Category Archives: Kane County Blog

Kane County family law attorneysIn recent years, the movement to get divorces out of the courtroom has gained significant momentum. Alternatives like mediation and collaborative divorce have attracted a growing number of supporters, but there are just as many who are unsure of the benefits of these relatively new approaches. Before making a decision either way, it is important to understand the features of all the methods so that you can get a better sense of what might be right for you and your divorce.

Courtrooms Offer Familiarity

The divorce process in an Illinois courtroom has changed little over the years, even as the laws relative to divorce have changed significantly. To initiate divorce proceedings, you or your spouse must file a petition in the relevant county court, and from there, the other may either respond or choose not to contest the divorce. Judgment will be entered if and when a court is able to verify that irreconcilable differences have resulted in an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage.

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Kane County maintenance attorneysSpousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, refers to the payments one spouse (the obligor) makes to the other (the obligee) after a divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to provide "reasonable and necessary" financial support to the lower-earning spouse.

In Illinois, there are four main types of spousal support: temporary, permanent, reviewable, and rehabilitative. Temporary maintenance is sometimes ordered by a judge in order to help a spouse financially during the divorce proceeding. If a judge orders permanent maintenance, the obligor makes payments until the spouse passes away, remarries, or cohabits with a new partner. If the obligor passes away before the recipient, the decedent’s estate does not have to continue payments.

Permanent maintenance is generally ordered in instances where the marriage lasted 20 years or more. Rehabilitative spousal support is a temporary support measure which allows the obligee time to acquire the education, skills, training, work history, and licensure needed to become financially independent. Finally, reviewable alimony refers to orders for spousal support which are made with the intention of being reviewed and possibly modified or discontinued by the courts in the future.

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Kane County divorceEvery day, people make the decision to divorce their spouse. Sometimes, the split is related to adultery or abuse, and other times the spouses simply no longer wish to be married. For many of these couples, divorce is something they never saw in their future. Most couples get married with the hope of spending the rest of their lives together. They share not only their lives but also all of their possessions. This can make the issue of property division especially tricky during divorce.

Couples who are considering divorce may worry about how their savings account, retirement accounts, family home, vehicles, furniture, and other assets will be divided. In Illinois, property is divided based on what is “equitable.” This means that the property may not be split exactly evenly. Instead, it will be divided in accordance with what the court deems to be fair and just. Each case is different, but generally, a judge will consider factors such as:

  • Each spouse’s contributions to the acquisition, preservation, or increased value of marital property, including contributions as a homemaker;
  • Custodial arrangements for children conceived during the marriage (the family home is often awarded to the parent who has a majority of the parenting time with the children);
  • An existing prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • Each spouse's age, health, and economic circumstances, and future employability;
  • Whether a spouse is receiving spousal support from a former spouse;
  • Each spouse's current job and their abilities for future acquisition of assets and income; and
  • Spousal support or child support that either spouse is already paying.

Equitable property distribution in an Illinois divorce can be complicated. The divorce process is already an emotional experience, and the division of assets can sometimes be difficult. Those considering divorce may worry that their spouse will get more than his or her fair share of the marital property. Others who have stayed at home to raise children or to be homemakers may worry that they will be unable to find employment after divorce. There are so many things to consider when dissolving a marriage, it is extremely difficult to manage alone.

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Kane County family law attorneysThe purpose of child support is to help the primary residential parent of a child or children to be able to afford basic necessities such as rent or mortgage payments, the child’s clothing, school supplies, and their meals. Those who receive child support often depend on that extra income in order to pay their bills and maintain a good quality of life for their children. For some parents, a missed payment here and there will not cause a major financial crisis. For others living on a tight budget, a missed child support payment can be devastating. During the holidays, many parents rush to the stores to buy their children Christmas gifts. However, it is important to note that the money spent on children’s Christmas gifts cannot count toward child support payments.

Changes to Child Support in Illinois

Recently, several major changes were made to the way Illinois courts calculate child support. The amount of child support that is awarded to a parent is now based on an “income shares” or “shared parenting” model. The incomes of both parents are now taken into account, rather than solely that of the paying parent. The new model also takes into consideration how much time the parents each spend with their children on an overnight basis. This is intended to help alleviate the child support costs for those parents who also spend money on their children during their parenting time. The new model is based on three main factors: the estimated total amount of money needed to raise the child, extra costs that a parent may encounter such as expenses for health care, education, and after-school activities, and the amount of overnights the child spends with each parent.

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Kane County divorce attorneysDivorce is an intensely personal process that is often fraught with many challenges and difficulties. Many relationship experts suggest that divorce is the second most stressful event a person is likely to experience—only the death of a spouse is usually considered to be more stressful. Ending a marriage, however, does not always need to be turbulent and filled with acrimony. There are some practical things that you can do in advance that can make your divorce a little easier.

Know What You Have

It is not unusual for people to take their assets and property for granted. For example, you may realize that you and your spouse own your home and your vehicles, but you may also have investments that you have not thought about in years. Alternatively, many people do not realize the full value of things they own. Your collection of baseball cards or porcelain dolls may be important to you for sentimental reasons, but they may also be worth a substantial amount of money if you were to sell them.

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