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Blog Posts

Avoid These Expensive Mistakes When Divorcing

A recent Illinois Appellate court case demonstrated the legal mess and expensive post-divorce litigation that can occur when a non-attorney serves as a divorce mediator. The case was a DuPage County divorce but the court’s ruling applies to divorces throughout Illinois. Because the divorce mediator was not an Illinois divorce attorney, parts of the child......Read More
October 23, 2020

Is Mediation Right For You?

The pandemic has created court backlogs and delays in litigation.  Attorney and Certified Mediator, Tanya Witt, offers a possible solution: Virtual mediation. Mediation is usually faster and more cost effective than litigation Even before the pandemic created court backlogs, litigation typically lasted for months or years. And, now, most court cases are taking longer to......Read More
October 21, 2020

Co-Parenting Solutions for Pandemics

The pandemic has brought new challenges. Most separated and divorced parents never envisioned having to navigate a pandemic with their former spouse. Parenting judgments (formally known in Illinois as “Allocation of Parental Responsibility Judgments”) spell out the terms for how divorced parents are to co-parent on important issues. A comprehensive Allocation of Parental Responsibility Judgment......Read More
September 7, 2020

Depositions in Contested Chicago Divorce and Chicago Custody Cases

Discovery is the process by which parties inform themselves of important information and documents, such as the other party’s financial statements. Discovery is used used to obtain information which can help a parent make a decision on custody terms. One of the discovery tools available to parties in a Chicago-area contested divorce or custody case......Read More
September 1, 2020

Calculating Illinois Child Support

Since 2017, Illinois has calculated child support using an “income shares” model. This means Illinois child support is based upon the combined income of both parents. The current model aims to provide children with the standard of living they would have enjoyed if their parents had not divorced or separated. Our current child support law......Read More
July 6, 2020

New Statewide Financial Statement Coming in 2016

Whether you file for divorce in Cook County, Lake County, Kane County or another county in Illinois, one of the first steps after filing will be to complete a form in which you disclose your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Each county currently has its own form. For example, Cook County has a Disclosure Statement......Read More
December 1, 2015

Major Changes to Illinois Divorce and Custody Law in 2016

There are major changes to Illinois divorce and Illinois child custody laws that take effect on January 1, 2016. Starting on January 1, 2016 we will not even use the term “custody” any longer. What was referred to as “sole custody” or “joint custody” will become the allocation of parental responsibilities. These changes are more......Read More
December 1, 2015

Chicago Divorce – Step Three

In previous blog entries, we have briefly summarized Steps One and Two in the usual Chicago divorce process. At this point in the Chicago divorce process, the parties will exchange financial disclosure statements. To have the best Chicago divorce process possible a party should carefully and accurately complete his/her disclosure statement. The financial disclosure statements......Read More
October 30, 2015

Chicago Divorce – Step Two

In a previous blog entry, we discussed Step One in the usual Chicago divorce process. Of course, some cases may require different steps but this blog provides a general overview of the Chicago Divorce process. At this point, one spouse’s attorney has filed the Petition (the “Petitioner”) and the attorney for the other spouse (the......Read More
October 29, 2015

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert’s Divorce – A Legal Perspective

News sources have been commenting on how quickly the divorce between Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert was finalized. Sources indicate that their Oklahoma divorce was finalized quickly because they had a prenuptial agreement and they are following the terms of their prenup. Had either party sought to challenge the prenup, the divorce likely would have......Read More
September 1, 2015

Removing Children from Illinois After the Custody Judgment is Entered

Life may seem easy for parents once a divorce or custody case is concluded. The judgment is entered, no more court dates are scheduled, and the parents are exercising their rights as outlined in their final Custody Judgment. Oftentimes, one of the parents announces that new opportunities have arisen and he or she wants to......Read More
August 29, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Gender Marriage

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it violates the U.S. Constitution to deny same-gender couples the right to marry. Marriage bestows a host of legal and financial benefits. Gay couples in all 50 states should now be entitled to the same rights and benefits that opposite-gender couples have long enjoyed. These......Read More
June 28, 2015

The Best Chicago Divorce

The best Chicago divorce requires excellent judgment, discretion and a well-thought out strategy. It involves attention to detail and good timing. We are going to discuss timing in this post. Waiting too long before preparing and filing for divorce can be a major mistake. Of course, deciding to divorce should not be a rash decision.......Read More
May 1, 2015

The Importance of Financial Statements in a Chicago Divorce or Custody Case

One important step in a Chicago divorce or Chicago custody case is the discovery process. In discovery, parties may be required to respond to questions and provide documents regarding their past and present financial situation. Without at least standard, initial discovery, the parties and/or their attorneys cannot negotiate terms from an informed position. Even if......Read More
April 26, 2015

The Risks of Delaying Divorce

It is good to be prepared for divorce but delaying divorce, especially for an extended period, is fraught with risk. Once spouses have mentioned the possibility of divorcing, delaying it can provide a spouse with the opportunity to strengthen his or her legal and financial position to the detriment of the other spouse. This can......Read More
April 25, 2015

Think Twice Before Posting Online About Your Divorce

Today some people post on blogs or online forums about their personal information and opinions. This information is then available for an untold number of strangers to read. A party going through a contested divorce case may be tempted to fire off a comment or blog post about his or her soon-to-be ex. However, that......Read More
April 24, 2015

Tips for Non-Custodial Parents To Consider

Although 50/50 parenting time is on the rise, most Chicago-area divorce cases involving children and custody cases still result in one parent being the primary residential custodian. The parent who has less time with the children is usually known as the non-custodial parent. As Chicago divorce lawyers, we have seen a plethora of issues that......Read More
April 23, 2015

Unmarried Illinois Couples

Recent news stories claim that young people are getting married less often, and when they do get married, the age at which they marry is much older than previous generations. It seems that more couples are “cohabiting”–living together without being married–either as a precursor to marriage or they have decided to not get married at......Read More
April 22, 2015

Waiving Illinois Child Support and Chicago Custody Law

In some Chicago custody law matters, parents wonder whether they can waive Illinois child support in exchange for sole custody. Parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support to their children. This obligation is for the child’s benefit and not for the custodial parent’s benefit. Generally, a custodial parent cannot waive the child’s right......Read More
April 21, 2015

Will the Affordable Care Act Lead to More Chicago Divorces?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act”), a.k.a. “Obamacare” was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. Many of the provisions are now coming into effect. One of the key features of the Affordable Care Act is the change which bars insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions or......Read More
April 19, 2015

Business Interests In A Divorce

When a spouse owns a business the business may be a marital asset. In a Chicago divorce, if either party has an interest in a business that business can be appraised and if it is a marital asset it may be equitably distributed between the spouses. The value of the business may include inventory, good......Read More
April 16, 2015

Protecting The Rights Of The Affluent “Parent” In Adoption

A recent Illinois Supreme Court case illustrates the importance of legally adopting a non-biological child if one wants to protect his or her Illinois child custody and visitation rights. Establishing legal parental rights may be particularly important to wealthy Chicago parents who are likely to spend significant sums on a child that they consider their......Read More
April 15, 2015

Do I Have To Tell The Truth In My Chicago Divorce Case?

Yes, parties should be completely truthful in their divorce case and should not mislead the court, the other party or their attorneys. It is illegal to lie or mislead the court. A party should never intentionally make any false statements in court papers, including discovery, or when testifying in court. Your attorney should not assist......Read More
March 11, 2015

Getting The Information We Need: Compelling Discovery

In previous blog posts we have discussed the risks of not conducting discovery in divorce cases. In this post we will explore what happens when your spouse refuses to participate in the discovery process. When a party issues his or her discovery requests, the requests will contain deadlines within which the recipient must respond. Depending......Read More
February 15, 2015

Gay Divorce in Chicago

A party to a same sex Chicago divorce may benefit from seeking counsel from an attorney who has stayed abreast with the recent changes to the law. Chicago divorce attorney Tanya Witt has represented parties in gay divorces. The dissolution of same sex unions in Illinois is an area that has experienced a number of......Read More
January 2, 2015

Alimony May Increase for Every 5 Years of Marriage

In previous posts we have highlighted some of the risks associated with delaying in filing for divorce. An additional risk that spouses, especially the “breadwinners”, should be aware of is that the timing of filing can significantly impact the amount of maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”) that is paid. Under the formula, the duration of......Read More
January 1, 2015

Witnesses In Divorce and Custdy Cases

In many Chicago divorce or Chicago custody cases there are no witnesses called by either party. If the dispute between the parties is complex or contentious, however, witnesses could be involved. Witnesses can be fact witnesses or expert witnesses. Fact witnesses, as the name implies, testify to facts. Expert witnesses may testify to facts and......Read More
January 1, 2015

Protecting Parental Rights Before a Child is Born

A recent New Jersey case made waves when a Judge held that a mother could exclude the father of her unborn baby from the hospital delivery room at the time of the baby’s birth. Some people were surprised that the parents were involved in child-related litigation before the baby had taken its first breath. However,......Read More
January 1, 2015

Name Change Through a Divorce Case

Many spouses take on the surname, also known as a “last name,” of his or her spouse after they are married. It is more common for women to adopt their spouse’s surname, however, some men take on their spouse’s surname and sometimes both spouses change their last name to be both last names connected with......Read More
January 1, 2015

Maintaining the Status Quo in a Chicago Divorce Case

One of the many things that judges in the Cook County domestic relations division are interested in is maintaining the status quo that the parties have had prior to the filing of the divorce case. “Status quo” essentially refers to keeping things for the parties the way they had been before the divorce case had......Read More
January 1, 2015

How Student Loans May Affect Your Child Support Payments

Parents who are ordered to pay child support are required to pay an amount that is based on a percentage of their net income. Unlike gross income, which includes all income from any sources, a person’s net income can be determined only after certain deductions are made. Most people know of the common deductions like......Read More
January 1, 2015

Marriage and Divorce in the Media

There is a show on television called “Married At First Sight” in which strangers are matched by relationship professionals. The show represents that the strangers do not meet or even know each other’s names until they marry. Then after a month or so the couples decide if they want to divorce or continue being married.......Read More
April 28, 2014

Illinois Supreme Court Declares Eavesdropping Law Unconstitutional

Under the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, if a person recorded a conversation without all the consent of each person taking part in the conversation, that person would have violated the law and could possibly have been charged with a felony. However, the Illinois Supreme Court recently struck down the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, holding that it was......Read More
March 21, 2014

The Subpoena: A Powerful Discovery Tool in Divorce Cases

It is important that a party to a Chicago divorce conduct discovery into his or her spouse’s income, assets, and liabilities. Some people going through a divorce may groan and say, “what’s the point, I know my spouse is hiding information from me, and we will never simply be handed the documents.” Or a party......Read More
November 6, 2013

Benefits and Drawbacks to Talking about Divorce Before Filing

Many people are nervous about broaching the topic of divorce with their spouse, and justifiably so. There are some potential benefits and drawbacks to bringing up divorce before the case has actually been filed. One potential benefit is that by talking about the divorce before starting the case, the spouse considering divorce can avoid completely......Read More
July 19, 2013

When a Child Changes Households After Divorce

Most contested Chicago divorce cases and custody cases settle before going to trial. When parents reach an agreement on issues related to their child, one of the attorneys prepares the written parenting judgment. The draft judgment is reviewed and revised by the attorneys and their clients until a final version is achieved. Eventually, the parenting......Read More
July 10, 2013

Summer Vacations and Custody Cases

When children are out of school for the summer, many families plan vacations. Just because someone is involved in a divorce or custody case does not mean that they have to put vacation plans on hold. One thing parents going through divorce should be aware of is that once a divorce or custody case is......Read More
June 7, 2013

Permanent Maintenance (“Alimony”) in Illinois

Permanent or life-long maintenance (formerly referred to as “alimony”) may be awarded to a spouse in an Illinois divorce. Unlike child support, there is not a statutory formula for calculating the amount of maintenance to be paid. When deciding the amount and duration of maintenance, Illinois courts consider 12 statutory factors. One of the 12......Read More
May 24, 2013

Tips for Your First Meeting with Your Family Law Attorney

Many people feel that they have taken the first step towards a new life when they schedule their first meeting with their family law attorney. It can be a nerve-wracking experience and someone may feel nervous at the onset of a divorce or custody case. Television shows and movies play up the “drama” of contested......Read More
May 2, 2013

Tax Refunds and Divorces

April 15 is upon us again, and you know what that means: time to pay federal and state income taxes. Many people will receive refunds from “Uncle Sam” if they had too much money withheld from their paychecks over the past tax year. If you are going through a divorce, are already divorced, or if......Read More
April 15, 2013

Illinois’ Residency Requirement for Divorce Cases

It seems that our society is more mobile now than ever before. People frequently move to different cities and states to pursue careers, relationships, or just to explore and be part of a new community. Chicago is a popular place to live because it is a large city with many employment opportunities. Sometimes a person......Read More
March 27, 2013

Child Support for a Special Needs Child

The Illinois legislature has modified the child support calculation statute and the new provisions became effective on January 1, 2013. One of the modifications clarifies thatIllinois courtsmay consider the physical, mental, emotional, and educational needs of the child when awarding child support.This change in Illinois child support law is particulary important if you have a......Read More
March 20, 2013

Chicago Child Custody Cases and the “Eighteen Month Rule”

If you are considering becoming involved in a divorce case with children or a child custody case, you should know about the “eighteen month rule.”Illinois courts want cases involving child custody to be resolved reasonably quickly based on the idea that prolonged custody battles are unstable and are bad for the child. The Illinois Supreme......Read More
March 14, 2013

Protecting Your Online Activity In A Divorce

Chicago divorces can be more complex than in the past due to many forms of new technology. There are a few things every person who is considering divorce should know. If you are still living with your spouse, it is important that you take precautions to protect your private information. Create a password on your......Read More
February 20, 2013

Introducing Your New Spouse to Your Custody Judgment

When a divorced spouse marries someone new, it is important for him or her to inform the new spouse of any existing custody judgments, divorce judgments, or court orders concerning the custody and care of the divorced spouse€™s children. The ex-spouse should also be notified of the marriage. A new spouse is expected to align......Read More
February 11, 2013

The Valentine’s Day Spike in Divorces

Many Chicago divorce attorneys see a spike in new divorce filings around Valentine’s Day. January is usually the busiest month for new divorce cases but mid-to-late February is the second-busiest time for new divorces. The reason for the Valentine’s Day spike may be that the holiday reminds people that they are unhappy and disappointed in......Read More
February 11, 2013

Mediation in Family Law Cases

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. In a typical mediation setting, the parties meet with a mediator who attempts to assist the parties in resolving their conflict. In a contested family law case, there may be many issues to resolve. For example, many issues upon which people disagree include: how to divide property......Read More
February 6, 2013

The Differences Between Joint Legal Custody and Sole Legal Custody

One of the most important issues when parents are divorcing is how they will make future decisions for their child. In Illinois €œlegal custody€ refers to decision-making power. “Residential custody,” where the child primarily resides, is another issue. Decisions made by someone with legal custody include choosing the child€™s school, medical provider, medical treatments, religion,......Read More
February 5, 2013

Contribution to College Expenses

Some parents believe that their duty to support their child ends once the child turns eighteen. This is not always the case in Illinois. Illinois family law provides that parents with children may be ordered to contribute to college or professional school training costs. These costs can include room, board, dues, tuition, transportation, books, fees,......Read More
January 30, 2013

Parties to a Divorce Have Behavioral Obligations Mandated by Illinois Law

After an Illinois divorce case is started by the Petitioner and the Respondent is formally served with the divorce papers, or if he or she file his or her Appearance, the Petitioner and Respondent must refrain from certain behavior. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“IMDMA”) is the source of divorce law in......Read More
January 25, 2013

Tips For Your Next Trip to Court

We would like to offer a few tips to people who have upcoming court dates for their divorce case in the Chicago area. Having to go to court is nerve-wracking enough, so we hope that these suggestions will help put people at ease. – Plan on arriving at the courthouse early. Many divorce cases in......Read More
January 23, 2013

Question: My Ex’s Employer is Required to Withhold the Child Support Payment, But the Employer Missed a Payment. What Should I Do?

When Illinois courts and courts in Chicago enter child support orders during a divorce or parentage case, they often require the paying parent€™s employer to withhold the child support amount from the paying parent€™s paycheck. The employer then sends each payment to the State Disbursement Unit, which in turn sends a check to the recipient......Read More
January 17, 2013

Having Your Spouse Contribute to Your Attorneys’ Fees

Divorcing spouses rarely have equal access to income and assets. Chicago divorce courts have recognized that the wealthier spouse will have a greater ability to afford an attorney and that this may prevent the less wealthy spouse from being able to fairly litigate his or her divorce case. The less wealthy spouse may ask the......Read More
January 15, 2013

When Can a Child Speak to the Court?

While in Chicago divorce or parentage court we have occasionallyseen a parent who brings his or her young child to court with the intention of having the child speak to the judge on his or her behalf. All parents involved in Illinois domestic relations proceedings should be aware that minors are not permitted to be......Read More
January 10, 2013

Child Representatives, Guardians Ad Litem, and Children’s Attorneys in Contested Custody Cases

Illinois judges are tasked with the responsibility of deciding who should have custody of a child in a contested custody proceeding. A contested custody proceeding can take place in divorce court if the parties are married or in parentage/child support court if the parties are not married. Illinois courts use a €œbest interests of the......Read More
January 4, 2013

Calculating Your Net Monthly Income for Child Support Purposes

If you will be paying child support, it is important to properly calculate your net monthly income. Illinois courts will usually order you to pay a certain percentage of your net monthly income to whoever has primary residential custody of the child. Net income is defined as the total income from all sources, minus the......Read More
January 3, 2013

Conducting Discovery in Divorce Cases

€œDiscovery€ is the process that Illinois divorce litigants use to obtain information, usually financial, from the opposing party. Discovery is very useful because it permits parties to negotiate settlement while feeling comfortable that they are making informed decisions. Illinois courts generally expect people to go through discovery during litigation. There are several discovery tools that......Read More
January 2, 2013

My Spouse and I Agree on Our Divorce Terms, Now What?

When people think of divorce, sometimes they envision years-long battles played out in wood-paneled courtrooms with thousands of dollarsbeing spent on attorneys’ fees. While this happens occasionally, it is much more rare than most people believe. The vast majority of Chicago divorce cases never go to trial. Most cases are settled between the parties and......Read More
December 31, 2012

Factors Considered By the Court When Awarding Maintenance

In Illinois divorce cases, the term “maintenance” refers to spousal support and used to be known as “alimony.” The Illinois legislature created a guidingformula to calculate a minimum amount ofchild support. However,the legislature did not providesuch aformula for determining when maintenance should be awarded and how much the maintenance award should be. Instead, Illinois law......Read More
December 28, 2012

Defining Marital and Non-Marital Property

One of the most important tasks for Illinois courts in a divorce case is to divide the divorcing parties€™ property. Before a court can divide the parties€™ property, it must first determine whether property is marital or non-marital. Illinois law presumes that any property acquired by a spouse during the marriage is marital property. This......Read More
December 27, 2012

Temporary Relief After You Have Filed For Divorce

When parties are considering filing for divorce, sometimes they worry about what will happen to them after the case begins. What if the other spouse moves out and refuses to contribute to the rent, mortgage, and other household expenses? What if the spouse refuses to help pay for the children€™s costs? What if the spouse......Read More
December 17, 2012

Changes to Illinois Dissipation Law Effective on January 1, 2013

As one of our previous blog posts discussed, €œdissipation€ is an Illinois divorce law property distribution doctrine. A party commits dissipation of marital assets when he or she uses marital property for his or her sole benefit and for a non-marital purpose at a time when the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown. A common......Read More
December 14, 2012

Dividing Retirement Assets Upon Divorce

A top Chicago divorce issue is that of dividing retirement assets. When Illinois parties contribute to retirement assets during their marriage, a portion, if not all, of those retirement accounts are presumed to be marital property. Such accounts include, but are not limited to 401(k) accounts, IRA accounts, pension plans, etc. Pension benefits are relatively......Read More
December 13, 2012

Visitation Abuse

Illinois courts take visitation abuse very seriously. Visitation abuse may occur when a parent intentionally and for no justifiable reason denies the other parent visitation as set forth in an entered court order. Visitation abuse may also occur when a parent exercises his or her visitation rights in a manner that is harmful to the......Read More
December 10, 2012

Calculating Child Support Obligations

Some of the most popular questions we receive from divorcing parents are €œhow much will I pay in child support?€ and €œhow much will I receive in child support?€ The person who pays child support is known as the €œobligor€ and the person who receives the child support is known as the €œobligee.€ The Illinois......Read More
December 6, 2012

Grandparents’ Rights To Visitation

Illinois has a statute that is referred to as the grandparent visitation statute. If a Chicago grandparent wants a court to order visitation, the burden is on the grandparent to demonstrate that the parent’s actions regarding visitation are harmful to the child’s physical, mental or emotional health. Among the factors that the Cook County court......Read More
October 29, 2012

Love And Marriage May Not Be Forever But A Property Settlement Is

You may have only one chance to investigate and settlethe assets in your Chicago divorce. If you fail to conduct formal discovery before settling, you may not be able to change the terms of the settlement in the future. One of the more important legal realities of which the public may be unaware is that......Read More
September 10, 2012

50/50 Parenting Time

We have noticed a growing trend in Chicago divorces for equal parenting time. More judges and guardian ad litems are finding that it is in a child’s best interest to have both parents equally involved in the child’s life. In some cases,the custody judgment provides that neither parent is the “primary custodian”. The child may......Read More
July 14, 2012

Financial Preparation For Divorce

If you are considering filing for a Chicago divorce, a DuPage County divorce or a Lake County divorce, or think your spouse may be filing, you may want to gather all financial records and documents. You may need the receipts and bills tosupportyour financial affidavit. If you divorce in Chicago, DuPage or Lake County, thecourt......Read More
July 14, 2012

Rules for Working with Your Lawyer

Entering into an attorney-client relationship is a two-way street.You as theclient decide which attorney you would like to retain. The attorney gets to decide whether to accept you as a client and, later, whether to keep you as a client. Your attorney can terminate the representation if youareuncooperative, disrespectful and/or fail to pay (with court......Read More
June 18, 2012

Lambda Legal challenges IL ban on gay marriage

Lambda Legal has sued Illinois fordenying marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Our firm supports marriage equality for all couples. Weproudly represent the LGBT communitywith their family law needs, including gaydivorce of marriages orcivil unionsthat took place outside of Illinois. If you have questions about gay divorce in Chicago, orDuPage or Lake Counties, please call Chicago......Read More
May 31, 2012

The Best Divorce

What is the “best divorce” possible?The Witt Law Firm, P.C.customizes every divorce based upon our clients’ needsbut in most cases the best divorce will include the following:1. The client knows what legal goals he or she wants. This means the client has thought things through and is not just acting emotionally. It also means the......Read More
May 21, 2012

Do Not Make The Mistake of Rushing

Some people going through divorce are in a real rush to wrap it up as fast as possible. While it is understandable to want your divorce behind you, you need to be mindful that you do not skip steps or agree to terms that you will regret just so you can get your divorce finished.......Read More
May 18, 2012

Alimony and Child Support Are Two Different Things

I regularly consult with new clients who mistakenly think that alimony and child support are the same thing or that they are inseparable. Alimony (referred to in Illinois as “maintenance”) and child support are two different things. Just because a parent is entitled to child support does not mean that she or he is entitled......Read More
April 27, 2012

Modifiable Maintenance

One of the most complex issues in a Chicago divorce is that of maintenance (“alimony”). How much maintenance or alimony is paid? Is it paid temporarily or permanently? If you are divorcing in Illinois, imagine you agree to pay your former spouse a fixed amount of maintenance so long as he or she cannot come......Read More
April 5, 2012

What Divorce Teaches About Marriage

Since it isValentine’s Day, I am sharingwhat I have learned about marriagefrom being a divorce lawyer. Every marriage is unique so not all of these insights will apply to all marriages. 1. Before marrying, ask yourself the hard questions: Can I live with his or her weaknesses? Can he or she live with my weaknesses?......Read More
February 14, 2012

Infidelity Clauses in Prenups and Post-Nups

The press has reported that a number of celebrities have “infidelity clauses” in their prenuptial agreements. Jessica Simpson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Chelsea Clinton are said to have prenups that entitle them to large financial payments if their husbands commit infidelity. Sandra Bullock was reported to have a prenup with her ex, Jesse James, that provided......Read More
February 13, 2012

Should You Move Out of the Marital Home?

One of the most common dilemmas that divorcing people face is whether to move out or stay in the marital home. If domestic violence or threats ofit exist,the couple should not continue living together. But if the physical safety of the couple and their children is not at risk the issue becomes less clear. Some......Read More
January 11, 2012

Jewish Prenup and Divorce Issues

In Jewish wedding ceremonies, the couple signs a ketubah,a Jewish prenuptial contract.Historically, a ketubahwas signed to protect a wife and specified the husband’s obligations to her. Ketubot (plural of ketubah)stated a financial settlement the wife was to receive should the husband divorce her or die. Today, most Jewish couples view the ketubahas symbolic and not......Read More
January 2, 2012

Why Divorce Lawyers Charge Hourly

Prospective clients frequently want to know how much their divorce will cost. One of main components of the cost of the divorce is legal fees. Although I am unaware of any published statistics, mostChicago family lawyers charge hourly for their legal services. There are good reasons for billing by time that benefit both attorney and......Read More
December 26, 2011

Does Your Spouse Not Report All of His or Her Income?

If you have a spouse that does not report his or her income, it could have severe negative effects should you get divorced. Your spouse may demand alimony, referred to as “maintenance” in Illinois, by claiming his or her income is significantly less than it really is. It can be difficult to provewhat your spouse......Read More
December 24, 2011

Civil Union Couples May File Illinois Taxes Jointly

The Illinois Department of Revenue recently announced that civil union couples will be able to file their state taxes jointly, just like married couples. Civil union couples may elect to file “married, filed jointly” or “married, filed separately”. Civil union couples may not file taxes jointlywith the Internal Revenue Serviceas federal law does not currently......Read More
December 13, 2011

Divorce And The Marital Home: Have You Thought It Through?

There are many things to think about when divorcing. What to do with the marital home is one issue that often is not really thought through. This may not be an easy issue to work through, especially in the current real estate market, as there are a number of legal and financial implications. If one......Read More
November 7, 2011

Mediation And Divorce: What You Need To Know

Peopleshould be commended for wanting to divorce amicably, if possible. That said, mediation can be detrimental to some. Mediation can be particularly risky if you do not have an attorney advising you. (1) A mediator does not represent you so he or she is not looking out for what is in your best interest. (2)......Read More
October 17, 2011

Civil Union And Personal Injury

Illinois’ new civil union law will be put to the test. Alisha Brennon and Christina Santiago entered into a civil union in Illinois this summer. After their civil union, Santiago died when a concert stage collapsed in Indianapolis, Indiana. Brennon recently filed a wrongful death action in Indianapolis. The Indiana court will decide whether Brennon......Read More
September 28, 2011

There Is No Need To Enter Into A Second Civil Union

I have been asked several times recently whether a same-gender couple that married outside of Illinois should enter into a civil union in Illinois. A couple that married or entered into a civil union in another jurisdiction does not need to do anything for their legal status to be recognized in Illinois. As long as......Read More
September 4, 2011

Protecting Pets From Domestic Violence

If your spouse or another member of your household has demonstrated or threatened violence, you should be aware of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (“IDVA”). Living with domestic violence, or the threat of domestic violence,is a dangerous situation and the law provides protection. Perpetrators of domestic violence regularly harm or kill pets. The law allows......Read More
August 19, 2011

The First Same-Sex Divorce In Illinois

The first same-gender divorce has been filed in Illinois. Mark Bayer and Dr. Nathan Fredrick married in Canada and moved to Peoria for Dr. Fredrick’s career as an emergency room doctor. Bayer, a nurse, injured his back during the marriage and is no longer able to work. Bayeris askingfor maintenance (“alimony”). Now that Illinois recognizes......Read More
June 29, 2011

In Which County Should Your Divorce Be Filed?

Some attorneys feel that DuPage County favors the spouse with less income compared to Cook County. Although I am not aware of any hard data tracking it, there is a perception that housewives get better awards of maintenance (“alimony”) in DuPage, which is considered a Republican county, compared to Chicago. Thus, in preparation for divorce......Read More
May 17, 2011

A Mother Loses Custody Largely Due To Cancer

A North Carolina mother lost primary custody of her two children in large part because she has Stage IV breast cancer. The judge reportedly decided that the children, aged 11 and 5, were better off in Chicago where their father lives and works because of the mother’s advanced cancer. Because the mother is unemployed the......Read More
May 13, 2011

Is There Dissipation Of Marital Assets In Your Case?

Dissipation of marital assets occurs when one spouse wrongly spends marital income or marital assets for an improper purpose. If the expenditure did not benefit the marriage or the family it could be considered dissipation. An example of dissipation could be gifts or vacations a spouse takes with his or her lover. Under the law,......Read More
March 22, 2011

Fathers’ Rights

A lot of dads today are very involved in caring for their children. Some take their children to school, sports practice and doctors’ appointments. Many fathers take an active role in daily parenting. Women do not receive the custody of minor children just “because they are the mom”. Custody is determined based upon what is......Read More
March 10, 2011

Should You Allege An Alternate Ground for Divorce?

To file for dissolution of marriage (the legal term for “divorce” in Illinois), you must allege the grounds for the divorce. Many people allege “irreconcilable differences” as it is the most vague and benign. Illinois law requires that spouses have been separated for at least 2 years in order to divorce based upon irreconcilable differences.......Read More
March 10, 2011

The New Illinois Civil Union Law

I am pleased towrite that same-sex and opposite-sex couples will soon be able to enter into civil unions in Illinois. On December 1, 2010, the Illinois Legislature passed The Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. Governor Quinn is expected to sign the bill this month and it will become effective in June 2011. The......Read More
January 4, 2011

The Timing Of Divorce

There are two issues related to the timing of divorce. First, there may be an optimal time for you to divorce. It could be to your advantage to time your divorce to the extent possible. Talk with a divorce attorney to see if in yoursituation there is a good time versus a bad time to......Read More
December 21, 2010

Your Subsequent Spouse’s Income Could Be Relevant

When your child from your previous marriage is about to start college, the income your subsequent spouse earns could be relevant. This fact probably surprises and maybe even shocks most people. In Illinois, one of the factors a court considers when deciding how to allocate a child’s college expenses between parents is the financial resources......Read More
November 9, 2010

Halloween And Custody

Halloween is just around the corner. Is seeing your children in costume and taking them trick or treating special to you? Is it a holiday you would like to continue to enjoy with your children? If so, let your family attorney know. Most parents know to request and negotiate for a custody arrangement with Birthdays,......Read More
October 19, 2010

Why Prenuptial Agreements Are On The Rise

Reuters reports that prenuptial agreements are on the rise and not just among affluent couples. Prenuptial agreements can protect against debt, assign who gets to keep pets and contain adultery clauses. More middle-class couples are signing prenuptial agreements and more women are requesting them. Because prenuptial agreements can protect against debt they can be beneficial......Read More
October 5, 2010

Valuing Businesses In Divorce

Valuing a business in divorce can be a very complex undertaking. Often a spouse’s interest in a business is the largest asset in the marital estate. The three commonly used business valuation methods are: the income approach, the asset accumulation approach and the market approach. The calculations and adjustments that need to be made in......Read More
September 14, 2010

Protecting Retained Earnings From Distribution In Divorce

In divorce cases, when one of the spouses has ownership interest in a closely held corporation the retained earnings held in the corporation can be a point of contention. The issue of retained earnings may be particularly scrutinized when the spouse with the ownership interest in the corporation is the sole or majority shareholder or......Read More
August 20, 2010

The Foreclosure Defense of Violations of HUD Regulations

In Hayes v. M & T Mortgage Corporation, a recent Illinois case, the foreclosure defense of HUD regulation violations was discussed. The court held that although the violation of HUD regulations can be a defense to foreclosure it was not grounds for dismissing the foreclosure. In Hayes, the mortgagor filed suit alleging that the lender......Read More
January 13, 2010