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Joliet IL Divorce Law Blog

Prenup can protect spouse from student loan debt liability

Property division is an important aspect of divorce, one that motivates many a celebrity couple to seek the protection of a prenuptial agreement. An equally good reason to form a prenuptial agreement can be to avoid an unwanted outcome with respect to debt division. The reasons for this are clear enough when one is engaged to a person who brings significant debt to the table or who is likely to get into significant debt during the marriage.

Student loan debt is of particular concern for many couples, and can put a lot of stress on a marriage. Those who do not have a prenuptial agreement addressing division of student loan debt should at least have a basic understanding of how this debt is divided in the event of divorce. Generally speaking, student loan debt incurred prior to marriage is considered separate property and is not subject to division in divorce, but student loan debt incurred during the marriage is a different story. 

Illinois lawmakers consider competing bills affecting child custody

Illinois lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would essentially rework state law concerning divorce. The bill, which sources say would change dozens of current provisions, was made based on the recommendations of the Family Law Study Committee, which was created in 2008 by a House joint resolution as part of an effort to make major changes to the state’s divorce act.

Alongside that bill, there is another one that lawmakers are also considering. This bill, much less extensive in scope, has the sole aim of ensuring that non-custodial parents are awarded a minimum amount of parenting time in custody disputes. All too often, non-custodial parents don’t receive the time necessary to maintain a good relationship with their children. This is a poor situation for both parents and children. The bill would correct that. 

House bill would increase visitation time for non-custodial parents

Those who have been through divorce and have had to adapt to sharing their children with their former spouse know the challenges that can come up in such situations. Aside from all the petty things couples may have to deal with, there is the all-important question of whether each parent is getting enough time with their children. Research has shown that maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents helps children of divorce to maintain relatively healthy mental and emotional development. Unfortunately, parenting time isn’t always split in such a way that this is possible.

A bill introduced in the Illinois House by Representative John Cabello of Machesney Park seeks to address this issue by increasing the amount of weekly time noncustodial parents in Illinois are able to be with their children. Specifically, the bill would give noncustodial parents up to 35 percent of available parenting time on a weekly basis. Illinois courts often only give non-custodial parents four hours of visitation time every week and every other weekend. This is not enough time for children of divorce or their non-custodial parents.

Plan ahead to protect your business from possible divorce

Divorce can have an enormous impact on one’s financial life. For those in business for themselves, it is critical to be thorough about shielding one’s business from property division. There are a number of ways to do this, and the means one uses should be uniquely tailored to one’s situation.

Ideally, one should prepare for the possibility exposing one’s business to divorce before one is married. This can be done by a prenuptial agreement. In this approach, one identifies business assets as separate property so that they will not be exposed to division in the event of divorce. The key to this would be to keep these assets separate throughout the divorce as well, since failure to do so could expose them to division. For those who are already married, a postnuptial agreement may accomplish the same goal. 

Divorce: healing and moving on with confidence

If you asked Illinois divorcees why they decided to split, you would get as many answers as there are people. At the same time, it’s very likely that the main idea behind their choice was that they were leaving a difficult situation in hopes of a brighter future. No doubt, a lot of people who decide to divorce feel fear. According to one human behavior expert, there’s a strong fear of the unknown for many people as they prepare to leave their spouse. But as we can see from statistics, people often conquer their fears and move forward with the process.

Once done, it’s not uncommon for people to feel better emotionally and even physically. There is a feeling of empowerment and confidence once a difficult relationship is pushed into the past. Undoubtedly, there can be less stress, at least as it relates to the failing marriage.

Documentary paints rather one-sided view of divorce

A new documentary film released last month, called “Divorce Corp,” examines some of the challenges parents can face when going through divorce and fighting for custody of their children. The premise of the documentary, evident from the title, is that divorce is a big business in which the interests of parents are often eclipsed by judicial misconduct, the interests of attorneys, and the complications of the court system.

Reviews for the film have been mixed to negative, criticizing the film for giving a rather one-sided take on the family court system and fudging facts and figures. One thing the film does highlight for viewers, though, is the potential messiness and contentiousness of divorce in some cases. Although the film wrongly implies that bitter contentiousness is the norm in divorce, it does happen in some cases. In those where it does, the process is more time-consuming, more costly, and more emotionally taxing. 

Ex-wife: SAC Capital founder hid assets to avoid child support

For some, the division of assets in divorce can be as acrimonious as any issue. Sometimes, unfortunately, people go to great lengths to conceal the full extent of their wealth in order to keep it from being fairly divided or used in child support and spousal maintenance calculations. Asset concealment is unfair and illegal, but it does happen -- as do false allegations.

Recently, the ex-wife of SAC Capital Advisors founder Steven Cohen filed a $10-million lawsuit against the beleaguered billionaire, accusing him of hiding assets from the divorce court. The fact that Cohen is embroiled in a colossal insider trading scandal, however, prompted her to an unusual move: she filed suit under the federal RICO statute, which offers triple the damages if the defendant can be shown to have engaged in racketeering.

The couple’s post-divorce litigation, as the federal judge in the case pointed out, has already lasted nearly twice as long as their marriage did. "This is a case,” he commented, “to restore faith in the old-fashioned idea that divorce is something that lasts forever.”

1.4 million are owed unpaid child support. Could software help?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as many as 1.4 million custodial parents were owed child support that wasn’t paid in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available. That back child support totaled an estimated $37.9 billion -- that’s billions of dollars kids are legally entitled to for their care but simply aren’t receiving.

There are a variety of reasons why parents don’t pay their court-ordered child support, some better than others. Poverty is one, especially during this economic downturn. But legally, job losses and other substantial changes don’t justify nonpayment. Parents who have legitimate reasons for being unable to meet child support obligations need to get the order modified so they can afford it.

For some parents, the acrimony of the divorce leads to long-term anger and frustration, and that can get in the way of prioritizing full and timely payment of child support.

President proclaims January as National Stalking Awareness Month

According to the White House, stalking is a serious crime that is carried out, all too often, against people of all ages and backgrounds. While it's not only perpetrated against women, the president noted recently, about one in every six women in the U.S. will be stalked at some point in their lives.

In family law, we know all too well how disturbing and alarming it can be when a spouse, an ex-spouse, or anyone else engages in this intimidating behavior. Unfortunately, there are those who seek to bully and terrorize others through persistent, unwanted contact. It can take the form of harassing phone calls or emails, physical or electronic monitoring, or contacting friends, family or bosses without consent.

Sadly, victims of stalking often find it hard to believe -- even if the stalker is a former spouse. They sometimes rationalize the behavior, turning away from the possibility that it could escalate into violence. Friends and even law enforcement personnel sometimes fail to take stalking seriously enough, and that can be dangerous.

Actor's daughter seeking an annulment after quick marriage

Every Joliet resident makes mistakes from time to time in their life. For some, the mistakes may be more major, however, and the person may only realize this after it happens. This can happen with marriage for some individuals, as what may have seemed like a good idea at the time can turn out to be very unfortunate months or years later.

In certain cases, individuals may not want a divorce, but an annulment. This has the effect of making the marriage appear as though it never occurred in the first place, which is a step farther than divorce, which recognizes the marriage but simply dissolves it. There are stricter requirements for obtaining an annulment, however, such as fraud or lack of consent.