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Wheaton divorce attorneysAs a parent, one of your biggest concerns in the divorce process is likely how the divorce will affect your relationship with your children, especially if they will not be living with you full-time. Fortunately, in most cases the court will try to establish an arrangement that allocates substantial parenting time to both parents, provided that doing so is in the children’s best interests. However, there are circumstances in which parenting time can be restricted, and it is important to understand whether they may apply to your case. 

Reasons for Restricting Parenting Time

The primary reason an Illinois court will order restrictions on parenting time is a finding that time with a parent is likely to put the children’s physical, emotional, mental, or moral health in danger. The decision to restrict parenting time is not taken lightly and requires substantial evidence of dangerous behavior on the part of a parent. Possible behaviors that may be considered to endanger a child’s health include:

  • Abandonment or neglect of the child
  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of the child or another person in the household
  • Criminal acts including sex offenses and other violent crimes
  • Substance abuse that interferes with parenting abilities
  • Relationships with other people who pose a danger to the child
  • Attempts to interfere with the other parent’s access to the child

In some cases, restrictions are included in the initial allocation of parenting time established during the divorce process. In other cases, events after the divorce necessitate restrictions or conditions on parenting time. This could be the case if new evidence comes to light, new behavior surfaces, or a parent violates or abuses the parenting time order. 

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County family law attorneysIn Illinois, divorcing couples have a few options when it comes to how they reach a resolution on issues including property division, parenting time and responsibilities, and child and spousal support. Perhaps the first option that comes to mind is a court trial in which each party is represented by an attorney, but this is not actually the most common method for resolving a divorce. In fact, the large majority of couples are able to settle their divorce out of court. In many cases, it is a good idea to consider whether an uncontested divorce would work for you before exploring other alternatives.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

In an uncontested divorce, the two spouses agree not only on the decision to get a divorce, but also on all important matters that must be resolved for the divorce to be finalized. However, it is rare for a couple to reach this agreement without going through significant discussions and negotiations to figure out the details. Both parties can also choose to hire an attorney to advise them and help them protect their interests, but the right attorney can do so without escalating conflict in a way that may lead to litigation. After creating a written agreement, the couple can submit it to the court for approval so that the marriage is legally dissolved and the agreement becomes legally binding.

Is an Uncontested Divorce a Good Decision?

An uncontested divorce can be a good decision for many reasons. For one, it can help you and your spouse keep conflict to a minimum and avoid the public spectacle of a trial. You also have far greater control over the outcome in an uncontested divorce, as you and your spouse are able to agree on your own decisions rather than leaving them in the court’s hands. In many cases, an uncontested divorce can be resolved more quickly and with fewer expenses than a divorce trial.

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Wheaton family law attorneysIn an Illinois divorce, couples must divide all marital property equitably according to their personal situation. In order for a fair distribution to occur, it is important to ensure that neither spouse intentionally harms or selfishly uses property belonging to the marital estate in the time leading up to the divorce. If you believe that your spouse has been dissipating marital assets, it is important to work with an attorney to gather evidence and present your case to the court to make the situation right.

What is Considered Dissipation of Assets?

In order for a spouse’s spending or use of property to be considered dissipation of marital assets, Illinois law states that it must take place after the marriage has started to break down irretrievably. The behavior must also involve marital property, generally meaning assets acquired during the marriage that are considered to belong to both spouses. A spouse using his or her own non-marital assets during this time will likely not affect the divorce resolution.

The assets in question must also have been spent in a way that harms the marital estate or benefits only the spouse who does the spending. Possible examples include making an extravagant purchase or going on a solo trip, gambling excessively, destroying marital property, or spending money on an affair outside of the marriage.

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Wheaton domestic violence attorneysIn Illinois, many couples choose to get a divorce simply due to irreconcilable differences that prevent them from resolving the issues in their marriage. However, in some cases, a more serious problem is at the root of the decision to divorce. Domestic violence, including intimate partner abuse and child abuse, affects millions of American families, and many experts report that incidents of domestic abuse have increased during stay-at-home orders resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have decided that a divorce is the best option to protect yourself and your children from an abusive spouse, you should be aware of how the abuse may affect the process.

Divorce Litigation is Likely Necessary

Though an amicable divorce can often be resolved between the two parties with minimal involvement of the court, a divorce involving domestic violence is much more likely to go to trial. Attempting to negotiate with an abusive spouse is unlikely to be successful, and it may put you at risk of additional abuse or manipulation. Instead, you should work with an attorney who can help you prepare for your case and protect your interests, including by documenting your financial assets and evidence of your spouse’s abuse.

You may also wish to initiate legal action outside of the divorce process itself. For example, an order of protection may be necessary to prevent contact or communication with your partner that could lead to further harm. Some orders of protection also protect your personal property and may allow you to retain sole access to your home temporarily. You may also wish to pursue other civil actions against your spouse for damages you have suffered as a result of the abuse.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysIf you are getting a divorce, especially in your later years, one of your biggest concerns is likely how it will affect your financial situation. Specifically, you may wonder what will happen to your retirement savings and whether you will still be able to retire as planned. In order to prepare for the impact of your divorce on your retirement, it is important to understand both Illinois property division law and the tax implications of different retirement accounts.

How Are Assets Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

Under Illinois law, all marital property is to be divided equitably between spouses as part of a divorce resolution. This does not mean that the division has to be exactly equal, but it should be fair to both parties and prevent either from facing undue hardship. In some cases, the details of the division of property are left to the court’s decision, but divorcing couples also have the opportunity to reach an agreement of their own and submit it to the court for approval. 

With this in mind, the answers to two questions can help you determine whether your retirement assets will be divided:

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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce attorneysIf you are having problems in your marriage, chances are that the thought of divorce has crossed your mind at some point, and you may have even thought about bringing it up with your spouse. However, saying something out loud can often lead to a situation in which it is impossible to turn back, so you should think carefully about how and when you raise the subject if you choose to do so at all. When it comes to such a sensitive conversation, some times are certainly better than others.

The Wrong Time

If you have any hope for the survival of your marriage, one of the worst things you can do is to threaten divorce during a heated argument with your spouse. As much as you may be feeling it in the moment, a divorce may not be what you truly want. However, making your partner think it is a possibility can lead to feelings of insecurity. It also has the potential to exacerbate the argument or shut down future attempts at conversation that could help you resolve your issues together.

Even if you are certain that you want a divorce, an argument is not the best time to bring it up. Doing so can make the divorce seem like a punishment to your spouse, rather than a rational decision based on your feelings about the state of your marriage. It also may set the tone for all divorce discussions to devolve into conflict, which can make the process much longer and more stressful.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysOut of all of the marital properties that must be divided in a divorce, perhaps none carries a greater emotional weight than the family home. It may be the place where you and your spouse began your life together, or where you have raised your children and made lasting memories. However, as you consider what will happen to your home during the divorce, it is best to try to set aside emotions and make a rational plan for achieving your desired outcome.

Options for the Marital Home When Dividing Assets

Because Illinois requires an equitable distribution of marital assets rather than a 50/50 split, getting a divorce does not mean that you and your spouse will have to divide the value of the house down the middle. Rather, you have a wide range of options, especially if you are willing to work together to negotiate a solution. Some of the possibilities include:

  • Following the terms of your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement: It is worth noting that if you and your spouse created a legally valid agreement, either before or during your marriage, that specifies what becomes of the marital home in a divorce, the court will usually honor it. This can save you time and stress during the divorce process.
  • Granting ownership to the spouse with greater parenting time: You and your spouse may decide it is best for your children to continue spending most of their time in the home they are used to, and this is also a factor the court may consider even if you cannot reach an agreement on your own. With this option, the spouse who keeps the home should be sure that he or she can manage any accompanying expenses, and should be aware that it may mean giving up a greater share of other properties.
  • Maintaining joint ownership temporarily: If the primary custodial parent cannot afford to keep the house alone, you may be able to reach an agreement in which you and your spouse continue to own the home together until your children are grown. Maintaining joint ownership for a time may also be a good idea if the housing market is not currently favorable to sellers.
  • Selling the home: If neither spouse has a strong attachment to the home, or if neither would be able to afford to keep it on his or her own, the best option may be to sell it and divide the proceeds after paying off any outstanding debt. This may also be the outcome if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement and the decision is left in the court’s hands.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer Today

At Davi Law Group, we understand how important your home may be to you, and we will help you explore all possible options for it during your divorce. We can advise you through cooperative negotiations with your spouse or represent your interests in a divorce trial if necessary. Contact a compassionate Wheaton, IL family law attorney at 630-504-0176 to schedule a free consultation.

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Naperville divorce attorneysGetting a divorce can create financial strain for both spouses because of the required division of assets and the potential for child and spousal support obligations. This may be especially difficult if you have significant debt at the time of your divorce. If you are not careful, debt problems can become increasingly complicated after your divorce, so it is important to consider options that can alleviate your debt burden during the divorce process.

When is Debt Considered Marital Property in Illinois?

You may be aware that marital property will be divided in your divorce, but it can come as a surprise that debts accumulated during your marriage are considered part of that property. This may be true whether the debt was incurred by one spouse or both together. Marital debt can come from many sources, including mortgages, car loans, student loans, business loans, and credit card debt. Any remaining marital debt at the time of your divorce must be distributed fairly between you and your spouse.

Strategies for Avoiding Debt Complications in Your Divorce

As your divorce approaches, you may be able to reduce your debt obligations or prevent future complications with creditors by being proactive, especially if you and your spouse are willing to cooperate and negotiate. Some strategies for mitigating the effects of marital debt include:

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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:

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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