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Lake County and Cook County Divorce Law Blog

Federal court will hear case on Native American child custody law

Some families in Illinois and across the country are willing to open up their homes to children whose parents are not able to care for them. Many of these families are willing to make these children a permanent addition to their families but are sometimes thwarted in their desire to seek child custody if the children are Native American. The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 works to ensure that such children are adopted by members of their own culture when possible.

That law, however, has come under fire in recent years. Proponents argue that it is an important tool to protect the culture of Native American families. They further state that, despite the law, Native American tribes are still working to overcome generations of family separations. 

To settle high asset divorce, art collection must be sold

The end of a marriage is almost always an emotionally difficult time. While some couples in Illinois are able to put their differences aside and come to an agreement with relatively little contention, other couples will ultimately have to ask a judge to make certain decisions for them. In fact, a judge presiding over a high asset divorce in another state has ordered that a couple's art collection be sold in its entirety.

The case involves a billionaire couple who was married for approximately six decades before they choose to end the marriage. Unfortunately, the split has proved contentious and related proceedings have lasted several years. A major point of disagreement involves the couple's art collection, said to be valued at approximately $700 million. The collection, which contains 165 different pieces, reportedly contains work from Picasso, Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock.

Hiding assets in divorce is illegal. Is your spouse doing it?

When you told your spouse you were filing a divorce petition in an Illinois court, you may have gotten the exact reaction you expected or one that caught you off-guard. Either way, you may also have explained that you simply wanted to do what was necessary to finalize documents, part ways as amicably as possible and move on in life. Perhaps, you knew that would likely not be the case when your spouse made comments about "leaving you with nothing" or "taking you for everything you have."

Hiding assets in divorce is not only a cold-hearted thing to do after being married for five, 10, 20 years or more, it also happens to be illegal. The judge overseeing your case isn't going to look favorably on someone who is trying to beat the system. If you suspect your spouse is doing things to prevent equitable distribution of marital property in your divorce, you'll want to arm yourself with as much evidence as possible and know where to seek support to help you investigate.

Should frozen embryos be considered in property division process?

For many couples in Illinois and across the country, having children is something that is extremely important. Unfortunately for some couples, it may not come easily. As such, they often seek out advances in medical technology to help them conceive, such as in vitro fertilization. As part of this, many couples opt to freeze fertilized eggs for future use, which can create complicated questions during a divorce. Some believe that the question regarding the fate of these embryos falls under property division procedures.

A recent ruling in another state may help guide judges across the country as they face questions regarding frozen embryos following a divorce. The case involved a couple who signed a contract agreeing that any remaining embryos would be destroyed if their relationship ended in divorce. However, the man claims he experienced a change of heart during divorce proceedings, saying that he wanted to either keep them in the event he and his now ex-wife decided to reconcile or donate them to another couple.

Judge's child support decision reversed despite DNA test

From the moment a person in Illinois learns that he or she is going to be a parent, they often begin planning for that child's future. Most are dedicated to ensuring that their child's needs are met. Unfortunately, one man claims that he is still required to make child support payments despite the fact that a DNA test revealed that the child in question is not his.

The man claims that he initially signed the child's birth certificate because he believed the mother when she said that he was the child's father. When he went to court to seek visitation, he was already paying child support. As part of those proceedings, the judge required him to take a DNA test to establish paternity. 

Factors that could invalidate an Illinois prenuptial agreement

There are many couples in Illinois who want to ensure that they are open and honest about their financial situation and their expectations if a divorce should occur before they say their vows. As such, many couples choose to create a prenuptial agreement. Unfortunately, even those with the best of intentions could ultimately find that the agreement they created the protect a business or personal finances, for example, could ultimately be determined to be invalid.

First, there are a variety of different factors related to signing the agreement that could impact its enforceability. For example, both parties must sign the agreement before the marriage takes place. If one spouse was pressured into signing an agreement or if one party does not have an opportunity to read the documents, it might not be valid. There must be sufficient time before the wedding to allow time for both parties to properly review it.

Coping with a high asset divorce in Illinois

Once a couple in Illinois reaches the conclusion that a divorce is in their best interests, there are multiple other decisions that must follow. The process of untangling two lives can be complicated, especially for those going through a high asset divorce. Fortunately, there are steps to take that can help ensure that the property division aspect, among others, goes smoothly.

One of the most important parts of a divorce involving complex assets is carefully cataloguing all assets. This can include obvious ones, such as real estate and vehicles, but should also include any personal property with value, such as guns, collectibles, artwork and jewelry. Part of this process also includes determining what is community property versus separate property. Assets that one spouse had prior to the marriage or inherited during the marriage will likely be considered separate property; however, appreciation value could be considered community property.

The ways in which child support can be used

Any parent in Illinois would likely agree that raising children is expensive. Simply meeting their basic needs can be difficult enough but there is typically also a need for school fees and costs associated with extracurricular activities. For some, there may be a misconception that child support only covers basic essentials. However, support actually covers a wide range of expenses. 

For many, the fact that child support covers basic expenses, such as food, housing and clothing, is likely fairly obvious. At the minimum, this includes groceries, including drinks and snacks, appropriate clothing including jackets and shoes, and the costs of rent or mortgage and utilities. Support can also cover medical expenses, including the cost of insurance and medical expenses not covered by insurance, such as co-pays or braces.

Is your ex refusing to comply with court-ordered parenting?

Divorce is seldom easy, and if you have children, you may have an especially difficult time. The breakup of a marriage can mean dividing your time with the children and creating complex schedules for birthdays, holidays and special events. This can be a devastating blow, and some parents do not adjust well to the change.

If you and your ex-spouse have gone through a contentious custody battle, you may be dealing with the aftermath. As much as you may want to present a united front to your children, you may be struggling to remain civil with their other parent, especially if he or she refuses to allow you the parenting schedule or visitation rights the court has ordered.

The benefits of alternative dispute resolution in divorce

People in Illinois who have chosen to end their marriage likely spend a great deal of time contemplating the matter. However, deciding to divorce is actually only the first of many decisions that will ultimately follow. Even though the process has a reputation of being highly contentious, there are many couples who choose the more peaceful alternative dispute resolution method of mediation.

In mediation, decisions regarding how property will be divided, who children will spend their time with and financial obligations such as child and spousal support can be made without going before a judge. Many divorces involving litigation can take one or more years to complete. Couples typically have no say in which judge will hear their case, leaving them in a situation that could potentially fail to fit their needs.

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