Archive for the ‘Divorce’ Category

Older Couples Must Contend with Special Challenges in Divorce

April 22nd, 2015 at 5:48 pm

older divorce, older couple, Illinois divorce lawyerFor married couples with partners under the age of 50, the good news is that the U.S. divorce rate has been steadily decreasing since the 1980s. For couples who have passed the age 50 milestone, the bad news is that the divorce rate for their demographic is at its highest level ever. Recently, a recent study found that among divorcing couples over the age of 50, two-thirds of the divorce proceedings are initiated by the wife.

Societal Shifts and Longer Lifespans

Members of the Baby Boomer generation are divorcing at higher rates for a variety of social, cultural, and health related reasons. Compared to previous generations, divorce has simply become more common and more socially acceptable. Another reason is connected to longer lifespans. At age 50 or 60, many people are planning for a lengthy retirement and want to prioritize enjoying the last twenty to forty years of their life. This can result in them evaluating relationships with a more critical eye than people in generations past.

Increased Risk for Complicated and Litigious Divorces for Older Couples

When older couples initiate divorce proceedings, the size of their estate and issues surrounding retirement planning, accounts, and healthcare all may cause the process to be complicated and potentially very expensive. If the couple is not in agreement or able to work together with their attorneys to negotiate successfully, they are at risk for a litigious divorce proceeding. For older couples, this can be a dangerous scenario for people who are over 50 because, typically, their prime earning years are behind them. They simply will not have the ability or the opportunity to replace a great deal of the money spent on a protracted divorce.

Complex Estate and Retirement Issues

The issues of estate division involving retirement and pension plans, home equity, health insurance, and social security benefits all become critical and nuanced for couples over age 50. In many cases, the couples’ retirement planning was done under the assumption that they would be living as a married couple. In such cases it is not uncommon for the couple to discover that if they were to divide the estate, they simply don’t have enough assets for each spouse to afford retirement on their own.

Retirement accounts such as pension plans, 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are generally regarded as marital property in a divorce. In addition to state divorce laws, there are federal guidelines that mandate how certain retirement plans are redistributed in divorce. Often times this will require specific types of orders to be entered to divide the accounts and it is important to have an experienced attorney  negotiate and draft these orders to ensure that your interests are protected.

If you are a member of the Baby Boomer generation who is considering a divorce, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Chicago family law attorney at Anderson & Associates, P.C. to review your options. We are easily accessible at five convenient locations including offices in Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago. Please call 312-345-9999 to schedule your complimentary consultation today. We look forward to speaking with you.

Can You Appeal a Divorce Ruling?

April 21st, 2015 at 5:46 pm

divorce appeal, divorce ruling, Illinois Divorce LawyerAn appeal is a request to change the court’s official ruling after the ruling has been made. Any final court decision can be appealed, including divorce decrees. The individual who appeals the court’s decision is known as the appellant, and the other party involved with the appeal is known as the appellee. When an individual appeals a ruling, the case goes to appellate court, rather than back to trial court.

An appeal can be used to challenge the trial judge’s interpretation of the law, admissibility of evidence, or the application of the law to a particular case. An individual may file an appeal once a final order is entered by the trial court. He or she has up to 30 days after the ruling to file a notice of appeal, which communicates the appellant’s intention to appeal the case’s ruling to the court. The right to appeal a divorce ruling is included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

The Appeal Process

The process of appealing a divorce ruling involves multiple steps. It can be a lengthy process and there is the possibility that your appeal will be rejected, leaving the original ruling in place. It is recommended that you work with a knowledgeable divorce attorney to develop and pursue your appeal.

Once you have filed your Notice of Appeal, the next step is to deliver your case’s certified trial court file to the appellate court.  You then will have the opportunity to file your appellate brief, which is your chance to argue in writing why you think the trial court’s decision was wrong. Work with your attorney to develop a well-crafted argument for your position that your divorce was decided incorrectly by the judge. If your former spouse files a response brief, you may then file a reply brief, having the last word about your case before it goes to the appellate court for a decision.

Under some circumstances, the appellate court may request an oral argument for your case. Discuss this possibility with your attorney to determine if you may need one. Once the briefs are submitted and oral arguments are held, you will receive the appellate court’s decision. Ultimately, the appellate court will decide to reverse the original ruling, send it back to trial court to be heard again, or affirm the original ruling

Divorce Attorneys in the Chicago Area

If your divorce was recently finalized and you feel that it was somehow unfairly decided or poorly handled by the judge, consider filing an appeal. Your appeal could be your opportunity to change the court’s decision and get a fairer settlement for your divorce. Contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. at 312-345-9999 or on the web to discuss your case with one of the dedicated Chicago divorce attorneys at our firm. We proudly serve Illinois residents in our five convenient locations: Schaumburg, Orland Park, downtown Chicago, Wheaton, and Northbrook.

 

Heavy Social Media Use Linked to Divorce Rates

April 14th, 2015 at 6:30 pm

social media, divorce rate, Illinois divorce lawyerCould your constant Facebook posting, Twitter use, and other social media posting be cause for concern in your marriage? A new study says it can and shows a correlation between social media use and divorce. The cause for divorce is not the use of social media, but rather those who use social media more than those who do not are more likely to get a divorce.

The researchers compared data collected about married couples from 2008 through 2010 with data from a 2011 study of married couples. The growth of Facebook and other social media sites were found to be correlated to the rise in divorce rates during the same time periods.

According to Boston University’s director of the Division of Emerging Media Studies, James E. Katz, “the apparent association between the use of Facebook and other social networking sites and divorce and marital unhappiness in the United States raises troubling questions not only about how we use these tools, but how their use affects marriage.”

Stopping the Social Media Use Conflict

When it comes to social media use and marriage, if someone is unhappy in their marriage, it is easy to see why they may turn to social media and become immersed in social media. They make connections on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites. The friends they have on those sites are supportive and listen. They can give encouragement and lend a virtual shoulder to cry on.

Turning to those virtual friends, which sometimes leads to real-life friendships, does not always help mend the problems in the marriage. It can turn into an serious problem, though. Spending more time on social media and interacting on social media sites may have characteristics similar to other behaviors that may cause marital conflict. Continual heavy usage of social media and not communicating with your spouse may lead to divorce.

If your spouse is spending more time on social media sites than they are communicating with you, you may start feeling resentful and unhappy in your marriage. If you are considering filing for divorce, you should speak with an experienced Chicago divorce attorney. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from one of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.

Ways to Make a Divorce Less Stressful

April 7th, 2015 at 2:47 pm

less stressful, divorce, Chicago divorce attorneyMany people think going through a divorce is stressful and all about fighting to get what you want from your soon-to-be ex-spouse. However, this does not necessarily need to be the case. There are many couples who have gone through the divorce process without excessive stress or contentiousness. Some ways to make a divorce less stressful are:

Be Willing to Talk

When a petition for a divorce is filed, one party may feel betrayed and become hurt or angry. Completing a divorce, however, often requires negotiation and communication regarding a number of relevant issues. If you are not able to speak with your spouse, you can have your divorce attorney communicate with your spouse or his or her attorney to try to reach agreements during the divorce process.

Remain Civil

Especially if you have children, staying polite with your spouse can make the process considerably less stressful. It can also help during negotiations and while speaking in front of the court. Avoiding negativity and angry or harsh words with your soon-to-be ex-spouse may help you keep a better relationship with your children. It also demonstrates to your children that you do not wish for them to be caught in the middle.

Consider Mediation or Collaborative Law

If you are able to negotiate with your spouse, speaking with a certified mediator or collaborative law attorney may be the way to save some time and money in your divorce process. Mediation takes place with help of a neutral third party mediator, with lawyers present only if necessary or appropriate. Collaborative law generally requires parties to have an attorney, but is a lower stress alternative to courtroom litigation. Both options look to save the parties time and money while helping them to reach agreements with each other. It also allows both parties more control over the eventual divorce agreement rather than leaving it up to a judge.

Know What You Have and Its Worth

Whether it is real estate, physical property, or other assets, be aware of what you have and its value. It is also helpful to know exactly what debts you owe individually and with your spouse. In some cases, one party may have hidden assets, not necessarily because one party did not inform the other of the purchase, but because some assets are undervalued. You will want to make a list of all assets you had before the marriage and what was acquired during the marriage. This will make the division of property, assets, and debt much easier. Illinois is an “equitable-distribution” state, meaning that marital property, assets, and debt are not divided equally, but rather fairly as determined by the court. Staying organized and knowing what you own,how much it is worth, and how much debt you have will help make this process less stressful.

Help In Making Your Divorce Less Stressful

An estimated 33,000 marriages come to an end in Illinois every year,  and not all of the couples went through a long, stressful divorce. Many people were able to keep the divorce-related stress to a minimum by speaking with an experienced divorce attorney they trusted to work in their best interest.

If you are considering filing for divorce or your spouse has already filed for divorce, you should contact a skilled Chicago family law attorney. The lawyers at Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you understand the divorce process, help you understand your divorce options, and will work with you to achieve your goals. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from one of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.

How to Talk to Your Child about Your Divorce

March 26th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

 divorce, talk to your child, Illinois Family Law AttorneyDivorce is a difficult topic to discuss with anybody, let alone your child. But if you are considering filing for divorce or you have already done so, you need to be clear with your child about the big changes that are going to occur in his or her life. Your child needs your guidance and support now more than ever, and it is your job as a parent to be truthful with him or her without overwhelming your child with unnecessary or inappropriate details.

The following guidelines can help make these discussions easier for you and your child. It is important that you take your child’s age and maturity level into consideration when you speak with him or her about your upcoming divorce – a detail that may be crucial to tell a 14-year-old might be best left out in a talk with a four-year-old, for example.

Do Not Speak Badly About Your Spouse to Your Child

It does not matter why you are divorcing or which partner is to blame. Under no circumstances should you ever insult, degrade, or otherwise speak poorly of the other parent to him or her. This extends to other adults involved as well – do not speak badly of your spouse’s new partner if one enters the picture or of any other individuals, such as your spouse’s attorney or the judge who decides your case.

Present a Unified Front

If possible, it is always best for you and your spouse to have the initial conversation with your child together about your divorce. Back up each other’s statements and allow your child to direct any specific questions he or she has to the intended parent.

Discuss Appropriate Means of Expressing Emotions

Your child may feel angry, sad, anxious, or frustrated about your divorce. He or she might not realize the depth of these feelings and lash out inappropriately. It is important that you tell your child what is and is not appropriate behavior and encourage him or her to express these emotions in healthy ways, such as talking about them with you or keeping a journal.

Take Initiative

Tell your child that you are always available to talk with him or her, and make it a point to live up to your promise. Although your child might not want to talk to you about your divorce right away, it is important that he or she knows the option is always there. Be patient with your child and assure him or her that he or she is not responsible for your divorce.

Chicago Divorce Attorneys

If you are considering filing for divorce and you are unsure about how to approach the topic with your child or want to learn more about your options, call 312-345-9999 to schedule your free legal consultation with the skilled Chicago divorce attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. We proudly advocate for parents and families throughout the Chicago area, with offices in five convenient locations: Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago.

Determining Pet Custody in a Divorce

March 17th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

pet custody, divorce, Chicago divorce attorneysWhen a couple opts to end their marriage through divorce, the next step is to work with the court to divide their property and determine custody and support arrangements for their children if they have any. Today, however, as beloved pets are often considered to be a part of the family, many couples express concerns about custody of their companion animals following their divorces. 

Legally, pets are personal property in Illinois. Emotional attachment does not preclude domestic pets such as cats and dogs from being included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act as items to divide during a divorce proceeding.

However, some couples choose to negotiate their own pet custody agreements. These are not necessarily enforceable in court, but can give the couple an outline to work with regarding their pet’s care after their divorce. When the spouses do not have such an amicable relationship but both want to retain custody of their pet, each partner may need to argue their fitness to keep the pet to the court.

Proving Your Fitness to Keep Your Pet

You might have to prove your fitness as a pet owner to have your pet’s custody awarded to you during your divorce. Some of the ways you can do this are:

  • Showing your financial investment in the pet through receipts for its veterinary bills, food costs, and any other pet bills like grooming services or obedience classes.
  • Demonstrating to the court that your home is better suited for a pet than your former partner’s. This may be because you have a large yard for the pet to roam or your former partner’s apartment does not allow pets.
  • Proving your bond with the pet through activities such as hunting or agility competitions.

Your attorney can help you develop a strong case for having your pet after a divorce. If you are your children’s custodial parent, this may also help your case for keeping your pet.

Sharing Pet Custody

With no law that outlines pet custody in Illinois, some couples choose to develop shared pet custody arrangements. In many cases, these arrangements are modeled on the couple’s child custody arrangement – wherever the children go, the pet goes. Talk to your spouse about this option and determine if setting up a visitation schedule could be a viable choice for your situation.

Although they can not speak or express themselves the way humans can, animals feel tension and stress during a divorce. No matter what you and your spouse decide, it is important for your pet’s health that you do all you can to minimize the stress that he or she is put through during the divorce process.

Divorce Attorneys in Chicago

If you are considering ending your marriage or you are currently working through the divorce process, contact the skilled Chicago divorce attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. at 312-345-9999 or online for your initial legal consultation with our firm. We have five convenient offices in the Chicago area: Northbrook, Wheaton, Orland Park, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago.

Study Finds Lower Divorce Rate for Doctors, Medical Professionals

March 12th, 2015 at 7:00 am

divorce rate, divorce among doctors, Illinois Family Law AttorneyA career in the medical field presents a large number of both professional and personal challenges. Doctors, nurses, and healthcare administrators often spend long hours focused on the needs of the patients in their care. Considering the demanding schedule and the high-stress environment in which many medical professionals work, it is not unusual for family life to be directly affected. In fact, it would be reasonable to assume that the strain a healthcare career can place on a marriage might, overall, lead to a higher divorce rate. A new study, however, seems to suggest that such an assumption would be wrong.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Dan Ly, medical resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, released its findings last month in a report published in the journal BMJ. “It’s been speculated that doctors are more likely to be divorced than other professionals because of the long hours they keep and the stress associated with the job,” senior author of the study, Anupam Jena, M.D, said in a statement, “but no large-scale study has ever investigated whether that is true.”

Dr. Jena, a physician at Mass General and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, found that the idea that physicians are likely to divorce is prevalent even among doctors themselves. To find out, the team examined data taken from the American Community Survey, an ongoing demographic survey conducted the U.S. Census Bureau. The research looked at more than 6.5 million individuals, including a quarter million doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and healthcare executives.

Controlling for age and income, the team discovered that physicians divorce at a rate of about 24 percent, second-lowest among the studied groups. Pharmacists enjoy the lowest rate at 23 percent, while dentists have a 25 percent likelihood of divorce. Executives and nurses were slightly higher at 31 percent and 33 percent, respectively, but all of the  healthcare professionals were found less likely to divorce than non-healthcare workers, who carry a 35 percent divorce rate.

The findings also indicated that a female doctor was much more likely to divorce than a male doctor, especially if she worked more than 40 hours per week. Dr. Jena speculated the gender disparity may be rooted in the common expectations placed on women in regard to work and family balance. “Females traditionally bear more of the household and child-rearing responsibilities on average, and female physicians, if they have to do both that and maintain a job as a physician, that could lead to a lot stress and lead to higher rates of divorce,” he said.

Doctors and medical professionals, Dr. Jena concluded, should not worry about a high rate of divorce due to job-related stress. Female doctors, however, should be aware of the impact that balancing work and family life may be having on their relationships.

Whether you are a doctor, nurse, or dentist, or if your job is completely unrelated to healthcare, divorce can be a challenging process. With many decisions to make and factors to consider, a qualified divorce attorney can provide the help you deserve. Contact the experienced Illinois family law attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. today. We have offices conveniently located in downtown Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Orland, Park, and Northbrook to meet your legal needs.

Business Valuation in a Divorce

March 11th, 2015 at 4:00 pm

property division, assets, Illinois Divorce AttorneyMany Illinois couples choose to work together to open and operate businesses. In other marriages, one partner operates his or her own business with little to no input from his or her spouse. When a business is a part of a couple’s household income, it must be accounted for during their divorce.

The amount of personal investment each partner has in a business can determine how it is divided during the couple’s divorce. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that divorcing couples’ assets are divided after considering several factors, including each partner’s needs and contribution to the marriage, rather than simply splitting their entire asset network in half.

Valuing a Business during a Divorce

A business, like other marital assets, must be assigned a monetary value to be divided as part of a couple’s divorce judgment. There are a few different methods used to determine a business’ monetary value. The method that is best for an individual business depends on the type of business and the couple’s plans for the business after their divorce.

The market approach values a business by comparing it to similar businesses to determine its viability and future prospects. Issues like the business’ relationship with its clients and its role in the community are considered when making this determination. This option is usually the best choice for couples who choose to sell their businesses.

The income approach looks at a business’ current and projected earnings to determine its value. Potential for growth, as well as any depreciation that can occur, are factored into the income approach. Results from this type of analysis are likely to factored into child support of spousal maintenance considerations.

The asset approach values a business by subtracting its depreciation from the total of its assets. This is a straightforward approach that can sometimes be too narrow for larger or more complicated businesses. If one owned the business prior to the marriage and liquidation was likely, this approach could be used to calculate the amount of marital property, if any, was invested during the marriage.

The correct valuation approach for many businesses may actually be a combination of all three, allowing for a larger number of factors. Financial experts commonly incorporate a number of methods when establishing the value of business, particularly in more complex situations.

Options for Divorcing Business Owners

There are some situations in which neither partner wants to leave the business. A couple with a fairly amicable relationship may choose to continue operating the business together after their divorce. In such cases, each partner’s interest in the company must be evaluated and written into a new contract reflecting their stakes as individual assets rather than a marital asset. Other options include selling the business or one partner choosing to continue to operate the business alone after the divorce.

All entrepreneurs are encouraged to draft prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that include their plans for their businesses in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can make it much easier to protect one’s interests during the divorce process, especially if these interests were obtained before the marriage and remained largely within the individual’s sole control during the marriage.

Chicago Divorce Attorneys

If you are a business owner currently going through a divorce, call 312-345-9999 to schedule your free legal consultation with Anderson & Associates, P.C. at one of our five convenient locations in the Chicago area. With offices in Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago, we work with our clients to determine the best course of action for their divorces. Do not wait to start working with an experienced Chicago divorce attorney – give us a call today to learn more about your options and obligations as a business owner.

Divorce, Legal Separation, or Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage

March 10th, 2015 at 5:00 pm

invalidity of marriage, legal separation, divorce, Chicago Divorce LawyerUnhappily married couples that wish to separate have three specific options under the law: divorce, declaration of invalidity of marriage, and legal separation. A declaration of invalidity of marriage, often referred to as an annulment, ultimately voids the marriage and is not appropriate for every situation. It has strict requirements and must be pursued within a certain period of time. A legal separation permits couples to establish child support and maintenance obligations and make custody arrangements while remaining legally married. A divorce also permits couples to establish support obligations, as well as divide marital assets and establish custody. Unlike a legal separation, divorce dissolves the marriage.

Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage

When a marriage is declared invalid, it is treated as if the marriage never took place. This is an extreme remedy and the law provides only four situations in which a court will enter a declaration of invalidity of marriage:

  1. One or both parties were unable to consent to the marriage. For example, a person with a mental illness or under the influence of a controlled substance may be determined to lack the ability to appropriately consent.

  2. A party cannot physically consummate the marriage. However, a marriage may only be annulled for this reason if the other party was unaware of such incapacity prior to the marriage.

  3. One or both parties were under 18 years old and did obtain parental consent or judicial approval to marry.

  4. The marriage is prohibited by law. Polygamy, for example, is illegal in Illinois. Therefore, a second marriage while still legally married to another would be declared invalid under this provision.

Legal Separation

In some cases, a married couple may no longer wish to live together, but personal or financial reasons prevent them from petitioning for divorce. Such a couple may elect to petition for legal separation. The couple will remain legally married, but the court may, among other considerations, establish a child custody arrangement, define visitation rights, and determine obligations for child and/or spousal support. Opting to legally separate does not prohibit a couple from filing for divorce in the future; divorce remains a viable option.

Divorce

A decree of divorce officially ends a marriage, but the process can be long and contentious. The first step is filing a petition, which must include specific grounds for divorce. The other party may contest those grounds, but the court will likely grant the petition. The grounds include:

  • Adultery;
  • Habitual drunkenness;
  • Impotence (this is also grounds for annulment, but there is no delineated time-frame associated with divorce);
  • Physical or emotional abuse; or
  • Substance abuse.

Most often, couples cite irreconcilable differences, which is a much more general grounds for divorce. However, in order to obtain a divorce under irreconcilable differences, the couple must be separate for two years. This requirement, however, can be waived by agreement.

If you are unhappily married and would like to know more about your options regarding a declaration of invalidity of marriage, legal separation or divorce, contact one of our Chicago divorce attorneys today. We have offices in Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, Orland Park and downtown Chicago.

Petitioning for Sole or Joint Child Custody

March 4th, 2015 at 7:00 am

joint custody, sole custody, Illinois Family Law AttorneyIllinois recognizes two types of child custody agreements: sole and joint custody. If you are considering filing for divorce and you have children, deciding between sole and joint custody will be one of the most important choices you make during your case. The best interest of the child or children will be the first consideration with the judge, which is determined bsd on several factors set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. In order to understand what these factors are and how they may apply to you and your family, you should speak with an experienced Chicago child custody and divorce lawyer.

Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody

Sole and joint custody does not just refer to which parent will have the child more or less time than the other. More importantly, it involves the decision-making power of each parent. When you are filing for divorce and children are involved, the court will take several considerations into account, including, but not limited to:

  • Who is the primary caregiver;
  • Wishes of the parents and child or children in question;
  • The nature of the relationship each parent has with the child;
  • History or likelihood of abuse while under each parent’s care;
  • Living situation at each parent’s house; and
  • Likelihood of the custodial parent to foster a relationship between the child and non-custodial parent.

If a parent has sole custody, the child will live with the parent and the parent will have the legal rights to make all major decisions regarding the child. These decisions include education, religion, medical, and other major life-changing decisions. The custodial parent may ask the non-custodial parent for their opinion, but ultimately, the sole custodial parent makes the decisions. This does not mean the non-custodial parent will not see the child; they typically will have visitation rights as ordered by the court.

Parents with joint custody, on the other hand, must work together to make the major decisions for the child to further his or her best interest. They can work through their lawyers or a court appointed mediator to work out their differences when making decision about education, religion, medical procedures, and other important issues. In joint custody situation, one parent is usually designated as the residential parent, meaning the parent with whom the resides primarily, and the other parent will have a visitation schedule. Ultimately, a Joint Parenting Agreement that outlines each parent’s powers, rights, and responsibilities, will be signed by both parties and entered with the court.

Best Interest of the Child

Illinois courts may consider the wishes of both parents and the child, and typically will approve custody arrangements negotiated by the parties, but the judge is not required to do so. The judge must take the child’s best interest into account and make a decision based on the findings of his or her investigations into each parent, living situations, income, and any other relevant information. Using your children to hurt your spouse may end up hurting your case if the judge feels you are trying to petition for sole custody just to hurt your spouse’s relationship with your children or for tactical purposes in your divorce case.

If you are filing for divorce and have children, you will want to ensure that your divorce judgment furthers your children’s best interest. Contact a Chicago child custody attorney today to discuss your options regarding the custody agreement for your family’s situation. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from one of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.