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Posted by on in Divorce

Kane County family law attorney divorce

Getting divorced is not as easy as simply deciding not to be married anymore. Most divorcing spouses must address several key issues during their divorce including the division of marital assets and debts, spousal support, and child custody. “Discovery” refers to the fact-gathering stage of divorce. The evidence and information exchanged during discovery will affect the outcome of the divorce, so this is a crucial component of the divorce process. If you are planning to divorce in Illinois, it is important to know what is involved in discovery so that you can protect your rights and be as prepared as possible.

Exchange of Financial Information and Other Records

Most divorce issues revolve around finances. Accurate, up-to-date financial information is needed to determine how marital property and debts will be divided between the couple, the amount of child support a parent will pay, and whether a spouse is entitled to alimony or spousal maintenance. Spouses are expected to provide this information willingly, but in some cases, it takes some digging to uncover the documentation needed. Non-financial information may also be required in order to address the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time and other divorce issues.

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Kane County family law attorney child support

Child support allows parents to share the costs of raising a child even if they are unmarried or divorced. If you are thinking of getting divorced or you are an unmarried parent, you may have questions about your child support rights and responsibilities. You may be curious as to the amount of child support you or your child’s other parent will pay. In Illinois, child support is usually determined by statutory formulas, but there are also cases in which courts deviate from these formulas.

Child Support Calculation in Illinois  

Prior to 2016, child support in Illinois was almost exclusively based on the paying parent’s income. The higher the income of the paying parent or “obligor,” the higher the child support payment. Illinois now uses the Income Shares Model to determine child support payment amounts. This calculation method uses both parents’ income to reach an appropriate child support payment.

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Kane County family law attorney prenuptial agreementIf you are like most people, you may assume that “typical” marriages do not require a prenuptial agreement. You may even think that premarital agreements are only used by the extremely wealthy. However, prenuptial agreements and other marital agreements can be powerful legal tools. Through a prenuptial agreement, you and your soon-to-be-spouse can define your property rights and responsibilities and start your marriage with a frank and honest discussion about financial concerns.

Differentiate Between Marital and Separate Property

When a couple marries, they combine many of their assets and debts. Assets and debts obtained by either spouse during the marriage are considered marital property. Assets and debts obtained before the wedding and certain gifts as well as inheritances are separate property and not subject to division during divorce. Through a prenuptial agreement, you and your spouse can decide which assets and debts are marital and which are owned by only one of the spouses. This is beneficial in the event of divorce and can also help spouses with estate planning concerns when a spouse passes away.

Determine a Spousal Maintenance Arrangement

Spousal maintenance, referred to as alimony, is financial support one spouse pays to the other upon divorce. Either spouse may petition the court for spousal maintenance during divorce, but Illinois courts typically award alimony to spouses when a spouse is placed in a financial disadvantage by divorce. The amount and duration of spousal maintenance payments are usually determined via statutory formula, but this is not always the case. If you want to have more control over spousal maintenance in the event that your marriage ends in divorce, you can determine a maintenance arrangement now and write it into your prenuptial agreement. The court will uphold your agreement unless there are major issues with the maintenance provisions that make them invalid.

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Posted by on in Divorce

Kane County divorce attorneyIf you have ever watched a television show or movie depicting divorce, you may have seen dramatic courtroom scenes depicting divorce lawyers arguing facts in front of a judge. However, the vast majority of divorce cases are settled outside of court. If you are planning to divorce, you may be unsure of what to expect. Educating yourself about the divorce process and speaking with a skilled divorce attorney are two important ways to ensure that you are as prepared for your impending divorce as possible.

Issues that Must Be Addressed in an Illinois Divorce

Undoing the legal marital relationship is often more complicated than people realize. Before the divorce is finalized, the couple must reach an agreement about the terms of their divorce. They will need to determine how to divide marital property and debt, what to do with the marital home, and figure out the ownership of vehicles, furniture, and other personal property. If the couple has children, they will need to fill out and submit a “parenting plan” describing the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. In addition, Spousal maintenance (alimony) is another issue that may need to be decided on. If the couple can reach an agreement about the terms of their divorce, they may design their own divorce settlement and present it to the court for approval. Once the court approves the settlement, it is formalized into a legally binding court order.

When a Divorcing Couple Cannot Reach an Agreement

Divorcing couples who are unable to agree on property division, child custody, spousal maintenance, and other divorce issues have several options. Many couples are able to negotiate a settlement with help from their attorneys. Others attend family law mediation and discuss the unresolved divorce issues with guidance from a certified divorce mediator. However, there are some cases in which litigation cannot be avoided. Your divorce case may go to trial if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement about one or more divorce issues. Litigation may also be necessary if one of the spouses refuses to be honest and forthcoming about his or her income, assets, business revenue, or other financial matters. Issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and child abuse may also prevent the spouses from being able to reach a resolution outside of court.

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Kane County divorce attorney spousal maintenanceIf you are considering divorce, you may have questions about alimony. Typically called spousal support or spousal maintenance under Illinois law, alimony is only ordered in certain situations. If you and your spouse agreed to spousal maintenance in your prenuptial agreement or another marital agreement, the court will most likely uphold this agreement. However, if there is a question as to the prenuptial agreement’s validity or enforceability, the spousal maintenance agreement may not be legally binding. In the absence of a valid marital agreement, spousal maintenance is awarded on a case-by-case basis.

Financial Support for Divorcing Spouses

Spousal maintenance is usually awarded by Illinois courts when there is a significant difference in the spouses’ financial situations. You may be entitled to spousal maintenance if you sacrificed employment advancement or educational opportunities for the betterment of the marriage or family. You and your spouse have the opportunity to negotiate your own arrangement for spousal maintenance; however, if you cannot reach an agreement, the court will make a decision for you.

When determining whether to award spousal maintenance to a spouse, Illinois courts consider:

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