Category Archives: Divorce

Factors that Can Prolong the Divorce Process in Illinois

Coming to the end of a marriage can be devastating. The divorce process can be stressful too. Many people would like to just get it over and done with as quickly as possible.

There’s no set length of time for divorce processes. Each and every divorce is as unique as the couple going through it and their circumstances. A divorce can take anywhere from 30 days to several years to finalize. There are several factors that can delay the finalizing of a divorce in Illinois. These include:

Child-related issues

One of the most common causes of delay in finalizing a divorce is children. It can be difficult to resolve issues such as child support, child custody and visitation. Decisions regarding children should be made in the best interests of the children. However, parents may disagree on the allocation of responsibilities and their obligations regarding the children as their emotions drive them during the divorce.

Having attorneys present during the determination of a parenting plan and deciding other issues such as custody and support can help to separate emotions from logic. Couples will be in a better position to make decisions that will meet the needs of their children after divorce.

Division of assets

Another issue that often results in the prolonging of divorce proceedings is the division of assets. Determining who gets what and in what proportion can be a great source of contention.

The law in Illinois requires the equitable distribution of marital assets and property. This means that any property or assets acquired during marriage must be divided fairly between the spouses. Assets in this case may include vehicles, houses, furniture, antiques, jewelry and even family-owned businesses.

Divorces where couples have high-value assets are often difficult to resolve. There are also instances where a spouse may hide assets or believe that their spouse is hiding assets. Accountants may be brought in to uncover these assets. This can prolong divorce proceedings. It can also take longer to settle a divorce where the couple has accrued a lot of debt during marriage. This debt will need to be split during divorce. It can take a long time to determine who ought to be held responsible for the debt.

The level of cooperation of the spouses

If the spouses involved are willing to sit down and negotiate, then even the most complicated divorce case can be resolved much faster. If the spouses aren’t willing to negotiate or agree on even the simplest matters, the divorce process can go on for years. In some cases, where spouses are unable to reach an agreement on their own, the divorce ends up in court where the solutions will be determined by a judge.

Litigation should be considered a last resort as it takes the power of decision out of your hands. If you’re seeking a divorce, hire an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. Legal representation will help to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.


Do I Need a Lawyer for Divorce Mediation?

If you’re seeking a divorce, there will be various issues that will need to be discussed and agreed upon before your divorce is made final. These range from child custody to property and asset division. These matters can be addressed through mediation or in a court.

Mediation is always the best choice for divorce. It offers many benefits including being less expensive and offering spouses more control over the outcome of the divorce. Going to court will result in huge expenses in legal fees and it will result in a judge making all the decisions for you. Going to court also means that the divorce will most likely take anything from several months to years to be finalized. Mediation is a great option if you and your spouse are willing to sit down and negotiate.

If you and your soon-to-be ex have opted for mediation, you will need to hire a mediator. This is a neutral party that guides the conversations to help you come to an agreement. It is also a good idea for each spouse to hire a divorce attorney. Here’s why:

You’ll gain access to legal knowledge and experience

Divorce laws can be complex. It can be difficult to understand the long-term impact of a decision you make during mediation. An experienced attorney will provide you with guidance to ensure you make the best decisions for you and your children if any. They will help you better understand the requirements of the law and how you can protect yourself.

You’ll get legal advice for your particular situation

Mediators only provide spouses with information about the options available to them. As unbiased parties, they cannot provide legal advice to any of the spouses.

An experienced attorney will assess your circumstances and provide you with advice based on their experience and understanding of the law. A lawyer will step in and ensure your best interests are considered in issues such as child custody, division of assets, sharing debt and much more.

An attorney will help to remove the emotional aspect from the decision-making process

It can be difficult to come to an agreement during a time when your emotions are all over the place. You may not be able to think clearly. You may want to take revenge on your spouse or even want to give up some of your rights in the heat of the moment just to get it over and done with.

An attorney will help to take that emotional aspect out of the decision-making process as they are not personally involved in the case. They can provide you with an objective view of the situation and advise you on the best decisions to make to safeguard your future.

They can help you save money in the long term in many cases

The decisions made during a mediation are legally binding once the divorce is finalized. Hiring an attorney may seem expensive right now but will save you a lot of money in the long term in many cases. A legal representative will help you make better decisions regarding division of property, child support and other financial matters. They can help you secure your financial future after divorce.

If you’re seeking a divorce, be sure to contact an experienced attorney to guide you through the process.


Is Nesting a Good Option for Your Divorce?

Going through a divorce is stressful for a couple. Children of divorce also experience significant amounts of stress. This is the case even in an uncontested divorce which is completed in a short period. Children still find that they have to adjust to many changes, which can be difficult.

Children thrive on stability and permanence. Divorce disrupts their sense of stability. They were accustomed to having both parents in their lives and now they only have one parent that is their main caregiver and with whom they live the majority of the time.

Some parents consider ‘nesting’ as a way to help their children make the transition after a divorce.

What is nesting?

Illinois divorce laws allow spouses to determine their own agreements when it comes to child-related issues such as who gets primary custody of the children, the amount of spousal support they should expect as well as parental visitation rights. Issues relating to children in divorce are outlined in a parenting plan. This document is legally binding. Therefore, decisions that are made and documented must be adhered to once the divorce has been finalized.

Divorced parents in Illinois can therefore make a nesting plan. In this type of arrangement, both parents live in separate spaces outside the family home. The children are the only permanent residents of the home during the nesting period. Each parent comes to the home to live with the children for a set time according to a parenting schedule. The parents are never in the home at the same time. Some parents opt to have the same second living space as they are never in this space at the same time either.

In such a scenario, the father may live with the children in the primary family home for a week or two in a month. The mother will live with the children the rest of the time when the father is away.

The pros and cons of nesting

There are several benefits and downsides of nesting. Nesting helps parents focus on their children’s needs as opposed to their own needs. It gives children a greater sense of stability as they can still enjoy time with both parents within the family home. It also gives both parents time to spend with their children and helps children ease into the more permanent parenting plan after the divorce.

However, nesting can be expensive as the parents must have separate living spaces outside the family home. Depending on how long the nesting arrangement is for, it can make it difficult for the parents to move on after divorce and pursue romantic relationships. Nesting can also give children a false sense of hope. They may think that their parents will get back together.

Is nesting right for you?

Are you considering nesting for your family after your divorce is finalized? There are several factors to consider. Can you and your spouse afford a second residence? Who will be responsible for the monthly bills and upkeep of the primary family home? How long would you be able to keep the nesting up?

It is important to talk to your divorce attorney to better understand how nesting works and if it is a good option for your family.


Things to Avoid During a Divorce

Are you going through a divorce or planning to file for a divorce soon? There are various mistakes that people make when going through a divorce that can lead to them ending up with the short end of the stick. The following are mistakes you should avoid if you want to protect your rights.

Insisting on taking your case to court

Going through a divorce is an emotional process. You may feel betrayed, hurt and angry all at the same time. It isn’t uncommon for a hurt spouse to want to take revenge by prolonging the divorce proceedings and insisting on taking the case to court.

While you may initially get some satisfaction from taking your case to court, your case can quickly become complicated in a court setting. Going to court will increase the cost of the divorce significantly. A prolonged divorce can be stressful on you, your children and your friends and family. The outcome of a court case is unpredictable. You may end up with a judgment that is unfavorable to you.

Bad mouthing your spouse

It isn’t uncommon for spouses to be angry and hurt when going through a divorce. Many people badmouth their spouses to their children, friends or on social media in an attempt to win them over and take their revenge on their soon-to-be ex-spouse. While this may be satisfying in the moment, it can have negative consequences.

Bad-mouthing your spouse can harm your children in the long-term. Remember that your ex-spouse is still their parent. It won’t help to involve your children in a dispute between you. You could also end up hurting your chances of getting custody of your children. The court will consider which parent will foster a healthy relationship and may choose your spouse if there is evidence that you badmouth your spouse.

Hiding assets

People have a wide range of reasons why they hide assets from the court in divorce proceedings. You may feel betrayed by your spouse and not want them to benefit from divorcing you. It may be that you put a lot of work into obtaining assets after marriage and feel that it isn’t fair to have to split assets with your spouse.

Whatever your reasons, hiding assets is not in your best interest. Lying to the court could result in you losing ground in your divorce case. Your lies may give your spouse the opportunity to appeal divorce decrees that are in place and be awarded even more of your assets than was initially agreed upon. You may even face criminal charges for fraud.

Allowing your emotions to guide your decisions

Parties going through a divorce experience a wide range of emotions including rage, despair and frustration. However, it is important to be calm and rational when making decisions during a divorce. This will help you make logical decisions that are in your best interest. Allowing your emotions to take over can result in prolonging the divorce, which will ultimately increase your financial and emotional burden. It can also lead to making poor decisions that have long-term repercussions.

Avoid the mistakes above when going through a divorce. Consult an experienced divorce attorney to determine the best way to approach your divorce.


Getting a Military Divorce – Things You Should Know

Are you planning to get a divorce? A divorce where one or both parties are military service members is no more complicated than divorce involving only civilian parties. However, there are some special rules and requirements that only apply to military divorces. These can present challenges for couples seeking to end their marriages.

Understanding the special requirements for military divorces is important. This will help you be prepared for the challenges you may face. The following are some things you should know about military divorces.

Deciding where to file your divorce can be tricky

This is especially true when you or your spouse is in active service. Members of the military tend to move around a lot. They therefore have multiple homes. Some move around with their families and therefore have multiple records of home addresses shared with their spouses. There are some who have a shared address with their spouse and addresses for where they currently reside.

Deciding where to file a divorce in a civilian marriage is easy. You file in the jurisdiction in which you are resident. For a military divorce, you should file for a divorce in the place where the domicile spouse holds legal residence. At least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for 6 months immediately prior to filing for the divorce.

How military pension is split depends on the court

Divorce proceedings often become complicated when it comes to dividing assets including property and savings. Couples often disagree when it comes to splitting assets. This also applies to military divorces.

For military divorces, military benefits are also considered as part of the assets that ought to be divided between the spouses. The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFPA) gives partners of military personnel the legal right to part of their spouse’s benefits. This applies to marriages of any length. The court may therefore decide how your military pension will be divided.

A divorced spouse may continue to benefit from healthcare

As previously mentioned, military benefits are considered part of the assets in a military divorce. While many benefits that the spouse was entitled to while married to the military service member end on the date of the divorce judgement, they may still be eligible for healthcare coverage. This depends on how long the couple has been married and the length of the time the military service overlapped with the marriage.

Former military spouses may also obtain health insurance coverage by applying for Continued Health Care Benefit Plan.

An active duty service member can get custody of their children

Child custody is often one of the biggest sources of conflict in divorce settlements. Active servers often worry that they won’t be able to get custody of the children because of their work. However, this isn’t the case. Although being in the military can have an impact on awarding custody, active military service members can get custody of their children. However, arrangements for custody can be complicated by their military service.  A family care plan which guides parents on how the children will cared for after the divorce is finalized will help to make the situation easier for the couple.

If you’re facing a military divorce, get in touch with a seasoned lawyer to guide you through the process. A good understanding of the special requirements for military divorce will help ensure your rights are protected.



3 Top Reasons to Hire a Divorce Lawyer

When your marriage is coming to an end, it is important to get help from a divorce lawyer the moment you have made the decision to move forward with divorce proceedings. This is because the lawyer will start representing you and giving you the right advice.

There are many things that you need to sort out during the divorce proceedings, and a divorce lawyer will help you find the right way to navigate the issues. Some of the things that you need to iron out include your relationship with your children, how to share finances and property, and whether there is need for spousal support among other issues.

Three key reasons why you should hire a divorce lawyer to assist you are discussed below.

You can make significant savings during the divorce process

You may be concerned, and many people are indeed concerned, that hiring a divorce lawyer is expensive. However, the truth is that getting the services of a divorce lawyer as soon as you plan to start the divorce proceedings can help you in the long run.

By involving a lawyer at the start of the process, you and your partner can work hand in hand with your respective attorneys and arrange to have an out-of-court process. With an out-of-court process, it is possible for you and your spouse to arrive at an uncontested agreement.

Divorce lawyers understand the law and can guide you on how to reach an amicable settlement. They are also able to help their clients by using their negotiation skills and keeping emotions out of the negotiation process. Therefore, by involving a divorce lawyer, the likelihood of you and your spouse being able to get a fair deal on issues such as child custody, support and property division is increased.

Helps in safeguarding your bond with your kids

If you and your spouse have children, whatever agreement you make regarding your divorce has to be in the best interest of the children. The custody agreement that you make should allow you adequate time to see your children so that you can continue creating a strong bond with them.

With the help of a lawyer, you and your partner can negotiate on the matter of child custody and come up with a parenting plan without requiring a court’s intervention. This way, you can create a plan that works well for you, your spouse and the children without having one party compelled to act in a certain way.

If you are unable to reach an agreement out of court, your lawyer will represent you in court and help you present a compelling argument to the court regarding your relationship with your children.

A divorce lawyer can help you with long term finances

Divorce outcomes that require you to pay for spousal support or share marital property can adversely affect your financial status. A divorce lawyer can assess your financial status and help you make a strong argument so that any decision that is made regarding your finances does not harm you.


These three key points demonstrate why you should hire a divorce lawyer in case you decide to end your marriage. Even if the divorce process looks simple, there are some things that a lawyer can help you iron out.



Tips for finding the right Divorce Attorney to handle your case

Finding an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney can be a difficult task, and that’s as true for Illinois divorce as it is anywhere else. The issue is often compounded by a lack of knowledge regarding how to locate lawyers and what kinds of factors you should keep in mind while doing so. Let’s take a look at some tips to remember when you’re searching for a quality divorce lawyer to help with your case.

Finding Potential Attorneys

There are a few different ways to go about this process. You could always use the “yellow pages” of your phone book(if you still have one), for example, and just look up “Illinois divorce attorneys.” But while this will likely get you someone with a license to practice, it is unlikely to land you the best option for your specific needs. Instead, you might consider asking for referrals instead. These can be from friends or family if you feel comfortable asking them. If you go this route, ask the person offering the referral why they’d recommend the firm and how their case went. You’re looking for someone who went through an experience similar to yours and found the lawyer in question knowledgeable and helpful.
Another good option to consider might be to speak with an attorney you trust. This doesn’t have to be a divorce attorney, of course – it can be any type of attorney. Ask them if they have time for a consultation and talk to them about what you’re experiencing and the kind of representation you’re seeking. They might be able to refer you to a divorce lawyer that can fulfill your requirements.
If you aren’t comfortable with either of the above options, that’s okay! You can also take a look at online attorney directories. These directories are designed to provide potential clients with as much information about qualified attorneys as possible. Some of them, like Super Lawyers, are comprised from peer-ranked lists that can help you find reliable options.

Refine for List

After following the steps above and finding potential divorce attorneys for your case, it’s a good idea to whittle that down to a few attorneys which whom you’d like to meet. You can do this by raising your expectations a bit and looking for specific information. You’ll want to ensure that the individuals on your list are registered with the Illinois Bar Association and are in good standing. You might also look at who endorses the lawyers in question. You can often find this information by visiting their websites, which is something you should do anyway to take a look at their education, professional credentials, and accolades.

Meeting in Person

Finally, it’s time to schedule appointments and start meeting attorneys. Note how quickly they respond to your request for a consultation as well as how easy (or difficult) it was to contact them. You’ll want an attorney who is there for you and able to devote time to your case. Talk to them frankly about your specific situation, your goals, and your concerns. Gauge their reaction and experience as well as their personality. Do you like working with them? Remember that you’ll be spending a decent amount of time communicating with them and choose accordingly.

Are you looking for an experienced divorce attorney who can help you with your case? The experts at Abear Law Offices can help! Contact us today for more information.

Business Valuation and Divorce

Divorce is an overwhelming time even when the process is as simple and straightforward as possible. When one of the spouses in question owns a business, divorce can become an incredibly complicated affair. Remember that marital property is split during divorce proceedings, and your business might be considered an asset that belongs to the marriage – and, as a result, divided along with everything else. Business valuation, then, is often an important part of the separation process.

The real question, of course, is how exactly a business’s worth is determined. There a few different things to keep in mind when it comes to this particular process.

Structure Matters
What structure is your business? There are a variety of different options, and each operates in a slightly different way:
• LLC: Also known as a Limited Liability Company, this kind of business is owned by members that can include corporations, individuals, foreign entities, and even other LLCs.
• Sole Proprietorship: This kind of business is owned by a single individual and is not incorporated.
• Partnership: A partnership refers to a business owned by multiple individuals who all dedicate their labor, skill, property, or money to the business and expect a portion of its losses and profits as a result.
• Corporation: This kind of business is owned by shareholders and its profit is distributed to these shareholders.

Determining the type of business you own is the first step in estimating its value. An experienced attorney can be incredibly helpful when it comes to this process, and might be able to help you ensure a fair and painless valuation.

Selling the Business
Once you understand the type of business in question, you can begin to figure out its value. One of the easiest ways to do this is by selling the business and then dividing the profits. This is a good option for individuals who are hoping to completely sever financial ties with their ex. It is most likely not a good option for individuals who want the divorce process to be a quick one, however, as selling a business can take quite a bit of time.

If you are hoping to avoid selling the business, as an aside, you can also opt to dissolve the business or buy out your spouse. The first option is another way to cut financial ties like credit or debt that is attached to the business. The second is, of course, the option to go for if you are hoping to keep the business.

Track Down Assets
Another important step in valuing your business is ensuring that you have located all of the relevant assets. This is a particularly difficult step, especially if you believe that some of those assets might be hidden. It is important that you reach out to an experienced attorney who has the skills necessary to carefully analyze your business holdings and determine likely “hiding” spots.

If you are contemplating a divorce and need help valuing your business, reach out to the professional team at Abear Law Offices! Our passionate team is ready to assess your case and start building a winning legal strategy today.

Divorce and Taxes: What You Should Know

Divorce is not an easy process to undertake. It’s one that impacts nearly every facet of your life, in fact, and that is perhaps most true when it comes to finances. In any divorce case there tend to be significant financial issues that can arise. These might take a variety of forms, including disputes regarding things like spousal support to the division of your marital property. As the dissolution of your marriage continues forward, then, it should come as no surprise that you might encounter significant financial struggles. Some of the most common of these are related to taxes and how you should file them as a result of your divorce.

Thanks to a new tax law set to go into effect on December 31st, 2018, divorcing couples could see some dramatic changes to the way they file taxes as well as spousal maintenance in the coming year. Let’s look at the change and how it stands to impact you.

Income Tax Returns

One of the main tax concerns that arises because of divorce is filing income tax. Married couples who file jointly are often eligible for tax deductions and breaks that are simply not available to single individuals. That means that, just as you must adjust to filing your tax return as an unmarried individual once more, you should also look at what deductions or tax breaks you have been receiving while married that you can no longer count upon now that you are divorced. Some of these might include:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Mortgage Write-Offs

Spousal Maintenance and the New Tax Law

In addition to the issues described above with income tax returns, the new tax law will also impact the way in which spousal payments can be deducted. Before the change, it was possible for the spouse paying support to deduct the amount from their income on their tax return while the individual receiving the support had to include the money they received as income on their own tax return. Under the new tax law set to go into effect on December 31st, 2018, however, this process changes. Spouses paying support will no longer be able to count the payments as deductions and the individuals receiving them will no longer have to count them as income.


As you can see, the new tax law stands to significantly impact many individuals currently making and receiving spousal support payments. Some might find this change to be beneficial, however many individuals will find themselves confused and put out by the news.


At Abear Law Offices, we understand how you feel. We can work with you to help ensure you not only file your taxes correctly under this new law, but also that you are treated fairly throughout the divorce process itself. For more information, contact us today and speak to one of our experienced staff members!

Dangerous Divorces: Digital Threats Could Impact Your Safety

Even in the best of cases – the situations where both parties in a marriage are on agreeable terms and are in agreement regarding the important decisions to be made – divorce can be a rough situation. Unfortunately, sometimes it is far worse than that. While stalking is not necessarily present in all divorces, it is a distressingly common issue in relationships that have some element of abuse to them. And thanks to new technology and the rise of digital devices, it is now easier than ever to keep tabs on someone.

If you are in the middle of a divorce or are attempting to leave a dangerous or abusive marriage, then you should be aware of the threat that technology could pose to your safety. An experienced attorney can help keep you safe in these situations.

GPS Technology

GPS is a form of technology that tracks your location. It is particularly prevalent in smartphones and other smart devices, but there is also a plethora of small, standalone devices that can be used without your knowledge. If these are slipped into your purse, your jacket, or your car, just to give a few examples, then someone could keep tabs on your location even without access to your computer or smartphone.

You should know that the use of trackers is, in large part, illegal. That means that there are very few situations in which it is legally justifiable to use them, and if your spouse is attempting to use them to track your location, you might be able to pursue charges. It should be noted, however, that in certain situations, your spouse might be within their rights to use such a device. A vehicle that is co-owned might be an exception as your spouse is also an owner of the car and might be entitled to track the vehicle’s whereabouts. To avoid this, it is advisable to avoid using anything that your spouse might be legally able to track.

An attorney can help you determine which items these may be and how you can keep your location safe.

Spy/Monitoring Applications

In addition to GPS technology, an increasing number of individuals are turning to applications that “spy”, or monitor, another’s actions. Some of these can monitor your private text messages, your social media activity, and even your emails and spending. These applications can be installed on smartphones, computers, and tablets.

If you think that your spouse is employing the use of these applications, stop using the devices immediately and reach out to your attorney. They will be able to guide you through the next steps, whether that means giving the devices in question to law enforcement to look for evidence of the monitoring applications or something else entirely.

Experienced Divorce Lawyers in Illinois

If you are in need of a divorce attorney, reach out to Abear Law Offices today! Our experienced attorneys can help. Use our contact form for more information!