Tag Archive for: Divorce law Illinois

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.

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.

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.

Post Divorce Disputes on National Ex-Spouse Day

Tomorrow is National Ex-Spouse Day, and while it may seem like a strange day to “celebrate”, it’s an opportunity to review your separation and understand your options should you have a post-divorce dispute. 

Celebrated annually on April 14th, the National Ex-Spouse Day is celebrated to encourage the people who have dissolved marriage to forgive their particular former spouses and successfully move beyond any bitterness and anger against them which might be present. But for many, this day isn’t a happy one. Some ex-couples engage in fighting about issues after the final divorce decree, and they need to head back to court to resolve them.

What is a Post-Divorce Dispute?

Also known as a post-decree dispute, post-divorce disputes often arise when one party does not fulfill obligations indicated in the divorce settlement. Often, one ex-spouse determines that the other has violated a court order relating to the divorce, for example, when one ex-spouse fails to pay court-ordered alimony.

Some of the most common issues involve:

  • the payment of college expenses,
  • recalculations of child support and emancipation of children,
  • as well as modifications of maintenance.

Illinois has specific legal standards that relate to each of these issues, and we can help inform you of the law that relates to your post-judgment issue.

Post-Divorce Modifications in Illinois

While divorce decrees in the State of Illinois are considered “final” once they are admitted to the court, there are circumstances that warrant post-divorce modifications.

Whether one party’s financial situation changed and post-divorce child support or spousal maintenance awards must be updated accordingly, or if one of the parents wishes to move a marital child out of state, any official changes to the divorce decree require court intervention.

To request a post-divorce modification, one of the former spouses must file a “motion to modify” the divorce judgment. This motion is typically filed with the same court that issued the original divorce decree. The first step is to file the post-decree change request. You should make it clear what terms you want to be changed, and why. Then:

  1. File your motion with the court clerk’s office that originally issued your divorce decree.
  2. Serve your ex-spouse with the paperwork to notify him or her of the request and hearing date.
  3. Attend mediation or pre-hearing conferences if required.
  4. Appear in court for your hearing.

At the hearing, a judge will hear from both parties and any witnesses who can speak on their behalf. Once the judge makes a decision or final ruling on your motion, you could receive the final order that day; otherwise, it will be mailed to you.

Enforcement and modifications can be just as complicated as the initial settlement agreement, so it’s important to consult a qualified and experienced family law attorney.

How to Celebrate National Ex-Spouse Day

Even if you never envisioned yourself celebrating such a holiday, it’s something that millions of people go through with you and maybe there’s a silver lining to your partnership coming to an end. 

Here are some ways to positively celebrate Ex-Spouse Day this year: 

  • Make it a day that’s really all about you! There’s no day like Ex-Spouse Day to focus on yourself. There’s tons of activities that are even easier to do as a single man or woman without someone else’s opinion. Do what makes YOU happy today. Whether that is a self care day with a massage and a nice dinner or a new outfit, it’s a step forward in your progress and emotional recovery in your situation.
  • Enjoy time with the kids: If you share children with your spouse, today is an opportunity to fully embrace them and appreciate their presence. Go for an ice cream or a movie, and recognize the massive accomplishment it is to raise children.
  • Acknowledge your growth post-divorce: The odds are that you are stronger, more resilient, and more than capable of handling problems you once thought you never could. Maybe you reflect on something that made you insecure in your relationship, that now you have completely conquered. This is proof you can conquer any fear if she was willing to face it head on.
  • Remember that divorce happened, but it doesn’t define you: It may be hard to remember at times, but you are so much more than one single life event like divorce. Your divorce is only part of your story, which means you still get to write the ending. It’s important to release the past so it can stay where it belongs. The past remains in the past. So take the good – take the lessons – and leave the rest.

Final Thoughts

At Master’s Law Group, we are highly experienced in post-divorce disputes and offer a wide range of services that are tailored to our client’s unique needs.

Masters Law Group LLC has a unique depth of knowledge, experience and talent in the family law and divorce field. Are you in need of consultation regarding a post-divorce dispute? Contact us today and we’re here to help you resolve any issue we can. We look forward to hearing from you and supporting you through this time.

Top 6 Signs Your Spouse is Hiding Crypto

Is my spouse hiding Crypto? We know hiding assets is a penalty-inducing divorce tactic used by many. But in 2022, soon-to-be divorcees are hiding money from family members and authorities using cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency nowadays can add new complications to a divorce. Just like any other marital asset, if cryptocurrency, or other digital currency was purchased, or increased in value, during the marriage, it is a marital asset that is subject to distribution in both equitable distribution and community property states.

In the fourth part of our Crypto Currencies and Divorce series, we discussed the situations in which we discussed the situations in which cryptocurrency can be found during the divorce settlement process and also if it can be lost within the settlement. While tracking down the funds isn’t an easy process, this article will give you signs to watch out for.

Here’s what you need to know if your spouse is hiding crypto.Hiding Crypto

1. Bank and Credit Statements

First things first, if you believe that your spouse is hiding cryptocurrency and has used marital money to purchase it, you should take an active role in looking for proof of your suspicions.

Cryptocurrency is usually purchased with liquid cash, so at some point money moves from a bank account into a cryptocurrency exchange. Certain websites function as the entry point for most people interested in obtaining or trading Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Look for popular echange names such as: Coinbase, Binance, Etoro, Coin Switch, Luno and PaxForex. All it can take is one initial transaction in “normal dollars and cents” to enter this new world of Bitcoin, where untold more digital currency can be obtained. 

If you see any crypto activity, however insignificant, it’s worthy to investigate further — especially if your spouse omitted it from the initial deivorce documentation.

2. Crypto Wallets and Private Keys

Crypto keys make for excellent evidence. Each crypto wallet comes with a key that can then be traced to show all transactions associated with the wallet. A sure sign of Crypto activity in the household is the discovery of a crypto key. But not many know what to look for, since the key doesn’t represent a traditional metal object. So what do these keys look like?

A private key is a secret, alphanumeric password/number used to spend/send your bitcoins to another Bitcoin address. It is a 256-bit long number that is picked randomly as soon as you make a wallet.

The degree of randomness and uniqueness is well defined by cryptographic functions for security purposes.

This is how the Bitcoin private key looks:

2zJ4kLf5zgWrnogidDA76MzPL6TsZZY36hpXXssSzNydYXYB9fe

Many of these password keys are stored on a keydrive. If you happen to find this key, take note of it for evidence. Many hide these keydrives in a private and secure place, such as a safe, while others can simply save these password key codes hidden on their laptops.

3. Presence Crypto Exchanges in Apps

See if there are any crypto-related apps installed on shared electronic devices. Look for Bitcoin wallets like Coinbase, Mycelium, Ledger, SoFi, and Trezor, or apps for buying and selling crypto, like CEX.IO or BlockFi.

Any of the common exchanges listed above offer apps for mobile crypto banking. If you share one phone account, you may be able to access the history of all apps downloaded to any phone on your plan. If you are not able to obtain this information on your own, your attorney can add to this to items to be produced during discovery.

4. Loan Applications & Tax Returns

Another area to explore are loan applications and tax returns. If a person is trying to hide assets from you, and they are not disclosing Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies on their net worth statement, they might record it on a loan application. 

It’s also important to check if your spouse has reported crypto on tax returns. Reporting of digital currency is required by the IRS, even though there are those who fail to do so. In 2014, the IRS declared that virtual currencies are property.

5. Large Online Purchases

For spouses who are hiding currency, they don’t buy the initial crypto to put in their wallet, which in turn, avoids any direct charges made to a bank or credit account. Instead, they connect with a crypto user in one of the many user forums who is willing to accept goods that will be paid in said cryptocurrency. 

The agreement might entail buying items of the crypto owner’s choice on Amazon, and in return, this crypto will be deposited in the owner’s empty wallet, giving them their entrance into this world. It’s important to remember that crypto wallets function completely outside the normal banking system, so no one will be the wiser should this transaction take place — unless you get smart about your spouse’s buying habits. 

Scan Amazon and other online sellers. If you don’t have access to your spouse’s Amazon account, this can be something that your attorney requests to see during divorce discovery.

6. Secretive Behavior with Finances

If you still receive paper statements this is a great way to track down their use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. If the paper trail used to show up in the mail and then suddenly stopped – that’s a red flag and should raise some suspicion. 

It’s important to have passwords to all of your shared online bank and credit accounts, but if they’ve been changed, that’s again, another red flag. Call your bank and credit card company to request copies be sent directly to you for all joint accounts. Let your attorney know as soon as possible so that steps can be taken to make your spouse produce documentation of all joint accounts.

Final Thoughts

If you know or suspect that cryptocurrency will be a part of your divorce, talk to your family law attorney immediately and put together a game plan for dealing with it. 

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 here today for more information, or to schedule a consultation 

What is Parent Alienation?

Parental alienation is a set of strategies that a parent uses to foster a child’s rejection of the other parent. If your former partner is constantly, and severely, making false statements about you to your child, can this lead to alienation and an accompanying syndrome? Let’s take a closer look.

In divorce and child custody cases, a syndrome often develops called parental alienation. Parental alienation is a strategy where one parent intentionally displays to the child unjustified negativity aimed at the other parent. The purpose of this strategy is to damage the child’s relationship with the other parent and to turn the child’s emotions against that other parent. Parental alienators are adept manipulators and you should look out for signs of this behavior immediately.

Here is everything you need to know about emotional abuse and how you can take action to protect yourself and your children.

Traits of an Alienator

Parental alienation syndrome, was a term coined back in the 1980s by child psychiatrist Dr. Richard A. Gardner. As mentioned above, the sole purpose of parental alienation behavior is to keep the children with the alienating parent as much as possible, away from the targeted parent. A parent who is angry at the spouse accomplishes this goal by painting a negative narrative of the other parent by making deprecating comments, throwing blame, and making false accusations which are shared with the children.

Clinical psychologists have noted this type of behavior shown by the alienating parent has narcissistic or borderline tendencies. A narcissist is a person who has an excessive interest and admiration in themselves – essentially they think the world revolves around them. While those with borderline personality disorders have emotional hyper-reactivity often expressed as anger and a tendency to see themselves as victims. A parent with an antisocial personality is an accomplished liar who has the ability to harm others without any guilt. 

Alienation by one parent interferes with the rights of the child and the other parent involved to have a healthy relationship.  It also interferes with the other parent being able to exercise their right to care for the child.

Signs and Symptoms of Parental Alienation Syndrome

When Gardner talked about PAS, he identified eight “symptoms” (or criteria) for it:

  1. The child constantly and unfairly criticizes the alienated parent (sometimes called a “campaign of denigration”).
  2. The child doesn’t have any strong evidence, specific examples, or justifications for the criticisms — or only has false reasoning.
  3. The child’s feelings about the alienated parent aren’t mixed — they’re all negative, with no redeeming qualities to be found. This is sometimes called “lack of ambivalence.”
  4. The child claims the criticisms are all their own conclusions and based on their own independent thinking. (In reality, in PA, the alienating parent is said to “program” the child with these ideas.)
  5. The child has unwavering support for the alienator.
  6. The child doesn’t feel guilty about mistreating or hating the alienated parent.
  7. The child uses terms and phrases that seem borrowed from adult language when referring to situations that never happened or happened before the child’s memory.
  8. The child’s feelings of hatred toward the alienated parent expand to include other family members related to that parent (for example, grandparents or cousins on that side of the family).

Impact of Alienation on Parenting Time

Parental alienation and parenting time go hand in hand when trying to determine an appropriate parenting plan that lays out with which parent the child will mainly live. Parenting Time of your child can become a very emotional law topic. The division of parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilites to make decisions for the child. 

To determine the child’s best interests, the court must look at anything relevant to the question, including specific factors listed in state statute. Of those, some are particularly relevant when parental alienation may be involved:

  • The child’s needs.
  • The mental health of all parties involved.
  • Restricted or modified parenting time.
  • Parental ability to put the child’s needs first.
  • Abuse against the child, including emotional or psychological abuse to try to alienate the child against the other parent.
  • The ability of each parent to facilitate a close relationship between the other parent and the child.
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with each parent.

Any parent who believes their spouse is trying to alienate their child against them should seek immediate assistance from an experienced Family law attorney. It’s important to have someone who can assist with reporting emotional abuse or protection for themselves or loved ones.

The safety of the child or children involved should always be your number one priority. If your child is being emotionally abused, there are several steps that can be taken to mitigate the risk of the situation at hand prior to legal help. Masters Law Group is here to help you with divorce consultation or litigation involving parental alienation.

Final Thoughts

While all forms of abuse can feel like a never-ending hopeless situation, Masters Law Group is here to help you see a light at the end of the tunnel. We provide an array of family law services including Orders of Protection and divorce services for our clients. Our highly experienced family law attorneys offer skillful legal representation that will guide you through to safety for your children and yourself.

Get in touch with us here today to discuss and execute the best plan of action for you and your family.