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st. charles divorce lawyerHigh-asset divorce cases often involve significant financial intricacies not present in typical divorce cases. Financial issues can be relatively straightforward to sort out when both spouses are open and forthcoming about financial information. However, when a spouse undervalues their property, fails to disclose all sources of income, or otherwise withholds financial information, the case gets much more complicated.

Forensic accounting is a process during which financial information is analyzed to identify, appraise, and locate assets. If you or your spouse own high-value real estate, investments, business interests, or other complex assets and you plan to divorce, forensic accounting can be a useful tool during your divorce process.

Identifying Marital and Non-Marital Assets with Forensic Accounting

Marital assets are assets that were accumulated during the marriage. Non-marital assets include gifts, inheritances, and assets accumulated before the marriage.


DuPage County Family Law AttorneyThe division of marital property is a crucial aspect of the divorce process. Most of the assets acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage are considered marital property. This can include bank accounts, retirement funds, real estate, investment income, and household items such as clothes and furniture.

Most divorcing couples negotiate a property division settlement. However, if the spouses are unable to determine a property division arrangement they can both agree to, the court makes a decision based on Illinois equitable distribution laws.

The dissipation of assets occurs when a spouse destroys, wastes, or misuses assets immediately prior to or during a divorce. A dissipation of assets claim may be used to recover reimbursement for assets that are squandered by the other spouse.


DuPage County Divorce LawyerIf you are planning to divorce and you or your spouse has significant financial assets, it is important to know how this wealth can influence the divorce process. Not only are financial issues such as property division more complicated, wealth can also influence child support calculations

In Illinois, child support is typically based on a standard formula. However, Illinois courts may deviate from the typical formula and use other means of calculating child support in high-income divorce cases.

Child Support Guidelines and Deviations

Each state handles child support slightly differently. Until a few years ago, Illinois determined child support solely using the paying parent’s income. The amount a parent paid in child support was based on a simple percentage of his or her net income. In order to create a more equitable situation for both parents, child support is now based on both parents’ income.


Wheaton Divorce LawyerIt is hard to know when a marriage is truly over. Many couples go through rough times but are able to reconcile and work out their differences. For other couples, the differences are too great to overcome. Determining when reconciliation is possible and when it is time to end the marriage is not easy. In some divorce cases, the court may require the couple to attend a conciliation conference. The purpose of this meeting is to determine whether it is possible to salvage the marriage or whether it is better to continue with the divorce.

Determining Whether the Marriage Can Be Saved

Divorce is final so it is crucial that the couple is certain of the decision before proceeding. If there is a question as to whether the couple truly wants a divorce, a conciliation conference may be needed.

Conciliation conferences are often used when one spouse believes that the marriage can be revived. Either spouse may petition the court for a conciliation conference or the court may require the couple to attend a conciliation conference. The conference is essentially one last chance to save the marriage.


DuPage County Divorce LawyerFor business owners, the last few years have been some of the most challenging they have ever faced. COVID-19 lockdowns, supply chain interruptions, record-high inflation, and worker shortages have all had a ripple effect on small businesses.

Divorce is not just hard on couples, but also on the business they own together. When two married business owners decide to get divorced, deciding what to do with the family business is often a top concern. Many divorcing spouses wonder whether they can continue to run the business together after their divorce.

Legal, Financial, and Emotional Implications of Co-Owning a Business with an Ex-Spouse

Business owners have the right to enter into a business partnership with anyone they choose. The question of whether ex-spouses can co-own a business is not the primary question in a situation like this. The main question is whether the spouses should co-run a business.


What is Divorce by Publication?

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County Divorce LawyerDivorce is never easy. However, some people experience significant challenges when initiating a divorce. For some spouses, simply finding their spouse and serving the divorce petition is the hardest aspect of the split. If your spouse has gone missing or you do not know their whereabouts, how do you get divorced? In this blog, we will discuss divorce by publication and when you may be granted a divorce without your spouse’s participation.

Ending Your Marriage When You Cannot Locate Your Spouse

The spouse who initiates a divorce is called the petitioner. Typically, the petitioner “serves” or delivers the divorce petition to the other spouse, called the respondent. The petitioner may also hire a sheriff or special process server to serve notice of the divorce to their spouse. However, if the spouse cannot be located the situation becomes more complicated.

In extreme cases, a spouse may need to serve the divorce petition to the spouse through the newspaper. This is called divorce by publication. The petitioner will file a notice in the newspaper stating the name of their spouse, the fact that they have filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the city and county in which the case is filed, and the date of default.


DuPage County Family Law AttorneyFor art lovers, an art collection is much more than an assemblage of art. It is an emotional connection, a source of pride and joy, and a representation of their investment in the world of art. Fine art may also be one of the most valuable assets a person owns. If you or your spouse have an expensive art collection and you plan to divorce, it is important that you understand how the artwork will be handled during the property division phase of the divorce process.

Classification and Ownership of Fine Art in a Divorce

Fine art may be classified as marital property or non-marital property in a divorce. If a spouse owned a piece of art before getting married, the artwork is typically non-marital property. Art may also be classified as non-marital property if it is excluded from the marital estate through a prenuptial agreement. If a spouse purchased or received a piece of art during the marriage, it may be classified as marital property in an Illinois divorce. If artwork is a marital asset, both spouses have an ownership interest in it, and the spouses will need to divide the value of the asset between themselves during the divorce.

An Accurate Appraisal is Crucial

Before any artwork can be divided between the spouses, it is important that the art is properly valued. Art appraisals should be performed by a professional and should consider factors like size, age, condition, artist’s reputation, and overall market demand. Any appraisal used in an Illinois divorce should reflect the current fair market value of the art.


DuPage County Divorce LawyerDivorce cases vary significantly in complexity. When spouses own few assets and are willing to cooperate with each other and comply with the divorce process, the marriage can be dissolved with relative ease. However, high-asset divorce cases and high-conflict divorce cases are rarely this straightforward.

Divorce lawyers have many different legal tools at their disposal during a divorce case. One such tool is a subpoena. Subpoenas are court orders requiring individuals to appear in court and provide testimony or documents related to the case. In a divorce setting, they can be used to compel a spouse to turn over financial records, produce emails and text messages, or give statements about their marital assets.

When and How Are Subpoenas Used in a Divorce?

Subpoenas can be used in cases when a spouse is uncooperative or refuses to divulge truthful, complete information. For example, a spouse who refuses to provide financial documentation showing his or her income may be served with a subpoena. Subpoenas may be served to individuals or businesses, such as banks or cell phone companies.


DuPage County High Net Worth Divorce LawyerMost people have bank accounts in the country in which they primarily reside. However, it is not uncommon for high-income individuals to have “offshore accounts” in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Belize, or other countries. Although we often hear the term “offshore account” in conjunction with illegal activity in news stories, having bank accounts in other countries is perfectly legal. However, overseas accounts are sometimes used to hide assets during a divorce case.

Overseas Bank Accounts in Your Illinois Divorce Case

An offshore bank account may be used to reduce an individual's tax burden or make international business transactions easier. However, offshore accounts are also sometimes used to hide money from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Similarly, some divorcing spouses hide money in an offshore account to avoid dividing the funds during a divorce.

Financial Disclosure During Divorce  

One of the key elements in any divorce case is the disclosure of assets and debts, but financial disclosure is even more important in a high-asset divorce. Spouses are expected to provide a full accounting of what they own, what they owe, and what they earn in income. However, some spouses fail to disclose money in offshore accounts to sway property division in their favor or reduce their support obligations.


IL divorce lawyerDivorce is a complicated and emotionally fraught process, but for couples with a high net worth or who have high-value assets to divide, the divorce process can be even more complex. Careful planning is often necessary to ensure that both partners have access to relevant financial information so that an equitable asset division can be arranged. Furthermore, even issues that are not related to asset division, such as child support, can be affected by exceptionally high incomes. If you are in the beginning stages of divorce and are looking for help from a great team of highly experienced high net worth divorce attorneys, read this blog for a brief overview and then contact Goostree Law Group.

High Net Worth Asset Division

Illinois law requires assets to be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. Because the question of what constitutes a “fair” asset division is highly subjective, couples should try to create a financial agreement of their own before approaching a judge for help. A fair division will consider each party’s contributions to the marital estate, including non-monetary contributions like child-rearing and housekeeping.

High net worth couples often have prenuptial agreements protecting certain assets from the asset division process, but this does not necessarily guarantee that there will be no disagreement over whether, for example, a piece of property owned by one partner but lived in by both during the marriage is marital or private property. All premarital agreements should be checked for validity and fairness.


How Can I Protect My Privacy During Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerDespite the sense that everyone today lives primarily on their phones and shares every detail of their lives through social media, many people still prefer to take a quiet, less public approach. Furthermore, certain people - such as local and national political representatives, celebrities, and leaders in major companies - have a vested interest in maintaining privacy as much as possible.

Divorce can pose a challenge to those who prefer to maintain privacy, especially if the divorce is acrimonious or the couple’s relationship has been subject to public scrutiny. However, there are ways to protect the privacy of individuals getting divorced, as well as the privacy of their children. Read on and then contact an Illinois high profile divorce attorney for help.

Strategies for Keeping Divorce Private

One of the best strategies for people going through a divorce and hoping to keep it private is to stay off social media. Even if you think you have your profile on the most restrictive settings, it is easy for someone to see and share information that you thought would stay among family and close friends. Instead, experts suggest that divorcing spouses refrain from sharing anything on social media at all, including seemingly harmless photos of themselves out on vacation, shopping, or at dinner. If the divorce gets hostile enough, just about anything can be used as an evidentiary weapon.


IL divorce lawyerBefore filing for divorce in Illinois, many people suspect for years that something might be “off” without having hard evidence to prove it. Maybe you find yourself wondering if your spouse is cheating on you; maybe your shared bank account seems to be missing money and your spouse is defensive about where it is going. Whatever the reason, if your spouse is hiding something from you that could be serious enough to make you consider a permanent solution like divorce, you will want to be sure. Read on to find out how a private investigator may be able to help you get the information you need to make an informed decision.

What Can a Private Investigator Do?

Private investigators are individuals who specialize in finding information, but they are not typically police officers or detectives (and when they are, they are not working in their capacity as a law enforcement officer when sidelining as a PI), and they cannot break the law. This often leads to the question - what exactly can a PI do?

Private investigators often work with organizations to do background checks, which can yield valuable information. They can interview people like friends and family, verify the information you provide to them, and conduct surveillance on public property. They can also do credit checks and spend time looking through years of documents, such as cell phone logs and credit card statements, that have been provided to them legally.


IL divorce lawyerWhen people think of “custody” in a divorce, they are nearly always thinking about children. But what about pets? Despite not being humans, they can still feel like members of the family, and the prospect of losing a pet in addition to the other challenges of divorce may feel like too much to bear.

Fortunately, there are solutions to the question of pet ownership and custody after an Illinois divorce. If you are in the divorce process or are considering divorce and are wondering how it could impact your or your children’s relationship with your family pet, read on.

Is a Pet Considered Property Under Illinois Law?

Issues with pet custody are not handled the same way that issues with child custody are. This is because Illinois law treats pets as property - fundamentally the same as any other piece of property, like a house, car, or investment account. For people who own expensive pets as hobbies or investments, such as professional horse breeders, this makes a lot of sense; for people who just love their family dog, this can seem a little callous.


IL divorce lawyerDisputes about child custody (known in Illinois as “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time”) are unpleasant affairs, whether they occur during a divorce or afterward when parents are trying to rewrite their parenting plan. Although parents are encouraged to come up with a parenting plan on their own, this is not always possible. Personal conflict and disagreements about essential values can make it very difficult to reach an agreement.

When this happens, a judge may become more involved in making decisions about child custody that can seem arbitrary or confusing to the parents. The judge is charged with finding the best interests of the child and then creating a parenting plan that reflects those interests. However, to the parent in the case, the decisions of the judge and his or her reasoning may not be clear. In this blog, we will discuss the factors an Illinois judge is required to consider when determining the best interests of the child.

Determining a Child’s Best Interests in Illinois Custody Cases

There are many different factors that a court takes into consideration when making decisions about a child’s best interests. Not every factor is relevant for every situation, but in general, these are the factors that can apply:


Il divorce lawyerWhile divorce is typically not a pleasant experience, certain relationships involve a high amount of interpersonal conflict and when high-conflict couples get divorced, the process can become downright nasty. Of course, true abuse or neglect can and should influence the outcome of a divorce, but false accusations have the potential to do so as well. If you are worried your spouse might escalate to the level of accusing you of having hurt or neglected them or your children, you need the help of an experienced family lawyer right away.

How Should I React to Accusations of Abuse or Neglect?

It may appear patently obvious to you that your ex’s accusations are false, but a judge still needs to consider the accusations and weigh any evidence carefully. Therefore, it is in your best interests to be on your best behavior, no matter how outraged, hurt, or confused you may feel by the accusations being made against you.

Your attorney can counsel you throughout the divorce process to ensure you are acting in a way that does not plant the seeds of doubt as to your innocence. This includes:


How Could a Divorce Coach Help Me?

Posted on in Divorce

IL divorcer lawyerEven when the outcome is ultimately welcome, the process of getting divorced is exhausting more often than not. You and your spouse will need to divide your belongings, make tough decisions about your parenting plan for any minor children, reach a settlement on spousal support, and much more. Dealing with these challenges can be easier with the help of a support team.

One such supportive individual that you may want guiding you throughout your divorce is a divorce coach. Divorce coaches are becoming more popular and offer several advantages. Read on to learn more about divorce coaching, and then contact an Illinois divorce attorney who is willing to work with you to complete your divorce in a way that feels right to you.

What Does a Divorce Coach Do?

The role of a divorce coach is to act as a trained mental health professional who deeply understands the potential impact of divorce on individuals and works with them to mitigate divorce’s negative effects. A divorce coach could help a client with co-parenting issues, understanding their child’s reaction to divorce, and overcoming feelings of anger or resentment towards a partner who may have done more than their fair share to end the relationship.


IL divorce lawyerAs a marriage begins to irretrievably break down, both spouses are usually aware that they are headed for divorce. One of the most common consequences of this knowledge is the gradual separation of each spouse’s income and belongings, especially if one spouse moves out or plans to move out. However, despite their best efforts at separating personal and marital property, spouses must still face the scrutiny of a judge’s approval when getting divorced.

Following Illinois law on property division when it comes to things like bonuses, stock options, performance incentives, etc., can be challenging - especially when spouses disagree about whether they should share this compensation. Read on to learn how bonuses are handled in Illinois divorces and then schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.

How Are Bonuses Handled in Illinois Divorces?

Under the law, marital assets and debts must be divided fairly. This does not necessarily mean equally, and spouses are free to propose or negotiate asset divisions that they both consider fair, although any proposal must be approved by a judge.


DuPage County Divorce AttorneyDivorce is rarely simple or pleasant, but certain types of personalities tend to make the divorce process much more hostile. This can include personality disorders like Borderline Personality Disorder, paranoid schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, and even people who, while having no diagnosable issue, are just plain cruel or vindictive. 

Yet the divorce must go forward and for parents of young children, this means seeking a resolution to complex issues of parental responsibilities and parenting time. It can feel impossible to do this, but eventually, every divorce is concluded and every set of co-parents finds or is given a parenting agreement and you will get through yours, too.

Let Your Lawyer Protect You

While the divorce is ongoing, it is important to let your attorney manage issues with your spouse by communicating with your spouse’s attorney. If at all possible, avoid speaking with your spouse. You can request an interim parenting plan that dictates how parenting time will be shared and how children will be moved between households; doing so may be the best way to protect yourself and your child. If you must communicate with your spouse, do so only in writing so you can document any abuse or hostility. Depending on the levels of abuse, you may need to seek an Order of Protection that prohibits your spouse from contacting you or your child altogether. Each case is unique and your attorney can help you decide the best path forward.


DuPage County Asset Division LawyerMany people put off initiating divorce because they worry about the impact divorce and living alone afterward could have on their finances. This makes sense - after all, life is rarely less expensive when you are managing a home on a single income. But staying in an unhappy or abusive marriage is often untenable, even when finances are a compelling factor in the decision-making process. If you are considering divorce and are wondering how the asset division process could impact your financial portfolio, especially your hard-earned retirement, contact an Illinois divorce attorney. 

What Happens to Retirement Accounts in Divorce? 

Retirement accounts are treated like any other part of the marital estate in a divorce. Illinois law requires marital assets to be divided fairly, although not necessarily equally, and this is true for retirement accounts as well. If you earned any portion of your retirement account before getting married, it is important to determine how much of the overall value of the account is made up of pre-marital funds. These are your personal property and will likely belong to you after the divorce, regardless of what happens with the remainder of the value of the account. 

Unless it was protected by a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, however, any other money earned by either spouse and placed in a retirement account during the length of the marriage is considered marital property and will need to be divided. However, couples are free to create a property division agreement that they both find suitable. This means that, when taking other financial factors like spousal support (alimony), the marital home, or savings accounts into consideration, a spouse may be able to negotiate a greater portion of his retirement account for himself. 


DuPage County Divorce LawyerVery few things in life are as challenging as managing a pregnancy. In addition to morning sickness, mobility difficulties, and the chronic discomfort of being able to smell everything around you in acute detail, a crumbling marital relationship can add a burden that feels too much to bear. Unfortunately, many women in Illinois find themselves in a situation where they urgently want or need to leave their relationship, despite being pregnant. If you are in this situation and are considering divorce, it is important to understand your options. 

Do I Need to Wait Before Filing for Divorce if I Am Pregnant? 

Illinois does not prevent a divorce from moving forward simply because a woman is pregnant. However, it is important to know that you will be expected to create a parenting plan with your soon-to-be ex that delineates how you and your ex will share decision-making responsibilities and parenting time (visitation). Sometimes, you will need to return to court to address these issues after your child is born. This is especially true if there is a question as to the child’s paternity. 

Will I Need to Prove Paternity? 

If your divorce is finalized before your child is born, or if the child is born within 300 days of your divorce or separation, your ex-husband will be legally presumed to be the child’s father. If he contests this, you may need to do a DNA test to prove your ex is the father. If your ex-husband is not the child’s father, you may need to pursue paternity proceedings against the man who is. An attorney can help you with all of this, and Illinois law is on your side. Whether he wants to be involved in the child’s life or not, a child’s father is responsible for providing financial support to the child. 

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