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Illinois Family Law Blog

Landmark case hurts ex-military spouses receiving retirement

Divorces have the potential to be complicated, especially when benefits like retirement become involved. Many factors play into how much money a spouse may be paid out in a settlement, and there are sometimes ways that a person could reduce that payment later, even though it was ordered by the court at one time.

For example, take this case in which a woman was receiving a portion of her ex-spouse's retirement benefits. She had received them for many years when they suddenly reduced. She discovered that her ex-husband had taken disability, and he waived part of his income to get it tax-free. That waiver reduced how much retirement income he earned from the military, and the amount she was paid each month also dropped.

Hidden assets: Where you should look

If you're getting a divorce and suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, it's a good idea to know where to look. For example, you may want to go through your spouse's bank account to see if there have been any large transfers to places or people you don't recognize.

Hiding assets during a divorce is against the law. That doesn't stop some people from doing it. Instead of worrying about it, it's time to take action. Begin looking for the assets by talking to a financial planner or creating a list of your expenses. You should access your husband's or wife's account to see the paycheck amounts he or she is receiving and to get an idea of what he or she is spending money on if you do not share an account.

3 tips for choosing a great divorce mediator

You want to work with your spouse to make sure your divorce goes smoothly, but he doesn't want to talk to you. When you do get a chance to communicate, it seems like communications shut down as fast as they open up. Maybe it's the frustration of the situation or a case of hurt feelings, but you need help to get your divorce moving.

One of the things you can do is work with a mediator. Of course, it is important that you choose a mediator who works well with you and your spouse. Perhaps you want a mediator who is more outgoing or one who is highly educated in your legal rights. Depending on the aim of mediation, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Should I insure my child support payments?

When divorce comes knocking and you and your spouse have children, child support or alimony payments are very likely to be a part of your divorce settlement. Child support is one of the key ways that the court ensures that children have the resources they need to lead healthy lives under the care of the parent with primary custody, especially if that parent does not have a large independent income. As a parent, you obviously want the best for your children, but how can you ensure that they have everything they need in the event that you pass away?

Most divorce planning professional agree that it is wise to insure your child support payments so that your children continue to receive the resources they need even if you pass away. If you pass away before your children age out of child support, you're not only leaving them with a large emotional loss, they also may not have the financial support they need to grow in a healthy environment.

Court rules against dividing real estate as marital property

The Fifth District Appellate court made an interesting ruling concerning marital property division recently, rejecting a man's plea that two pieces of real estate bought by his former spouse before their divorce be considered marital property. While many people assume that the law favors dividing property bought in the course of a marriage equally, the court is generally willing to hear arguments that certain property be excluded from division, if the evidence is clear enough.

In the case of this couple, the evidence was clear enough for several courts to determine that the man did not have a proper claim to either of the two pieces of real estate — but only because his former spouse demonstrated very clearly that he had nothing to do with their purchase.

Legal paths to parentage in Illinois

In Illinois, achieving legal recognition as a child's parent is integral to retaining any parental responsibilities and privileges beyond visitation. As of 2016, the law no longer distributes custody and visitation in the traditional sense. Instead, parents allocate parental responsibilities, whereas non-parents can achieve only visitation rights.

The state recognizes parentage for individuals married to a birth mother when the child is born, or if the child is born within 300 days of the marriage's dissolution. Similarly, if an individual is in a marriage or civil union with the birth mother, such as the first two instances, and that marriage is declared unlawful or invalid, the individual is still considered the parent of the child for legal reasons. Finally, if an individual marries the birth mother after the child is born and agrees to have his or her name placed on the child's birth certificate, this is a viable path to parentage.

Why might a judge revoke my custody?

When couples work through a divorce and even well after, custody arrangements are usually one of the biggest sticking points for both sides. Many divorces that could otherwise have been relatively simple matters have drawn out into protracted legal battles over who gets the children and when. Of course, even once a custody order is done, the matter can change at any time if one or both parents take certain actions.

Even if you think you've won your custody battle, this does not mean that it is over forever. A court may amend or revoke parental privileges and responsibilities laid out in a custody arrangement when they see evidence of several kinds of wrongdoing.

Divorcing executives face specific struggles

High-asset divorce offers many pitfalls that couples with simpler assets may never consider, and this goes doubly for divorces involving business executives. Depending on the nature of your relationship to your company, as well as any precautions you may have taken by creating a prenuptial agreement, there are a number of additional concerns that you must consider as a divorcing executive.

Whereas simpler divorces can be handled by a couple of attorneys and some long meetings between spouses, executive divorce often entails many other experts weighing in. This is usually because one spouse or the other contests the value of various complex assets, and it becomes necessary to enlist professional help to find these precise values.

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