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Lake County and Cook County Divorce Law Blog

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.

Setting the divorce tone in initial conversation

The decision to end a marriage is often one that is only arrived at after a great deal of reflection and consideration for couples in Illinois. Once that decision is made, a person who has decided to seek a divorce may often feel like he or she must gear up for battle. However, the process does not have to be contentious, and many people choose to set the tone of the events that are to follow in the initial conversation about their decision.

There is often a need to soften the blow of a person's announcement to his or her spouse regarding the desire for a divorce. Several considerations may be able to help the person receiving the news fully process it. For example, because it is an extremely sensitive conversation, it is necessary to put some thought into where the conversation occurs. If a couple is in therapy, having the conversation with the therapist may be helpful. Ensuring that there is privacy -- including avoiding having the conversation at a restaurant or when the children are in the next room -- can also aid in the facilitation of calm conversation.

Options to split business assets in a high asset divorce

The vast majority of people in Illinois and across the country are likely familiar with the company Amazon. Though CEO and founder Jeff Bezos is in the news relatively frequently, the announcement of his impending divorce to wife of 25 years MacKenzie has several people wondering how such an asset -- a 16.3 percent stake in a successful company -- can be divided. While the details of their potential agreement and its impact on the company are unknown, there are several options available when it comes to a high asset divorce.

Though dividing property can be complicated in any divorce, for affluent couples with assets spread across a variety of investments -- including stock, retirement plans and real estate -- the process can be especially complicated. When it comes to a business, one option is for one spouse to buy out the other's interest in the company; the former will walk away with the shares of the company while the latter receives other marital assets. This may not be possible in the case of Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos because a great deal of their worth is related to their Amazon stocks. A buyout, however, could be spread out over time.

When do you know if it's time to divorce?

Every Illinois couple has problems. In fact, if you know a couple who seems to have a perfect marriage, you may be shocked to learn what transpires between them in their private moments. Still, you may feel at times as if your marriage is on the rocks more than not, and this can be frustrating and demoralizing, especially if your friends on social media are always celebrating their love.

While it is true that discord between spouses is normal, you may be wondering if your marriage has seen its better years. Deciding whether to divorce is a difficult choice. Although there is no single answer that fits all situations, there are signs that are common among those couples who decide to end their marriages.

Illinois considers changes in child custody laws

Most parents in Illinois work hard to make the decisions that are in the best interests of their children. For some couples, this means choosing to divorce so that both parents can live happier lives and set good examples for their children. In the past, many parents might be concerned that making such a decision would mean less time with their children. However, more states are starting to recognize the importance of an equal parenting arrangement. Some politicians are working to ensure that this new mindset regarding child custody is reflected in Illinois laws.

In fact, House Bill 184 has been proposed to help ensure that the standard in child custody cases is equal parenting time. The bill was proposed by Rep. La Shawn Ford and Allen Skillicorn. If passed, the bill would add language to existing laws that would make equal parenting time presumed in child custody cases.

Financial considerations in an Illinois divorce

When a couple in Illinois marries, they likely do so with excitement for the future. However, when they make the decision to divorce, some couples may also be eager to begin the next stage of their lives. Unfortunately, this could lead to some hasty decisions that do not fully consider all of the financial considerations of asset division.

For many couples, a large part of the divorce process -- especially one that involves a great deal of assets -- is property division. Couples are often tasked when ensuring the value and division of a wide variety of assets, including retirement accounts, real estate and investments. Unfortunately, even though two assets may seem to have similar values on the surface, the way they are taxed could significantly reduce their value.

The importance of written child support agreements

When a couple in Illinois chooses to end their marriage, they likely want nothing more than to go their separate ways and begin their news lives. However, those with children will have to continue to work together to ensure that the needs of their children are met. Unfortunately, a politician in another state is now accused by his ex-wife of failing to pay child support.

Court papers claim that a judge ordered the Republican state representative to pay $280 in monthly child support for the child in Dec. 2012. His ex-wife claims that he has not paid any payments since that time. According to her, he owes her $20,160 in child support, not including interest, and $6,500 in medical expenses, which prompted her to file a lawsuit with the Department of Human Services.

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