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 | 630-200-4882
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Evening and Weekend Hours by Appointment
West Dundee, IL847-428-7725
St. Charles, IL630-200-4882
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Serving Kane, McHenry, DuPage and Cook Counties

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Recent blog posts

Kendall County family law attorney prenuptial agreement

After an emotionally challenging divorce, the idea of finding a new partner can give you hope for a happier future. However, entering into a new relationship, and especially getting remarried, is a major decision that you should not take lightly, as it will significantly impact you, your children, your ex-spouse, your new partner, and his or her family. With a thoughtful approach, you can put yourself in a better position for a happy and healthy second marriage.

Suggestions for a Successful Second Marriage

As you consider beginning a new romantic relationship after your divorce, here are some suggestions that can help you keep your priorities straight:

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Algonquin divorce attorney

The decision to get a divorce often comes with concerns over financial security, especially if you are a stay-at-home parent or homemaker who relied on your spouse’s employment for financial support. It may be intimidating to think about starting over on your own with little education or work experience, but a divorce can also be an opportunity for you to return to school and get an education that can help you support yourself while following your passions.

Tips for Pursuing Higher Education After Divorce

It is never too late to make a decision that can set you up for a better future. If you are interested in earning a higher education degree after your divorce, here are some suggestions to make the most of it:

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St. Charles divorce lawyer parenting plan

When you and your spouse have children together, one of the most important parts of your divorce agreement is a parenting plan that addresses how you will continue working together to raise and provide for your children after the divorce. A thoughtful parenting plan can help your children cope with the changes your divorce brings, and can also help prevent difficult arguments between you and your spouse for many years after the divorce. As you begin to formulate your parenting plan, you should be sure to consider all of the elements that you and your spouse will need to address.

Items to Address in Your Parenting Plan

A complete parenting plan addresses all important elements of your children’s lives with the goal of protecting their interests, needs, and family relationships. Some of the most important pieces of your parenting plan include:

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Posted on in Divorce

Algonquin divorce attorney mediation

When divorcing couples are able and willing to cooperate, the divorce process can move much more efficiently and with less stress and hardship for everyone involved. However, even when you and your spouse both have good intentions, it can sometimes be challenging to reach a resolution on all important issues without help from a professional. In these cases, the services of a trained divorce mediator can be beneficial for assistance with the legal proceedings and making a smooth transition.

Helpful Mediation Strategies in an Illinois Divorce

In divorce mediation, couples retain control over their own decisions regarding parenting agreements, spousal support, property division, and more, with the assistance of a neutral third-party mediator. Since mediators do not take sides or seek to influence or enforce decisions, you may wonder exactly what it is they do. When you hire the services of an experienced mediator, he or she can:

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Algonquin divorce attorney asset division

Under any circumstances, divorce can put a financial strain on couples as they prepare to divide their assets. This aspect of the divorce process may be even more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when property valuations can suffer due to the struggling economy and many people are concerned about job security. However, with the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney and the willingness to explore alternative solutions, you may be able to reach an agreement that protects both spouses from excessive financial hardship.

How Are Assets Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

Under Illinois law, most assets acquired by either spouse throughout the course of the marriage are usually considered marital property. During a divorce, marital property is to be distributed equitably, meaning that the division is usually not 50/50 but instead based on factors including the length of the marriage, the terms of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, child custody arrangements, and each spouse’s contributions to the acquisition of marital property. Each spouse’s health, financial situation, and earning potential are also considered, meaning that if one spouse has been impacted more severely by COVID-19, assets may be distributed accordingly.

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Algonquin divorce attorney litigation

For most divorces in Illinois, it is possible to reach a resolution through a settlement based on a cooperative agreement between the spouses, often with the assistance of attorneys or mediators. However, in some cases, a settlement is not possible, and the terms of the divorce will need to be determined through a trial and court ruling. A trial can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining, but it may be your only option. If you can recognize the signs that a trial may be necessary, you can better prepare yourself with the help of a skilled divorce attorney who can present a strong argument in your favor.

When Is a Divorce Trial Necessary?

A divorce may go to trial if the circumstances surrounding it are contentious. Some signs that you may need to resort to trial litigation include:

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St. Charles divorce attorney child support

In Illinois, both divorced and unmarried parents are obligated to contribute financially to child support for children under the age of 18, which covers their basic needs including food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and regular daily expenses. However, many parents consider it important to pay for their children’s college education even after they have turned 18, and it can be challenging to account for this significant expense after a divorce when the parents’ assets have been divided. If you are a divorcing parent with a child who is in college or planning to attend in the future, you may want to take advantage of Illinois laws that allow you to address college expenses in your divorce agreement.

What College Costs Can Be Covered in a Divorce Agreement?

If the court determines that the situation calls for it, it can order both parents to contribute to college or vocational training expenses for a child up to the age of 23, and in some cases until the child turns 25. The order may account for a wide range of educational costs, including:

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St. Charles high-conflict divorce attorney

The time period surrounding a divorce is often marked by heightened emotions for both spouses as they contemplate what went wrong in the marriage and the many ways in which their lives are about to change. It is only natural that these emotions would lead to conflict over the divorce proceedings and the terms of the settlement, but it is important not to let this contention get in the way of making the best decisions for your future. The more destructive conflict there is between you and your spouse, the more difficult it is to reach a settlement that is mutually agreeable to both parties. Excessive conflict may also mean that your divorce case will have to go to trial, which can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining.

Resolving Conflict Productively

  1. Understand your conflict style. Everyone approaches conflict differently and reflecting on your personal approach before you enter divorce negotiations can help you adapt your style to achieve your goals. For example, if you tend to accommodate the other person’s needs, you may need to make an effort to be more assertive. If you tend to approach conflict competitively, you may need to make a greater effort to listen to the other side.

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Algonquin family law attorney domestic violence

According to the Domestic Violence Intervention Hotline, domestic violence, which is also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse, or relationship abuse, is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Unfortunately, domestic violence is something that affects many married couples worldwide. Although many often correlate domestic violence with physical violence (hitting, punching, slapping, and more), it can take many other forms, such as psychological and emotional abuse. Both forms of abuse can impact the overall well-being of a partner, which can lead a spouse to file for divorce.  

Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse

Some partners might not even recognize that domestic abuse is occurring because there are no physical injuries present to make it apparent. However, the mental and emotional abuse can take a detrimental toll on the body, and feelings worthlessness and hopelessness can quickly arise. Repeated emotional blows, berating, humiliating, and controlling behavior are just a few examples of this abuse in play, as shown below: 

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Kane County divorce attorney division of marital debt

There is no doubt that student loan debt is on the rise in the United States, and something that is burdening the nation. According to America’s Debt Help Organization, the total of U.S. student debt loans is up to a shocking $1.4 trillion. The investment in college is a big decision, and this high price tag often comes with great rewards. Obtaining higher education is important to many, and can offer new career opportunities that can propel the future of families in a positive direction. However, this debt is increasingly becoming an issue of concern for couples who are considering getting a divorce. It is important to consider how the division of assets and debt during your Illinois divorce proceedings can impact you. 

Who Is Responsible for Student Loan Debt in a Divorce?

Typically, the debt that was acquired from student loans before the marriage is of the responsibility of the spouse who attended higher-ed schooling. However, if the student loan debt was obtained during the marriage, then it is likely that will be considered marital debt. Many factors are still taken into consideration, such as when the debt occurred in the marriage, who was the main benefactor, and the earning power of each partner. For example, if a partner acquired a medical degree to bring in a higher income for the family, it may be deemed marital debt since the increased income benefited the marriage as a whole entity. 

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Algonquin divorce attorney

Deciding to get a divorce is often a tedious process. Although most couples enter into marriage believing that they have found their forever partner, it is not always the case. This is a lot more common than you might think. It is estimated that 40–50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. The end of a marriage and a once-thriving partnership can cause a lot of physical and emotional stress on the body. It is important to hire an experienced divorce attorney who can help you with the legal aspects of ending your marriage, but it is also essential to learn how to cope emotionally. Below are a few ways to alleviate those anxious feelings as you navigate the divorce process.

Working Through Change and Learning to Adapt

This massive change in your life can bring about uncomfortable feelings, such as rejection, insecurity, and instability as if your world has flipped upside down. It is important now more than ever to make sure that you are taking care of yourself adequately. To ensure that you are keeping your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional self in check, here are some helpful tips:

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Kane County divorce attorney asset division

In this digital age, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects have skyrocketed. With the help of creative websites and television shows that teach viewers how to do their own projects, rather than hiring someone else, DIY has become a valid alternative in a number of areas. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our society and the way we do things has completely changed. The high number of cases and demands for social distancing have made many people wary of going out in public, even for things as important as legal advice. Those considering divorce during these unprecedented times may be researching ways to complete the process without the involvement of a legal professional. While do-it-yourself projects may be a good idea for some home improvement, it is not a smart option for legal proceedings.

How Does a DIY Divorce Work?

Every state has its own stipulations that go along with divorce, as is the case with all legal proceedings. However, if you simply type “divorce papers” into your favorite search engine, hundreds of options for DIY divorce papers will appear from which you can choose. They likely range in price, all of which promise lower rates than an attorney, yet the generic nature of these documents can lead you into dangerous territory. Simply requiring a signature and a few additional details, these documents may seem like a valid option to save you time and money, but armed with the following information, you should think twice about taking on this DIY project.

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St. Charles adoption lawyerAdoption can be a wonderful way of expanding your family. Some people may legally adopt a child who is related to them or they may choose to adopt someone unrelated to them, either domestically or internationally. Through a legal process, a person who is 18 or older can become the legal parent of an individual who is not his or her biological child. There are several types of adoption in Illinois. Related adoption occurs when at least one of the adoptive parents is related to the child who is being adopted. For example, the adoptee can be a niece or a nephew, or it can be a stepchild in a second marriage. Although this kind of adoption is typically not as complex, there are still procedures you must follow. An experienced family law attorney can help you successfully navigate this life-changing endeavor. 

Steps to Becoming a Family Unit

Besides organizing the necessary paperwork and forms that adoptive parents must submit, they should also make sure their homes are in order before their child arrives. In addition, soon-to-be parents must prepare themselves emotionally and mentally. If a couple has other children, there will be a period of adjustment for them as well. 

Here are a few practical ways that prospective parents and siblings can help make the adoption transition easier:

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Algonquin divorce attorney mediation

You probably have an idea in your mind about what divorce looks like. It may include discovering your spouse’s hidden assets, failing to come to an agreement on your children, and spending extensive amounts of time with your attorney in court. While contentious divorces can include all of these, many divorces are mutually agreed upon and do not involve drama. Not all marriages end in flames, some simply fizzle out and both parties decide that they are ready to move on. In cases such as these, divorce mediation may be a more productive way of creating your divorce agreement, avoiding time in court, or heated arguments with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Rarely are married couples, who have never been divorced, experts on the divorce process, and the options available to them. Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that may be used if you would prefer to stay away from the divorce litigation process. Mediation allows spouses to discuss how they would like things handled after their divorce with a certified mediator present to act as a neutral, guiding party. In most cases, these mediators are divorce attorneys who also work with individuals who prefer to handle things in court. Finding a mediator who doubles as an attorney is a benefit since they are familiar with the legal details and can help guide you with the various areas addressed in a divorce, including the asset division process, the creation of parenting plans, spousal maintenance payments, and more. Mediation allows you and your spouse to take control of your divorce agreement, rather than placing it into the hands of a judge. It can also help you maintain an amicable relationship with your spouse, which is especially important if you have children and will need to co-parent once the divorce is final.

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Algonquin divorce lawyersMost couples begin their married life together with good intentions that it will last forever. Many partners scoff at the idea that something or someone could come between them. That is, until they find themselves in a loveless marriage or confronted with the fact that their spouse cheated. Statistics show that between 40-50 percent of all U.S. marriages end in divorce

In some cases, the divorce may not be mutual, and one spouse can be blindsided by the news. The thought of being single after several years or even decades of being married is often overwhelming. That is why it is important to seek professional legal counsel to represent your best interests if you suddenly find yourself at a crossroads. In addition, below are a few practical ways to help you move on and find happiness again.  

Reinventing Yourself

Going through a divorce at any age can be daunting, filled with the fear of the unknown. Besides completing all of the legal aspects that go into finalizing your divorce, recognizing the emotional toll it can take on you and your children is also an essential part of the process. Once you realize and accept that your marriage is irretrievably broken, it is time to start thinking about what lies ahead. 

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Kane County family law attorneysThe global pandemic due to the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way we do things. The state of Illinois issued a stay-at-home order in an attempt to limit exposure to the virus. Many people have been working from home in an effort to stop the spread. Despite the restrictions, there may still be legal issues that need attention. For example, if a couple is considering a divorce, they may be wondering if that is still possible during coronavirus. In Illinois, it may be possible to obtain a divorce virtually with the help of a skilled family law attorney. 

Addressing Legal Matters Online

When spouses decide to divorce, there are many issues that need to be resolved, which the couple can do on their own if they agree to the terms. Some of these include the division of assets or property and spousal maintenance if applicable. If a couple has children together, the allocation of parental responsibilities will be allocated and child support may be awarded to one parent. If partners cannot reach an agreement, the court will intervene to help and base its decisions on the best interests of the involved parties. 

Since many courts are temporarily closed except for emergency orders, divorce proceedings are now going online. A virtual divorce allows couples to split up without leaving their houses, which can be a major convenience, saving time and money in traveling to and from court. Numerous people are embracing video conferencing as a new way of completing their divorce proceedings. The process may begin by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage online. In some cases, a judge may decide if depositions and court proceedings are needed to be completed virtually. 

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Kane County family law attorneysOne of the main reasons a couple procrastinates filing for divorce is because they are worried about the effect it will have on their children. The thought of sharing time with their kids can be troubling to any parent. Depending on the circumstances, one parent may be allocated the majority of the parental responsibilities. The other parent is typically awarded parenting time (visitation). A parenting plan outlines the details, such as a schedule of when the children are with each parent. This is a legal document that is enforceable once the divorce is finalized.

Due to the Illinois stay-at-home order issued in response to COVID-19, regular schedules may need to be adjusted since kids are at home if parents’ work schedules are different. However, in situations such as these or if distance keeps you apart, virtual parenting time may be an option. 

Virtual Visitation

In some divorce cases, one parent may relocate out of state for a new job. Teleconferencing apps or video calls can help alleviate the stress of not having in-person visits by facilitating contact between parents and kids when they are apart. With today’s technology, parents in these situations can still see and communicate with their children, keeping them connected and involved in their lives. Through electronic devices, they can even play a game, read a book, or make a recipe or a craft together. There are also many online video games that two or more people can play together even if they are in different states. 

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St. Charles divorce attorney“Empty nest syndrome” is a phenomenon characterized by feelings of grief or loneliness that affects parents whose children have grown up and left the family home. This can occur when children leave to go to college, get married, or just move out on their own. For some parents, the experience of letting go can be bittersweet and difficult to process. Although a normal part of life, it can put a significant strain on the parents’ marriage. In some cases, it can make or break a relationship. Some partners who are not distracted may find that they have nothing in common after so many years together. Many unhappy couples stay together because they believe it is better for their kids. Once the children leave the nest, they may be ready to part ways themselves by filing for divorce

Factors That Can Destroy a Relationship

Empty nest syndrome can expose problems within the marriage that may have always been there. In some cases, a couple was so busy with working and child-rearing that they failed to address any of their own marital issues. In other cases, problems begin surfacing for the first time. 

Regardless, empty nest syndrome can leave some spouses with a profound sense of loss that might affect them negatively. They may try to “replace” their children with items or activities. 

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West Dundee divorce attorneysRegardless of whether you have been having problems for a long time or you were not expecting your spouse to file for divorce, the thought of ending your marriage can be daunting. It can be scary to think about how you will live apart, especially if one of you did not work or made significantly less than each other. Many issues will need to be resolved in a divorce, including the division of property or assets, to name a few. In some cases, your spouse may have been dissipating or  hiding assets in an attempt to receive more after the divorce. Therefore, it is important to have legal representation when making decisions regarding your divorce settlement. In addition to an  attorney’s help, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you are not being taken advantage of by your spouse.   

Keeping Information Private in the Digital Age

In today’s digital world where everything is put online, it can be hard to keep personal matters private. Using electronic devices to send and receive information leaves a digital footprint even if you delete messages. Sensitive information can often become public, and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may try to use that against you. For example, if you post pictures of a lavish vacation you took with your friends, you could find it harder to convince the court that you should be entitled to spousal support payments.
In addition, even if you block your spouse on certain social media sites, you may have mutual friends who take it upon themselves to pass along information they see as potentially damaging to you or your spouse. Basically, you will want to change any shared devices to have separate access so your spouse cannot track your every movement. Turning location sharing services off can prevent this, which can be helpful in divorces that involve stalking or harassment.

Here are a few more ways that you can protect yourself during the legal dissolution of your marriage:

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Kane County domestic violence attorneysUnfortunately, physical and emotional abuse occurs in many marriages. This can lead to a spouse filing for divorce in some cases. Victims of domestic violence have certain legal options to protect themselves. These can be in the form of protective orders issued against the alleged abuser.

Commonly referred to as restraining orders, orders of protection offer a level of safety by forbidding the accused abuser from contacting or coming within a certain distance of the alleged victim for a designated period of time. However, that does not always mean the person issued the order will abide by it. He or she may still try to harass his or her spouse. If an order of protection is violated, it can result in criminal consequences in Illinois.   

Domestic Violence Laws

The ways in which a defendant can be charged with violation of an order of protection will depend on the specific terms of the order, but they generally include making contact with the protected person either in person or via phone, email, or text message. Another means of violating an order of protection may be going within 500 feet of a protected party, residence, or workplace. Also, simply having another individual pass along a message to the petitioner can result in a violation. In order for someone to be charged with violating a court order, there must be proof or evidence that he or she did not obey the terms of the order. This may include voicemail messages, video, or photos. 

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