Archive for the ‘lawyer’ tag

Property Division Rules in Illinois Divorces

September 30th, 2013 at 11:21 am

Illinois has very specific property division laws.  The judges will follow these laws when dividing assets in a divorce, even if it results might seem unfair to one of the parties.  The goal of the court is to enter an order that “equitably” (or fairly) divides the marital property.  However, before doing this, the court must first determine which property is “marital” and which property is “nonmarital”.

RIgsIn Illinois, the courts will normally only divide the marital property between the parties.  Section 503 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act defines what constitutes marital property.  The general rule is that property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage is marital, and property acquired by a spouse prior to the marriage is that spouse’s nonmarital property – but there are plenty of exceptions to this general rule!  For instance, property that a spouse receives during the marriage might still be considered “nonmarital” if it was acquired as a gift or as an inheritance to that spouse.  It is important to note that property can be “marital” and subject to division by the court even if it is titled in only one spouse’s name.

The statutes and the mountain of case-law that lawyers and judges use for determining what is nonmarital, what is marital, and what factors to look at when deciding how to equitably divide the marital property are very complex.  Some of those factors include the length of the marriage, each party’s contribution to the marital estate, the economic circumstances of the parties, and whether one of the parties was responsible for any “dissipation” (spending or wasting marital property for a non-marital purpose).

Property division in a divorce case can be a hotly contested issue, in which case, a party should have an experienced Illinois family law attorney on their side to provide counsel and to represent his or her interests in court.

Meeting Your Spouse Online

August 30th, 2013 at 10:11 am

Meeting your spouse online could have a positive impact on your relationship over the long run, according to a recent research study. With an increased interest in online dating, it’s estimated that more than 30% of U.S. marriages begin with an email. Popular online dating site eHarmony conducted the recent study of U.S. couples, using a sample of 20,000 individuals who were married between the year 2003 and 2012.

LauraThe study tracked what happened to those couples post-marriage, finding that 8% of those couples who met in traditional ways ended up separated or divorced, while only 6% of online couples terminated their marriage.

The study revealed some other noteworthy factors about who is using online dating and succeeding with it. More than 40% of individuals making more than $100,000 were using online sites in an attempt to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right. Higher levels of income have long been related to happier marriages and fewer divorces over the long run.  Marriages that started with an online dating site also tended to be happier than other unions.

Of course, online dating is still relatively new, so long-term research about the success of marriages that begin with online communication is lacking. Some experts are critical, arguing that there’s simply not enough data in the field to make bold statements about online dating sites. Part of the story may be told by the fact that people might be willing to open up more online, or that online daters are more critical when choosing who to communicate with. In this way, it’s possible that online love-seekers are weeding out less ideal partners early on in the process, focusing their search on those partners who are marriage material.

Divorce can and does still happen, even in marriages springing from online relationships. If you’re considering divorce, talking your options over with an experienced divorce lawyer could help you understand the next steps and determine if you’re ready to move forward. Contact an 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.

Adopting Through an Agency In Illinois- What To Expect

July 30th, 2013 at 10:32 am

If you’re ready to take the next step in growing your family through an adoption, a agency adoption may be the right path for you. Knowing what to expect can help to relieve some of the confusion and anxiety surrounding the exciting journey that is adoption. Hiring an adoption attorney is one way to keep you in the know and to ensure that you’re on track.

LauraIf you plan to adopt through an agency, the process begins with the completion of an application. Once you have submitted an initial application, you’ll need to go through a background check, fingerprinting, medical exams, training, and visits to your home made by a social worker. This is what’s known as the licensing process, and all of these steps must be completed before you can move forward with an adoption.

The social worker’s goal is to learn more about your family to help match you up with a child who might benefit from the unique strengths of your existing family. You will work directly with this social worker in determining whether a child is a good fit for your situation. The time is takes to work through these initial stages varies, but it’s expected that most families will know within at least three months what kind of child may be the best fit with your family.

If you identify a child who might thrive in your family environment, you’ll learn more about them and be able to decide if you would like to continue considering this child before meeting him or her. Once a meeting has been scheduled, you will prepare for interacting with this child and preparing yourself for a possible addition to your family. During the meeting, you’ll be able to speak to the child and get a final sense of whether or not he or she would do well with your family. Pre-placement visits will then be scheduled if you elect to move forward, and these visits may go on as long as is necessary in your situation.

With the excitement and high emotions associated with adoption, it can help to have the guidance of an adoption attorney on your side. Contact a Chicago adoption lawyer today to learn more about the process.

 

Grandparents’ Rights In Divorce?

July 5th, 2013 at 9:16 am

Grandparents take great pride in their grandchildren. Many hours and dollars are spent on doting and loving this next generation. They are also crucial and influential people in their grandchildren’s lives. So, when a divorce occurs between the parents, grandparents just want the best for their grandchildren and to continue their relationship with them. However, divorces can be ugly and can make grandparents feel left out – so what rights do grandparents actually have?

ChristineCustody

In Illinois, grandparents can seek custody of their grandchildren in certain situations.  Normally, when a court has to make a custody decision, the judge must decide what is in the best interest of the child.  However, when grandparents are seeking custody, they must first establish that they have  standing under Illinois law.  This means they have to initially prove certain facts about their relationship with the grandchild to show that they have the right to petition the court for custody of that grandchild.  Illinois case law interpreting what a grandparent needs to show to establish standing is complex and continually evolving, so it’s important for a grandparent considering custody litigation to consult with an attorney that concentrates in the area of grandparent rights.
 
Visitation
Grandparents also have rights to visitation with their grandchildren in certain circumstances.  In all such cases, however, the court must find that the parent is unreasonably denying visitation to the grandparent.  What constitutes unreasonable denial of visitation? This is a difficult question that the judge must ultimately decide based upon the facts of the case.  Every case is unique in this regard.  For grandparents who are considering filing a petition for visitation with their grandchildren, it is important that they have the input of an experienced attorney in Chicago who has successfully handled grandparent visitation cases, so that they can understand the strengths and weaknesses of their case.

 

Image courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos

Child Support in Cases of Split Custody

May 27th, 2013 at 8:18 pm

In Illinois divorces, there is a difference between physical custody and legal custody. Legal custody deals with the ability of each parent to make important decisions for the children, such as which school to attend and decisions about major medical procedures. Physical custody deals with living arrangements, i.e. which home will be the children’s primary home.

Rigers 5.13.2013Sometimes, parents agree to joint legal custody, but with only one parent having sole physical custody and the other only having visitation rights. In other cases, parents agree to have both joint legal and physical custody, in which case the child(ren) would spend nearly equal amount of time with each parent. In order to reach this type of arrangement, an attorney would file a Joint Parent Agreement detailing the custody schedule.

In addition to both parents being equally a part of the child(ren)’s life, another important benefit is that joint custody allows for deviations from the Illinois statutory child support guidelines. Currently in Illinois, a court will usually order the non-custodial parent, the parent who only has visitation rights, to pay child support to the custodial parent. 750 ILCS 5/505 (2013). The Illinois child support statute contains specific guidelines for child support payments. The support obligation is tied to the number of children born or adopted during the marriage. For example, for a family with one child, the parent who owes child support must pay 20% of the net income. For a family with two children, the support obligation goes up to 28%, incrementally increasing up to 50% of the net income in cases when there are 5 children. 70 ILCS 5/505(a)(1)

The Illinois child support statute, however, allows for deviations from the guidelines. 70 IL CS 5/505(a).In cases of joint physical custody, an experienced attorney may be able to convince a judge to allow lower payments because both parents are equally responsible for the day to daily expenses.

Both custody and child support determinations are fact-intensive and an experienced family law attorney should handle them. For additional information and answers, please contact Anderson & Associates, with offices in Orland Park, Chicago, Wheaton, Schaumburg and Northbrook.

Types of Custody Agreements

May 23rd, 2013 at 1:18 pm

LP 5-22-13Depending on your judge and your individual case, you may be presented with one of several options for a child custody arrangement. The following explains some of your options.

Joint Custody

This further breaks down into legal custody and physical custody. An order issued with regard to legal custody involves religious, medical, and educational decisions about the children, which are to be shared by the parents. Regarding physical custody in a joint custody arrangement, the children will spend time with each parent.

Joint custody is an option for courts in every state, but unless parents agree to it and appear to be able to work with one another, it’s not likely to be recommended. Joint custody can require a lot of communication back and forth between parents, so it might not be ideal for every family.

Full Custody With One Parent, Unsupervised Visits With The Other

In this scenario, one parent maintains full custody, but unsupervised visits (generally on a specific schedule) allow the other parent to spend time alone with the children.

Full Custody With One Parent, Supervised Visits With The Other

In this scenario, the supervised visits will occur with the children, the non custodial parent, and one other adult present, usually at a visitation center. Sometimes, additional rules and protocol will be in place for the visit, and the supervised visitation parent usually has a very limited about of time with the children.

Factors Determining Child Custody

Usually, a court has to examine multiple factors to make a determination about child custody. These include taking into account the mental and physical health of all involved parties, the child’s current level of adjustment to his or her life, the willingness of each parent to communicate and facilitate a  relationship between the child and the other parent, and the wishes of both the child and his or her parents.

You should never assume that you can navigate a custody issue alone. You should always have professional legal representation to guide you through the process. Contact us today for more details.

 

Image courtesy of Ambro/Freedigitalphotos

The Purpose of Prenuptial Agreements

May 19th, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Many people think that prenuptial agreements are reserved for those who are extremely wealthy. However, this is not necessarily true. A prenuptial agreement sets forth in writing the rights that each spouse has to non-marital assets in the event of a separation, divorce, or demise of a spouse.

Prenuptial agreement Theresa  5-1If you have things that you have owned since before the marriage such as family heirlooms, you can ensure that those items are passed to other family members or your children by protecting them in the prenuptial agreement. If you are married later in life, after you have built financial wealth, you may want to define who will be left with those monies if you were to pass away.

A premarital agreement may also be a consideration if you own a business. If you have built and owned this business before your marriage, it can be covered in the premarital agreement. This will guarantee that in the case of a divorce, your former spouse will not receive any control over or access to the business. A premarital agreement can also protect your spouse from your debt that was accrued before the marriage.

While a prenuptial agreement cannot limit the amount of money that can be ordered in matters such as child support, it can put some limitations on spousal support. Many states are now allowing prenuptial agreements to determine the amount of alimony that will be paid, although these clauses were considered unenforceable in the past.

If you have questions regarding what can be covered in a prenuptial agreement, or if you should have one at all, a qualified Illinois family law attorney can assist you with those questions and advise you on the terms that you should set forth for your future spouse.

Study Asks Whether ‘Cold Feet’ Indicates Future Divorce

May 7th, 2013 at 11:13 am

A study conducted at UCLA and published in the Journal of Medicine asked the question if cold feet before the wedding were an indicator of marital problems in the future. The researchers asked 232 recently married couples in their first marriages whether they had “ever been uncertain or hesitant about getting married” after they got engaged. They followed up with the couples every six months over the next four years to see if the couples’ doubts had validity. Their conclusion: having doubts before marriage is a good predictor of trouble ahead.

KerryIn about two-thirds of the couples who participated, one or both of the partners had doubts. According to the study, men had more doubts than women, with 47 percent of husbands having doubts, and 38 percent of the wives. The researchers found that having doubts before the wedding was a predictor of where the marriage would be four years later. Wives’ doubts were especially indicative of future divorce: 19 percent of couples in which wives had doubts were divorced four years later, but only 8 percent of couples in which wives did not have doubts ended up divorced. Husbands’ doubts did not significantly predict divorce, although divorce rates were somewhat higher among husbands with doubts (14 percent) than husbands without doubts (9 percent). For those couples with doubts who did not divorce, they reported have less satisfying marriages.

The team of psychologists who conducted this research recommends that couples pay attention to strong doubts. Don’t ignore them. While not necessarily a sign that the wedding should be called off, they suggest using those doubts to open the door to dialogue and communication with your partner, facing and resolving issues early on.

If you do find yourself in an unhappy marriage and are considering divorce, talk with an experienced Illinois family law attorney to find out what steps you should take before filing for divorce. Being prepared and well-represented will help ensure a favorable legal outcome.

Bill O’Reilly has Tough Custody Battle with Ex

April 22nd, 2013 at 9:25 pm

The ongoing custody dispute between Bill O’Reilly and his ex-wife Maureen McPhilmy becomes more acrimonious by the day. Some media outlets are reporting that O’Reilly has even tried to have his former wife ex-communicated from the Catholic Church, the religion they both practice.

Bill OReilly 3.20.2013.Kerry. KH DivAccording to reports in TV Guide and Hollywood Gossip, the couple, who have two teenage children together, separated in April 2010 and divorced in September 2011. They had originally agreed to shared custody of their children, but a month after the divorce, McPhilmy filed motions for sole custody after learning that O’Reilly had hired the children’s therapist, a woman they had agreed would be a neutral arbitrator in any ongoing disputes, to be the children’s nanny. The motion, which was filed under Anonymous 2011-1 v Anonymous 2011-2, was originally rejected by the lower court and went all the way to the appellate court. The appellate court agreed that there should be a hearing to determine if the original custody agreement had been violated by O’Reilly. That hearing was heard in October, but no decision has been made yet.

McPhilmy has since remarried, to a Nassau County Police detective. In 2011, O’Reilly allegedly used his connections with the Nassau County Police Department to try to launch an internal affairs investigation into McPhilmy’s then new boyfriend. Currently, the New York Civil Liberties Union is involved in a lawsuit against the NCPD for access to public records, including O’Reilly’s correspondence with former commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, about the episode. The case is on appeal to the Second Department of New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division.

Now O’Reilly is being accused of using his influence in the church (O’Reilly donated over $65,000 to New York Catholic parishes and schools in 2011.) to have his McPhilmy excommunicated. She has been formally reprimanded in writing by her church for continuing to take communion at her Long Island parish despite having been divorced and remarried (not allowed in the eyes of the church). The reprimand also instructed her to stop telling her children that her “second marriage is valid in the eyes of God” and warned her that if she didn’t comply, harsher measures may be in order.

Ironically, O’Reilly is in the process of trying to have his fifteen year marriage annulled in the church.

This case is a perfect example of how custody battles don’t always end when the ink on the divorce papers are dry. If you are having custody issues, contact a qualified Chicago attorney to represent you.