Category Archives: Divorce

How To Divide A Substantial Marital Estate

There are some common issues to every divorce case. Most notably the issue of child custody and support must be resolved in every case where minor children are involved. Likewise, all divorce proceedings include an emotional element, and must be handled in a way that leaves the parties emotionally healthy and ready to move forward with their lives. When dealing with cases where the marital estate is substantial, special care must be taken to ensure the property division is fair to both sides and is done in a way that is equitable. This is true because when there are significant assets to divide, the parties’ positions can be very different from cases where the marital estate is of a lesser value. Figuring out what to do with a family business that generates substantial income is a complex task, and factors such as the ongoing viability of the company as well as how to protect the jobs of employees must be decided. This is just one example of how dividing a substantial marital estate can take on a different life than when these types of assets are not present. We are trained in financial matters as well as family law matters and can help you make choices that make sense and work for the specific facts of your case.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act will govern how property is distributed, regardless of its value. Things the Court will consider include:

● Making a distribution that is fair, which does not necessarily mean an equal split.
● The level of involvement in certain aspects that contribute to a high net worth situation, such as the role of each party in any family owned business or joint venture.
● The length of the marriage.
● The ability of the parties to continue to act in a decision making capacity in instances where significant financial holdings such as real estate or other investments exist.

Everyone wants to stand on their own feet financially after a divorce. This is part of gaining independence from and reliance upon your spouse, which is a crucial element to having a successful post-divorce life. When the stakes are high, emotions are as well and the issues can quickly become hotly contested. Keeping a level head and working through your needs with an experienced divorce attorney will help you reach results that are satisfactory. Call us today for more information.

If you have questions about high net worth divorce, call us for answers. Contact the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule your appointment today. Our goal is help you get through your divorce with confidence and emotional stability.

Should I Reconcile?

Making the decision to get divorced is not easy. It is common to have doubt, or maybe even lingering feelings for your spouse. These things can make it hard to come to the conclusion to end your marriage, and may give you reason for pause. Before filing for divorce, make sure it is the right answer for you.

Staying in an unsatisfactory marriage can cause more harm than good, but to make sure divorce is the answer you should give the issue careful consideration. Some food for thought when making the decision to end your marriage includes the following things:

● Is there a chance the issues that are creating the unhappiness can be resolved?
● Are both parties to the marriage unhappy? If so then divorce is likely the answer. But, if only one of the parties is feeling dissatisfied there is a possibility that with a renewed commitment and work those feelings might change.
● Have you and your spouse tried everything? Have you had open and honest communication about your emotions, and have you talked it over with a professional?

Once you are able to determine the reasons for getting divorced are valid, the process will be easier. Divorce cases are not fun and can be a real drain on your personal finances and your emotions. We work hard to make your case go smoothly and with as little conflict as possible. It benefits you to come into the case after having explored all your options and making sure divorce is right for you. We can help you talk through the issues that are causing your concern, and give you the information you need for an educated decision.

For more information about divorce and reconciliation, call our office. Our attorneys are qualified to assist you with all the issues that are important to you. Contact the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC today to schedule an appointment.

Things You Can Do To Help Your Kids Through Divorce

Divorce impacts the entire family, not just the adults. Extended family feels the effects of your split, and it goes without saying that your kids also have feeling about the case. It is hard enough on most adults to get divorced, so when talking to kids it is crucial to remember their maturity level and ability to process the information is much different. For very young children, it may be that they are not able to control their emotions and may “act out” in response to the news their parents are getting divorced. With a little help though, you can get your kids through divorce without a major upset. Doing so takes hard work and commitment, and sometimes a little help from a professional.

Before picking up the phone and calling a therapist though, try your hand at some one on one time. Some good tips to help you are:

● Make sure your kids know the divorce is an adult issue, and has nothing to do with them.
● Provide reassurance that the divorce is not your kids’ fault, and that they are loved equally by both parents.
● Remain flexible with your ex on holidays and visitation, and avoid fighting in front of the kids.

If your ex has a tendency to miss scheduled visitations, make sure you have a plan B so your child has an activity on the date of the visit. Remember that kids take note of your actions more so than your words, so behave in a way that you would want your kids to behave. Most importantly, if you need help, be sure to ask. Whether you seek the assistance of a trained professional or just talk it over with a friend or family member, remain open to help from people that care about you. Doing so will show your kids you care, and give them the reassurance they need to grow to confident, well-adjusted adults.

For answers to your questions about how to help your kids cope with divorce, call a qualified family law professional. Contact the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC. Call us today to schedule an appointment to discuss the specific facts of your case.

What To Expect From Your Friends When You Get Divorced

There always seem to be stories about how when a couple divorces, one of them got the house and the other got the friends. It can be difficult to maintain common friendships, without making your friends feel like they have to pick a side. Often times friends of a divorcing couple are uncertain what to say, or how to act. This topic arises more often than you might think, and there are things you can do to make the transition smooth and keep your friends.

Obviously your best friend from 3rd grade is unlikely to stop calling at this difficult time in your life, but what about other friends? Is there a way to remain close with neighbors or friends that were made after the marriage? The Huffington Post reported on the issue, and has the following to say:

● If possible, talk with your spouse about which friends are important to you. Taking a step back from a friendship for the sake of keeping the peace may pave the way for agreement on other, more important issues in your case.
● Be accepting of the fact that not all friendships will continue. Part of this process is the realization that new friends will be made, and new bonds formed.

When in doubt, talk it over with your friends. Most times they are waiting for you to bring up the subject, out of respect for your feelings or out of uncertainty in how to bring up the subject. Talking things over will give you a clear picture of how everyone feels, and give you a sense of calm that can give you an emotional boost during an emotionally trying time.

If you have questions about divorce, call us for answers. Contact the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule your appointment today. Our goal is help you get through your divorce with confidence and emotional stability.

A Generation Of Divorcees?

Depending on when you were born, you identify with a certain “generation”. The group of people born in the years following the Second World War are referred to as baby boomers. For those of you born between 1981 and 2000, the media refers to you as Gen Y. People born after 2000 are part of Gen Z, and in between generations Y and Z there falls Gen X. This group of people are the kids of the baby boomers and are now the generation in the prime of their working careers and raising their own children. One very distinctive characteristic about a Gen X person is that they are likely have divorced parents.

The baby boomers remember the first walk on the moon and where they were when they heard the news President Kennedy was shot. For members of Gen X, they remember when their parents got divorced. This might be the reason for an entire generation trying to prevent their own divorce. Some of the ways Gen X has gone about avoiding divorce include:

● Waiting until later in life to get married.
● Holding off on having kids, even after having waited until an older age to tie the knot.
● Participating in counseling or therapy to get through rough patches.

Even with all of these efforts in place, divorce does still happen. Before you can decide if divorce is the answer for you, it is important to know what issues will need to be addressed. Division of property, child custody and support, spousal maintenance (formerly referred to as alimony), and how debt is apportioned are just a few of the matters that get resolved in a divorce. If you are considering dissolving your marriage, call us today to learn more about how to best proceed in your divorce case.
For answers to your questions about a divorce in Illinois, consult a knowledgeable family law attorney. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment today.

New Rules For Spousal Support

The fallout from a divorce touches nearly every aspect of your life. Aside from the emotional setbacks that are a natural consequence of ending a marriage, you can also expect to deal with helping your kids adjust and changing the way you spend your money. This is especially true in cases where one spouse stayed home while the other went to work. In the not so distant past it was common for women to stay home with the kids while their husbands earned a living. While this is not always true today there are circumstances where one spouse is in greater financial need than the other, and the issue of spousal support (formerly referred to as alimony) is raised in the divorce setting. The rules on spousal support have recently changed, and so it is important to have an understanding of how the scheme works if you anticipate this issue being a part of your divorce case.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act saw a change, effective January 2015 o how alimony is awarded. The Courts now use a pre-set formula for calculating support. And while the payments no longer last indefinitely, some familiar factors are still used when entering an order of spousal support. These factors include:

● How long the parties were married.
●  Earning capacity and ability of each party.
● Where the kids will be living.

The goal of these changes is that there will now be finality to the stream of payments, and there will also be uniformity from case to case. This is not to say that cases will be given “cookie cutter” treatment, as there is still the ability to offer unique facts to the Court for review. This can happen when your circumstances are substantially outside the “norm”, and requires an effective presentation of the special circumstances. When making a case for spousal support, the evidence you present to the Court is key. We can help develop your case in a way that shows the Court your needs, and is likely to end in results that work for you. Call an experienced family law attorney today to learn your options.

For more information about divorce and spousal support, call our office. Our attorneys are qualified to assist you with all the issues that are important to you. Contact the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC today to schedule an appointment.

Staying In A Bad Marriage Only Makes Things Worse

Just like ignoring a summons will end in undesirable results, ignoring warning signs that your relationship is at its end will also have harmful consequences. Refusing to resolve issues that are important to you create resentment and other unhealthy emotions. When you feel “stuck” in your marriage but decide to stay, unresolved issues will only go from bad to worse. Even though it is hard to make the decision to get divorced, it is even more difficult to stay in a bad relationship. Yet this is exactly what too many people do, and as a result their psyche and their families suffer.

A good article details some of the reasons why people decide to stay in a failing relationship. The most common reasons include:

● Financial instability.
●  Emotional abuse, that leads to feelings of worthlessness and a lack of confidence.

But by and large the most common reason people stay in unhappy relationships and marriages is the fear of being single. Too many married persons are comfortable in their relationship and make the decision to stay rather than to change. Keep in mind, divorce is not the only option when a marriage is on the rocks. If you and your spouse dedicate yourselves to repairing the relationship, divorce can be avoided. But, when all your efforts fail to produce the results you desire, it is better to go through with the divorce than to remain unhappy. Staying in a relationship that is not good will create feelings of resentment between family members and have a negative impact on the kids. Our team of family law professionals stands ready to help you make whatever choice works best for you, and if that turns out to be divorce we are here to make sure your rights are protected and the results are satisfactory. Call a skilled divorce attorney today to learn more.

If you have questions about divorce, consult a qualified legal professional. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule your appointment.

Can I Separate From My Spouse Without Filing For Divorce?

When facing hard times in a marriage it can be hard to identify the source of the struggle and how to best handle the issues. Taking time away from your spouse can give you the perspective you need to figure out what’s gone wrong and whether attempting to reconcile is in your best interest. This can be done through a legal separation, rather than filing for divorce. Couples that are legally separated do not live together, but are still married. Many of the same issues that are decided in a divorce are still addressed when a couple separates, and so having a good plan can help with the transition.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act sets forth the rules for divorce, and for legal separation. If the parties are unable to agree on terms for the issues involved in their separation, the Court will be left to decide things such as:

● Where the kids live.
● Who pays child and spousal support, and in what amount.
● How debt is serviced during the separation, which includes making orders of payment for joint debt by one party or the other.
● How property is divided.

Given the same issues are decided in a separation as are decided in a divorce, it might make you wonder the benefit of choosing separation rather than divorce. The choice is personal, and often times relies on religious belief. Still yet, some couples opt for this process over a divorce because they are not quite emotionally ready to be divorced, or there may be hopes of reconciliation. Regardless of your reasons, it is necessary that you speak with an experienced family law attorney to make sure your rights are protected. Call our office for more information on legal separations and let us help you make decisions that meet your needs.

For answers to your questions about legally separating rather than getting a divorce, call a qualified family law professional. Contact the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC. Call us today to schedule an appointment to discuss the specific facts of your case.

What Is A Default Judgment?

One of the most basic concepts of any area of law is that the parties to the case are given notice of the proceeding. This is accomplished by service of a summons on your opponent, which gives them a chance to respond to the allegations you’ve set forth in your petition. Failing to respond to a summons within the required time frame has serious consequences. When no answer is filed to the summons the Court considers you to be in default and will enter judgment accordingly. Most times the default judgment entered will award the other side many of the things they’ve asked for in their lawsuit against you. To avoid these harsh results, make sure you answer on time and completely.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act sets forth the procedure for divorce cases, which includes the requirement that a summons be answered. If you do not answer, your spouse will be awarded what they’ve asked for in the petition. Depending on your particular circumstances, this might include:

● An award of property that gives nearly everything to your ex, and leaves you with very little.
● A distribution of responsibility for repayment of joint debts in an unfair way, where you are paying the lion’s share of the marital debts.
● Child support and custody arrangements that do not fit your budget or your needs.

Ignoring a summons is simply not an option. Taking the time to determine when your answer is due will avoid undesirable results. Once you have figured out when your answer is due, it is imperative that you file it on time and completely. Failing to answer any portion of the petition can be taken as your agreement to the terms left unanswered. A skilled family law attorney knows how to calculate your answer date and make sure you are not in default.

If you have questions about how to respond to a divorce summons, consult a qualified legal professional. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment.

The Benefit Of Therapy During Divorce

Next to the death of a loved one, divorce ranks right up there with one the most stressful times in life. The world as you know it is changing and making healthy adjustments can be difficult. Getting control of your emotions is no easy task when you are in the middle of trying to determine who pays what debts, who gets the house, and where the kids will live. It is only natural to feel overwhelmed and emotionally spent. For the best results, and to put yourself in a position to move forward with a positive outlook, it can be helpful to enlist the assistance of a trained therapist or other mental health professional.

The benefits of therapy during divorce are different for every person, but include some of the following:

● Helping you to maintain healthy boundaries with your ex.
● Making sure you still feel as though you “fit in” with your still married friends.
● Taking control of feelings of resentment and depression.
● Providing the tools needed to work through your emotions in a healthy way rather than resorting to unhealthy habits such as excess drinking.

Therapy is not for everyone, and the choice of therapist also matters. Make sure you are comfortable with your counselor and that you are giving yourself the time needed to mourn the loss of your relationship. Doing so will put you a position to work through your emotions and make positive changes in your life. While divorce is the end of your marriage, it is not the end of your life or your involvement with your children. Therapy during and after your divorce case will allow you to focus on your own needs, rather than those of your soon to be ex-spouse. For many people this is new, and empowering. When you feel prioritized, you are able to handle your divorce case and your post-divorce life with confidence. We work hard to make sure you understand the divorce process and how it impacts your emotional well-being. Call us today for more information.

If you have questions about divorce, consult a qualified legal professional. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule your appointment.

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