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Kane County divorce lawyersMarriages end for countless reasons. Sometimes, a married couple decides to divorce because one of the spouses has had an affair. Studies show that about 20 percent of men and 13 percent of women admit to cheating on their spouse during their marriage. If you are in this situation, you may wonder whether infidelity will influence your divorce proceedings. The answer will likely depend on your particular set of circumstances.

The Elimination of Fault-Based Divorce in Illinois

When a couple gets a divorce, the petitioner, or person requesting the divorce, must list the “grounds” or reasons for the divorce. In the past, Illinois allowed spouses to list fault-based grounds such as adultery, abandonment, or physical or mental cruelty as the reason for the divorce. However, all fault-based grounds have since been eliminated. Anyone seeking a divorce in Illinois must only prove that “irreconcilable differences” have caused the breakdown of the marriage and that efforts at reconciliation are not in the couple’s best interests. This means that a spouse’s adultery will not be listed as the reason for the divorce. However, this does not mean that adultery will not impact any divorce proceedings.

Cheating May Still Impact Divorce Proceedings

“Dissipation of assets” refers to a situation in which a spouse misuses or wastes assets at the end of a marriage. If a spouse spent a great deal of money during the affair or gave his or her paramour valuable property, this may be considered dissipation. The spouse guilty of dissipation may receive a reduced share of the marital estate during property division while the wronged spouse receives a greater share in order to compensate him or her for the dissipated assets.

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Kane County family law attorneysWhenever a divorce case goes to litigation, the involved parties give up a great deal of control regarding the situation. While a deal could possibly be brokered by the court, contentiousness and acrimony are more likely to develop. In addition, court dates are often set months out in advance, with very little happening in between. Thus, what could have been a relatively simple divorce has deteriorated into a long, drawn-out process causing serious levels of stress and bitterness. For many couples, however, mediation may provide a much more reasonable avenue for reaching a divorce agreement, allowing them to move at their own pace and addressing the issues that matter most.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that involves at least two parties and a neutral, third-party facilitator. The parties and the facilitator, known as a mediator, engage in negotiation-oriented discussions aimed at developing a resolution that is agreeable for everyone involved. Mediation is used in a wide variety of legal applications and is very often a part of divorce and family law proceedings. Parties to a mediated divorce may choose to retain their own attorneys, depending on the complexity of the case. The best mediators are also attorneys, allowing them to much better be able to address some of the legal issues that may arise during the process.

Flexible Scheduling

In addition to the cooperative nature of mediation, the method is also very attractive for many couples due to its inherent flexibility. The restrictive scheduling of court dockets often requires both parties to take off work, make childcare arrangements, and spend weeks waiting for the opportunity to be heard. Most mediators, on the other hand, make themselves much more available to meet the needs of a particular couple. Many offer evening or weekend sessions to allow for faster progress and, ultimately, more efficient resolution.

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If you are considering ending your marriage, you probably have a myriad of questions. You may be unsure of what to expect during the divorce process or whether or not you will need to hire a lawyer. You may also wonder how cooperative or uncooperative your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will be during the divorce process. Unfortunately, you cannot control how accommodating your spouse will be during the divorce. Fortunately, you can control your own actions.

One of the best ways to help your divorce go as smoothly as possible is to educate yourself about your options moving forward. One option which is available to Illinois residents getting a divorce is mediation. Mediation can be a valuable tool for couples who wish to figure out divorce issues outside of litigation. However, mediation is not for everyone.

What Does Divorce Mediation Involve?

During divorce mediation, a divorcing couple meets with a specially-trained mediator who acts as a neutral third-party during discussions about divorce issues. A mediator does not make decisions for the couple but instead helps facilitate respectful, effective communication about these issues so that the couple can reach an agreement. A mediator can help couples decide how their property should be divided and make plans for child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance.

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Kane County family law attorneyJeff Bezos is the founder, chairman, CEO, and president of Amazon. Many people consider him to be the world’s richest person. Just recently, the business tycoon announced that he will be divorcing his wife of 25 years. Bezos and his wife have four children and have spent the better part of three decades building a life together. Like many high net worth divorces, their split will likely be complicated. If you are considering divorcing your spouse and you have significant assets or wealth, you should be talking with a qualified family law attorney.

Bezos’s Wife Could Receive Half of His Wealth

Jeff Bezos’s estimated net worth is over $90 billion. He and his family live in Washington which has its own laws governing property distribution during divorce. Most states, including Illinois, make a distinction between marital property and separate property. Separate property refers to assets accumulated before the marriage and certain gifts and inheritances. Marital property includes wealth and property accumulated during the marriage as well as any commingled funds. Washington state divides marital property according to what is equitable and just. This property division method is called equitable distribution and is the same method that is used in Illinois. Property divided according to equitable distribution laws will be divided fairly but not necessarily equally.

Important Considerations During High Net Worth Divorces

Put plainly, couples with greater assets have more to lose during divorce. Complex assets like family businesses, business holdings, pensions, retirement accounts, stocks, stock options, commissions, deferred income, trust funds, and real estate investments can add complications to a divorce. If you or your spouse own a family business, a professional valuation will probably be necessary. It is vital that high net worth couples consider the tax implications of property division during divorce as well. Child support and spousal maintenance can also be complex issues during a high net worth divorce. Illinois uses the “income-shares model” when deciding child support orders. The court studies the combined income of both parents and uses that number and other information to arrive at a child support order which is reasonable and in the child’s best interest.

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Kane County divorce attorneysThe decision to end a marriage through divorce is not a decision anyone takes lightly. If you are pregnant and in a marriage which you believe is irretrievable, you may be considering divorce. Getting a divorce while expecting a child can be challenging. Depending on your unique situation, it may be best to stay married until after the birth of your child while in other circumstances, divorcing while pregnant might be the better option. Whether your spouse is the parent of your expectant child or the pregnancy is a result of infidelity, divorce during pregnancy can become very complicated from a legal perspective.

Illinois No Longer Requires Fault Grounds for Divorce

Expecting a child cannot disallow a woman from filing for divorce. In the state of Illinois, you also do not have to prove any reason for wanting to end your marriage. The so-called “fault grounds” for divorce in Illinois have been eliminated in favor of one option: "irreconcilable differences.” Presently in Illinois, to be granted a divorce, you must only prove that:

  • Irreconcilable differences have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage;
  • Previous efforts at resolution have failed, and
  • Future efforts at reconciliation would not be in the best interests of the family.

In Illinois, a Woman’s Husband is Assumed to Be the Father

Illinois law provides that a woman’s husband is presumed to be the legal father of any children she conceives while married. This presumption of parentage also applies in same-sex marriages. A child conceived by a woman in a legal marriage will have rights to financial and medical support from the assumed parent, as well as Social Security and inheritance benefits. Furthermore, a presumed parent takes on all the legal responsibilities associated with being a parent, such as sharing child custody and providing child support.

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1737 South Naperville Road, Suite 100
Wheaton, IL 60189
630-549-0960
Evening and weekend hours by appointment.

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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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree