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DuPage County Attorneys

LOMBARD

900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100

BLOOMINGDALE

134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761

ST. CHARLES

333 N. Randall Road, Suite 104, St. Charles, IL 60175

Phone: 630-443-0600

CHICAGO

105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100
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Lombard Divorce AttorneyWhen parents with minor children divorce in Illinois, the court asks them to submit a mutually agreed parenting plan that includes an allocation of parenting time and decision-making responsibility. The court will approve that plan as long as it appears to be in the best interests of the children. However, if the parents cannot agree, the court will have to determine the parenting plan. To ensure that the court has enough information to make decisions in the best interests of the children, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to conduct an investigation and report back to the court. A parent may also ask the court to appoint a GAL if they believe that the court needs to hear an independent perspective on certain matters, e.g., a child’s special needs or the fitness of a parent to care for a child.

What Does a Guardian Ad Litem Do in an Illinois Divorce Case?

A guardian ad litem is an independent attorney who acts as an investigative arm for the court. The GAL does not represent the wishes of either parent nor the wishes of the children. Rather, their goal is to help the court make decisions that are in the best interests of the children. While the court will listen to each parent’s individual perspective, the GAL’s perspective will be given substantial weight as a trusted representative of the court.

The GAL’s investigation will generally include:

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Lombard divorce lawyer gifts heirloomsConflicts over the division of assets in a divorce are sometimes based more on emotional or sentimental value than on financial value, particularly when family heirlooms or gifts are involved. There can also be a dispute over whether an item qualifies as marital property that must be divided or not.

Under Illinois divorce law, most income earned and assets acquired during the marriage are considered marital property. However, per 750 ILCS 5/503(a), “property acquired by gift, legacy or descent” is non-marital property. Anything acquired in exchange for such property is also a non-marital asset.

To help clarify these rules, let us consider the following items and how they would be treated in a divorce:

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DuPage County parental alienation attorneyNo marriage is perfect, and marriages regularly end in divorce. Disagreements and anger about the end of a marriage can cause a spouse to lash out at their former partner in whatever ways they can. Divorces with an adversarial nature often seriously impact the lives of the spouses and any children involved. Occasionally, a parent may take the anger and resentment even further than normal and cause their child or children to experience parental alienation syndrome. 

What Is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

Parental alienation syndrome is a term created in the 1980s by the child psychiatrist Dr. Richard Gardner. Gardner used this term to describe what happens when a parent tries to make their children dislike the other parent. The parent who is attempting to alienate the child is often not happy about the divorce and wants their children to be on their side in order to influence child custody decisions. The alienation is accomplished by making negative comments about the other parent, constantly putting them down, blaming them for everything, and even making false accusations. It is also common to see a parent attempt to keep the children to themselves as much as possible and limit the other parent’s parenting time with the children. 

Addressing Parental Alienation

Parents who believe their significant other has alienated their children against them may wonder what they can do to stop the alienation and have a good relationship with their children again. One of the keys to helping your child come back from the alienation is to start talking to them about similarities and differences between family members. Discuss non-emotional topics such as favorite colors, music, and hobbies and how the child is alike or different from each parent. Then, once that has been established, move on to discussions of the emotions the child is feeling, such as anger. Discuss what makes the child angry and how that is the same or different from what makes the parents angry. Doing this exercise will encourage the child to think about individualized emotions and help them realize that they do not have to feel the same emotions as others. For example, they do not have to be angry at one parent just because the other parent is angry. 

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Posted on in Family Law

IL divorce lawyerIf you are currently married but are not happy and wish to end the relationship, there are a few different options. Two of the most common options are legal separation and divorce. Divorce is well-known and very common, ending in the dissolution of the marriage. It also allows a couple to separate and divide up property and assets. Child custody and maintenance may also be worked out in a divorce.

Legal separation is not as well-known. If a couple legally separates, they do not dissolve the marriage, but instead will have a separation agreement. Many of the same issues are addressed, such as child visitation, custody, alimony, or maintenance. However, it does not divide up properties and assets unless both people agree to it ahead of time. Neither spouse is allowed to remarry because the marriage has never been formally dissolved. There are differences in how finances are handled in each option so it is important to evaluate all your options before making a firm decision.

What Is Better About Legal Separation?

Not all marriages will benefit more from legal separation. However, if you wish to take advantage of any of the benefits below, it may be beneficial to legally separate instead of divorce:

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Posted on in Family Law

IL divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce can be a complicated process. Working out maintenance and child visitation, how to divide a business, debt, etc. can all add to the stress of your divorce. If a couple’s finances are particularly complex, it may require a forensic accountant. A forensic accountant for a divorce is someone who details all the debts, assets, and other financial aspects in the divorce and presents that information in a courtroom. Divorce attorneys can help with general financial aspects of a divorce, but for more complex matters it may be necessary to work with a forensic accountant to ensure the finances are taken care of properly.

How Can Forensic Accounting Help Me?

Forensic accountants are most often used in high net worth divorce cases but can be used by anybody if they are needed. Some of the ways a forensic accountant can help your divorce case by searching to see if there are hidden assets, evaluating the long-term impact of the divorce on finances, or determining the value of assets and evaluating expenses. To do so they will examine any deeds, stocks, investments, bank statements, etc. and compile everything together.

The forensic accountant can be especially helpful if you believe your spouse is hiding assets. For example, if they bought some cryptocurrency in the past and have not disclosed it to you or the court, that could be very valuable and will need to be considered in the division of assets in your case. If your divorce is amicable, you probably do not need to worry about that issue as much, but it is still beneficial to you to make sure everything is accounted for in your case. Often forensic accountants are used for business valuation. Business finances and personal finances for business owners are often intermingled in complex ways, and the forensic accountant will determine where assets should be placed for divorce considerations.

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Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.

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