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Posted on in Divorce

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, marriage, debt division,Debt is often unavoidable for modern families, whether the debt accrues from credit cards, loans, college tuition or other necessary expenses. However, it is important to remember that marital debt is separate and distinct from personal debt. Illinois law recognizes that married persons can retain property acquired before the marriage as nonmarital property. Furthermore, the law allows married persons to acquire property during the marriage that belongs solely to them (property acquired by descent is one example). That distinction can be confusing for couples and for their creditors. Here are the relevant rules set forth in the Rights of Married Persons Act:

1.       Family expenses (including private school tuition and other education-related expenses) may be considered the property of both spouses, or of either them, in regards to creditors. The couple may face a lawsuit separately or jointly.

2.       Suppose that a spouse has incurred a non-family expense. For example, if the spouse uses money he inherited from his parents to take a solo trip to the beach, this would be considered a non-family expense. If the spouse stays at an inn and refuses to pay his bill, the inn owner has a claim against him but not against the other spouse. The only non-family expenses for which a creditor can initiate a lawsuit against the other spouse (i.e., the spouse who did not incur the expense) are:

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, parental rights,Child custody battles can be stressful and upsetting, especially for parents who do not have their desired custody arrangement or visitation rights. While child custody can be an emotionally fraught issue, it is also a legally delicate one. If you are a non-custodial parent and missing your child, do not take matters into your own hands. Spending time with your child illegally will only hurt your custody and visitation rights.

Parents can be charged with abducting their own children under Illinois law. For example, a person commits child abduction when he or she:

  • Intentionally violates the terms of a valid custody agreement or court order by concealing or detaining the child, or by taking the child outside of the court’s jurisdiction;
  • Intentionally conceals or removes the child from a parent after filing a petition or being served in an action affecting marriage or paternity but before custody has been finalized;
  • Has visitation rights outside of Illinois and fails to return the child to the lawful custodian within Illinois at the end of the visitation period;
  • Knowingly conceals the child from the other parent (assuming that the parents are now, or were, married and there has not been a court custody order) for 15 days and fails to make reasonable attempts to notify the other parent as to the child’s whereabouts (there is an exception for parents fleeing domestic violence situations);
  • Knowingly conceals, detains or removes the child from the other parent using physical force or threat of physical force when the parents are or were married and there is not a court custody order;
  • Knowingly conceals, detains or removes the child for payment or promise of payment when asked by a person who has no legal custody right;
  • Knowingly removes a child from another state and keeps him or her in Illinois for 30 days without lawful consent or a court order;
  • Intentionally lures or attempts to lure a child who is under 17 years old or traveling to or from school into a motor vehicle; or
  • Knowingly destroys, alters or conceals evidence regarding a child’s abduction or knowingly provides false information.

It is easy to imagine a number of scenarios where a parent might convince his child to come home with him, contrary to a lawful custody arrangement. Remember that Illinois law considers this to be child abduction, even when the abduction involves your own child. A child abduction conviction is a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

If you are unhappy with the terms of your custody arrangement or visitation rights then contact one of our experienced Kane County family law attorneys today. We will help you pursue custody changes through legal means. We can assist those in the St. Charles area.

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, marriage, asset division,In 2012, an Illinois appellate court considered a dissipation case called In re Marriage of Berberet. Dissipation occurs when one or both spouses waste marital assets to prevent the other spouse from receiving those assets during a divorce. Under Illinois law, dissipation refers to a person’s use of marital property for his or her sole benefit for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time when the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown.

Berberet involved several issues related to dissipation. For example, the wife claimed dissipation when the husband took a trip with their children during the divorce proceedings, in addition to a solo hunting trip and a trip to Las Vegas. The court found that these trips did not constitute dissipation because they were not unusual or inconsistent with the lifestyle established during the marriage. In fact, the husband had taken similar trips in the past, and the wife had also taken similar trips with the children.

Berberet offers another example of a baseless dissipation claim. The wife also claimed dissipation when a vehicle the husband purchased during the divorce proceedings depreciated. He purchased the truck for $44,000, but at trial the court valued the vehicle at $10,000 less. The court held that the depreciation did not constitute dissipation because nothing in the evidence suggested that he paid an excessive price of took actions that caused the drop in value.

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, parental rights,Illinois strives to keep families together, whenever possible. However, there are circumstances in which the state will break up a family – sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently. Those circumstances generally involve child abuse, neglect or some other type of criminal behavior. If a court determines that a child should be permanently removed from his home, then the child likely will be placed for adoption. But when is parental consent for adoption required and when is it not?

The law generally requires a child’s parent to consent to adoption. However, there are exceptions to this requirement. For example, if a court finds that a person is an unfit parent, then no consent is necessary. Other exceptions include:

  • The person is not the child’s biological or adoptive father;
  • The person has waived or terminated his parental rights;
  • The person is the child’s father as a result of criminal sexual abuse or assault;
  • The father is a family member of the child’s mother, who was under 18 years old when the child was conceived; or
  • The father is at least five years older than the child’s mother, who was under 17 years old when the child was conceived (but the parents may voluntarily acknowledge the father’s paternity).

Unless one of the above exceptions applies, then a child is only available for adoption if:

Posted on in Divorce

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, marriage, asset division,Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital assets are divided equitably, and not necessarily equally. The first assets that likely come to mind when you think about dividing marital property are the bank accounts, as well as the house, car and other large tangible objects. But there are additional, more “unusual” assets that are often overlooked before the divorce proceeding begins. Examples include:

  • Pets – Pets are considered personal property under Illinois law and are treated as such during a divorce proceeding. One factor that contributes to who gets Fido is who gets the kids.
  • Gifts given during the marriage – If your husband gives you diamond earrings for Valentine’s Day, or if your wife gives you an expensive watch for your birthday, those “gifts” are actually marital property, if they were purchased using marital assets. While it seems likely that each spouse will end up with his or her respective gift, that is not a guarantee.
  • Photograph albums – It is difficult to put a price tag on a book of memories, but it is easy for spouses to argue about who gets the photograph albums.
  • Collections – Suppose you started a collection of tile coasters or salt-and-pepper shakers as mementos of your trips together. That collection sits in a curio cabinet in your living room. Who gets the collectibles? And who gets the cabinet? A collection, like photographs, has sentimental value that also defies a price tag.
  • Frequent flyer miles – This is a valuable asset that is likely considered marital property, especially if the plane tickets that earned the miles were purchased with marital assets.
  • Partnership in a legal or medical practice – Often one spouse will stay at home and care for the kids while the other spouse focuses on his or her career. The law refers to the stay-at-home spouse’s sacrifice as a homemaker contribution. Some courts might say that this contribution entitles the stay-at-home spouse to a certain percentage of the working spouse’s involvement in the partnership. This can be a complicated calculation that requires the help of forensic accountants.
  • Legal judgments – Suppose that one spouse is injured in a car accident and sues for damages. The spouse then receives a large monetary award. Even though the injured spouse is the one who underwent medical treatment and pain and suffering, that judgment is marital property.
  • Intellectual Property Interests – Patents, copyrights, trademarks and other intellectual property interests conceived during the marriage are also subject to equitable distribution.
Because Illinois is an equitable distribution state, a divorcing spouse needs an experienced divorce attorney who can help the spouse receive his or her fair share of the marital property. Contact one of our experienced Kane County divorce attorneys today. We can assist those in the St. Charles area.  
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