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Lake County and Cook County Divorce Law Blog

Home improvement tv star facing child custody challenge

Some Illinois readers will be familiar with the work of Nicole Curtis, who stars on the home improvement reality tv show "Rehab Addict." Curtis has been involved in a lengthy child custody battle with her former partner, a businessman named Shane Maguire. In a recent filing, Maguire asked the court to grant him sole custody of their nearly 3-year-old son. 

In making that request, Maguire claims that Curtis is not a fit parent. Specifically, he asserts that Curtis refuses to take the steps needed to ensure that he maintains a strong bond with their son. He points to an incident on Father's Day when he claims he had to drive to several locations over more than two hours in order to locate his son and pick him up for a scheduled visit. 

Property division could mean health coverage for this couple

It's hard to believe, but there are some couples in Illinois and beyond who end up divorcing when that's the last thing they want to do. Virtually every time, the reason behind such a decision is a financial one. In this case, a couple is considering divorce to make sure their special needs child has the medical coverage she needs. It turns out that strategic property division could allow the child's mother to qualify for Medicaid coverage. 

Their daughter has a very rare genetic disorder known as Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. Now 6 years old, she suffers from vision and hearing impairment, seizures and kidney trouble, to name just some of her ailments. She'll never be able to live on her own, and requires a great deal of skilled care. 

How to handle your spouse's defiance of your divorce orders

After you have done everything possible to achieve a fair and agreeable divorce settlement, you may think your work is done, and your former spouse will simply obey the order and comply with its obligations. This means you will receive any child support payments on time, your spouse will follow the parenting plan, you will obtain your share of the marital assets and your spouse will pay his or her share of your joint debts. There may also be additional stipulations in your unique agreement.

Whether things started out fine in the early post-divorce months or your former spouse never intended to comply with the divorce orders, you are now wondering how you can get him or her to live up to the terms of the settlement.

The role of data protection in high asset divorce

Technology has truly changed our lives for the better in countless ways. There are areas, however, where the benefits of technology can pose a problem. An example lies in high asset divorce, where technology can provide a soon-to-be-ex with a wealth of information that can be used against their partner during the divorce process. It is absolutely critical to protect personal data during and after an Illinois divorce. 

Take, for example, the technology that allows family members to share access to email, messaging, online schedules, photos and other files. This technology can make life easier in so many ways. However, when a marriage is coming to a close, a spouse might not want his or her whereabouts, appointments and messaging to be tracked. 

Some high asset divorce cases become very ugly

For Illinois couples who have accumulated significant wealth, sorting out the details of a divorce settlement can be a challenge. Many high asset divorce cases also have a degree of contention between parties, although that strife usually abates as the process wears on and both sides begin to focus on their new lives. In some instances, however, wealthy couples behave in astonishingly negative ways during and after a high asset divorce. 

An example is found in the divorce of billionaires Bill and Sue Gross. The couple parted in 2017 after being married for 32 years. Although the parties divided an estimated $2.5 billion in assets, they continue to butt heads on various issues. The contention has reached a level where both sides claim to be at risk of harm from the other. 

This high asset divorce has spun out of control

Virtually every Illinois resident knows of at least one divorce of a friend or family member that ended with a great deal of acrimony and strife. In some cases, however, contention between parties reaches a fever pitch. Such appears to be the case between two West Coast spouses who divorced last year but continue to bitterly fight with one another over various aspects of their high asset divorce

Bill and Sue Gross were married for 32 years, and once shared a net worth of nearly $2.5 billion. They gave a great deal of money to charitable organizations, and even founded their own foundation. The couple have three children, all of whom are now adults. They also have multiple homes, artwork, pets and vehicles, all of which became items of dispute during and after their divorce. 

Don't let a high asset divorce affect your health

Researchers have discovered that people who go through divorce are less satisfied with their lives and have lower levels of activity as compared with those who are married or single. That's important to think about for those in Illinois who are preparing for a high asset divorce. Taking steps to preserve health can make a big difference in how you feel both during and after your divorce. 

The team of researchers looking at health and marriage believe that one's partner can be a positive influence on their health habits. For example, if a spouse insists on eating healthy meals and avoiding processed foods, the other partner likely lives a healthier lifestyle simply be virtue of cohabiting with someone with a healthy diet. If divorce ends that living arrangement, it's all-too-easy to slip back into poor health habits. 

What's the secret to successful co-parenting in divorce?

Like most Illinois parents, you always have your children's best interests in mind. When you divorced, you were no doubt determined to cooperate and compromise with your ex to develop a supportive atmosphere for the kids and move forward with the least amount of stress possible. However, saying that and doing it are two very different things. You can't control another person's actions and successful co-parenting takes two.  

If you and your former spouse disagree on a child-related issue, you are definitely not alone in your struggle; in fact, this type of situation may be more common than not running into any obstacles at all. How swiftly you're able to resolve issues may depend on the type of support you rely on. It's always a good idea to seek advice from close friends or family members who have gone through similar experiences. It's also wise to have access to experienced legal support.  

A high asset divorce shouldn't ruin your health

Ending an Illinois marriage is enough of a challenge without risking serious health consequences. Unfortunately, however, researchers believe that divorce can take a big toll on health and wellness. In fact, people who go through divorce are more likely to smoke or lead sedentary lifestyles as compared to those who are married or single. It's important to avoid letting a high asset divorce impact one's health and wellness. 

Social scientists believe that spouses often act as moderating forces, helping their partner avoid unhealthy practices like smoking or avoiding the gym. When a divorce suddenly removes that influence from one's life, it can be easy to backslide into negative health habits. A high asset divorce also places a great deal of strain on many spouses, which further complicates a healthy lifestyle. 

Alimony, tax deductions and high asset divorce in Illinois

For those Illinois spouses who are considering divorce, timing is an important consideration. That's especially true this year, as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will change the way that spousal support is taxed beginning in 2019. For individuals preparing for a high asset divorce, now's the time to make a number of important decisions.

Currently, individuals who make alimony payments are able to claim that expense as a tax deduction. Spouses who receive alimony must claim those payments as taxable income. However, for all divorces finalized after Dec. 31, 2018, alimony will be tax neutral. That can mean a considerable increase in tax obligations for many spouses.