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Lake County and Cook County Divorce Law Blog

In some circles, a high asset divorce draws much speculation

The lives of the super wealthy attract the attention and curiosity of those on the outside. When news of a pending high asset divorce is announced by couples who are regarded as celebrities, social media erupts in speculation as to the reasons and how much it might cost each partner. Illinois residents who may be facing this process likely have similar concerns.

One recent high-profile divorce was the split between Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, and his wife, MacKenzie. Both the news media and social networks endlessly speculated over how the couple's vast wealth would be divided. In the end, the former Mrs. Bezos consented to a split that permits the company to continue operations without interruptions. The question that many ask is, what led to the dissolution?

Enforcing or modifying an Illinois child custody or support order

Parents in Illinois often struggle with differing parenting philosophies when they are still in a romantic relationship. If that relationship ends, it is often even more difficult to agree on what is in the best interests of the children. As such, the courts often have to step in and make a child custody or support decision.

The orders issued by the court must be followed, or the parent may face additional action. However, an order can be modified in the event of a significant change of circumstances. In Illinois, this could include a change in income, work schedule or a remarriage. The need to relocate often results in additional action as parents are not allowed to move a child out of state without a court order. Additionally, if parents left a certain issue undecided in their original agreement -- such as details regarding the costs of college education -- that may need to be revisited.

Separate your online life when going through a divorce

When an Illinois couples walks through the divorce process, they will negotiate a settlement or go to court for a ruling on matters such as property division, child custody and financial support. If you are facing divorce, you know that you will also have to deal with these issues as well. What many overlook, however, is their digital lives.

Couples often share a tightly intertwined online life together. From Facebook accounts to online banking, you have connections to your spouse in more ways than you realized. When you decide to separate or divorce, you would be wise to take immediate steps to start extricating your online life from your spouse. This effort can save you stress and complications down the road.

Woman awarded $150K decades after missed child support

It is not easy being a parent in Illinois, especially when the responsibility of raising a child falls onto the shoulders of one person. Unfortunately, a woman in another state claims that she raised her young daughter with no help from her ex-husband. Though decades have passed, she recently sought the child support payments she says he failed to pay when their daughter was a child.

According to the woman, her ex-husband was ordered to pay her approximately $160 a month in child support payments. However, she claims that instead of doing so, he fled the country and left her to raise their daughter on her own. She was able to do so by working at an interior design firm.

What happens to embryos in a divorce?

In the past, couples who were unable to have children were left with few options. However, advances in medical technology, including in vitro fertilization, have opened up doors for those in Illinois and elsewhere who desire children but struggled to conceive. Unfortunately, family courts are often forced to decide what happens to embryos should the relationship end in a divorce when one person wants to have a child and the other does not.

A recent case in another state illustrates the complications this can create. A man and woman, who were not married at the time, chose to fertilize eggs after the woman was advised that the cancer treatments she was facing would likely prevent her from having children. The couple later married and divorced.

Planning for the future in Illinois with a prenuptial agreement

When a couple chooses to spend the rest of their lives together with the commitment of marriage, they often have several decisions to make. Some couples may have to decide where they will live and how many children they want to have in addition to planning a wedding. However, these plans are not the only ones couples in Illinois and across the country often address; many also use this time to plan for the future by creating a prenuptial agreement that will detail what will happen should the marriage end in divorce.

While a prenup can be helpful for a variety of different couples, it can be especially so for couples who have children from previous relationships or significant assets. Creating such a document is an opportunity for couples to discuss their finances, including both assets and debts. It can also determine who will be responsible for what expenses and what will happen to marital assets in the event of a divorce or death.

Battle over alimony reignites due to campaign contributions

There is no doubt that the end of a marriage can often be contentious. While relatively rare, animosity can lead to continued conflict for years after an Illinois divorce. In fact, a woman in another state is now seeking a higher amount of alimony after she claims that her ex-husband apparently experienced a change in circumstances.

The couple filed for divorce in 2008; five years later, their divorce was granted. During their marriage, the man reportedly made $250,000 each year while the woman stayed at home. However, he reportedly offered her $5,400 each month and a $50,000 cash payment, which she declined. The man was ultimately ordered to pay her $1,500 each month in spousal support, but she had to pay him $500 a month in child support. He also owed her $87,000 in alimony payments that he failed to pay during divorce proceedings, but the judge did not create a plan for repayment.

Ensuring financial security in the event of a divorce

It will come as no shock to anyone that some marriages in Illinois and across the country will end. Though all couples who choose to marry likely do so with the intent of spending the rest of their lives together, the reality is that some relationships will end in divorce. Unfortunately, some women may be at a financial disadvantage.

Though the attitudes regarding the distribution of labor and appropriate gender roles have changed significantly over the years, some still remain the same. For example, a 2018 study examined the involvement of women in the financial planning process within their relationship. The study found that a majority of women remain uninvolved in these types of decisions, instead deferring to their spouses.

Right of first refusal in your parenting orders

Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of divorcing as a parent is that in addition to dividing your property, you must divide your time with your children. As much as the Illinois courts try to seek a fair division of time between two parents, it is not always possible, especially when you have other obligations.

If the court has allocated parental rights to your ex, you may be concerned that you are not getting enough parenting time with your children. One way to increase the amount of time you spend with them is to request the inclusion of the right of first refusal in your parenting orders.

Child custody ruling overruled after judge accepts friend request

Parents in Illinois often struggle to decide what is best for their children. This an be especially true for parents who are no longer in a romantic relationship. If their struggles result in a case heard before a court, both parents should be able to expect that their child custody case will be heard by an impartial judge. An appeals court in another state has recently ruled on the side of a father who claims a judge's social media friendship meant that he received an impartial hearing.

The mother and father shared joint custody of their son since 2011. However, after claiming abuse, the mother sought sole custody, child support and primary placement in 2016. Following an evidentiary hearing, the judge asked both parties to submit written arguments within 10 days. After the arguments were submitted, the judge reportedly accepted the mother's friend request on Facebook; the judge had not issued a ruling at that point.

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