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Joliet IL Divorce Law Blog

Woman seeks child custody rights with jail sentence looming

Many Illinois residents are most likely aware that child custody battles can be complex, emotionally charged and influenced by any number of factors. Recently, a woman involved in an out-of-state child custody battle requested that the court make a decision on parenting responsibilities that concern her 2-year-old daughter. The woman also faces an impending ruling by a high court that could mean she spends significant time in jail.

Last year, the woman was sentenced to over a year in prison when she was found guilty of two counts of manslaughter as well as leaving the scene of an accident in relation to the deaths of two teens in a car accident that occurred in January 2012. The woman is in the process of appealing this decision, but her ex-boyfriend has asked in a counterclaim for sole custody of their daughter. The man claims that if his ex-girlfriend's appeal is denied, she might spend up to 18 months in jail.

Recently introduced Illinois law affects child support

As some Illinois residents may know, a newly introduced law aims to ensure that children, as well as their parents, receive any and all child support payments due them. The child support law was introduced by Rep. Camille Lilly of Chicago earlier this year. It received bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and, last week, it was signed into law.

The measure was introduced earlier this year as House Bill 2791. It will direct experts to analyze and study unpaid child support's root causes. It will then assess future policy changes that could make the system of child support not only more efficient but also more responsive when it comes to the needs of Illinois families.

How is alimony calculated in Illinois?

Earlier this year there were changes made to Illinois spousal support laws regarding the way it is to be calculated. The new guidelines outlined in Senate Bill 3231, which took effect at the beginning of 2015, set very specific standards regarding the percentage of income one may be entitled to depending on the length of one's marriage and the incomes of both spouses. Alimony may not be granted in every divorce case, and the changes approved in this bill only apply to those couples whose combined income is under $250,000.

In order to determine if a spouse is eligible for alimony several things will first need to be considered. Some of these include the length of the marriage, the incomes of each party, educational and career opportunities and the standard of living each party has grown accustomed to during the marriage. These and other factors used to determine if alimony is to be awarded have not really changed with the new guidelines. It is the numbers used to calculate spousal support that have truly been affected.

A Hollywood couple's high net worth divorce

As some Illinois residents are aware, Hollywood couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner recently announced their divorce. As the couple has an estimated combined net worth approaching $115 million, there is much at stake in this high net worth divorce. It has also recently come to light that the couple never obtained a prenup.

Many people have discussed the possibilities of what happened to cause the breakdown of their marriage. However, one of the largest questions is to see exactly how the couple's finances will be split. Considering that the announcement of the breakup happened exactly one day after their 10th wedding anniversary, there has been a large amount of speculation as to how that might affect the division of their combined net worth.

Shared parenting for child custody gaining support

There is a relatively new movement that calls for more shared parenting in post-divorce arrangements. It grants fathers equal rights in regard to their children after a divorce. According to recent studies, when parents divorce or become separated, many courts grant the mother full child custody, while fathers are relegated to mere visitors in around eight out of 10 cases.

This trend can be found in many states, including Illinois. It was recently found that between 2002 and 2012, one particular state's custody cases ended up in the mother's favor, while nearly 72 percent of fathers were only granted about five times per month to see their children. This struggle that a great number of fathers face in their attempts to gain full custody is supported by recent data from the U.S. Census. The data showed that almost 83 percent of custodial parents are mothers.

$20 million 'missing' in high net worth divorce pre-trial

As is the case with many newlyweds setting off down the blissful path of married life in Illinois, there are not many who ever consider this path ending in divorce. This applies to everyone, but when it comes to high net worth individuals getting a divorce, there is often much more at stake, at least financially. This financial aspect has become a heated issue in the case of a recent high net worth divorce.

The pre-trial proceedings began in early June and millions of dollars are at stake. The parties represented are two Big Law attorneys. There are many financial issues being debated. Based on pre-trial filings, some of the issues are a supposed 'secret' investment fund based overseas as well as a multitude of hidden cash-filled envelopes. These two assets represent an unaccounted-for $20 million.

What is best for children of in Illinois child custody cases?

Divorce in Illinois can be a difficult undertaking for everyone involved. It can be a challenging enough process for both adults, but these difficulties can be felt even more deeply when there are children involved and child custody rights must be determined. Many states are taking another look at how and when equal parenting time is decided in divorce cases.

Family courts' protocol is usually to separate the children from one of the parents when a couple gets a divorce. However, a wealth of scientific research has shown this emotionally damages children and that the children do far better when both parents are allowed to remain equally involved in their children's lives. According to federal statistics, kids who are involved with both parents are not only more likely to succeed in school, but they are also more likely to avoid things like drugs, alcohol, jail, teen pregnancy and depression.

Illinois parents must remember the child in child custody

Divorce, no matter when it occurs in life, can be a very difficult process for everyone involved. An Illinois resident will suddenly be confronted with a plethora of new tasks, including changing their health benefits, creating new bank accounts and finding a new place to live. However, when kids are involved in the process and child custody must be determined, the process can be even more trying.

One of the most difficult aspects of handling a divorce can be the act of telling the kids. Their parents are likely the two most important people in their young lives. The fact that these two people will no longer be together can possibly be one of the most difficult conversations the children will ever have, and it is also one of the most demanding in regards to their emotions.

A high net worth divorce may involve a 403(b) plan's division

Retirement plans for education, government and non-profit employees often include 403(b) plans. Similar to a 401(k), this is considered a tax-sheltered annuity plan. During a high net worth divorce in Illinois, investment accounts, such as 403(b) plans, are especially critical due to their potential worth. Both parties have certain legal rights when a plan is divided, as it is generally considered to be marital property.

When approaching the division of a 403(b) plan, the respective parties must be prepared for the fact that the process usually is not as simple as the division of other property, such as a house. Assets, such as houses, can simply be sold or transferred to the other party. However, a 403(b) plan generally requires a qualified domestic relations order, which is overseen by both the plan's administrator, as well as the divorce court judge. The order has the information that is required to facilitate the transfer of the plan's funds from the original holder's account. 

New Illinois law might help domestic battery victims

Thanks to a new proposed Illinois law, domestic battery victims could be given a bit of financial breathing room in regard to their utilities. The law, which was backed by state Senator Steve Stadelman, would grant domestic battery victims an additional 60-day payment extension in paying their utility deposits. The proposed law would give the victims extra time to pay the first deposit for electricity, natural gas and water.

Illinois lawmakers hope that the measure could help remove some of the financial difficulty that often keeps domestic battery victims living with someone who is abusing them. In theory, in granting this extension, it would help the victim to move to a safer place more quickly than they would be able to otherwise. Often, victims choose to stay in dangerous situations, as they may not have the financial ability to leave.