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West Chicago divorce attorney irreconcilable differencesDivorce is not an uncommon thing--in the United States alone, there are nearly one million divorces granted each year. Most states have adopted a no-fault divorce policy that does not require couples to divulge the reason they are getting divorced, but simply state that their marriage is beyond repair. Throughout the world, there have been tales of strange reasons why people have gotten divorced that range from slightly odd to flat out ridiculous. Here are seven strange stories of why people have filed for divorce:

  • A Japanese woman filed for divorce from her husband after she took him to see the movie “Frozen,” and he did not appreciate it like she did. The women ended her marriage of six years because of her husband’s dislike of the Disney movie.
  • A man in Dubai divorced his wife because he thought she was possessed by a genie. The wife’s family told him that she was possessed by a “djin”--which is a genie-like creature in Arabic folklore--after she refused to have sex with him.
  • A woman who resides in Kuwait divorced her new husband when she discovered that his way of eating peas was different than hers. The couple was only married for a week before she found out that he eats peas with bread instead of with a fork, which she cited as bad table manners.
  • A Chinese woman sought divorce after the family parrot began clueing her in on her husband’s affair. The parrot began saying things like “divorce,” “I love you,” and “be patient” after it overheard her husband’s phone calls to his mistress.
  • A man from Israel filed for divorce from his wife after she brought home 550 cats. The man said the cats hindered the quality of his home life, and the couple agreed that reconciliation was a good option for them, though the wife ended up choosing the cats over her husband, resulting in a divorce.
  • A lot of women try to get their husbands to clean more, but that was not the case for a German woman who divorced her husband because he cleaned entirely too much. She filed for divorce after the man tore down a wall in their house because it was too dirty.
  • A Nigerian woman divorced her husband of six years because she said he talked too much. She stated that he would often tell his friends about family matters instead of talking to her about them.

Get Representation From a Warrenville Divorce Lawyer

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the only required grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences. You may decide to end your marriage for a multitude of reasons, but no matter the cause, you need an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney to help you along the way. When you decide to seek the help of the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC, you are putting your case in good hands. Contact our office at 630-836-8540 to schedule a free consultation.

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Wheaton divorce lawyer child issuesOften, when couples who are married begin thinking about a divorce, the topic of children comes up. Do you stay together for the kids, or do you divorce? Every divorce is different, and so is every child--that is why there is not really any way of knowing what exact effect a divorce will have on your child. However, many studies have shown that staying in an unhappy marriage can be more damaging to children than the effects of a divorce. Some of the effects that children may experience in this type of situation include:

1. Chronic Stress

Parents play a crucial role in a child’s development--their relationship with their parents is one of the most important parts of their upbringing. When a child is raised with parents who are constantly at odds, they internalize the conflict. This means that rather than feeling at ease and comforted when they are with both parents, they feel tension and stress. Such constant stress can also cause physical symptoms in children, such as depression or chronic fatigue.

2. Mood Problems or Behavioral Issues

Parents who are constantly fighting teach their children to forgo optimism and expect the worst at a very young age. This can cause problems in children such as dysthymia, which is a mild, but long-term form of depression. These problems can also be the root of many adult issues, like personality disorders or substance abuse.

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Warrenville parental responsibility attorneyNobody thinks of the end of a marriage when they get married, and even though the divorce rate in the United States is declining, divorce is still common. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that 29,331 divorces were granted in the state of Illinois in 2016. Divorces are stressful and emotional, and they become more so when children are involved. When children are a part of divorce, they bring issues with them that need to be resolved, such as child custody, child support, and visitation.

Parental Responsibilities Instead of Custody

The state of Illinois no longer refers to custody of children. Since a new law was introduced in 2016, what used to be known as custody is now referred to as parental responsibilities, and the amount of time children spend with each parent is known as parenting time. Parental responsibility consists of significant decision-making for children, and there are four types of decision-making:

  • Education, including choosing schools and tutors.
  • Health, including decisions pertaining to the medical, dental, and psychological well-being of the child.
  • Religion. 
  • Extracurricular activities.

Unless an agreement is submitted to the court that details the allocation of parental responsibilities, the court will determine which responsibilities are allocated to each parent. The law also states that there is no requirement to allocate any responsibilities to each parent.

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Winfield child relocation lawyerRelocating to a new home for work is complex when divorced parents share custody of a child. This is because Illinois has strict regulations regarding the processes parents must follow when moving with a child. As such, the very action intended to benefit yourself and your child – a promising employment opportunity – may be complicated by the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time set forth in your court-ordered divorce decree. 

In some cases, your former spouse may be supportive of work-related relocation, even if it has support and custody-related implications. In other instances, however, the two of you may not agree about modifications to the allocation of parental responsibility when attempting to initiate child relocation. In times like these, it is essential to have experienced legal representation.

Relocation is a Question of Distance

If you were divorced in Illinois, provide your child’s primary residence, and are moving to a new residence in the state less than 25 miles from your current residence for work-related reasons, you do not have to worry about revisiting the existing allocation of parental responsibility ordered by the court in your divorce. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyer taxes spousal maintenanceWith the IRS tax filing deadline coming up later this month, it is time for recently divorced or soon-to-be divorcing spouses to become acquainted with the tax implications of divorce. While child support payments do not have any tax implications (that is, they are not tax-deductible for the paying parent, and they are not considered taxable income for the receiving parent), spousal maintenance (alimony) payments do. Whether you are paying or receiving spousal maintenance in Illinois, you need to account for it on your taxes.

Spousal Maintenance Is Tax Deductible for the Payor

If you are currently paying spousal maintenance to your ex-spouse, know that these support payments are tax deductible. As such, you may end up being required to pay less taxes than expected. Awareness of such positive tax implications should allow you to better plan your finances, whether you are budgeting in the short-term or saving and investing for the long-term.

Spousal Maintenance Is Taxable Income for the Recipient

If you are currently receiving spousal maintenance from your ex-spouse, know that the support payments constitute taxable income. Because of this, you may end up being required to pay more taxes than expected. Anticipating and accounting for this reality well in advance of the tax filing deadline can help you budget and plan your finances as so to avoid experiencing unexpected and stressful monetary burdens at tax time.

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Warrenville divorce attorney single parentIn most circumstances, it is in the best interests of a child’s parents to share the allocation of parental responsibility (formerly known as child custody) following divorce. This is a “two hands are better than one” philosophy, with former spouses, even after divorce, working to share resources and balance work and family responsibilities in a way that supports the child’s education, health, and well-being every bit as much as if the parents were still married and living together. 

Parental responsibility is typically shared when a divorce is as harmonious as can be expected, with parents collaborating to create a parenting plan in compliance with state law, and sometimes even when a divorce is filled with acrimony and collaboration is difficult. There are, however, some circumstances in which it is in the best interests of the child for parental responsibility to be solely allocated to one parent. 

A History of Violence, Abuse, or Neglect Is Relevant to Child Custody

With the “best interests of the child” being paramount in the allocation of parental responsibility, it is important to identify certain behaviors that are not in the best interests of the child. Among these behaviors – all factors at issue in a family court judge’s consideration of custody-related matters – are:

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Wheaton divorce lawyer hidden assets discoveryPlanning for life after divorce is tough enough, even when there are no child custody and support matters to address, and both spouses will continue on in their careers without interruption after the marriage’s dissolution. Divorce takes an emotional toll even in circumstances where the decision is mutual and there is no animosity. Many divorces, however, are rife with tension and disagreement over financial issues, including the division of marital assets, spousal support, and, when there are children involved, child support. 

In obtaining the fair and equitable distribution of assets required by Illinois law, as well as in securing the spousal and child support you need and deserve, the legal process of discovery is instrumental in uncovering income or assets which a spouse may intend to hide from the asset division process.

Illinois Divorce Law Utilizes a Principle of Equitable Distribution

When divorce occurs in Illinois, the state utilizes a principle of “equitable distribution” with regard to a marriage’s income and assets. An equitable distribution is not necessarily an equal division, but is defined broadly as the division of property in “just proportions.” 

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Winfield divorce attorneyDivorce is a state law issue. This is a simple but important distinction to keep in mind when going through divorce in the state of Illinois, as the legal guidelines concerning spousal maintenance and property division may prove different than what you have may have heard about how divorce works under legal frameworks utilized by other states (e.g., California’s “community property” model). 

Illinois Uses a Unique and Evolving Set of Terminology in Matters of Divorce

In Illinois, “spousal maintenance” is the official terminology for what is elsewhere referred to as “alimony” or “spousal support.” This somewhat abstracted language pairs with that used by the state with regard to child custody (“allocation of parental responsibility”), asset division (“equitable distribution”), and even the terms concerning the state’s position regarding the issue of fault in the dissolution of a marriage (“irreconcilable differences”). 

Maddeningly, the closer you investigate the state’s divorce lexicon, the more circular or abstracted it becomes. “Equitable distribution” does not necessarily translate to “equal,” but rather to “fair and equitable.” “Permanent maintenance” has been reframed as “maintenance for an indefinite term,” though the duration, once determined, may for all practical purposes prove permanent. Divorce is hard enough on former spouses and any children they have, so the state’s arguably confusing language concerning the end of a marriage may seem downright inhumane. 

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Wheaton child relocation attorneyWhen parents divorce, the chain of cause and effect extends far into the future. Where there was once a unit, with each parent a party to mutual decision-making and sacrifice for vocational and educational opportunities, there are now separate, often largely independent spheres. Where one parent occupied an at-home role, both parents may now either need or want to work. Where there was a stable support network of grandparents and other relatives, there may now be more tenuous circumstances. 

Changes such as these reflect only a few of the variables in play following divorce – changes that may require or inspire one parent to look outside of the Chicago area or the state of Illinois for employment, educational opportunities (for him or herself or their child), and family support. Importantly, however, a divorced parent cannot just uproot and leave with their child in tow. The parental responsibility arrangement entered in their divorce decree must be honored, and modifications related to child relocation must be sought and obtained using formal processes in compliance with state guidelines.

Defining Relocation Under Illinois Law

Under Illinois law, “relocation” occurs in one of the following three cases:

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West Chicago divorce order enforcement lawyerPeople may behave irrationally in an acrimonious divorce, willfully disregarding court-mandated child support or spousal support. Reasons may involve wild recriminations or appeals to a misguided sense of justice separate from the judicial system. Make no mistake, though—the law is the law. When an Illinois court enters a divorce decree into court records, it is the last word on the subject, barring a judge’s formal legal modification. When a former spouse refuses to comply with their court-ordered child or spousal support obligations, the power of the law may be used to enforce the divorce decree and impose penalties for non-compliance.

Fault Is Not a Basis for Refusing to Comply with a Divorce Order

If, when refusing to pay court-ordered child support or spousal maintenance, your former spouse attempts to cast blame, remember that Illinois is a “no-fault” state in matters of divorce. The court that has already awarded child or spousal support is of course already fully aware of this fact, so it is doubly beside the point to attempt to evade an order by engaging in informal relitigation. 

After the divorce has been finalized, each party has a legal obligation to abide by the terms and conditions of the decree, including the allocation of parental responsibility and the payment of child support and, when applicable, spousal support. When there has been a legitimate and provable change in either party’s circumstances, formal petitions pleading for modification of the divorce decree may be filed. Again, however, neither party may unilaterally refuse to comply with the court’s original decree absent an official ruling on a formal petition for modification. 

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West Chicago divorce by publication attorneySome divorces hew surprisingly close to the dramatized version often depicted in television, film, and literature. There may be quarreling, recriminations, and accusations, all of which take place at a volume that would not be considered polite in domestic discourse. Other divorces, however, are the quite the opposite. Sometimes, in fact, divorce is a solitary affair. This may sound impossible, or at least paradoxical, until you consider the scenario in which one spouse has deserted the other. In such instances, when a spouse has left the state and refuses to return, or has altogether disappeared without a trace, it is still possible for the other spouse to lawfully obtain a divorce. 

Divorce by Publication Is an Option for Deserted Spouses

It may seem too cruel to believe, but sometimes one spouse will leave the other in the lurch.  The absence may be willful, planned, and even carefully considered, or the disappearance may be related to issues of addiction or mental health. In addition, a spouse may disappear unexpectedly because of circumstances related to the criminal underworld (e.g., illicit means of debt collection and intimidation). 

Whatever the reason for a spouse’s disappearance or unavailability, it is possible for the other spouse to obtain a divorce in Illinois by means of Publication. Here, Publication is the alternative to the service of divorce papers. Since there is no known address for the documents to be sent to, notice of the divorce must be broadcast to the public through an advertisement in a newspaper in the area where the missing spouse was last known to have lived. 

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Winfield divorce discovery lawyerWhen parents divorce, the dissolution of the marriage must be formalized in a court of law, and decisions must be made regarding the allocation of parental responsibility, child support, and, when appropriate, spousal support. When, in a contested divorce, spouses cannot agree on child and spousal support, a full and fair financial accounting of income and assets is absolutely essential. In obtaining such an accounting, Illinois law provides spouses and their attorneys with processes which allow them to discover all income and assets relevant in establishing child and spousal support orders.

“Discovery” is the Legal Process Used to Determine Assets and Income

It is not uncommon, when a marriage is in disrepair and it becomes apparent that divorce is on the horizon, for one spouse to attempt to hide assets and other sources of income with the intention of lowering their anticipated child and spousal support obligations. Such efforts, however, not only stand in contradiction to the principle of equitable division of marital property mandated by Illinois law, but a spouse’s attempts to avoid paying their fair share of financial support can lead to a variety of legal consequences, including being held in contempt of court. 

When one spouse attempts to hide income or assets, the other spouse, with the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney, may compel them to disclose complete and accurate financial information. In this formal process, the legal tool of “discovery” is central. Specific forms of discovery include depositions (oral testimony), interrogatories (written answers), requests for documents, and court ordered inspections of financial records. The reason why the word “compel” is appropriate with regard to the discovery process is because discovery is conducted under penalty of perjury (lying under oath), which can result in grave legal consequences.

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West Chicago child support modification attorneyWhile child support payments become stable and predictable when parents’ employment circumstances remain constant over time, instability and stress can ensue when there is an unexpected decrease in income. This is true for both the parent paying child support and, when payments fall short or cease altogether, for the parent and child receiving support. When people’s circumstances change, Illinois law allows parents to request a modification of a child support order to increase or decrease the amount of child support payments.

Either Parent Can Request Child Support Modification

Life happens. On the positive side, there are promotions and pay increases. On the negative side, there are layoffs, demotions, pay decreases, and job termination. Whether positive or negative, a meaningful change in the income source of child support payments bears on the support itself. When a paying parent’s income increases or decreases significantly, either parent may petition the court to modify child support payments accordingly. 

Importantly, child support payments cannot be modified informally, out of court. Only a judge is capable of entering a binding modification, and these modifications must be based on the supporting parent’s ability to make their required payments. This bright-line reality may be maddening for a child support payer who is in need of downward modification yet worried about court and attorney’s fees. Fortunately, an experienced family law attorney is well versed in efficiently and effectively navigating the support modification process.  

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Warrenville grounds for divorce attorneyIn January 2018, Illinois will begin its third year of “no-fault” divorce under state law. When spouses are considering divorce, it is important to understand this philosophical and legal principle that governs divorce in the state.

Irreconcilable Differences Are All That Is Required in a No-Fault Framework

On January 1, 2016, “irreconcilable differences” became the sole legal grounds for the dissolution of a marriage in Illinois. While irreconcilable differences could be considered possible grounds for divorce prior to 2016, they were not the sole grounds. For many years, fault-based grounds (e.g. adultery or mental cruelty) were considered relevant as well. However, this is no longer the case. Under current state law, irreconcilable differences, which speak to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage – the point at which present or future attempts at reconciliation become impracticable and inconsistent with the best interests of the family – is all that needs to exist for a marriage to be properly dissolved in the state of Illinois.

Agreement on Irreconcilable Differences Hastens a Divorce Decree

While both spouses do not need to agree that irreconcilable differences exist for a divorce to be obtained in Illinois, agreement allows for the pre-divorce decree waiting period imposed on contested divorces to be effectively waived. In other words, if the decision to divorce is mutual, expressed via the agreement of the existence of irreconcilable differences, a decree may be properly issued without delay. However, should one spouse contest the existence of irreconcilable differences, state law will only reach the irrebuttable presumption (final conclusion) that irreconcilable differences exist and thus justify a divorce decree if the spouses have lived “separate and apart” for at least six months prior to the entry of the final divorce judgment.

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Posted on in Divorce

West Chicago divorce hidden assets attorneyIllinois law requires the equitable distribution of all marital property in the event of divorce. Equitable distribution is, under state law, the fair and just division of marital property. Importantly, a fair and just division is not necessarily an equal division. Besides employment-based income, earnings from investments must also be analyzed, as well as benefits from pensions and other sources. Liabilities (e.g. debt) are also subject to equitable distribution. 

In all matters, both parties are obligated to be fully transparent regarding income, assets, liabilities, and other financial matters during a divorce. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is lacking in transparency with regard to their complete financial picture during your divorce, an experienced divorce attorney will work to compel the discovery of income and hidden assets.

Means By Which a Spouse May Attempt to Hide Assets

It is upsetting to learn, but there are several ways a spouse may be attempting to hide income or other financial assets. Once it is clear that the marriage will end in divorce, a spouse may attempt to defer income, including bonuses and promotions, so that it is received after the process of equitable distribution. Estate planning resources, such as a trust, may also be misused to place income in an account beyond the proper reach of equitable distribution. 

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Warrenville divorce attorney holiday parenting timeIf you have children and are recently divorced or are in the middle of the divorce process, issues related to parental responsibility and parenting time may be a significant source of stress right now. The reason: the holidays. As parents coordinate time family and friends, plan holiday activities, and determine schedules while kids are home from school during their winter break, a fair and reasonable allocation of parental responsibilities is imperative. 

Illinois Law Requires a Parenting Plan 

No matter whether you have an amicable or contentious relationship with your ex-spouse or ex-partner, when it comes to the allocation of parental responsibilities, you are bound by Illinois law to obtain a court-ordered parenting plan. With a well-crafted and drafted parenting plan, each parent and the state of Illinois will have total clarity as to the legal rights and obligations of both parents as concerns their children.

Decision Making and Parenting Time Are the Cornerstones of a Parenting Plan 

The legal rights and obligations allocated to each parent in an Illinois parenting plan cover two major areas: 1) decision-making responsibility, and 2) parenting time (sometimes termed “visitation”). In other words, a parenting plan concerns all of the important things that go together to form the upbringing of a child. 

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