233 W. Wilson Street, Batavia, IL, 60510

inheritance, marital property, Illinois divorce attorneyOne of the most challenging processes of divorce is property division. Dividing up a couple’s life—deciding who gets to keep the physical manifestation of this memory; who gets to keep the proceeds from the sales of these would-have-been heirlooms—is one of the most emotionally wrecking stages a divorcing couple must go through. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that both members of the couple will get a fair share during a divorce, regardless of who decided that the divorce was necessary or if either spouse was at fault. It also means that just because you were the primary earner, does not mean that you will walk away from the marriage with more money or assets. All the couple’s property is considered as either marital or non-marital property. The loose definition of each is whether the property was acquired before or during the marriage.

One tricky type of asset to determine as either marital or non-marital are personal inheritances. If a person’s parent dies, for example, while he or she is married and she inherits a lump sum from her parent, is it considered marital property? Unfortunately, according to the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, this is determined by actions the receiver takes during the marriage, and cannot be rectified during divorce proceedings. If the inheritor deposits or co-mingles the inheritance with other types of earnings—including income earned, even if it is in a private account to which the other spouse does not have access—then it can be considered marital property.

The key to determining marital property is to consider all your assets, including a personal inheritance, as separate from the marriage. Any paycheck you receive while married will be considered for equal property division during divorce. If you receive an inheritance, then, be sure to put it into an account separate from your paychecks, and that your spouse does not have access to it.

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cheating, affairs, Illinois Divorce AttorneyIt is no secret that extramarital affairs can often mean the end of a marriage. Psychologists identify several different reasons for affairs—not the least of which is because the marriage was already headed toward ruin, whether one of the spouses had cheated or not.

Affairs begin for a number of reasons, including revenge, a desire for sex when the marriage has lost its spark, or an emotional connection with someone other than one’s spouse. There is another reason for affairs—one that may be problematic for many people: the affair of the long-term caregiver. In some marriages, one partner becomes very ill and must then rely on his or her spouse to provide care in all facets of life. Often, this leaves the other spouse feeling more like a parent than a partner—and may lead him or her to seek intimacy elsewhere. While some may see these types of affairs as relatively justifiable, they are actually the least common type of an affair.

When it comes to ending a marriage because of an affair, it may or may not cost the cheater in court. Although Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that a couple does not have to find fault or blame with one of the spouses in order to file for divorce, Illinois legislature currently allows one spouse to file for a at-fault divorce in the case of such an incident like cheating. This law is slated to change in January 2016, when cheaters will not longer be held accountable or "at-fault" in divorce proceedings.

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coparenting, divorce, Illinois Family Law Attorney Divorce may be forever, but if you have children, so is your relationship with your ex. It is not easy to share parenting duties, and if you and your spouse have had a particularly nasty or contested divorce, this will be all the more true. This, however, is all the more reason to go into the divorce as clear-headed as possible. Just because your marriage is over, does not mean that your shared parenting duties are. There are several important questions to ask yourselves as you are going through a divorce to help put into perspective how you will move forward raising children together. All are kid-centric and generally include:

  • What can we do to make life better for our kids than it was while we were married?
  • When our children look back and remember this time in their lives as adults, will they respect the way we handled the divorce?
  • Are the kids having to bear more responsibility than a kid should?
  • Can we learn to be flexible with living arrangements as they grow up? Who can provide the best living environment, and what will that mean for or require of the child?

For many kids, their parents’ divorce is a blessing in disguise. Oftentimes children are conditioned to think that their parents’ constant fighting—a house always on the edge of emotional explosion—is normal. It is easy for children to become accustomed to whatever circumstance they are in, without questioning it. An interesting takeaway one child of divorce experienced is that divorce takes away any preconceived notions of familial roles, meaning that a child is free to have a different type of relationship with each of his or her parents. In many causes, such relationships may never have developed if the unhealthy marriage and family situation had stayed intact.

If you or someone you know is considering divorce and has questions about co-parenting, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney today.

kids, talking to kids, Kane County Divorce LawyerDivorce is difficult. Divorce with kids is even more so. How you tell your kids that you and your spouse are getting divorced will have a lasting impact on both how they accept the news and your future relationship with them, independently and together. Presenting a unified front—even if you and your soon-to-be-ex are pretending to be united—is essential. In addition, there are several other things you can do to ease your child into the news of your separation.

The first is to ensure that all your planning about the future has been laid out. This means speaking with a family law attorney to determine custody and visitation arrangements. You should also have a schedule arranged, so that the child is well aware of what his new daily life will be like. According to Psychology Today, children—especially young children—do not deal well with change or transition. Children rely exclusively on adults to help them understand and make sense of the world around them; a sudden upheaval, such as divorce or separation, can throw their world into chaos.

Having a plan of attack for what will happen next can help to ease some of this emotional trauma. Bear in mind also that if the child is old enough, he will likely remember this moment for the rest of his life. Break the news on a day that does not have other important connotations, like a holiday. Also be sure that you have the time to spend with a child to help him adjust to the news after you tell  her. Avoid telling her the day before she goes to summer camp, for example.

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order of protection, abuse, Illinois family law attorneyAn order of protection is a serious legal tool used for people who are in abusive relationships, invoked to keep the abuser away and ensure the safety of a family at risk. It is meant to provide a level of security in potentially dangerous cirumstances.

petition for an order of protection can be filed against any family or household member who has committed acts of domestic violence against you or your minor child. Any high-risk adult with disabilities may file a petition for an order of protection against his or her caretaker who has abused, neglected, or exploited him or her. If a person is living or employed in a private caretaking facility in which he or she has been neglected or abused, he or she is also eligible to file an order of protection.

It is important to note that the order of protection can only be filed against a family member or member of the household—although anyone may file an order of protection on behalf of a minor, even if he or she is not a family member. A household member includes a spouse or ex-spouse, anyone with whom you have an intimate relationship, a child, someone related by blood or marriage, or personal assistant / live-in caretaker. It can also include someone with whom you have lived in the past.

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