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Kane County dissipation attorneysAlthough it would be ideal, not every divorce is amicable. One spouse may have been planning to split for months, while the other spouse is blindsided by the news. In certain scenarios, one partner may have controlled all or most of the couple’s finances during the marriage. In these cases, one spouse is put at a disadvantage because he or she is financially vulnerable. 

Under Illinois law, the division of assets or property is subject to equitable distribution. This means any marital property that was acquired during the marriage will be divided in a fair manner. However, one spouse may be guilty of depleting and/or hiding assets in order to keep more for himself or herself after the marriage is legally terminated. Inappropriate spending in such a situation is called dissipation of assets, and a skilled attorney along with a forensic accountant can help in revealing this form of deception.         

How to Detect Wasteful Behavior

Dividing assets or property can be one of the most contested aspects of a divorce. The court considers several factors when determining who gets what. In some cases, the split could be 65/35 or 80/20, or all marital property could even be allocated to one spouse.  

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Kane County divorce lawyersA divorce can impact all areas of a person’s life, from physically separating to breaking apart emotionally and financially. Once the decision to divorce has been made, a couple may think the hard part is over. However, the legal process of ending a marriage raises many new queries that need to be resolved. For example, how will property and assets be divided? If children are involved, who will be awarded the allocation of parental responsibilities and who will pay child support? What are the tax implications, especially when it comes time to file your taxes? With tax season upon us, it is important to be prepared by considering the tax consequences when you get divorced in order to protect your financial future.   

Tax Implications of Divorce

Even if you or your spouse has filed the divorce petition, if you are still married as of December 31 of that given year, you have the option to file jointly for that year’s tax return. Until a divorce decree has officially been issued, you are married in the eyes of the law. However, once your divorce is final, each party has the option to claim as Single or Head of Household. The right choice for your situation will depend on your specific circumstances, and it is advisable that you speak with a tax professional.

If you have children together, the parent with the majority of the parental responsibility typically files as head of household, and the tax exemption or credit for the children usually goes to this parent. In some scenarios, parents can split tax exemptions using IRS form 8332, which means the custodial parent allows the other parent to claim a child on his or her taxes. Parents can also claim a tax credit for each dependent who is under the age of 17. There are also other credits for contributions to education and childcare.

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Kane County divorce attorneysPeople often say that a marriage is hard work. Once the “honeymoon” phase is over, being married can be challenging for various reasons. Even if two spouses love each other, life circumstances can get in the way of living happily ever after. For example, a job loss or the death of a loved one can cause one partner to turn to alcohol or drugs as a remedy. In other cases, someone may become addicted to shopping, gambling, or pornography as a way of coping with stress. Regardless of the root cause of an addiction, this type of behavior can destroy a marriage and ultimately lead to divorce. If you are thinking about divorcing your spouse who has an addiction problem, it is important to know how to protect yourself emotionally and financially.  

Irreconcilable Differences

In Illinois, the only recognized “grounds” or reason for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” This means the marriage has deteriorated without hope for reconciliation. Therefore, abusing drugs or alcohol cannot be the official reason to file for divorce, but it can definitely contribute to the breakdown of a relationship. When a couple has children together, addiction can put a significant strain on the family. In some cases, alcoholism can lead to physical or verbal abuse. Attempts at rehab or therapy may have failed to resolve the problem. A parent may feel he or she has no choice but to leave the marriage in order to protect him or herself as well as his or her child’s best interests. Even though it is not a legal prerequisite, if a couple has been separated for at least six months, that typically proves they have irreconcilable differences.

Protecting Yourself

Once you have decided to leave your addicted partner, there are a few things you can do to help prepare for the divorce process. In many divorce cases involving an addict, the two spouses do not agree on how to divide marital property or assets. For these situations, the court will consider many factors to determine the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time. Overnight stays may not be granted, or a judge can order supervised visitation for the parent who has a substance abuse problem.

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Kane County divorce attorneysThe reasons for divorce can be numerous, from infidelity to financial problems to addictions to simply growing apart. Some marriages can end amicably if the decision to separate was mutual. However, many divorces are contentious, especially if one partner harbors bitter feelings toward the other spouse. When it comes time to make decisions during the divorce proceedings, this can cause conflict. 

Litigation is one approach to resolving divorce disputes between couples. This method involves going to court in order to come to an arrangement on issues such as spousal support or allocation of parental responsibilities, and more. Couples will often resort to litigation if they cannot reach an agreement on their own or through mediation. It is important to have an experienced divorce attorney by your side if you are considering filing for divorce under any circumstances. 

Steps to Keep in Mind When Divorce Issues Are Escalated

Just as every marriage is different, every divorce is unique. Each has its own set of challenges and issues to resolve. If a couple had a difficult time agreeing on things during the union, they will likely argue over property division or child-related issues in the divorce settlement. That is when a judge may become involved, and he or she will make the children’s best interest the top priority when determining certain solutions. The court will weigh several factors when deciding outcomes for parenting time and child support, including the kids’ wishes.   

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Kane County divorce attorneysThere are many reasons why a marriage may end in divorce. These can range from infidelity to financial problems to lack of communication to domestic abuse, the list goes on. Many couples who have children stay together even though they are unhappy for their “kids’ sake.” However, staying in a toxic relationship can be detrimental to your well-being, which in turn affects your children. There comes a point where it may be in your best interest to file for divorce. If you and your spouse have tried marriage counseling and put forth a concerted effort to salvage your union but problems remain, it may be necessary to make a decision about how you want to spend the rest of your life. 

Problems Can Negatively Impact Your Relationship

Regardless if a couple has been married for a few years or several decades, marriage is hard work. Life circumstances such as a job loss, a child with special needs, or a family member’s death can strain even the best of relationships. If issues are not addressed, they can simmer over time and cause feelings of resentment, anger, or loneliness, ultimately leading to the breakdown of a marriage. One of the most important aspects to a successful marriage is communication. In order to solve problems, a couple needs to talk about them and try to find ways to conquer them. 

Some of the typical behaviors that often lead to one spouse considering filing for divorce include:  

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Kane County family law attorneysA divorce can be complex, with many issues to resolve. Some couples argue over money, especially as it relates to child support or spousal maintenance. In high-asset divorce cases, one spouse may deliberately try to hide funds in an effort to keep them from the other spouse. That is why it is important to seek professional legal counsel to make sure you are not being taken advantage of during the proceedings. Hidden assets can be uncovered in several different ways with the help of a forensic accountant, as well as an experienced divorce attorney.      

Ways in Which a Spouse May Hide Marital Assets

There are certain ways your spouse can be deceitful if he or she does not want to share a portion of the marital assets. One of the most common ways to hide assets is to transfer them to a new bank account that is only in your spouse’s name. Hidden assets may also include other acts, such as using dinners as a business expense or tax write-off. Undervaluing a piece of property you own together is another way to conceal funds. 

Below are a few examples of the means through which marital assets may be hidden:

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Kane County family law attorneyDomestic violence does not discriminate. It can happen to men, women, and even children of socioeconomic status. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence each year. In many cases, an abusive relationship can lead to a divorce. However, in some cases, violent behavior by one spouse can continue throughout the divorce process and long after. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) provides safety provisions for survivors of domestic violence and their children by holding their abusers accountable in the criminal and civil courts. This can be done by court orders, but it is important to know how to obtain such protections and how long they are in effect. 

What Can Protective Orders Do?

In Illinois, there are certain actions a victim can take against his or her alleged abuser. A protective order can restrict or limit certain actions a person can and cannot do. Often referred to as a “restraining order,” it can prohibit an individual from harassing or harming the victim as well as forbid any contact or coming within a certain distance of the alleged victim. 

To obtain such an order, a person must file a petition for an order of protection. In the petition, the accuser must explain to the court why he or she wants an order of protection. If the court believes the person has been abused or is imminent danger of abuse, a judge will issue an order of protection. Below are the three types of Illinois protective orders and the amount of time for which they are in effect: 

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St. Charles complex divorce lawyerEven under the best circumstances, divorce can be a challenging process. Many marital issues are sensitive in nature and difficult to resolve. These matters may include allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, parenting time (visitation), as well as spousal support or maintenance (alimony). They can also involve valuables or high net-worth assets that need to be divided. Complex divorce proceedings can seem intimidating at first, but they can be managed with professional legal guidance.    

Child-Related Issues 

Many of the disputes in a complex divorce involve a couple’s children. These arguments can include how much time each parent will spend with the child or how much support will be paid by one of the parents, among other issues. A parenting plan is a legal document that establishes the legal rights and obligations of both parents as relating to their child. This plan outlines a schedule for when each parent will see their child. Creating this timeline can be difficult since most parents do not want to give up time with their kids or relinquish control to the other parent, especially if there are bitter feelings.  

Some of the child-related issues that may need to be addressed in a divorce settlement include:

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Kane County divorce attorneysDepending on the couple and their circumstances, a divorce can take weeks or months to finalize. Once the legal proceedings are complete, a final divorce decree will be issued, which officially documents the terms of the divorce. However, sometimes a significant change in circumstances can warrant a modification of part or all of the original order. When a divorce settlement is no longer relevant for a couple or does not fit the needs of their children, it is possible to alter the terms of it through a post-decree modification. If you or your ex-spouse requests a post-divorce order modification for any reason, it is helpful to know the process and how it affects your rights regarding matters such as child-related issues or spousal maintenance.  

Reasons for Changing a Judgment Order

We all know life can change in an instant, whether it be from a sudden medical event such as a heart attack or stroke to unexpectedly losing a job. For instance, child support payments are calculated based on parent’s income. If the paying parent loses his or her job and cannot afford the payments, he or she may request a modification of the child support order. Some other examples of major life events that would justify a modification can include: 

  • Being laid off or fired from a long-time occupation, which impacts child or spousal support (alimony)
  • Being transferred out of the state or country for work, ultimately affecting the allocation of parental responsibilities and/or parenting time
  • Contracting a serious illness that requires extensive medical care 
  • Suffering a catastrophic injury that results in a disability or lost wages
  • One or both ex-spouses remarrying, which typically requires a reduction in spousal or child support payments

Steps for Amending a Judgment Order

To request a change to an order, one of the former spouses must file a “motion to modify” the divorce judgment. This motion is typically filed with the same court that issued the original divorce decree. The main steps to take when modifying an order are:

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Kane County family law attorneysWhen a couple decides to end their marriage through divorce, they have the option of deciding how to divide their assets and wealth on their own. However, when a couple cannot come to an agreement about property division, the courts must intervene. Illinois courts use a system called “equitable distribution” to divide a divorcing couple’s marital estate. If you are considering getting a divorce in Illinois, it is important to understand how asset division decisions are made.

Marital Property and Separate Property

According to Illinois law, only marital, or shared, property is divided in a divorce. Marital property typically includes any property or funds that either spouse accumulated during the marriage. Non-marital property, or separate property, includes assets that a spouse already owned before he or she got married. However, differentiating between separate and marital property is not always this straightforward. Certain gifts and inheritances may also be considered separate property – even if the spouse received the gift or inheritance while he or she was married. Furthermore, separate property can be transformed into marital property when it is commingled with marital property.

For example, if a husband purchases a house before he got married but then he and his wife both contributed to the mortgage, the home will likely be considered marital property during divorce. Similarly, if one spouse receives an inheritance during the marriage but then deposits those funds into a shared account, the inheritance funds transform from separate into marital property. The inheritance would then be subject to division according to equitable distribution.

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Elgin divorce attorneyIf you are going through a divorce, the first thing on your mind may not be taxes or financial issues; however, it is important to know that a divorce does have tax implications. Your filing status, tax consequences of maintenance payments, property transfers, and more are typically decided by your divorce judgment/order and affected by any new tax law changes.

A division of assets agreement should take into account any tax issues so there are no surprises later. If you are ending your marriage, a knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you prepare for any financial consequences.

Asset Division 

When a couple negotiates how to divide marital assets or property during a divorce, it is imperative to consider the areas that may have potential tax implications. Most marital property does not incur a tax liability if transferred, but you should consider the potential tax consequences of considerations such as:

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St. Charles divorce lawyersWhen two people get divorced, the court typically issues a final judgment that documents the terms and conditions of the divorce. However, it is not uncommon for there to be changes to the original divorce settlement or agreement. Sometimes these changes are necessary due to lifestyle changes or if they are in the best interest of a couple’s child. Post-judgment order modifications can include a change in the child support payment amount or allocation of parental responsibilities if one parent loses his or her job or moves to another state. 

Steps to Take for Enforcing an Order

Post-divorce decree issues can often become hostile and expensive. It is ideal if everyone involved can resolve these issues without taking actions such as contempt of court. If possible, negotiating an amicable resolution saves all parties time and money. However, this is not always the case if one party does not follow an order. If one party is not willing to cooperate, someone can pursue enforcement through the courts by filing a contempt of court motion. In the majority of divorce cases, contempt of court actions are typically filed for reasons such as:

  • Non-payment of child support;
  • Non-payment of spousal maintenance;
  • Failure to adhere to parental responsibility and parenting time agreements; and
  • Sale of property that violates property settlement agreements.

The Illinois Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) has the authority to implement certain enforcement procedures. For example, if one parent is behind on child support payments, they can garnish wages from his or her paycheck. Sometimes, the DCSS gets overloaded with a lot of cases, and a lawyer can file a contempt of court motion on a parent’s behalf to help recover any money that is owed.

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St. Charles hidden assets attorneysUnder Illinois divorce laws, marital property is subject to equitable distribution, meaning each party receives a fair share of any assets that were acquired during the marriage. However, sometimes a spouse can be dishonest, depriving the other spouse to what he or she is entitled. This can be done a number of ways, and although common in high net worth or complex divorces, it can happen in any type of divorce. Forensic accounting is defined as the use of accounting practices to investigate fraud and to analyze financial information for use in legal proceedings, such as disputes or litigation during a divorce.  

How Are Assets Hidden?

People can be creative when they want to conceal money or valuable possessions. In a lot of cases, one spouse earns the majority of the income or owns a business, so that spouse often has easier access to financial matters.

Some of the ways assets can be hidden include:

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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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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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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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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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