Proving Your Former Spouse Has Violated Your Divorce OrderA well-crafted divorce settlement gets its teeth from your ability to enforce it. Even after all the hours of negotiation, your former spouse may decide he or she no longer agrees with the terms of the settlement. Instead of just asking you to renegotiate, he or she may refuse to complying with the agreed-upon divorce terms, such as:

A divorce agreement is a court order, and violating it may result in civil and criminal penalties. If your former spouse refuses to obey your divorce order, you can take him or her to court by filing a Petition for Rule to Show Cause. However, you must show that your spouse is willfully in contempt of the order. You can help your case by preparing supporting evidence for both your petition and your hearing.


The first step is to explain how your former spouse is not complying with the divorce order. You should have a detailed timeline of the violations. Documentation can include:

  • A copy of the divorce order to establish its requirements;
  • Dates and amounts of missed support payments;
  • Dates when the parenting time schedule was not followed;
  • Instances when your former spouse made a parenting decision without your required consent; and
  • Marital properties that you have been unable to procure.

Giving Notice

Filing a Petition for Rule to Show Cause should be your last resort, not your first reaction to a violation of your divorce order. The court will expect you to have made reasonable efforts to ask your former spouse to comply with the order. You can list when and how you contacted your former spouse about the violation. Include copies of any written communications that you sent, as well as replies.


The final step is to prove that your former spouse was “willful, contumacious and without just cause” in violating the divorce order. This means showing that your former spouse knew of the violation and was capable of complying but instead chose to violate the order. Proving that your former spouse knew about the violation should be simple if you were thorough in warning him or her. Your former spouse is more likely to argue that he or she was incapable of complying with the order. Financial hardship and concern for your children’s wellbeing are two of the most common defenses. The court’s duty is to determine whether your former spouse’s defense made it impossible or impractical to comply with the divorce order.


Even with a reasonable excuse, your former spouse may be liable for violating your divorce order. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you enforce the terms of your divorce order. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.


Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Divorce, Enforcing Agreements, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney |

Preparing for Financial Negotiations During Your DivorceThough divorce is often an emotional decision, financial considerations become equally important during the divorce process. Both sides need the settlement to establish their financial independence and security. A favorable divorce settlement can grant you valuable assets from your marriage and long-term relief in the form of spousal support. Before the financial negotiations start, there are actions you can take to prepare and protect yourself.

Separating Money

It is common for spouses to combine their incomes in a joint bank account. You will still have access to that account during your divorce, but your future income should go into a bank account that is solely in your name. There are several advantages to this:

  • The money you deposit in a joint bank account is marital property, which is subject to division during the divorce;
  • Having your own account allows you to make individual purchases that are not marital property; and
  • You need your own money to fall back on in case your spouse tries to withdraw money from the joint account.

Limiting Purchases

Getting a divorce is expensive, so you should be careful in budgeting your money while the process is ongoing. Unnecessary purchases can also reflect poorly on you during the divorce. It gives the appearance that you are financially irresponsible, which may negatively affect you during the division of marital property and determination of spousal support.

Identifying Property

Properties in a marriage are classified as either marital or individual. During your divorce, the marital properties are equitably divided between the spouses, while the individual properties remain with their owner. When the divorce begins, you can start identifying which properties are:

  • Marital;
  • Individual to yourself or your spouse; or
  • Likely to be disputed.

The value of the marital properties is not required to be divided exactly in half. If one spouse has significantly greater individual properties, the divorce court may compensate by giving the other spouse a larger share of the marital properties. Thus, it is to your advantage to know the value of your spouse’s individual assets.

Collecting Documents

Your spouse may understate his or her own worth in order to gain an advantage in the division of property and spousal support payments. While you still have easy access, you should make copies of key documents that show:

  • How much money you both have;
  • Your typical incomes;
  • Valuable assets you possess; and
  • Your benefits and retirement plans.

Planning for Success

Early action during your divorce can help secure your immediate and future financial status. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can provide you with the financial guidance you need during your divorce. To schedule an appointment, call 630-879-9090.


Posted in Divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney, Property Division, Spousal Maintenance | Tagged , , , |

Types of Orders of Protection and How to Modify ThemObtaining an order of protection is one of the most helpful actions that Illinois victims of domestic violence can take. An order of protection legally prohibits your abuser from having contact with you and other victims. Forms of domestic violence include:

  • Physical abuse;
  • Harassment;
  • Intimidation; and
  • Obstruction of personal liberties.

A domestic violence incident may be an emergency for the victim, but obtaining and keeping an order of protection requires following a legal process. The steps are meant to provide immediate and lasting protection for domestic violence victims, while also protecting the accused from false or unfair claims.

Types of Orders

An order of protection determines who the offender may have contact with and may require that support payments be made to the victim. However, a court will not impose any long-term conditions on the accused until it rules on the case in a hearing. At the same time, the law recognizes that victims need immediate relief from their suspected abusers. There are three types of orders of protection that are used at different stages of the legal process:

  • An emergency order lasting 14 to 21 days can be granted the same day it is filed without the accused needing to attend. The order is meant to protect the accuser until the initial court hearing;
  • A court may issue a 30-day interim order once the accused makes an initial court appearance or is given sufficient notice to attend a hearing; and
  • A plenary order is the final order that the court issues if it sides with the accuser in the case.

Renewal and Modification

A plenary order of protection only lasts two years in Illinois, but you can renew the order an unlimited number of times. The process may be straightforward if you are not seeking to modify the order and the other party does not contest the extension. If the extension is contested, you must show why the order is still necessary and that there has not been a change of circumstances. You can also request to modify the order at any time. Reasons for modification may include:

  • Additional abusive behavior that necessitates greater protective measures;
  • A change in living circumstances that also changes what you need from the order; and
  • A resolution in the criminal charges related to the domestic abuse.

Obtaining Protection

As a victim of domestic violence, you need help in filing for an order of protection against your abuser. A Kane County family law attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., will lead you through the process of obtaining the order. To schedule a consultation, call 630-879-9090.


Posted in Domestic Violence, Orders of Protection | Tagged , , |

Forgiveness Heals After Your DivorceBefore your divorce has even finished, you may feel anxious to move forward with your life. The end of your marriage was painful, but your life as a newly single person fills you with optimism. However, the anger and hurt from your marriage can linger long after your divorce. You can try to forget your resentment, but that is not the same as moving past it. Divorce therapists believe forgiveness is one of the most powerful healing tools for divorcees. Before starting a new relationship, you may need to forgive your former spouse for the end of your previous relationship.

Reasons for Resentment

You are unlikely to reach the point of forgiveness without first recognizing your resentment. You may have a valid reason to be angry at your former spouse if he or she was involved in:

  • Infidelity;
  • Physical or verbal abuse;
  • Criminal activity; or
  • Manipulative behavior.

Illinois only accepts irreconcilable differences as a reason of divorce, and many divorces are caused by that. It can be frustrating to admit that no one was to blame for your divorce. Your former spouse may be the target of your anger because you want to blame someone.

Finding Forgiveness

Forgiveness takes conscious effort but is not as simple as telling your former spouse “I forgive you.” If you are expecting a satisfying reaction from him or her, you will likely be disappointed. You should forgive your former spouse for your own benefit. The journey to forgiveness can take many steps, including:

  • Deciding you no longer want to feel resentment;
  • Identifying the experiences that make you angry;
  • Describing the events that led to your divorce from an impersonal perspective;
  • Assessing the role both of you played in events;
  • Understanding the perspective of your former spouse in an attempt to feel empathy;
  • Accepting that you cannot change the outcome of those events; and
  • Focusing on what you can control moving forward.

It can be daunting to reconcile all of these thoughts on your own. A therapist who focuses on divorcees may be able to guide you.

Forgive, Not Forget

The purpose of forgiveness is to quell your unhealthy feelings of resentment. However, you can still hold your spouse accountable for his or her actions. If your spouse has a history of threatening or abusive behavior, your divorce settlement needs to protect yourself and your children. A Kane County divorce attorney with Van Larson Law, P.C., can advocate for your rights during your divorce negotiations. To schedule an appointment, call 630-879-9090.


Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney | Tagged , , , |

Challenging Paternity Fraud in CourtWhen a child is born out of wedlock, establishing legal paternity is consequential for the father, mother and child. The legal father may need to provide child support payments to the mother but also has the right to request some allocation of parental responsibilities. Because DNA testing is not required to establish paternity, some men discover they are not the biological father of the children they are legally responsible for. The false paternity may have been an honest mistake by both legal parents, but mothers may also mislead men into believing they are fathers. Paternity fraud can be devastating because the man:

  • Has been providing monthly child support payments; and
  • May have developed a paternal relationship with the child.

Men in Illinois can challenge their legal paternity based on fraud but must meet a two-year deadline and provide convincing evidence.

Establishing Paternity

Courts believe it is important to name a biological father for a child because it can provide the child with financial protection and family medical records. In Illinois, legal paternity is primarily established in three ways:

  • If the mother was married at the time of the child’s conception, the husband is presumed to be the father;
  • Both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form; or
  • Either parent can take the other to court to establish paternity through a DNA test.

Paternity fraud most often occurs when a mother convinces a man to sign a VAP, even though she knows or suspects that the man is not the father. Once a man signs a VAP, he has 60 days to rescind it. Otherwise, the form legally establishes him as the father and waives his right to a DNA test or court hearing.

Challenging Paternity

A court can rescind a man’s paternal status if he proves he signed the VAP under fraud or duress. After the VAP goes into effect, the legal father has two years to challenge it. Proving fraud can free the man from future child support payments and allow him to pursue restitution from the mother. However,  paternity fraud must satisfy multiple conditions:

  • The man must present DNA test results showing he is not the father;
  • If possible, the biological father should be identified and established; and
  • The man must prove the mother knew that he was not the father when he signed the VAP.

Paternity Law

Challenging your paternity can be difficult after you have signed a VAP. A Kane County family law attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can discuss your options before you consent to paternity. To schedule an appointment, call 630-879-9090.


Posted in Child support, Family Law, Paternity | Tagged , , , , |