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Will County family law attorneyDivorce is an emotionally-challenging life experience that, unfortunately, many couples go through. Regardless of the number of years that you have been married, recognizing that the promise of “till death do us part” has been broken can be devastating. This is especially true for those who share children together. Divorce does not just affect the married couple’s relationship, but also each parent’s relationship with their children. This decision does not need to have a damaging impact on your relationship as a parent, however, and the way that you choose to discuss this decision with your kids can be a key factor in the ramifications of your divorce.

Breaching the Topic

When you and your spouse have made the definitive decision to move forward with your divorce, it is important to be upfront with your children from the start. If they find out about your divorce through the grapevine before you have had the chance to talk to them, this can be damaging to your relationship and their trust in you. If you and your spouse are filing for divorce, it is highly unlikely that your child has not sensed your distance or tension in the past. They may even suspect that divorce is on the horizon. 

Before telling your kids the news, you and your spouse must be on the same page about how the discussion will go. Presenting the news as a united front will send the message that you are both their parents, despite your impending divorce. The details of the conversation will shift depending on your kids' ages, but be sure to stress that your decision to divorce is not reflective of your love for your child or a result of their actions in any way. 

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Will County child support enforcement lawyerWhen parents get divorced, there are a number of additional concerns that are unique to their situation. Both you and your co-parent will need to decide who will care for your child when, what parental responsibilities you will each take on, and how much child support will be provided from one parent to another. Most divorcing parents will have some form of child support order assigned to them, unless the parenting is 50/50 and the parents have almost identical incomes. How frequently does this happen? Not very often. 

Child support orders are meant to ensure that the parent with less parenting time is financially supporting their child, even if they do not care for the child as frequently as their co-parent. Unfortunately, child support payments do not always go as smoothly as they should, and your former spouse may not be meeting their payment deadlines each month. If this is the case, there are a few ways to enforce the financial assistance with the help of the court.

Determining the Amount Owed

Before any legal enforcements can be made, a judge must have proof of how much child support has been paid and how much is still owed. Finding documentation of these payments is dependent upon how the support is paid. For those who make payments through the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (SDU) or circuit court’s office, these two offices can provide a list of payments that have already been made and the amount still owed by the paying parent. It is important to keep your own documentation of these payments, in order to compare your records with those from the SDU or circuit court. If your co-parent simply pays you personally on a monthly basis (this is relatively uncommon), you will need to present your own evidence of the missing payments. From there, you can determine how much is still owed to you.

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Will County divorce attorneysIn today’s world, it is not uncommon for couples to seek out a divorce after one, two, or even three decades of marriage. Many see themselves in the clear after years of marriage; however, distance can develop at any point in your relationship. Also known as gray divorce, there are a number of reasons why couples are turning towards this legal split later in life, and for those who are making this decision mid-life, it is even more important to seek out reputable legal representation to help guide you through the process.

Financial Implications

Your financial state is constantly changing throughout your relationship. One year you may have the flexibility to go on multiple vacations, while a year later you may struggle to make ends meet. Financial difficulties are a common reason for any divorce, but especially for those who have arguments regarding their finances for years on end. Maybe one spouse is the primary breadwinner and makes all the financial decisions, or perhaps one of you has spending habits that sends your partner over the edge. For middle-aged couples, these constant arguments can add up and eventually lead to their demise.

Infidelity

Rarely do relationships survive instances of infidelity, especially after you have spent decades together and have full trust in your spouse. Being unfaithful in a marriage is one of the quickest ways that a relationship can become severed, and with various dating apps and websites at your disposal, it can feel as if temptation is surrounding you at all times. Baby Boomers tend to be individualists and can often place their own needs above others. While cheating may not carry the same stigma that it once did, these actions can still lead to severe consequences in a marriage.

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Joliet divorce attorneysEvery divorce is different, including each spouse’s inclination to be cooperative throughout the process. Though it is easiest and quickest for both parties to be forthcoming regarding their finances, it is not uncommon for one or both spouses to attempt to keep a portion of their assets out of the divorce proceedings. As an equitable distribution state, Illinois requires all finances and assets to be disclosed and fairly distributed between both parties, even if one spouse was the primary breadwinner. If you suspect that your spouse is keeping a side-stash of assets, you may consider taking additional action to reveal their true colors.

Common Signs of Hidden Assets

Do you have a feeling that your spouse is not being truly forthcoming about their assets, but are unsure of where to look? Before obtaining a court order against your spouse, you should try to do your own digging. There are four common ways that spouses hide their assets during a divorce:

  1. Denying that the asset exists
  2. Transferring the asset to a third party for the time being
  3. Claiming that the asset was lost or misplaced
  4. Creating false debt

Looking at the details on your tax returns are often the most telling of your true financial situation. The first place that you should look is the itemized deduction section. You can easily detect undisclosed assets or income. For example, a deduction of property taxes could reveal the existence of a hidden property. You can also look at the interest and dividends recorded on the tax return. First, create your own inventory of the assets that you know of, then compare this to your tax return to determine if there are any unknown assets generating interest or dividends. There are a number of other areas that can be useful in locating hidden assets with the help of your attorney, though this is a good place to start.

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Joliet divorce attorneysDo you turn to social media to seek out support from others who share similar experiences or do you use it as a personal diary to vent about your problems? Now that social media has become so integral to our lives, these digital platforms take on different meanings for everyone. Depending on your current circumstances, social media can be a fun pastime or an emotional outlet, but when it comes to your divorce, these platforms should always remain neutral. When divorces become contentious and conflict begins to arise, social media accounts are one of the first places that your spouse’s attorney will turn for evidence in his or her favor.

Areas of Concern

The two places where contention typically surfaces is during child custody determinations and the asset division process. If your co-parent is dead set on parenting alone, they will need to provide an explanation of why you are not fit to be a parent. In some instances, these accusations can be made out spite for the conflict that occurred during your marriage, rather than a true testament of your ability to act as a responsible parent. Whether or not the accusations are actually true, social media posts can make it easy to convince the judge otherwise. A number of photos of you out with some friends, holding a beer in one hand, can be misconstrued as a common occurrence of alcohol abuse. Without adequate or accurate context, a judge can view the series of photos as a testament of your character and ability to safely parent your child, resulting in reduced or even supervised child custody orders.

Additionally, your social media presence can be telling of your financial situation. When it comes to asset division and spousal maintenance decisions, the court will decide who gets what based on each spouse’s income and personal savings. If you claim that you have a very limited income, asking for consistent spousal support or a particular marital asset, then post a photo of you on vacation, the judge can easily get the wrong idea. Even if you planned the vacation well in advance of your divorce or the trip was a gift from a close family member, your spouse can attempt to spin the situation to work in his or her favor.

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