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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Oswego Child Support attorneysIn any divorce or family law case involving children, child support will be an important factor. Both parents will be required to provide financial support for their children that will address the children’s ongoing needs, including basic expenses such as food, shelter, and clothing, as well as costs related to medical treatment, childcare while parents are working, and children’s activities. Once child support orders are issued, a parent will be required to make payments on time and in full. However, circumstances may arise that may affect a parent’s ability to make ongoing payments, and both parties will need to determine how to address these situations.

Enforcement of Child Support Orders

A parent may face a number of consequences if they fail to pay child support as required. The parent who receives support may have a number of options for enforcement of the court’s orders. A parent will be required to make up any payments that have not been made, and interest and fees may also be applied to the amount owed. A parent who fails to pay child support may also be held in contempt of court. A judge may decide to place the parent on probation and impose certain requirements, or a parent may even be sentenced to up to six months in prison while allowing for regular periods of release to ensure that the person can work and earn income to be put toward paying child support. If a parent is at least 90 days delinquent on child support payments, the court may suspend their driver’s license until they fully comply with support orders.

Modification of Child Support Based on Changed Circumstances

Contempt proceedings, imprisonment, and driver’s license suspension are often a last resort in child support cases. Parents may be able to avoid these issues by taking steps to address issues that may affect their ability to pay child support as quickly as possible. Child support orders may be modified if a parent experiences a change in circumstances that affects their ability to make payments. These changes may include the loss of a job, health issues that affect a person’s ability to work, or increases in a person’s living expenses. A parent who experiences these issues may file a petition to modify child support, and the requested modifications may be temporary until the person can find a new job, or they may last permanently if necessary. Until the court issues an order modifying child support, a parent will be required to continue making payments. However, modifications may be retroactive to the date that a petition was filed, so parents who experience financial difficulties will want to take immediate steps to address these issues and avoid potential legal problems related to the non-payment of child support.

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Kendall County child custody lawyerGetting a divorce can be difficult for anyone, but these situations can become much more complex for couples who have children. In addition to separating their lives from each other, parents will need to make decisions about how they will share in the responsibilities of raising their kids, and they will also need to create schedules detailing when children will live in each parent’s home or spend time with them. Coming to an agreement on these issues is not easy, especially when a couple’s relationship has broken down to the point where they have chosen to end their marriage. However, whether a divorce is amicable or contested, it is often best for parents to do everything they can to work together and determine how they can put their children first. This will allow them to create a parenting plan that will provide them with a full understanding of how child-related matters will be handled going forward.

What Is Included in a Parenting Plan?

Illinois law states that the divorce decree of a married couple who share children will need to include a document known as a parenting plan. This agreement will fully detail how the parents will share in the allocation of parental responsibilities, including each parent’s authority to make decisions about children’s education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities. The parenting plan will also include a parenting time schedule that determines when children will stay in each parent’s home or spend time with a parent. In addition to an ongoing, daily schedule, the parenting plan will also specify how parents will divide holidays and vacations, and it will also detail transportation arrangements for children and rules about when and how a parent can communicate with children during the other parent’s parenting time.

A parenting plan may also include:

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Oswego trusts attorneyWhen a will is filed with the probate court, it becomes public record. Anyone who so wishes can view the contents of a will once it has been submitted to probate. This means that everyone from a disinherited relative to your beneficiary’s creditors can see to whom you have left money or property - as well as how much or what assets. This can sometimes place beneficiaries in an uncomfortable or legally risky position should someone seek to contest the will. By using a trust, however, you can keep your family’s inheritance private. A qualified estate planning attorney can give you more information about protecting your family’s privacy and preventing conflict by using a trust. 

Who Can See My Trust Documents? 

It is only when a will is filed in a probate court that it becomes public record. Unlike a will, a trust does not need to be filed in any court. There is ordinarily no judicial involvement needed when a trust is used for testamentary purposes. Under normal circumstances, the only people with access to view your trust document should be your named beneficiaries, your successor trustee, and others you have elected to involve in the management of the trust. 

How Does Privacy Prevent Conflict?

It is very difficult to bring a challenge against a document you do not have access to. A disappointed survivor can examine a will itself in an effort to find some shortcoming that could provide a ground for dismissing the will. However, a survivor who feels snubbed cannot even see the trust and may have a much more difficult time contesting your estate plan. 

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Oswego divorce litigation lawyerDivorce is hardly ever a pleasant affair. Even amicable divorces can be challenging on a number of levels. However, when a couple is able to settle the issues surrounding their divorce through negotiation or mediation, it can save them time, money, and stress. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Uncontested divorces require a level of cooperation and reasonableness from both spouses that is not always achievable. 

Although divorce litigation can be difficult, there are a handful of reasons it may become necessary. If you anticipate that your divorce will be contested, it is especially important to seek out strong legal representation. You will need a knowledgeable advocate to protect your interests during this conflict. 

Why You Might Go Through Divorce Litigation

It can be immensely frustrating when all you want is to resolve your divorce as quickly and easily as possible, but your spouse is making that impossible by behaving unreasonably. When you cannot reach an agreement, it may be necessary to go to court and ask the judge to make decisions instead. Major reasons spouses end up contesting their divorces include: 

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Oswego spousal support lawyerSometimes known as “alimony,” the issue of spousal maintenance can lead to conflict during a divorce. If you gave up a career or educational opportunities in order to devote yourself to the marriage by raising children or running the household, you may be eligible to request and receive spousal maintenance during a divorce. Divorce law can be complicated, and every divorce comes with stress, and it may be in your best interest to have a family law attorney representing you in your Illinois divorce. 

Who Qualifies for Spousal Support? 

The court’s goal in awarding spousal maintenance is to make sure both parties will be able to maintain their standard of living and to avoid a situation where one spouse is suddenly unable to meet their needs. Either spouse can ask the court for spousal maintenance, regardless of gender. In situations where both spouses worked for pay during the marriage and would be able to support themselves alone, the court is unlikely to order spousal maintenance - even if one spouse outearns the other. However, the court may consider each spouse’s respective financial needs when dividing other property. 

What Does the Court Consider When Deciding on About Maintenance? 

There are a number of factors the court will take into consideration when deciding whether spousal maintenance is appropriate during divorce proceedings. In general, the court will consider each spouse’s needs, earning ability, and contributions to the marriage. Some of these factors include: 

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Oswego estate planning lawyerIf you are considering meeting with an estate planning attorney for the first time, you might have some questions about what to expect during this appointment. During this first appointment, your attorney will ask a lot of questions meant to get to know you and what your goals are. You will go over what types of property you own, who you may want to leave property to, and perhaps some medical decision-making issues. You may not have all the answers when you first arrive at your new attorney’s office, and that is perfectly fine - your attorney is here to guide you. 

What Questions Will My Attorney Ask? 

There are a few areas of your life your attorney is going to ask about, usually starting with your property and family. Some of these questions may be uncomfortable to answer, but remember - this meeting is completely confidential. Your attorney cannot tell anyone else what you discuss in this meeting without your permission. It is important that you are completely open and honest. Here are some things your estate planning attorney is likely to ask about: 

  • Your Property - Your attorney will help you take a broad inventory of what you own. He or she will ask about three main categories: your financial property, your personal property, and your real estate property. You may want to bring a list of any significant personal property, such as jewelry or family heirlooms. 
  • Your Family - Your lawyer will need to know about the people who would naturally inherit your property if you did not have an estate plan. You will be asked about any biological children you may have. If you have stepchildren, or perhaps a significant other you are not legally married to but treat as a spouse, you will need to tell your lawyer about them.
  • Your Intended Beneficiaries - These may include family members, friends, charities, or others. It is largely up to you. If there is a close relative you specifically want to be excluded from your estate plan, you should inform your attorney.
  • Your Healthcare Wishes - Estate planning includes the sometimes difficult topic of what your wishes would be should you become incapable of caring for yourself and making decisions later in life. Who would you want to make medical decisions for you? Who would you trust to manage your finances? What kind of care would you want if you were terminally ill? 
  • Your Previous Estate Planning - Your attorney will need to know if you have ever done any type of estate planning before, such as by drafting a will, putting a “transfer on death” note on your vehicle, or making a healthcare power of attorney.

Contact a Kendall County Estate Planning Attorney Today

When you are ready to begin planning your estate, Loire Krajniak Law, LLC is ready to help. With more than ten years of legal experience, Oswego estate planning lawyer Reese Krajniak is prepared to address all your estate planning needs. Call 630-448-2406 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. 

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division-property-gavel-house-money.jpgWhen a couple marries, they combine their personal lives and their financial lives. Reversing this entanglement during divorce can be quite complicated – especially when spouses have a high income or own complex assets and investments. If you are getting divorced, it is important to prepare for the property division process. The better informed you are about the legal and financial obstacles you may face, the better position you are in to face these challenges head-on.

Determining What Property is Marital and What is Non-Marital  

Marital property includes assets and debts that were accumulated during the course of the marriage. Save for certain exceptions including property obtained through inheritance or gift, any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered to be marital property. Non-marital property, sometimes called separate property, belongs only to one spouse.

If you and your soon-to-be-ex do not have a valid prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement specifying what property is marital property and what is non-marital property, determining the identity of assets may be complicated and frustrating.

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