Recent blog posts

Posted on in Uncategorized

In thedivorce process, one party may become legally obligated to makealimony payments to the other. Since these payments are typically costly, obtainingtax deductions for the payer has often been a critical step in formulatinga divorce settlement.

By contrast, the recipient’s payment is generally taxed like regularincome. The current setup tends to preserve more money overall to allocatebetween spouses, helping both parties afford living separately.

However, the new tax overhaul eliminates the tax deduction of spousal maintenancepayments. The alimony deduction repeal will affect divorcesafter December 31, 2018. This means that in 2019, the spouse paying spousal support cannot deductit, and the spouse receiving the money no longer has to pay taxes on it.

...

Getting ready for yourdivorce is a multistep process, beginning with asking the right questions to yourdivorce attorney. Finding the answers early on can prepare you for theroad ahead and allow you to anticipate and overcome what would have beensome big surprises in your case.

Here are five questions you should always ask your divorce attorney:

  1. Will I need to pay spousal maintenance?
    One of the most common questions brought to a divorce attorney’sdesk is whether or not their client will need to payalimony or spousal maintenance. By getting your lawyer’s best guess based on the available information,it can help you manage your finances in the meantime and in preparationof spousal support. When in doubt, spend frugally.
  2. Do you think my case can settle?
    Knowing if you should aim for asettlement or a trial in your divorce case is beneficial, as it better prepares you for theroad ahead. An experienced divorce attorney might be able to give youa good idea as to whether or not you can expect to negotiate with yourspouse and find a middle ground before needing to get a family law judge involved.
  3. Should I file for divorce, or let my spouse file?
    If you are confident you want to file for divorce, then you should probablynot hesitate to begin thelitigation process by doing so. Many divorce courts have a preconceived notion that the initialpetitioner has been wronged by their spouse significantly enough to decideto end the marriage. This underlying assumption could prove beneficialin a number of matters, fromchild custody toproperty division.
  4. What impacts child custody decisions?
    There are many factors that can change the way a child custody case playsout, but every family law court in Illinois must rule in favor of a child’sbest interests, not those of the parents. Talk to your divorce attorneyearly about what you might do to better support your child during andafter your divorce, consequently increasing your chances of winning moreor sole child custody.
  5. Can you help me withMotions to Reconsider?
    There is no guarantee that a divorce court will rule in your favor ordecide matters exactly to your liking. With a Motion to Reconsider, youcan bring new, relevant information to the judge, ask them to review thecase result, and possibly decide differently and to your advantage. Workingwith a divorce lawyer who can help you from start to finish, includingMotions to Reconsider, will prepare your case for anything.

Do you want to file for divorce but do not know where to begin? You cancome to Wakenight & Associates, P.C. and talk to our Illinois divorcelawyers about what to do next. Backed by decades of total legal experienceand happyclient testimonials, you can feel confident in relying on us to help you navigate the divorceprocess and protect your interests and goals.

...

Everyone in the modern day understandably wants convenience wherever theycan get it. The technology of our times has allowed us to expedite almosteverything and place an endless virtual world right at our fingertips.

However, not every technological advance is beneficial. Sometimes, addingconvenience subtracts other important factors and considerations. Thisthe case with the latest trend infamily law: online divorce services. As plugging divorce information into a websitegets more popular, more and more people are starting to see it is sometimesnot as useful as advertised.

Here are three big problems with online divorce that many people encounter:

...

Most anyone going through adivorce will be immediately confronted with a variety of new concerns and questionsthat require a legal understanding of the situation to address. Knowing theirrights and responsibilities is crucial to protect their best interests. Anticipating the typicallitigation process is also essential in case matters do not pan out amicably and a familylaw judge is needed to settle it. With so many unknowns and gray areasof potential complications, many divorcees start to see a divorce attorney’sassistance as not a good idea, but a necessary step.

Why You Should Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Legal procedures of any kind but especially those concerning divorce areoften likened to a jungle trek. It is an apt comparison. There are pitfalls,hazardous unknowns, and near-countless ways to get lost along the way.

Along this analogical vein, retaining a divorce attorney from the startis comparable to hiring a local guide for your jungle journey. With theirinsight and experience with the trail ahead, they can safely guide youthrough it with as little stress as possible. Since you will not be gettinglost, your journey will conclude sooner than you first expect as well.

...

Attempting to go through adivorce alone is not recommended and, thankfully, rarely attempted. Retaininga divorce lawyer is simply too beneficial to ignore. However, you shouldnot blindly pick and hire the first divorce attorney that you see. Youneed to take some time to look for the right divorce attorney for yourunique divorce case. Otherwise, you could be jeopardizing your best interestsand objectives in your divorce.

Here are a few key considerations to weigh when choosing a divorce attorney:

  • Experience: You cannot replace experience with anything, and the benefits of real-worldexperience are irreplaceable. Finding an attorney with many years’worth of divorce law experience is an excellent starting point. Mattersonly get better if you can find a team of family lawyers who can combinetheir experience by bringing their heads together on difficult cases.
  • Focus: There are many law firms that take all sorts of cases, from property divisionto criminal defense. While this is fine for their objectives, it is notentirely ideal for their clients. It is always beneficial to work witha firm that focuses on your type of case, as this lets you know they willunderstand the details of it and not get distracted by other casework.
  • Testimonials: The most honest and useful reviews of any business come from past clientswho experienced the work of the business firsthand. See if a divorce attorneyyou are considering has testimonials you can freely browse. If not, askthem for some. Lawyers that refuse to share testimonials might be hidingevidence of poor case performances.
  • Convenience and communication: You need to know that you can talk to your divorce attorney without havingto fight for their attention, or without needing to travel a great distanceto do so. Consider working with a divorce law firm that has multiple officelocations, allowing you to more easily get in touch with them when needed.

Wakenight & Associates, P.C. is a trusted Illinois divorce law firmfor a variety of reasons. Our legal team has decades of collective legalexperience, only takefamily law and divorce cases, are backed by satisfied client testimonials, and havemultiple office locations for your convenience. Put your divorce case in our capable hands today.Contact us online to request your complimentary consultation to begin.

Illinois recognizes two different types of property during divorce: commonlaw property and personal property. Like most states, Illinois determinesthat any assets acquired by one spouse during a marriage are the propertyof that particular spouse. For example, if one spouse purchases a carand places it solely in their name, then Illinois law states that thecar belongs to them. However, were they to purchase the car using bothof their names, then it would be considered to belong to both spousesand need to be divided during a divorce.

So knowing this is how laws work in our state, how can you ensure you protectyour personal property to avoid the risk of losing it? Here are a fewsimple tips you can follow.

Gather Evidence to Prove Ownership

If you are without a doubt the sole owner of an important asset, then youcan support your claim of ownership with documentation that proves youare the sole owner of it. In the previously listed example of the car,a spouse who produces registration paperwork or a bill of sale showingthat it was purchased by one spouse and is solely in their name, thenthey can claim ownership of it. However, if the other spouse can showthat it was purchased using money that both of them earned, then the claim to­–ownership can get a little murky.

...

Life is not stagnant and situations constantly change, but for divorcedcouples who share children, drastic changes can present some big issuesthat can be difficult to overcome, especially if these changes involvea big move. If you are considering relocating with your child after adivorce, it is crucial to carefully examine this decision without hastilybeginning the process.

Here are some things you should think of if you believe a move could bein your future:

  • Relocating with a child is one of the most difficult issues divorced spousesface, so you might end up having to appear before family court to seeka resolution that suits your situation.
  • When it comes to relocation, there is no one-size-fits-all in determininghow or to what degree a child might be affected by this situation. Asparents, you must take it upon yourselves to honestly evaluate whetheror not this decision is in the best interests of your child.
  • Of course, it is not only up to the parents to figure out what best suitsa child. Family court will not allow anything, not even a parent’sneed to be in closer proximity to a job or support system, to supersedethe well-being of a child. However, if the well-being of the child isinherently linked to the custodial parent’s relocation, which willimprove their quality of life, the court will consider this in their ruling.
  • If the non-custodial parent contests the relocation, the relocating parentwill need to prove that the child will only be marginally impacted bythe move. This essentially means the parent will need to establish thatthe child’s quality of life will experience an overall improvementdespite being physically separated from the non-custodial parent.
  • Keep in mind that the court and your loved ones will closely inspect yourreasoning for this move. Some might claim that you are being motivatedby anger or vengeance rather than a genuine desire to improve your child’slife. Honestly ask yourself why you are making this major decision.

Child Custody Attorneys in Illinois Ready to Help Settle Your Issues

For divorcing parents, there is no other issue more contested than thatof child custody, especially when the custodial parent decides to relocate.At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., our Illinois divorce attorneys canassist you throughout this difficult time and ensure that you and yourformer spouse are able to reach a resolution that is suitable for your family.

Contact our office today at any one of our convenient locations to schedule afree consultation.

When a child is born to a single mother, only the mother is listed legallyas a parent. That is, until the mother and father can legally establishpaternity for its father. Legal paternity can have several benefits forall parties involved, including for the child themselves. Here are threeextremely important and beneficial reasons why mothers, fathers, and childrencan benefit from establishing paternity

For Mothers: Child Support

When legal paternity is established, a mother can then request child supportfrom the father to ensure the child is adequately cared for. Both parentshave a responsibility to care for their child, and in the case of unmarriedfathers, this can include financial backing of expenses related to raisingthe child. It’s a common misconception that unmarried fathers don’thave to pay child support: any father, regardless of marital status, isrequired to help with raising their child. This way single mothers canmake sure they have the money they need to care for themselves and fortheir young children.

For Fathers: Visitation Rights

Fathers who legally establish their paternity have the ability to requestvisitation with their child and continually be involved with their upbringing.This means that fathers will be able to legally ensure they are able tobe a part of their child’s life and provide them with the care andupbringing they can provide. Visitation isn’t always straightforwardand many couples need to work out an ideal visitation schedule based onthe needs of each child and what they are capable of providing, howevera mother can’t legally deny an established father his right to beinvolved with his children unless the court has granted her the abilityto do so (which is exceedingly rare).

...

When you marry to a spouse who has children, you may wish to obtain legalstatus as a parent for their children as well through the adoption process.Adopting stepchildren isn’t as long and detailed a process as atraditional adoption (you won’t have to go through home visits anda long waiting period), but you will have to go through the unique obstacleof obtaining the right to adopt the child from the birth parent. Let’stake a closer look at how you can do this.

Obtain Permission

Getting consent from the other birth parent is perhaps the easiest wayof being able to complete the adoption process, but it’s far fromsimple. In consenting to this adoption, the birth parent essentially agreesto give up all of their parental responsibilities. While this does includeany child support obligations, this can also mean visitation rights andthe ability to see their children on a regular basis. If the birth parenthas little to no relationship with their child to begin with, then obtainingpermission shouldn’t be as difficult. If they do, it could be trickier.

Terminate Parental Rights

You can avoid the requirement of obtaining consent by establishing groundsto eliminate the birth parent’s parenting rights. This is probablythe more difficult path, but is sometimes the necessary one. There area few ways you can terminate parental rights, including these three common grounds:

...

Posted on in Uncategorized

Life is fluid and constantly changing, which the courts understand. Thatis why it is possible for individuals to request a modification to theirdivorce decree. A divorce decree specifies rights and obligations regardingspousal support, the division of property, and child custody and support,among other issues. Either party can petition to amend a divorce decreeto modify any number of the rights and obligations specified within thedivorce decree. This petition for modification must be filed with thecourt and you might also be required to provide other pertinent documents as well.

Modification of Child Support

Child support can be modified if there is a significant change in conditionsthat would cause more than a 10% rise or fall in the total child supportpayment ordered. Those filing a petition for the modification of childsupport must prove that there has been a considerable change that warrantsthe modification.

Modification of Spousal Support

If a former spouse who is receiving spousal support remarries and his orher financial circumstances change, it is possible for the paying spouseto request a modification to reduce or terminate spousal support. Muchlike child support, spousal support modifications are generally only grantedif there has been a considerable change in either party’s life thatsupports a modification to the divorce decree. However, if a paying spouseremarries, the recipient will not be able to request more spousal support.

...

Well over a million people serve in the United States Armed Forces, soit should come as no surprise that many of them choose to also have familieswhile serving, which means they could be subject to family law mattersincluding divorce. The divorce process for military personnel is in manyways the same as those in the private sector, but there are also additionalrules that need to be followed that make it significantly different.

What State Should You File?

Typically, you’re only allowed to file for divorce in a state thateither spouse has legal residence in. This is important because everystate handles division of assets differently, which could influence howyour case proceeds. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ ProtectionAct says that the military member’s state of residence will alwaysget the final say in how the pension is divided, however the serving spousecould agree to use the other spouse’s home state’s laws.

Child Support

General divorce courts are responsible for determining if child supportpayments are necessary and if so, how much they should be. Military lawsalso require that service members be able to support their children adequately,though far too many don’t fully understand or consider the detailsof a service member’s compensation. These values can change dramaticallyduring deployments, base transfers, and other events as well, so bothspouses need to be flexible about this provision.

...

Posted on in Uncategorized

Divorce can make life seem pretty uncertain, especially when it comes tovisitation and custody of your children. You likely have a lot of questions,so to shed some clarity on the situation, we have compiled a list of frequentlyasked questions regarding child visitation.

Here are some answers to commonly asked child visitation questions:

  • What does the term “reasonable visitation” mean? When child visitation is determined by the court, it will generally orderthat it be reasonable, allowing the parents to hash out the actual specificsof scheduling. The custodial parent, however, will inherently wield mostof the control when it comes to dates, times, and visit durations. Heor she is not legally obligated to agree to a particular schedule, thougha judge will take note of a parent who is not flexible or uncooperative.Ultimately, it could backfire on the custodial parent if he or she isunwilling to work with the non-custodial parent.
  • What is a fixed visitation schedule? In some cases, the court will set up a detailed visitation schedule, whichwill also include times and places for visitation. For example, the non-custodialparent might have every other weekend or every Monday and Wednesday eveningwith the children. Fixed visitation schedules are more likely to be orderedif there is so much hostility between the parents that it is necessaryto minimize contact between them. Fixed visitations can be generous andcreate some predictability for the children during an unpredictable time.
  • If the ex-spouse was abusive, how can further abuse be prevented duringvisits with the children? If the non-custodial parent has a history of violence or destructive behavior,particularly toward the children, the court will typically require allvisits to be supervised by an adult other than the custodial parent. Theadult must be approved by the court that ordered supervised visitation.

Illinois Family Law Attorneys

If you and your former spouse are trying to work out a visitation agreement,you will need a skilled child custody attorney on your side to ensureyour interests and the interests of your children are protected. At Wakenight& Associates, P.C., our Illinois child custody attorneys work hardto listen to your needs and will dedicate ourselves to reaching a resolutionas soon as possible.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

The decision to move forward with a divorce is an emotional one, but itis important to keep a clear head and to take the necessary steps to protectyourself financially during the process. In fact, many of the steps youcan take to safeguard your financial health can be done early on in thedivorce process, allowing you to rest easier at night.

Here are some tips to protect your finances if you are preparing for adivorce, or in the midst of one:

  • Close Joint Credit Cards: Most married couples share at least one joint credit card and the lastthing you want is to continue to be responsible for your soon-to-be ex-spouse’scontinued spending. Contact the credit card company as soon as possibleand tell them to close the account. Make sure you also follow up witha certified letter.
  • Investments and Bank Accounts: If you are concerned about your spouse cleaning you out, you need to contactyour attorney and ask what to do to protect your investments and bankaccounts. Remember, these are considered marital assets, so you cannotsimply empty out the account as a precautionary measure. Your attorneymight suggest that you call the banks and brokerage firms to put a freezeon the accounts.
  • Protect Your Data: Do you have copies of all of your financial data? If not, you need tocollect copies of everything, including tax returns. You should also rememberto change all of your passwords.
  • Protect Your Mail: Now that you are separating your lives, you also need to make sure yourmail is separate, to protect your privacy. The best way to do this isto set up a PO Box and to have all of your mail delivered there ratherthan your house or apartment.
  • Get a Credit Report: Your spouse might be harmless, but they might have hurt their own credit,which means yours might be damaged too. Get a credit report to see howor if your ex-spouse’s financial actions might have affected yourown credit.

Illinois Divorce Attorneys

Divorce is never a walk in the park and you are likely concerned aboutthe impact it can have in all areas of your life. To ensure your interestsare well protected, contact the Illinois divorce attorneys at Wakenight& Associates, P.C. From start to finish, our experienced legal teamwill walk you through every step and answer any questions you might havealong the way.

Contact any of our convenient locations today and schedule a free consultationwith one of our knowledgeable divorce attorneys.

Divorce is not only a hugely emotional experience, but also a very technicalone as you begin to unlink your shared lives. If you and your spouse hada particularly long marriage, determining what property is separate andwhat is shared might be a difficult task, which is why it is crucial tohave a skilled divorce attorney assist you throughout this process. Ofcourse, it would also be a good idea to educate yourself on these matters,so here is what you need to know about determining separate and communityproperty in your divorce:

Community Property

Marital, or community property, is essentially everything you or your spouseacquired throughout your marriage. The paychecks you earned at work andused to pay household bills is considered marital property. Likewise,the car you bought and made payments on during your marriage is also community property.

Separate Property

Separate property is property that only belongs to one spouse and, therefore,will not end up on the chopping block when it comes to dividing property.Some of the most common types of separate property include:

...

Posted on in Uncategorized

Welcoming a child into your family is a wonderful experience for a coupleto share. However, the legal process of it is often time-consuming andrather complicated. To ensure your adoption goes smoothly and successfully,you should hire an attorney to avoid making any errors that might prolongthe process or compromise your chances of expanding your family. In Illinois,state law dictates the adoptive parent must establish residency in thestate for at least 6 months unless this requirement is waived by the court.

About Adoptions in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, any child, any adult residing in a home for 2years, or any relative can be adopted. In cases where a child is 14 yearsor older, a child’s consent is needed to finalize the adoption.Those who are allowed to adopt include any reputable person of legal agewho has resided in Illinois for at least 6 months. If the petitioner ismarried, the spouse must also join in the petition to adopt.

It is important to remember that adopting a child is never guaranteed,which is why it is imperative that you hire an attorney who is skilledin handling such matters to increase your chances of success. With theright legal help on your side, this can become one of the most exhilaratingand rewarding journeys of your life.

...

Divorce is difficult, but no matter how hard you think it is, it will mostcertainly be more difficult for your children to cope with since theycannot fully understand why it is happening. The only thing they can seeis that their parents will no longer be together. To minimize the impactof this emotionally overwhelming experience, you and your spouse willhave to take some steps to help relieve them of their pain and fear ofthe unknown.

Here are some tips to help your children cope with divorce:

  • Do not vent: This does not mean you need to bottle everything up and pretend that youare not stressed. What you want to refrain from doing is burdening yourchildren with details that might only make them upset. Instead of ventingto them, encourage them to open up about their feelings and how they areprocessing the experience.
  • Keep them out of the middle of it: It can be particularly easy to drag older children into the middle ofyour divorce, especially if you are oversharing or trying to use themas a negotiator with your former spouse. If there is something you needto address or talk about with your ex, do so directly and keep your kidsout of it.
  • Avoid spreading venom: Expressing bitterness toward your ex or telling your children that heor she is not a good parent will only sour your children’s relationshipwith your ex and, while you might not care about your ex, remember thatthis will also hurt your children.
  • Establish new traditions: Whether your children are young or old, it is natural to feel a senseof loss, particularly around the holidays or other special occasions.To make it easier on them, establish new traditions and be sensitive aboutincorporating new individuals into family groupings.

Divorce Attorneys in Illinois

If you and your spouse are in the midst of a divorce, you will need theskilled assistance of an Illinois divorce attorney. At Wakenight &Associates, P.C., we have multiple offices across the state to guide youthrough this delicate process. Let us help you reach a resolution thatprotects your interests and allows you to embark on a brighter future.

Call us today for a free consultation.

Can I Get a Divorce if My Spouse is Missing?

You want to get a divorce, but cannot locate your spouse, so what are yousupposed to do? In the state of Illinois, you can obtain a divorce througha process known as Service by Publication. However, a judge must be convinced,based on a sworn declaration, that you made a reasonable effort to locateor contact your spouse.

Here is what you need to know about getting divorced if your spouse is missing:

Courts in Illinois require a petitioner to prove that he or she made genuineattempts to search for the missing partner. If reasonable means to findthe spouse were fruitless, the petitioning spouse would place an advertisementin a newspaper to inform the spouse that there are divorce proceedingsagainst him or her. During this time, the petitioning spouse could filefor divorce as one normally would, in addition to signing an affidavitthat states he or she looked for the missing spouse.

After the Service by Publication and divorce filing, the process will proceedas a default divorce. If the missing spouse does not take any action,the petitioning spouse will win the action.

...

Posted on in Uncategorized

Busiest Time of the Year for Divorce

Couples file for divorce every day, but there are particular times duringthe year that experience an especially higher volume of divorce filingsthan most other times. According to a study done by the University ofWashington, divorce filings between the years 2001 and 2015 revealed thatdivorce peaked every year in March and August. Why were these months sobusy for divorce?

Experts say that March and August are peak months for divorce for a numberof reasons. Most spouses do not want to pull the plug during the holidaymonths, which are generally already overwhelming enough. For couples withchildren, springtime is not an ideal timeframe since children are stillin school and things can get messy, which parents would like to avoid.

While not as popular as March and August, January is another popular monthfor divorce, given that people are geared up for New Year’s resolutionsand are eager to make changes. This often means they were consideringa divorce during the holidays, but hoped things would get better. Whenexpectations are not met, they turn to divorce attorneys.

...

For many, divorce is not an easy experience to endure and can often makethem feel lonely while life is in limbo. It might seem like the righttime to start anew and get back into the dating scene to combat thesefeelings, but it can actually end up doing you more harm than good inmany ways. Technically, your marriage is not over yet and dating beforethe ink is dry on your divorce decree can have consequences.

Here are some reasons why you should hold off on dating until after yourdivorce is officially finalized:

1.The situation can get messy: No matter how amicably your divorce begins, the fact is that this processoften turns into a whirlwind of emotions and is often contentious enoughon its own without the presence of new dating partners. When your soon-to-beformer spouse sees you dating someone new or simply sees that you arechoosing to date at all, he or she might get upset and draw out negotiations.Longer, drawn-out negotiations mean more time and money.

2.You need time for yourself: It feels great to be wanted and loved during a time when something youonce held dear is falling apart, but wanting a new relationship does notnecessarily mean you are ready for one. This is a vulnerable time foryou and to rush into something now, before your divorce is even finalized,could lead to some regrets later on. Considering how much time and energya divorce can consume, it would also be unfair to a potential new partnersince you would not be able to devote much time to forming this new bond.

...

If you and your spouse share children and are divorcing, child custodyis likely to be the most difficult task you will face. However, regardlessof how angry you might be with your spouse, do not let your feelings getin the way of making the decision that is best for your children. Setyour emotions aside and put them first as you work out your parentingagreement.

Creating a Parenting Agreement

Your written parenting agreement or plan is the document that will definehow you and your former spouse go about sharing time and making decisionsregarding the upbringing of your children. It will cover a wide rangeof issues, including custody and living arrangements, visitation, financialissues, education, medical care, religious training, and holidays.

To create a parenting plan, you can seek the assistance of a child custodyattorney or mediator to facilitate negotiations with your former spouse.Whatever way you choose to go about it, you will need to be prepared forthese proceedings. Some of the relevant documents you will need include:

...
Back to Top