Archive for the ‘Chicago divorce attorney’ tag

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.

 

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.

Pursuing a Dissipation Claim Against Your Spouse

February 25th, 2015 at 9:42 am

dissipation claim, divorce lawyer in IllinoisThe division of marital property during a divorce proceeding is often contentious, particularly if the parties are disputing who gets which assets. Additional complications arise if one or both parties take steps to deplete those assets after the marriage has broken down.

When a couple is on the brink of divorce, one or both spouses might be tempted to spend marital assets to prevent the other from getting those assets in a divorce. This is called dissipation of marital property. Illinois law defines dissipation as a spouse’s use of marital or nonmarital property for his or her sole benefit for a purpose unrelated to the marriage after the marriage has begun to undergo an irretrievable breakdown.

Examples of dissipation include:

  • Buying gifts for a boyfriend or girlfriend;
  • Going on vacation with a boyfriend or girlfriend;
  • Excessive spending on gambling or lottery tickets;
  • Excessive spending on alcohol or other controlled substances;
  • Allowing the marital home or other real estate to fall into foreclosure; and
  • Failure to maintain marital property.

Claim Requirements

A spouse who wants to file a dissipation claim must do so 60 days before trial begins or 30 days after discovery closes, whichever date comes later. The spouse’s notice of intent must identify when the marriage underwent the irretrievable breakdown, the dissipated property, and when the dissipation occurred. If the party does not file a notice of intent within this timeframe, then any dissipation claims are waived.

Dissipation claims will not be successful if the spending was consistent with the lifestyle the couple established during the marriage. For example, if the alleged dissipater took a trip with the children during the divorce proceeding, and it is determined that the spouse took similar trips during the marriage then the claim is baseless. Furthermore, dissipation cannot be alleged if it occurred more than five years before the divorce petition was filed or three years after the party alleging dissipation knew or should have known about the dissipation.

Once a proper notice of intent to claim dissipation is file, the dissipating party has the burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the alleged dissipation did not occur. If the court determines that a dissipation claim is valid, it may compensate the wronged spouse. Typically this is done by offsetting the dissipated assets against the property awarded to the wasteful spouse in the judgment for dissolution of marriage.

Contact one of our Chicago divorce attorneys today if you suspect that your spouse is guilty of dissipation, or if your spouse files a dissipation claim against you. The timing and specifics of dissipation claims matter, and we will ensure that such claims are effectively pursued or defended. Anderson & Associates, P.C. has offices in Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, Orland Park and downtown Chicago.

Remarriage and Spousal Maintenance

February 16th, 2015 at 8:56 pm

spousal maintenance, remarriage, Chicago divorce lawyerFollowing a divorce, many individuals may be required to make spousal maintenance payments (formerly known as alimony) to their former partners. Historically this was done to prevent a homemaker from becoming destitute after a divorce. With the rise of dual-income households, spousal maintenance is increasingly used to give the lesser-earning spouse the financial support he or she needs to complete his or her college education or job training and become fully self-supporting.

In Illinois, the laws that govern spousal maintenance are written into the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Under this Act, an individual who receives spousal maintenance may stop receiving this support when he or she remarries or cohabitates with another individual. If you are currently paying or receiving spousal maintenance, talk to your attorney about how getting married or moving in with a partner will affect your current maintenance situation.

Types of Spousal Maintenance

The traditional type of spousal maintenance is made in regular installments for the rest of the recipient spouse’s life, known as permanent maintenance.. This type of maintenance could also be terminated through the receiving spouse’s remarriage, cohabitation with another partner, or death of the paying spouse. Remarriage and cohabitation also terminate spousal support payments for individuals who receive rehabilitative maintenance, which is the maintenance designed to help an individual become self-sufficient.

With maintenance in gross, the money paid to the receiving spouse is usually given as one single payment, but can be made in installments. The key difference is that it is non-modifiable, so if the receiving spouse remarries before this payment is completed, the paying spouse still must make the payment.

Termination and Modification of Spousal Maintenance

Getting married again does not automatically terminate a paying spouse’s responsibility to his or her former partner. If he or she wants to pursue a modification or termination of the current maintenance obligation, he or she must file a petition with the court.

If the receiving spouse cohabitates with another partner, he or she spousal maintenance payments should terminate. Cohabitation is defined as a relationship having all of the characteristics of marriage, except for the formal marriage license. To determine whether a couple is cohabitating, the court will consider whether:

  • The couple has joint financial interests such as a lease on a rental property, purchased property, shared credit card, or shared bank account;
  • The couple spends vacations and holidays together; and/or
  • The couple engages in social and professional activities in the same manner as a
  • married couple.

The court also considers the length of the cohabiting couple’s relationship and the amount of time they spend together when determining whether or not a new relationship may terminate an individual’s current maintenance.

Experienced Divorce Attorneys in Illinois

Before moving in with your new partner or choosing to marry again after your divorce, contact our Chicago divorce attorneys to discuss how such a move may affect your maintenance with one of our firm’s experienced divorce attorneys. Our team of lawyers at Anderson & Associates, P.C. can walk you through the process of getting a modification or terminating your maintenance altogether. Call 312-345-9999 to schedule an appointment at any of our five offices in Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, Orland Park and downtown Chicago.

Dividing Marital Assets During Divorce

February 6th, 2015 at 10:33 am

Illinois dividing assets, Chicago property division lawyerYou or your spouse has filed for divorce, and the question on your mind is: “Who gets what?” Most married couples bring assets into the marriage and accumulate additional property during the course of the marriage. Then, when a married couple separates, everything must be divided. The division of assets can be hard, and sometimes get heated, when divorcing couples do not agree with what the other should get.

It can be confusing to understand how assets are divided during divorce proceedings. Even if both parties agree the marriage is no longer working and to file for divorce, figuring out what is considered marital assets can be complicated. Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning the division of property and assets is not necessarily equal, but rather what is fair for both parties.

If the parties cannot agree on how their property will be divided, a judge will decide how to equitably divide the assets by analyzing several different factors. The length of marriage, value of all assets, what each party brought into the marriage, income and earning potential of each spouse, and standard of living during the marriage are just some of the factors that the court will examine. Dividing marital assets can be easy if neither person wants to keep anything and both parties agree to sell everything and split the profits. The situation gets more complicated if the parties can’t agree, or if the divorce involves intangible assets, which can make the proceedings take longer.

All property [houses, 401(k)s or pension plans, bank accounts, stocks, boats, cars, etc.] no matter how they are titled, can be considered marital assets if they were acquired during a marriage. Even if a house is titled in one party’s name, it can be considered marital property if it was bought during the marriage or if money from a joint account is used to pay for the mortgage, repairs, or upgrades. Classifying and dividing marital assets is not a straightforward process and can become overwhelming for many.

If you are considering filing for divorce, or your spouse has already filed for a divorce, contact one of our Chicago property division attorneys. Anderson & Associates, P.C., assists clients in Illinois from one of our five offices conveniently located in downtown Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park. We are experienced in family law proceedings that range from simple to complex divorce. We can help you understand your next step.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements: How You Can Protect Yourself and Your Assets

January 31st, 2015 at 2:58 pm

postnuptial agreement in Chicago, Illinois divorce attorneysWhen a couple marries, they do not assume that their marriage will end in divorce. The reality of modern American marriage, however, is that approximately 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, with higher rates for second and subsequent marriages and certain age groups.

With a divorce usually comes the division of the couple’s property. For many individuals, this can pose a number of problems. An individual might have entered his or her marriage with significant assets such as a home or a successful business. One might also have children from a previous marriage who must be supported financially. In cases like these, opting to sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a way for a couple to make a plan for their assets and finances in the event of a divorce or a death.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can contain virtually identical language. The difference between the two agreements is when the agreement is signed: prenuptial agreements are signed before a couple marries and postnuptial agreements are signed after the wedding.

What is in a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?

Generally, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements address  each partner’s finances and property. The following are examples of topics that may be covered:

  • Each partner’s debts and other financial obligations and if the other is responsible for these in the event of his or her death;
  • Issues related to spousal maintenance, such as the length of time one may receive it and the amount that he or she may receive;
  • The couple’s jointly-owned property and is distribution in a divorce;
  • Each partner’s individual property; and
  • Each partner’s estate planning.

It is important to remember that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements aren’t just for the wealthy.  This type of agreement is also attractive to individuals entering their second or later marriages. This is because older parties may have children from prior relationships and an individual who has been divorced previously may have obligations to his or her former spouse that must be considered. However, any couple who is getting married should consider signing such an agreement.

A Valid Agreement

The terms in a prenuptial agreement are only valid under certain conditions. These are contained in the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. Your attorney can work with you to draft an agreement that will protect you and your assets in court or, if you have already signed an agreement, help you determine if it is susceptible to being found invalid in by a court. Any premarital agreement made under the following circumstances is not valid and cannot be enforced:

  • Either spouse did not voluntarily enter into the agreement, including if the spouse was threatened or coerced; or
  • A spouse did not fully disclose all of his or her assets or debts and the other spouse could not have had knowledge of the other spouse’s assets or debts (unless if the spouse voluntarily waived the disclosure).

Postnuptial agreements, on the other hand, are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.  The standards that apply to a postnuptial agreement depend on when the agreement is being signed and the agreement’s purpose.  If you are considering entering into a postnuptial agreement, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney who understands the intricacies of drafting valid postnuptial agreements.

Experienced Divorce Lawyers in Illinois

Anderson & Associates, P.C. proudly serves clients in Chicago and will give your case the care and dedication it deserves. If you are considering signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, contact our office to discuss your options with one of our firm’s experienced Chicago, IL divorce attorneys. We have five offices in Northbrook, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Orland Park, and downtown Chicago.

Divorce Filings Found to Increase at the Beginning of the Year

January 22nd, 2015 at 10:33 am

divorce filings at New Years, Chicago divorce lawyerThe decision to end a marriage is rarely an easy one. The process can be complicated for many couples and the effects are usually far-reaching. While the difficulty of divorce is typically not a surprise, many couples choose to wait until the winter holiday season has ended to initiate the proceedings. Following a relatively quiet December, many court systems see a spike in divorce filings each January, beginning a new season for divorce which usually lasts through March.

“It doesn’t look very good to sue your spouse for divorce on Christmas Eve,” said James McLaren, South Carolina attorney and president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Although it may be evident that divorce is on the horizon, many couples give their children one last holiday season as an intact family before filing.

To some couples, the holidays may represent a last-chance effort at saving the marriage before deciding to file for divorce. Others approach the life change as a type of New Year’s resolution. In many cases, choosing to file early in the New Year will result in the proceedings being concluded by the end of the year. Not only will this allow couples to transition more quickly into the next stage of their lives, it also allows for some tax benefits.

Following a relatively booming January, divorce filings typically remain at a high rate for the next several months, usually peaking in March. Throughout the spring, many family law offices report a fairly consistent pace before tailing off again during the summer “vacation” months.

If you have been considering divorce and are ready to begin the process in 2015, you deserve qualified representation. Contact an experienced family law attorney in Chicago today. At Anderson & Associates, P.C., we can review your situation and provide you the help you need. Call 312-345-9999 to schedule a free consultation at our Chicago office or to make an appointment at one of our four other offices located in Northbrook, Wheaton, Schaumburg, or Orland Park.

Basic Divorce Terminology

January 22nd, 2015 at 9:12 am

divorce terminology, Illinois divorce attorneyThose who are considering divorce, or have already filed for divorce, are faced with numerous legal terms that can be confusing or overwhelming. For example, in Illinois a divorce is not actually called a divorce; it is technically considered a “dissolution of marriage.” Speaking with an experienced divorce lawyer can help you understand all the terms and definitions you will need to know throughout your divorce proceedings.

If you are considering filing for a divorce, below are some basic legal terms you may want to know:

Dissolution of Marriage: A divorce. Illinois refers to divorce as a dissolution of marriage. It is the process a couple must go through to end their marriage. The process can be completed through traditional litigation in court or through mediation, but ultimately will conclude with the entry of a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage.

Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: The document you will file with the court requesting  a divorce from your spouse. It will include basic information about your marriage and the grounds for the divorce.

Grounds: A specific reason for the divorce. In your petition for dissolution of marriage, you must state a legal reason for why you are seeking divorce. The grounds for divorce in Illinois are listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, which include adultery, desertion, physical or mental cruelty, and irreconcilable differences.

Irreconcilable Differences: A general, “no-fault” divorce. When you allege these grounds in your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, you are saying that you have tried (but failed) to work out your differences with your spouse and you cannot stay married any longer because it will not benefit either party.

Equitable Distribution: method of dividing assets in Illinois. This does not necessarily mean assets will be divided equally, but rather they will be divided fairly. A judge will consider different factors and divide the property among the two spouses as they see is the fairest in light of both parties’ circumstances.

Spousal Maintenance: Formerly known as alimony. Spousal maintenance is a court-ordered amount of financial support awarded to one spouse that the other spouse must pay. A judge can determine whether maintenance is appropriate in your case based on a variety of factors, such as income, assets, potential earning income, and the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.

Legal terminology can be confusing when it is used in place of “everyday” language. If you need experienced legal counsel to help you file for divorce, contact our Chicago divorce lawyers. Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you understand the terminology and legal process you will go through in divorce proceedings. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from one of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park. Call 312-345-9999 today.

Choosing Cohabitation Over Remarriage

September 25th, 2013 at 10:43 am

Choosing Cohabitation Over Remarriage IMAGEFewer Americans are opting to remarry after a divorce, according to a recent analysis by Bowling Green State University and reported upon in the Huffington Post. “The findings,” reports the Huffington Post, “showed that a mere 29 of every 1,000 divorced or widowed Americans remarried in 2011. Back in 1990, 50 of every 1,000 divorced or widowed Americans had married again.” Concurrent with this is the fact that the percentage of recent marriages in which one or both people is remarrying has been steadily declining in recent years. According to a 2006 Census Bureau publication, in 1996, 43.4 percent of all marriages within the past year involved a person who was remarrying. In 2001, that percentage had dropped to 37.8; in 2004, it had dropped to 35.9 percent.

One reason for this decline could simply be a skewing of demographics: with a substantial increase in the population of the elderly due to the ageing of the Baby Boomer generation, there are likely to be more widows who are old enough that they don’t remarry. Because women live longer, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, they are more likely to be widowed than men—three times as likely, in fact. According to Census Bureau statistics, 48 percent of elderly women are widowed, as opposed to 14 percent of elderly men. There are not statistics available as to how many elderly widows are remarrying.

And yet sociologist Susan Brown told the Huffington Post that “the rising number of couples opting for cohabitation could be the reason” as well. According to 2012 Census data and reported by the Huffington Post, “the number of unmarried couples living together has more than doubled since the 1990s, from 2.9 million in 1996 to 7.8 million in 2012.” This is due in part to a shift in cultural attitude toward unmarried couples living together—what used to be considered “living in sin” is now more often thought of as a viable and financially-sound alternative to marriage. According to the USA Today and data from the Census Bureau, 7.8 million unmarried couples were living together in 2012. “Between 1990 and 2012,” reports USA Today, “the percentage of unmarried couples living together more than doubled, from 5.1 percent to 11.3 percent.”

Unmarried people looking to cohabit can still establish legally binding ground rules for living together and can spell out their respective financial obligations for covering rent, mortgage payments, utilities, and other day-to-day living expenses by entering into a written cohabitation agreement prepared by an attorney experienced in family law matters.

If you or someone you know is considering cohabitation, divorce, or remarriage, it could be worth sitting down with a qualified professional. Contact a dedicated Chicago-area family law attorney today.

When Parents put their Children in the Wrong Role

July 31st, 2013 at 10:32 am

Theresa  Chicago divorce attorneyYou will go through several different emotions before, during, and after the divorce process. These different emotional changes can lead to a displacement of feelings. According to Psychology Today, one very unhealthy but common trend is putting the child in the wrong social role.

The female parent may cast the eldest son in the role of being a surrogate husband. This relationship dynamic can eventually lead to a very unhealthy codependent relationship. This child may be looked as being the new “man of the house”. The male parent may likewise cast the eldest daughter in the surrogate wife role. These roles may be manifested by doing the things around the house that the now absent parent used to do.

The children in these situations often carry the unhealthy codependent traits on into their own adult relationships. The son may end up being controlling over his own wife while the daughter may become subservient to her husband, suppressing her own needs and feelings.

Here are just a few signs that you may be entering into this dynamic with your own children.

  • You spend more time in social situations with your children instead of people in your own age or social group.
  • You discuss your marriage, divorce, and subsequent relationships more with your children than people of the appropriate age.
  • You lean on your child emotionally instead of seeking counseling.
  • Your child cancels plans with their peers because they don’t want to leave you alone.

Going through a divorce is an emotionally taxing situation for anyone to go through. You need to have all of the appropriate allies as possible in your corner. One of those allies should be a knowledgeable and experienced divorce lawyer. Your Chicago divorce attorney will ensure that all of your legal needs are being met and that your best interest, as well as the best interests of your children, are considered.