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Kane County divorce lawyerDivorce is almost always difficult. Even making the initial decision to leave your spouse can be extremely challenging. What follows is a process of untangling lives, separating assets, and allocating property fairly to each party. For those with substantial assets, however, divorce can be even more complicated. High-asset divorce is tricky for a number of reasons, and it is important that those divorcing with high-value assets choose an attorney with the knowledge and skill to properly assist their clients. Why is high-asset divorce more complicated? Most divorcing couples want to ensure they receive a fair settlement and that their assets are protected. The more assets a couple has, however, the more difficult separating them becomes.

Finding Assets

When a couple with significant wealth decides to separate, they must disclose all of their assets so that the marital estate can be properly divided. This can be difficult, as many high-net worth individuals have their money stored in a variety of different places. Retirement accounts, valuable items, off-shore investments, real estate, and all other assets must be located, disclosed, valued and equitably divided during divorce.

In some high-asset divorce cases, a spouse may attempt to hide assets from the other. This is not hard to do when working with multiple accounts and assets stored in a variety of locations and investment vehicles. Some parties require the assistance of a forensic accountant to meticulously comb financial records, investments, and bank accounts to ensure every asset is appropriately considered.

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Kane County divorce lawyerThere is little question that divorce can be a messy, often traumatic process. Unresolved anger and fear of an uncertain future can lead to a long, drawn-out proceeding that costs both spouses significant time, money, and energy. In many cases, a bitter, contentious divorce can destroy what was once a loving relationship, making it nearly impossible for the parties to even be in the same room for years into the future. Divorce, however, does not need to be this way. In fact, with a little work and the right attitude, a couple may find that an uncontested divorce may provide an opportunity to move forward with their lives more quickly and at much less expense.

Amicable or Uncontested Divorce

Sometimes referred to as an amicable divorce, an uncontested divorce is one that does not require the court to get involved in settling differences or ruling on issues between the spouses. Instead, the couple is able to reach a workable agreement regarding all of the necessary considerations, including:

  • Division of marital assets and debt;
  • Spousal support arrangements;
  • Parental responsibilities and parenting time schedules; and
  • Child support.

As long as the agreement is relatively fair and does not compromise the rights or best interests of the child in any way, the court will approve the agreement. In most cases, an uncontested divorce is much faster than litigation, and can often be completed with just a single appearance in court by the couple.

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Kane County divorce lawyersFor most couples who have gone through a divorce, there was probably not a single moment that suddenly clarified their decision to end the marriage. It, more likely, was the combination of many factors that ultimately led to the split. In many cases, spouses begin to think about divorce long before it ever becomes a reality, and often ask themselves similar questions.

Before contacting a divorce attorney, you should be able to clearly address, at least in your own mind:

Do You Want a Better Marriage?

Or, do you just want out? You may recognize serious problems in your relationship, but that does not necessarily mean that you no longer want to be with your spouse. If you can identify particular areas of concern, working on your marriage may be an option. Conversely, you may be ready to be done with your spouse, realizing that your relationship is not healthy for either of you.

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Kane County family law attorneysParenting after a divorce, separation, or break-up is challenging, to say the lease. If you have been allocated significantly less parenting time than your former partner, maintaining a meaningful relationship with your child can be even more difficult. What happens, though if the other parent convinces the court to restrict or limit your parenting time even further? A skilled parenting time lawyer can help you understand what recourse you may have, and work with you in taking the steps to restore your parental rights.

How Parenting Time Can Be Restricted

The driving principle of Illinois family law statutes that address children and parenting responsibilities is to serve the child’s best interests. In virtually every case, the court begins with the presumption that active participation by both parents is in the child’s best interest, and, therefore, will allocate parenting time to each parent based on the family’s circumstances. Your parenting time cannot be restricted unless the other parent can show that your lifestyle or behavior seriously endangers your child. These dangers can be to the child’s mental, moral, or physical health, as well as to his or her emotional development.

Examples of Restrictions

In an extreme situation, your right to parenting time may be suspended completely, but the court will usually try to avoid cutting you off altogether. Instead, your time with your child may be reduced or limited to certain physical locations. The court could also determine that you may only have your parenting time under the supervision of the other parent or a neutral third party. Additional restrictions could include keeping certain people away from your child, requiring you to abstain from drugs or alcohol immediately before and during your parenting time, and any other considerations the court finds to be necessary.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_divorce-costs-money-cash-broken-heart.jpgIn many divorce cases, finances are a major cause of contention. Depending on the complexity of a couple’s circumstances, the divorce process itself can be very expensive. In addition, divorce requires the marital estate, including all marital assets and debts, to be allocated between the parties.

When property division is left to the discretion of the court, Illinois law requires an equitable—not necessarily equal—allocation based on the consideration of a number of factors. These factors normally include the income and resources of each spouse, the contributions of each to the marital estate, and arrangements made for any children. The court must also consider claims of dissipation, or the inappropriate spending of marital assets by one spouse for purposes unrelated to the marriage. But are attorneys’ fees and other expenses of divorce considered “unrelated to the marriage?”

Unclear Statutory Guidance

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) gives the court presiding over a divorce case the authority to order one spouse to contribute toward the payment of attorney fees and related expenses of the other party. The court also has the discretion to order the repayment of dissipated assets to the marital estate by the offending spouse. However, the possibility of considering attorney fees and other divorce expenses as dissipation may not seem to be clearly addressed in the law. Thus, the court may rely on precedents set in previous decisions in making its determination.

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