Tag Archives: Illinois

Religious Disputes and Custody Agreements in Illinois

religious dispute, DuPage County family law attorneysInterfaith marriages are increasingly common in the U.S. and in Illinois. As more people enter into interfaith relationships and marriages, the number of interfaith divorces and custody disputes also increases.

Religious disputes are also common between former spouses who belong to different denominations of the same religion, or between divorcing parents who have different levels of involvement with their faiths, whether they practice the same religion or not. In some cases, religious differences may even have been a factor for couples deciding whether to move forward with divorce proceedings.

If you are involved in a divorce or custody dispute and anticipate that religion may become a hot-button issue in your divorce, one of our experienced family law attorneys can help you prepare to address these difficult matters in court, mediation, or negotiation with your child’s other parent.

Interfaith Marriage Facts in Illinois

Younger people and those who have recently been married are most likely to be in an interfaith marriage. One religious landscape study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that almost 40 percent of all persons married since 2010 have married a person of a different faith. The largest percentage of interfaith marriages – 18 percent – are between Christians and persons who identify as “religiously unaffiliated.”

What Types of Religious Disputes Are Common for Divorcing Parents?

Religious disputes for divorcing partners typically center around how the children will be raised and what religion they will practice following the divorce. Some of the issues the court is often asked to address include:

  • What religion will the children practice?
  • How do religious holidays impact parenting time?
  • What religious education will the children receive? Will they attend religious schools?
  • Will the children observe their religious practices while with their non-practicing parent? What happens when religious activities interfere with parenting time?
  • How often will the children participate in religious activities, aside from worship services?
  • Will the children be permitted to leave the state or country for religiously-affiliated trips and mission work, and if so, how will this impact the parenting plan?
  • What happens if one parent is speaking disparagingly about the child’s religion?
  • Will the children wear the religious dress, accessories or symbols encouraged by their religion?
  • How and when will religious rites, traditions, sacraments, and celebrations take place, and will the child’s “other side” of the family play any role in these important moments in the child’s life?

Consult an Experienced Family Law Attorney Who Handles Religious Disputes and Custody Cases

These matters listed above are only some of the issues that may arise between divorcing parents of different religious traditions. Resolving religious disputes can be extremely complex, and it is always simpler when the parents are willing to make reaching an agreement a priority.

Negotiations can become quite tense since religious disputes often carry a lot of emotional significance. Our compassionate and understanding DuPage County family law attorneys can be by your side throughout the divorce process to make sure that your child’s best interest is being served.




Child Support Payments and College Expenses

college  tuition, tuition costs, child support, college fund, child of divorce, Illinois divorce lawyerWith the cost of college rising and more people attending every year, a common question divorcing parents have is whether a child’s college expenses can be factored into divorce agreements. In Illinois, section 513 of the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides the answer. That section provides that judges may award “non-minor support” in the case of a child’s educational expenses in some circumstances. The law provides guidelines on what factors judges should take into consideration when they decide whether to award support, what the support may cover, and what rights are afforded to the parents in exchange for this support.

Factors Judges Consider

Judges in family court have a wide range of discretion in awarding this sort of support. The law specifically calls out several factors to which they should look in order to determine if the case merits the support, including:

  • The financial resources of both parents;
  • The standard of living that the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved;
  • The financial resources of the child; and
  • The child’s academic performance.

However, the law clarifies that this list is not exclusive and that the judge should take into account “all relevant factors that appear reasonable and necessary.” Furthermore, judges need not make these determinations at the time of a divorce. Instead, they can choose to see how the children’s academics and parents’ finances develop over the years before assigning support.

Expenses Support Can Cover

In addition to providing guidance about the criteria judges should examine for the purpose of assigning support, the law also provides a list of possible expenses that the support should cover, including:

  • Tuition;
  • Room and board;
  • Dues and fees;
  • Books;
  • Transportation;
  • Application fees;
  • Medical and dental expenses; and
  • Living expenses.

Once again, the law explains that this list is supposed to provide examples, and other costs may be included. Additionally, the court can also award support for expenses during breaks from school.

This wide variety of different potential expenses also gives rise to the practical issue of how parents actually pay the support. The court has the authority to order payment to the student directly, to either parent, or to the student’s school. The judge can also have the parents set up a trust or other special account to facilitate payment.

The drafters of the legislation were also conscious of the fact that all these expenses place an extra burden on a parent. To account for this the law does provide an extra right to a non-custodial parent who is required to pay non-minor support. The child is required to sign the consent forms necessary to give the parent access to the student’s records and grade reports.

If you have concerns about issues related to child support or other divorce proceedings, find a DuPage County divorce lawyer today and put their experience to work for you.

Asset Valuation in Illinois Divorce

asset valuation, division of property, divorce, Illinois divorce, division of assets, Illinois divorce lawyer, divorce attorneyOne of the largest parts of any divorce process is the division of marital assets. In Illinois, judges divide the assets equitably, based on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to the following:

  • spousal contribution to the marital estate;
  • debts of the parties;
  • age of the spouses; and
  • tax consequences, among other things.

One important part of property division in divorce is the accuracy of asset valuation. This can have a large impact on how assets are divided because a mistaken asset valuation can lead to a judge’s incorrectly deciding what would constitute as equitable division.

For many assets, valuation is a simple, straightforward process. Items such as bank accounts and life insurance policies have readily accessible cash values that courts can use to make their decisions. The issue of value becomes less clear though, if the spouses have more complex assets, such as private corporations, stock portfolios, or real estate. These assets often exist without readily accessible markets to judge their worth, or have such rapidly changing value that getting a consistent estimation of their worth can be difficult.

Undeterminable Assets

 Many different types of assets fall into the first category of lacking markets capable of easily determining their value. The most common asset for which the issue arises is the couple’s home. Since each piece of real estate is unique, finding a fair value for it can sometimes be challenging. Some couples also have rare antiques, unique pieces of art, or expensive jewelry that may be difficult to value. High-asset or high-net-worth divorces can also introduce other complicated forms of property that the court will need to divide. For instance, couples who have interests in private, closely-held corporations will need to figure out the proper market value of those interests.

 Expert Testimony in the Division of Assets

Courts sometimes choose to solve these valuation problems through the use of expert testimony. The spouses’ lawyers will find witnesses who are experts in valuing the specific type of asset in question. These experts will examine the asset in question and use a variety of techniques to estimate its value. The techniques used will vary dramatically, depending on the specific type of asset. Home appraisal may involve looking at recent sales of comparably-sized homes in the neighborhood, while business valuation can involve calculating the value of all the business’s assets, along with its revenue streams.

Assets with Changing Values

 To deal with the second category of assets, those with rapidly changing values, the court will often pick a specific date to use as the reference point. While this date generally applies to most of the assets in the divorce, it often has the largest impact on things like stock portfolios, which can occasionally see noticeable changes day by day. In Illinois, the law states that the valuation date should be the time of the trial or a date as close to it as is practicable.

If you are interested in filing for divorce and believe you have complicated assets to value, contact an Illinois divorce lawyer today. An experienced lawyer can help you achieve the most equitable distribution of the marital property.