location123 W. Washington St., Suite 220, Oswego, IL 60543

Free consultations

phone630-448-2406

Recent blog posts

Kendall County Marital Asset Division LawyerIf you are getting divorced, statistics show that financial problems likely played a role. Money problems are one of the most common reasons why marriages end, and they can be a massive source of stress during the divorce process.

To make matters worse, some spouses will try to spend as much money as possible before the divorce is final in an attempt to prevent their ex from getting a fair share. Other spouses spend money on a new boyfriend or girlfriend or on expensive gifts for themselves. This is known as dissipation of assets, and it can have a major impact on the division of property in a divorce.

What is Dissipation of Assets?

The word dissipation means to waste or to use up. In the context of divorce, dissipation of assets occurs when one spouse uses marital property for his or her own benefit and not for the benefit of the marriage. This can include spending money on a new relationship, buying expensive gifts, or going on lavish vacations. Dissipation is a common issue in divorce cases involving infidelity. For example, if a spouse bought an affair partner an expensive diamond necklace, this may be considered dissipation.

...

Kendall County Estate Planning LawyerIt is important for everyone to have a last will and testament. A will allows you to determine exactly how your assets are distributed to loved ones after you pass away. Furthermore, having your wishes established in writing prevents family members and other loved ones from having to guess how you would want asset distribution handled.

Unfortunately, even the most detailed will cannot completely eliminate the chances of someone being upset regarding the will’s directives. Family members may feel that they were given an unfair share of your estate or otherwise disagree with the decisions you have made. They may contest the will in court, claiming that the will is not valid and should be thrown out.

If you are worried about people contesting your will after your death, one option you have in Illinois is a “no contest” clause.

...

Kendall County child custody lawyerAlmost no parent wants to be involved in a contested child custody case. When a case involving parenting time arrangements and the allocation of parental responsibilities must be decided by the court, rather than the parents, it is quite normal for the parents to feel nervous. The outcome of a child custody case is not always predictable. You may feel as if you have been left in a state of limbo, uncertain as to how your relationship with your child will continue in the future. 

 

If you learn that a guardian ad litem has been appointed to your case, you may not be certain exactly what a guardian ad litem does, or how the presence of one may affect your case. Fortunately, you can rest assured that bringing in a guardian ad litem is a very normal part of a child custody dispute. The role of the guardian ad litem is simply to conduct an independent investigation into what type of arrangement is likely to be in the child’s best interests and to report the results to the court and the parties. If you are involved in disputed custody proceedings, it is critical that you have strong legal representation. 

...

oswego divorce lawyerHistorically, a spouse who does not work for pay or earns relatively little would face significant barriers when seeking a divorce. Up until the relatively recent past, women were likely to be financially dependent on their husbands and would have faced intense hardship in trying to leave a marriage. Now, while either or both spouses may enjoy a career, many families still divide household duties so that one party may primarily focus on domestic labor while the other works for pay. It can still be challenging for the party who earns less income to leave. Not many largely dependent spouses have sufficient funds to move out of the marital home and begin a new life without needing some form of spousal or child support from their spouse - before the divorce is finalized. In Illinois, temporary support can be ordered during a divorce in many cases where it is needed. If you are interested in pursuing a divorce but would need assistance while the divorce is in progress, an attorney may be able to help. 

Temporary Support Orders During Divorce

Temporary orders generally last until a divorce has been finalized. Once a divorce has been finalized, permanent support orders may be issued. However, temporary support can help you and your children stay financially secure during a time of difficult transition. Other types of temporary orders can help you stay safe as well. 

Some forms of support may require that you submit a financial affidavit demonstrating a need. Forms of temporary relief that may be granted while a divorce is pending may include: 

...

kendall county adoption lawyer Adopting a child can be a joyous occasion for families who have been pursuing parenthood for extended periods of time. However, some adoptions occur because they are necessary rather than a long-pursued outcome. Other types of adoptions are nontraditional, allowing a child’s birth parents continued contact. There are multiple paths to parenthood in Kendall County. Each prospective adopter must carefully consider how each type of adoption may suit their lifestyle and plans for the future. If you are considering adopting a child, it is important to carefully consider each type of adoption in order to assess what is right for you and your existing family. Adopting is not designed to be an expedient and inexpensive process, but rather, to ensure that children eligible for adoption will be placed in suitable homes. Before you initiate the adoption process, it may be wise to speak with an attorney. 

Different Types of Adoption for Different Family Needs

If you are pursuing parenthood through adoption, it is critical to be well-informed about the options that may be available. The major types of adoption potentially available to Illinois residents include: 

  • Agency adoption - This is the classic style of adoption used by prospective parents who are interested in adopting an infant born to an often anonymous stranger. Agencies match prospective parents to an infant whose birth parents have placed them for adoption to parents willing to adopt. Infants placed by agencies generally come with no family ties, and there is no obligation to remain in contact with the birth family. 

    ...

oswego estate planning lawyerGenerally, leaving behind no will (intestacy) is a poor idea. Even if the people who ultimately inherit from you under intestacy law are the people you would have wanted to inherit from you, not having a will or a trust that controls your estate property is going to make things more difficult for them. It is not easy to pass an intestate estate through the probate courts. There is a high level of court supervision involved in this process, and this can slow things down significantly. It could take a year or more in some cases before your surviving family members can claim anything that belonged solely to you. Intestacy is meant to be the “default” estate plan. It is designed to match what the state thinks you probably would have wanted but is rife with imperfections. If you do not already have an estate plan, the time to speak to an attorney is now. 

Understanding Illinois Intestacy Code

Any portion of your estate that is subject to probate will be distributed - eventually - according to the laws of intestacy. These laws are meant to prioritize your closest living relatives, but cannot take into account the nuances of your family’s relationships and needs. 

Generally, if you leave behind a spouse and descendants, your spouse will inherit half your estate, and your descendants will split the other half. Usually, this means that half will be divided among your children. However, if one of your children predeceased you but left a grandchild, the grandchild will inherit the share that would have been their parents. If you are already confused, you are not alone. 

...

oswego child custody lawyerNo one wants to be involved in a disputed child custody case. If you are at the point where you are asking a court to decide on custody issues, you are likely in one of two situations. Either you have tried everything to work out an agreeable custody schedule with the other parent and were unable to do so, or you believe the children would be in danger if left alone with the other parent. Neither situation is enviable in the slightest. You should know that in most cases, Illinois courts favor a joint custody arrangement, but there are exceptions. Understanding how the court will go about making this decision can help you be prepared for the hearings to follow. With so much at stake, you need to be represented by an experienced child custody attorney. 

Factors in Deciding Parenting Time Arrangements

The deciding factor in a child custody case is always the best interests of the children. Illinois courts entire mission is to decide what type of parenting time schedule will best serve the emotional, physical, and social needs of the children involved. Factors the court will consider include: 

  • Child’s wishes - The children’s wishes do matter, however, the judge will also consider the child’s age, maturity, and reasoning skills. Judges are well-aware that younger children are much more susceptible to bribery, and that some children will pick the “fun” parent over the reasonable parent. 

    ...

kendall county divorce lawyerIt is not uncommon at all for one spouse to seek a protection order during a contentious or high-conflict divorce. Even knowing this, you may be taken by surprise when someone from the sheriff’s department shows up and hands you a stack of papers saying that your spouse has been granted an emergency protection order against you. When you get this initial pile of paperwork, you might be shocked and upset. It is important to understand what being served with a protection order means and what to do if this happens to you. Usually, there will be a hearing held about a week to ten days after you are served with the protection order. At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to challenge the protection order. At this hearing, it is important that you are represented by an attorney if you are not already. 

What Does Getting Served With an Ex Parte Protection Order Mean?

“Ex parte” just means that the court took action while one of the parties involved was not present. If you have been served an ex parte order of protection, it means that your spouse went to court without you and told a judge or magistrate that they are in immediate danger of domestic violence and need emergency protection from you. 

At most ex parte protection order hearings, the court will grant an emergency restraining order that takes effect as soon as you are served. However, they will schedule a second, full hearing. You have the right to be present at this hearing and represented by an attorney. At this hearing, both sides can present evidence and call witnesses. Your spouse will have to prove that you are a danger to them in some way. You should have an attorney there to defend you against these allegations.

...

sugar grove divorce lawyerDivorce can be contentious, emotionally debilitating, and costly, most especially when children are involved.  Under Illinois law, all decisions are determined in the best interest of the child.  A parenting plan includes decision-making responsibilities of the child, and parenting time, formerly visitation, that each parent has with the child. An agreeable parenting plan begets a harmonious home life for the child.  

Achieving and adhering to a parenting plan can sometimes be complicated. A divorce lawyer can negotiate an agreeable parenting plan or facilitate post-decree enforcement of the parenting plan. 

Four Disputes in Decision-Making Responsibilities

  1. Education – Where the child attends school is often a source of conflict. A parent may want the child to be enrolled in a private or religious-based school, like a parochial one, while the other parent may wish the child to attend public school. Sometimes tuition costs are the primary factor of this conflict. Academic achievements and a competitive grade point average may also be an issue as one parent may be more lenient while the other is not.  

    ...

Establishing a Trust in Oswego

Posted on in Estate Planning

oswego estate planningEstate plans specify how assets are handled after a person’s death or during a person’s incapacitation. This preparation provides a family with peace of mind and can help eliminate the burden of possible lengthy probate proceedings and costly legal fees. A will not only outlines how an estate is allocated but also assigns the executor. If the dependents are children, estate planning can determine guardianship.

Without a valid will, the person who died is considered to have died intestate, designating the state as the executor. The state then determines the recipients and handles the estate distribution according to state law. A detailed, legitimate will is essential if you wish your assets to be distributed a certain way. A will has ilmitations, so establishing trusts further protects one’s wishes. An estate planning attorney can explain the different types of trusts and help select the ones suitable to a client’s needs. 

Differences Between Trusts and Wills

Unlike a will, a trust takes effect immediately. In a trust, the trustor must transfer their property into the trusts, while a will only entails listing the estate and recipients. Transferring real estate property into a trust often necessitates retitling the property. 

...

oswego child support lawyerIf you are paying or receiving child support, you know that the circumstances of your life and the life of your child may have changed dramatically since the original child support order was approved by the court. In Illinois, your child support order is eligible to be reviewed for a modification every three years. However, there are qualifying events that may allow you to modify the order between the normal review cycle.

Steps in the Modification Review Process

Either parent can ask the Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to review the child support order for possible modification. The parent must demonstrate in their modification request that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred or that the other spouse has agreed to the change. Situations that may allow a child support modification include:

  • The parent who is making the cild support payments has had a substantial decrease in income. This could be due to a job loss, an involuntary cut in pay, or a serious injury or disability. They could petition to have the monthly payments decreased.

    ...

oswego estate planning lawyerPlanning ahead for your future medical needs can feel like a daunting proposition and a difficult subject to consider. Nobody wants to think about a time when their own care may be out of their control. However, it is beneficial to ensure that important decisions about your own medical care are in the hands of someone you trust and who knows your wishes. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you establish a power of attorney for health care and remove some of the uncertainty about your future care.

What a Power of Attorney for Health Care Can Cover

A health care power of attorney allows you to choose an agent, who should be a close family member or trusted friend, who will have the authority to make decisions about your care on your behalf. They will also have access to your medical information to allow for informed decision-making. It will typically take effect if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions about your own care.

The agent will have the legal power to make important decisions about the type of treatment that you will receive, and your admission or transfer to a hospital, a hospice facility, or other health care location. After your death, the agent would have the power to carry out your wishes about how your remains will be treated, including burial, cremation, and whether to donate your organs.

...

kendall county divorce lawyerYou finally finished getting your divorce, and you are ready to move on with your life. The terms of your divorce decree were fair and reasonable. Both you and your spouse are legally bound by these terms. That should be the end of it. However, after a few weeks or months you are starting to realize that your ex-spouse has no intention of obeying the terms of your divorce decree. They do not drop off your children when they are supposed to. They have not turned over property that you won in the divorce. You are not getting the spousal support you are entitled to. In this case, you may need to go back to court to ask the judge to enforce the terms of the divorce decree. It is in your best interest to enlist the help of an experienced divorce and family law attorney. Enforcing a divorce decree against an uncooperative ex-spouse can be an uphill battle - but it can be done. 

How Can a Court Enforce a Divorce Decree?

Depending on the situation, it may be worth it to try working it out without judicial involvement. Your attorney may suggest that you start by talking to your ex-spouse, or your attorney may want to try sending a letter before going back to court. However, if this type of solution is not going to work, your lawyer may need to file a petition to enforce the divorce decree. The court may use the following means to enforce the original order: 

  • Ordering backpay - If the issue is that your ex-spouse has not been making child support or spousal support payments, the court could order them to promptly pay you the sum that they owe. Many courts will also order that you be paid back with interest to make up for the time you had to go without the money you were entitled to. 

    ...

oswego family law attorney Child custody proceedings can be incredibly stressful, even when both parents are fit and amicable with one another. When the case gets a bit more contentious, or certain other circumstances are present, the court may appoint a special attorney or social worker called a Guardian ad Litem. It can feel alarming to learn that a Guardian ad Litem has been appointed for your children during your custody case, but there is generally nothing for you to worry about. When the judge appoints a Guardian ad Litem, it is not because they do not think that you are a good parent. Rather, the role of a Guardian ad Litem is simply to help the court understand what course of action might be best for your children. An attorney can help you better understand what the Guardian ad Litem’s role will be in your particular case.

When do Courts Consider Bringing in a Guardian ad Litem?

Guardian ad Litems are not automatically appointed in every child custody proceeding. It is more likely that the court will bring one in if: 

  • Suspected abuse - If there is any allegation or suspicion that either you or your child’s other parent has abused or neglected the children or would otherwise be harmful to them, it is very likely that a Guardian ad Litem will be asked to investigate. If you are getting a divorce or separating from an abusive co-parent, a Guardian ad Litem can actually help you quite a bit. 

    ...

oswego estate planning lawyerEstate contests can be messy. When a will or trust is questioned and challenged, it affects every beneficiary. These conflicts have been known to precipitate rifts between family members that may never heal. You probably want estate administration to be easy for your beneficiaries so that they can accept their gifts and remember you fondly. When someone calls the validity of your estate plan into question, the dispute can take years to resolve in some cases. This type of litigation can also become extremely costly for all involved. Fortunately, there are ways to substantially reduce the odds of an estate contest. If you suspect that there may be any conflict, you should alert your estate planning lawyer so they can take additional steps to prevent a challenge. 

Ways to Prevent Potential Future Challenges to Your Estate Plan 

Even if you think that your intended beneficiaries will get along and administer your estate in good faith, you cannot predict what could happen after you have become incapacitated or passed away. Some tips for creating a strong estate plan include: 

  • Explain yourself - If there is a family member who you wish to disinherit, simply omitting their name from your estate plan may not be good enough. It could open the door for them to allege that there was an accidental omission or that you must not have had the capacity to make an estate plan given that you forgot someone. Your lawyer may advise you to explicitly state in your estate planning documents that you are disinheriting that person and why. 

    ...

kendall county divorce lawyerIf you and your spouse have children together and you are considering a divorce, there is a good chance you are concerned about how the two of you will raise your children in the wake of your split. Presuming you wish to share parental responsibilities with your spouse—which is the recommendation of the courts in most divorce cases involving children—you and your spouse will need to work together as co-parents.

Successful co-parenting can be more challenging than it initially seems, but it can be done. It will be up to your and your spouse to come up with customized co-parenting arrangements that match your specific circumstances, but here are a few things to consider as you start the process.

Your Parenting Agreement Should Be Specific

Hopefully, your spouse is willing to cooperate with you because it is better for your children if the two of you are making parenting decisions together rather than having the court decide on things for you. As you sit down to figure out what will work best for your co-parenting situation, be sure to make joint decisions that address:

...

Oswego Divorce LawyerWhen a married couple experiences relationship problems, they may encounter multiple different types of issues as they determine whether to attempt to repair their marriage or proceed with a divorce. As spouses begin the process of separating their lives from each other, they will need to make decisions about how to handle ownership of the property they own. During the property division process, a variety of different assets and debts will need to be considered, including the couple’s marital home. 

Addressing Ownership of the Marital Home During Divorce

Since the home that a married couple owns is likely to be one of their most valuable assets, it will be important to determine how ownership of the home will be handled going forward and how all types of property can be divided fairly between the spouses. If a couple purchased their home during their marriage, it will be considered marital property, even if it is only titled in the name of one spouse. If one spouse owned a home before the couple was married, it will typically be considered their separate property that will not need to be divided during the divorce process, although the homeowner spouse may be required to reimburse the other spouse for any contributions they made that increased the value of this asset.

For a home that is considered marital property, spouses will generally need to choose one of the following options:

...

Oswego Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

The decisions made during a couple’s divorce are usually meant to be permanent. However, since these decisions are based on the parties’ circumstances at the time of their divorce, a court’s orders may need to be adjusted if circumstances change. Spousal support is one issue that may need to be revisited in the years following a couple’s divorce. For those who pay or receive spousal support, it is important to understand when modifications may be made to these orders.

Modification or Termination of Spousal Maintenance

Illinois law refers to payments made by one spouse to the other after divorce as spousal maintenance. These types of payments are also commonly known as spousal support or alimony. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to ensure that both parties will be able to support themselves and continue living at the standard they were used to during their marriage. Most of the time, spousal support will only be appropriate if there is a significant disparity between the incomes earned by the parties, including in cases where a spouse is a stay-at-home parent who does not earn enough income to fully cover their ongoing expenses.

...

Kendall County Estate Planning LawyerDuring the estate planning process, many people will focus on the legacy they will leave behind and how they can use their assets to provide for their loved ones. However, an estate plan can also address how certain matters will be handled during a person’s lifetime, including how their assets will be managed and how their medical treatment will be handled as they get older. Making decisions about these issues can be especially important for elderly adults, and a person will want to make sure their needs will be met and their wishes will be followed, no matter what happens. One of the best ways of doing so is to create durable powers of attorney.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?

As a person gets older, or if they encounter a situation where they need assistance from others, they can create powers of attorney and name a person they trust who will be able to make certain decisions for them. When a person creates this type of legal agreement, they will name an “agent” who is authorized to make decisions on their behalf. The agent may be a family member or close friend, and the person may grant their agent broad authority to do what they believe is best, or they may provide specific instructions for how certain issues should be handled.

Powers of attorney come in two types. A power of attorney for health care will address medical and personal issues, and an agent may be given the authority to make decisions about the types of medical treatment that will or will not be provided in certain situations, as well as whether the person will be admitted to a hospital, mental health facility, or nursing home. A power of attorney for property or finances will address issues related to a person’s money and assets, and an agent may be given authority to manage the person’s finances, pay expenses, apply for benefits, conduct business transactions, or make investment decisions.

...

Oswego Divorce LawyerSocial media is an important part of most people’s lives. It has been especially helpful for many during the COVID-19 pandemic since it has allowed people to remain connected with friends and family. However, sharing personal information and details about your life can have some unexpected consequences, especially if you are going through a divorce. You will want to understand how the information you share online may affect your case, and this will help you protect your rights and interests as you work to dissolve your marriage.

Social Media Tips for Divorcing Spouses

It is important to remember that anything you post online could potentially be seen by your spouse and their attorney. Even if you send private messages to others or share updates or photos in a private group, someone may forward this information to your spouse. To avoid potential issues, you will want to make sure you do not send or share any messages or photos that you would not want to have to explain in divorce court. You will especially want to avoid:

  • Sharing information about your finances - You will need to address a variety of financial matters during your divorce, and you and your spouse may disagree about issues related to the division of marital property, spousal support, or child support. As you work to resolve these disputes, you will want to make sure you do not post anything that may indicate that you are not being truthful about your financial situation. For example, a comment on social media about making an expensive purchase or working overtime at your job could be used by your spouse to claim that you have failed to report certain assets or income.

    ...
Back to Top