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Posted on in Divorce

St. Charles, IL spousal maintenance attorney

Someone who has a greater income than his or her spouse can have an advantage during a divorce. If each spouse is left with only their individual resources, the wealthier spouse would be able to hire a more expensive lawyer, pay for other advisers, and better afford a prolonged legal battle. Illinois tries to level the playing field during a divorce by allowing someone to request interim attorney fees and costs from their spouse if they cannot afford these expenses. This divorce tool is a financial boon or burden, depending on which side of the court order you are on.

Receiving Interim Fees

As the name suggests, you will file for interim attorney fees and costs while the case is still ongoing. This request is strictly meant to pay for your legal fees related to your divorce. If you need help paying for your living expenses, you need to file for temporary spousal maintenance. When deciding whether to grant interim attorney fees, the court will consider:

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What to Watch for When Divorcing a Self-Employed SpouseDivorce has long involved people who are self-employed, such as business owners. Today, more people are making a living as independent contractors and freelancers, which is also self-employment. Having a spouse who is self-employed makes it more difficult to identify their income and properties for the purpose of divorce. This information is necessary when calculating spousal maintenance and child support. If you are divorcing someone who is self-employed, you need to be thorough in collecting and evaluating their financial records to make sure they are not hiding anything from you. 

Collecting Information

When your spouse is employed by another person or business, their tax returns should accurately show their income because their employer is reporting it to the IRS. People who are self-employed are responsible for reporting their own income for tax purposes, which means that they could potentially underreport their income. You need to piece together your spouse’s various income sources by requesting:

  • Records of their business income, assets, expenses, and debts
  • Statements from bank accounts related to their business
  • Receipts from payments they received for freelance or contract work

Some people do freelance work in addition to being employed by a business. Make sure you ask for your spouse’s income records for side jobs, such as driving for a ride-share company.

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Posted on in Divorce

What Movies Misunderstand About DivorceOne of the films nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year is “Marriage Story,” which is about a couple with a young son going through an emotional divorce. The divorce lawyers for each side play a prominent role in the film, shining a light on the legal process. Divorce is a common source of conflict for filmmakers wanting to portray a family drama. “Kramer vs. Kramer” won the award for Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 1979. While movies have helped form the public perception of divorce, it is important to understand that your divorce will be different than the stories you see portrayed on screen:

  1. Divorce Is Not All About Drama: Divorce in a movie often includes dramatic announcements and heated arguments because that is what makes the most compelling story. These things can occur in a real divorce, but your divorce can be peaceful and cooperative if that is what you both want. Most of the “drama” you will experience will be internal as you mourn the end of your marriage and wonder what the future will hold for you.
  2. Divorce Does Not Have to Be Someone’s Fault: A movie character usually asks for a divorce because of something that their spouse did. The spouse may be having an extramarital affair, behaving abusively, neglecting their family, or preventing the main character from pursuing their dreams. In real life, divorce may be no one’s fault. Some couples grow apart over time or were never compatible. Both sides may have made mistakes, but assigning blame does not help you heal from your divorce.
  3. Divorce Can Be a Happy Ending: Some movie couples go through the drama of splitting up but get back together at the end of the movie. Audiences see this as a “feel-good ending” because the main characters’ romance was saved and the family was preserved. While there is nothing wrong with trying to work out your marital problems, a divorce may be the best resolution if you are unhappy in your marriage. Staying in a contentious and loveless marriage makes everyone in your home miserable.

Contact a St. Charles, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer

It may not be a Hollywood ending, but divorce can create new opportunities for happiness by freeing you from an unhealthy marriage. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can explain what to expect from a real divorce and what you can gain from the process. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.

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Posted on in Child Custody

How Divorce Has Improved for Men in the Past DecadeDivorce in the U.S. has changed in many ways during the last decade. The divorce rate has settled down from the boom the country experienced in the 1970s. Millennials, who were the children of many of those divorces, are waiting longer to get married and start a family. Divorce has also become more amicable because of the rising use of conflict resolution methods such as mediation and collaborative divorce. Women have increasing power during the process and are less likely to be financially dependent upon men. However, men have also seen increased benefits from divorce, thanks to that same trend towards gender equality.

Father’s Rights

The presumption used to be that the mother would have most of the control over the children after a divorce because the mother was the primary caretaker in the family. Fathers would typically have less decision-making power, and equal parenting time was practically unheard of. Now, courts see the importance of both divorced parents having a major role in raising their children. This means that courts:

  • Are more likely to consider a father’s request for equal parenting time
  • May give a majority of the parenting time to a father if it is in the children’s best interest
  • May give more weight to a father’s desire for shared parenting, even if they were less active as a parent during the marriage

It is difficult to obtain equal parenting time in Illinois because courts presume that it is better for the children if one parent has more parenting time. Still, a proactive father is more likely to be rewarded, instead of getting the children every other weekend.

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Costly Mistakes to Avoid in a High Asset DivorceA couple in a high asset divorce has more at stake in the division of property – and more to lose if they make a mistake. A poorly conceived divorce agreement could cost you a small fortune in lost or squandered assets. Once the agreement is approved, you will not get a do-over unless you can prove that your spouse intentionally deceived you during your divorce or you signed the agreement under duress. To avoid having remorse over your high asset divorce, you should do your best to get your agreement right the first time.

Dig Deep

The main way that a high asset divorce is different from other divorces is the number and variety of marital properties. You need to thoroughly investigate your spouse’s finances to see whether there are hidden assets, such as:

  • Undisclosed bank accounts
  • Marital assets within a business
  • Business assets purchased with marital money
  • Secret retirement accounts
  • Secret collections of luxury items
  • Undisclosed real estate
  • Marital assets being loaned to a friend

It is fraudulent for your spouse to hide marital assets if your spouse is actively trying to deceive you. Your spouse might not be at fault if you overlook assets that a reasonable investigation would have discovered.

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