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Lake County and Cook County Divorce Law Blog

Spy games and divorce: How you can protect yourself

Divorce requires that two parties separate the shared aspects of their lives, which includes everything from marital property to bank accounts. In our technology-driven world, it could also require that the two parties spilt the online life they shared as well. Many Illinois couples have joint Facebook accounts, joint email accounts and other shared profiles, and it can be quite complex when the relationship is over.

In some cases, one party may feel the temptation to use spyware on these shared accounts to spy on his or her soon-to-be ex-spouse. This could lead to more complications in the divorce and to illegally obtaining information. If you and your spouse's online lives intertwine or you suspect spying, you may find it beneficial to seek help regarding how you can better protect your information and interests during a divorce.

Those in high-asset divorce may be tempted to use Bitcoin

The rise of digital currencies throughout the world are giving wives and husbands in Illinois a brand-new way in which to hide their money during divorce proceedings. The reason these new currencies are so attractive to those aiming to conceal their marital assets is that they offer anonymity and privacy. Using these currencies, such as Bitcoin, may be especially tempting for those who have a lot to lose in a high-asset divorce.

Bitcoin received unprecedented attention toward the end of 2017. That is when it experienced soaring value and a boost in its level of popularity. In addition, it is expected to change the game in many financial situations, including hedge fund investing as well as the division of assets during divorce.

Illinois divorce, property division and pet custody

They are a part of the family. In many Illinois homes, the dog and/or cat are considered to be a vital family member. While they do require food, love, medical attention and more, they often give so much more to the family. The state of Illinois has recognized that pets are an integral part of the family and has recently begun addressing pets as a custody issue rather than a property division one when couples divorce.

In many cases, the family pet is treated as if it were one of the children. This is even more prevalent in homes where there are no children present. The "parents" take time to play with and even plan their schedules around the pet's needs. Sitters are hired to take care of the beloved pet when the family will be away for an extended period, and in some instances, the pet has his or her own play area, car seat and more.

Child custody and the child's best interest

The decision to stay or go can be a difficult one to make. However, once the Illinois parents make the decision that staying in an unhappy relationship is the wrong choice, it is time to take action. In addition to deciding who will retain which assets and liabilities, decisions regarding the children must be made. Child custody concerns are a critical part of the parents' separation or divorce.

In many instances, one parent is granted physical custody of the child. This is typically the parent that the child will live with on a regular basis. This is the individual who has been the primary caregiver of the child and who can and will provide a stable home environment. The other parent generally is granted extensive visitation rights.

Alimony and the proposed new tax plan

Throughout the divorce process, financial issues are often a driving force. After years of building a life and family together, the Illinois couple decides that the marriage is over. In many instances, however, one of the individuals earns more than the other. In this case, alimony may become a factor in the Illinois couple's divorce.

Under current tax laws, the individual paying alimony is able to write this amount off as a tax deduction. Likewise, the individual receiving alimony reports it as taxable income. In most cases, the individual receiving alimony falls into a lower tax bracket; therefore, the taxes paid on this amount is less than if the other individual was responsible for claiming it. This is often an important factor in determining the amount paid as alimony along with the other financial aspects related to the divorce.

Some reasons for gray divorce appear to be black and white

You may have heard that the overall divorce rate throughout the nation has decreased in recent years; however, that only seems to be the case for people under age 50. If you have already celebrated a birthday beyond that, you're part of a group who has doubled its rate of divorce in the last 20 years. Did you recently tell your adult children and a few close friends you're planning to divorce?

If so, you may have gotten a wide range of reactions. Perhaps one of your children told you that your news did not really come as a surprise while another expressed shock and confusion. Hopefully, you have friends who can relate to your situation who will provide strong support and encouragement as you adapt to a new lifestyle after age 50. Discussing the topic with others may also help you gain understanding as to why so many people your age are ending their marriages.

Proposed changes to child custody standards

Every other weekend and two to four weeks during the summer seems to be the traditional custody arrangement when Illinois parents divorce. For many families, this arrangement appears to work. However, others believe that a 50/50 shared child custody is better for all involved.

One group, Illinois Fathers for Equality (IFFF), has proposed legislation that would change the landscape of the traditional child custody arrangement. The proposal suggests that the standard arrangement should be 50/50. Under normal circumstances, this would be the presumed agreement; however, this proposal does take into account the fact that some are not fit parents and an exception should be made in those circumstances.

The house, the mortgage and an Illinois high asset divorce

Purchasing a house is perhaps the largest investment that an Illinois couple makes during their marriage. In addition to the financial investment in the home, many discover that they have an emotional investment as well. When this happens, the home can become a source of contention between the two parties in a high asset divorce.

Once it is decided that a particular party will keep the home, the remaining details need to be worked out. These often include the equity in the home, the mortgage, financial investments and spousal support. Each of these financial concerns can come into play in determining the overall divorce settlement.

Property division and the business owner

Each Illinois resident has dreams for the future. Some dream of a loving family with a spouse and children; others dream of starting their own business or growing one that has been in the family for generations. Still others dream of both. These dreams often do become reality; however, they can also become a nightmare in case of divorce and the need for a property division settlement.

Prior to the marriage, it is possible that one or both spouses have built a business enterprise. They have poured hours of hard work and hard-earned money into their personal attempt to make this dream come true. Depending upon the circumstances, business structure and spousal involvement, it is possible that the spouse may claim that he or she is entitled to a portion of the business if the couple decides to divorce. However, this potential problem can be avoided by addressing it ahead of time in a prenuptial agreement.

Child support is the responsibility of both parents

Years ago, the norm was that children were raised in a home with both parents present. However, in today's society, it is common place for children to be raised in a home with only one parent. This scenario is often the product of divorce or unmarried parents having a child. Regardless, children do need the support of both parents; therefore, child support is usually issued by the Illinois court.

The first step in determining child support is to identify the custodial and noncustodial parent. In a situation where the parents are unmarried, a paternity test may be required. If the individual identified as the father is unwilling to submit to such testing, it can be ordered by the court.