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Issues in High-Asset Divorce

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IL divorce lawyerAny divorce can become very complicated very quickly. Even when the spouses share very little marital property, there can be substantial conflict that makes the divorce hard to resolve. When the spouses share substantial marital assets, it can be reasonably assumed that the divorce will be a bit more complicated than most. Neither spouse is likely willing to be left with what they feel is less than their fair share of the marital property. This can produce a lot of conflict. The court may need to make these decisions in cases where the parties are unable to agree. Under Illinois law, all marital property is to be divided in an equitable manner. This largely means that after considering all the relevant factors, the court can largely divide assets in any way it deems fair. It is especially important that individuals in high net-worth marriages be represented by an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer. Unrepresented parties are frequently taken advantage of. 

Dividing Ownership Interest in a Business

If one spouse has ownership interest in a corporation, that interest will likely need to be divided. Even if the interest is held in the name of only one spouse, the court is likely to consider it as part of the marital estate. The same may be true even if one spouse’s business is a licensed professional practice that the other spouse is not involved with. Creating a fair division can take time and effort. You may need a skilled business valuation or other professional assistance. 

Splitting Investments 

Your investments will need to be divided, regardless of what form they are in. Some types of investments are easier to divide than others. Assets that are fluid in value may pose a unique challenge, as no one can predict how the value of stocks, for example, might change after division. 


Do I Need a Court Order to Leave My Home with My Kids?

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IL divorce lawyerYou are not the first person to ask this question. Many people, for many reasons, wonder whether they can simply pack up their children and leave the home they share with their partner. The answer can depend on several factors. Usually, if there is no court order in place regarding parenting time, either parent is free to take their children anywhere in the country they please. So long as the children are considered to be safe with the parent who has them, the court will generally not take action against that parent. Visitation problems in the early stages of a divorce are common. However, it is important to be careful in how you handle parenting time arrangements before you are able to get a court order. How you and your spouse cooperate will be a factor the court may consider later on. It is wise to speak to an attorney before taking any such action, however. 

Leaving a Domestic Violence Situation with Children

One of the most common reasons parents consider suddenly taking their children and going to stay elsewhere is because there is violence in the home. Domestic violence survivors, or parents of children who have been abused by the other parent, often find it safest to simply vanish while the abuser is not home. 

An alternative option is to seek an Order of Protection. This type of order can force your abuser to leave the home. However, it may be safer if you and the children stay in a location where the abuser cannot find you. It is critical to inform your attorney if you are in this situation so that they can help plan to keep you and your children safe. 


Do Courts Favor Mothers in Child Custody Cases?

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IL family lawyerIllinois law dictates that both of a child’s parents, regardless of their genders, are to be treated equally under the law in all matters, including those concerning child custody. Our state has historically been very progressive about how parents of varying genders are treated in parentage and child custody cases. To begin with, Illinois uses the gender-neutral term “parentage” rather than “paternity” in nearly all formal documents. Fortunately for fathers, Illinois recognizes that a child’s relationship with each parent is equally important and worthy of protection. Courts tend to favor parenting time schedules that give both parents roughly equal meaningful time with their children for this reason. However, it is also critical for fathers involved in custody cases to be represented by a knowledgeable attorney, as experiencing some latent bias is always a risk. 

Was Child Custody Law Always Fair to Fathers?

The short answer is no. Illinois, like most other states, used to heavily favor mothers in child custody disputes. Additionally, up until fairly recently, all child custody cases used to necessarily involve a mother and a father. Now, these cases may well involve any combination of mothers, fathers, and parents of other genders. 

Illinois used to follow what was called the “tender years doctrine.” This legal doctrine held that young children were better off with their mother, who was almost certainly the primary caregiver and very likely a stay-at-home parent. A lot has changed since these times. 


Divorce for Homemakers

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IL divorce lawyerHomemakers do real work with real economic value. Many find that it makes more financial sense for one spouse to stay home to raise children or manage the household. In other cases, one spouse may not work outside the home due to a disability but is still able to contribute to the family in other important ways. When spouses who were homemakers during their marriages get divorced, they often worry about how they will find the money they need to live comfortably after separating from their spouses. Fortunately, Illinois law protects homemaker spouses during divorce in several ways, such as by making spousal support a possibility in some cases. It is important to talk to a qualified Illinois divorce lawyer about how your status as a homemaker might matter during your divorce. 

How Does Illinois Divorce Law Protect Homemakers?

There are a few ways state law protects homemaker spouses, including: 

  • Spousal support - Spousal support payments can be ordered in some cases. Getting spousal support is more likely if you were married for a long time or could not easily go back to working for another reason. Courts will consider a large number of different factors in deciding whether alimony is appropriate and if so, how much. Many of these factors have to do with the homemaker’s ability to re-enter the workforce. 
  • Equitable division - Illinois is an equitable division state. This means that marital property must be divided in a way that is fair to both spouses. Marital assets are presumed to belong equally to both spouses, regardless of whose income was used to build up or buy the asset. This is because the state recognizes that homemakers contribute to their spouse’s ability to focus on their career while doing unpaid labor at home. 
  • Childcare considerations - If the court needs to make a decision about parenting time, it will consider who the children’s primary caregiver was. Often, the homemaker spouse is the parent the children are used to spending more time with. Because decisions relating to child custody must be made based on what is in the child’s best interests, courts often find that the children would do best continuing to be cared for primarily by the homemaker parent. 

A divorce attorney can help you understand how being a homemaker might impact your particular divorce case. 


Surviving Divorce as a Domestic Violence Survivor

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IL family lawyerDomestic violence is something no one should ever have to face. Your spouse has no right to use violence against you no matter what. If you are currently in a marriage where you are being abused, getting divorced may be one of the necessary steps towards safely escaping the relationship. There are certain precautions you may want to take before you start the divorce process. It is important to inform your lawyer if you have suffered abuse during the marriage so that they can make sure to put your safety first. You may need to find a safe place to stay before filing if you are afraid that your spouse could react violently, or alternatively, your lawyer may be able to get a special kind of court order that forbids your spouse from coming near you. Safety planning is of the highest importance when you are divorcing your abusive spouse. 

Consider a Protection Order

Your lawyer might be able to help you obtain a protection order against your spouse before officially filing for divorce on your behalf. A protection order tells your spouse to stay away from you, and they can be arrested if they do not comply with the order. One of the advantages of using this type of order is that you will generally be able to stay in your home while your spouse is forced to stay elsewhere. Your ex can also be ordered to stay away from your workplace and your children’s schools in addition to being required to give up their weapons. 

Let Your Lawyer Advocate for You

If your spouse has abused you, trying to work with them directly is not likely to lead to success. It may be better for you to avoid types of mediation where you would have contact. Attorney-facilitated negotiation may be a better option. Your attorney can negotiate directly with your spouse’s attorney to try to reach an agreement without you needing to see your spouse. This gives them no opportunity to further abuse you in any way. Some survivors of domestic violence may need to resolve their divorces in court if their spouse will not cooperate with a collaborative divorce process. 

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