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kane county divorce lawyerMarriages start out with high hopes and good intentions, but people are unpredictable, and some problems cannot be foreseen. Many people have heard the term “annulment” and believe it is an easy alternative to divorce for ending a marriage that recently took place, but this is not so.

From a legal perspective, in Illinois, an “annulment” is legally referred to as a “declaration of invalidity of marriage.” For the sake of brevity, we will refer to a declaration of invalidity of marriage as an annulment as we explore the difference between a divorce and an annulment and when one may be more appropriate than the other. 

When Can a Marriage Be Declared Invalid?

An annulment is a court order that says a marriage is not and never was valid and should therefore not be considered legal by the state. A divorce, by comparison, is a court-ordered ending to a valid marriage. 

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st. charles divorce lawyerThe spouse who files for divorce in Illinois gets to choose the location – or the “venue” – of the divorce. This means that, by filing in a particular county’s circuit court, he or she decides where the divorce will take place. However, if your spouse has decided to file for divorce in a certain venue and you do not want the divorce to be handled there, you actually have the right to contest their choice of venue. 

Venue vs. Jurisdiction

In order to understand why a divorce can move to a different court during a divorce case, it is important to distinguish between “venue” and “jurisdiction.” Occasionally, people will use these terms interchangeably, but they are not the same. Venue refers to the county court in which the case is heard. As stated earlier, divorce in Illinois is handled by the circuit court of the county in which the divorce is filed. The standard choice of venue is a circuit court in the county in which one or both spouses live. Jurisdiction refers to the authority of a court to hear a case. Illinois law allows jurisdiction by all county circuit courts over all divorce cases, no matter where the spouses live – if at least one spouse still lives in Illinois. 

Why Object to a Venue? 

There are a number of reasons that one spouse may object to the other spouse’s choice of venue. The spouse who files for divorce will choose a venue that is convenient for them – either because it is close by, because they know people and have influence in that county, or because they believe the court has a reputation for making certain kinds of decisions in similar cases. Any of these reasons can give the other spouse a good reason to file for divorce. So, if you fear your spouse has influential friends in the county in which they filed, or if the county is so far away that appearing in court would be difficult for you, you can object to the venue. Similarly, if your spouse’s chosen venue has a real or perceived reputation of making decisions that would negatively affect your preferred outcome in your divorce case, you can object to the venue. Any objection must be done before anything else, and in response to the original filing – once the case begins, the venue generally will not be allowed to change. 

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kane county divorce lawyerFinancial problems are consistently ranked as one of the top causes of divorce. Arguments over credit card debt, disagreements about how to spend money, and allegations of financial infidelity may all hasten the speed at which a marriage breaks down. If your spouse has a history of lying about money, you may understandably be concerned about how this deception may impact your divorce. In order for property division, child support, and spousal maintenance determinations to be fair, each spouse must disclose complete and accurate financial information. Unfortunately, this is harder said than done when a spouse lies about income or assets during divorce.

Illinois Law Guarantees Your Right to a Fair Divorce Settlement

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), each spouse has a right to an equitable portion of property contained in the marital estate. This may include businesses, vehicles, real estate, bank account funds, insurance policies, investments, retirement accounts, and other property acquired during the marriage. However, some spouses fail to report income or hide assets during divorce to avoid splitting the value of an asset or to sway property division agreements in their favor.

The amount that a divorcing spouse pays in spousal support or child support is also based on the financial circumstances of each spouse. Therefore, financial deception can have a significant impact on the outcome of a divorce case – especially high net worth divorce cases.  

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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 attorneysIf you and your spouse will soon be getting a divorce, you probably know that you will be expected to divide your marital property between you. While you may not know exactly how that process will end up, you may already be thinking about which spouse, if either of you, will get to keep the marital home, who will get which car, and how to split the household furniture. In the stress and confusion of the divorce proceedings, however, you may be overlooking a very important—and possibly very valuable—asset. Experts claim that retirement investment accounts are the most commonly forgotten assets in divorce cases nationwide

Retirement Savings and Plans

Before marital property can be divided, both you and your spouse should provide one another with a full accounting of all of your assets and debts, even if you think he or she already knows about them. In some cases, this may require calls to old employers inquiring about the status of employer-funded retirement programs or plans. You may learn that you have forgotten about a 401(k) plan or similar account that was opened years ago. The same may be true for your spouse, and the money in such accounts, depending on when the accounts were funded, may be considered part of the marital estate.

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Wheaton, IL 60189
630-549-0960
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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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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree