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Divorce Law DuPage County

Financial conflict is one of the most common reasons for divorce in Illinois. Whether one spouse is a spendthrift, is chronically unemployed, or the stress of managing a household’s finances is simply too great, couples frequently get divorced because of money issues. 

Sometimes a couple’s financial problems are so great that they find themselves considering bankruptcy at the same time that they are ending their marriage. In Illinois, the law allows spouses to get divorced and file for bankruptcy simultaneously, but doing so is not necessarily a good idea. In this blog post, we will examine common strategies for combining bankruptcy and divorce, but it is important to speak to a qualified attorney about your questions. 


Divorce Law Warrenville, IL

Individuals getting divorced in Illinois are often very private about the intimate details of the divorce process and final judgment. This is especially true of high net worth individuals, who frequently have the added concern that their divorce may be of some interest to the public. Whether a couple has a public profile and wants to keep celebrity reporters out of their business, or a private couple wants to avoid a busybody neighbor with a history of spreading rumors, there are many legitimate reasons for wanting to avoid public exposure after divorce.

Unfortunately, fear of embarrassment is usually not a sufficient reason for sealing divorce records. Understanding how these issues are handled and what your options may be is essential to protecting your privacy during a divorce. 


IL divorce lawyer Warrenville, IL

Getting divorced touches nearly every part of someone’s life: their finances, their relationships, and their children. It is natural for individuals in Illinois who are considering divorce, especially at a later age, to feel nervous about what could happen to their retirement prospects if they get divorced. Will everything I ever worked for be divided? Does this mean I will never be able to retire? 

Although many retirement benefits, such as pension plans and 401(k) accounts will need to be part of the asset division process, social security benefits are uniquely protected by federal law. Illinois divorce courts do not have the authority to handle social security payments. Fortunately, the federal government has clear and established provisions concerning social security benefits following a divorce. 


IL divorce lawyer for dividing assetsHigh net worth couples getting divorced in Illinois face a particularly challenging marital asset division process. In addition to determining what is and is not considered a marital asset, unique or high-value assets must be valued and divided. One asset, in particular, can be difficult to value and divide: Stock options. Understanding how stock options are typically handled by Illinois law will make it easier for spouses to ensure they get an equitable share of their marital assets. 

What Are Stock Options? 

Stock options are sophisticated financial instruments that give an investor the right to buy or sell a stock at an agreed-upon price and date. Stock options are often given to employees as part of their overall compensation package. This allows the employee to buy stock in their company after a set period of time, incentivizing employees to remain at a particular company longer and help the company become successful. 



IL divorce lawyerNobody knows the value of hard work like an Illinois business owner. Businesses require so much investment of time, money, and personal sacrifice that the prospect of dividing your business in a divorce can be gut-wrenching.

Unfortunately, most business owners face the complications of addressing their business in divorce including assessing its value and determining whether it is necessary or even possible to “buy out” their spouse’s share. Here we will try to answer some of the most common questions by small business owners in divorce. It is important to remember that a qualified Illinois divorce attorney is the best source for information about your divorce.

How Do I Know How Much My Business Is Worth?

Valuing a business is one of the trickiest parts of the divorce process. There are three common methods that are used to determine a business’s value, and a business valuation specialist can help you determine which method is best suited to your situation.


IL divorce lawyerEven under the best of circumstances, asset division is one of the most difficult and complex aspects of the Illinois divorce process. This is especially true when a couple has a high net worth and has money invested in complex assets that may be difficult to value. Sometimes, one spouse will take advantage of this and hide marital property in an effort to reduce their spousal maintenance or child support payments and to reduce the amount of marital property they have to split during the asset division process. This is unethical and illegal.

Fortunately, there are effective measures available for discovering hidden marital property. Financial experts such as forensic accountants can assist an experienced divorce attorney in the process of finding and valuing marital assets so the asset division process can be done equitably. If you believe your spouse may be trying to hide assets, here are some things you can do.

Hire Professional Help

In addition to your divorce attorney, there are experts who specialize in tracing hidden assets. Private investigators, forensic accountants, and business evaluation experts are commonly involved in helping spouses recover marital assets that have been fraudulently transferred, sold, or otherwise hidden. Let your team of professionals do the hard work of finding assets so you can focus on other things.


IL family laywerIllinois courts and judges are very concerned with the well-being of children, and Illinois family law reflects that fact. Recent changes have been made to the law to encourage both parents to have an equal role in their relationship with their child whenever possible. As a result, it is rare for a court to decide to terminate a parent’s rights to see, care for, and have a relationship with their child.

However, termination of parental rights can happen when courts find it is in the best interest of the child. Termination happens when a parent is deemed unfit by the state and/or when another adult, such as a grandparent or stepparent, seeks to adopt a child.

When Is a Parent Considered Unfit?

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is the governmental division responsible for overseeing the wellbeing of children who have problems at home serious enough to require state intervention. There are three primary reasons that DCFS may consider a parent unfit for parental rights:


IL divorce lawyerHandling inheritance is often a contentious issue for divorcing couples in Illinois. Although the events that allow for an inheritance to occur can be tragic, the truth is that inheritances often provide much-needed financial security. A couple may have counted on receiving an inheritance during periods of their relationship when they got along and were planning for the future.

But once a couple begins talking about divorce, they may be unsure how an inheritance is handled. Does it belong to one spouse or both spouses? What if the funds from the inheritance were placed in a joint bank account and spent on household expenses? In this article, we will address some common questions about how inheritances are handled in an Illinois divorce.

Marital Vs. Non-Marital Property

During the asset division process, all assets must be analyzed to determine whether they are marital or non-marital. This process can be quite complicated, but generally, assets that either spouse acquired during the marriage are considered part of the marital estate and will be subject to division.


IL divorce lawyerFor many couples, using mediation during their divorce saves them time, money, and stress. In traditional divorce court litigation, spouses must present their arguments to a judge and then rely on him or her to decide crucial things such as the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, child support, and spousal support. In contrast, mediation allows spouses to directly negotiate the terms of their divorce agreement, resulting in an outcome that is far more likely to be mutually satisfying.

Although mediation has its advantages, it is not right for every couple. In this article, we will dispel some common myths about divorce mediation so readers can have a clearer picture of whether mediation is likely to be helpful. Keep in mind that this article is not meant to replace the valuable advice of an Illinois divorce attorney.

Divorce Mediation Myths

Mediation Is Just Like Couples’ Therapy - Although a skilled mediator will try to develop and encourage communication between spouses, he or she will not attempt to reconcile the spouses and save the marriage. The goal of mediation is to negotiate important issues about which spouses disagree. Childcare responsibilities, finances, and asset division can all be part of the mediation process, but airing personal grievances and trying to rectify them is not.


IL family lawyerTwo and a half years ago, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law that changed the way marijuana is treated in Illinois. The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (ICRTA) decriminalized the use and possession of recreational marijuana and opened the door to private businesses selling it to citizens. Although marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, the ICRTA halted criminal punishment of marijuana users and even allowed Governor Pritzker to pardon thousands of previous marijuana convictions.

The ICRTA also included provisions that prevent marijuana use, by itself, to be considered as a factor when judges make decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. No employee of an Illinois court - including child representatives like guardians ad litem - may discriminate against a parent based on the fact that they use marijuana. However, this does not mean that parents in Illinois can use marijuana however they please.

Do Not Allow Marijuana Use to Interfere with Parenting

Like parents who drink alcohol, parents who use marijuana must refrain from using it in a way that interferes with their parenting abilities. Best practices for marijuana use include:


IL divorce lawyerMarried parents can claim their child as a dependent exemption on their joint tax return. After divorce, however, only one parent can claim a child as a dependent for tax purposes. Because the ability to claim dependent exemptions can make a major difference in a parent’s finances, being able to claim your child as an exemption is often as good as money itself. Understandably, the tax implications of divorce can be a topic of contention.

Include Child Tax Exemptions in Your Divorce Decree

In the midst of divorce negotiations, who gets to claim a child as a dependent exemption is often forgotten until after the divorce is finalized. This could be a costly mistake. Illinois no longer uses the terms “custodial parent” or “child custody,” but the IRS still does. The IRS sees the parent who spends the most time with the child as the custodial parent, and unless parents specify another arrangement, the IRS default is that the custodial parent gets to claim the child as a dependent on their taxes.

However, if parents are proactive about arranging exemption claims, they can do it however they wish. They may alternate years, or, if they have multiple children, agree to split the exemptions so each parent may claim one or more children. Include the discussion about child-dependent exemptions in the broader conversation about asset division, child support, and spousal maintenance. Parents who work cooperatively can usually come to a holistic financial resolution that suits them both better than if a judge were to make the decisions for them.


IL family lawyerThe end of the summer holidays can be bittersweet. Children are torn between sadness that school is starting again and excitement to see their friends; parents are sorry to be spending less time with their children, but relieved to get back on a regimented schedule. For parents who are recently divorced or separated, navigating the back-to-school experience can be hectic.

Deciding who will buy school supplies, who will provide after-school childcare, and who will monitor homework and attend parent-teacher conferences are all things to be considered. Each family’s situation is different, but there are some steps you can take that will make the transition easier for everyone.

  • Do your best to cooperate with your ex – Former spouses often have hard feelings towards each other, but getting your child ready for school is a crucial time to put those differences aside and work as a team. Prioritize the things that really matter, and try to let the rest go. Using shared calendars and an email address that is exclusively for child-related communication can help you and your ex avoid hostile face-to-face conversations.
  • Plan ahead with your child’s school – Talk to your child’s teacher about the recent change in your family situation. The more openly you communicate with the teacher, the easier it is for the teacher to accommodate you and your child. Make sure the school has a list of adults who are allowed to check out or pick up your child, including stepparents or grandparents. Consider attending parent-teacher conferences with your ex so you can share your concerns and make appropriate plans for your child’s academic future.
  • Be flexible about costs – Decide ahead of time who will pay for certain expenses, but be prepared for unexpected costs to pop up. After a backpack gets left in your ex’s home for the umpteenth time, you may decide to keep a spare in your home even if you have to pay for it yourself. If your child needs supplies, avoid holding them over the child’s head until your ex pays their fair share. Prioritize your child’s education, and work the details out behind the scenes.

Speak with a Naperville, IL Family Lawyer

A seasonal scheduling change does not have to mean you are facing conflict when it comes to working with your ex. At Calabrese Associates, we have experience helping clients arrange parenting plans that work for everyone. Whether you are involved in the divorce process right now or are hoping to modify an existing parenting plan, we can help. Call us today at 630-393-3111 to set up your confidential consultation with a skilled DuPage County family law attorney.


naperville divorce lawyerWhether due to a new job or wanting to be closer to friends or family members, divorced parents may want to move away for a number of reasons. For divorced parents, however, moving with kids may not be simple. They have to get permission from the court and the other parent to move out of state. If your child’s other parent wants to relocate and you disagree with the relocation, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities. A skilled family law attorney can help you contest the relocation and assert your rights. 

Factors Courts Consider Before Letting a Parent Relocate 

Before a judge can approve a relocation with a child or Illinois, he or she has to first make sure that the move reflects the best interest of the child. Here are the different factors a judge considers before deciding to approve or deny a relocation request:

  • Why a parent wants to move


naperville child support lawyerIllinois law requires both parents to financially contribute to their children’s needs, even if they are divorced. However, either parent may petition the court to amend the order if their circumstances have changed. If your financial or employment circumstances have recently changed or your child’s needs have changed, you may be able to ask the court for a child support modification.

When Parents Can Request Child Support Order Modification

Child support orders are eligible for a review and possible modification every three years. However, if you can prove to the court that you have had a drastic change in circumstances, you may be able to modify your order even sooner than that. Here are several situations that may make you eligible for a child support modification:

  • The child’s needs have substantially changed. For instance, if your child has been diagnosed with a health condition that requires extensive treatment, you may ask the court to require the other parent to help pay for the costs associated with the treatment.


naperville divorce lawyerA divorce can become even more complicated and stressful if you and your spouse have a high net worth. If you are thinking about getting a divorce and you or your spouse own high-value or complex assets, it is critical to have a skilled Illinois divorce attorney on your side.

Different Ways a High Net Worth Makes Your Illinois Divorce More Difficult

If you and your spouse are wealthy, you can expect your divorce to have more complexities than a traditional divorce. Here are a few ways the process may be more complicated than a typical divorce.

  • Divorce proceedings may last longer. If you and your spouse have more assets than the average married couple, it stands to reason that it will take more time to divide them. 


naperville child custody lawyerIf your ex has not been following the child custody order or parenting plan that is in place, you may feel angry and frustrated. You want the child custody arrangement to go as smoothly as possible, but your ex refuses to cooperate. Although this is indeed a difficult situation, you can take steps to rectify it.

Common Examples of Child Custody Violations

Sometimes parents refuse to abide by a child custody order. This can make a difficult situation even more trying. Here are a few common examples of child custody violations:

  • Refusing visitation time to the other parent


naperville property division lawyerDisagreements about financial issues are one common issue that can cause a marriage to break down, and these types of disputes are likely to continue into the divorce process. Matters related to money can be difficult to resolve, but under the law, spouses are entitled to a fair and equitable division of marital property, which includes all assets and debts acquired during a couple’s marriage. Unfortunately, some spouses do not agree with this idea, and they may believe that they are entitled to certain assets or that the other spouse should receive less. In many cases, a person will attempt to hide assets to avoid having to divide them with their spouse. If you are concerned that your spouse is attempting to conceal marital assets, you will want to understand how to uncover these activities and bring them to the court’s attention to ensure that your marital property can be divided fairly.

Methods of Uncovering Hidden Assets

Understanding the intricacies of your family’s finances can often be difficult, especially if your spouse has been primarily responsible for managing money during your marriage. By gathering the right information and looking through financial records, you can make sure you know the full extent of the assets you own. Some steps you can take to find out whether your spouse has attempted to hide assets include:

  • Review tax returns - Looking over the joint tax returns you have filed with your spouse will help you understand the income you have earned and give you an idea of how much savings you should expect to have. This will allow you to identify any discrepancies, as well as foreign bank accounts, real estate holdings, or other investments you may not have known about.


naperville child custody lawyerWhen parents who have minor children decide to end their marriage through divorce, they will need to address multiple issues related to child custody. As parents work to negotiate a parenting plan, they will decide how parenting time (formerly known as visitation) will be divided. While this will entail creating a schedule that states when children will live in each parent’s home or spend time in the care of a parent, parents will also want to make sure other issues related to parenting time are addressed properly.

Additional Parenting Time Concerns

In addition to providing a complete understanding of when children will stay with each parent, a parenting plan can also address rules and issues that affect parenting time, including:

  • Communication - Both parents will want to maintain communication with their children, and one parent may want to check in on them while they are with the other parent. However, a parent may be concerned that too much communication with the other parent would interfere with their parenting time, or they may not necessarily want to give the other parent a window into their home. Parents can set rules for the appropriate times for calls between parents and children and the methods of communication they may use (such as phone calls, video calls, text messages, or email).


dupage county prenuptial agreement lawyerIn many cases, couples who are planning to get married may be considering whether they will need the protection of a prenuptial agreement. A prenup can be beneficial in many situations, including cases where one or both spouses own significant assets or have children from a previous relationship. By entering into an agreement that decides how certain issues will be handled if their marriage ends in divorce, a couple can avoid uncertainty, minimize potential disputes, and provide themselves with financial protection. When creating a prenup, it is important to understand how matters related to spousal maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support) may be addressed.

Modifying or Waiving the Right to Spousal Support in a Prenup

Under Illinois law, a person may have the right to receive financial support from their former spouse if there is a significant disparity between the parties’ incomes. During a divorce, a spouse may ask that spousal maintenance be awarded, and the judge in their case may consider multiple factors to determine whether this type of support would be appropriate. If maintenance is granted, statutory formulas will be used to calculate the amount that will be paid and the duration that these payments will last.

In a prenuptial agreement, a couple may decide ahead of time whether spousal support will be paid, eliminating the need to ask a judge to settle this issue at the time of divorce. A prenup may state that both spouses will waive the right to receive maintenance, or it may specify that one party will receive a certain amount of spousal support for a certain duration. Conditions may be placed on whether maintenance will be paid. For example, the prenuptial agreement may eliminate the right to support if a spouse commits infidelity or only require maintenance if a spouse earns a certain amount of money.


naperville paternity lawyerIn many cases, when a child is born, the identity of the parents is known. If a child’s mother is married, her spouse will be presumed to be the child’s legal parent. If a mother is unmarried, paternity may be established by submitting a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. However, there may be some cases in which the identity of the child’s biological father is in doubt, or a person who is presumed to be a child’s father or who has signed a VAP may later find out that they are not the child’s biological father. In these cases, parents will need to understand the procedures that must be followed to dispute paternity.

Denial of Presumed Parentage

A man is presumed to be a child’s parent if he was married to the child’s mother at the time of the child’s birth or if the couple was divorced or legally separated within 300 days before the child was born. If a presumed father believes that he is not the child’s biological father, he can sign a denial of parentage document. However, a denial of paternity will only be valid if the child’s biological father has signed a VAP and the presumed father has not previously signed a VAP or been adjudicated as the child’s father in family court.

Challenging a VAP

In some cases, a man who believes he is a child’s father may voluntarily acknowledge paternity, only to learn at a later date that someone else is the biological father. Within 60 days after signing a VAP, a person may rescind their voluntary acknowledgment by signing a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and submitting it in family court. After the 60-day period, a person will need to challenge a VAP in court, and they will need to do so within two years after the VAP was signed.

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