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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneysDespite the inherent difficulties, most couples headed for a divorce are able to maintain a reasonable level of civility and personal responsibility. In some cases, on the other hand, the divorcing parties may be prone to making decisions that can negatively impact the proceedings. From a financial perspective, this may include wasting or dissipating marital assets, either out of spite or due to an attitude of apathy regarding the situation. Sadly, however, the emotional nature of divorce may also lead to accusations that are unfounded, so if your spouse has filed a groundless claim for dissipation, you will need to know how to protect yourself.

What is Dissipation?

Dissipation, according to the law, is the wasting or inappropriate spending of a marital asset during or subsequent to the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. The problem with dissipating assets is that doing so can directly impact many of the financial considerations of the divorce process. Spousal maintenance, property distribution, and child support are all dependent upon the assets, resources, and income of the interested parties. Wasted assets are, if not addressed and repaid, may not be taken into account as required, potentially tainting the outcome.

Timing is Important

When your spouse has accused you of dissipation, he or she will need to show that the spending in question occurred after the marriage had begun to break down. Economic irresponsibility may be a problem in many marriages, but if it occurs before the relationship actually begins breaking down, it is not considered dissipation. Therefore, you may be able to successfully dispute the claim that your marriage was beyond repair at the time of the alleged dissipation.

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DuPage County child custody lawyerIn 2016, sweeping reforms were made to the family law statutes in the state of Illinois. One of the most notable changes was the elimination of the old idea of child custody and the introduction of a new way of thinking. This new approach is called the “allocation of parental responsibilities,” and it focuses in a positive way on how each parent will contribute to raising their children in the wake of a divorce or breakup.

Understanding Parenting Plans

Today, parents who are involved in a divorce—or, in fact, any proceedings that address the allocation of parental responsibilities—are expected by law to create a written parenting plan proposal. This expectation is set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The IMDMA recognizes that an agreement between the parents is almost always preferable to litigation in the courtroom, so parents are statutorily encouraged to develop a workable agreement if at all possible. The parenting plan agreement must address a number of required concerns, including but not limited to:

  • Each parent’s authority for making significant decisions about the child’s upbringing;
  • How much parenting time each parent will have and when;
  • The child’s primary address for school registration and similar purposes;
  • Each parent’s rights and access to health records, school records, and other documents regarding the child;
  • The process through which the parenting plan may be amended;
  • How parental moves or relocations are to be handled; and
  • The right of first refusal of additional parenting time.

Presenting the Plan

Each parent has 120 days from the notice of filing to submit a proposed parenting plan to the court. Upon a showing of good cause, the deadline may be extended. Each parent may create and file their own plan, or the parents can work together on a single proposal. If the two separate plans are dramatically different and the parents cannot reach an agreement, the court may order the parents to participate in mediation to come up with a reasonable compromise. If mediation is unsuccessful, or if both parents refuse to file a proposal, the court will create a parenting plan for them.

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Naperville divorce lawyerDivorce has long been linked with a variety of health effects. Increased stress and anxiety, for example, are common during and immediately following the divorce process, which, in some cases, can evolve into full-blown depression. In other situations, a divorce offers an escape from a bad marriage, allowing a once-trapped spouse to experience a renewed sense of freedom and hope—resulting in overall better personal health. It turns out, however, that divorce could be affecting women differently than it does men, at least in terms of heart health. According to a recent study, women who were divorced had a higher risk of suffering from heart attacks than divorced men, who had to go through a second divorce before their heart attack risk increases.

The study, which was published in the medical journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, was conducted by researchers from the Duke Clinical Research Institute at Duke University. The team analyzed data gathered from more than 15,000 participants between the years 1992 and 2010. Each participant was between the ages of 45 and 80 and had been married at least once. At the beginning of the study, 14 percent of the men and 19 percent of the women were divorced. Eighteen years later, more than 35 percent of the entire group had been divorced at least once.

Dangers High for Women, Less for Men

During the time frame of the study, 1,211 of the people in the group had suffered heart attacks. Women who had gone through divorce had a 25 percent more chance of suffering a heart attack than women who had stayed married. If a woman was divorced more than once, the risk spiked to 77 percent. Remarriage actually pushed the likelihood of heart attack even higher for divorced women, giving them a heart attack rate that was 35 percent higher than continuously married women.

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