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Wheaton Divorce Attorneys

When you go through a divorce, sometimes things slip through the cracks. The mental exhaustion most couples endure means they often do not operate at full capacity day-to-day, which is understandable. It is important, however, to keep up as best you can, and that includes your finances. 

There are numerous steps to take during a divorce to protect your credit. Here are some of the key divorce tips to remember:

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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton Divorce Attorneys

When you are unhappy with your marriage and want a divorce, it is important to break the news to your spouse in the right way, especially if they have different feelings regarding your relationship. Reactions vary when confronted with something like divorce, and if the conversation does not go well, it can sour the divorce process significantly.

Choosing a Time and Place

It is not a good idea to surprise your spouse randomly with your divorce intentions. You should make sure there are no distractions and prepare to have a long conversation. You need time for a lengthy, serious discussion about this new development, and both of you will have a lot to process. Distractions are a hindrance, so get a babysitter for your children so you can have an out-of-home sit-down, and silence your phones while it takes place. 

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DuPage County divorce attorney

It is understandable to be concerned about your child’s well-being during your divorce process. It is an emotional and stressful time for everyone involved, especially for children. 

To them, it can seem like their whole world is being torn apart. Scientific studies have examined the effect of divorce on children, with interesting results:

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Naperville divorce lawyer electronic parenting timeIt is important to be mindful of your children during the divorce process. Their lives are changing in many different ways, and they need to have some sort of stability during the process. After a divorce has been finalized, and the division of parenting time has been determined, it is important to have a schedule in which a child knows they are going to be able to see their parents at a designated time. 

No matter how devoted a parent is to their child, there may be circumstances beyond their control which do not allow them to be present during their scheduled parenting time. If that is the case, Illinois is a state that allows for electronic parenting time or visitation for parents. Electronic parenting time involves the parent spending time with the child using a video call, a phone call, email, or other messaging system. Modern technology makes it easier than ever for parents to be present in their child’s lives, even if they are hundreds or thousands of miles away, and parents should be sure to understand how best to use these tools to maintain a close connection with their children. 

Who Is Eligible for Electronic Parenting Time?

Not every parent or child will need to use or be eligible for electronic parenting time. This solution should not be used in cases involving abuse or habitual deviance from the schedule that was defined in the divorce decree. Electronic parenting time is typically used under extraordinary circumstances, or when it is in the child’s best interests, such as the following cases:

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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce attorney

If divorce is something you are considering, or you are in the middle of a divorce case, one of your primary questions may be, “How long does it take to get divorced?”

Going through divorce increases stress and emotions, so it makes sense that you want to finish the process as soon as possible. It does not have to take years, but a quick divorce depends upon multiple elements coming together at once. 

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DuPage County divorce lawyer infidelity adulteryInfidelity in marriage is one of the most common reasons people choose to file for divorce. Once one person in a marriage commits adultery, their partner may feel that their trust has been broken and that they cannot repair the relationship. Couples in Illinois may wonder how adultery can affect their divorce case. 

Grounds for Divorce

The state of Illinois does not accept adultery as a reason to file for divorce. Illinois offers what is called “no-fault” divorce, meaning that neither party is considered to be at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. In the past, the law included a list of several different reasons that could be used as grounds to file for divorce. However, the only grounds for divorce that are currently recognized is “irreconcilable differences,” which means that a couple’s marriage has broken down and is beyond repair. 

Usually, there is no need to demonstrate that irreconcilable differences exist, and a divorce will be granted if both spouses agree to end the marriage. However, if one spouse objects to the divorce, adultery could be shown to be the cause of the irreconcilable differences, and if the petitioner can make the case that the marriage is irretrievable due to these differences, the divorce will typically be granted. If a couple is separated for at least six months, it is presumed they have met the requirement for irreconcilable differences. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce petition lawyerWhen a person files a petition for divorce, they are required to make the other person in the relationship aware of the petition by legally serving them with the divorce papers. Once the divorce petition has been served, the other party has a window of 30 days to file a response. After the respondent has filed a response, a hearing date will be set. In rare cases, it is possible that the person being served will not respond to the divorce petition in time. If that does happen, the court may judge the divorce to be a default divorce.

What Can Happen With a Default Divorce?

If the respondent does not file their response to a divorce petition in time, a default divorce will occur. Since the court does not have a response from the other party, they will typically grant the requests in the initial divorce petition after a brief hearing. These requests can involve issues such as spousal maintenance or child support payments, property division, or child custody.  

If you are served with divorce papers, it is possible to ask for an extension before filing a full response. If an extension is granted, the petitioner will not be able to ask for a default judgment right away. After the judgment has been granted, there is also a limited period of time in which the respondent can ask the court to reconsider the judgment. It is usually necessary to have a legitimate explanation for why you did not respond to the divorce petition, and it is likely the judge will ask for proof of your explanation. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Naperville divorce and taxes attorneyCouples will need to work out many issues during the divorce process, including child custody, division of assets, spousal maintenance, and/or child support payments. In addition to addressing the legal issues involved in dissolving the marriage, these decisions will also affect each party’s income taxes for that year and going forward. If you are considering divorce or have already begun the divorce process, it is important to understand how the decisions made will impact you when it is time to file your taxes. 

Filing Status

Married couples can report their income, exemptions, deductions, and credits on one tax return by selecting the “married filing jointly” status on their tax return. Couples will often pay less taxes if they file jointly instead of separately. If you are separating from your spouse, and the divorce has not been completed as of December 31st, you can still file your taxes as “married filing jointly” for that year. In the year in which the divorce decree is final, you will no longer have the option of filing jointly. If you and your significant other are still in an amicable relationship during the divorce process, you may wish to consult with a financial advisor to determine if you should take advantage of the ability to file jointly while you still can. 

Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, or alimony, is a common element of many divorce proceedings. For divorces completed prior to December 31, 2018, maintenance is deductible on a tax return for the payor and must be reported as taxable income for the payee. For divorces finalized on or after January 1, 2019, that “divorce subsidy” will no be longer available. 

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Naperville divorce and legal separation lawyerMarriage is a legal union between two people, but when one or both of those people no longer wish to be in the marriage, they may feel it is necessary to get a divorce. However, there are other steps couples may take besides divorce, depending on their situation. In some cases, couples may choose legal separation or annulment. If you are considering ending your marriage, it is important to know the difference between legal separation, annulment, and divorce. 

Legal Separation

Couples who are considering a permanent split may separate for a time if they are trying to work through their differences. However, this is not the same as a legal separation. Legal separation is an agreement or decision that is specifically put in place by the court. It outlines the rights and obligations of each person in the relationship until further action is taken. Legal separation is not necessary if couples can agree on their rights and obligations while they are separated, but it can be a helpful step to take in case a disagreement arises over issues such as child custody, visitation, or property rights.

Annulment

Annulment, also known as a judgment of invalidity, is the legal process of declaring that a marriage is not valid, essentially saying that the marriage never existed at all. A marriage may be annulled in Illinois if one partner did not consent to the marriage, was already married to another person, or was under the age of 18.

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Winfield bankruptcy lawyerWhile many people have debts that they owe, some people end up in a difficult financial situation and become unable to pay back their debts while meeting their ongoing needs. Bankruptcy laws are intended to give individuals a second chance to get their finances in order. By filing for bankruptcy, you are signaling to the court that you cannot pay off your debts. When filing for bankruptcy, you will need to describe all your property and assets. You will also disclose your financial situation, including all your debts. There are multiple different types of bankruptcy to file depending on what fits the needs of an individual or business.

Types of Bankruptcy 

The most common types of bankruptcy for individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. 

  • Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will lead to all of the individual’s non-exempt property being liquidated in order to cover as much of their debt as possible. Illinois law provides exemptions for some types of property, including vehicles under a certain value, tools of the trade, and some personal belongings. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will result in the debt being discharged after all non-exempt property is sold.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be filed when an individual wishes to keep their property and use their income to pay off their debts. With Chapter 13, a payment plan for a period of three to five years will be put in place by the court, after which any outstanding debts will be discharged.  

Businesses will most commonly file Chapter 11 bankruptcy:

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Wheaton Domestic Abuse AttorneyDomestic violence in a relationship is a serious issue that millions of people face every day. For many, the warning signs are ignored or rationalized, but nobody deserves to live in an abusive situation. Physical violence does not have to occur to qualify as domestic violence. A pattern of mental or emotional abuse can emerge over the course of time, leading a person to feel unsafe in their relationship. Whatever the form of abuse a person suffers, they can achieve safety by obtaining an order of protection issued by a judge.

The Process of Obtaining an Order of Protection

If you reach a point in time when you feel the need to escape an abusive relationship, the first thing to do is make sure you are safe. The most common time for a victim of domestic violence to be attacked is when they attempt to leave the person who is abusing them or when they reach out to somebody for help. While getting out of an abusive situation and protecting your safety is important, you should also consider what may happen after you leave. If you are in danger, do not hesitate to contact law enforcement.

Once you are prepared, you will need to fill out a form to apply for an order of protection, making sure to include all relevant information regarding the abuse. Once the form has been completed, it will need to be filed. You may be able to file the form online. Instructions for filing an order of protection form online can typically be found on the local circuit court clerk’s website. If not, the form will need to be filed at the courthouse in the county where the abusive party resides or where the abuse occurred. 

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Naperville adoption lawyer single parentIn the United States, non-traditional families are becoming more common and more widely accepted. These types of families include those with step-parents and step-children, same-sex couples, and grandparents raising their grandchildren. Also included in the non-traditional category are single-parent families in which either the mother or father solely raises the child. Traditionally, adoptions usually took place when a couple was married, but now more adoption agencies are helping non-traditional families to adopt as well. Pursuing adoption as a single parent can be extremely challenging and can test your dedication, which is why it is important to consider the following questions and fully understand how your life will change if you choose to adopt.

1. Do You Have a Support System?

It has often been said that it takes a village to raise a child, and in the case of the single parent, this could not be more true. Your support system will be crucial to your parenting success. The support of your family and friends can be invaluable when issues arise, and the help they can provide may include:

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Naperville child custody lawyer parenting planWhen you get a divorce in Illinois, and you have children, you are strongly encouraged to come to an agreement with your spouse about how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be divided between you. The court does not decide these things for you unless you and your spouse cannot come to a mutual agreement (known as a parenting plan), but leaving the decision up to a judge is not always in your family’s best interests. Often, the court will order mediation to assist you and your spouse in coming to an agreement about a parenting plan, which must be filed with the court no longer than 120 days after a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities is filed. Creating a parenting plan can be tedious, but having all of the right elements in your plan will ensure success when implementing it following the finalization of your divorce.

Court-Required Parenting Plan Elements

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, there are certain things that must be addressed in a parenting plan. The plan can contain other information pertaining to the care of the children, but it must at least address the following issues:

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Wheaton divorce lawyer parents childrenIt is never easy to break the news of divorce, especially to children. Depending on their age, they might not really understand what getting a divorce means or why it is happening. How you bring up the decision that you and your spouse are getting a divorce can make a difference in how your children understand and react to the news. Here are five tips on how you can talk to your children about divorce and break the news to them in a healthy way:

1. Know the Right Time to Tell Them

You should make sure that you figure out the best time to tell your children that you are getting a divorce. If you and your spouse have been toying around with the idea of divorce, you should not bring your children into your conversations. You should wait until your divorce is in full swing or in its final stages before you bring it up with your children.

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Naperville adoption attorneyOne of the inevitable parts of adopting a child is the requirement that you and your family participate in an adoption home study. Though the process for the home study is different depending on which type of agency you adopt from (public or private), you must complete a home study all the same. Conducting home studies not only allows agencies to gather more information about your family and evaluate the ability of the family to care for the child, but a home study also allows prospective parents and families to learn more about the adoption process and prepares them for the new addition. 

Components of a Home Study

There are many parts to a home study, and they are all included for good reasons. Home studies are meant to be as thorough as possible to facilitate successful adoptions. Prospective adoptive parents should prepare for the following steps:

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DuPage County divorce attorneyIf you are going through a divorce, you have probably heard plenty of advice and consolation, such as “Just think of how much happier you will be,” or “You always deserved better than that.” While these words can show how many people are around to support you, they do not erase the pain that a broken marriage brings. While divorce is never fun, you do not have to suffer. These tips can help you prepare yourself for divorce so you can come out on the other side peaceful and content:

1. Get Your Priorities Straight

You should sit down and take some time to figure out what you actually want out of the divorce and what your emotions are telling you that you need. Make a list of specific assets that you absolutely need and ones that you can live without. A list like this can help you focus on what is important once you begin negotiations with your spouse.

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Oak Brook divorce attorney co-parenting tipsSummer is every child’s favorite time of the year--they get a break from going to school, waking up early, doing homework, and studying. But for parents, especially divorced parents, summer can prove to be the most challenging time of the year. During the school year, the kids are at school for a good portion of the day, so parenting plans are usually well-regimented and have agreed transition days for kids to move from the care of one parent to the other. But during the summer, everything changes, so it is important to plan ahead to keep the stress at a minimum.

1. Coordinate Your Schedules

While you have likely already scheduled vacation time and trips with your children, you should also work together with your ex-spouse to determine your and your children’s day-to-day schedules. This will help avoid disputes over who gets to spend time with the child and when. Summer months offer more than enough time for everyone to plan their vacations--it is just a matter of coordinating them. 

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DuPage County DCFS adoption attorneyAdoption is a common way for many prospective parents to add to their family. The way the majority of adoptions in the United States take place is through a public agency, such as the foster care system. The public agency in Illinois that helps match children with families is called the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). DCFS places children in foster homes, and if they are not able to be rehabilitated into their original homes, they are placed for adoption. Many children who are waiting to be adopted through DCFS are part of sibling groups, or children from the same family who need to be placed in a home together.

Keeping Siblings Together

Children who are put into the foster care system go through a great deal of change in almost every aspect of their lives. These children’s siblings are often the only thing that has remained the same in their life. Children in foster care often come from abusive and neglectful homes where the parents might not have always cared for them in the same way that a sibling did. In these situations, it is important to keep siblings together, so they are able to develop and emotionally mature. Separating siblings leaves the younger sibling to fend for themselves in an unfamiliar environment, and older siblings tend to feel responsible for younger siblings, even if they are not placed together.

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Naperville divorce attorneyEvery time you appear in court, you are being analyzed. The judge will observe you to determine whether or not you should be taken seriously and if your arguments are valid. If you appear to be disrespectful and ignorant of courtroom rules and conduct, you might not be taken as seriously as you want to be. This can make a big difference in divorce cases, because those who are not taken seriously by the judge are less likely to receive a judgment that is in their favor. Understanding what is expected of you when you go to court to litigate your divorce is crucial to a successful outcome. Here are some tips for following proper etiquette when in divorce court:

1. Dress Appropriately

You want the judge to focus on your legal case, not your appearance, so it is important that you dress appropriately and respectfully when you go to court. The basic rule of thumb is to dress as if you were going to work in an office. Business casual attire means skirts or dress pants, blouses, button-down shirts, slacks, khakis, and nice shoes. You should not wear T-shirts, jeans, sneakers, dirty clothing, or clothing with holes in it. 

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Wheaton adoption lawyer consentAdopting a child is an exciting time in many prospective parents’ lives. Making an addition to the family through adoption can be a stressful and tedious process, especially since there are many legal steps that must be taken before the adoption can be finalized. One of those steps is gaining consent to adopt the child. The consent must come from the child’s birth parents or adoption agency and, in some cases, the child themselves. Giving consent means that the parents or agency responsible for the child relinquishes all rights and duties relating to that child to the adoptive parents. If you are planning to adopt in Illinois, it is important to understand how Illinois laws will affect your adoption.

Who Needs to Consent to Adoption?

Illinois law requires that the birth mother and birth father (who has established paternity) consent to the adoption of their child. In some situations, the birth parents no longer have legal rights to their child. In these cases, the legal requirement for consent can fall to other entities, such as:

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