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Recent Blog Posts

Divorce and Credit Card Debt

 Posted on May 27, 2012 in Family Law

credit card debt imageIn the United States, credit card debt is a large portion of a divorcing couple's debt; depending on the type of account, each spouse may carry the debt long after the divorce is settled.

If you are listed as an authorized user on a a credit card, you are not held liable by the issuing bank for the debts charged on the card.  Only the card holder will be held responsible for the debts.

If, however, both spouses are listed on the card account as joint card holders, each will be held responsible for paying the debt on the card.  In that case, it is vital that each spouse speak with their divorce attorney to create a plan for each spouse to pay down the debt together before the divorce is finalized.  Another option would be to close the account and transfer the balance to a card held in only one spouse's name.

It's a good idea to decouple the debts for each spouse before or during divorce proceedings.  In order to do so, the card holder simply has to call the card company and ask that the authorized user be taken off of the card.  Decoupling will protect the other spouses's credit during and after the divorce proceedings.

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Property Distribution During a Divorce

 Posted on May 23, 2012 in Family Law

Each state determines how property is distributed when a couple is divorced. The property is divided into marital property and non-marital property, and then split between the two parties.

In Illinois, property is distributed equitably, but not necessarily equally, between the individuals. Marital property includes anything that was acquired after the date of marriage and before the legal dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, with several exceptions. These include gifts and property that has been acquired through descent, or exchange for such property, or anything that both parties have agreed not to group as marital property.

When going through the divorce process, couples can determine the division of property outside of a courtroom. An experienced and caring Illinois divorce attorney can mediate a discussion between the two parties to split property. Without the help of an attorney, these discussions can get ugly.

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Divorce and the Division of the High Value Assets and Debts

 Posted on May 16, 2012 in Family Law

Divorce is not at all an easy thing to be dealt with. It can be both mentally and financially exhaustive. It is very much complex and tiresome a process. This is supposed to be true for both of the spouses. So, before you take the decision to renounce the marriage vows, think twice. It is such complex a situation that even the debt reduction strategies may not be able to help you do away with the debt problems, arising out of a divorce deal.

Division of high value assets

As per the divorce laws in Illinois, there is no such rule that is going to lead to a 50/50 division of the assets. This is mainly because, the state of Illinois does not fall under the community property states and thus, the division of the property and the assets based on these is not followed too. Illinois rather believes in the equitable distribution of properties in between the spouses if the question of divorce arises. So, the property and the assets can be distributed in any ratio like 30/70 or 40/60, 70/30, 10/90 and so on. There can even be situations in which all of the marital property gets handed over to only one spouse. Such cases are in general, settled either by the court or the spouses with the help of the attorneys.

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Proving a Fault Divorce in Illinois

 Posted on May 09, 2012 in Family Law

While Illinois allows for a no-fault divorce, state statues set out specific situations that would qualify as fault on either party in the event of a dissolution of marriage.

In order to qualify as fault, one of the parties must have committed adultery or bigamy, engaged in physical or mental cruelty towards the other spouse, experienced proven impotence, deserted the other spouse for a period of one year or more, demonstrated habitual drunkenness for the two years or more,

In some cases, fault is present if one spouse has been convicted of a felony or “other infamous crime.” The law will find fault if one spouse is proven to have attempted the life of the other by poison or other means showing malice, or have given the other spouse a sexually transmitted disease.

Hand on Head Stressed WomanThe chapter also makes provisions for how drug abuse qualifies as a reason for determining fault in a divorce proceeding. To meet this requirement, there must be a proven “use of an addictive drug by a person when using the drug becomes a controlling or a dominant purpose of his life.”

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Illinois Congressman Walsh and Ex-Wife Reach Private Settlement in Child Support Battle

 Posted on May 06, 2012 in Family Law

Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh and his ex-wife have reportedly ended a highly publicized child support battle in private. According to AP reports, Walsh settled for an undisclosed amount in a private settlement, ending the battle.

In 2010, Walsh's ex- wife, Laura sued for about $117,000 owed in back child support and interest. After the suit was filed, Walsh faced a public relations nightmare when various blogs and media outlets dubbed him a “deadbeat dad.” After Walsh asked for the case to be dismissed, political opponents criticized him for engaging in election year politics.

Walsh's response was that from 2005-2010, his income dropped while his ex-wife began making more money. As a result, he argued that he was not responsible for paying the amount of child support asked for by Laura Walsh.

In Illinois, the amount of child support to be paid is governed by 750 ILCS 5/505. The guidelines for determining the amount paid in most cases are: The financial needs and resources of the child (or children), The financial needs and resources of the custodial parent, the standard of living the child or children would've enjoyed had the marriage not have been dissolved, the physical and emotional condition of the child and his educational needs, and the financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent.

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Child Custody and Visitation in Illinois

 Posted on April 30, 2012 in Family Law

Going through a divorce when you have young children can be one of the most difficult and most stressful decisions for a family to make, not only for the parents, but for the children. With the guidance of a caring and experienced divorce lawyer, you and your family can find the best resolution for your custody and visitation situation.

In Illinois, the court can order either sole physical custody, or joint physical custody. Sole physical custody means that one parent would have the power to choose the child’s residence, religious upbringing, and make health care decisions for the child. It does not mean that the other parent never sees the child; they can be granted visitation rights. Joint physical custody means that both parents are responsible for sharing important decisions in the child’s life, as well as sharing time spent with the child.Baby sleeping Crib

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Child Support in Illinois

 Posted on April 23, 2012 in Family Law

NOTE: As of July 2017, the laws that determine how child support payments are calculated in Illinois have changed. Please see our child support page for more information.

Illinois family courts determine the amount of child support a non-custodial parent should pay by looking at several factors. The court will look at the parent’s net income and the number of children the parent is responsible for. Typically the breakdown is as follows:

Number of Children Percent of Non-Custodial Parent's Net Income
1 20%
2 28%
3 32%
4 40%
5 45%
6 50%

Other factors that courts may use to make the determination include financial resources and needs of the children and/or the custodial parent, the standard of living the children would have if the marriage had not been dissolved, the emotional and physical condition of the children, and the financial resources of the non-custodial parent.

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Kobe Bryant Could Lose Millions in Divorce

 Posted on April 21, 2012 in Family Law

When basketball star Kobe Bryant married his wife in 2001, he was 21 years old and she was 18. Bryant was just beginning his basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers and the two did not sign a pre-nuptial agreement. Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce in December 2011, and with no pre-nup and California’s community property laws, she stands to receive half of Bryant’s reported $150 million in assets.

The couple has two children together, for who Vanessa will most likely receive child support payments. Because the marriage lasted more than ten years, California law considers the marriage a lengthy one and she may also be entitled to spousal support as well as a portion of Bryan’s retirement savings.

The LA Times reported that the couple owns three mansions, located in Newport Beach, which have already been put in Vanessa’s name. According to property records on file, the homes have a total value of $18.8 million.

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Property Distribution in Illinois Divorces

 Posted on April 12, 2012 in Family Law

Marriages lasting more than 5 years often involve disagreements over property distribution. Although one partner may threaten to take everything from the other in a divorce action, this threat is fundamentally without merit. Illinois law is precise and specific regarding who receives what property in a divorce, and a spouse's threats of having the power to take the house, furniture and other valuable items from another spouse are usually unfounded.

Under Illinois divorce law, an "equitable" distribution of material goods during a divorce is legally recognized, not an "equal" distribution. This means that while a married couple may have two cars, one of which is worth more than the other, and two motorcycles, the distribution process does not necessary give each spouse a car and motorcycle. If one car is worth $15,000 and the other is worth $5,000, then one spouse may receive the less valuable car in addition to the two motorcycles (each worth $5,000). In other words, each spouse would then have "liquidable" assets worth $15,000.

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After Husband's Indictment, Wife Files For Divorce

 Posted on April 05, 2012 in Family Law

Last month, after 33 years of marriage, Donald Ratcliff’s wife, Brenda, filed for divorce alleging irreconcilable differences. The so-called “differences” may very well be related to the fact that DuPage County prosecutors have indicted Mr. Ratcliff on at least five charges of possessing pornographic images of young children.

According to the Arlington Cardinal, Mr. Ratcliff’s home computer allegedly contained at least 500 pornographic pictures. Prior to his arrest and being held in DuPage County jail, Mr. Ratcliff taught Christian education at Wheaton College, a religious school. Wheaton College terminated his employment in March. Mr. Ratcliff holds his PhD from The University of Georgia.

Ms. Ratcliff is suing for spousal maintenance (formerly known as alimony) from her 60-year-old soon to be ex-husband. Ms. Ratcliff was extremely surprised and humiliated about the revelation that her husband was leading a double life. The couple first met at a small college in Ohio, where Mr. Ratcliff began his teaching career. According to the a document he wrote as a part of his application to teach at Wheaton College, Mr. Ratcliff bragged that he and Brenda “served as missionary teachers on a small island in the West Indies for a year.”

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