marital assets, Rolling Meadows family law attorneyFor many couples, dividing the marital estate is one of the most challenging elements of the divorce process. Before the property that constitutes the marital estate can be allocated between the spouses, the value of the assets must be established.

Equitable Distribution in Illinois

With very limited exceptions, Illinois law provides that property—including assets and debts—acquired by either spouse during a marriage is considered marital property. Marital property is subject to division in a divorce. Absent a negotiated agreement between the spouses, the court is statutorily required to divide the marital estate in a manner that is equitable and just based on an examination of a large number of circumstantial factors. It is important to realize that “equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal” so one spouse could receive a larger portion of the marital estate than the other.

Complex Asset Concerns

Some assets—such as a house that purchased and paid off during the marriage—are clearly marital property, while others—such as an antique car that one spouse owned for years before getting married—are clearly non-marital property. Still others—such as a business or a retirement plan—may have begun before the marriage but continued to accumulate value during the marriage. In most cases, the portion of an asset’s value that was accrued during the marriage is considered marital property with the remainder considered non-marital property.

For example, if you enrolled in a retirement plan when you were 22 years old, married at 30, and divorced at 45, the value of your retirement savings would be considered in two parts. The value accumulated during the eight years prior to your marriage would be non-marital and the value accumulated during the marriage would be marital.

Calculating the Correct Value

Even if you and your spouse can reach a property division agreement on your own, it is still important to establish the correct value of your marital assets. This information is critical so that you can make informed decisions and protect your best interests. For more complex assets, including real estate, business holdings, and long-term investments, you may need to enlist the help of outside professionals and experts. If you and your spouse present the court with different valuations for particular assets, it will be up to the court to determine which is more reasonable or to find a workable compromise.

Seek Divorce Guidance

If you are considering a divorce, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows divorce attorney for help. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation at Cosley Law Office today. We will provide the assistance you need during this challenging time



Posted in Division of Property, Divorce | Tagged , , , ,

children, Rolling Meadows divorce attorneyA divorce is almost always incredibly stressful for everyone involved. Young children, however, often experience the most serious challenges adjusting to all of the changes. A divorce can also affect a child for years to come after the final decree is entered. There are a number of things that you can do as a parent can help your child manage the reality of your divorce.

Listen to Their Concerns and Problems

As with adults, children feel most loved and cared for if they feel that that their parents are listening to them. This is more than just letting them talk. Listening means that you must show you understand what they are worried about and refrain from expressing judgment. While you may be able to offer solutions, your children should not be made to feel guilty about their thoughts and feelings.

Find Someone to Help You

You may feel like you are doing well, but a divorce can wear you down. It is easy to vent to your children and to give more them more information than they know how to handle. This kind of venting can confuse children, make them feel anxious, and can harm their relationship with the other parent. If you need to speak with someone, find a trusted friend or a professional counselor. Be sure to have such conversations away from your children. Doing so will likely give you more patience with your children and can help you manage your stress level.

Cooperate With the Other Parent

One of the best things that divorcing parents can do for their children is to cooperate on parenting decisions whenever possible. This means being flexible and keeping communication lines open when it comes to the children. It may even require you to swallow your pride and make peace with your ex. If speaking to your former spouse is too stressful, use text messages, email, or another form of written communication. While you may be getting a divorce, the two of you will always be the parents of your children. Your children should be able to count on you both.

Encourage Your Children to Spend Time With the Other Parent

Part of your job as a parent is to make sure your children continue to have a healthy relationship with the other parent. If your child feels guilty for “leaving you by yourself” when they are gone or sense that their spending time with the other parent bothers you, mental and emotional issues can quickly develop. Your child could feel that they are being forced to choose between their parents—a situation you should always try to avoid.

Speak to an Attorney

If you have questions about allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, or any other divorce issue, contact an experienced family law attorney in Rolling Meadows. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation at Cosley Law Office today.



Posted in Children of Divorce | Tagged , , , ,

cheating, Rolling Meadows divorce attorneyDid you know that in Illinois it could technically be a crime to cheat on your spouse? In fact, if the “other man” or “woman” knows that you are married, he or she could also be breaking the law. According to the Illinois Criminal Code, adultery—both for a married person and a person who knows his or her partner is married—is considered a misdemeanor criminal offense “if the behavior is open and notorious.” The caveat was originally intended to prevent philanderers from publicly flaunting their infidelity by living with someone who was not their spouse and, as a result, offending the sensibilities of society and degrading the institution of marriage. By the letter of the law, this would even apply to people who are currently in the process of a divorce.

As you might expect, law enforcement officers and prosecutors, by and large, have little interest in looking to convict those who cheat on their spouses. To illustrate, the last known example of an adultery charge being filed happened 20 years ago, and Cook County prosecutors declined to pursue the case.

Marital Infidelity

This is not to suggest that adultery is not a problem in countless marriages around the country. For many couples, a spouse’s unfaithful behavior is often an indication of serious issues that could doom the relationship. Cheating spouses, however, tend to leave inadvertent clues of their infidelities. While a warning sign is not the same as proof—especially if it only a single indication—but it might be time to sit up and take notice if you notice changes in your partner’s routine. There may be a reason for concern if your spouse:

  • Shows a sudden, unexplained interest in his or her appearance and wardrobe – A New Year’s resolution is one thing; joining a gym for the first time in a decade “just because” may be something else;
  • Guards his or her cell phone – He or she never cared before, but now the phone goes everywhere with your spouse. Some people are more private than others, but if he or she will not let you touch his or her phone, there may be a darker reason;
  • Claims that his or her phone “dies” more often – You have a good idea of how vigilant your spouse is about charging his or her phone. If he or she goes out “with friends” and his or her phone “dies” more than it has in the past, you may not be getting the whole story;
  • Initiates a change in your sex life – A couple’s life together will change over time but rarely will such changes happen quickly. If your spouse has shown a sudden lack of interest in sex, he or she may be getting it from someone new. Conversely, an unexplained increase in his or her sex drive could be an indication of its own—either as a distraction or a symptom of guilt;
  • Goes silent on social media – If your spouse once actively posted on Facebook or Instagram but inexplicably stopped, he or she could be doing things you are not supposed to know about;
  • Shows major personality changes – You know your partner better than anyone, and you probably have a good idea of when something is wrong. If things feel “different,” they very well might be.

It is important to remember that there could be perfectly innocent reasons for many of these indicators, but if the signs are beginning to add up, it may be time for a difficult conversation.

For some couples, such a discussion could lead them to the decision to end their marriage. If this is the case for you, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows divorce attorney to learn more about your available options. Call 847-253-3100 and get the help you need today.



Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , ,