Tag Archives: family law

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.

Can Parental Rights Be Terminated?

Becoming a parent is one of life’s greatest joys. It is also one of life’s most challenging jobs and requires a lot of patience and dedication to your children. For most people though, the effort is worth the reward. For others, unfortunately, children are left with one parent as the other decides not to take an active role in their kids’ life. This can leave the parent who is raising the child with questions about the rights of the absent parent. The most common question in this scenario is whether the parental rights of the absent parent can be terminated, and if so, how to accomplish that task?

In Illinois, termination of parental rights is not an independent action. To have rights terminated, an adoption is typically required. In instances where one of the parents is considered to have abandoned the child, the following factors are taken into consideration:

● Abandonment of a newborn, at birth.
● Failing to maintain a significant level of interest, contact, or involvement with the child.
● Failing to provide financial support for the child.
● A lack of visitation.

Because not every case is one for adoption, there is also the possibility of terminating parental rights in a Juvenile Court termination proceeding. The same factors are considered and weighed by the Court when making a determination as to whether the rights should be terminated. For help with an adoption or for answer to questions about parentage, call our office. We have helped others through this difficult process and can help you too.

Call an experienced family law attorney with experience in helping families with children today. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment and learn more.

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.

Establishing Paternity In Illinois

In today’s society more and more couples are making the decision to cohabitate rather than get married. This means the parties live together and undertake many of the same obligations and responsibilities as married people, in many instances this includes having children. Even though the parentage may be common knowledge to friends and family, in the eyes of the law it is not that straightforward. Establishing paternity is important, and provides many significant legal rights. A determination of fatherhood will also establish certain obligations between the parents.

The Illinois Parentage Act provides the framework within which suits for establishing paternity are handled. Here is what you need to know about how paternity is established in Illinois:

● An acknowledgment of paternity, by both parents. This is done through a signed and witnessed written form.
● An administrative paternity order, entered by the State Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
● A legal order of paternity, entered by a Judge.

Establishing paternity will give both parents access to the child, which provides the opportunity to build a father/child relationship. Along with the right to develop a bond with your child, a finding of paternity will impose the obligation of support on the father, both while the father is in an active relationship with the child’s mother and in the event that relationship ends. If the parents do go their separate ways, having an order of paternity in place will allow the father to seek visitation and/or custody rights. For more information about what it means to establish paternity, call our office.

If you have questions about parentage, and paternity in particular, consult a qualified legal professional. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment.

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.

Can I Visit My Stepchildren?

In today’s society there are many blended families. Subsequent marriages are common, and usually come with a his and hers sort of family. This is especially true for older couples, where the likelihood there are children from previous marriages is even greater. Marriages in these situations result in instant families, giving stepchildren to the newly married couple. In the event there is a divorce and stepchildren are involved the issue of visitation with a non-biological child might arise.

As with all things regarding children during divorce, the final result will be one that the Court considers in the best interest of the children. Visitation is determined using this standard, and it applies to biological kids as well as stepchildren. Here are some examples of how this issue might come about:

● One of the parties to the divorce seeks visitation with a non-biological child.
● The child has formed a strong bond with the stepparent.

While the Court will not voluntarily order visitation with a stepchild, if you make the request for visitation rights the Court will review that request using the best interests standard. Some of the things you will need to show the Court in your attempt to get visitation are that the relationship you have formed with the child is solid. It can also be helpful for the child to express a desire to continue building a relationship with you. This would come into play in the case of older children, who have the maturity to understand the significance of continuing a relationship with a stepparent. We understand the unique needs of mixed families and work hard to reach results that are healthy for your family. Call a knowledgeable divorce attorney today to learn more.

If you have questions about your rights as a stepparent, consult a qualified legal professional. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment today. We take an individualized approach and help you reach results that are satisfactory.

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.

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