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Category Archives: Kane County Blog

Kane County family law attorneyThe decision to award spousal maintenance following a divorce is one that must be considered very carefully by the court. Sometimes called alimony or spousal support, maintenance is used to lessen the financial impact of the dissolution, and to provide a measure of security for the future. The law in Illinois—and therefore the courts—presume that, if you are awarded maintenance, it should only continue as long as the need for it still exists.

Terminating Factors

When you are receiving spousal support, you probably have some idea of how long the order is scheduled to remain in effect. It may be intended to last a number of years, or indefinitely if you were married for a long time. However, what you may not realize is that the applicable law in Illinois includes provisions that allow maintenance to be terminated early. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, an order for maintenance may be terminated upon the death of either party, which, of course, is reasonable enough. It also specifies that your support may be ended if you get remarried. Finally, it permits the termination of your maintenance if you cohabit “with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis.”

Not Just Roommates

So the real issue then becomes what exactly “resident, continuing conjugal basis means.” Does is simply mean you spend several nights a week with a new romantic partner? What about moving in with a roommate? While the actual law itself does not provide a great deal of clarification, case law around the state has set a precedent for terminating maintenance because of cohabitation.

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Kane County family law attorneysIf you and your spouse are having serious problems in your marriage, one of you may decide to find another place to stay while you figure out what to do next. You might, for example, stay with a family member so that you can gather your thoughts about how to proceed. This practice is so commonplace that many couples would not even consider a divorce while still sharing a home.

Just because something is a common practice, however, does not mean that it is a legal requirement. In fact, it may come as surprise to learn that Illinois law does not require any period of physical separation in most divorce cases.

Knowing the Law

Prior to 2016, a couple seeking a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences—colloquially known as a “no-fault divorce”—was required to live separate and apart for two years before the divorce could be finalized. By agreement of the parties, the separation period could be lessened to six months. While Illinois courts found that “living separate and apart” could theoretically occur under the same roof, most cases saw one spouse or the other move out the marital home for at least half a year prior to the divorce being finalized.

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Kane County parenting plan attorneysIf you are a parent who is considering divorce or have already decided to end your marriage, you probably worry about how the divorce will affect your children. If you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse wish to share parenting responsibilities regarding your children, you will be required to formulate a parenting agreement. This parenting agreement must contain certain provisions, including schedules for parenting time and a determination of who will make major decisions about the child’s upbringing.

A parenting agreement can be an extremely effective tool for making sure that you and your child’s other parent are on the same page regarding parental responsibilities. A thorough parenting agreement can address co-parenting issues now and help prevent misunderstandings and conflict in the future.

What Must Be Included in an Illinois Parenting Plan?

After filing a divorce petition or parentage action, parents have 120 days to file a temporary parenting plan. Eventually, parents will need to agree on how parental responsibilities and parenting time are shared in a permanent parenting plan. Parents who cannot agree on these issues will likely be sent to mediation. The provisions required in an Illinois parenting agreement include but are not limited to:

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St. Charles property division lawyersDividing marital property is one of the challenges for any couple going through a divorce. Simply identifying marital property can prove to be an arduous process, due to the complexities of the law in Illinois and the way in which many married couples maintain their household finances. A large number of couples may find themselves dealing with commingled property, without even realizing how they got to that point.

The Basics

Illinois law provides that any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered part of the marital estate, except property that was acquired through gift, legacy, or descent. The law also creates exceptions for assets received in exchange for (e.g. proceeds from selling) non-marital property, whether the original property was a gift, inheritance, or acquired before the marriage. While the law attempts to be fairly straightforward, the realities of many marriages make things considerably more complicated.

What’s Mine Is Yours

Not every couple will do so, but many, if not most, people enter a marriage with the expectation of completely sharing a life together. They are not considering the possibility of the marriage ending at some point, and, thus, are perfectly willing to combine assets and property. This usually includes property that was owned prior to the marriage, which according to the laws governing divorce would be non-marital property.

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Kane County divorce attorneysHave you decided to end your marriage? If you are like most people getting divorced, you probably have concerns about how time-intensive and expensive your divorce will be. There are many factors which influence how an Illinois divorce proceeds. If you and your spouse agree on how to divide marital property, share time and responsibility of your children, and do not have disputes about other divorce issues, your divorce will likely be fairly straightforward. However, if you and your spouse disagree about divorce issues, this will increase the amount of time and money your divorce will require. Divorce litigation can be especially expensive, so most people try to avoid it whenever possible. Fortunately, there are several alternatives to courtroom litigation which can help Illinois couples reach an agreement on divorce issues. One of these methods of dispute resolution is mediation.

How Divorce Mediation Works

Most divorcing spouses have disagreements about spousal maintenance, property division, child support, parenting issues, and more. If spouses cannot come to an agreement about these issues on their own, the court may need to intervene. In situations such as this, mediation can be an effective alternative to litigation.

Divorce mediation or family law mediation involves assistance from a neutral third party, called a mediator. The mediator’s job is not to make decisions for the couple or choose sides, but instead to facilitate productive conversations about the issues so that couples can reach a compromise. Mediators can help keep the conversations and negotiations between divorcing spouses on track and help prevent the discussion from devolving into fruitless arguments. Mediation can be court-ordered or voluntary.

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We serve clients throughout Kane County, Illinois including St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elgin, Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elburn, Hampshire, Huntley, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sleepy Hollow, Wayne, West Dundee as well as throughout DuPage County.

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