233 W. Wilson Street, Batavia, IL, 60510

IL family lawyerBefore same-sex marriage was made legal across the United States, gay and lesbian couples could enter into civil unions in Illinois along with their heterosexual peers and share the same rights as married spouses. But like all long-term relationships, not all civil unions last and when a couple decides to break up, the union must be dissolved. If you are in a civil union in Illinois and are contemplating separating from your partner, you may want the help of an experienced civil union dissolution attorney. Here are three common questions about dissolving civil unions in Kane County.

How Do We End Our Civil Union?

Ending a civil union is very similar to ending a marriage. A partner wanting to dissolve their civil union will need to submit a Petition to Dissolve a Civil Union to the local court and, just as with divorce papers, the petition will be served to the partner. And similar to a marriage, certain issues need to be resolved: spousal support, marital asset division, and, if there are minor children, child support payments, parental responsibilities, and parenting time.

How Long Does it Take to Dissolve a Civil Union?

Couples who can agree on all necessary issues will generally have a faster, less complicated dissolution, but there is no simple formula to predict how long ending the relationship will take. A mediator can help partners resolve differences and focus on problem-solving so they can create an agreement that compromises on the needs and priorities of both parties.

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IL divorce lawyerBefore most of us get married, we have idealistic ideas about relationships and how easy our lives will be once we find “the one.” On the day of your wedding, it can be hard to imagine that divorce could ever be on the horizon. Yet relationships are complicated, and the prevalence of divorce is well known.

Spouses in Illinois sometimes get divorced for clear-cut issues like domestic violence and infidelity. But for others, the question of when to leave a relationship can be more complicated. A good spouse does not have to be a perfect person, and life’s challenges can make even the best couple question their ability to overcome a tough time. But when does a tough time last for long enough to make you doubt the permanence of your relationship? While only you can know whether it is right to file for divorce, here are some signs that it may be time to go your separate ways.

You Are Not Longer Intimate - And You Do Not Care

Couples naturally go through periods where one spouse is more interested in sex than the other. Sometimes, neither spouse expresses much interest in intimacy. As long as each partner feels comfortable and communication is open, these periods do not have to pose any threat. But when you stop being intimate with your partner and no longer care, this may be a sign that something more serious is afoot. In general, when one or both partners is not interested in addressing problems that bother the other partner, it does not bode well for the future of the relationship.

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Il divorce lawyerMost spouses sincerely hope that the moment they receive their divorce decree, problems with their ex will improve. Although in many cases this is true, for some people, finalizing their divorce is only the beginning of further legal battles. Divorce decrees are legally binding - meaning that to violate the terms of the divorce decree is to break the law - but that does not stop people from simply choosing not to hold up their end of the deal. When this means not paying spousal support or child support, this can have serious consequences for a family. If your former spouse has decided not to follow your divorce decree, read on to learn more about your options for enforcement.

What is Considered a Violation?

For someone to violate a divorce decree, there must be a current, valid court order. Even if you were never married, having a court-ordered parenting agreement and child support order is crucial for ensuring you get the help you need. A verbal agreement between two people is not legally enforceable.

Next, your ex must be willfully and meaningfully violating the order. A one-time, accidental violation, such as forgetting to send a child support payment on time but sending it a few days later, would be insufficient to take legal action.

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IL divorce lawyerBefore January 1, 2019, divorcing spouses in Illinois could sometimes receive something known as “unallocated maintenance.” While most people are familiar with child support and spousal support (also known as alimony or spousal maintenance), unallocated maintenance was less common. Until the law changed, unallocated maintenance allowed spouses to receive money that could be used for both children and themselves, with certain tax implications.

Recent federal tax laws removing unallocated maintenance as an option may have consequences for individuals receiving unallocated maintenance who want to modify their divorce decree. If you are receiving unallocated maintenance and want to learn more, read on.

Tax Implications of Unallocated Maintenance

Child support payments in Illinois are “tax neutral” - the spouse who makes payments cannot deduct them from their taxes, and the parent who receives payments does not pay income taxes on them. But before 2019, spousal support was tax-deductible and the receiving spouse had to pay income tax. Sometimes, unallocated maintenance was used as an option for combining spousal and child support when one spouse made significantly higher income than the other, simplifying matters and providing tax benefits for the receiving and the paying spouse.

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IL custody lawyer Parents who have busy schedules or frequent changes in schedule may wish to slightly modify their parenting agreement on an ad-hoc basis. If one parent has to work late, he or she may ask the other parent to keep the children for an extra night and take them to school the next morning. Likewise, if extended family comes into town one weekend, parents may agree to switch weekends on a one-time basis so the children can visit with their cousins or aunts and uncles.

As long as both parents agree to make minor changes from time to time, there usually is not a problem. However, frequent or repeated differences in parenting time can put parents at risk because unless a change in the parenting plan has been approved by an Illinois court, it is not legally binding and may even be unlawful.

Risks of Modifying a Parenting Plan Without Court Approval

Parents who struggle to communicate without conflict are at most risk of failing to make minor tweaks and adjustments in their plan from time to time. If you have a spouse who is litigious or who is willing to use the children to rehash old resentment, it is best to adhere strictly to your court-ordered parenting agreement. Failure to do so can result in a spouse who lodges a complaint with a court asking the court to require you to follow the order.

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