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How Does a Spouse’s Incarceration Affect an Illinois Divorce?

DuPage County Contested Divorce AttorneyIf a spouse is currently in prison, divorce is an important decision that the couple may consider. The complex feelings and consequences of seeing a husband or wife go to prison can be overwhelming. In addition, the couple’s children will find it especially challenging to live without their incarcerated parent. This is why, depending on the situation, divorce might be the best option. There are many other reasons to initiate a divorce under these circumstances, and there are steps to take to ensure a seamless legal proceeding.

Reasons for Divorce During Incarceration

Studies suggest that incarceration increases divorce rates, and even if the inmate is released from prison, the marriage might still be more susceptible to divorce long thereafter. In fact, for every year a spouse is in prison, the likelihood of divorce during or after imprisonment increased by about 32 percent. There are many reasons for a divorce between one spouse and an incarcerated spouse, including:

  • Estrangement

  • Feelings of loneliness

  • Lack of intimacy

  • Financial problems

  • Child support issues

Reasons for Divorce After Incarceration

It might be easy to assume that once the incarcerated spouse is released from prison and back at home, the dynamics of the marriage and family will return to the way they were prior to incarceration. However, the truth is that the transition is often much more complicated than that. Even if the incarcerated spouse is released from prison, there are still greater odds of divorce resulting from the time spent locked up. Criminologists have researched the effects of incarceration on marriages and have found that even after being released from prison, the formerly incarcerated spouse and his/her spouse might exhibit the following characteristics:

  • More violent behavior

  • Less loving qualities

  • Extramarital affairs

Combine the above traits with many of the same issues faced during incarceration that persist even after imprisonment, and divorce becomes a likely outcome for many of these couples.

Legal Process for Divorce When One Spouse Is Incarcerated

Overall, the legal process for divorce when one spouse is incarcerated is not much different from the usual divorce process. In many cases, the two spouses agree to have an uncontested divorce, since this is the quickest, easiest, and most affordable option. In situations where a divorce is contested by one or both spouses, the process will be more challenging. Funds are limited, making it difficult for one or both spouses to afford a lawyer, and the imprisonment makes appearing in court problematic. Thankfully, some courtrooms in Illinois have agreed to allow proceedings via video.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Divorce under any circumstances can be a difficult decision to make, but when one of the spouses is serving time in prison, it can be even more challenging. Although it might seem daunting at first, with a knowledgeable and dedicated Wheaton, IL contested divorce attorney providing guidance, you can be prepared to navigate this major life event with ease. If you or your spouse are currently incarcerated, and you have questions about the divorce process under these special circumstances, call our office today at 630-871-1002 for a complimentary consultation.

Sources:

https://www.vox.com/2014/5/29/5756646/every-year-of-a-prison-term-makes-a-couple-32-percent-more-likely-to

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/the-difficulty-of-getting-a-divorce-in-prison/538653/

What if My Spouse Is Hiding Assets During Our Illinois Divorce?

DuPage County divorce lawyer for hidden assetsWhen a couple reaches the point where their marriage is irretrievably broken, they will likely seek a divorce. The process of legally ending a marriage can be complicated, especially if there are a lot of issues to resolve. If spouses are argumentative or bitter, this may only further complicate matters. Part of the divorce proceedings involve dividing any marital property or assets. In some situations, one of the spouses may try to hide monetary funds or other valuable possessions. A study by the National Endowment for Financial Education found that 31 percent of spouses with combined assets report they were deceptive about money, and 58 percent of those people admitted to hiding money from their partner or spouse. In divorce cases involving hidden assets, it is imperative to hire professional legal assistance to uncover such deception.

Division of Marital Assets

In the state of Illinois, marital property and assets are divided using the principle of “equitable distribution.” This means they will be split fairly, but not necessarily completely 50/50. Any assets that were acquired during the matrimonial union may be subject to division. Anything that one of the spouses owned prior to the marriage does not have to be split, unless the other spouse contributed to its value in some way. For example, if one party owned a business before getting married, but his or her spouse helped run it during the marriage, that spouse may be able to receive reimbursement for his or her contributions to any increase in the value of the business.

Separate property is considered anything acquired by a spouse before the marriage. However, a gift or inheritance received during the marriage can also be classified as the personal property of one spouse. A prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement may also be used to classify certain assets as separate property. At the time of divorce, any property that is labeled as separate property belongs to the spouse who acquired it.

Types of Assets That Are Often Hidden

Asset division can be a complex process, since it often includes many different types of property, including physical items, financial accounts, and debts. There are some types of property that may be easily hidden. Certain assets may go undetected, especially if only one spouse’s name is on an account, retirement plan, or subscription. Some assets may “fly under the radar;” that is, one spouse may not even be aware of their existence or value. The following are examples of these types of assets:

  • Timeshare properties

  • Frequent-flyer miles

  • Stocks or bonds

  • Health club or country club memberships

  • Income tax refunds

  • Retirement benefits

  • Life insurance policies

  • Season tickets (entertainment, sports)

  • Antiques and collectibles

  • Cash

Hidden assets can involve illegal activities such as fraud, as well as legitimate loopholes.  However, manipulating valid processes and procedures for the purpose of defrauding the court or the other spouse is illegal.

The discovery of hidden assets in a divorce case can change the outcome of the property distribution. In addition to the loss of ownership of assets that were hidden, the guilty party could face a permanent criminal record. Violations can result in criminal charges of fraud, contempt of court, and perjury.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

A divorce can be one of the most difficult transitions you will go through in your life, and you deserve your fair share of the property you and your spouse acquired during your marriage. If your spouse is hiding assets from you in order to come out ahead, you should take legal action to ensure that all of your marital assets are divided correctly. At the Andrew Cores Law Group, our attorneys have extensive knowledge of Illinois divorce law, including how to uncover hidden assets. Our Wheaton property division lawyers can help you understand all of your options to make sure you receive a fair settlement. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

 

How Can a Spousal Support Order Be Modified in Illinois?

DuPage County spousal support modification lawyerAlthough divorce is a fairly common occurrence these days, every couple’s situation is unique. In some cases, spousal support/maintenance may be awarded to one spouse. Under Illinois law, the court considers various factors when determining whether to award maintenance (also known as alimony), and the law provides guidelines for calculating the amount and duration of support payments. Orders can be modified, however, if a substantial change warrants it. To request a modification of the support amount or to ask that the payments be terminated, the individual seeking the modification must file a petition with the court where the order was originally issued.

Reasons for Modification

Family situations can change due to extenuating circumstances. According to Illinois law, there are several events that constitute an automatic spousal support order modification, including:

  • Remarriage

  • Cohabitation

  • Death

If one of the ex-spouses remarries, and his or her new partner has a job, then spousal maintenance is likely not needed anymore. These considerations may also apply if the ex is now living in the same household with a new love interest, even if the new couple has not gotten married. In the event one of the ex-spouses dies, then spousal support automatically stops. It is important to note that any maintenance payments made after one of the above events took place must be repaid to the paying party by the receiving party.

Once a motion is filed to modify an existing spousal support order, the court will hear arguments from both parties. A judge will consider the following factors in order to determine if a modification of the maintenance order is justified:

  • Change in employment status of either party (job layoff or loss)

  • Efforts of the recipient to become self-supporting (payments may be lowered if he or she is not actively looking for work)

  • A change in the earning capacity of either party

  • Tax consequences of the payments for each party

  • Duration of the maintenance payments previously paid (and still to be paid) based on how long the marriage lasted

  • Property awarded to each party in the divorce (sometimes used to reduce the amount of maintenance one spouse will receive)

  • Increase or decrease in each party’s income since the original order

  • Property acquired and currently owned by each party after the divorce

  • Any other factors the court finds equitable

It is important to note that only maintenance payments expected or due after the date of the motion to modify support may be changed, even if some payments were made after the change in circumstances occurred. This differs from the scenarios in which maintenance ceases automatically.

Contact a DuPage County Spousal Maintenance Attorney

A person’s life circumstances can change in an instant. For instance, a job loss can have a significant financial impact. This is especially true if you are a single person who recently went through a divorce. The Andrew Cores Family Law Group understands how to address changes in circumstances that may warrant modifications of existing divorce orders, and we can help you reach an outcome to your case that protects your financial security. Our seasoned Wheaton, IL divorce modification lawyers are prepared to provide you with the representation you need. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k510.htm