Tag Archives: Illinois law

Kane County family law attorneyIssues of money and property are often among the most contested elements in any divorce situation. A couple who has spent many years building a life together frequently have trouble disengaging from one another, at least in regard to their assets and debts. When divorcing spouses cannot reach a negotiated agreement regarding how their property will be divided, the court will make such decisions for them. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides fairly straightforward guidelines for the distribution of marital property which must be followed by the court.

What Property Will Be Divided?

Before any assets can be distributed, the court must first identify the property that is subject to division. Only assets and debts that are considered marital property will be divided between the spouses. The full listing of a couple’s marital property is sometimes referred to as the “marital estate.” According to Illinois law, the marital estate consists of virtually all property—including assets and debts—acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Very limited exceptions may be made for assets acquired during the marriage as a gift or inheritance to one spouse. Assets that were owned before the marriage are considered non-marital and are not subject to division.

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Kane County divorce attorneysIf you are thinking about a divorce, you probably realize that you and your spouse will need to figure out a plan for dividing the property that you own as a couple. You may also understand that if you cannot reach an agreement on your own, the court will need to step in and divide your assets and debts for you. Finally, you may even know that the property division laws in Illinois are based on the principals of equitable distribution, which means that, if left to the court, your marital property will be divided in a way that is fair and just, not necessarily evenly.

Many individuals, however, are unsure about what the law considers to be marital property. Countless movies and television shows suggest that just about anything a person has ever owned—both prior to and during the marriage—is fair game in a divorce. Fictional characters are often encouraged to be wary of marriage because if it ends badly, his or her spouse will supposedly get half of everything. Assuming that the marital property was supposed to be split 50/50 in Illinois, a spouse would not be entitled to a share of anything the other party ever owned. Instead, the law provides a definition of what comprises the marital estate which, at times, can be a little complicated.

When the Property Was Acquired

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Kane County child custody lawyersSharing parental responsibilities can be quite complicated for divorced, separated, or unmarried parents. Each parent may have an idea of how he or she thinks the child should be raised, and such ideas often differ—even between reasonable, well-meaning parents. Conflicting ideas about parenting can create confusion for the child, which is why it is so important for parents to work together to develop a parenting plan that clearly determines what role each parent will play in making significant decisions about the child’s life.  

What Are Significant Decisions?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act defines “significant decision-making” as “deciding issues of long-term importance in the life of a child.” The law also provides several considerations that are always considered significant decisions, such as:

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Kane County family law attorneyWhen a couple gets married, it is not at all uncommon for a spouse—usually a woman, but not always—to take her partner’s last name as a symbol of their union. Some partners choose to hyphenate their surnames so as to keep their own identity while adding their spouse’s name to theirs. When a marriage comes to an end, it is relatively easy—and usually part of the standard divorce paperwork—for a spouse who changed her name to change it back during the proceedings. But, what about the children of a divorcing couple? It turns out that changing the name of a minor child in Illinois may be more complicated than most people realize.

What the Law Says

While most of the legal details surrounding marriage and divorce are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5), name changes are typically made in accordance with the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5). The statute provides that a name change for a minor child is possible if the court finds “by clear and convincing evidence that the change is necessary to serve the best interest of the child.” A separate provision in the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 (750 ILCS 46) allows for a child’s name to be changed if both parents agree, though this law is typically utilized in cases of unmarried parents or when parentage is in question.

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Chicago family law, establishing paternity, getting married, Illinois law, Kane County family law lawyer, presuming paternity, St. Charles, putative father, Putative Father Registry, claiming paternity in IllinoisWomen of today have more options than women of earlier generations. It used to be that women who became pregnant out of wedlock had no choice but to marry, or else confront lives of poverty and social isolation. While that unfortunate scenario is the reality for some women, others have found that single motherhood affords more stability than marriage.

Lily’s story is one example. She broke up with her boyfriend Carl while pregnant because she feared he would make caring for their child more difficult. Carl had trouble holding down a job, and Lily decided she could not depend on him. Furthermore, because Lily and Carl were not married when she gave birth, and because his name is not on the birth certificate, he has no legal parenting rights. For Lily, that was the desired outcome. But is that what Carl wanted? What if Carl decides he wants to claim paternity? What rights would Carl, or any putative father, have under Illinois law?

Presuming or Establishing Paternity

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 200
St. Charles, IL 60174

 630-584-4800

 1770 Park Street, Suite 205
Naperville IL 60563

 630-364-4046

 400 S. County Farm Road, Suite 300
Wheaton, IL 60187

 630-407-1777

Our Illinois divorce attorneys represent clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County, including Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, Virgil, Lily Lake, Aurora, North Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Gilberts, Millcreek, Maple Park, Kaneville, LaFox, Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Bristol, Newark, DeKalb, Sycamore, Naperville, Wheaton, West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Oak Brook, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Schaumburg, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Plainfield, Sandwich, Yorkville and many other cities.

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