Tag Archive for: divorce attorney

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!

Social Media and Divorce – 5 Things You Should Know

We get it. Anger, resentment and what seems a waste of your time can lead to social media rants. But even private DMs can land you in hot water. 

When you’re going through a divorce, it can be tempting to use social media as an outlet to redefine who you are without your spouse in the picture. But while social media can be a valuable tool during this difficult time, it can also cause major problems if you’re not careful.

Recent studies show that social media is one of the leading causes of marriage breakdowns. It’s been shown that social media causes many marriages to break down because it causes trust issues between spouses and can be used against you during a divorce.

Here are five things you should know when using social media during a divorce.

Social Media Posts Can Be Used Against You

Divorce is a stressful and emotional time. Many people turn to social media to vent their frustrations, but this can have serious consequences. Posts on social media during a divorce can become evidence against you in your case.

There are two big rules to follow when it comes to social media. Don’t post about a new relationship on social media during a divorce. Posting about a new relationship can negatively affect your case because it could be deemed as adultery—a fault ground for divorce in many states. It’s always in best practice to wait until the divorce is final to begin new relationships. 

Secondly, don’t post your location. Many social media platforms track your location when you post. To avoid this, you can easily evoke location-tracking permissions from these sites. This will stop these sites from recording your location when you make a post.

Check Your Privacy Settings

You should make all of your social media accounts private during a divorce. This is to prevent unwanted attention from other people. Locking accounts prevents people who don’t follow your account from viewing your posts. Changing your passwords for all of your accounts is also a good idea. 

Have you ever shared a computer with your spouse? If so, you should change your password for all accounts, including email addresses that both of you use. It’s a good practice to use new passwords for every site you visit so that other people won’t be able to access them if they get their hands on them.

Be Mindful of Deleting Posts

It’s a common instinct to want to clean up your social media accounts when you’re going through a divorce. It’s common to not want painful reminders of happier days, or you don’t want your spouse to find any private messages or DMs between you and someone else.

But deleting posts from your Facebook or Twitter may not be as effective as you might think.

If your spouse requests the entire social media history from you during the discovery process, you must provide it. Deleting posts doesn’t necessarily delete them from Facebook or Twitter’s servers—they can still be retrieved by experts, who will charge fees for their time and efforts.

Deleting evidence may affect your reputation with your judge. Deleting or destroying evidence can be used against you in court.

Go Through Your Friends List

You and your spouse probably had mutual friends, and if you accepted friend requests from them, those friends may be reporting back to your spouse.

Spend some time going through your lists of friends and followers to unfriend or block accounts of people you believe might be sending information back to your spouse. Divorce litigation isn’t a time to worry about what your spouses’ friends will think of you—it’s about self-preservation and putting yourself first!

Just be sure not to direct them to interact with your spouse or harass them in any way—that will end poorly for everybody.

Think Before You Post

If you’re going through a divorce, it’s important to think twice before you post anything on social media. It’s especially important to be careful not to post anything that would look like bad-mouthing the other parent. Your spouse can then take that post and use it in court against you. 

Judges might not like it when parties call their decisions unfair – even if you think they are. If you choose to trash a judge in your case on social media, you may find yourself in contempt of court. If you can’t use social media to highlight the positives in your life, like being a good parent, maybe take a break from posting. Creating new posts won’t be subject to misinterpretation and can really help your case in the long run.

Final Thoughts

At Masters Law Group, our skilled attorneys understand that divorce is a stressful situation. Many of our clients are ready to move on with their lives, and as such, we move through mediation and litigation with our clients’ well being in mind. Are you facing a family law issue? Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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.

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. 

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.

Identifying Crypto in Divorce

It’s National Cryptocurrency Month, a time to reflect on a fairly new asset concept that has grown increasingly popular. In this blog, we’ll cover what you need to know about cryptocurrency and how Masters Law Group can help you identify crypto in a divorce.

Cryptocurrency interest and awareness has exploded over the past five years. This increase was initially fueled by younger, techminded individuals, but recently large banks like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have invested heavily in crypto assets. This cultural phenomenon has spread, and recent numbers show that upwards of 53 million Americans are invested in crypto.

Cryptocurrency is volatile, wide ranging (think beyond Bitcoin) and can be more difficult to identify compared to other assets. Its volatility means its value can swing wildly – even in as little as hours. Cryptocurrencies are also numerous and multiplying with over 20,000 different currencies as of this year. 

What does this mean for you if you’re currently navigating a divorce? Read on to learn the steps you should take to ensure financial equality is met. 

The Cryptocurrency Basics

By this point you’ve probably heard the word “cryptocurrency” but few could define it succinctly. Let’s break the word in two to simplify things. First, cryptography – “the practice and study of techniques for secure communication.” Second, currency – “A system of money in general use.” From this we can see that the goal of cryptocurrencies is to “secure” the transaction records, creation of additional currency units and their transfer. 

What makes cryptocurrencies unique is the technology behind them – blockchain. Blockchain is what allows for the foundational security of these digital assets. What is blockchain? To keep things simple it’s a distributed ledger across multiple nodes, computers and people that creates a network and stores information. This decentralized database ensures that no one person or group can have leverage over the currency.

Identifying Cryptocurrency as a Financial Asset

The main issue when dividing cryptocurrency is the volatility we mentioned. For example, in January of 2021 Bitcoin surged over $40,000 before falling to $32,000. These valuation swings can make determining value difficult compared to more traditional assets.

Beyond this, the first step is to determine if your spouse has cryptocurrency holdings. Depending on the relationship, you may already know if these digital assets exist. If you’re unsure there are steps to take. 

Consider past conversations. Have they mentioned cryptocurrency? If so, that establishes a baseline interest that may lead you to believe they have assets in place. If you feel that they do, you would move into a discovery phase. 

First off, share this information with your legal counsel. Your attorney and their team can use this information to begin investigating. Some of the first steps they may take would be to determine if there is a physical “wallet” or a digital one. This wallet may be in the form of a hard drive that holds the cryptocurrency or in the form of an online exchange like Coinbase.

Either way, this information will be password protected. Once entry is secured, a paper trail will show itself. This information will contain transactions, the cryptocurrency holdings, conversion rate and other pertinent information. 

Once all of this information is secured, the division of the assets can be discussed.

Division and Reconciliation 

There are four basic paths that can be chosen once valuation has been determined. Let’s briefly cover these.

    1. Simple Division: As the name suggests, this would simply be a division of the cryptocurrency assets.
    2. Custodial Holding: If holding cryptocurrency is not valued, a custodian can be secured. This representative would handle the cryptocurrency transaction – into the US dollar for example – and then hold the amount until the divorce is finalized.
    3. Cryptocurrency Owner Liquidation: In this situation, the owner of the cryptocurrency (your spouse) would convert your share into US dollars. The value of the currency would be determined by the day of sale value. 
    4. Liquidation with No Claim Upon Remaining Cryptocurrency: This is similar to the option above, the difference being that your spouse would retain full ownership but would liquidate the cryptocurrency as it stands. You would not be owed any of the assets.

By working with your legal counsel, you can determine the best course of action.

Final Thoughts

Cryptocurrency is fairly new, meaning it’s often misunderstood. Its popularity means it will continue to be relevant in divorce cases into the foreseeable future.

If you’re currently navigating a divorce, and believe that you are owed a portion of cryptocurrency assets, reach out to Masters Law Group LLC today. Our skilled team has experience with digital assets and our breadth of knowledge means we can answer your questions and assist you in gaining access to what you’re owed.

Schedule a call, here today.

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.

 

 

Chicago’s #1 Divorce Law Firm

Whether you are going through a divorce, a child custody dispute, or other family law issue, you want to find the best family law attorney for your situation. Today we’ll tell you why we’re the #1 premier family law group in Chicago for those facing divorce.

As the vows are read aloud, no one anticipates a future divorce. Whether you’ve been married 50 days or 50 years, situations change, people change, and life simply doesn’t work out how you imagined it. And that’s ok.

Marriage and divorce are both common experiences for adults, although both can be challenging. About 90% of people in Western cultures marry by age 50. In the United States, about 50% of married couples divorce, the sixth-highest divorce rate in the world. Subsequent marriages have an even higher divorce rate: 60% of second marriages end in divorce, and 73% of all third marriages end in divorce.

So if you find yourself in the extremely tough position of ending your marriage, you need the right support on your side. There are many legal professionals to choose from, so it’s crucial to know what to do and who to ask for help.

A Little Bit About Masters

Masters Law Group LLC is a Chicago based law firm that has a unique depth of knowledge, experience and talent in the Family Law and Divorce field. Masters Law Group handles matters in Cook County and the adjacent counties including DuPage, Will and Lake. 

Our downtown firm and attorneys have won many awards for their work, including but not limited to, Best Law Firms by US News for years 2021 and 2022, Leading Lawyers recognizing Erin Masters, Super Lawyers recognizing Anthony G. Joseph, The Top 100 Lawyers, and the 10 Best Attorneys for client satisfaction.

As of last week, we have been formally recognized as 2023 Best Lawyers!

BEST LAWYERS 2023

Simply put, our commitment and dedication to clients is simply unmatched.

Let’s take a further look at our attorneys, and what we do best.

Our Attorneys

As you can see, our award-winning attorneys are highly experienced in their field of work. Especially when it comes to divorce in the state of Illinois.

Erin E. Masters is the principal of Masters Law Group, located in Chicago, Illinois. Masters Law Group concentrates in the area of domestic relations, which includes a heavy focus divorce and the relative legal subsidiaries that span from divorce (such as Divorce Mediation, Parenting Time, Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and Post-Divorce Disputes).

Erin E. Masters

Ms. Masters earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego, where she attended on a merit based scholarship. She would go on to receive her Juris Doctorate and Certificate in Child and Family Law from Loyola University of Chicago, School of Law, in May of 2004.

Erin was admitted to the Illinois Bar in November 2004 and to the General Bar for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 2005 and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in 2020. Ms. Masters was admitted to the United States Supreme Court in March 2009.

Throughout her career Ms. Masters has represented a variety of clients, both pre-decree and post-decree. 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.

Anthony G. Joseph is a senior and founding attorney at the firm and received his B.A. degree in Global Economic Relations from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA.

He obtained both his J.D. degree and Certificate in Trial Advocacy from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. Joseph was admitted to the Illinois Bar in November 2010, the Federal General Bar and Trial Bar for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 2012 and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in 2020.

Anthony G. Joseph

Furthermore, Anthony is an active trial lawyer whose practice focuses exclusively on Family Law, with a particular 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.

Mr. Joseph is “AV” Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review, which is the highest peer review rating available and has been named a “Rising Star” by Illinois Super Lawyers in both 2019, 2020 and 2021. Mr. Joseph is also on the list of approved Guardian Ad Litem/Child Representatives for the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Karly Armstrong is an associate attorney at Masters Law Group, she received her B.A. in Political Science & Interdisciplinary Social Sciences – International Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2016 and graduated magna cum laude. 

Throughout her time at the State University of New York at Buffalo, she was in the advanced honors program and wrote her undergraduate thesis on Middle Eastern women’s rights movements.

Karly Armstrong

Karly received her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in May 2021. At Loyola, she was on the ABA Negotiations Team. She also was a student clinician at the Loyola Community Law Center where she served as a Guardian ad litem in contested minor guardianship proceedings. Karly took her Illinois bar exam in July 2021 and passed. She has been admitted to the Illinois bar since November 2021.

Karly is proactive in helping those who are seeking advice when it comes to divoce in the state of Illinois.

What Does a Divorce Attorney Do?

Divorce lawyers provide advice on marriage termination, including dividing assets, custody, and the options available to the client under the law. When looking for a divorce lawyer, word-of-mouth referrals from friends, family, and other professionals are a useful place to start.

Seeking out attorneys who specialize in areas such as custody or division of assets can also be beneficial.

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.

Divorce cases involving substantial assets or complex estates require specialized knowledge.  Masters Law Group is skilled at identifying and valuing assets and wealth, including real estate, securities, business interests, retirement funds, pension plans, tax shelters (domestic and foreign), overseas accounts, stock options, trusts and other actual or potential sources of wealth.

Let’s Get to Work

We understand everyone’s individual needs are different, which is why our first step is getting to know you and understanding your unique situation. 

Whether you are facing a contested divorce, civil union, or series of different divorce-related issues, 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.

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.

A Guide to Divorce and Cryptocurrency

In 2022, cryptocurrencies are playing a big role in divorces. If you’re facing a divorce and lost on how to find, value and split cryptos, here’s what you need to know. 

With the rise in popularity of cryptocurrency over the past few years, it is becoming a hot topic in many divorce cases. When it comes to dividing assets in a divorce, it can be difficult to know what to do with cryptocurrency. While there are many different types of cryptocurrencies, they all operate in fundamentally similar ways: they are digital currencies that can be exchanged for goods and services or other currencies, and many are traded on online exchanges.

This guide will give you a high-level overview of cryptocurrency and explain your options on how to deal with it in a divorce. Let’s take a look.

Cryptocurrency Basics

The rise (and falls) of cryptocurrency has been unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The market is so volatile that some have compared it to the Wild West. And yet, the demand for it seems insatiable. So what is cryptocurrency, and why are people so interested in it?

Cryptocurrency is a virtual or digital currency that can be used like real money as a medium of exchange. It is not a physical token, like a dollar bill, but is similar to an electronic payment system (think of swiping your credit card) as a way to pay for something.

Cryptocurrency “coins” are held in a digital wallet, which can be an online service, a software program, or a personal hard drive among other things. The wallet allows the owner to make secure transactions for goods and services or keep it as a type of investment. Since the coins are not issued by a central authority, like a bank or government, they are theoretically immune to inflation and other government interference.

Cryptocurrency and Taxes

When you sell or transfer cryptocurrency, it is treated as property and capital gains are taxed. You will incur a gain or loss when sold, transferred as payment for goods or services, exchanged with another crypto, and at other various scenarios.

You are required by the IRS to report gains and losses on each transaction even if the gain or loss is not material. The difference between the purchase price and sales/transfer price is what will be taxed.

If the value at the time of sale or transfer is more than the purchase price, you will incur a capital gain. If the value at the time of sale or transfer is less than the purchase price, you will incur a capital loss.

Understanding Cryptocurrency and Divorce

When you are going through a divorce, you will need to provide financial disclosures to your spouse. This includes information about your assets, income, and expenses. Cryptocurrency is considered an asset and not income. As such, it should be listed on your financial disclosures when you are going through the divorce process.

Most cryptocurrency holdings have a current value which is listed when you log into your account. The values listed are based on current exchange rates for that specific cryptocurrency to US dollars. However, values can fluctuate by a significant amount daily so it is important to keep this into consideration when using the value listed on the financial disclosures when dividing property.

How to Determine the Marital Portion of Cryptocurrency in a Divorce

Property division laws vary from state to state. A vast majority of states are equitable distribution states where assets are divided fairly but not always equally.

Illinois has taken steps to protect individuals who have invested in cryptocurrencies by allowing them to be counted as part of their overall net worth during divorce proceedings. In Illinois, all property held by either party is presumed marital property unless it falls under an exception such as being acquired before the marriage, being a gift or an inheritance.

Dividing crypto in Illinois is similar to the division of any other assets. Illinois is not a community property state, which means the court will split assets purchased, converted or appraised throughout the marriage in an equitable manner.

How Masters Law Group Can Help

When it comes to modern-day divorce cases, Masters Law Group has you covered on all things crypto. If you’re facing a divorce and suspect that your spouse is hiding crypto (and don’t know what signs to look out for), you can find that information in our recent blog here. If you have questions about the different types of popularized crypto, you can find that information right here.

Masters Law Group is here to help you through this stressful time. It’s important to consult your attorney as soon as you find any hidden cryptocurrency and discuss everything you know about the assets such as the type of crypto, the date of purchase and its appreciation. Gather any documents and records you may need in order to get your affairs in order.

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.