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West Dundee, IL847-428-7725
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St. Charles family law attorneyWhen a couple decides to end their marriage, they may be able to get an annulment. It is important to know an annulment is different from a divorce. A divorce is the legal dissolution of a valid marriage by a court or other governing body. An annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void within secular and religious systems. Unlike divorce, it is typically considered retroactive, meaning an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the start like it had never even happened. In Illinois, annulment is called a Declaration of Invalidity, and marriages can only be annulled if they were considered illegal from the start.

Grounds for an Annulment in Illinois

An annulment is only used to end an “invalid” marriage, or one that should never have happened in the first place. Annulments are rare in Illinois because it is somewhat difficult to prove grounds for annulment. There are certain legal guidelines for annulments, as well as possible time restrictions depending on the circumstances of the case. One of the following legal grounds must be met for an annulment to be granted:

  • Fraud or misrepresentation: One spouse did not tell the truth, such as already being married;
  • Impotency or incest: One spouse is impotent (and did not disclose this information to his or her partner prior to the marriage), or the spouses are too close in relation to marry legally; or
  • Lack of consent: One spouse did not have mental capacity for consent or was forced to get married.

Grounds for a Divorce in Illinois

Under Illinois law, a spouse can file for divorce based on “no-fault” grounds, commonly referred to as “irreconcilable differences,” which requires proof that the marriage is irretrievably broken and the couple must be separated for an amount of time. For many years, it was also possible to seek a divorce on “fault-based” grounds such as adultery, abandonment, or repeated abuse. Today, however, all Illinois divorce petitions must indicate that the marriage has irretrievably broken down due to irreconcilable differences.

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Kane County adoption lawyerMany couples choose adoption as a way to expand their family if they cannot have biological children of their own. On the other side of the subject, some parents choose to give up their child for adoption if they cannot adequately provide for the child’s needs.

Regardless of the reasons for an adoption, it is one of the biggest decisions that anyone will make in their lifetime. In some situations, an adoption can be contested. In the majority of cases, this happens when the biological father does not know about the child until the adoption process already started, or in which a biological father changes his mind about the adoption while it is in progress. 

Consent and Best Interest Hearings 

In cases where an adoption is contested, all involved parties must attend a consent hearing in court at which time a judge will listen to evidence presented by both sides. For instances when the biological father contests an adoption, he does not give consent to the adoption and he declares that he is willing and able to assume legal responsibility of the child. During the hearing, the father can show examples of his actions throughout the pregnancy, as well as after the child’s birth. For example, pictures or documentation of him going to doctor appointments or at the hospital after the birth, etc. However, if the biological father does not provide child support or contact the child for more than a year, he may lose his right to contest the adoption on the grounds of abandonment.

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Algonquin Family Law AttorneysDivorce can be really difficult for everyone involved, but especially for a young child whose parents are splitting up. Parents often fight over the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly called “child custody”) or parenting time (formerly called “visitation”). Their child might feel torn between trying to be loyal to both parents. In Illinois (and every state), a person under 18 years old is considered a minor and in most cases, unable to make legal decisions. Illinois courts consider the age of the children and the children’s wishes as well as family circumstances in deciding child-related issues.     

Best Interest of the Child 

Some people think there is a certain age at which a child can choose which parent with whom he or she wants to live, but that is a misconception. In Illinois, 14 years old is generally age at which a child’s opinion starts to be considered more by the court regarding under whose roof he or she will live. However, this is also based on the level of maturity of the child in question. For example, a mature 11-year-old boy may prefer to live with one parent because he attends a private school in the town where that parent lives. A 15-year-old girl may state she wants to live in the house where the parent does not enforce many rules or where there are no step-siblings if a spouse remarries. Ultimately, the court’s decision is based on which living situation or environment is in the best interest of the child.

In general, Illinois courts recognize “legal custody” and “physical custody.” Legal custody gives a parent or guardian the right to make important decisions, such as where a child will attend school or go to church. The term physical custody refers to which parent with whom the child will live. Like in other states, sometimes one parent (sole custody) or both (joint custody) parents can have legal and/or physical custody in Illinois.
A judge will take into consideration many factors regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities (custody), including but not limited to:

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Kane County divorce lawyersIf a couple has been married for many years, the decision to divorce is not an easy one. Since a lot of time and effort was put into the marriage, it can be devastating both emotionally and financially for one or both of the spouses. The division of marital assets is an issue that needs to be determined during the divorce proceedings, which can cause a lot of conflict if the spouses do not agree on how to divide everything, especially financial assets. One or both partners might have retirement accounts such as 401K, IRA, or pension. Even in an uncontested divorce, splitting the retirement assets can be confusing, so it is helpful to seek legal counsel to make sure both spouses receive what they deserve.  

What is Considered Marital Property?

According to Illinois divorce law, any marital property will be divided fairly and equitably, but not necessarily equally. This is referred to as “equitable distribution.” Marital property is generally considered all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This can include real estate, furniture, and vehicles, in addition to financial and retirement accounts.

A spouse may be entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s retirement plans, such as a 401(k), IRA, stock options, or pension benefits, and vice versa. If a spouse pays into a retirement account or a pension during the marriage, at least part of that account or pension is considered marital property, regardless if only one spouse’s income was paid into the account. All pension benefits, including those under the Illinois Pension Code, as well as stock options, acquired by either spouse during the marriage are marital property, regardless of which spouse participates in the pension plan.

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St. Charles divorce lawyerA divorce is likely one of the most difficult events you can go through in your lifetime. Even if you are the spouse who filed for divorce, the full impact of your decision might not hit you until long after the ink has dried on your papers. Additionally, if you did not want the divorce or were blindsided by it, you may feel hopeless and unsure of what the future holds for you.

Many communities throughout the region have divorce and separation support groups, which are offered through churches or local park districts. These groups can be a good forum for people of all ages and backgrounds who are going through a painful period in their lives.   

Types and Benefits of Support Groups

Divorce and separation groups provide a comfortable environment in which you can share your innermost feelings. It can be very therapeutic to talk to other people who understand what you are feeling in order to begin the healing process. You can contact local churches or look online to find the closest divorce support group in your area. The following are some nationally recognized support groups dealing with divorce or separation:

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St. Charles family law attorneyWhen a couple decides to divorce, many issues need to be addressed, especially if they have been married for a long time. One such issue is how to divide marital property and assets. One of the most common questions in a divorce is “Who gets the house?” Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, not a community property state. This means marital property, including debt, does not need to be divided “equally.” Instead, the law requires property to be divided "equitably." Your house (or houses if you own more than one) is probably the largest asset you and your spouse own, so it is imperative to divide it in a way that is fair to both spouses in a divorce. 

Ways to Split Real Estate in a Divorce

Couples who are divorcing should keep in mind the sale of a home will likely have tax implications and therefore should be factored into the decision-making process. They should also consider what is in the best interest of the children if they have kids.

Options exist for division of real estate such as a house. Here are some clever tips for splitting a home or homes when going through a divorce:

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St. Charles family law attorneyMost couples do not enter into marriage thinking they are going to get a divorce. However, many married people do decide to split up for various reasons. Even if divorce seems unlikely, it is a good idea to make plans for how certain issues will be addressed if a marriage ever ends. A postnuptial agreement is a written agreement drafted between two married spouses or two people who have entered a civil union. This type of agreement functions as a legal contract, and it can outline what will happen to the couple's assets if they separate or get divorced. It may also decide whether either party will receive spousal maintenance (alimony), and it can address what will happen with marital property after the death of one spouse. A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement (or “prenup”), except it is created after a couple gets married rather than before they tie the knot.

Pros and Cons of Postnuptial Agreements

One of the main reasons a couple creates a postnuptial agreement is to ensure that assets such as property, finances, and even debts are distributed equally after a divorce. Making decisions about ownership of property ahead of time can help avoid conflict during the divorce process. A postnuptial document can also be helpful if children are involved, as it may be used to ensure that they have financial security for their future. For example, if your children want to attend college or a trade school, a set amount of marital assets can be set aside to go toward their tuition, room, and board.   

While a postnuptial agreement can be beneficial, it can also present problems, especially if a spouse signs the agreement without fully understanding the terms. In some cases, a person may even sign an agreement against their will or after being coerced into doing so by their spouse. This can complicate the divorce process later if a spouse tries to contest the agreement.

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Geneva divorce lawyer

Getting a divorce is a difficult decision under any circumstances. However, if one spouse has Alzheimer's, that adds even more stress to the scenario. In many cases, the healthy spouse may feel like the marriage is over, since the other spouse’s personality or behavior has changed. If dementia is a factor in your Illinois divorce, you should contact a skilled family law attorney to help you understand the legal aspects of your situation.

Moral and Legal Considerations During Divorce

Today, 50 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that can lead to memory loss and behavioral changes. An affected spouse who was normally calm and loving can become violent and angry, due to chemical changes in the brain.

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Algonquin paternity lawyer

In Illinois, paternity must be established in order for a father’s name to appear on their child’s birth certificate. Also, it is essential in setting up child custody (officially called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois), parenting time (child visitation), and child support if the child’s parents are not married or in a civil union.

By legal definition, paternity is the official, documented relationship between a father and their child. When it is established, it provides a child with eligibility for health insurance, life insurance, Social Security disability benefits if their parent is disabled, veteran’s benefits, and inheritances. While paternity can be a straightforward and quick process, it can be complicated in certain scenarios. Either way, it is important to seek legal guidance from an experienced family law attorney.

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Posted on in Divorce

Barrington divorce lawyers

Divorce can be an emotionally and physically traumatic experience, regardless of the level of civility shared by the divorcing spouses. Still, the more contentious the relationship, the more draining the divorce process can be. 

For soon-to-be former couples who wish to avoid combative and costly courtroom divorce litigation, there are ways to keep divorce proceedings from becoming total warfare.

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St. Charles family lawer

When a party involved in a family law case receives an unfavorable decision from the court, they can appeal the ruling. When you have initial conversations with prospective family lawyers for your case, make sure you discuss their knowledge and aptitude regarding the appeals process, which could be critical if that step becomes necessary. 

There are a few common mistakes litigators can make. It is helpful for even skilled and experienced lawyers to review these points as a refresher. Here are some areas to cover with your lawyer so that together you can craft the best possible strategy to achieve a favorable result.

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Kane County divorce lawyer

The decision to get divorced is often one of the hardest choices a person can make. Besides the divorce process itself, it is also difficult to make the announcement to all your family, friends, coworkers, and others. Although a divorce is painful for everyone involved, it is helpful for both parties to be on the same page when delivering the news. You and your spouse shared a community of mutual friends and some might not know how to react. 

Describe Your Divorce in Simple Terms

Not only will you have to tell people about your divorce, but once they start talking, you will get a lot of questions about your divorce as well. Come up with a brief description of your divorce, around one to three sentences. This will help steer the follow-up questions so you and they feel comfortable.

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Kane County contested divorce lawyerA contested divorce is hard for everybody, especially when you have a daily reminder of a broken marriage on your ring finger. You may find it hard to let go of your wedding ring because it reminds you of a happier time. When you remove your ring, it is a tangible sign that the divorce is happening. It may be particularly hard to take this step if the divorce was unexpected or not a mutual decision. However, there are some benefits to letting go of your wedding ring.  

Make Money Off Your Wedding Ring

Diamonds, gold, and platinum are expensive. Coincidentally, divorce is also expensive and can be a drain on your finances. And unlike a lengthy divorce process, selling a diamond ring can be simple. First, gather any information you have about the ring, such as the original bill of sale, a previous appraisal, or documents such as a GIA Diamond Grading Report. Next, find a reputable jewelry appraiser and get an updated valuation of your ring. Make sure your diamond specialist is BBB certified. Once you know what the ring is worth, get price quotes from more than one buyer. You do not want to sell your ring to the same dealer who gives you the appraisal. When the transaction is completed, you can have money in your account in less than two days.

Lift the Emotional Weight

Divorce is difficult, and starting a new chapter in your life is a process. One step is to remove from sight any physical reminders of your ex. Clothes, pictures, wedding gifts, etc. can be emotional triggers that hold you back from moving forward. Your wedding ring is a constant reminder of a broken relationship. Getting rid of your ring can be a positive step that you are ready to begin your new chapter.

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Geneva divorce lawyer

The vows for marriage typically include staying together “in sickness and in health.” However, according to recent research, if the wife is the one who is ill, the bond might not be as strong. Sickness and disease can be hard on any relationship, and sometimes unfortunate health situations end in divorce. Among the important matters to address in this situation is how retirement assets are divided

Serious Illness and Divorce

When one spouse is severely ill, it can cause a strain on the marriage due to many reasons, including financial drain, or the inability of a spouse to act as a caregiver or take on all household duties. Not everyone is emotionally able to endure the extreme difficulties that can accompany serious illnesses like cancer or Alzheimer's disease, which accounts for up to 80 percent of dementia cases.

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St. Charles divorce lawyers

Everyone reacts differently following a divorce. Some people move far away and never think about their ex again, while others dwell on the what-ifs in their relationship. Divorce is an emotional time for everyone, and after the divorce process ends, the emotions can be overwhelming. 

If you have children together, some interaction with your former spouse will be necessary. It is essential in successful co-parenting. Yet if you still harbor romantic feelings toward your ex or deep feelings of regret, it can be problematic. Some people find it necessary to stay away from their ex until they have a better grasp of their new situation. Here are some reasons to take that route:

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Posted on in Divorce

Kane County divorce lawyers

Some people have the perception their divorce is going to be ugly, meaning there will be constant fights in the courtroom and extremely negative feelings between then and their ex-spouse. Divorce does not have to be constant warfare. Yes, emotions run high, and disagreements occur, but avoiding a contentious court battle can shield children from the unpleasantness and save time and money. Working together can also create a foundation for successful co-parenting.

Keeping these tips in mind can keep your divorce civil:

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Kane County divorce lawyer

Working to help your child apply to college is not an easy process. Colleges are charging more than ever for tuition and other fees, so most need some type of financial aid. When students require financial aid for college, they are required to fill out forms and answer questions about income and family status. These questions can be tricky if you and your spouse are going through a divorce or are divorced. 

Here are some tips for helping your child apply for financial aid with your new family situation:

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West Dundee divorce attorneys

While it is well-known divorce can affect your mental and emotional well-being, one aspect of divorce often ignored is the potential effect it can have on your body. Maintaining good health in all aspects of your life is important for your overall happiness and ability to move on after divorce. Visiting your doctor for a checkup and making your physical health a priority can serve as a benefit as you go through the strenuous divorce process. 

A study by Duke University examined the effects of divorce on the heart health of women, and the results point to an increased risk of heart attack for divorced females. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Algonquin Divorce Lawyer

Divorce changes the lives of everyone involved for quite some time because it is such a serious and emotional decision to make. There have been long-held suspicions that the time of year may influence the divorce rate, because of the different types of outside influences present. A study by the University of Washington was able to identify the peak times of year for divorce with quantifiable data. 

When are Divorce Rates Highest?

The study used a data set including filings for divorce in the state of Washington for a 14-year period from 2001 to 2015. Using those numbers, they plotted a graph which showed two major peaks. One peak was in March and the other was in August. Between March and August is a fairly high plateau and after August there is a steep drop-off. The graph also shows the rates increase steadily from January to March. 

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West Dundee Divorce Lawyer

Most parents understandably worry about their children’s reaction to learning about their impending divorce. Divorce means unavoidable upheaval in the lives of everyone involved. Telling your children about your divorce is not something that should be done haphazardly. You should carefully plan and discuss how the conversation will happen with your spouse. If you follow a few simple tips, it can make the process easier on you and them. 

Do Not Play the Blame Game

If your divorce is especially contentious, it may be tempting to speak poorly of your soon-to-be ex-spouse and blame the dissolution of the marriage entirely on them. The children do not need to hear that, no matter how much you believe it to be true. Presenting a united front will help the children adjust more quickly to divorce. They can see both their parents being mature and handling the separation as well as possible. It also lessens the likelihood of them feeling they are the reason for the divorce or that they must side with one parent or the other. 

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