at home, nowhere go when arguments erupted. The potential loss of finances, elevating tensions within the home. The realization that you are no longer safe in your marriage.

If this was more along the lines of your experience during the quarantine period, it might be time for you to move forward with the divorce process. However, the next steps need to be cautionary and guided. Your safety—and perhaps even the safety of your children—are on the line.

...

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce attorneyIn an ideal world, divorcing parties would have all the financial aspects of their lives in order before they file. Of course, few things in life go as planned. Such is often the case when an indebted business is a part of the marital estate. Learn how a seasoned divorce lawyer can help you protect your financial interests, even if your business is currently in debt. 

Understanding the Potential Challenges

Indebted businesses pose a number of challenges in divorce. First, if your spouse denies having any knowledge of your company’s debt, they could be excused from any financial consequences. As a result, you may be ordered to pay alimony or a larger settlement amount, which could compromise your ability to pay back the company’s debt. 

Using marital assets to keep an indebted business afloat could also make it more difficult to untangle assets. Hiring a forensic accountant can help, but even still, you could face challenges when trying to determine the value of both the business and your marital estate. 

...

Wheaton divorce lawyersWith most of the country on lockdown, couples who are at odds in their marriage are feeling the pressure. Add in potential job losses, the possibility that parties have had to move back in together to save money, and the minimal court operations and you have the perfect formula for an all-out marital explosion. Thankfully, parties do not have to wait to proceed with the divorce process. In fact, it is recommended that you not wait and, instead, start moving forward. 

Divorce Takes Time

Divorcing parties often underestimate just how much time it takes to complete the divorce process. At a minimum, most go through at least 60 days of preparation and paperwork before seeing a judge. Complex cases and high conflict situations can take much longer to resolve. 

While no one can say for certain how long the stay-at-home orders will last, parties do not have to delay the process. Instead, start the process now and you can expedite the court process and complete your case sooner once the orders have been lifted. 

...

Illinois divorce lawyersIf you are considering divorce, odds are that you have already started exploring your options. Two of the most commonly pursued paths are litigation and mediation. Gain a better understanding of the differences between these two divorce methods, and discover what our seasoned divorce attorneys can do to improve the outcome in your case. 

Mediation vs. Litigation - Same Issues, Different Process

No matter which path you choose for divorce, you will likely face and deal with the same core issues: allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, child support, alimony, and the division of assets. How these matters are resolved - the approach and process - are greatly varied, depending on the path you choose, however.

Major Differences Between Litigation and Mediation 

In litigation, parties are placed at opposite ends, like warring sides. Each presents their case and evidence. The judge then makes a ruling, which is final (unless appealed). In contrast, Mediation encourages couples to work through their issues with an eye toward compromise and mutual respect. Upon further inspection, these core differences dramatically alter the divorce process. 

...

Wheaton divorce attorneysWhile every divorce is unique and specific to the parties and their situation, there are some common threads. Likewise, there are some commonly made mistakes in divorce. Fall victim to any one of them and you could jeopardize your settlement, your time or rights to your children, and even your financial well-being. Educate yourself on what these mistakes are, and discover how our seasoned Wheaton divorce lawyers can help you avoid them.

1. Failure to Gain Access to or Provide All Financial Information

Like it or not, divorce is mostly a financial transaction. It requires you to provide any and all financial information to your attorney or the courts so that the marital estate can be accurately valued and divided. Unfortunately, if you miss something, it can have a negative impact on your case. You could short-sell yourself in the settlement, or you could be accused of trying to hide assets from your spouse. In either case, this mistake should be carefully avoided.

2. Putting Too Much Focus on the Past

Couples do not typically seek a divorce because they are happy and fulfilled. Instead, there are usually moments and issues that have brought the couple to their decision. However, it is important to remember that these matters are now in the past. Lashing out at your spouse, trying to get even, or simply squabbling over issues that no longer hold relevance do not help your situation. Instead, they can jeopardize your ability to think rationally about the things that do matter, like the well-being of your children or your financial health.

...
Back to Top