Tag Archive for: Chicago Law Firm

Chicago Divorce Attorneys: Working with Masters Law Group in 2023

If you are contemplating divorce or your spouse recently dropped the “D Bomb,” you may be on the fence debating whether you should hire a divorce attorney or if you should represent yourself. If you’re about to go through a divorce, here’s why you should invest in a divorce attorney.

If you are currently in a bad situation with your partner and you want to settle for divorce, you might consider getting a lawyer. When choosing a divorce attorney, there are a few factors you should consider. Experience, costs and reputation are just a few of the most important considerations.

Having a reputable attorney by your side will help ensure your interests are well-represented. Having a lawyer will also ensure that the settlement you receive is fair and your rights are protected. You will also want to know whether any loopholes in the law may result in an unfair settlement.

How to Choose the Right Divorce Attorney

You may be reluctant to hire an attorney for many reasons such as trust and associated costs, but without one, you may find yourself facing costly repercussions. Divorce is no simple feat, so having a good relationship with your divorce attorney can make the process so much easier. Maintaining good communication with your attorney will only help you in the long run.

If you live in the state of Illinois and are in need of legal representation for a family law matter, look no further. Here’s what you need to know about working with Masters Law Group in 2023.

Working With Reliable Lawyers

Reliability is key when it comes to working with a divorce lawyer. When looking at your options for lawyers, pay attention to how they communicate with you. It’s important to develop a positive rapport with your lawyer, as most divorces take several months to settle. 

Throughout the divorce process, you’ll have an array of questions, concerns, or disputes you’ll want to take care of. As such, you’ll want someone on your side who will alleviate your stress, address your concerns, and answer your questions to the best of their ability.

When we first meet with our clients, we ask them what they hope to achieve from their divorce and how they would like to feel after it is complete. We then carefully discuss their goals so that we can provide the best legal representation possible. We offer complimentary consultations so that you can get a feel for our firm before deciding whether or not we are right for you!

Google Reviews and Client Testimonials

Word of mouth advertising has always had a leg up in certain markets. For the law industry, hear-say isn’t always credible. But looking at client testimonials and reviews of previous clients that have worked for a law firm can be extremely beneficial.

Lawyers that provide high quality services will have more clients who are willing to share their experiences with other potential clients. The law industry is no different from any other when it comes to word of mouth advertising.

If you want to get a better idea about a certain law firm, then it is important that you take some time to look at client testimonials and reviews of previous clients that have worked with your lawyer. A great tool and resource is google reviews. When you type in a business name, the reviews automatically pop-up. Another way to look for testimonials is by checking out their website.

At Masters Law Group, we are fortunate to have a great relationship with many of our clients. Our reviews and testimonials truly bear witness to our commitment to our clients.

We believe that each client deserves a legal team that will be willing to go the extra mile for them. We will always provide you with honest advice and guidance on all matters related to your case.

Client Reviews:

“Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph are an amazing duo. They helped me get through my divorce. In the words of my newly ex husband “your lawyer looks like a shark.” You’re damn right they are. They will go as far as you need them to go with any battle you are going through and I love that about them. I would recommend them to anyone in need of incredible lawyers who are not only knowledgeable but keep every aspect of the process very real. Anthony and Erin thank you very much for handling my case. You are very much appreciated!”

-Bianca 

Divorce Client

 

“Masters Law Group was incredibly helpful with my divorce. Erin and Anthony were a pleasure, very responsive, efficient, and very knowledgeable. I always felt that my case was in good hands and it was a relief to trust them with the process. I highly recommend Masters Law Group to anyone needing help with a family law matter.”

-Luz

Divorce Client

A Little Bit About Masters Law Group

Recognized Best Law Firms 2023 by Best Lawyers® and U.S. News & World Report, Masters law group is located in Chicago, Illinois and handles family law matters in Cook county and other surrounding areas. They concentrate in areas such as divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, and other family law matters. 

Masters Law Group is highly esteemed and well respected by peer review publications such as Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and Leading Lawyers. Our Lawyers Erin E. Masters and Anthony Joseph have been recognized by such prestigious publications numerous times. This not only speaks volume about their work–but also their character.

Having an attorney who is respected by their peers is a testament to both their work ethic and their character. When you’re facing a legal issue, having someone you can trust on your side makes all the difference.

Working with Masters Law Group in 2023

Here at Masters Law Group LLC, we’re committed to helping you achieve the best outcome in your case. With a long history of awarded recognitions in Family Law, we have a unique depth of knowledge, experience, and talent in the Family Law and Divorce field.

Our highly experienced divorce attorneys are dedicated to providing you with the best possible service. No matter what kind of case you may have—divorce, child custody or relocation—we will work tirelessly to help you get the results you deserve. We have over 10 years of experience handling family law cases and we know how important it is for our clients to feel comfortable with their lawyer. That’s why we offer free consultations so that you can meet with us before deciding whether or not to hire us.

Contact us to schedule a consultation today!

Should I Wait Until After the Holidays to Get a Divorce?

One of the most common questions that we get around Christmas time from potential clients is whether they should wait until after Christmas to file for divorce. Here’s what you need to consider. 

The holidays are a time for family and friends, and the last thing on your mind should be whether or not you should get divorced.

But if you’re in this position, it’s important to know that you don’t have to keep your divorce plans under wraps forever. There are many situations where it could be good to hold off, and in some cases it’s better to rip the bandaid off. Here are several considerations to keep in mind when deciding whteher to wait until after the holidays to get a divorce.

Avoiding Extra Holiday Stress

The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, but they can also be a time of joy and togetherness. If you’re considering divorce, it’s important to remember that divorces often take a long time to finalize, and it may be best to wait until after the holidays are over before starting proceedings.

If you’re in a marriage that is teetering on the brink of divorce, the holidays can be especially hard. It’s important to focus on what makes you happy. Whether it’s spending time with family or taking some alone time—and not allowing yourself to fall into the trap of focusing on how unhappy your marriage is making you. Try not to let stress get the best of you during this holiday season.

Be Aware of False Hope

Holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but they can also be a source of false hope. Thanksgiving and Christmas are often times when couples will try to rekindle their passion and romance, often “for the sake of the kids”. When couples have been in a long-term relationship, it’s not uncommon for them to experience periods of disconnection or lack of intimacy. But when the season rolls around, these high spirits can sometimes cloud the deeper issues.

However, despite the aura of togetherness over the season, always remember why you wanted to get a divorce in the first place. Are these reasons going to pop up again in the new year? Will everything be magically solved in your marriage? Weigh up the pros and cons carefully before making your decision. 

Supportive vs. Interfering Relatives

If you have decided that it is time to divorce, but are worried about how your family will react, you may want to consider filing for divorce during the holidays anyway.

Depending on your relatives and relationship with them, filing for divorce amidst the holidays can be a great way to get away from the stress of everyday life and spend time with those who mean the most to you. Many people find that they are able to spend more quality time with their families during this time of year, which is why it can be an ideal time to file for divorce and reap the family support you need during this time.

However, we all have that one relative (or multiple relatives) who wish to give their penny’s worth on the topic of your marriage. This negative interference can be detrimental to your mental health and personal strength when it comes to filing the papers. Depending on where you are spending the holidays, consider keeping it quiet. These relatives don’t need to know what’s happening with your marriage now. Wait until the papers are complete and you have the confidence to discuss it further down the line.

Toxic Family Environments

Regardless of your marriage situation, arguments are sometimes impossible to not have during the holidays. The stress gets to everyone, however, If you are in a toxic or abusive situation it’s important to know that you don’t have to stay in your marriage if you’re unhappy. While divorce proceedings can be difficult and stressful for everyone involved, it is better if it is started sooner rather than later. Divorce attorneys can help guide you through the process.

Remember, if you or your children are in danger, it’s important to get out of the situation as soon as possible. Even consider filing for an Order of Protection.

Protecting Children

Announcing divorce at any time can be difficult for children, but it’s even more painful when it’s during the holidays. The festive season is one of generosity and cheer, and children are eager to experience the wonderment of this special time. 

Setting irreconcilable differences aside, even for just an additional month, allows the children and both parents to spend one last holiday together as a family. The gift of family togetherness is one that children will cherish and remember long after the divorce is over.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your relationship situation it’s important to consider all of the factors before you make the decision to get a divorce. Whether you anticipate divorcing before, during or after the holiday festivities, you can always rely on the attorneys at Masters Law Group to guide you through the process.

We’ll be by your side every step of the way as we work towards a resolution that is fair, equitable and compassionate. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Can Hiding Crypto from Your Ex Get You in Legal Trouble?

If you typed this article’s heading into an online search engine, chances are you’re considering hiding digital assets in your divorce case. Here’s why it’s a very bad idea.

The dramatic rise of cryptocurrency has led some spouses to hiding those digital assets during divorce settlements. In a divorce, both parties are expected to be honest about their assets, as all assets acquired during marriage are subject to division in a divorce. While property, stocks, bonds, bank accounts and 401(k)s can be easily tracked down, cryptocurrencies can be a bit more difficult. However, as it becomes more common, many lawyers are more aware of them and have started to learn the challenges surrounding them. 

Which begs the question, is it illegal to hide crypto from your ex during a divorce? 

What assets must be disclosed in a divorce? 

In an Illinois-based divorce case, it is legally required that each spouse discloses any and all assets, income and debt as part of the financial disclosure process. This also includes digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies. The issue with crypto, though, is enforceability and tracking it down if it is hidden. Regardless, spouses who fail to disclose still face legal trouble. Financial disclosures are signed under penalty of perjury so non-disclosure could lead to criminal charges. 

Tracking crypto

While there are ways to locate cryptocurrency activity, it is still difficult to discover and you could need experienced help from a Cryptocurrency experienced attorney. Older forms of crypto like bitcoin and ethereum are easier to track but other, more anonymous forms, are much harder for even experts to find. If exchanges are based in a foreign country, it can become even more difficult. However, it is still possible. Lawyers like the attorneys at Masters Law Group can grant subpoenas to get information if trades occurred in the United States. Additionally, forensic investigators or financial experts may be hired to uncover the assets.

What happens if I hide assets in a divorce? 

Hiding assets in a divorce will likely lead to discovery. Submitting incorrect documentation, failing to disclose assets or intentionally concealing them could lead to facing criminal charges. Perjury and contempt of court are the most common charges faced from these activities, but in extreme cases, you could pay large fines or even be forced to spend time in jail. 

Additionally, hiding assets is considered highly unethical by the court. Judges can use this information to make their own decisions relating to asset division. Oftentimes, attempting to hide your assets leads to your ex-spouse’s benefit, receiving a higher percentage of the total assets. 

Final Thoughts

Hiding assets is always a risky proposition and likely not worth it. Even though crypto is difficult to track, it’s still possible and the outcome would not be in your favor. It’s best to be honest about your assets during divorce proceedings, increasing the chances of getting your assets split fairly.

If you’re going through a divorce and are in need of legal help, Masters Law Group is here to help. Contact us today.

Masters Law Group Awarded 2023 “Best Law Firms” Tier 1 Ranking in America by U.S. News – Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers and U.S. News & World Report publicly announce the Thirteenth Edition of the “Best Law Firms” rankings. And Masters Law Group have again been regognized – and now ranked Tier 1.

Chicago, Il, November 3, 2022 – Masters Law Group LLC is pleased to announce that the firm was recognized by Best Lawyers® and U.S. News & World Report in their “Best Law Firms” rankings for 2023.

“We are honored, to once again, be recognized nationally as a top firm among our peers,” said Erin Masters of Masters Law Group. “Receiving this recognition in Tier 1 – based on the input from our clients and peers – is gratifying as many exceptional firms practice in the areas in which we are recognized.”

All the rankings, in all tiers, were published online at bestlawfirms.usnews.com. The National and Metro Tier 1 rankings were also published in print in their Twelfth Edition of “Best Law Firms”. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise. Firms that received a tier designation reflect the highest level of respect a firm can earn among other leading lawyers and clients from the same communities and practice areas.

ABOUT MASTERS LAW GROUP

Located in Chicago, Illinois, the firm handles family law matters in Cook County and surrounding counties. Masters Law Group concentrates in area of domestic relations, which includes International Law via The Hague Convention, divorceallocation of parental responsibilitieschild support and related family matters.

ABOUT “BEST LAW FIRMS”

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process
that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in the
field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission
process. To be eligible for a 2023 ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer recognized in the
28th edition of The Best Lawyers in America® for that location and specialty.

Their annual “Best Law Firms” publication showcases all Tier 1 firms ranked nationally and by region and includes a wealth of discussion on industry-shaping issues penned by firms honored in their rankings.

ABOUT U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower people to make better,
more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. A digital news and information
company focused on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars and News, USNews.com provides
consumer advice, rankings and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all
stages of life. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance.
Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

ABOUT BEST LAWYERS

For more than four decades, Best Lawyers has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the
lawyers best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties. Lawyers are not
required or allowed to pay a fee to be recognized; therefore, recognition by Best Lawyers is
considered a singular honor.

Contact the award-winning firm and attorneys at Masters Law Group here. 

What are my Legal Rights As a Birth Parent of an Adopted Child?

Adoption, like childbirth, is a life-changing event in your life. If you are seeking to adopt a child, or if you have already started the adoption process but you are encountering legal barriers, you will need to be advised by the right legal team. Learn about a biological parent’s rights after an adoption below. 

Deciding to give up a child for adoption is a very difficult decision and definitely should not be committed until you, as the biological parent, have fully understood what this means for your parental rights. Once the adoption process is finalized, you have relinquished your parental rights and responsibilities by law. However, during the pregnancy, you have undeniable parental adoption rights throughout the adoption process. 

If you are considering adoption, it is important to know the limits of your parental rights and how they may affect you long-term. 

First, let’s discuss the rights you do have prior to the adoption, during pregnancy.

The Right to Change Your Mind at Any Time

Prior to completing any adoption paperwork, the birth mother has a legal right to change her mind at any point in the process. This means you will always have the option to parent your child, whether you change your mind early in pregnancy, after you’ve met the adoptive parents, or even after you’ve given birth, as long as no paperwork has been completed. Your adoption specialist will respect these inherent legal rights you have as the biological parent. 

The Right to Create Your Own Adoption Plan and Choose the Adoptive Family

As the birth mother, you have the right to create your own adoption plan from start to finish. You will have an adoption specialist with you to support and help you through the process, but you should never be forced into making decisions you’re not comfortable with. Once of the decisions you also get to decide is if it’s going to be an open or closed adoption. With open adoption, you also have the right to choose the family that you wish to place your child with. Normally, your adoption specialist will thoroughly discuss with you what your desires for the adoptive family are, and show you profiles of families who meet those preferences. 

Additionally, you will be able to meet with and get to know the prospective families. You can take as long as you need to find the family you believe is the right fit for your child. 

The Right to Choose Your Post-Placement Relationship

Another factor in open adoptions is choosing the contact you want to have with the adoptive family before and after the adoption is complete. While you have no legal parental rights after you give up your child for adoption, open adoption allows you to remain a part of your child’s life. Your adoption specialist helps coordinate communication to make sure the adoptive family maintains their communication with you. 

The points discussed above dealt with rights parents have prior to the adoption being finalized, but following the finalization, your parental rights are completely terminated. Let’s discuss what this means and if there are other options. 

Voluntary vs Involuntary Termination

Generally, birth parents have the right to choose what’s in the best interest of their children, this includes the difficult decision of adoption. When parents choose to offer their child for adoption, they are voluntarily terminating their parental rights. Alternatively, when birth parents are forced to terminate their parental rights, it’s known as an involuntary termination. This can determine how the adoption moves forward and the long-term situation. 

Before voluntary termination can take place, one or both parents must legally consent to the adoption. Most states require this to be done in writing and before a judge or court-appointed person. 

There are other times when birth parents’ rights are terminated involuntarily. For this to take place, someone must be going on that endangers the well-being of the child. Common occurrences include:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Abandonment
  • Mental illness
  • Incapacity based on alcohol or drug use 
  • Conviction of a crime by the parent

Timing 

The exact moment the birth parents’ rights are terminated depends on the state, but can range from immediately after the child’s birth to 30 days after. Terminating birth parents’ rights is a serious matter and most states have very strict timing requirements that must be set and agreed to prior to the termination. 

Visitation Rights

Following the adoption, the adoptive parents have sole authority to decide on visitation rights. If they feel it’s in the best interest of the child, they may enable a healthy relationship with the birth family. 

Although, if a post-placement relationship was agreed upon and put into the paperwork, you have the authority to choose what kind of relationship you wish to have with your child. 

It’s important to note that, generally, adoptive parents are not required to communicate with birth parents after the adoption. The only exceptions being severe illness or death. 

Free Counseling for Birth Parents

Every birth parent has the right to counseling during both the pregnancy and following the adoption. This can help a lot of mothers and fathers cope with emotional and physical trauma. Birth mothers are at a much greater risk of experiencing depression due to the negative feelings of guilt and shame. Which makes pre-adoption counseling very beneficial for all parties involved. 

Revoking Consent

In most states, consent to adoption is irrevocable since consent is meant to be a lasting and building agreement to help ensure a stable environment for the child. Although, in extreme cases, some states allow for revoking consent to adoption, usually only before the adoption has been finalized. Some situations include; 

  • Fraud or coercion was involved
  • The state allows a set period of time for revoking consent
  • The state determines the revocation is in the best interest of the child
  • The birth parents and adoptive parents mutually agree

Can Adoptive Parents Cut Off Acces?  

The current trend for adoptions seems to be to allow open adoptions that encourage a relationship between birth and adoptive parents. Unfortunately, if the adoptive parents do not want them in the child’s life, there is not much you can do as a birth parent. Again, this is why it’s important to enter a visitation agreement into the paperwork. 

Final Thoughts

Adoption is a lifelong commitment and a permanent decision. Once you have given consent and signed the paperwork, it’s extremely difficult to go back. That’s why it’s so important to work with a legal team that understands these kinds of situations and knows just what to do. Our award-winning attorneys at Masters Law Group have seen it all and can help create solutions right for you. We’re here to help guide you through these difficult times. 

If you need help with any family law issues, reach out today.

Common Mistakes to Avoid During a Divorce

Divorce is an emotionally taxing experience, but the stress can be minimized greatly through proper preparation and avoiding pitfalls. If you’re facing the unsettling situation of divorce, here are our top pitfalls to steer clear of. 

Divorce is difficult on many layers. It not only affects you and your spouse, but your family and friends. With this in mind, minimizing the difficulties of divorce should be a top priority alongside the goals of your separation. But how do we go about minimizing these challenges?

Beyond choosing a quality divorce firm and emotionally preparing yourself, there are many pitfalls – that if avoided – will make divorce much easier.

Read on to learn common mistakes we’ve observed at Masters Law Group after years of counseling those seeking divorce.

Not Talking to a Divorce Attorney

Some, when looking to divorce will attempt to settle on their own. This may come from an idea of an “amicable approach”, but can put you and your loved ones in a compromising position in the long term.

First and foremost, attempting divorce on your own removes experienced legal counsel from the equation, opening you up to variables that can negatively affect you. Things like asset division and custody of children have legal nuances that simply aren’t easily navigated.

Avoid this pitfall if you can. Seek out quality legal counsel, so that your life post-divorce is the one you want it to be.

Setting Unrealistic Goals & Timelines

The emotion of divorce can often affect our approach to it. Whether you are seeking the divorce, or your former partner, you may feel that certain aspects are “unfair” or the process needs to move quicker than it is.

One such problem that can arise with an unrealistic timeline, for example, is a spouse becoming disgruntled and seeking to drag out the process to inflict financial or emotional damage on the other. 

This issue is another reason to have legal counsel that can be emotionally separated from the divorce itself. This is going to help you set proper timelines and realistic goals, while also giving you an advocate working at the highest level to achieve the best course of action for you.

Other Mistakes to Avoid

  • Dating: While everyone involved in the divorce wants to move on, dating can complicate an already difficult situation. It can create animosity with your former partner, and may push them to make the divorce more difficult than need be.
  • Divorce Tunnel Vision: While it’s easy to get wrapped up in your divorce, it’s paramount to consider life after. Are you financially set and aware? Have you considered how to navigate the logistics of shared custody of children if it pertains to your situation?  Consult with your financial advisor and legal counsel on these concerns.
  • Avoiding Negotiation: If you can communicate with your former partner, negotiation is always an ideal way to mediate. If you can do this, you can often avoid going to court. This will shorten the divorce process, limit costs and ultimately reduce stress on all involved.
  • Misleading Your Legal Counsel: Do your best to be truthful at the highest level. Any omission of facts, assets, or animosity between you and your former partner can affect the divorce process. If your legal counsel isn’t aware, these unforeseen challenges can potentially derail a plan they’ve laid out. This can ultimately cost you more money and reduce the positive outcome of the goals you’ve set.

Final Thoughts

Avoiding pitfalls and side stepping potential challenges is your best course of action to achieve a speedy and positive outcome in your divorce. Consequently, being unprepared or even attempting divorce yourself can walk you right into these issues, causing emotional harm and potential financial and legal ramifications.

At Masters Law Group, it’s our firm’s mission to solve your problems and achieve the best possible results for you and your loved ones. If you’re currently navigating a divorce, or considering one, schedule a consultation with us today to learn how we can help.

How to Find the Best Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is incredibly difficult for all those involved, especially when finances and children become wrapped up in the process. That being said, by choosing the right lawyer, you can potentially expedite the process, minimize costs and reduce the stress on you and your family. 

Many believe that by choosing to partner with a lawyer during their divorce, they’re deferring responsibility and decision making. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. When choosing a divorce lawyer, you’re partnering with someone that can help you navigate the often murky divorce process while also being a trusted advocate. 

How do you find the right lawyer or firm for you? This comes down to due diligence and research. By looking at reputation, asking the right questions and having a basic understanding of the divorce process, you can feel confident in your decision.

Read on to learn what our team at Masters Law Group LLC feels are the most important aspects to understand when searching for the best divorce lawyer.

Consider the Quality of the Practice

The divorce rate in America is 44.6%, meaning that you probably know someone personally who has been divorced. While not always an easy conversation to have, start by speaking with someone who has already worked with a divorce lawyer. While their experience is anecdotal, and will not represent all lawyers, their advice can be incredibly helpful.

For example, if they partnered with someone who wasn’t empathetic towards their situation or didn’t return phone calls in a timely manner, this is probably someone you don’t want to work with. On the other hand, if the lawyer laid out a comprehensive legal strategy for the divorce proceedings and offered sound advice from beginning to end, this may be someone to consider.

Don’t forget to use the power of the internet. Most law firms will have posted testimonials on their website but look at Google reviews and also search for the firm on the internet to see if they’ve been mentioned in news articles or other publications.

At Masters Law Group LLC, we’ve been voted Chicago’s #1 Divorce Law Firm. If you find yourself in the difficult position of ending a marriage, consider speaking with us today.

Interview the Firm

This advice should be employed in nearly all walks of life. Whether you’re choosing a school for your child, a mechanic, or a home builder, it’s always imperative to ask probing questions so that the expert on the other end of the conversation can prove their ability.

Here are a few questions to ask during that conversation:

  1. How often will we speak during the divorce process?
  2. Will my case be attended by one lawyer, or multiple legal professionals?
  3. What’s the estimated cost of working with your practice?
  4. If my spouse chooses to be more aggressive with their case, what steps can we take to mitigate those actions?
  5. Based on my situation, how does the court tend to rule?

Questions like the above can help you quickly get a feel for whether the lawyer you’re speaking to truly understands the divorce process and whether you can be confident in their skillset.

Masters Law Group LLC specializes in the Family Law and Divorce field. Schedule a consultation with us to speak about your family law case.

Understand the Process

In general, divorces start with a divorce petition, served by one spouse upon the other. That petition is then filed in the state/county where one party has their residency. Once this process is in place – depending on the state – a waiting period begins, certain financial restrictions are put in place and traveling with shared children may be prohibited. 

Beyond this, divorces can go many ways. If the process is delayed, or if submitted information is deemed incorrect by one party, there may be a back and forth between said parties that can last for some time. 

In the final stages of divorce, after assets and other financial information has been disclosed, terms may be agreed to. If the terms put forth by one party is contested, there may be continued hearings or ultimately a trial. If the terms are mutually agreed upon, final paperwork is fired and the court enters judgment. Beyond this, a waiting period is put in place, after which spouses can remarry.

It’s important to understand the above at the most basic level, as your lawyer should have a firm grasp of this process and know all of the challenges that can arise during it. Keep this in mind once you’ve chosen who to work with, and observe that they’re representing you at the highest standard throughout these stages.

Make Your Decision

Once you’ve done your due diligence researching a firm, asked all of the important questions and researched the divorce process to understand what you can expect, it’s time to make your decision. 

There are going to be many reputable firms out there, but ultimately what can give a practice the edge is experience. If they’ve been representing the community for years, then they have relationships with other lawyers and judges, an edge that shouldn’t be ignored . On top of this, their experience in the community will also mean that they are intimately familiar with all the relevant laws. Consider this as you make your final decision.

Masters Law Group LLC

At Masters Law Group LLC we’ve been representing the Chicago community for many years. Our principal, Erin E. Masters was named “Super Lawyer” in 2020 by Illinois Super Lawyers and the other members of our team hold similar honors. 

Our practices knowledge is thorough and our mission to ensure that your family law matter is resolved in the best way possible is our core value.

If you’re currently dealing with the difficult process of divorce, schedule a consultation with us today.

The Rise of the Crypto Divorce

Talk to anyone who’s gone through divorce and they’d likely say the experience was no walk in the park. If you’re facing a divorce in 2022, there’s a new asset that needs to be accounted for – Cryptocurrencies. Here’s what you need to know.

In the last few years, the cryptocurrency market has exploded. It’s hard to go a day without hearing about it in the news. But what does that mean for your divorce?

Well, if you’re dealing with a crypto-rich spouse, it can mean some serious headaches. Crypto assets are notoriously difficult to trace and control—and it doesn’t help that there are still plenty of legal gray areas when it comes to cryptocurrencies themselves. That means they’re not always easy to deal with in court cases like divorce proceedings.

When it comes to discovering hidden assets such as cryptocurrencies, Masters Law Group has your back. Here’s everything you need to know about crypto assets in divorce cases so you can make sure you’re getting what’s fair.

Cryptocurrency Basics

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency that uses the technology of cryptography to secure its transactions. It is designed to be used as a medium of exchange, like money, but it can also be used to transfer data securely.

One of the early appeals of cryptocurrency was that it provided the opportunity to transfer large amounts of wealth anonymously without any government or institutional interference. These days, cryptocurrency is used by some owners to take care of routine matters such as paying bills, buying goods, and others use it as collateral to obtain loans. Many others are purchasing it as a form of investment.

The most popular form of cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. Some examples of other digital currencies include Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Zcash, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, among others. 

Why is Cryptocurrency Relevant Upon Divorce?

Cryptocurrency is an asset to be considered in the financial settlement. The reality is that it is not a feature of mainstream divorce yet. This is because a large proportion of the general public still views cryptocurrency as too much of a gamble and the difficulty of identifying whether or not someone holds cryptocurrency.

However, with the current growth in popularity we can expect to see more cases involving cryptocurrencies as assets for divorce settlements. Cryptocurrency is increasingly being used as an alternative form of payment and investment, so it’s important to understand how it could be treated in your divorce case.

Looking For Cryptocurrency Assets

If you suspect that your spouse/civil partner is hiding cryptocurrency from you, there are steps you can take to investigate the matter.

First, make sure that both parties provide full and frank disclosure. This means that both parties should disclose all of their assets, including cryptocurrency. If one party suspects that the other isn’t disclosing cryptocurrency in the course of their divorce proceedings, then preliminary investigative works need to begin.

The standard disclosure process requires each party to disclose bank statements. These should be carefully examined to see if there are any transactions or proof of purchase of cryptocurrency i.e. exchanges or trading platforms. If the bank statements aren’t showing anything, then you can  request your spouse’s credit card statements. You also can make a specific request for disclosure of all apps on their spouse’s smartphone.

Agreements on Dividing Crypto Assets

The rise of cryptocurrency has created a whole new world for the courts. With its fluctuating value, crypto assets can represent substantial sums of money that are not always easy to track down. This can lead to court cases where one spouse is accused of hiding assets from their spouse, or where an unscrupulous party will try to use the anonymity of crypto assets to hide their own assets.

When a couple gets divorced, it can be difficult to determine how to divide the assets. In the case of cryptocurrency, however, the process is fairly straightforward.

  • Simple Division: You receive a share of the cryptocurrency in its current form.
  • Custodial Holding: If you decide to not set up a cryptocurrency account, you can find the custodial approach suitable. A third-party custodian can transact in cryptocurrency, receive your share and hold it until the divorce is final.
  • Cryptocurrency Owner Liquidation: The former spouse who owns the asset will convert the other party’s share to cash. The digital currency’s value on the day of sale determines how much money you receive.
  • Liquidation With No Claim Upon Remaining Cryptocurrency: This approach starts the same as #3. However, both parties have agreed in advance that the original owner of the cryptocurrency now has full title to the remaining asset and does not owe the former spouse any remaining crypto.

Regardless of whether you decide to keep your cryptocurrency or sell it off, it’s important to remember that there is no loophole when it comes to divorce proceedings. The courts are used to the volatility and fluctuating value of shares and other types of assets—cryptocurrency is a whole new phenomenon.

If you’re having doubts and suspect that your spouse is hiding crypto and don’t know what signs to look out for, you can find that information here. If you have questions about the different types of crypto and are trying to get acquainted with the market, you can find that information here.

Masters Law Group – Cryptocurrency and Divorce Lawyers

When you are facing the divorce process in Illinois and are dealing with cryptocurrency asset division, do not hesitate to call the attorneys at Masters Law Group. 

Our team of attorneys are highly experienced in dealing with Cryptocurrencies in divorce and are here to answer your questions about divorce and digital asset division.

Contact us today for more information, or to schedule a consultation.

Masters Law Group Recognized in the 2023 Edition of “Best Lawyers in America”

Masters Law Group is a Chicago family and divorce law firm focused on solving problems and achieving the best possible result for our clients. We’re proud of our industry achievements, now including being recognized for professional excellence in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America® in two categories.

As part of the 2023 selection of distinguished firms, Masters Law Group was regionally ranked in two practice areas, Family Law and Family Law Mediation. 

Best Lawyers in America is the oldest and one of the most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.

This recognition honors the professional accomplishments of the top tier legal talent in the country who were selected by their peers through Best Lawyers’ rigorous and peer-reviewed selection process. More than 12.2 million evaluations were analyzed, resulting in the recognition of only 5.3% of lawyers in the United States. Achieving this recognition signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

Masters Law Group is delighted to once again receive such recognition. 

About Masters Law Group

Located in Chicago, Illinois, Masters Law Group handles family law matters in Cook County and surrounding counties. Masters Law Group concentrates in the area of domestic relations, which includes divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, child support and related family matters.

Our recent recognitions in Family Law and Family Law Mediation highlights our experience, dedication and talent in these fields.

Our Attorneys

Best Family Law Attorney

Erin E. Masters (Attorney / Family Law Mediator) and Anthony G. Joseph (Attorney / Guardian Ad Litem/Child Representative) both have extensive experience and knowledge in family law and family law mediation.

Ms. Masters’ recent recognitions include in Family Law and Family Law Mediation, and has represented a variety of clients, both pre-decree and post-decree. 

“We are honored that Masters Law Group has been recognized by Best Lawyers® for the sixth consecutive year.” commented Managing Partner Erin Masters. “We thank all our fellow attorneys in the Chicago Metropolitan area for including us in this prestigious list as well as our attorneys and staff for their hard work and dedication in serving our clients.”

In addition to representing clients, Ms. Masters is also a court-appointed Child Representative and has experience advocating for children in these high-conflict matters. Further, she has also been appointed by the Circuit Court of Cook County to mediate complex family law cases.

2023 Best Lawyers

Anthony G. Joseph has been recognized for his excellence in Family Law and is an active trial lawyer whose practice focuses exclusively on Family Law and on the list of approved Guardian Ad Litem/Child Representatives for the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. He has an emphasis on International Child Abduction and cross-border custody issues pursuant to the Hague Convention of 1980 and the UCCJEA. Mr. Joseph also publishes in the area of civil litigation.

WORK WITH THE BEST

With a long history of awarded recognitions in Family Law, Masters Law Group LLC has a unique depth of knowledge, experience and talent in the Family Law and Divorce field.

Masters Law Group is dedicated to understanding your individual needs and helping you work through stressful situations in the Family Law and Divorce fields. They move through settlement negotiations, mediation or litigation with their clients’ assurance and well being in mind.

Schedule a consultation here to speak with an experienced attorney regarding your family law matter today.

 

 

I Need a Divorce. Help!

If your marriage is in question, you may be the one who is deciding “Should I stay or should I go”? While the process can seem overwhelming, there are things you can do to get through this difficult adjustment. If you’ve decided divorce or separation is the only way forward, here’s what you should know.

If you have decided to get divorced, you may have concerns about the cost, time commitment, and stress associated with the process. Which is why Masters Law Group works tirelessly in order to make the divorce process easier on you, for you and your children.

If possible, an amicable relationship with your ex can lead to a more straightforward divorce, because it won’t (usually) involve going to trial. An amicable or somewhat amicable divorce will often result in a quick(er) divorce.

As an ordeal that can be draining mentally and financially, it’s important to be prepared. Whether you are in search of Divorce Mediation, a Contested Divorce, Uncontested Divorce or Legal Separation, here’s what you need to know.

Is a Quick Divorce Possible?

Divorce is a stressful experience, and it’s important to get through it as quickly as possible in order to mitigate stress on everyone involved. Especially the children. The divorce process does not have to take years or even months. If you’re able to come to an agreement with your spouse about custody, visitation, spousal support, and division of property, your divorce can proceed through divorce court rather quickly.

The easiest type of divorce, which takes the least amount of time, is called an uncontested divorce. In Illinois, this is also referred to as “dissolution of marriage”. This relatively fast divorce happens because all of the major issues have been agreed upon by you and your spouse. Both parties agree on all the key terms of the divorce, including: Dividing marital property, Child custody and Parenting Time schedule.

Do Uncontested Divorces Take Less Time Than Contested Divorces?

A contested divorce is one where the parties cannot agree on some or all issues. It may involve a trial, and it may involve lengthy settlement meetings. It may also involve digging into your spouse’s finances, which takes a lot of time and energy.

There are many reasons why divorce can be contested. Typically, one party feels that they have not been treated fairly in some way during the divorce process and wants to fight for what they feel is their right. If you are going through a contested divorce, it is important to know what your options are so that you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with your case.

An uncontested divorce, however, takes a lot less time because you agree with your spouse on various issues. Here are a few examples:

  • Custody
  • Visitation
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Division of assets
  • Life and health insurance policies

In the long run, an uncontested divorce will save you time and money in legal fees, will reduce stress, and will get you through the court system much faster than a contested divorce.

Divorce Mediation

Anger. Resentment. Bitterness. These are some of the feelings that many people associate with family law issues. It is often true that litigation – the traditional mode of dispute resolution – breeds these kinds of feelings. Fortunately, there are other ways to deal with family disputes that lead to much happier, healthier results: Mediation.

Mediation is considered an alternative dispute resolution process where an impartial or neutral mediator helps guide you and your spouse in settlement efforts – hopefully helping you reach a final agreement.  Unlike judges, a mediator has no authority to make decisions for you or your spouse. Their job is to keep you and your spouse’s focus on your needs and interests instead of fault and rights.

When a couple begins divorce mediation, they either choose the mediator in advance or one may be appointed by the court, with the court deciding how to split the costs.  Both spouses provide documentation to support their viewpoint regarding disputed issues, while the mediator works with both sides to find a resolution. The goal of the mediator is to reach an agreement between the two parties, therefore it is critically important to work with your divorce mediator attorney to ensure that the proposed solution is truly fair and equitable to you.

Legal Separation

Your first thought may immediately go to divorce, and that is understandable due to it being the most common approach to seemingly irreconcilable differences. However, you have another option that is less permanent that is worth considering. There is a large difference between deciding to be physically separated from your spouse and legally separated from them.

A divorce means your marriage is 100% legally over, the court can assist in determining the allocation of parental responsibilitiesparenting time, and child support. The court can also determine spousal support and divide property. Couples that have decided they can’t reconcile may be ready for an immediate divorce. However, even if you believe you will ultimately file for a divorce, a legal separation is worth to consider.

legal separation is a less permanent option, meaning you’re living apart but still legally married. If you don’t think you can live with your spouse, you can file for legal separation. Obtaining a legal separation does not prevent you or your spouse from obtaining a divorce later. Legal separation is less emotionally taxing than divorce because the permanence of a divorce isn’t there which still allows for the legal relationship to exist between the married couple. The court can order a separation between you and your spouse, and it would include similar aspects to a divorce such as allocation of child support and custody arrangements.

Getting Started

Part of divorcing is figuring out who gets what. A good place to start is to make a list and keep proper documentation of personal items that belong only to you, such as jewelry, family heirlooms, or photos and papers that have special meaning to you. If necessary, give these items to a trusted family member or friend for safekeeping.

It’s essential to have your financial paperwork organized and in one place, such as a file or binder. Start by collecting and making copies of your legal documents, including:

  • Marriage documents: Agreements and marriage license
  • Tax returns: Federal and state tax returns for the past five years
  • Real estate: Deeds, appraisals, cost basis of home, mortgages, rental property records
  • Business documents: Receipts, tax returns, payroll information, and any registrations, patents, or trademarks
  • End-of-life plans: Will, power of attorney, advance healthcare directive

If you have trouble finding any documents (or your spouse is making it difficult), your attorney can help.

Do You Need an Attorney for Divorce?

Hiring an experienced legal advocate that is well-versed in family law will be the best option for you moving forward. They can help explain this process to you and is the greatest way to ensure the best possible outcome that is custom and unique to your family’s situation.

Illinois Legal Aid Online provides a  guided interview that will ask you a series of questions related to this topic and then the program will complete the forms for you. It is free to use.

To see the overall process of getting a divorce in Illinois when you have children, please  click here.

Masters Law Group understands that divorce is a stressful situation and that our clients want to move on with their lives. As such, we move through settlement negotiations, mediation or litigation with our clients’ assurance and well being in mind. Whether you are facing a contested divorce, uncontested divorce, or civil union divorce, our firm’s attorneys are ready to skillfully advocate for your position and provide your voice when you need it most. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.