April 12, 2020

Divorce Lawyer Chicago, IL

Divorce Lawyer Chicago, IL

Divorce Lawyer Chicago, IL

Our divorce lawyer Chicago, IL trusts knows that if you’ve either decided that you’d like to file for divorce or you’re thinking that you might need to file for divorce if your marital circumstances don’t improve soon, you may be wondering if there is an optimal time to file your official divorce petition. Every Illinois divorce case is different, so there is no single “best” time to file for divorce, generally speaking. With that said, your unique circumstances will help you determine when the “best” time may be for you to file.

It’s important not to make too many assumptions about timing your divorce until you’ve spoken with an experienced divorce lawyer Chicago, IL residents trust. Because every marital situation is different, the best approach for someone else might not be the best approach for you. Once you speak with an experienced Chicago, IL divorce lawyer, you’ll be better placed to make an informed decision that will serve your best interests.

Timing Your Divorce – Considerations

When thinking about the best time to file for divorce, you’ll primarily need to think about three categories of challenges.

  1. Property – It’s important to secure a fair divorce settlement so that you can transition into your newly single life as financially stable and secure as you can be. Timing your divorce in a certain way may affect your property interests. For example, if you and your spouse are going to sell your primary residence and split the proceeds in your divorce settlement, you may want to ensure that you don’t file for divorce at a time when the real estate market is tanking.
  2. People – Is anyone else in your life going to be particularly affected by the timing of your divorce? For example, do you have minor children who would benefit from finishing their academic year before undergoing a major life transition?
  3. Practical Concerns – There are seemingly endless, physical, emotional, and practical concerns that need to be addressed during the divorce process. Will either waiting or speeding things up help or hurt you in any specific way? Only you can evaluate what is best for you, but our firm can help to guide you as you weigh your options.

Speak With Our Chicago, IL Divorce Lawyer Today!

Our divorce lawyer Chicago, IL can recommend understands that when it comes to divorce, there are many misconceptions or points of confusion. When you and your spouse have gotten to the point where you believe divorce is the option, you may also be interested in learning more about legal separation and how legal separation differs from divorce. When it comes to both divorce and legal separation, you will still be dealing with some of the same issues, including things like alimony, how you wish to divide your property, and what the child visitation or custody looks like. When you go through this, it is best to have the help of your Chicago, Illinois divorce lawyer on your side so that we can ensure this process goes as smoothly as possible. To speak with our team, please give our office a call. 

Legal separation and divorce sound similar. Are they the same thing? 

While they may sound very similar, divorce and legal separation are not the same things. If you are going through a divorce, you are legally dissolving your bond of marriage. If you are legally separating, however, you are still married to your spouse. In many cases (and states), you are required to legally separate for a certain period of time before you can get divorced. 

Why choose divorce over separation?

Many people ask our Chicago, Illinois divorce lawyer why they should choose divorce over a legal separation. One of the top reasons we give our clients is this: for clients who believe there is no chance at fixing their marriage or do not wish to fix their marriage, divorce is going to be the best option. Although it is always possible to work things out during a divorce, it is not likely. For those who need space to think things through, a legal separation may be your best answer. 

Are there financial ramifications?

Yes. When a couple gets divorced, our Chicago divorce lawyer knows that one-half of the couple will likely be paying alimony or child support (if you have children). If you are only separated but not divorced, your spouse is still able to collect certain financial benefits, like your health plan, a joint tax return, and even social security. When you have financial questions regarding your divorce, it is best to speak with a divorce lawyer in Chicago, Illinois. 

Legal Assistance Is Available

“Timing” your divorce to serve your best interests is dependent on your family’s unique circumstances. Once the experienced Chicago, IL divorce lawyer team at Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC learns more about your situation, we’ll be able to provide you with personalized support and guidance regarding the timing of your formal divorce petition. Divorce isn’t usually a straightforward process. As a result, it’s important to have an experienced Chicago, Illinois divorce lawyer by your side as you navigate the twists and turns that usually accompany the process of officially ending a marriage. Our firm is honored to represent our clients with compassion and dedication as they weather this particular major life transition. Please schedule a consultation today to learn more about how we can help you achieve a successful settlement whenever you choose to formally file for divorce. Our divorce lawyer in Chicago, IL looks forward to speaking with you.

Commingled Marital Assets

One of the most complex parts of divorce is property and asset division. This can become even more complex when the couple has mixed both marital and non-marital assets and property. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that when a couple divorces, their assets are divided in a fair and equitable way. This is different than community property states, where assets and property are divided 50/50. It can get confusing if assets have been commingled. If you are going through a divorce and have a complex property division situation, contact Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC to speak with a divorce lawyer Chicago, IL clients trust.

The legal definition of commingling is when there has been the mixing of funds that belong to one spouse with the funds that belong to another spouse. Marital property is defined as any property that was acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Non-marital property is property that either spouse owned before the couple was married. Non-marital property is also any inheritance or gift that one spouse received either before or during the marriage.

For example, let’s say one of the spouses obtained financing to purchase a vehicle before the couple wed. Then, during the marriage, both of the couple’s paychecks were deposited into a joint checking account and the vehicle payment was made from that joint checking account each month. By doing this, the non-marital property becomes marital property and if that couple divorces, the vehicle would then become part of the marital estate.

When assets become commingled, it can cause an issue in that equitable asset division, especially since the law in Illinois mandates that each of the spouses keep all of their non-marital assets. But if the non-marital property cannot be identified, then it could end up as part of the marital estate. In order to avoid this issue, there is a legal procedure that the Illinois courts have set up, referred to as tracing. This is where the value of the asset or property is traced back to its origination. This can be a very complex process, requiring records, documentation, and investigation. This is why it is recommended for anyone going through a divorce with this type of complex asset and property division to work with a Chicago, IL divorce lawyer.

Considerations for Older Couples Who Divorce

It is no secret that people are living longer and longer following retirement. This also means that the incidence of divorce for those who are age 50 and older has skyrocketed. Even long-married couples are no longer willing to remain unhappily in marriages that may last 20 or 30 years beyond retirement. The prospect of spending even more time together at an older age is enough to result in one spouse or even both spouses to seek a divorce. For the older couple, however, the issues in the divorce may be quite different than for a younger couple or a couple who has been married for a shorter period of time. This is why it is important to speak with a divorce lawyer in Chicago, IL if you are considering a divorce.  

The Stats on Gray Divorce

It is estimated that one out of every three men and one out of every two women who are in their 50s today will live to be 90. For married couples, about half of them will have at least one spouse still alive at the age of 92. Similarly, a survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) noted an almost 65 percent increase in the divorce rate of couples who were more than 50 years old. These divorce cases mainly involved issues such as alimony, retirement accounts and pensions, business interests, and real estate. Trying to navigate through this type of divorce without a skilled Chicago, IL divorce lawyer could mean that you will not receive your fair share of the marital estate.

Implications for Older Divorcees

Divorce after the age of 50 can have major implications for retirement security, particularly for women more so than men. While those who divorce earlier in life have additional years to make up any retirement losses related to the divorce, those who divorce later in life very well may not have enough time to do so, simply because they have fewer years left to work before retirement, or perhaps none left at all.

Divorce Financial Planning

One way to combat this problem is to incorporate financial planning services in your divorce. Your Chicago, IL divorce lawyer can refer you to a financial analyst or advisor who is experienced in working with divorce cases. This professional can help you devise a strategy in your divorce that is best designed to protect your financial interests and ensure an adequate income flow for your current situation and beyond into retirement. Every marriage is different, and each couple has different levels of income and assets. Therefore, divorce financial planning should squarely address your personal situation and interests. For instance, one typical issue that arises in gray divorce is the marital home or other real estate. Homes use cash, not generate it. Therefore, it may not be in your best interest to retain the marital home, because it simply may not make financial sense. A financial planner can help you determine what the best decision is for you in this situation from a purely financial perspective.

Things You Should Avoid When Getting Divorced

When you are preparing for your divorce, your Chicago, Illinois divorce lawyer will tell you that there are a few things you should not do during the divorce process. Especially if the divorce is unfriendly or contentious, you want to make sure you have covered every base by speaking with your lawyer. 

  • Don’t forget to make changes to your estate plan. This is a huge one. Just because you get a divorce does not mean you will automatically have changes to your will. Instead, if you want to make sure your ex-spouse does not get anything from your estate plan, make sure you speak with your lawyer about making the necessary changes.
  • Don’t be dismissive of mediation. Many people may believe that if the divorce is already ugly then there is not going to be any shot of mediation happening. This does not have to be the case, though. If you and your spouse are arguing about splitting up your assets, your lawyer may encourage you to consider mediation as a possibility.
  • Don’t post everything on social media. Your friends and family probably already know you are getting a divorce. Social media is not the place to post about it, though. Whether you feel like dragging your spouse’s name through the dirt or just need a place to vent about the difficulties you are facing, social media can be too public of a place, even if your account is private. Your spouse and their lawyer will likely still have access to your posts and it could make your divorce process bumpier. 
  • Don’t settle for what you don’t deserve. You may want to be out of this marriage as soon as possible. This could lead you to make decisions that are not in your best interest, like paying too much in alimony or giving your ex-spouse the house you love. Don’t give them this satisfaction. Talk with your lawyer to see how you can get a fair deal during this difficult time. 

Getting a divorce is not usually an easy process for anyone. However, when you work with a divorce lawyer you trust, you know you are getting someone who is savvy, knows the laws, and is there to protect your best interests. Don’t try to go at this alone. Speak with one of our lawyers to see what we can do for you. 

Pets and the Divorce Process

When you are getting a divorce, one of the most important questions you have might be this: what will happen to my beloved pet? You may want full custody of your pet because they are your best friend and a member of your family. There are different laws depending on the state you are in, and Illinois has its own set of rules when it comes to the custody of pets after a divorce. If you are going through a divorce and want to ensure your pet is taken care of and are hoping to fight for custody of them, do not hesitate to get help through our legal services. 

Are pets considered property?

You might be concerned because you have heard that during divorce, pets are treated like a piece of property. For those who have close relationships with their pets, the idea of this might even sound crazy. How can a family member be treated like a piece of property? Over the years, laws have adapted to include pets in a different way because getting a divorce does not necessarily mean you can split ownership of your beloved pet right in half. 

So, how is pet ownership determined? 

The last few years have seen big changes with divorce laws, including custody of pets. Now, it is up to the judge involved in your divorce case to determine what is in the best interest of your pet, similar to how they might determine what is in the best interest of a child during a child custody case. It’s true that pets are technically still considered property, but a judge will take into consideration which spouse will be able to take care of the pet best. This means learning who will take them on walks, get them the right medication for their illnesses, take them to the groomer, and more. 

What if we want to share custody of our pet?

In instances where both spouses are found to be equally considerate of the pet’s needs and will love and take care of them, a judge may award each spouse joint custody of the pet. In this instance, you and your spouse may wish to set up a custody schedule with each other for the judge to approve. If not, the judge will determine the custody for you. Don’t leave your pet’s life up to chance. If you want to fight for custody to make sure they are in a loving and caring home, reach out to our lawyers now. 

Contact a Skilled Divorce Law Firm

Even the easiest divorce can be difficult. Divorces with complex issues that need to be worked out can be even more so and require the legal expertise of a Chicago, IL divorce lawyer. Call Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a member of our legal team and find out how we can help get you the marital assets – as well other marital and divorce issues – that you may be entitled to. Our divorce lawyer in Chicago, Illinois is here for you.

 4 Steps To Take After Being Served Divorce Papers

When you are served divorce papers, you are put on notice that your spouse wants to legally dissolve your marriage. This starts a clock by when you must file an answer to the divorce petition, and failing to do so may negatively impact your rights and your claim to your assets. Follow these four steps if you don’t want a divorce by default. 

  1. Hire a Family Lawyer

Even if you agree with the divorce and believe that the claims made in the petition are accurate and fair, you should still hire a family lawyer to represent you. Working with legal representation that has experience with divorce cases can make the process smoother for you. If your divorce is tricky, a lawyer can act as a mediator and help you understand your rights regarding custody, visitation, alimony and the divisions of assets. 

  1. Respond to the Divorce Papers

Your lawyer will help you respond to the divorce petition and make a counterclaim before the deadline. Responding is essential because it shows the court that you want to exercise your legal rights. A counterclaim outlines how you want to divide the assets and what custody arrangements you believe are in the best interest of your children. 

  1. Be Smart With Your Finances

Your lawyer will request copies of your financial records to help you build your case. Those records will show proof of your assets and what you’ve financially contributed to the marriage. Open a bank account that is in your name only and deposit your paychecks in your new account. Do not move any of your joint assets to this account or hide assets in any way. Doing so may impact what you can claim in the divorce settlement. 

  1. Go Through Mediation

The majority of divorce cases are settled through mediation, which means they are resolved out of court. Having a lawyer by your side at this stage can be crucial because he or she will fight for your best interest using the law to your advantage. If you and your spouse cannot reach a settlement, the case will go to trial, which means a judge will decide what’s fair. Going to trial can also draw out the divorce process and cost you time and money. 

If you have been served with divorce papers, contact our Divorce Lawyer Chicago, IL for help. You’ll receive guidance on what steps to take, as well as information about your rights.