Mediation in Divorce Proceedings in Illinois

mediation, DuPage County divorce attorneysMany Illinois couples choose to utilize the mediation process to come to an agreement during divorce proceedings. In some cases, the court may actually mandate that a couple spends time with a neutral mediator before asking the court to ultimately decide the terms of a divorce. No matter the reason for choosing mediation, there are many benefits, though mediation is not appropriate under all circumstances.

Your divorce attorney in the Wheaton area can help you weigh your options when deciding how best to proceed with your divorce dispute resolution.

Mediation Advantages

There are numerous advantages to selecting mediation as a form of alternative dispute resolution, including:

  • Time and cost-effectiveness – Mediation is typically faster and less expensive than the drawn-out court proceedings;
  • Tailored to your needs – Parties have a hand in creating the agreement;
  • Flexibility – Parties can create or select from a broader range of solutions than the judge’s, more generic standard plans;
  • Opportunity to be fully heard – Each party has more opportunities to voice questions and concerns;
  • Less adversarial and rigid – Parties can make changes and revisions during problem-solving;
  • Less formal – Parties need not follow as many procedural rules when presenting their positions; and
  • More agreeable settlements – Parties typically report greater satisfaction with mediation results than court-ordered plans.

Mediation is Not Always Appropriate

Mediation is not appropriate for every couple going through divorce proceedings. In some instances, a stricter and more formal proceeding before the court is the right choice. Mediation is not always the best option when:

  • Either party cannot be trusted to act in good faith;
  • One party needs to compel disclosure of information from the other party;
  • Abuse has occurred or is alleged, whether physical, sexual, financial, or other;
  • The relationship is too acrimonious, and parties cannot interact with each other; and/or
  • Parties possess extremely disparate levels of power, control or sophistication, whether financially or otherwise.

Consult an Experienced Mediation Divorce Attorney in Wheaton

A compassionate divorce attorney at our law firm can help you decide which dispute resolution format is right for your family, given your specific circumstances. Your divorce lawyer will consider the goals you have in mind for your division of marital assets, parenting time plan, spousal support, and other issues related to your divorce.

He or she will also take into account whether your spouse has a history of abusive behavior or hiding assets, whether your family would benefit from creative or flexible solutions and problem-solving that might be considered “outside the box,” and whether time and cost are largely important factors in resolving your divorce.

Do not hesitate to contact our skilled DuPage County family law attorneys today. We are eager to assist you with your case.



Court Order Enforcement in Illinois

order enforcement, Wheaton family law attorneyIf you have a divorce decree, parenting plan agreement, or spousal or child support order in place, it can be incredibly frustrating – even infuriating – when your former spouse or partner does not live up to his or her part in the agreement or court order. Fortunately, an experienced family law attorney in Illinois can help you seek compliance from your ex.

When Your Ex Refuses to Comply or Cooperate with a Court Order

The entire purpose of going through the initial settlement or litigation process was to obtain an official arrangement so that all parties can move forward. Yet, when one spouse or partner refuses to comply, it can make all the previous time and expense spent finalizing the divorce or parenting plan seem wasted. This, however, is not the case.

Court Orders Are Enforceable

Once a divorce or child custody (parental responsibilities) case is finalized, the order is legally enforceable and a party seeking to change or modify the order must go through the court. Neither party can simply just decide to change their obligation without court approval – even if there is a very good reason.

Seeking Court Order Compliance

There are a few ways to seek compliance with a divorce or custody order from your former spouse or partner. Most commonly, parties may go back to court to have the order enforced.

Court-ordered enforcement can take many forms, depending on the type of order and the particular circumstances of the case. Some common methods of enforcement include wage garnishment for unpaid spousal or child support, adding interest charges for unpaid child support, and even imprisonment, under certain circumstances. A parent whose divorce decree orders him or her not to disparage their child’s other parent or one who consistently denies agreed-upon parenting time to their child’s other parent may even risk losing custody or having their parenting time or decision-making abilities reduced by the court.

Avoiding Litigation

Sometimes, it makes sense to try to avoid litigation as the first step in seeking compliance from your ex. An experienced family law attorney can work with you to negotiate with your former spouse or partner, if possible, and can also contact the attorney who represented your ex in your divorce proceedings or parenting plan. Your attorney can also send your ex a letter warning him or her about their noncompliance with the order, and the potential consequences.

If you next pursue litigation to seek court-ordered enforcement, your lawyer can help you produce records to keep track of your former spouse or partner’s noncompliant acts, such as refusing parenting visits with the children.

Consult an Experienced Family Law Attorney in DuPage County

If you are looking to have a court order enforced, consult with one of the experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at our law firm. We handle all types of court order enforcement, including divorce decrees, child support, spousal support or alimony, parenting time, visitation, and even restraining orders.



Finding Hidden Assets in an Illinois Divorce

hidden assets, DuPage County divorce lawyerDivorces can be complicated, and when you believe your spouse is hiding high-value assets to prevent the court from seeing the whole picture in terms of your family’s finances, the proceedings can get that much more complex. Hidden assets can directly affect the outcome of your divorce and must be addressed immediately.

If you have reason to suspect your spouse of hiding assets from the court, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced family law attorney right away. Your Wheaton family law attorney will have experience locating hidden assets, persuading spouses to be more forthright with the court, and holding difficult or dishonest spouses accountable for hiding information necessary to gauge how the marital assets should be divided.

What Is a Hidden Asset under Illinois Law?

Whether you are recently separated from your spouse or have been living apart for some time, it is possible that your spouse has hidden income or assets of which you are not aware. Hidden assets can take many forms, including secret bank accounts, income from a second job, undisclosed investments and insurance policies, secret business interests, gambling proceeds, undisclosed inheritance or gifts from family, and many others. Hidden assets can also be physical assets, such as property interests, jewelry, collections, or other valuables.

Sometimes, spouses seeking to hide assets from the court will give cash or items of value to their friends or family members with the objective of retrieving the valuable items after the divorce has been finalized. This practice is sometimes referred to as dissipation or fraudulent transfer of marital assets, and courts typically do not look favorably upon it, since it prevents the equitable division of the marital property.

Methods of Discovery Available to Identify Hidden Assets

Family law attorneys experienced in locating hidden assets in divorce cases have several tools at their disposal to level the playing field and make sure that all marital assets are out in the open when determining equitable asset division and other matters related to divorce. Your divorce attorney may utilize a number of discovery tactics including:

  • Subpoenaing employers, bank statements, and records;
  • Posing questions that your spouse must answer in writing with help from his or her attorney;
  • Working with financial institutions;
  • Consulting accountants and tax experts;
  • Reviewing tax records for accuracy and asset disclosure;
  • Analyzing insurance policies and records;
  • Examining credit reports from all credit reporting bureaus;
  • Reviewing recent business transactions;
  • Interviewing and deposing witnesses and financial experts; and
  • Following the paper trail to find “missing” money.

Consult an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Illinois

It is important that you begin working with your passionate Wheaton divorce attorney who handles finding hidden assets as soon as possible, so that he or she may locate any hidden assets in time for the asset and its value to be considered during your divorce proceedings. If the asset is not located until after the division of assets has been completed, you may have to initiate a new court proceeding in order for the court to take that asset into account.