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Joliet IL Divorce Law Blog

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.

Amiable attitude could help in Illinois high asset divorce

Going through divorce is a very personal experience. The process can be emotional for Illinois residents, and many parties may wish to focus on what they wish to achieve during the proceedings. It is also prudent to consider the approach to the situation. Constant disagreements and fights could cause a divorce to drag on, but keeping a level head and understanding perspective can be helpful, even in a high asset divorce.

Being amiable about the situation could go a long way. When individuals have substantial wealth to divide and assets to assess, the process can take some extra time. If parties are constantly disagreeing over how certain issues should be handled or simply stalling to make the situation more difficult on the other party, the process could be negatively impacted for all individuals involved.

Illinois parents may need assistance gaining child support

Many Illinois parents may face the struggle of needing child support. There are numerous instances in which a parent required to make child support payments does not make those payments, and a custodial parent is left trying to make ends meet on his or her own. However, a parent may be able to take certain actions in an attempt to receive the support payments he or she is owed.

Wage garnishment is often a tactic used when a parent does not pay child support. However, other sources of income may also be able to be garnished in order for a parent who is owed support to get that money. Social Security can, in some cases, be accessed in order to take care of back child support.

Keeping secrets could impact Illinois child custody

For many Illinois parents, child custody proceedings do not have to be an angry battle. Parents who are able to get along amiably may simply wish to have a co-parenting child custody agreement. However, even an amicable arrangement can have its issues, and if one or both parents do not communicate openly or try to use children against another parent, an agreement may need to be revisited and the best interests of the children reassessed.

Occasionally, parents may ask children to keep secrets for them. However, these secrets could prove detrimental if a divorced parent is asking children to keep something from the other parent. Secrets could cause children to feel anxious about what they should -- or should not -- tell one parent or the other, and such feelings could damage the relationship between children and parents.