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gavel-cash-rightsDivorcing spouses’ income and assets influence everything from property division to child support. Whether a divorcing couple reaches a negotiated divorce settlement or the case goes to court, the spouses can only make informed decisions if both parties disclose full, accurate financial information. Spouses may try to sway the divorce in their favor by underreporting their income, inflating expenses or debt, or lying about assets. This type of financial deception is often especially easy for self-employed spouses.

False income information can heavily influence the case. Lying on official court documents is also unlawful. If you are getting divorced, honest, complete financial disclosure is a must.

Determining a Spouse’s Self-Employment Income During Divorce

If your spouse is self-employed, you may worry that he or she will lie about the amount of money he or she makes. Some spouses try to lower their spousal maintenance or child support obligations by understating their income. Conversely, spouses may try to get more support than they deserve by pretending to be less financially successful than they actually are. Spouses may also underreport income to influence property division.

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parenting, Rolling Meadows divorce lawyersWhen you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, hopefully, you will both place a high priority on your children’s best interests. This can often be a good starting point for a cooperative agreement, but it can also lead to conflict if the two of you have very different ideas about what is best for your children and the best way to maintain your relationship with them. As you work to establish a parenting plan, you should watch out for some of the common disputes that co-parents face.

Parenting Plan Conflicts in Illinois

Chances are, you and your spouse will have some disagreements regarding your parenting plan, with the following questions all possibly leading to sticking points:

  • Where will the children spend most of their time? Both you and your spouse likely value your time with your children, and it can be difficult to adjust to a situation in which your children spend significant time living apart from you. Conflict may arise over whether the children should spend equal time with both parents, or whether a balance that gives more time to one parent is in their best interest.
  • Which parent will have the kids on holidays? Birthdays, school breaks, and holidays are often important times for families, and they can be especially difficult to manage after a divorce. In order for both parents to have the quality time you want with your children on holidays, you will likely need to reach a compromise in which you alternate years or rearrange plans so that your children can celebrate with both parents each year.
  • How will you maintain your children’s routine? Divorce creates a major interruption to your children’s lives, and it is important that you do everything possible to maintain their routines. However, this can be difficult when the children are splitting time between two households. You and your spouse may struggle to create a plan in which you share the same understanding of and commitment to household rules and expectations.
  • How will you introduce a new partner to your children? This may present a conflict especially when one parent is planning to move in with a new partner soon after the divorce. You may have questions or concerns about your children spending some of their time living with someone whom they barely know, and how that person may influence parenting decisions.

Contact an Arlington Heights Divorce Attorney

At the Cosley Law Office, we know how important decisions regarding your children are during the divorce process, and we can advise you in creating a parenting plan that protects their interests and addresses your concerns. Contact a skilled Rolling Meadows divorce lawyer to request a free consultation at 847-253-3100.

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paternity, Arlington Heights family law attorneyIn Illinois, a man who is married or in a civil union with a child’s mother at the time of birth is typically presumed to be the child’s legal father automatically. However, this is not the case for unmarried fathers, regardless of your relationship with the child’s mother. Whether you are already living or cooperating with the child’s mother to care and provide for the child, or the mother is contesting your parental rights, it is important for you to take the necessary steps to establish legal paternity for your sake, and more importantly, for the child’s.

The Benefits of Establishing Paternity in Illinois

Establishing legal paternity has significant benefits for both you and your child. Perhaps the most important benefit for you as the father is that you will have parental rights, meaning that as long as the court has not found you to be an unfit parent, you have the legal standing to request parenting time and parental responsibilities, and you will have a voice when establishing a parenting agreement with the child’s mother. This is especially important if the mother is trying to keep you out of the child’s life, but it is a good idea even if you currently have a civil or romantic relationship with the mother, because it can be difficult to predict how that relationship may change in the future.

Your child will also benefit from establishing paternity, because it ensures that you will be obligated to pay child support and contribute to the child’s daily needs at least until he or she reaches the age of 18. When you are legally confirmed as the father, your child can also be covered under your health insurance benefits, as well as be named as a beneficiary of life insurance, Social Security, and veteran’s benefits. Your child will also be legally entitled to a portion of your assets in the event that you die without a will.

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prenuptial, Arlington Heights family law attorneysPrenuptial agreements, or prenups, have long been the subject of rumors and misinformation. Many people falsely assume that if a couple truly loved each other, they would not need a prenuptial agreement. This is simply not true. Prenuptial agreements provide a range of benefits, but they must be accurately executed in order to be legally enforceable. There are several issues that can make a prenuptial agreement invalid.

False Financial Information

Prenuptial agreements allow spouses to define and protect property rights in the event of divorce. Another major benefit of prenuptial agreements is that creating the agreement gives spouses the opportunity to make sure they are on the same page regarding finances. Disagreements about money are among the most common reasons that married couples split up and is considered to be the leading cause of tension in romantic relationships. Having an honest conversation about financial matters before the marriage can help prevent money-related arguments in the future. During the creation of a prenuptial agreement, each spouse must fully disclose income, assets, and debts. If a prenuptial agreement is founded upon false or incomplete financial information, the document may be invalid.

Once Spouse Did Not Consent to the Prenup

Just like other types of contracts, participants must fully consent to a prenuptial agreement in order for it to be valid. If a spouse did not legally consent to the agreement because he or she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of signing the agreement or was coerced or forced into the agreement, it will not be valid. In order to be legally enforceable, both spouses must read and fully agree to the terms of the agreement. However, proving that a spouse did not consent to a prenup can be difficult and will require help from an experienced attorney.

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equitable distribution, Arlington Heights divorce attorneysWhen a couple gets divorced, everyone “knows” that each spouse is entitled to half of everything the couple owns, including the property that each party brought with them into the marriage. This idea is repeated as fact in countless movies, television programs, and informal advice forums. Such an assumption, however, about how property is divided in a divorce is, at best, misguided and, at worst, completely inaccurate—at least in the state of Illinois.

Equal Division Is Not Guaranteed

Illinois is known as an equitable distribution state when it comes to dividing property in a divorce. Equitable is not the same as equal, and the distinction is very important. The principles of equitable distribution—and Illinois law—require marital property to be divided in a manner that is fair and just. To determine what is fair and just, the circumstances of the marriage, divorce, and expected post-divorce situation must be taken into account.

Important factors include:

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