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McHenry County Family Law Blog

Discovery during divorce: Not just a personal journey

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For many Illinoisans, divorce is a study in transformation. He or she starts as one person and finishes as a different one. In part, this transformation is because of the journey of personal discovery that divorce takes most people through. But personal discovery is not the only kind of discovery that goes on during a divorce: Illinoisans also need to go through legal discovery.

Discovery of the legal variety is the process for exchanging divorce-related information between the separating spouses. This process can be informal (if cooperation is possible) or formal (if cooperation has evaporated). Under the informal process, the parties can simply exchange relevant documents. Under the formal process, the parties exchange information in response to various types of legally-binding requests.

Sanford divorce tries mediation

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For many Illinoisans, divorce can be a messy, difficult process. Emotions flare, words are said and dirty laundry is aired. In turn, tempers rise and litigation stretches forward, often for years. Take, for example, the divorce of Mark Sanford who is currently a United States congressman, but is better known for being the governor who arranged a romantic rendezvous with his Argentine lover by claiming to be on a hike through the Appalachian Trail.

When Sanford's deception was discovered, his wife left him. The divorce concluded in 2010, but for the last four and half years, Sanford and his ex-wife have been in and out of court over alimony, child custody and child support.

What is the government's role in Illinois child support?

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In many cases, Illinoisans never need to wonder about the state's role in enforcing child support. In these situations, no one needs to wonder because the parent who owes child support (typically the parent who does not live with the child) pays his or her child-support obligation on time and in full each month. However, not everyone is so fortunate. In these less-fortunate situations, the government's role can become pivotal in ensuring the non-custodial parent pays his or her child support.

Child support orders come from family law courts. Courts consult Illinois' child-support guidelines when they calculate the amount of support. This calculation is primarily determined by considering the non-custodial parent's income and the number of children. Other factors that can impact the calculation are the child's specific needs and the custodial parent's income.

We represent Illinoisans seeking a divorce

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Getting married takes time. A couple meets, gets to know each and then gets married. Divorce takes time too. A couple decides they need to go their separate ways and then they have to disentangle their lives. That requires them to figure out how to split up the people and things in their life. This includes what to do about any children, as well as how to divide the couple's real estate, personal and intangible property. What is more, the final split must work for the couple both now and for the foreseeable future. That can be a tall order to fill.

Fortunately, our firm has experience in making one of the most stressful situations Illinoisans ever face - divorce - into as painless a process as possible. To do so, we look at the whole situation to formulate realistic solutions for each part of the divorce. This planning can encompass issues pertaining to children, including custody, visitation and support, as well as issues of asset division and any award of spousal Maintenance or alimony.

How do you file for and serve a divorce petition in Illinois?

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For many Illinoisans, just making the decision to get divorced is tough. Because of that, little things can cause them to put off taking action. One small roadblock is figuring how and where to file and serve a divorce petition.

A divorce petition is a legal document filed in court by a spouse seeking divorce. The petition announces the filer's intent to get divorced and starts the divorce process. After the divorce-seeking spouse files the petition, they must also serve the other spouse. In other words, they need to give a copy to the other spouse.

Illinois collects $1.4 billion in child support

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Child support is a big deal for children who need it. It can also be a large amount of money. In fact, an Illinois agency collects more than $1 billion in child support annually. This past year the agency collected the most it ever has at more than a whopping $1.4 billion.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services says it collects the money in a variety of ways. Most of the money is gained through income withholding. But the rest comes through more coercive means. For instance, the agency will sometimes freeze and seize bank accounts when owing parents fail to pay their obligation. Other times, it directs professional and occupational licensing agencies to suspend or rescind licenses. The agency will also sometimes ask the Department of Natural Resources to deny non-compliant parents hunting and fishing licenses.

Divorcing couple battles over $20 billion property division

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For many Illinoisans, divorce can be one of the most difficult chapters in their lives. For younger couples, the hardest issues tend to revolve around child custody. For older couples, the hardest issues tend to revolve around property division. Take, for instance, an oil tycoon's divorce.

The divorce marks the end of a 26 year marriage between the tycoon and his wife, a time in which the couple saw its wealth expand a thousand-fold. But, before the divorce can be finalized, the parties need to determine how split their nearly $20 billion fortune.

Power couple begins divorce process, gets set to square off

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Whether in Illinois or elsewhere, divorce is seldom easy. But some factors can ratchet up the difficulty level. For younger couples, the trickiness of the divorce typically centers around the couples' children. For older couples, the sticking point usually hinges on financials. The more money the couple has, the bigger the potential battle. Take, for example, the divorce of multibillion-dollar couple.

One of the partners is the CEO of a hedge fund that manages $20 billion in assets. The other is a manager and partner at a firm that invests in media and technology. Together, the couple is worth north of $5 billion and owns two condominiums in Chicago's Park Tower along with residences in three other states.

Illinois couple contesting custody of the family dog

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When Illinoisans get divorced, they have to sort through a swath of issues,some emotional, others legal. Many times the emotional and the legal merge. In some cases, that means fighting over child custody. But in other cases, it may mean deciding who gets to keep which friends, including man's best friend, the family dog.

Take, for instance, a recent dispute between two Illinoisans over who gets to keep the couples' Lab-German Shepherd Mix. Just like many child custody disputes, both Illinoisans want the dog. Unlike child custody, however, under Illinois law, pets are personal property.

Rapper fails to appear at child-support hearing, warrant issued

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Having a child is a wonderful moment, but it also creates lasting responsibilities. For example, Illinois parents have an obligation to provide food, clothing and shelter for their children. Unfortunately, when parents split, some parents stop meeting their obligations, including obligations to pay child support.

Take, for instance, a recent case in which a Cook County judge recently issued an arrest warrant after an Illinois father did not appear for a child support hearing. The father is a South Side rapper who goes by the name "Chief Keef." The hearing was regarding alleged back child support Chief Keef allegedly owed to his daughter's mother. Chief Keef reportedly owes more than $10,000 in back child support.