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How is Real Estate Handled in an Illinois Divorce Case? 

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Joliet Property Division Lawyer

If you are thinking about ending your marriage, you may have hundreds of questions running through your mind. Who will get the house? What about our vacation properties? Should we sell our house and split the proceeds?

The marital home and other real estate properties are often considered marital property in a divorce. This means that both spouses have a lawful right to a portion of the property's value. It is important for anyone getting divorced to understand how Illinois property division laws can influence the outcome of the divorce so they can better prepare.


IL divorce lawyerIf you are over the age of 50 and considering divorce, you may be wondering how the property division process will work. Unlike younger couples, you and your spouse likely have decades of accumulated assets and liabilities. Addressing these issues during divorce can be complex and challenging. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you evaluate your options and choose the best course of action for your unique situation.

Negotiating a Property Division Settlement

Television shows and movies often depict divorce as a drama-filled courtroom trial in which both parties fight tooth and nail to "win" the case. Of course, divorce does not have to be this dramatic. In fact, only a small percentage of divorce cases actually go to trial. Most are resolved through a settlement agreement between the two spouses.

Settling a property division issue does not mean that you have to agree to everything your spouse wants. It simply means that you are willing to negotiate and compromise in order to reach an agreement. Spouses with complex property division issues are encouraged to work with an attorney who can protect their interests and advocate on their behalf. An attorney experienced in complicated property division can help couples negotiate a fair division of marital assets such as:


IL family lawyerIf you are an unmarried parent or a parent who will soon divorce, child-related concerns like child custody and child support are likely top priorities. Child support can be an extremely important source of income for the receiving parent and a significant expense for the paying parent. Many parents wonder if they can work out a child support arrangement on their own, without the court’s involvement. They may want to negotiate a child support agreement that is different than what the court would order or simply do not wish to deal with the court system.

Handshake Child Support Agreements Are Not a Good Idea

Parents who are no longer in a romantic relationship but are still on good terms with each other may wish to set up an informal, handshake agreement regarding child support. For example, an unmarried mother may ask the father to pay a certain amount of money to her directly each month instead of setting up a child support order through the court system.

The issue with this type of informal arrangement is that it is not legally binding. The court cannot enforce a child support order that was not established through the court. Even if you and the child’s other parent are on good terms now, that may not always be the case. Your child deserves to have financial support from both parents and setting up an official child support order through the court is the best way to do this.


will county parenting plan lawyerWhether you are in the process of filing for an Illinois divorce or modifying your parenting plan after many years of co-parenting your minor children, creating an arrangement that works for both parents and the children usually takes some work. In your agreement that discusses your parental responsibilities and parenting time schedule (known as your “parenting plan”), there are many areas that must be addressed. For most parents, the more specific they can be, the less room there is for debate or conflict once the plan is put in place. One concept that may benefit some parents is the “right of first refusal” - to learn more about this idea, read on. 

The Right of First Refusal and Your Parenting Plan 

Parents are frequently unable to care for their children because of work, healthcare appointments, or social activities. When parents are still married, they can easily rely on each other or speak with a babysitter or family member about providing coverage. After a divorce, however, it can be more difficult to secure childcare. 

One way to manage this is by using the right of first refusal, which requires parents to seek supplementary childcare from each other before asking someone else. Parents can stipulate the circumstances under which they will ask each other for help, as well as provide details about how children will be dropped off and picked up. If parents live far away from each other or do not get along well, they may only want the right of first refusal to kick in when one of them needs to be gone for at least 24 hours. Parents who live nearby and have no issues being flexible and friendly could call each other for coverage at any time. 


plainfield spousal support lawyerDuring the divorce process, the two parties will sign off on a divorce agreement which may include terms for spousal support payments as well as child support, child custody, visitation agreements, and other issues. As circumstances change in the months and years after a divorce, modifications to the agreement can be pursued by either spouse. Modifications may be necessary due to changing financial circumstances or the remarriage or cohabitation of one of the spouses. An experienced family law attorney can help determine whether to pursue a modification and work with you through the process.

Reasons for a Modification

Under Illinois law, if the spouse receiving spousal support payments begins living with a partner, he or she forfeits his or her right to spousal support. The payor must file a motion with the court to prove cohabitation and terminate support. Spousal support immediately ends upon the remarriage of the spouse who is receiving payments. Any payments made past the marriage date are to be reimbursed to the paying party. 

There are other reasons why a modification to the divorce agreement can be pursued, including:

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