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Wheaton Family Law Attorney
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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIn this day and age, bankruptcy has become more common than it used to be, unfortunately, and as such, more and more people are encountering issues with other obligations that are directly related to bankruptcy. While many believe that a bankruptcy will essentially wipe out all their debt, what they do not know is that certain obligations are specifically exempted from this, and must still be paid regardless of any financial issues.

Spousal Maintenance

While it is not mandatory, a healthy majority of divorce cases in Illinois assign maintenance rights to one spouse or the other. In Illinois, this obligation is specified to last a certain period of time, but if the obligor (the one paying support) must declare bankruptcy, it is reasonable to look into the possibility of modification. However, the key word is modification - under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, maintenance or alimony obligations are not considered dischargeable - in other words, any debts that are of this nature will not be simply erased, as other debts might be in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Posted by on in Child Custody

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIn the overwhelming majority of cases, when your or your spouse’s parental rights are terminated, there is no getting them back. Normally, if parental rights are involuntarily taken away, it means that evidence of abuse or neglect has been discovered, after which it is considered too dangerous to allow the child to remain in your home. However, if there are other reasons for termination, such as a parent’s abrupt deportation, it may be possible to have the determination reversed, dependent on several different factors.

Illinois Law

Illinois is one of only a handful of states to even countenance the possibility of reinstatement of parental rights after their termination. The law holds that if filed by the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) or by the minor child themselves, parental rights may be reinstated if certain conditions are met, namely that the motion is supported by “clear and convincing evidence.” This is not subjective; it is a specific burden of proof that a court will insist upon before granting the motion.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIt is a common (if somewhat stereotypical) trope that when a child is born, it is the mother who will have to seek the biological father out and hector him into acknowledging paternity legally. However, this does a disservice to the millions of fathers who actively wish to be involved in their children’s lives, yet are discouraged or dissuaded from acknowledging paternity, or actively turned away from trying to claim a child as their own. If you want to be involved in your child’s life, but are facing resistance or problems, you do have options you can use to pursue the matter.

What Are My Rights?

In theory, acknowledging paternity of your child can be very easy. When the baby is born, you and the mother, if you are unmarried, will have the opportunity to complete a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP) form. While there are other opportunities to assert your paternity, this is by far the quickest and easiest method if the child’s mother allows you to sign the form. However, it is extremely important to realize that completing a VAP form does not entitle you to any legal custodial rights to the child, nor to any guaranteed parenting time. It establishes a parent-child relationship, but it does not establish legal paternity. The distinction is fine, but important. It is possible to have a parent-child relationship without having legal custody or decision-making authority.

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Posted by on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIt is not uncommon in divorce to experience credit issues or other financial problems. However, many people wind up ambushed by the true scope of such issues and wind up in serious difficulties. If you are just beginning to go through a divorce, or if you have been experiencing financial problems even before your divorce begins, you may need to take steps to ensure that things do not get worse.

Take Steps Before You File

If at all possible, it is generally a good idea to do what you can to ensure your finances remain stable even before beginning divorce proceedings. The first step that should be taken, if you and your spouse remain on good enough terms, is to work together collectively to minimize or eliminate as many marital debts as possible, including closing or freezing joint accounts. Illinois law holds that debts acquired by either spouse “subsequent to the marriage” are classified as marital property, meaning that when your assets are divided, your debts will be as well. This can sometimes lead to you being on the proverbial hook to pay off a debt you did not incur.

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Posted by on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIn this day and age, it is becoming more common for senior citizens to divorce, sometimes after decades of marriage. While the causes are numerous, what many do not take into account is that divorcing at an older age can have challenges that younger couples often do not experience. If an older couple is not adequately prepared for some of the particular questions they may confront, significant issues may follow.

Pensions and Other Benefits

One major question that most younger couples do not have to deal with is how to divide a pension or Social Security funds. If a couple has been married for 10 years or longer, and one or both are over the age of 62, spouses can draw on each other’s benefits, depending on whose work record is longer. Pensions are divided using Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), which apportion a certain percentage of one spouse’s earned retirement benefits to the other. While this is quite common, it can still cause issues, given that one spouse’s retirement money is essentially cut in half. Budgets may need reworking, as well as estate planning instruments.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerThe current climate for immigrants in the United States is more than a bit hazardous, and that goes threefold for undocumented immigrants. The new administration’s prerogative to round up significant numbers of undocumented people has left multiple families without recourse with regard to their children’s futures. As such, those still in the country have seen fit to take steps to ensure that their children - who are more often than not U.S. citizens - are at least able to remain in the country, with people they trust. If you are in this difficult position, it is probably a good idea for you to follow suit.

Guardianships

Thousands of U.S. citizen children are left behind each year when their parents are deported, callously referred to as “familial collateral damage” by the Department of Homeland Security. They are often the product of mixed marriages, where one parent is a citizen, but there is a significant minority whose parents are both undocumented, and as such, are both at risk for deportation. If no steps have been taken to provide for the children in the event of their parents being unable to take care of them, most of these children go into foster care - deported parents have almost no chance to get their children back, given that many child welfare officials view adoption as less damaging to the children than being exiled to a foreign country and as such, will try sometimes to strip parents of their rights.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerDissolving a marriage can be an emotionally draining process, but life has to go on following divorce. Even though your marital relationship with your spouse has ended, if you have children, you will need to maintain a co-parenting relationship with them for years to come. Due to the emotional pain of the separation, this can be difficult, but if you and your ex-spouse work together as co-parents, you can avoid a great deal of anger and hurt. Here are four tips for maintaining a positive co-parenting relationship following a divorce:

  • Stay focused on your kids. Make sure you are always there for your children when they need to talk, or when they just want to spend time with you. Understand their needs and concerns and what is happening in their lives, and stick to regular routines while being clear and consistent when it comes to rules and discipline. Whatever you do, make sure you do not involve your children in any conflicts with your ex-spouse. Providing a stable, loving environment for them will help them get through this difficult time and thrive under the care of both parents.
  • Communicate with your ex-spouse. As co-parents, you both want what is best for your children, so it is important to be able to put aside any differences or conflicts you may have and work together. Try to stay focused on your children and their needs, and remember that you should never use your children as messengers. Maintaining consistent communication and respecting each other’s point of view can help you form a lasting, effective co-parenting relationship.
  • Maintain a good relationship with grandparents. Both your parents and your ex-spouse’s parents are an important part of your children’s lives, so you will want to be sure these relationships continue. Putting aside any hurt you may feel about what happened during the divorce and focusing on your children’s needs will help ensure that they can rely on the support of their grandparents both now and well into the future.
  • Take care of yourself. While it’s important to provide the best possible environment for your kids, you also need to maintain your own physical and mental health. If you are unable to maintain your own well-being, you will not be able to be there for your kids. If necessary, seek out support in the form of therapy, divorce support groups, or friends and family.

Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney

Following these tips will help you maintain a good co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse and provide a positive environment for your children. However, if you need any legal assistance during or after your divorce with issues related to children, the experienced divorce attorneys at The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. can help you understand your options and protect your and your children’s rights. Contact a professional Kane County divorce lawyer at 630-462-9500 today to schedule a consultation.

 

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerDivorce is an unfortunate reality of modern life, and dissolving a marriage can be a complex undertaking, since couples will need to separate all of the aspects of their lives that became intertwined over the course of their marriage. One of the areas that can provide the most difficulty is finances, especially when the couple has significant assets or debts to be allocated.

Business Ownership and Divorce

The division of marital assets can become even more complicated when the spouses own a business either jointly or separately. Since much of the couple’s mutual finances may be tied up in the business, separating these assets while keeping the business intact can be difficult. But divorce doesn’t have to mean the end of your business; here are some ways you can protect your business in the case of divorce:

  1. If you owned the business before getting married, sign a prenuptial agreement - If your business was founded prior to your marriage, it will generally be considered non-marital property, although it will become marital property if your spouse contributes to it in a substantial way. In order to protect the business, you can create a prenuptial agreement that specifies what will happen to the business in the case of divorce.
  2. If you began the business after your marriage, sign a postnuptial agreement - A business founded after getting married will be considered marital property. Signing a postnuptial agreement that defines how the business will be handled in the case of divorce can help you ensure that the business is protected.
  3. Buy your spouse’s share of the business - If your top priority is keeping your business intact after your divorce, you may be able to buy out your spouse’s financial interests in the company, either through a monetary payment or from your share of other marital assets, such as financial investments, material items, or the marital home.
  4. Continue managing the business as partners - If both spouses’ finances are tied up in the business, making it impossible for one spouse to buy out the other’s share, you can continue on as co-owners after the divorce. If you do choose this option, you should be sure that either partner has the option to buy out the other at some point in the future.
  5. Pay your own salary - Many business owners choose to forego a competitive salary in favor of reinvesting profits to grow the business, but if they do so, their spouse may be able to claim a percentage of that money as a share of the business. Paying yourself a salary that allows you to provide for yourself financially will help you keep your business intact after your divorce.

Contact an Illinois Property Division Attorney

Maintaining your business operations during and after a divorce can be a complicated matter, which is why you need an experienced business valuation attorney on your side. At The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., we can provide you with the expertise you need to survive this difficult time. Contact a seasoned Kane County divorce lawyer at 630-462-9500 today to schedule a consultation.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerRings are a part of nearly all marriages and occasionally become a point of contention in divorces. While there will always be exceptional cases, rings are typically considered a gift and not part of the community property that must be divided upon the termination of the marriage.

Illinois is a community property state. This means that both spouses own all property acquired during the course of a marriage. However, this rule does not generally apply to gifts made to spouses.

Illinois courts have considered wedding and engagement rings to be gifts. Thus, the rings belong in full to the spouse who received the rings as a gift.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerPeople often throw the statistic around that half of all marriages end in divorce. This statement is a holdover from years ago, and the times have changed.

No longer are people pressured to get married at a young age. Instead, people are getting married later in life, if at all. However, divorces are still fairly commonplace, although the divorce rate is not as high as 50 percent.

Illinois Divorce Statistics

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Posted by on in Family Law

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerAny time parents have a child and are not legally married or joined together in civil union, they have a number of issues to address when it comes to the child’s rights and future. Establishing legal paternity in the state of Illinois is one of the first steps and is important for a number of reasons, particularly because it is a tool that allows parents to protect their children, and the power to protect their own rights as a parent. Without legal paternity, a father’s rights are especially at risk.

How Legal Paternity Can Benefit You and Your Child

One of the first parts of the paternity process is to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, also called a VAP. This is typically done right at the hospital, as soon as the child is born. If both parents are unavailable at the time of birth to sign the form, however, the VAP can be completed and submitted on a later date. Generally speaking, there are three ways to establish paternity for a child born out of wedlock: a VAP form, an Administrative Paternity Order (submitted by the State of Illinois' Department of Healthcare and Family Services), or an Order of Paternity via court, by a judge.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerWading through the divorce process is an emotionally taxing experience for anyone. Depending on the circumstances, however, ending a marriage can be especially mentally grueling when one party is refusing to cooperate or is communicating in a way that adds unnecessary tension to an already stressful situation. This tends to happen when there is a breakdown in overall communication, or when discussion between parties turns toxic, which is a common occurrence for couples who had communication problems to begin with, long before the separation.

Common Communication Problems Throughout the Divorce Process

Psychology experts tell us that there are specific behaviors that many individuals exhibit while interacting with their spouse during the divorce that are often responsible for unproductive - and sometimes hostile - communication. These problematic communication patterns can quickly sabotage even the simplest of discussions, making the divorce process that much harder for both parties.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerAmong the many challenges we face when going through a divorce, being aware of the grief process in the midst of the transition can be difficult, especially when so much is vying for our attention. Distractions abound during the split and the demands can easily pull our focus from taking time to recognize the stages of grief as they surface. Our fluctuating emotions and high levels of anxiety during the divorce process can only be ignored so long, however, before our minds and bodies force us to deal with the inevitable mental toll.

The Signs of Grief

Many of us are familiar with the five stages of grief. If you ever studied psychology in college, you were likely exposed to this teaching when learning about Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. The five stages include denial, anger, bBargaining, depression, and acceptance. Like any other loss in life, the loss of a love and a marriage triggers the grieving process, although everyone experiences it differently, and at different intervals. For example, it is common to experience the stages in various orders, such as jumping from anger to depression, then back to anger again. Some signs you are experiencing the effects of grief include:

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Posted by on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois child support attorneyWhether you have seen your divorce coming for some time or the news of your unraveling marriage has taken even you by surprise, telling your children, extended family, and acquaintances that your marriage is over is never a pleasant experience. It is not uncommon for friends and family to feel a similar loss, as they too grew familiar and comfortable seeing you and your spouse together, often over a period of many months or years. Children in the family can take divorce especially hard, making the duty of breaking the news to the kids infinitely more difficult for parents.

Communication Is Key

Some divorcing couples make a mutual agreement to tell the children together, while others make arrangements to delegate the “talk” to one parent. Some couples never even have the chance to discuss who will speak to the children about the split, because of the conflict and tension surrounding the end of the relationship. Whatever your personal circumstances, consider the following as you tell your kids, friends, and family that you and your spouse are going your separate ways:

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Posted by on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois child support attorneyApart from acknowledging how much will be needed for rent and basic monthly expenses after a divorce, it is all too easy - and common - for divorcing couples to find themselves shelving the financial aspect of the split until after the process is finalized. When the emotional toll the end of a marriage entails is taken into consideration and added stressors are factored in, such as parenting plan arrangements, potential relocation, and maybe even a new partner for one or both parties, money is often one of the last things couples wish to think about. This is especially true for those who have very limited funds to begin with, or for those who have little to no employment options when the marriage unravels.

The Importance of a Financial Game Plan

No matter how much - or how little - money you have to work with, however, having a financial game plan in place sooner, rather than later, wields the power to sway your divorce experience from good to really bad, depending on the circumstances. For example, if you and your spouse were already in serious debt prior to the separation, those debts may only get worse and become more unmanageable when ignored. As overwhelmed as you may already be, avoidance is never the answer where your financial well-being is concerned, especially when you are about to experience a significant shift in income and overall lifestyle due to the split..

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Posted by on in Child Support

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois child support attorneyOut of about 2.2 million Americans incarcerated in the United States, approximately half of them are parents. Furthermore, one in five has a monthly child support payment. The bills just keep arriving, remaining unpaid, because for many, the 0.20 cents per hour that is possible for working within the state prison will not cover the costs. If the individual is serving an extended period, the costs accumulate to insurmountable debt. The children still need financial support from two parents, despite living arrangements. What are the options for child support if one parent is incarcerated?

Support Options for the Custodial Parent

If you are the custodial parent who has a child support request and the non-custodial parent currently serves a lengthy prison stay, the sentence does not automatically mean you are not eligible for payment. First, a child support payment order does not automatically stop due to incarceration. The only person who may modify a child support order is a judge through a modification hearing which may be requested by either parent. Also, it is possible for inmates to make a payment due to having other income and assets available. Possibilities for payment include:

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThe emotional toll brought on by divorce is not something that can be prepared for, especially when the news of the split is sudden. While some couples experience a gradual, slow decline in the quality of their marriage, others are thrust into the turmoil with little warning, which can make it difficult to remain calm and focus on healing and moving forward. Divorce, like many other losses in life, prompts a grieving process that requires time, patience, and ample support both financially and emotionally to promote a healthy quality of life after the split.

Knowing When to Reach Out

Everyone has their limit when it comes to the amount of emotional distress they can handle, but studies show that a majority of individuals - adults and children alike - tend to experience a host of common behavioral changes when having difficulty coping with divorce. Any noticeable changes in eating and sleeping patterns, as well as mood fluctuations, including increased agitation, aggression, or sudden isolation, all indicate trouble adjusting to transition stressors. If you or your children are restless, sleeping too much, experiencing loss of appetite, or are beginning to withdraw from friends and family, it may be time to turn to those you trust for help and consider meeting with a therapist who is knowledgeable in the areas you are struggling with.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThe debate over whether or not parents should stay together for the kids has been a controversial one for decades now, continually raising the big question: Is divorce really the answer? While most couples contemplate divorce as a means to end a relationship that is no longer working for either party, the concept of a parenting marriage stems from an entirely different motivator all together, aimed at serving a very unique purpose.

The Idea behind the Parenting Marriage Model

Just as couples who decide to divorce based on the realization that their marriage is no longer a healthy option, couples who choose a parenting marriage also recognize that their relationship has changed and is no longer the romantic partnership it once was. Under this marriage model, they choose to remain in the marriage for the sole purpose of continuing to raise the children together.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThe amount of mental energy couples must expend on the divorce process is overwhelming, no matter how smoothly the transition unfolds. Divorce scenarios are, in most cases, a mixed bag of events. Some couples sail through the process with mutual respect and civilized interaction, only to discover emotional landmines when they reach the finish line, while other couples struggle with the split from the get-go. Matters can be especially bumpy when one spouse refuses to cooperate all together, leaving the other spouse with all the work, along with twice the weight in emotional stress.

What Can You Do When Your Spouse Just Will Not Work with You?

There are a number of ways someone’s behavior can change throughout a divorce. Sometimes, the change is so drastic, the person becomes nearly unrecognizable to their partner. Psychology Today reports that some individuals regress and that their behavior can turn so ugly that the divorce turns flat-out toxic. Even if your divorce has not evolved quite as extremely, you may see a side of your spouse you never knew existed. Experts tell us that people commonly react differently under severe divorce stress, typically out of self-preservation, which can manifest in many ways, including anger or isolation.

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Illinois custody lawyer, Illinois divorce attorneyJust because divorce shakes up a home life does not necessarily mean that it will continue to do so over time. It is important to create an agreement that is long-lasting, rather than temporary, especially in situations where children are involved. Everyone needs some sense of stability and routine to their day-to-day activities, even those who thrive under spontaneity. For those who enjoy the unexpected and the ability to create each day to their liking, the randomness is a sort of routine. We decide which works best for us as adults, but as parents, we must do what is best for our children. Psychologists believe having a stable routine offers many benefits. Parents should consider creating a stable environment when creating a child custody arrangement after a divorce ends.

Steady Routines Bolster Future Success

Routine is not just about going to bed at the same time every day or eating dinner together as a family every night. The most important thing you can do for your child is to provide as much routine as possible throughout the day. Psychologists believe when a schedule is predictable, children can relax and trust in their environment. Even in a situation where a child visits two homes regularly, the daily routine should not waver significantly, but if necessary, keep each routine consistent within each environment. Routine also includes which days and holidays a child may expect to see each parent. A few benefits of having a routine include:

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  • Thank you for helping me realize how good things really are in my life. I now focus on creating happiness each and every day for me & my girls. Things are definitely looking up!

  • If you are in need of a true advocate, and you are stuck in the family law court system in DuPage then William Stogsdill should be your choice. I feel strongly about his ability and I can't say enough.

  • I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your professional assistance and advice on my recently dismissed case. I can again look forward to being together with my wife for many more years.

  • Mr. Smit has demonstrated a high degree of loyalty and trust worthiness to his work and to his associates. Justin certainly is an asset to your Law Firm, his organization skills are second to none. I have and will continue to recommend Justin ...

  • You've clearly established a client-focus in your office -- providing your clients with the warmth and understanding they need as they go through a very difficult time. Thank you, again, for all your help.

  • Taking that step to file for divorce was probably one of the most life changing decisions I have ever made. The process is very painful and emotionally draining. I retained Robert Boyd and Justin Smit of The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C...

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