IL divorce lawyerAn important part of every Illinois divorce is the marital property division arrangement. Ideally, spouses work together to devise a plan that allows both spouses to protect their interests and priorities. However, this is easier said than done. When both spouses have sentimental attachments to objects or when one spouse has an object collection of great financial worth, dividing ownership of these objects can become quite complicated. If you are thinking about divorce in Illinois and you want to protect your collectors’ items, read on.

Are My Collectibles Marital Property?

Spouses who have spent years or even decades collecting items may feel strongly that these belongings are their personal property and should not be marital property. But years of hard work invested in growing a collection does not mean it belongs exclusively to the collector if items were purchased with marital funds, and, unfortunately, both spouses’ incomes are considered marital property. An exception to this may be if a spouse bought an item and gave it as a gift to the other spouse; in this case, proving that the item was a gift may still be difficult.

Valuing Collections and Collectors’ Items

The next step in determining what will happen to collectibles in a divorce is accurately assessing the value of these items. Valuation experts are often helpful when items are unique, expensive, or difficult to compare to other items. For example, a one-of-a-kind baseball card can be hard to value when similar items are not available for comparison. In this case, a valuation expert will try to assess the fair market value of an item using special techniques and the help of other professional appraisers.

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IL family lawyerMost children in Illinois have a very hard time coping with their parent's divorce. Even older children, who may understand why their parents are separating and even believe it is for the best, usually struggle with anger, resentment, and fear of abandonment. For children who have autism, however, divorce can present an overwhelming emotional challenge.

Children with autism often struggle to manage major changes and may also struggle to communicate what they are feeling. Add to this the fact that autism can make it difficult to cultivate close emotional relationships, and divorce - which removes one parent from the child’s home on an ongoing basis - can prove to be a very difficult challenge for everyone involved. If you are considering divorce and have a child on the autism spectrum, here are some tips that may make the transition easier.

Explain Changes Before They Happen

Most parents with children on the autism spectrum find that their child thrives on predictability. Change, especially sudden or unexpected change, can be very difficult for autistic children to manage well. Whenever possible, preface changes by letting your child know before they happen. Some parents find visual aids helpful, including regular reminders like calendars that make custody arrangements easy to visualize and understand. Rather than making changes all at once, try to make changes gradually so your child is not overwhelmed by everything changing at the same time.

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IL divorce lawyerThe vast majority of Illinois divorces are resolved without courtroom litigation. Alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and collaborative divorce give couples the opportunity to reach an agreement about issues like property division and parenting arrangements. However, sometimes couples are engaged in intense interpersonal conflict; other times, fundamental disagreements about facts cannot be overcome so that a settlement can be reached.

Whatever the reason, a couple may find themselves litigating their divorce in court and may need to build their case before a judge. While a judge in a divorce trial will make decisions according to Illinois law, his or her decisions can be influenced by the presentation of facts according to each spouse’s attorney as supported by statements, witnesses, and other evidence. This is when an expert witness may be helpful.

What Does an Expert Witness Do in a Divorce Trial?

When spouses contest basic facts, such as the value of a property or the other spouse’s fitness as a parent, expert witnesses can act as professionals whose education, training, or experience allows them to testify in court about the issue at hand. Spouses can hire expert witnesses to support their case, or a court can appoint an expert witness. In either case, one or both spouses are generally required to pay the expert witness’s fees.

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IL divorce lawyerWhile many Illinois couples look forward to the finalization of their divorce as the day when their problems with their ex will end, for some couples, divorce is only the end of certain problems and the start of new ones. Although divorce decrees are enforceable court orders that both spouses must follow, not all spouses feel equally bound to abide by the law and may violate the terms of the divorce decree in ways that cause serious difficulties for the other spouse, especially when children are involved. If your former spouse is flouting your divorce decree, you may want to get help from an experienced Illinois divorce attorney.

The Reason for the Violation May Affect the Response

If your ex has stopped making child support payments because he unexpectedly found himself out of work, you may be able to talk to him and set up an arrangement that works for you both until he gets back on his feet financially. It is generally best to avoid a heavy-handed court response for minor violations that are the result of changing circumstances when other solutions may be more effective.

However, if your ex simply does not want to pay child support or has deliberately lost his job to avoid making payments, you may want to take more drastic measures. Likewise, if your former spouse is failing to follow your parenting schedule or making important decisions without following your parenting plan, you may want to take action.

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Il family lawyerEven after parents have finalized their divorce and settled on a court-ordered custody arrangement, concerns can linger. Parents often get divorced because of significant differences of opinion regarding appropriate parenting methods, and these differences do not simply go away once parents are no longer living in the same home. Often, parenting styles simply come down to differences in character or preference; one parent may view the other as irresponsible, uncooperative, or frustrating, but as long as the children are cared for and safe, these differences are mostly harmless.

Sometimes, however, parental behavior crosses a line into abuse. Because you are not in the home with the other parent, and because children cannot always clearly communicate what is happening, it can be difficult to know whether your child is at risk of being abused. But if you have concerns about their safety or wellbeing, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Signs of Child Abuse at a Co-Parent’s Home

Children handle abuse differently and sometimes the classic symptoms of abuse may not be present. However, some signs that a child may be being abused include:

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