Wheaton, IL divorce lawyerIn order to begin the divorce process, you need to serve your spouse with court papers. Some spouses may not want to face the realities of the divorce process, such as child support and alimony. Even when you hire a third party to personally serve your spouse, they may struggle to track down your spouse. A divorce lawyer can help you when you are having difficulty making personal service.

Service Requirements in a Divorce

In order to meet your requirements for personal service in a divorce, you must have a third party, such as a sheriff or private service agency, serve your spouse. You are not allowed to do it on your own, even if the divorce is uncontested (if the divorce is uncontested, you do not have to serve your spouse papers at all). You can meet the requirements by:

  • Having the third party give the papers to your spouse personally


Wheaton Alimony LawyerYour divorce case will mean that there are court records. Some of these records may contain sensitive and potentially damaging information that you do not want exposed to the general public. It is possible to have your divorce records sealed under certain circumstances. However, there are reasons why a judge may not grant any motion to seal your divorce records or allow certain information to remain public.

The Presumption Is that Documents Are Available to the Public

Under the Illinois Clerk of Courts Act, documents that are required to be kept by the court’s clerk are public records. Public means that anyone can show up at the courthouse and inspect these records. If your divorce is messy, or if there is information that you want kept confidential, anyone can learn about it. The only way that your divorce records can be sealed is when you file a motion with the trial court. The judge must grant the motion to seal the records.

How Courts Consider Motions to Seal Your Record

Illinois courts will generally consider two factors in deciding whether to seal divorce records:


Wheaton Divorce LawyerIt is essential for you to try to maintain a sense of normalcy during a divorce, especially for the sake of your children. One way to tend to yours and your children’s well-being is to take a vacation during this difficult time. However, you may not be able to simply go away without either consent from the other parent or a court order. Your family law attorney can advise you about what you need to do before you can take the children on a trip.

International Travel Will Usually Be Off Limits

Typically, you would not be able to take the children outside of the country while the divorce is pending. The courts would be afraid that the children may not be brought back. If the children do not have a passport, both parents would need to sign a consent form for the children to apply. It is unlikely that a court would allow you to leave the United States with the children before there is a final order. 

It Is Better to Get the Other Parent’s Consent

You are better off reaching an agreement, or taking the trip with the consent of the other parent. You may agree on the terms of the trip, including where you will take the children, how long they will be gone and a means for the other parent to reach them while they are away. The agreement may be mutual, allowing your ex-spouse to also take the children on a vacation. This could be a part of an interim custody agreement or outside the terms of the divorce agreement.


4 Tips for Dealing with a High-Conflict Spouse

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton Family Law AttorneyHigh-conflict people seem to enjoy the argument and the fight. They want nothing more than to be in a war with you at all times. Then, they believe that they must win at all costs. They can make both your divorce and the period afterward a nonstop nightmare. An Illinois divorce lawyer may be able to assist in resolving issues related to divorcing a high-conflict ex-spouse

Do Not Give Them the Fight

Once you have entered into a dispute with this type of person, there is usually no way out of it. The conflict will keep spiraling out of control. In many cases, your ex-spouse will not be satisfied until you have a climactic battle in court. You are better off doing the best that you can to not get dragged into the fight in the first place, as difficult as it may seem.

You Do Not Have to Answer Everything

There are times when you may have to answer a communication. For example, you may be co-parenting, and the communication involves the children’s welfare. However, you are not under an obligation to answer every single text or e-mail. There are some communications that are better left unaddressed. Otherwise, you could be thrust into a continuous back-and-forth with your ex-spouse. If you do not share children, there is less of a reason to answer. 


Wheaton Divorce LawyerWhether alimony will impact your tax return depends on when your divorce was finalized. Federal law recently made major changes to the tax treatment of alimony payments after an Illinois divorce. Illinois also made dramatic amendments to alimony law around the same time. Alimony paid pursuant to a recently finalized divorce will not be tax-deductible for the payor, nor will the receiving spouse need to pay income tax on it. 

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 Changed Tax Treatment

Prior to 2019, the paying spouse was able to take a tax deduction for any alimony paid, enabling them to recoup some of the money that they paid in spousal support. Now, the TCJA made changes to federal law. Now, the receiving spouse does not have to treat alimony as income for income tax purposes. The paying spouse is no longer able to take a tax deduction. Still, a court would consider the spouse’s ability to pay alimony in light of the changes in federal law. If a divorce was finalized before January 1, 2019, alimony is still deductible for the payor and taxable for the recipient.

Illinois Alimony Law Also Changed in 2019

Illinois made similar changes to its own laws around the same time. Now, courts will look at the paying spouse’s net income after tax, as opposed to gross income before tax, in calculating the amount of payment. Illinois courts also use a new formula to calculate alimony payments. The same law also changed Illinois tax laws to exclude alimony from the definition of income and to make the payments no longer tax-deductible. Similar to federal law, the old Illinois rules apply to divorces that were finalized before the new law took effect. 


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