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Naperville divorce attorneysA fair divorce settlement or judgment is only possible if both parties are honest and forthcoming about their assets, income, business revenue, debt, and other financial information. However, some spouses intentionally hide assets in an effort to make their financial situation look worse than it actually is. They may do this in an attempt to avoid splitting the value of the assets during property division, to pay less in child support, or to lessen their spousal maintenance obligation. If you suspect that your spouse will try to hide assets or otherwise lie about finances during your divorce, speak to a skilled divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

Your Spouse Refuses to Give You Access to Financial Information

One sign that your spouse is currently hiding assets or is planning to lie about assets during your divorce is refusing to let you access financial documents. Most lawyers encourage spouses to gather financial documents like tax returns and bank statements when preparing to divorce. If your spouse is suddenly hesitant to let you view these documents or moves financial documents or computer files to a new location, this may be a sign that he or she is hiding something. If your spouse reroutes mail like bank statements to a new address or P.O. box, this may also be a sign that the documents contain information that he or she does not want you to see.  

Property Goes Missing or Your Spouse “Loans” Money to a Friend

Another way that spouse may hide assets is to sell or “give away” money or property to another individual. Spouses sometimes sell or give away property in an effort to reduce their net worth prior to a divorce. Often, a spouse gives property or money away temporarily and then recoups the property after the divorce is finalized. Spouses may accomplish the same goal by intentionally overpaying the IRS. By paying more taxes that he or she actually owes, he or she temporarily lowers his or her financial resources. The spouse recovers the money after the divorce when the IRS issues a tax refund.

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DuPage County family law attorneysIf you are going through a divorce, child custody dispute, or another family law proceeding, you may be interested in learning about guardians ad litem (GALs). A GAL is a child representative who helps protect a child’s best interests during a legal proceeding. GALs are sometimes appointed to a case by a judge and they are sometimes requested by a parent who wants to ensure that his or her child’s best interests are being prioritized. A guardian ad litem can have considerable influence over the allocation of parental responsibilities and other family law concerns, so it is important to understand how the appointment of a GAL may impact your case.

GALs Are Child Advocates

A guardian ad litem is often appointed during child custody disputes and family law cases involving allegations of abuse. The GAL is specially trained in family law matters and is tasked with representing children’s best interests during legal disputes. If a GAL is appointed to your case, he or she will investigate the circumstances of the case and then make a formal recommendation to the court about the case’s outcome. During the investigation, the GAL may:

  • Conduct an evaluation of each parent’s home
  • Interview each parent about the relevant issues
  • Speak with the child about his or her thoughts, feelings, and opinions
  • Talk to siblings and other household members
  • Interview teachers, social workers, friends, childcare workers, and other people who are involved in the child’s life
  • Review the child’s school reports and medical records
  • Review the parents’ criminal records, financial documents, police reports involving any previous domestic disputes, Child Protective Services records, and other relevant documents

Cooperating with the GAL is Important

If you are like most people, you value your privacy. It may make you uncomfortable to have someone looking around your home, researching your past, or asking you questions about accusations of domestic violence. In some cases, parents may even be asked to take a drug test or undergo a mental health evaluation. While this process can be awkward, fully cooperating with the GAL is the best way to make a good impression on him or her. Provide the GAL with the information and resources he or she requests and cooperate with any investigations and interviews. Do not feel like you need to “put on a show” for the GAL or pressure your child to act differently than he or she typically does.

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DuPage County child custody attorneysIf you are a parent who is unmarried, divorced, or planning to end your marriage, you may have questions about child custody. Disputes about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time can be complicated and contentious. One issue that commonly arises is a parent wishing to move or relocate. If you or your child’s other parent is planning to move, you should know the laws in Illinois regarding parental relocations and how this may influence your parental responsibilities and parenting time.  

Defining “Relocation”

Considerable changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) went into effect in 2016. Among these changes was a total overhaul of how the state deals with parental relocations. Formally called “child removal,” moving with a child when you share custody can dramatically change the co-parenting situation. If a parent with the majority of parenting time, formerly called the “custodial parent” or a parent with equal parenting time wishes to “relocate,” there are certain steps he or she is required to take. A parental move is considered a “relocation” if:

  • The parent currently lives in Cook County, Kane County, DuPage County, Lake County, Will County, or McHenry County and wishes to move to more than 25 miles away while remaining in Illinois.
  • The parent currently lives in another Illinois county and wishes to move more than 50 miles away while remaining in Illinois.
  • The parent wishes to move more than 25 miles away to a new residence outside of Illinois.

Relocation Requirements

If you are the parent with the majority of parenting time or equal parenting time and your move is considered a relocation, you will need to notify the other parent about the relocation at least 60 days in advance. You must tell the other parent the date you intend to move, your new address, and how long you plan to live in the new residence. If the other parent does not object to your relocation, you then make any necessary adjustments to your parenting plan and submit it to the court for approval.

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