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Joliet IL Divorce Law Blog

Child support cases weighing down Chicago-area rapper

Chicago-area rapper Chief Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, has had his share of trouble. The 18-year-old has had multiple interactions with the legal system since becoming famous back in 2012, when he signed a record deal. In addition to drug charges, the rapper has been hit with charges of disorderly conduct and DUI, including civil charges.

The most recent legal issue for Cozart is that a warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to show up in court for a child support case involving his 17-month-old daughter. Cozart apparently owes the child’s mother over $10,000 in back child support, and a petition was filed last month in connection with the deficiency. In addition to that case, there is another child support case in Cook County against the rapper. 

Focusing on children could ease Illinois child custody decisions

After the initial decision is made to go through with a divorce, Illinois parents will need to face a number of other choices. Child custody is a significant concern of many parents after they decide to separate, and depending on the nature of the divorce, one parent may believe they are better fit to care for the children than the other. Though it may seem like significant time and energy should be put into getting a certain way during such proceedings, it is important to ensure that children are handling the situation well.

During these proceedings, communication is key. If children begin to withdraw from their parents or seem uninterested in the future, they may not be taking the news of divorce and custody arrangements well. By creating an open line of communication and allowing children to ask questions about how they will be impacted by these decisions, they may be better able to understand why arrangements are made certain ways.

Asset protection trusts another option for divorce protection

Prenuptial agreements have become a popular way to protect one’s assets in the event of divorce, not only among the wealthy, but increasingly among folks of ordinary means. These agreements, as readers know, can be an effective way for couples to establish the terms of a potential break-up, particularly with respect to finances. A less used and less well-known way to achieve the same goal is to make use of a domestic asset protection trust.

Domestic asset protection trusts are irrevocable trusts recognized by some states, which protect the creator of the trust from having assets seized by creditors, including a spouse These trusts are unique in that the creator of the trust still has some access and control over the assets, but not so much to allow creditors access. Currently, there are 15 states which recognize asset protection trusts. Illinois is not one of them. Luckily, one does not have to be a resident of a state to have an asset protection trust under that state’s laws.

Post TitleParenting time bill under consideration in Illinois

Readers may or may not have heard about a measure currently being considered by Illinois lawmakers. The measure concerns the issue of custody and how judges allot parenting time between parents. All too often, judges make parenting time determinations that end up leaving noncustodial parents at arm’s length from their children. Often, the parent in this situation is the father. This is less than ideal, since research shows children do better when they have active involvement from both parents, even after divorce.             

The primary standard governing judges in making custody and parenting time determinations, of course, is always the best interests of the children. Advocates of the bill currently under consideration, though, say that more preference needs to be given to equal parenting time. Under the most current version of the bill, judges would be urged—though not required—to consider equal parenting time for both parents. The bill would also require that custody disputes be resolved within 90 days. Previous versions of the bill have failed to gain the support necessary to get very far. 

Celebrity custody dispute highlights importance of prenup validity

Prenuptial agreements, when well-negotiated and properly executed, can be an invaluable way for couples to establish some of the terms that will govern the unhoped-for event of divorce. While prenuptial agreements are not for every couple, there are many who could benefit from taking the terms of divorce into their own hands, particularly those who stand to lose a lot in divorce.

One of the keys for any prenuptial agreement is to ensure that each and every provision is valid. In other words, the overall agreement must be free of coercion, fraud and other such complicating matters, but each individual provision must be in line with public policy. It is not, for instance, in line with public policy to include provisions regarding who will or will not have custody of the children in divorce, or provisions putting restrictions on child support. 

Collaborative divorce a beneficial process for some couples

The divorce process is oftentimes not a smooth and pain-free one, as our readers know. A broken marriage with bitter parties combined with opportunistic attorneys is a bad mix, and can end up leading to increased costs and more bitterness to boot. While divorce is never easy, there are some ways to make it a bit smoother of a process. One way is to pursue a collaborative divorce.

Collaborative divorce is a process in which both parties agree to settle outside of court. Both parties are still represented by attorneys and work with other professionals skilled in dispute resolution. Because the process takes place outside court and there is a commitment to settling without resort to litigation, though, there is usually more cooperation.  Though the cost of collaborative divorce varies from case to case, it is generally a significantly less costly way to go.

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.