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Divorce is rarely easy, but what can make it even harder is having children. Kidssometimes rarely consider their parents’ relationship status, unlessthe fighting is particularly loud and disruptive. They can often lookat their parents as a single unit, a wall of love and protection thatis as solid as it is seemingly permanent. However, almost half of allmarriages end in divorce. What children don’t realize is relationshipsdon’t always last forever like they do in the fairy tales. Peoplegrow and change, and sometimes the relationship doesn’t always changewith them. Your job as a parent is to ensure the process of the divorceis as painless and stress-free as humanly possible for your kids. To makeit easier on them, you and your spouse need to provide a supportive andpositive environment for your children. Our skilled Illinois divorce attorneyshave assembled a few tips to make it a little easier for you to navigatethis difficult situation.

The first and most important thing you need to do is totalk with your child. This sounds simple enough, but the things you may think are obvious mayneed to be spoken aloud. For example, the divorce is likely not your child’sfault, and both you and your spouse know that. However, your child doesnot. Children can be particularly egocentric, meaning most of their worldrevolves around them. If you and your spouse are getting divorced, yourchild may think they are the reason for it. You and your spouse need totake a united front by communicating to your child he or she is not thecause of the divorce.

Likewise, your child needs to know that the divorce will not affect thelevel of love and affection you have for him or her. You and your spousemay not know that when a divorce occurs, it raises a number of questionsin your kid’s mind that can only be answered by you.

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In a divorce, the most frequently fought over issue is, of course, money.Whether financial problems were the primary cause of the divorce, or yourspouse made a habit of hiding assets, and spending recklessly, there isno doubt money can be a force to be reckoned with for divorcing couples,causing the process to draw out much longer than it should. If you believeyour spouse might be wasting marital funds, or you have evidence to supportthis suspicion, you might be incredibly frustrated about your situation.You are not powerless against this, however. With a skilled divorce attorney,you might be able to obtain a fair divorce settlement despite your spouse’swasteful habits.

When a Spouse Wastes Marital Funds

In a marriage, spouses often have strong financial control over maritalfunds, especially when they have joint bank accounts and credit accounts.This gives spouses the ability to access each other’s debit andcredit card numbers as well as online banking information. Having thiskind of unchecked access makes it easy to make payments with a spouse’saccount even if the other’s name is not on it. This kind of conductinevitably leads to marital conflict, particularly when the financialtransactions in question are not agreed upon by both spouses.

During divorce proceedings, the court will consider all contributions bothspouses made to the marriage as well as wasted assets, or negative contributions,to ensure the resulting settlement is fair.

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Over the years there has developed a billing practice among certain Attorneysto add to the retainer contract an up charge for going to Court … which many clients blindly accept … without question ...

The Attorney, for example, may bill $275/hr for in office work and $300/hrfor going to Court.

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Whether you were married or not, child support in Illinois is usually ordered. . . if a case is filed. The rare exception is where the parties havethe same income and spend the same amount of time caring for the child(ren).Illinois Family courts determine how much child support should be paidby applying the guidelines for setting child support found in the IllinoisMarriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), which is used for paternityand divorce cases alike.Until June 30, 2017 when the law changes, guideline child support in Illinois is set as apercentage of the paying parent's net income:

  • 20% of net income for one child
  • 28% for two
  • 32% for three
  • 40% for four
  • 45% for five
  • 50% for six or more children.
  • Disputes over how to calculate net income are not uncommon but once resolved,the actual calculation is not difficult.

    Net income is calculated by deducting properly calculated federal and stateincome taxes, student loan payments, union dues, health insurance premiums,spousal support (a/k/a maintenance), any other previously paid child support, etc.

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    Most High Net Worth Cases should...and do settle! Most divorce litigantswith money are smart enough to understand that Settlement is best forthe children and best for their personal state of mind. The high net worthclients at Wakenight & Associates, P.C. also understand that moneyis a tool and in your divorce case you use this tool...to get out of your marriage.

    Our goals for our high net worth clients are clear: aim high, settle whatcan settle, litigate...what you decide to litigate.

    For all these generalities every case is unique. Is your case an assetscase, an income case or both? Are your best earning years in the futureor in the past? Are your spouse's best earning years in the futureor in the past? Are you emotionally prepared for the divorce or does itcome as a surprise to you? How does your spouse feel about the divorce?When both spouses are prepared to move on with their lives...many timesthey can reach an agreement...before a Petition for Dissolution is evenfiled. If one spouse, however, is surprised by the divorce or not ready,not smart, getting bad advice or is angry, scared, etc...these cases...manytimes...must be litigated.

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    Although no two divorce cases are the same, it’s important to notethat there is a right way and a wrong way to handle how you and your spouseterminate your marriage. If you’re contemplating filing for divorceor in the midst of the divorce process, understanding how to avoid foreseeableobstacles can make all the difference. In this blog, ourIllinois divorce attorney explains a few of the common divorce mistakes you should avoid.

    Mistake #1: Failing to Provide Accurate Information

    Finances play a significant role in your divorce, and it’s absolutelycrucial that you make sure the information you are disclosing is accurateand updated. Do not hide any of your assets or try to conceal any financialinformation – it’s very likely that it will be unearthed laterin the divorce process.

    Mistake #2: Letting Emotions Take Control

    It’s no secret that divorce is an overwhelmingly emotional rollercoaster. It’s completely expected to feel anger, resentment, sadness,and grief, but try to avoid letting it influence the decisions you makefor you and your family. In order to come to an amicable resolution inyour divorce, you’ll need to keep a level head when entering negotiationsand trying to agree on settlements.

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    Posted on in Uncategorized

    Several divorce trends that once held steady for a long time have begunto change in recent years due in large part to a new generation of peoplegrowing up, marrying, and then choosing to divorce. In this blog, we takea look at six trends that have begun to change in recent years and discusswhy this change may be occurring.

    Divorces Are Decreasing

    This may come as a surprise to some people, but it turns out the numberof marriages that end in divorce every year has decreased since 1981.However, the number of marriages has also decreased. Hence, the divorcepercentage is holding pretty steady, but the number of people simply choosing notto marry has led to fewer divorces.

    Women Initiate Most Divorces

    Between the removal of the social stigma on divorce and increased economicindependence, women now initiate nearly two-thirds of all divorces. Anotherunfortunate reason for this increase: domestic violence has also beenon the rise in recent years, which frequently leads to a divorce.

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    Posted on in Uncategorized

    While the holiday season can be a difficult time for divorced parents,it can be especially tough for newly divorced couples who are still comingto terms with their post-divorce life. When dealing with divorce, it canbe hard to manage holiday custody and visitation orders. In this blog, ourIllinois divorce attorney explains a few common custody issues people may be faced with during theholiday season.

    What happens to my holiday schedule if the custody or visitation order changes?

    If your custody or visitation order is modified, or if you are given anew custody or visitation order, that will end up taking the place ofthe old order. If the parenting agreement you and your ex came up withis working, it would be best to leave it as is. If for whatever reasonyou and your ex-spouse are unable to agree on a holiday schedule thatworks for both, the court will likely intervene and come up with a scheduleyou both must follow.

    What if it’s my holiday with my children but my spouse’s visitation weekend?

    The court considers holiday visitation and custody as a higher prioritythan you and your ex’s regular parenting days. In other words, ifyour spouse’s visitation weekend falls on your holiday, your childrenshould be in your custody the day before the holiday begins.

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    Posted on in Uncategorized

    Couples who wish to end their marriage in amicably and quickly tend toutilize the services of a mediator who can help them through the process.Mediation is a good alternative for couples who agree to the terms of theirdivorce and want to terminate their marriage in a way that is cost effective.If you’re contemplating the idea of mediation and don’t knowif it’s a good option for you and your spouse, it’s importantto not fall for the myths surrounding mediation.

    Myth #1: One Spouse Dominates the Other

    During mediation, it’s your mediator’s job to pay attentionto the power balance that exists between you and your spouse. If it becomesapparent that there is an imbalance and one spouse is taking advantageof the other with unnecessary dominant behavior, the mediator should suggestthat everyone take a break to collect their thoughts before resuming.You should also be vocal about your concerns during mediation.

    Myth #2: Women are Put at a Disadvantage

    Stigmas surrounding mediation purport that women receive the “shortend of the stick” during the process – this myth couldn’tbe further from the truth. Oftentimes, women find themselves securingmore favorable outcomes. Because of the opportunity it gives spouses tovoice their opinions, both parties are able to equally negotiate agreements.

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    Posted on in Uncategorized

    Couples who enter a divorce after the age of 60 may be faced with obstaclesthat are unique to late-life divorces. Unfortunately, older couples terminatetheir marriage for the same reason a younger couple would. Regardlessof the reason, there are complexities inherent to these types of divorcesthat older couples must be able to navigate. In this blog, our Illinoisdivorce attorney explains how asset division and health concerns are handledin late-life divorces.

    Asset Division

    Property division can be a difficult obstacle to tackle in divorce, and late-life divorcesare no exception to this. Throughout the years of your marriage, and maybebefore entering your marriage, you’ve spent a substantial amountof time and money building a retirement or 401k fund. Depending on thecircumstances of your divorce, you may need to file a Qualified DomesticRelations Order (QDROs), which outlines the percentage of benefits onespouse receives from the other.

    Spouses who are 62 or older and ending marriages that lasted longer than10 years may:

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    Posted on in Uncategorized

    When it comes time todivide property in a divorce, some individuals go to extreme lengths to hide certain assetsin an attempt to save them from being divided. Regardless of the circumstances of yourdivorce, hiding assets is never a good idea and there’s a good chance that,if caught, you’ll find yourself dealing with more legal troublethan you’ve bargained for. In this blog, our Illinois divorce attorneyexplains how assets are hidden, how they are found, and the penaltiesfor hiding assets.

    How are assets hidden?

    The assets a spouse chooses to hide are either high in value or ones thathe or she firmly believe they are entitled to keep. Illinois propertydivision law states that the property and assets you gain in the yearsfollowing your marriage are considered marital property, and thereforesubject to being divided in a way that is fair and just. If it’svaluable real estate that a spouse wishes to hide, for example, he orshe may try to transfer the property title so that it’s under arelative’s name. Regardless of the method, most, if not all, hiddenassets are uncovered during discovery.

    What is the discovery process?

    Discovery is the legal process that involves both parties in the divorceto disclose every piece of financial information. Documentations outliningbank statements, 401k plans, and property titles are all revealed. Inaddition, you and your spouse will be put under oath and asked to answerquestions regarding your property and assets – lying under oathis considered perjury, which is a punishable offense.

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    Posted on in Uncategorized

    Your attorney has a very difficult job to do. On one hand, they are a uniquelyqualified individual who has the skill and experience to handle complexdivorce proceedings, but simultaneously they must be able to provide reliableand personalized counsel that is sensitive to their clients’ needs.

    Because of the gravity of this task, it is important to help your lawyerwhenever possible. While you may not necessarily be able to create a legalpath like your attorney does, there are still some smaller but equallyimportant things you can do in order to help your attorney better representyou. Additionally, helping your attorney in this way throughout the processmay be able to help them achieve a case result that will make you happier.

    Here are three ways you can help your lawyer with your case.

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    Whether you’re initiating thedivorce or on the receiving end of divorce papers, one of the first steps youwill take in the process is scheduling a consultation with a divorce attorney.While this consultation won’t take longer than an hour, the informationshared and discussed during that initial meeting is extremely crucialto the course your case takes. In this blog, our Illinois divorce lawyerexplains what to bring to your initial consultation.

    A Prepared List of Questions

    One of the things you want to walk away with after your consultation isa realistic understanding of the course, timeline, and cost of your divorce.Before stepping into your consultation, make sure you have a list of questionsthat you’re ready to ask. Allow the lawyer to do most of the talkingfirst – there’s a chance he or she may answer your questionsbefore you ask them. This allows you to think of important follow up questions,which can encourage an open discussion to take place.

    Legal Documents

    Any legal agreements or contracts filed before your divorce that pertainto you and your spouse will likely play a role in divorce proceedings.This can include recent tax returns or any paperwork that outlines legalproceedings involving your spouse or children. By bringing this information,your attorney may be able to better estimate a more accurate timelineand cost of your divorce.

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    When facing something as life-changing as divorce, it’s importantthat you put your best foot forward by hiring an attorney who has theskill, experience, and qualifications to guide you through the process.In this blog, our Illinois divorce lawyer explains the importance of hiringa trusted legal professional to handle your divorce.

    Reduces Stress

    Going through a divorce is undoubtedly stressful. There are a number ofissues that are addressed in divorce proceedings, from alimony andchild custody tovisitation andproperty division. In times of high stress, it can be difficult to think clearly –an experienced and qualified divorce attorney should know how to do allthe heavy lifting in your case so you can focus on building a new life.

    Avoid Mistakes

    In any divorce, there is little to no room for error and a seemingly smalloversight can compromise the entire outcome of your case. The informationand documentation that’s gathered, shared, and exchanged duringa divorce is extremely sensitive and personal. Because mistakes can becostly, you’ll want a divorce attorney on your side who can skillfullynavigate through the process and circumvent any errors before they occur.

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    Posted on in Uncategorized

    Divorce has been stigmatized as a result of a number of myths and misconceptions,typically perpetuated by the public.If you’re filing for divorce, it’s important that you have a firm understanding of the processand the reality of what a divorce actually entails. In this blog, ourIllinois divorce attorney explains the most common divorce misconceptions.

    It’s Always Expensive

    It’s true that divorce can be costly, but that isn’t to sayit has to be. Many divorcing couples go through what’s referredto as an uncontested divorce. These types of divorces are extremely beneficialfor couples who agree on most, if not all, of the terms of their divorce– it’s faster, easier, and less expensive.

    Property is Always Divided Equally

    Illinois is considered an “equitable distribution” state, whichmeans property will be divided in a way that is fair and just as opposedto equally. When determining what a fair division is, the court will considerhomemaking contributions, length of marriage, debt obligations, and eachspouse’s contribution to the marital estate.

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    The quality of representation you choose to hire is in your control –should you find yourself with representation that is unsatisfactory, youshould not hesitate to take action and move forward in your case withanother lawyer by your side. In this blog, our Illinois divorce attorneyexplains when to know it’s time to switch divorce attorneys.

    Lack of Availability

    There are a number of unexpected issues that can arise at any moment duringthe process, and these issues often cannot be resolved without the considerationof an attorney. As a client, you have a right to expect that your callsand emails are returned within 48 hours, given that you’re beingrespectful of major holidays.

    Forgetfulness

    A lawyer who is constantly missing deadlines and forgetting key facts aboutyour case is a lawyer who can seriously compromise the outcome of yourcase. Even the smallest details of your divorce hold a certain level ofimportance, and the deadlines the courts expect you to adhere to are crucial– by missing the deadlines, your case can be delayed and oftentimescourts will impose a late fee for paperwork that is not filed on time.

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    Breaking the news of a divorce to a child can often be the toughest partof the process and the effect a divorce can have on a child is profound.There are things you can to do ensure that the conversations that takeplace regarding the divorce are handled properly. In this blog, ourIllinois divorce attorney shares tips on explaining divorce to your children.

    Avoid a House Divided

    If you have more than one children, break the news to them all at once.By telling just the oldest child, you’ve left them with the heavyburden of keeping a secret and the younger children may feel hurt thatyou didn’t tell them first.

    Don’t Point the Finger

    No one wins playing the blame game, and it’s important that you explainthe terms of your divorce to your children without being critical of yourex-spouse. Although this may be difficult, especially in cases when theterms of the divorce aren’t necessarily amicable, but your childrenshould see that their parents are keeping somewhat of a united front.

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    In Illinois, couples seeking a divorce have the option to file for a no-faultdivorce, or a fault-based divorce. While both of these options will ultimatelylead to a dissolution of the marriage, couples may find that they do notqualify for a no-fault divorce based on the requirements for this process.

    For skilled representation from a Cook & Lake County divorce attorney,call (888) 351-2843.

    How Does One Qualify for No-Fault Divorce?

    No-fault divorces, or those based on “irreconcilable differences,”are typically a bit more straightforward than fault-based divorces, asneither party will need to prove that the behavior of the other spousecaused irreparable harm to the marriage. However, very specific requirementsexist which restrict who can file for divorce on no-fault grounds.

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    Spousal maintenance payments, commonly referred to as spousal support oralimony, are a major component of many divorce cases. It is very commonfor one spouse to have a higher earning potential or stronger source ofincome than the other, yet both spouses are accustomed to the same lifestyle.In most cases, spousal maintenance is designed to give the lower earningspouse the ability to pay bills, receive job training, or otherwise supportthem while they get back on their feet. There are many types of maintenancein Illinois, and in this blog we explore four of the most common categories.

    Temporary Maintenance

    When a couple is getting divorced, it’s extremely common for themto begin living separately, if they haven’t been already. Duringthe divorce process, but before it is finalized, judges can order onespouse to pay temporary maintenance payments to the other. This can helpthem cover things like food, rent, and even the costs associated withthe divorce himself.

    Permanent Maintenance

    When most people think of alimony, they are thinking of permanent maintenancepayments. Despite the name, these payments can be changed or stopped undercertain circumstances, such as the recipient getting remarried. However,they will typically be paid indefinitely on a regular schedule.

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