Category Archives: Divorce

7 months ago Divorce

How to Protect Your Children During a Hard Divorce

Divorce is one of the hardest things children can be subjected to. Parents are too emotionally distressed to realize that the divorce is also taking a toll on their kids. Consequential effects of divorce on children include anger, emotional distress, low self-esteem, rebellion and deteriorating performance in school. In the long-run, if not properly addressed, divorce can cause children to have a negative attitude towards marriage.

If you are in a marriage and you find yourself in the middle of a divorce, it is advisable to follow these strategies in order to ensure children adapt well to the new situation.

  • Be honest: Both parents should have a sit-down with the children and explain to them what is really happening and what they should expect. Communicate in simple terms but be as straightforward as possible. Avoid sugar-coating things. We would very much want to avoid a scenario where the children lose trust in their parents because they were lied to.
  • Assure your children of your love: Most often than not, children tend to blame themselves for their parent’s divorce. They think if they were obedient and did everything that was asked of them, their parents would still be together. This is never the case. In such scenarios, parents should be quick to assure children that they are not at fault and they still love them unconditionally.

There are times where one spouse may not follow through agreements. Other times, they may exhibit a lack of commitment towards spending quality time with their kids. The other parent should reassure the children that all that lack of commitment has nothing to do with them or their behavior.

  • Be more involved in your children’s affairs: During the divorce, children will hurt, be sad, and others will regress. Adolescents may exhibit violent behaviors and be unscrupulous. With the rise of modern technology, these children may sort after social media sites and other Internet websites as an escape from reality. On the Internet, they are prone to dangerous things like cyberbullying and pornography. It is the duty of both parents to protect them from such dangers. Even if it means installing a parental control app on their children’s digital devices.
  • Maintain consistency: Both parents should work around the clock to ensure their children maintain 90% of their normal routine. Stick to normal bedtime routines and the likes. In the case of indiscipline, punish the same way you would have before the divorce and reward the same for good behavior. The familiarity and stability, especially during the first few months, will ensure a smoother transition.

As stated earlier, divorce is difficult for everyone. The above is just but a tip of the iceberg. There are other crucial things like parents being civil around each other, not blaming each other, and accommodating each other’s schedules. This process should be taken one step at a time and before you know it, your children will have adapted very well to a new way of life.

7 months ago Divorce , Laws

What Now? What to Do If Your Ex Isn’t Following the Divorce Decree

Have you, like nearly 50 percent of American married couples, recently gotten a divorce?

Going through a divorce is an incredibly stressful process, even if your divorce is an amicable one. Things get even harder, though, when your ex decides that they’re not going to follow the divorce decree that was laid out in court.

If your ex is not following the decree, you don’t have to just accept their behavior. There are a lot of things you can do to ensure they start to comply. Start by following these guidelines.

Basics of a Divorce Decree

First things first, let’s go over some of the basic information you need to understand about your divorce decree.

The divorce decree is the final step in the divorce court proceeding. It contains all the information you need to know about the court’s decision regarding your divorce.

It’s important to note that a divorce decree is different from a divorce certificate.

A divorce certificate is meant for record-keeping purposes. It proves that you are legally divorced from your ex. A divorce decree, on the other hand, is an enforceable court order that both you and your ex are supposed to follow.

Issuing the Decree

Your decree will be issued after you have had your trial or after you and your ex have gone through mediation and submitted a settlement to the court.

If you have a trial, the judge will weight evidence and testimonies and make decisions regarding custody, alimony, property division, and child support. All of these decisions are laid out in the decree.

If you and your ex settle your case yourself, you’ll still have to submit that settlement to the court in writing or as a spoken record.

The judge will then review your settlement and decide if it is fair. If the judge decides it’s fair, they will issue a decree including all the terms laid out in your settlement.

The Divorce is Final

The divorce is final on the day that the judge signs the decree. You’ll typically receive the decree a few days after it’s signed since it will be sent to your attorney first. The date that the decree is signed is the date that you and your ex are legally divorced.

What to do if Your Ex Won’t Comply

Now that you understand the basics of a divorce decree, it’s time to look at your options for getting your ex to comply with it.

Here are some steps to take to make sure you’re getting what you’re supposed to and that your ex is holding up their end of the agreement.

Make Sure You’re Compliant

Before you hire a family law attorney and try to go after your ex for not complying with the divorce decree, you first need to make sure that you are also complying. 

Read through your divorce degree and make sure you’re abiding by all of the rules the judge laid out. While you’re going through the decree, you also need to make sure that your ex is, in fact, not complying with the decree.

Basically, you need to make sure you have legs to stand on before you try to take action against your ex.

Meet Conditions of the Agreement

If, after going through the divorce decree, you find that your ex has, in fact, violated part of the agreement, your next step is to make sure that you follow the steps laid out in the decree.

Your decree should have specific conditions you need to meet before you take legal action against your ex.

For example, you might have to provide him or her with written notice of the breach. Or, you might need to participate in mediation before you can take legal action against them.

Keep a Record

Be sure to keep a record of all of your ex’s breaches or the decree. This will help you back up your case if you have to go to court or take legal action.

When it comes to keeping records, make sure you’re saving everything that could possibly be related to your case. It’s better to have too much information than not enough information.

Your record might include bank statements that show insufficient child support payments or late payments. It could also be copies of emails or text messages or a written record of violations your ex has committed.

Reach Out in an Informal Way First

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to give your ex the benefit of the doubt. Before you launch a full-blown legal battle against them, check to make sure they haven’t just misunderstood the agreement.

Reach out them in an informal way, if possible, and talk to them about their lack of compliance. Show them the divorce decree and what it says their responsibilities are.

Do your best not to be harsh or accusatory when you do this. Keep a level head and try to be as cordial as possible. Try not to have this discussion in front of your children, either.

Hire a Family Law Attorney

If, at this point, you haven’t been successful in getting your ex to comply with the divorce decree, you’ll need to hire an experienced family law attorney.

You can work with the family law attorney who helped you with your divorce, or you can look for a new one, like the one available through this website.

A family law attorney will help you hold your ex accountable. They will also help you make sure your actions are appropriate and in line with the regulations laid out in the decree.

Do You  Need to Hire a Family Lawyer?

Do you need to hire a new family lawyer to help you get your ex to comply with the divorce decree?

If so, we can help at Use our free search tool today to find a great family lawyer near you.

You can also check out our legal blogs today.

Check out the divorce section of our blog today for more help navigating the process of getting a divorce and making sure your ex holds up their end of the agreement.

7 months ago Divorce

Know the Process of Moving On: A Comprehensive Guide to Divorce in Canada

Divorce still feels taboo, but four in ten first marriages in Canada ultimately end in divorce.

Getting to grips with divorce means understanding that people have diverse experiences of marriage. Fortunately, divorce in Canada is relatively uncomplicated compared to other countries.

From the federal application of the no-fault divorce to fee waivers for divorce applications, Canada acknowledges that some married people don’t want to remain married – and that’s okay.

Are you thinking about separation and what comes next? Keep reading to learn more about getting a divorce in Canada.

What You Need to Know Before You Apply for Divorce

To get a legal divorce in Canada, you need to prove three things when applying to a court.

First, you must prove that your marriage is legal. In most cases, you’ll need to provide your Canadian marriage license. Were you married in another country? You’ll need to provide your marriage license from the state where you legally wed.

In some cases, your marriage may not be recognized in Canada. If so, you cannot apply for a divorce in Canada.

Second, you must prove your marriage has broken down. 

Third, you must live in the province or territory where you intend to apply for divorce for a full year before you can apply for a divorce there. Only Canadian residents have the option to divorce in Canada.

There is one exception to the residency requirements for non-residents. If you got married in Canada and the country where you and your lawful spouse live doesn’t recognize the marriage, then you can get divorced in Canada. Non-resident divorces are more complicated and require working with the provincial or territorial Superior Court.

Do Both Spouses Need to Want a Divorce?

A marriage may be a legal contract, but it’s so much more than that to the people enter into one.

You need to prove that your marriage broke down and you have no intention of reconciling. However, this does not need to be the case for both spouses.

It is still possible to file for divorce even if only one party in the relationship wants the divorce. If you satisfy the separation requirement, then you can file for a contested divorce. Even if the other party refuses to engage, a judge may grant you relief from the marriage with enough evidence.

Can I Get a No-Fault Divorce in Canada?

Canada requires you to prove that your marriage broke down, but the Divorce Act provides for a no-fault divorce should you prefer one.

There are three available criteria for a divorce in Canada, and you only need to meet one:

  • You and your spouse are living apart and have for one year
  • Your spouse committed adultery
  • Your spouse is abusive

The no-fault option only requires that you meet the separation requirements.

You don’t have to live apart after you file for divorce. If you are separated and want to try again, you can live together for 90 days without it impacting your divorce. If you ultimately decide not to reconcile, then you can continue the divorce proceedings as usual.

You may find that lawyers recommend avoiding filing for divorce based on the grounds of adultery or cruelty unless you feel it is vital. Divorces that occur based on those grounds require longer processes and ultimately cost more than filing after one year of separation.

Additionally, the divorce proceedings won’t benefit you as the spouse who was cheated on or abused.

What If We Live in the Same House?

The high cost of living, an attempt to provide normalcy for kids, and other factors may keep otherwise separated couples living in the same house.

Unfortunately, federal and provincial law both require couples to be living “separate and apart” before the judge considers the marriage to have broken down. 

Because you never moved apart, it is difficult to provide a date for the start of the separation. The date is critical because all couples in Canada must be separated for a minimum of one year prior to applying for a divorce.

In the case where the couple continues to live together, the court will ask a series of questions to establish whether the couple is genuinely separated while living together. Some of these questions include:

  • Do the spouses share a bedroom?
  • What communication occurs between the spouses?
  • Do they attend social activities together?
  • Do they still engage in sexual relationships?
  • Is there a valid reason for the couple to continue living together?

If the couple answers yes to these questions, then a recognition of the separation is unlikely.

A separation is as much about providing physical space as it is withdrawing from the marriage. If a married couple continues to live in the same house, occupy separate bedrooms, but still maintains an entangled social and home life, then the court may say that the couple doesn’t have an intent for separation.

How to Get a Divorce in Canada: Step-by-Step

If you meet the grounds for divorce and you are ready to begin, then you’ll typically follow these steps to get it done.

Step 1: Complete Your Separation

All couples need to meet the separation requirements before applying to the court.

Remember that you need to leave separate and apart for a minimum of one calendar year before applying.

If living apart is impossible, consult with a lawyer to learn about your options.

Step 2: Get Your Application

Although everyone follows the federal Divorce Act, each territory and province has forms that apply to its courts.

You can get the forms through your local court, a family law information center, or a lawyer like Verhaeghe Law.

Additionally, if you live in Ontario, you can find the application online.

Step 3: Choose a Fault or No-Fault Divorce

When you file, you will need to decide whether you want to file for a no-fault or fault divorce.

The only requirement for no-fault divorce is maintaining separation for a minimum of one year.

Be aware that if you file a fault divorce, you will need to provide evidence of your claim of adultery or cruelty.

Step 4: Choose Contested or Uncontested

An uncontested divorce means that you both agree to the terms of the separation, including the reasons and terms.

In the case that you don’t agree, you will file a contested divorce. You will both need to submit an application stating your differences.

Optional Step 5: Outline Details of Parenting Agreement

Are there children involved?

The court will ask you to provide details of your parenting agreement. A parenting plan outlines how you will parent your children after you separate or get divorced. You’ll need to think about things like financial support, living arrangements, visitation schedule, and more.

Not sure what this looks like? The Department of Justice offers a parenting plan tool to help you develop your personal plan.

Be mindful and realistic when drafting your plan. Once a judge approves it, the plan becomes legally binding.

Step 6: Apply for Divorce with Your Province/Territory and Pay the Fee

When you’re ready and your forms are complete, it’s time to file the application you picked up.

In addition to your application, you may also need to file documents like:

  • Affidavit for Divorce
  • Divorce Order
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Affidavit in Support of Claim for Custody or Access
  • Financial Statement (Support Claims)
  • Support Deduction Order
  • Support Deduction Order Information Form

An official filing also comes with a court fee. The amount you pay depends on where you live and file.

For example, Quebec requires the couple to pay $302 for the initial divorce application as well as $101 for a joint application. Ontario requires a down payment of $167 when you apply, but you’ll pay a further $280 during the review.

Apply for a Fee Waiver

If you cannot pay the fee, then your province or territory may offer a fee waiver. Talk to your county government about asking the court to waive the fees.

Keep in mind that waiving the fees will likely come with more paperwork and you will need to apply at the courthouse.

Step 7: Follow the Waiting Period

After you file, the court will serve the papers to your spouse. Your spouse then has 30 days to respond. Ideally, your spouse will respond within the appropriate period.

If your spouse does not reply, then you can submit the Affidavit for Divorce and Divorce Order.

Again, you will need to wait for the court to decide on whether to grant your divorce. When the judge reviews all the relevant material and is satisfied with the application, you will receive your divorce with a Divorce Order.

Step 8: Receive Your Certificate of Divorce

After the judge grants your divorce, you will receive the Certificate of Divorce. You are now legally divorced.

Life After Divorce is Possible

Divorce is complicated and exhausting, but the Canadian government doesn’t add to your woes by making the process impossible.

Getting a divorce in Canada is a matter of meeting the separation requirements and filing the appropriate paperwork. It allows you to focus more on rebuilding your life as a single person and being the best parent possible for your children.

Are thinking about legal separation and divorce? Click here for even more resources on the divorce process.

8 months ago Divorce

Filing for divorce online in 2019 | Mission is possible

Previously, the news feeds were constantly replete with reports of dirty and scandalous divorces of celebrities. We had a clear understanding that a divorce is a horror that will squeeze out of you all that is possible, leaving behind debts due to service of lawyers and shattered nerves. Such fears were especially well supported by friends or relatives who have already undergone a contested divorce, describing it in all terrible colors. Nevertheless, the medal has two sides and now a contested divorce is replaced by an uncontested dissolution of marriage, which is quiet, fast and inexpensive. According to, the essence of an uncontested divorce is that both spouses are ready to settle their differences and disputes in order to dissolve their marriage as quickly as possible. And with the development of modern technology, it is possible to get an uncontested divorce online.

What is an Online Divorce?

Getting an online divorce means that spouses prepare all the necessary documents for dissolution of marriage using special websites like Most couples choose this method because it allows them to get an affordable, fast, cheap and easy divorce. The whole process is like an interview about your marriage. You go to the site that is engaged in the preparation of papers and answer all the questions that are relevant to your marriage and separation. Then you get ready-made forms that can be sued. Usually, the documents will be available in 2 business days after you answer all the questions and send them to the system. This is really a very convenient way since you don’t need to learn the laws and the details of the preparation of divorce papers. Special services will do this for you and will also send you instructions regarding your future actions. Also, many spouses are interested in the price of such services. The price is different depending on the site where you fill out the forms, so it varies from $150 to $300.

Please note that the court fee is not included in the cost of preparing the forms. In court, you still have to pay and depending on the county and your circumstances (for example, whether there are common minor children or not) the amount will vary, but it will not exceed $500.  If you hire a lawyer to prepare all the necessary documents, he will take about $ 2,000 or even more for the same job. Agree, the difference is really impressive. It is also worth noting that online divorce services provide customers with detailed instructions regarding what steps should be taken next and take full responsibility in preparing the forms. Simply put, they will do everything for you, and all is left for you is to submit all documents to the court, which approximately takes less than an hour.

You can also download all the necessary documents from the website of your court, but in this case, you will have to fill them out on your own or with the help of a lawyer.

Can I file for divorce online?

A couple of states allow its citizens to file for divorce online. There is a special system that allows petitioners to submit all the necessary documents via the Internet. However, it does not work in all states and counties. In addition, states that allow e-filing (for example, Texas or Illinois) have their own conditions and requirements for those who apply to the court online. So it is better to clarify on the website of your court whether you have the opportunity to file for divorce online or to consult with the court’s clerk. Also, note that for the e-filing system you must create your own account, all forms must be uploaded in pdf format and you also need to fill in your case number. When e-filing you must pay a court fee online using your bank card.

Is online divorce legal?

The law allows plaintiffs to prepare all documents in a way that is more convenient for them. If a person wants, he can fill out all the papers on his own or use any online papers preparation system. So online divorces are quite legal and are a good alternative to lawyers. It does not matter for the court how you fill out the papers, the main thing is that they should be compiled correctly in accordance with state law. Any error in the forms can lead to a slowdown in the divorce or rejection the case. And this again plays in favor of online divorces, since platforms that prepare papers have staffer lawyers who check all forms filled out by the system.

Do I need an attorney?

Lawyers are required only in the case of a contested divorce, where it is necessary to protect the interests of the ward. An uncontested divorce already assumes that the spouses agree with each other regarding all the provisions of their dissolution. Therefore, they simply do not need a third party in order to get a divorce. Although even if you have a small disagreement, you can use the services of mediators who direct their efforts to help the spouses make a decision that would be good for both of them.

What should I do in order to get an online divorce?

  1. The basic thing you have to do is talk to your spouse and discuss all the details of your divorce. You must come to a complete understanding of each other and be agreeable regarding all parameters of your divorce, including the division of property and custody of minor children, as well as solve the issues of financial maintenance of the child and alimony.
  2. Choose a company that will deal with your papers. On the Internet there are many sites that provide services for the preparation of forms, however, not all sites have a full package of necessary documents. Pay attention to the reviews of those who have already used the services of the company, they can clarify for you the strengths and weaknesses of the platform. Also, find out if the site has a money back function in case if you receive incorrect papers. Focus on those platforms that have long existed in the online divorce market. You can also get from the court’s clerk a list of all the forms that are necessary for your case in order to compare it with the papers that online divorce service will send to you.
  3. Once you have chosen a site that will prepare your forms to answer all the questions that are required, you can even do this with your spouse. In addition, some sites have the function of sending your completed forms to a spouse so that he or she has an opportunity to review all the papers before you file them with the court.
  4. When the papers are ready you should make two copies and file all forms package with the court. If your county allows e-filing, you can send them via the Internet. Whichever is more convenient for you, you can send documents to the court by mail or submit them personally at the clerk’s office. Depending on the type of your petition, you can submit documents with your spouse or independently.
  5. After the papers are submitted to the court and for them is assigned a registration number, hand over the files to your spouse so that he or she can familiarize with the case and if give a consent to participate in the process. If you are filing a joint petition, you can skip this step.
  6. After the spouse has received all the papers, he or she needs to give a court a positive answer regarding the participation in the process.
  7. Prepare a settlement agreement with your spouse, which will need to be sued along with the final forms (they depend on the county where you are getting a divorce). If you have common minor children, draw up a Parenting Plan in which you should indicate in detail all your responsibilities regarding the upbringing of the child, the type of custody, ways to resolve controversial issues and the time the child will spend with each parent.
  8. Once all documents are filed the court will set a date of the hearing. In most cases, the judge provides divorce right at the first hearing, although there are situations where the spouses do not even need to participate in the court’s session in order to dissolve the marriage.

Recently getting a divorce is becoming easier and easier. There are many services that are ready to help spouses to terminate the marriage quietly and peacefully. As well as modern technology gave us the opportunity to access almost any information without even leaving home. Online divorce has become something familiar, without which it is difficult to imagine dissolution of marriage. Many people become regular customers of the online service and get a divorce through them from marriage to marriage. So if you still doubt whether to get an online divorce or not, just drop all doubts and see for yourself that this is an effective and easy way to end dead relationships.

8 months ago Divorce , Family Law , Laws , Patent Attorney

Dealing With Divorce: 10 Actions to Take When You Get Divorced

A divorce can put a hold on many other important aspects in your life. There are constant thoughts of how to remedy the situation, or simply make it out without being completely devastated. Unfortunately, some things just are not meant to be and if divorce is imminent it could leave you to deal with it alone.

Here are ten steps to consider taking when a divorce is on the horizon.


There is a plethora of information on divorce proceedings available for people to access. You are not the first to end up in this situation and you will not be the last. There are many common factors that lead to divorce, as well as similar resulting developments. Others who have been there are often willing to share their experiences to help you get through it. Be careful to draw advice only from those whose tips are constructive and healthy.

Research can also save you a lot of confusion once the proceedings begin. There are specific rules associated with getting a divorce and it is important to understand them well, so you do not suffer financially under rulings.

2. Remain Civil

It does not matter how angry or upset the situation leading to the divorce has made you. Always remain calm and collected when dealing with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. This can be especially difficult if they have especially wronged you financially, or emotionally.

Since adultery is a leading cause of divorce, many proceedings are emotion-filled and that can get in the way of having smooth proceedings. When learning more about adultery in divorce, keep in mind there are legal rules associated with it that are best understood with a clear and collected head. Any arguments or vengeful acts will only progress the situation negatively. It can waste time, making the process longer than needed. It can even reflect badly on yourself, costing you down the line legally.

3. Take Inventory of Possessions

It can be hard to determine what really belongs to who when you have been with someone and shared things for so long, but this will have to be done. Some things obviously belong to one person or the other. One common tactic couples use is to put stickers on things they want so it’s easier to determine what even needs to be taken into account.

Larger possessions, like your home and cars, are a completely different story and will need to be handled according to specific rules. Some assume just because a vehicle or house is predominantly in their name that they will have complete rights to it. There are particular judgements that may separate ownership because of who the household income comes from.

4. Smart Budgeting

Many surprise expenses will pop up along the way, especially if you are caring for your home after your spouse has moved out and stopped paying bills. You may find new expenses will be needed to cover the missing work around the house. Preparing a budget and ensuring you have what is necessary to maintain your lifestyle will help you get a handle on how to proceed. Divorce will be costly, but you can minimize costs by knowing the process in-depth.

5. Prioritize Any Children

Dealing with your children can be one of the most challenging aspects during a divorce. This is something that will affect them as well, and it is important to sit down with them to tell exactly what is going on. You will also need to determine who will become the primary caregiver and how expenses will be handled. Depending on the situation with your ex-spouse, it may be necessary to dictate court-ordered child support.

6. Consult an Attorney

Information on your legal rights is vital to have at this time. The different regulations involved in a divorce can become attainable once contacting legal professionals. Attorneys can provide the facts of what the road ahead of you entails. You may be entitled to more than you think, or need to take extra precautions to not suffer loss. Legal representation can defend you from being taken advantage of by your ex-spouse.

7. Accumulate Financial Documents

Financial records are an important piece of information to ensure all bills and possessions are split up equally. You will have to agree on who is responsible for what. A difference in incomes can come into play when it comes time to decide how things will be split.

8. Manage Debt

This will one of the more challenging facets of a divorce, no one wants to take on debt. Certain bills you may have been handling together, such as school loans, will obviously belong to one party or the other. But if finances were shared, one party could end up owing the other for bills that were put in their name.

If your marriage has collective debt there are sometimes special marital debt circumstances that can be arranged to split the debt into two.

9. Get Support

A divorce can be a lonely time without the person you have been with for so long. This will be a lot of extra stress to deal with at first, and no one should have to go through it alone. It is okay to ask for help from friends and family if needed, and there are experts lined up to help those in this troubling time as well.

10. Take Responsibility for Yourself

It can be easy to believe you have no fault in the problems in your marriage. This is often not the case and understanding what has gone wrong can help you prepare for your new chapter in life. If you have made decisions that ended up adding to the conflict, take responsibility and recognize your hand in things. It’s hard to let things go, but remember why you are doing this- to get away from the negativity, so do not carry it with you.

Positive Actions, Smooth Divorce

Divorce marks the end of your marriage, but it will not mark the end of your life. Using smart financing decisions and reaching out for help can guide produce successful divorce proceedings. Keep any children at the top of your priorities and do not be deterred by an empty house or snide remarks. A divorce is usually not a happy time for those involved but can be manageable if prepared by thorough research.

9 months ago Divorce , Family Law , Laws

8 Common Steps in Divorce

If you’re contemplating divorce, you may be wondering what the process is like. While varying laws will determine the divorce process, there are eight steps that you have to go through before the divorce is finalized and your marriage is dissolved completely. Here’s a broad description of these steps although there may be some alternate issues that will come up in your individual case. This article is mainly aimed at the USA – if you’re looking for family solicitors London – then we’d recommend contacting Goodman Ray to help.

  • Legal Separation

There are some areas particularly in the USA (states) that don’t allow a couple to separate legally. In these certain states you will remain married until a court of law decides otherwise. If your state allows for legal separation, when a spouse leaves the family home, you can petition your attorney to petition the court for a separation agreement. This agreement is meant to protect both spouses and children by making sure both parties can meet legal responsibilities to one another.

If your state doesn’t allow for legal separation, your first step would be to get your attorney to file a petition with the courts requesting a hearing for a temporary separation agreement order. This is done by filing a petition for a divorce.

Also as part of the process, you have to begin by filing a document known as the “Original Petition for Divorce” with your local court clerk. This document, also known as a “Letter of Complaint” in some states, identifies the parties on the divorce and any children of the marriage. The person filing the divorce is known as the “Petitioner” and the other party is often referred to as the “Respondent” or the “Defendant.”

The petitioner has to give a reason for filing for divorce. This reason in most states will often be “irreconcilable differences” or “incompatibility.”

One the petitioner has filed the Original Petition for Divorce; this document is served to the respondent usually by a local member of the sheriff’s office. The respondent then has thirty days to hire an attorney to respond to the petition. This is also the time for either party to seek protection from the court in terms of restraining orders, protective orders or other temporary orders pertaining to alimony or child support.

  • Temporary Divorce Orders

The court can then issue temporary orders or even outline specific actions that must take place until the final divorce hearing. These temporary orders can include things like spousal support, child custody and child support. These orders are legally binding and failure to adhere to them or meet conditions set by the court could lead to contempt of court charges that can lead to jail time or fines.

  • Divorce Discovery

“Discovery” is the process of gathering more information about both parties involved in the divorce. The process can vary from one state to another, but will typically consist of the following four steps;

Disclosure: The attorneys for both parties request certain items from the other party. Usually a list is sent to the other party who has 30 days to comply.

Interrogatories: The attorneys send a list of questions to other party. Most states will limit the number of questions and each party has 30 days to answer.

Admission of Fact: A list of facts is sent to the other party and they have to either admit or deny each fact.

Request for Production: this is a legal mechanism that is used to obtain documents like bank statements or any other documents the attorney thinks will benefit the case. The party receiving the request has 30 days to comply.

  • Depositions

During depositions, both attorneys will take sworn statements from the opposing parties and any witnesses. Anything said during a deposition can be used in court and any agreement is also legally binding.

  • Divorce Mediation

For some people, this is as far as they get in the divorce process. In mediation, both parties and their attorneys meet to discuss the conflicts in the marriage and come to an agreement that satisfies both parties. A court-appointed mediator or arbitrator is present to negotiate a settlement.

  • Divorce Court

If mediation fails to produce an agreement suitable for both parties, then a trial date is set. Both parties will get a chance to argue their case before the court. Witnesses can also be called upon to back up your claims. The judge will examine the evidence and make a decision for divorce or settlement. A judgment is often rendered in 14 days.

  • After Divorce Court

Once the judge makes a decision, the parties will sign the final divorce decree. This determines how any marital property will be divided, any order about child custody, child support amounts and any spousal maintenance ordered by the court. During this time, you can request changes to the decree before signing.

  • Appealing a Divorce Court Order

If you feel that the divorce was unfair, you can file a motion to appeal the order. This is usually filed with the same judge and you should therefore not be surprised when the courts deny your motion since most judges will not set aside their own orders. If the motion is denied, you can file with the state appellate court.

9 months ago Divorce , Family Law , Laws

False Domestic Violence Allegations: How You Can Avoid Wrongful Allegations

Joe was married to a wonderful woman named Diana. They were happily married for 7 years. Then, one day, Joe learned that his wife was having an affair with her boss. After she admitted the truth, they separated. He was beyond broken. But he would still go to her house at night and beg her to take him back.

After months of begging, Joe accepted the fact that Diana was not coming back and so, he finally agreed to cooperate in the divorce proceedings. He thought that it was an amicable breakup, until his lawyer notified him that his ex-wife accused him of domestic violence. To prevent the claim from reaching the court, Joe eventually settled. He gave his cheating wife the house and full custody of their two kids.

One of the best things that happened in the 21st century is the protection of women’s rights. But sadly, the laws governing domestic violence are used by many women (and their lawyers) to get a favorable settlement in divorce. A lot of women use these laws to turn their kids against their dad or to get attention. Some vindictive women falsely accuse their former partners of domestic abuse to get even.

Spouses are not the only ones who can file domestic abuse claims. In fact, people you have dated, your ex-spouse, roommates, a person you had a child with, your kids, grandchildren, and even your siblings can file a case of domestic abuse against you.

Being accused of domestic violence can wreak havoc in your life. You could go to jail or lose your job. You could lose most of your marital assets. You can lose custody of your kids and the respect of the people in your community. It can ruin your reputation and your future. Remember that domestic violence is a criminal offense and having a criminal record can negatively affect your ability to get a job or obtain decent housing deals.

When you’re accused of domestic violence, temporary custody of your children automatically goes to your partner. You’re not allowed to contact your kids or your partner while the trial is ongoing and the family home automatically goes to the accuser. You’ll be required to enroll in an anger management program. Also, a recorded domestic abuse restraining order may cause you to lose your civil liberties such as the right to carry a firearm.

Plus, domestic violence can be proven by what is called a “preponderance of evidence.” This means that the accuser must only prove that there’s a 50 percent chance that her claims are true.

This is the reason why you should be proactive and try to prevent false allegations of domestic violence. Here’s a list of tips that can help you:

  • Understand what “domestic violence” is.

You can’t prevent something that you don’t fully understand. To prevent false domestic violence claims, you have to understand what domestic violence is. There are three general types of domestic abuse: sexual violence, psychological violence, and economic abuse.

Marital rape and beating are obviously types of domestic violence. But a lot of acts that are seen as “less violent” are actually types of domestic abuse, including:

  • Preventing your spouse or domestic partner from getting a job
  • Threatening to injure pets or special properties such as expensive paintings or works of art
  • Using guilt to get sex
  • Unwanted sexual experiences such as whipping, being tied, or being blindfolded
  • Laughing at your partner’s naked body
  • Performing oral sex while your partner is asleep
  • Insulting your partner
  • Undermining your partner’s self-confidence
  • Forcing your partner to drink alcohol
  • Telling your partner that she’s stupid or incompetent
  • Public humiliation
  • Calling your partner “whore,” “bitch,” or “ugly”
  • Yelling at your partner
  • Threatening to ruin your partner’s reputation
  • Stalking
  • Checking your partner’s phone
  • Preventing your partner from seeing her friends.

So, think twice before yelling at your partner during a heated argument because that could potentially cost you a lot, including your freedom and your reputation. Find your lawyer for domestic violence NJ

  • Avoid getting into a fight.

Whenever you can, avoid getting into a fight. Try not to yell or say derogatory words when speaking to your partner.

When you’re in a heated argument with your partner or spouse, try to diffuse the situation. Try your best to come up with a win-win situation. Strive to be the bigger person.

  • Create a strong defense.

If you think that a vindictive partner is about to accuse you of domestic violence, you have to be proactive and create a strong defense. You should look into your partner’s deepest motivations, such as leverage in child custody issue, to get an upper hand in the divorce settlement, vengeance, or serious mental health problems.

Make sure that your partner’s erratic behaviors and vindictive threats are recorded so you could use them as evidence in court.

  • Get witnesses.

It’s important to gather witnesses who can vouch for your character and your parenting abilities like your neighbors, nanny, or colleagues.

  • Change all of your log-in information.

Remember that almost everything can be used against you in the court of law. This is the reason why you should be careful. Change all your passwords and log-in information for your social media accounts, bank accounts, hard drive, cellphone, etc.

  • Notify your family members about your fears and concerns.

Your family may be turned against you in a domestic dispute. This is why you should notify your family members of your partner’s vindictiveness or erratic behavior.

  • Protect your valuables.

Most false accusers would try to steal your valuables such as car titles, land titles, birth certificate, and driver’s license. So, it’s best to keep your valuables in a safe place.

  • Show to everyone that you’re a good person.

People can’t bring down a good man so, just be good. Don’t yell or raise your voice and always speak the truth.

Lastly, you should consult an attorney who has years of experience in domestic disputes and litigation.

Robert A. Rodell, Attorney at Law, can help you build a solid defense and throw out false domestic abuse charges against you. He’s a former prosecutor with over 30 years of experience in litigation. He has competitive rates and provides aggressive defense.

Prevention is always better than cure. Be proactive in preventing false domestic abuse claims against you.

9 months ago Divorce , Family Law , Laws

What should you know about divorce lawyers?

The divorce lawyer is often called as family practice lawyers and divorce attorneys. These lawyers help the people and their clients in solving the family related issues, matrimonial issues, child custody cases, marriage annulment, etc. The term divorce mainly stands for the dissolution of marriage. The cases which are related to the divorce process are all solved by the family practice lawyers or divorce attorneys. These cases are of all types, and they range from child custody to a division of property.

As the divorce is commonly an emotional process, so it is important for the people and individuals to hire the best attorney or lawyer who understands the person’s situation at a personal level. They need a lawyer or attorney who provides them with proper support by understanding all issues and problems. One should only hire that divorce lawyer who properly understands the responsibility and gives the best law services to their clients or users.

There are many divorce cases in which there is no need for a divorce lawyer. These cases include where no child custody involvement and where there are no property related issues. On the other side, there is some case in which the property related issues and child custody involvement is present. One must require a family practice lawyer or divorce attorney. So, it is essential for the users and individuals to hire the best and more experienced divorce lawyer when they need.

Factors to know before while hiring the best divorce lawyer

Well, there are many factors or things which are necessary to consider while going to hire the best divorce lawyer or divorce attorney. The given below are some essential and most common factors which the users and people need to consider in order to get the best family practice lawyer –

  • Skills and abilities –It means that the divorce lawyer you are hiring must be skillful and have all the abilities and confidence to face any challenge and situation. It is a very important process as in the divorce related cases there are many situations present which require a competent and knowledgeable divorce lawyer.
  • Experience – The family practice lawyer you are going to hire should be more experienced than all other lawyers. He or she must be having at least 5-6 years of experience. The benefit of hiring the highly experienced lawyer is that they provide the best advice and helps their clients properly by knowing all the problems and situation of them.

These are some most common factors which help the users to get the best and more experienced divorce lawyer. So, it is compulsory to keep these factors in mind while going to hire the best divorce attorneys in Nashville, TN.

Conclusive words

In a nutshell, it is important to choose or hire only the more reputed and more experienced divorce lawyer to easily solve all the divorce-related cases. There are many divorce lawyers present in different countries, but the divorce attorney Suffolk County provides the more experienced and fully knowledgeable divorce lawyers.

9 months ago Divorce , Family Law , Laws

Do you need to hire a divorce lawyer? What are the duties of a divorce attorney?

Do you have a little bit of time to think about the relations surrounding you? Do you have enough time to think about yourself?  There is some more such sort of questions which makes a person think for a while. No matter you get the right answer or not, but at least it will provocate you to think.  Our life is full of relationships.  The amount of value you give to them makes it strong.  It includes the relationship bonds between parents and their children, brothers with their sisters and grandparents with their grandchildren, etc.  Law has no right to question any one of them in the relations mentioned above. There is only one relation which requires the interference of law.

One such relation is marital relation- the relation between a man and woman which is a beautiful creation by God.  Then why the word “divorce” has become the most popular in married couples nowadays. Divorce is a situation where the relationship between the married couple is broken by law for the benefit of both the man and the woman.  A divorce can be given by the man or the woman or mutually and then it is permitted by the law sanctioning their petition.  If you are planning to file a divorce case, go for divorce attorneys. A good divorce attorney will always strive to work to get justice for his/her client.

Duties of divorce attorney:

  • Complete information: Normally, when the client approaches the attorney, the attorney should inquire about complete details.  Especially a divorce attorney should ensure he/she has the complete information about the client. Not only collecting information he/she has to ensure the information is genuine.
  • Analyze the situation: When a divorce attorney is approached, it is obviously understood that the client wants a divorce from his/her spouse.  As an attorney, he/she should understand the difference between debates, disagreement, and fight.  A debate is quite normal in almost all families nowadays as everyone is enjoying their vote of speech.  Disagreement comes when someone does not agrees to the fact put in front of them. The fight is the ultimate step where the client is fighting for justice in case of physical and mental abuse.  The role of a divorce attorney comes into the picture in case of the third option.  So one should really analyze whether the fight scene was necessary.  Sometimes it so happens that the client is so frustrated with his/her spouse, they immediately opt for a divorce due to disability to bear the pain.  As a responsible person, the attorney should first listen to his/her client and then suggest them to have one more discussion with his/her spouse.  Even after the idea discussion does not work, and then the proceedings for the divorce have to be dealt.  Good counseling will always help to solve the issues, and we find many successful cases around us.

A divorce attorney is first a human being and then an attorney, so the prime duty is to ensure that the beautiful relationship of marriage does not break as breaking is easy and keeping them united is the tough job.


Divorce In Chicago and Florida – A Comprehensive Guide

It is not uncommon for people to have two homes and for people in Chicago, Illinois, that second home is often somewhere in Florida.  Florida has many advantages: great weather in the winter, no income tax, and low property taxes. Chicago has its own advantages: high wages, job opportunities, lots of culture. So, people who have a home in each state eventually have to be a resident of one of the states for various purposes, usually taxation.  But what about divorce in Chicago? Which state’s laws are advantageous for you in your divorce? Do you have the ability to choose which state you will file and prosecute your divorce?

As a divorce attorney in Chicago, Illinois and a Divorce Attorney in Naples, Florida, I will walk you through the options available to you if you have a home in Chicago and a home in Naples, Florida.

Where Can I File For Divorce in Chicago and Florida?

If one party to the divorce lives in Chicago, Illinois, the divorce can proceed in Chicago, Illinois.  The Illinois statute requires that you be a resident of Illinois for 90 days before filing for divorce but in reality, if you file for divorce and then stick around for 90 days, you will be allowed to proceed with your divorce in Chicago.

Florida is a lot stricter.  You absolutely positively have to live in Florida for at least six months continuously before you are allowed to file for divorce.  

Chicago Divorce Lawyer

Russell D. Knight
1 North State #1500
Chicago, IL 60602
(773) 334-6311

Naples Florida Divorce Lawyer

Russell D. Knight
3375 Pine Ridge Rd #201
Naples, FL 34109
(239) 202-0455

The subsequent question is “Which courthouse in Chicago and Naples Florida do I file my divorce?”

If you live in Cook County, Illinois or your spouse lives in Cook County, Illinois there are six courthouses where you can file your divorce in Chicago.  As a Chicago divorce lawyer, I only file at the Daley center in Chicago, Illinois. There are a variety of judges at the Daley Center (it’s the largest single courthouse in the world) and you have the option of substituting the judge if you’d like to exercise that right.  The other courts within Cook County often only have one judge and you cannot substitute that judge without removing the case to Chicago’s Daley Center.

If you live in Naples, Florida there is only one courthouse to file your divorce in, the Collier County Courthouse. As a Divorce Attorney in Naples, Florida I only file divorce cases in Collier County when I file for Divorce in Naples for my clients.

You or your spouse are not locked into the particular court within which the case was first filed.  Either of you can plead “forum non conveniens” wherein you explain to the court that you don’t live there, your spouse doesn’t really live there, that your children don’t live there, and that your marital property is not there. This usually requires that you file for divorce in Chicago in the state and county that you actually want the case to be heard.  Typically, the judges from the two different counties get on the phone with each other and discuss where the case should actually be held. If the question is between Cook County, Illinois and Collier County, Florida, the judges will be familiar with me as a Chicago divorce lawyer and as a divorce lawyer in Naples, Florida.

Knowing where you can file (or can’t) you will now need to consider where you should file to put yourself at the greatest advantage based on the respective states.

Mediation for Divorce in Chicago

In both Illinois and Florida mediation is mandatory when there are children involved in a divorce. If the parties’ incomes are below a certain threshold Cook County, Illinois or Collier County, Florida can provide mediators.  Parties with means can and should hire private mediators.

In Naples, Florida, financial mediation is required whereas in Chicago, Illinois it is merely optional (and rarely exercised).  

In Florida, divorce attorneys are intimately involved with the mediation proceedings. The lawyers help with the negotiations as they proceed with the help of the mediator.

In Chicago, Illinois divorce lawyers usually tell their clients, “Good luck with the mediation.  Let me know how it worked out.”

Child Custody After a Divorce In Chicago, Illinois and Naples, Florida.

Unlike the other aspects of a divorce, divorce in Chicago where your selection of venue can impact the results of your divorce, child custody does not allow for a much selection.  

49 of the states in the United States entered into a treaty amongst themselves called the The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).  This agreement provides a very specified layout of how to determine which state issues as to the children shall be determined.

The first test is always, “Where have the children been living for the last six months?”  If the children have been living in Florida AND nothing has been filed, then Florida shall have jurisdiction over the children.  If the children have been living in Florida for less than six months and one of the parents files a petition for custody (now known as a petition to allocate parenting responsibilities and parenting time) in Illinois then both the court in Florid and the court in Illinois must follow the regulations of the UCCJEA in determining which state will hear the case.  

The UCCJEA can become extremely byzantine.  The UCCJEA has rules for what happens when a child has been moved back and forth from a state within six months, for example.  Typically, the two judges from the two different states get on the phone and discuss the matter cordially.

Keep in mind that even if a court decides that Florida or Illinois is the state within which custody matters shall be heard, both courts will consider what is best for the child in determining where the child will eventually live or who will have custody of the child.  In my experience, there is clearly a “home court advantage” to whomever gets the case heard in their state. This is primarily due to the fact that contested custody cases are the worst kind and judges typically want to keep an eye on them. That requires the case, the parties and the children to stay in the state the court is located in.  

A big difference in determining child custody and child visitation issues between Florida and Illinois is that Illinois judges will often say, “I can’t determine such personal issues such as where a child should spend the night and with who.  Therefore, I will appoint a third attorney called a Guardian Ad Litem or Child Representative to represent the best interests of the child, investigate the situation and report back to me.”

In Florida, guardian ad litems are usually only available for children with no parents.  Florida judges will rely on the representations made by the divorce attorneys in Naples, Florida.  

Child Support after a Divorce In Chicago, Illinois and Naples, Florida.

Child support is typically determined by the laws where the child lives.  But, if the divorce case is being heard in a state where the child does not live, the court will be likely to apply their own laws regarding child support because that is what the courts are empowered to do.  

But once the child support is entered and the divorce is finalized, either parent can register the divorce in Chicago in the state where the child lives and ask for a modification of child support under the laws of that state.

In order to modify child support, a court in both Chicago, Illinois and Naples, Florida will require something in addition to just mentioning that the child lives in their state.  The court will often require “a substantial change in circumstances.” This usually means a twenty percent change in the income of either party. Courts have a strong bias to dismiss cases that cannot prove the substantial change in circumstances because courts are there to settle conflicts.  Courts love to say, “there is no conflict here. Therefore, there is no case.” For this reason, it is imperative that you employ a divorce attorney in Naples, Florida or a Chicago divorce lawyer if you file in either jurisdiction.

Child support is determined in a similar fashion in both Chicago, Illinois and Naples, Florida.  The first step is to determine the income of both of the parents. Upon determining the income of the two parents, a number is calculated as child support payable to the parent with whom the child spends the most time with.  In lieu of going through the guidelines tables for each state which will compare every foreseeable income between the two parties, I would direct the reader to find one of the many online calculators available throughout the internet for Illinois and Florida.

There are some differences between the Naples Florida and Chicago Illinois in determining the amount of child support beyond what I’ve described above.  

In Illinois, the primary parent’s child support is not diminished until the non-primary parent has at least 146 overnight visits with the child.  

In Florida, all parents who have the child spend 20% or less of their overnights with them pay “guidelines support.”  Again, just use an online calculator to determine guidelines support.

If the non-primary parent has more than 20% of the overnights with the child, a new calculation is made.  The non-primary parent with more than 20% of the overnights with the child shall calculate his child support as the guidelines support multiplies by 1.5 and then multiplied by the percentage they have with the child.   This is not simple. Do not merely rely on an online calculator in this scenario. Hire a Chicago divorce lawyer or a Divorce attorney in Naples, Florida.

In both Florida and Illinois, children’s expenses beyond food and shelter are typically split between the parents proportionally to their income.  

Florida has an additional requirement that the payor of daycare and/or health care expenses be extended a proportional credit to their child support obligation.  This could increase or decrease a parent’s child support depending on who is paying what.

Alimony after a Divorce in Chicago Illinois and Florida.

Illinois calls alimony “maintenance.” For the purposes of comparing the Illinois and Florida’s laws, I will refer to the support a party receives from another party that is not child support as “alimony” for both states.  

Illinois has very specific and predictable alimony laws.  The greater earner pays the lesser earner 33% of his or her net income.  This amount is then reduced by 25% of the lesser earner’s net income. The amount of support to be awarded is capped at 40% of the total of the two parties’ incomes.  

This is not mandatory in every case.  The court can make exceptions to this calculation for any of the following reasons or factors:

    • If one party has a great deal of assets, they may not be entitled to maintenance because they can presumably support themselves with those assets after a divorce in Chicago.
    • The needs of each party.
    • The realistic present and future earning capacity of each party.
    • Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having foregone or delayed education, training, employment or career opportunities due to the marriage.
    • Any impairment of the realistic present or future earning capacity of the party against whom maintenance is sought.
    • The time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether the party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or any parental responsibility arrangements and its effect on the party seeking employment.
    • The standard of living established during the marriage.
    • The duration of the marriage.
    • The age, health, station occupation, amount and sources of income, and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate liabilities, and the needs of each party.
    • All sources of public and private income including, without limitation, disability and retirement income.
    • The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties.
    • Contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse.
    • Any valid agreement of the parties.
  • Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable. (See, it really is anything)

Despite the above exceptions covering almost every possible scenario, Illinois courts prefer to apply a nice clean formula when determining alimony.   

The length of the alimony in Illinois is more unchangeable.  The length of alimony in Illinois is determined by the length of the marriage before the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage.  

Illinois courts apply the following percentages of the length of the marriage for the respective lengths of the marriage:

Less than 5 years (.20); 5 years or more but less than 6 years (.24); 6 years or more but less than 7 years (.28); 7 years or more but less than 8 years (.32); 8 years or more but less than 9 years (.36); 9 years or more but less than 10 years (.40); 10 years or more but less than 11 years (.44); 11 years or more but less than 12 years (.48); 12 years or more but less than 13 years (.52); 13 years or more but less than 14 years (.56); 14 years or more but less than 15 years (.60); 15 years or more but less than 16 years (.64); 16 years or more but less than 17 years (.68); 17 years or more but less than 18 years (.72); 18 years or more but less than 19 years (.76); 19 years or more but less than 20 years (.80). For a marriage of 20 or more years, the court, in its discretion, shall order maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage or for an indefinite term.

Even though Illinois’ alimony statute seems predictable, it is imperative that you retain a Chicago Divorce Lawyer to guide you through this process and ensure that you are paying and/or receiving the right amount of alimony.

Alimony in Florida works completely differently from Illinois.  Florida has no statutorily specified amounts of alimony and Florida’s rules about the lengths of alimony are also not nearly as specific as Illinois.

In Florida, the courts consider whether the alimony requester is eligible for any and all of the four different kids of alimony.

There is rehabilitative alimony where the courts try to determine what it would cost to restore the spouse to their earning capacity had they never been married.  This almost always means, sending the spouse to college (if they didn’t go).

Next is bridge-the-gap alimony which is a general acknowledgement that the transition from being married to being single is going to be harder financially for one spouse than the other.  Therefore, in Florida, the spouse for which the transition will be easier may have to pay the other party alimony. You can see how this would be appropriate for a college educated housewife or househusband as they re-entered the work force.

Next is durational alimony. This is Florida alimony that has a set end date no matter what.  Whether the receiver gets back on their feet or not. Durational alimony is typically only ordered for marriages that lasted longer than 7 years and less than 17 years.  The amount and the length of durational alimony is determined by courts with no guidelines from the statute.

Finally, there is permanent alimony.  In Florida, if you were married for more than 17 years you will be paying or receiving permanent alimony if there is a significant dichotomy in your incomes.  But, if you’ve been married for 17 years, you probably are relatively close to retirement age. In Florida at age 65 you are entitled to modify or terminate alimony.  

This is not simple! A divorce in Naples FL could include none to all of these kinds of alimony at the same time.  If facing an alimony claim or asking for alimony get a divorce attorney in Naples, Florida.

In all considerations of alimony as described above, the first consideration is the payor’s ability to pay.  A spouse may very well need support to go back to school, get back on their feet, and live the lifestyle they were living before the divorce in Chicago or Naples but if the other spouse has no ability to pay, they shall not be required to pay. This is why it is so important to have a divorce attorney in Naples, Florida.  You must keep in mind your legal abilities as well as your legal obligations and adequately communicate those to the court before the system takes over.

In both Illinois and Florida, alimony orders shall be observed with the force of law.  Alimony orders must be complied with or the courts can enforce compliance via a separate court order that can garnish wages, bank accounts or issue a civil writ that is essentially an arrest warrant.  

Division of Assets and Debts in Naples, Florida vs. Chicago, lllinois divorces

Marital assets and debts work the same in both, a divorce in Chicago and Florida divorces.  If you accumulated the asset or the debt during the marriage, it’s marital and thus divisible in the divorce.

The exception to this rule is if the asset was a gift from an outside party. Then the asset is non-marital and thus non-divisible with a divorce in Chicago.

If both parties names become associated with a non-marital debt or asset (example: refinancing a house) then the debt and asset becomes non-marital.

As you’ve read so far, in one state things will be very specific in a divorce in Chicago while in another state the rule will be really loosey-goosey.  Division of assets and debts is no exception.

Florida requires that all marital debts and assets be divided 50/50. A Florida court is obligated to explain why it did not divide the assets 50/50 if the court did not, in fact, do so.  

This makes the definition of what is a marital asset or debt all the more important in Florida because once an asset is declared “marital” it must be divided 50/50.  There is no negotiating, really. Even an award of a whole marital asset to one party must be equalized with an award of a similarly valued marital asset to the other party.

Illinois divides assets “equitably” which means “fairly” but really means whatever the judge wants it to mean.  This creates enormous wiggle room which often results in more practical settlements like, “I keep the house and you keep the 401(k).”  The more variance that the law allows the more important it is to have a Chicago divorce lawyer who can work at the margins to have that variance work for you for your divorce in Chicago.  

The difference between the two states’ rules creates a very stark dichotomy for younger divorcees: student loan debts get divided in Florida.  In Illinois, there is no statute or case law, at this time, regarding student loans debts. Most Illinois judges say, “All the information you learned is in your head, therefore you are responsible for the debts associated with that information.”  After all, this is the reasoning behind why you cannot discharge student loans in a bankruptcy. In Florida, student loans are readily divisible and not dischargeable in bankruptcy which makes whoever has the student loans a figurative walking time bomb in the case of divorce in Chicago.  

Of course, in both Florida and Illinois, if both parties agree, the court will approve the division of assets and debts so long as the result is not unconscionable.  But, why would anyone accept anything less than 50/50 in Florida if a strict accounting and division is required?

So, if I can file my Divorce in either Naples, Florida or Chicago, Illinois, Where Should I file?

Despite all the rules and advantages that I have laid out above, you probably want to file in the state where you have regular access to the court.  All these rules really only apply if you cannot agree with your spouse and you have to let the court decide who will get what. If you are in a truly contested divorce your ability to be present in court and active in your case will have a big impact on the result of that case.  Especially if you have minor children. It is simply easier for the judge to disappoint the party that is not there.

Beyond your presence, you’ll need to consult a Chicago divorce lawyer and a Divorce Attorney in Naples, Florida to review the facts in your case and suggest a jurisdiction to file in.  There are very few of us who practice in both places.


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