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IL divorce lawyerCryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin have become increasingly popular investment tools. Studies show that about 13 percent of Americans bought cryptocurrency during the past year and many experts expect that number to increase. Like stocks, digital currency fluctuates considerably in value. This can make it especially difficult to value and divide in a divorce case. Furthermore, because Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not held in a bank account like traditional currency, crypto is a popular vehicle for hiding assets during divorce. If you or your spouse have invested in cryptocurrency and you plan to divorce, an experienced divorce lawyer can help.

Determining the Value of Crypto

One of the most important aspects of a divorce is the division of marital assets and debts. Before spouses can negotiate a property division arrangement, they must take stock of what they own and owe. Valuing cryptocurrency for the purposes of asset division during a divorce is tricky. The value of a crypto investment when a spouse initially filed for divorce may differ dramatically from the crypto’s value several months into the divorce process. One option is to include a volatility formula into the property division agreement. Couples must also consider the tax consequences associated with the distribution of cryptocurrency and other assets during divorce.

Who Has a Right to Digital Currency?

In Illinois, property obtained by either spouse during the marriage is part of the marital estate and must be distributed between the spouses equitably. Spouses may reach their own property distribution arrangement, or they may take the issue to court. Understanding who has a right to cryptocurrency in a divorce is harder than it may seem. When assets are mixed or comingled, an asset can lose its identity as either marital or non-marital. For example, consider a spouse who purchased Bitcoin prior to getting married. Because the asset was obtained before the marriage, it is separate property and therefore excluded from the marital estate. However, if that spouse sold the Bitcoin investment and deposited the profits in a shared account, the funds may be considered marital property.

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IL divorce lawyerStudies show that cheating is quite common – even among married couples. Marital infidelity is regularly named as a top instigator of divorce. If your marriage is ending because of an extramarital affair, you may have questions about how it will impact your divorce case. Is a spouse entitled to more of the marital estate if they were cheated on? Will a spouse be at a disadvantage during divorce if they committed adultery? Divorce laws vary from state to state, especially with regard to marital misconduct. Read on to learn about how infidelity can potentially impact a divorce case in Illinois.

Understanding Illinois Divorce Laws and Fault

Illinois law is constantly being updated. In 2016, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), was modified to eliminate all fault-based grounds for divorce. When you seek a divorce in Illinois, you will only have one “ground” or reason available: Irreconcilable differences. Even if the divorce is a direct result of infidelity or another form of marital misconduct, this will not be stated anywhere in your divorce petition. Furthermore, marital misconduct is not typically a factor considered by courts when determining property division, spousal maintenance, child custody, or other divorce issues. That being said, there is still a chance that an affair could impact the divorce proceedings – especially if a spouse spent considerable money during the affair.

How Can Cheating Impact an Illinois Divorce?

Marriages that end because of infidelity often lead to contentious divorce cases. Understandably, an affair can heighten spouses’ emotions and make it even more difficult for them to cooperate. This makes reaching agreements about divorce issues even harder.

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IL familiy lawyerChild support payments are a major source of assistance for single parents. However, they can also represent a significant expense for the parent who is paying the child support. Illinois child support payments are calculated using a method that incorporates each parent’s financial instances. The payments are intended to be reasonably affordable while still providing the financial assistance the child needs. However, circumstances change and sometimes a parent needs to modify his or her child support order.

Child Support Modification

Every three years, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) offers modification reviews to parents with child support orders. A modification review may also be granted if either parent’s financial circumstances have changed considerably, the current child support order does not address healthcare for the child, or either parent requests a modification review.

During a modification review, the DCSS evaluates each parent’s income, assets, and other relevant financial information and notes any increase or decrease in the child’s financial needs. Based on this information, the DCSS will determine if the child support order should be modified. The amount a parent pays in child support may increase, decrease, or stay the same. If a parent disagrees with the DCSS’s decision, he or she can request a reassessment or attend a hearing to contest the child support order.

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IL family lawyerWhen parents are divorced or unmarried, having a court specifying the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time is essential. Not only does a parenting plan ensure that parents understand their rights and expectations regarding parenting duties, it also provides valuable stability in the life of the child. If parents cannot agree on the terms of their parenting plan, the court will step in and make a decision on the unresolved issues for the parents. Whether parents reach a parenting plan agreement on their own or the court hands down a decision for them, parents are required by law to adhere to the plan. Failure to do so can result in charges for parental abduction.

What Is Parental Abduction?

From time to time, parents may mistakenly fail to comply with the provisions set forth in the parenting plan. A parent may forget to drop off their child for the other parent’s allotted parenting time or lose track of time. Minor instances like these do not constitute parental abduction.

However, when a parent refuses to comply with the parenting plan, forcibly removes a child from the other parent, or conceals a child at an unknown location, the parent may be guilty of parental abduction.

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IL divorce lawyerOne of the most consequential aspects of divorce is property distribution. The division of assets and debts can range dramatically in complexity. Younger couples who own little property will have a much easier time dividing their property during divorce. Asset division will be much more complicated for couples who own complex assets including businesses and professional practices. If your spouse owns a business or has business interests, the value of the business will likely be factored into any decisions you make about property division. Therefore, it is important to understand your rights.

Is the Business Part of the Marital Estate?

In Illinois, property in a divorce is classified as either marital property or non-marital property. Nearly every asset obtained by a spouse during the marriage is marital property. Assets acquired by inheritance or gift are the main exceptions. Property acquired before the marriage is typically classified as non-marital property. Both spouses have a right to an equitable share of marital property. Only the spouse who originally owned a non-marital asset has a right to that asset during divorce.

Identifying whether a business is classified as marital or non-marital property can be quite complex. Even if a spouse started or purchased the business before the marriage, part of all of the business may still be considered marital property. For example, if the non-owning spouse made financial contributions to the business or helped care for children while the business owner worked, the non-owning spouse may be entitled to a share of the business’s value during divorce. If you or your spouse own a business and you are getting divorced, make sure to work with a divorce lawyer who has experience handling complex property division concerns. Your lawyer can help you understand your rights and explore your legal options.

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IL family lawyerMost people go into their marriage thinking it will be their one and only time down the aisle. Nobody plans to get a divorce, but statistics show that is exactly what happens to anywhere from 40 to 50 percent of couples who get married. For some people, divorce can come as a shock. However, divorce often does not just happen overnight; it takes months or even years of cumulative unhappiness and disharmony for most people to move toward getting a divorce. If you are unsure of whether or not it is time for a divorce, there are certain signs that you can look for that may mean a divorce is your best option.

Look for These Signs of Divorce

If you have been unhappy or distressed for some time, it may be time to look into how you can better your life and the lives of those around you. For many people who are unhappy with their marriages and have tried every effort to reconcile, a divorce may be the answer. If you are unsure of the right time for a divorce, here are a few of the most common signs that your marriage may be over:

  • You have more bad days than you do good days. Most of your interactions with your spouse should be positive. It is normal for you to fight or argue with your spouse on occasion, but when those fights happen more frequently than positive interactions, you may want to begin to contemplate the idea that your marriage is not going to last forever.
  • You are not content. Think about how you feel. Are you happy with your marriage and your partner? Are there things you wish you could change about your partner? If you are unhappy in your marriage, you do not have to be. You might be happier without this relationship in your life.
  • You do not respect one another. Strong relationships are built on love and respect. If you and your partner do not respect one another, you cannot have a healthy marriage. Couples who lose respect for one another are the same couples who argue or fight constantly and who may even experience physical and/or emotional abuse. If you have lost respect for your spouse, or your spouse has lost respect for you, divorce may be a potential remedy.
  • One (or both) of you has cheated. One of the obvious things that can point toward a divorce is infidelity. Seeking other companionship while you are married is not inherently bad, but doing so without the knowledge or consent of your spouse is when emotions are hurt and feelings of betrayal surface. If there has been infidelity in your marriage, it may be a sign that you and your spouse are no longer meant to be married.

Speak to Our West Chicago, IL Divorce Lawyers Today

There is no “right time” to get a divorce. This varies couple by couple and depends on a multitude of factors. If you feel unhappy or as if your marriage is not working, you should get in touch with a skilled Cook County divorce attorney to discuss your specific situation. At Hensley Sendek Law, LLC, we understand how difficult it can be to admit that you want a divorce, but we are here to help you through the process. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 630-358-9029.

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IL family lawyerWhen you get a divorce in Illinois, the state requires you and your spouse to submit a parenting plan for any minor children you may have. The ideal option is to come to an agreement with your spouse about how you will handle child-related issues, like parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. However, if you cannot come to an agreement, the court will be forced to make certain decisions about parenting time and decision-making responsibilities for you.

Elements Considered to Determine Your Child’s “Best Interests”

If the court determines that the judge must make certain decisions for you and your spouse concerning your parenting plan, the judge will do so based upon the best interests of your child. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the elements that are involved when making a determination on the child’s best interests include:

  • The child’s wishes, taking into consideration their age and ability to form independent opinions
  • How well the child has been fitting into his or her home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of the child and the parents
  • The level of cooperation between the parents
  • The willingness between each parent to help the child maintain a close relationship with the other parent
  • The child’s needs
  • The wishes of each parent
  • Whether or not there has been a history or threat of physical violence or abuse to the child or another member of the child’s household
  • The quality of the relationship between the child and their parents and other members of his or her family
  • The willingness of each parent to put the child’s needs ahead of their own

In many cases involving contested child issues, a guardian ad litem is assigned to the case to help the judge understand the above elements as they pertain to the individual child’s case. The guardian ad litem acts as the child’s representation in hearings and will conduct his or her own research to determine what the child’s best interests are. Once they have completed gathering information, they prepare a report that they then share with the court. The judge does not have to go with the recommendation of the guardian ad litem, but they usually do.

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IL family lawyerParents filing for divorce in Illinois are required to complete additional steps throughout the divorce process. Not only do they create arrangements as a couple, such as dividing their marital assets and determining spousal maintenance, but they must also decide how they will continue to care for their children after the end of their marriage. When creating a parenting plan, divorcing parents consider all aspects of their children’s lives, such as their physical and emotional needs, academic and extracurricular schedules, and more. But what about the changes that are bound to happen in the child’s life? How can a parenting plan be prepared for the unexpected?

Parenting Plan Modifications

The Illinois court system recognizes that divorce agreements do not always last the tests of time, especially when it comes to parenting plans. Within a parenting plan, divorcing parents will designate parenting time, the allocation of parental responsibilities, and child support. Parenting time outlines where and when the child will be living with each parent while the allocation of parental responsibilities states what decision-making capabilities each parent has. All of these decisions are made in the best interests of the child and should reflect that moving forward. If you find that certain parts of your parenting plan are not working, you are able to update your plan in a process known as post-decree modifications. For those who completed their divorce outside of a courtroom, you and your co-parent will need to reconvene with the help of your attorneys to make these adjustments. For those who had a trial divorce, a judge will need to listen to your requests and make decisions on your behalf.

The following areas of your parenting plan can be modified:

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Glen Ellyn family law attorney child custody

In most cases, children’s parents who are not married try to live near each other to remain in their child’s life and maintain a good relationship. Some families, however, do not have both parents living in the same state. Maybe one parent had to relocate for their job or perhaps the parent moved out of state before realizing that they were having a child at all. Regardless of the reason behind the state spread, both parents continue to have rights and responsibilities over their child. Parents who are unmarried should have a parenting agreement created to ensure that these rights and responsibilities are outlined and have legal backing by a court of law. In cases like these, which state takes on the role of creating and enforcing child custody arrangements and parenting plans?

Interstate Child Custody

Making child custody agreements between states is known as interstate child custody. Unlike same-state parents, those living in two separate areas have additional hoops to jump through. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was created in 1997 to address this discrepancy first hand. This act is accepted nationwide and sets forth parameters regarding interstate custody. According to the UCCJEA, the primary determining factor when it comes to deciding which state has jurisdiction over the issue is where the child resides. 

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Cook County divorce attorney asset division

For some couples, the process of dividing marital assets during a divorce may not require much consideration. Families with only a few large assets, such as the marital home and family cars, can divide their marital property by allocating the family home to one spouse and giving the remaining large assets to the other. But what about families who have a bit more in the bank? The property division process requires additional consideration when the financial stakes are higher. Despite Illinois law requiring the equitable distribution of assets, many divorcing couples with a large portfolio of assets can, unfortunately, attempt to conceal a portion of their property and set it aside for themselves.

Understanding the Discovery Process

The discovery process may not always be necessary when it comes to divorce. This step in the divorce process involves both legal and financial professionals taking a deep dive into the details of your finances by requesting official documents that present proof of all of the marital assets. In other words, it is an investigation tied to your divorce that ensures that both spouses are being honest about their marital assets. For couples who have an amicable relationship and can easily divide their minimal number of large assets, requiring discovery may seem unnecessary, but for those with a large amount of high net-worth assets, these additional measures should always be taken.

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