Tag Archive for: divorce mediator

DuPage Divorce Lawyer

DuPage County boasts a supportive environment for businesses, a haven for families, and a hub for innovation. However, behind the suburban facade, troubled marriages and divorces persist. 

Despite the idyllic setting, many families face divorce’s emotional and legal challenges. If you’re navigating the complexities of divorce in DuPage County, Masters Law Group is here to help and support you through this difficult process.

Understanding Divorce

Divorce is a legal process that dissolves a marriage, ending the legal relationship between spouses. It involves various emotional, financial, and practical considerations. Understanding divorce requires acknowledging its complexities and potential impacts on individuals and families. 

What leads to divorce? The reasons can be numerous. A range of factors, such as lack of communication, infidelity, constant conflict, and other situations, can heighten the risk of divorce. Financially, divorce often involves dividing assets and liabilities accumulated during the marriage, determining spousal support, and addressing child support and custody issues. 

Divorce can have long-term effects on children, family dynamics, and social relationships. Therefore, seeking support from friends, family, and family law attorneys can be crucial in navigating the complexities of divorce and moving forward with clarity and resilience.

Navigating Divorce in DuPage

While Illinois divorce rates are depleting, in DuPage County, the divorce rate trend is less consistent:

  • 2012: 2,308
  • 2013: 2,233
  • 2014: 2,301
  • 2015: 2355
  • 2016: 2210
  • 2017: 2285

(*Note: DuPage County is currently only documented up to 2017)

In DuPage and throughout  Illinois, divorce operates under a no-fault system, necessitating only the presence of irreconcilable differences for legal separation. This means divorcing couples don’t need to assign blame to dissolve their marriage. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the highest divorce rates in Illinois are in the following five counties:

  • Cook County
  • DuPage County 
  • Lake County 
  • Will County
  • Kane County

Navigating a divorce in DuPage County demands careful selection of legal representation. When seeking a divorce lawyer, reliability is paramount. Effective communication and a strong rapport are essential, given the protracted nature of divorce proceedings. While experience in family law, particularly divorce law, is crucial, finding an attorney you trust and respect is equally important.

Starting the Divorce Process

In DuPage County, Illinois, initiating the divorce process typically begins with filing a petition for dissolution of marriage at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office. This petition outlines the grounds for divorce. The petition can include irreconcilable differences or fault-based reasons such as infidelity.

Along with the petition, the filer must also serve the other party, the respondent, with a copy of the documents. Once served, the respondent has the opportunity to respond to the petition. If both parties agree on property division, child custody, and support, they may proceed with an uncontested divorce, often resulting in a faster and less costly process. 

However, if there are disputes, the case may proceed to court, where a judge will decide on contested matters. It’s advisable for individuals navigating divorce in DuPage County to seek legal counsel to help protect their rights throughout the process.

Alternative Divorce Methods

Alternative divorce methods offer couples varying pathways to dissolve their marriage with differing levels of complexity and contention. In cases where the dissolution is relatively straightforward, joint and simplified divorce procedures provide expedited routes, requiring mutual agreement on key issues and minimal conflicts. 

Uncontested divorces follow a standard procedure but involve spouses who are largely in accord regarding the terms, reducing the time and resources needed compared to contested divorces. Beyond these options, couples may explore alternatives such as legal separation. 

  • Legal separation offers an alternative to divorce, addressing concerns of couples who wish to live separately without permanently ending their marriage.
  • Civil unions, recognized in DuPage and across Illinois, undergo a dissolution process similar to that of marriage, necessitating legal guidance to navigate.

These alternative methods offer flexibility and choice to couples seeking to end their union in a manner that best suits their circumstances and preferences.

Working With Masters Law Group

Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged journey that often requires the guidance of seasoned family law professionals. At Masters Law Group, our family law attorneys are here to provide valuable assistance, helping to ensure that your rights and the best interests of your children remain at the forefront of every decision. Here are some areas where we can help guide you:

  • Parenting Time: If you have children, it’s essential to work closely with your attorney to determine the most suitable arrangements for child custody and visitation. We aim to help create arrangements prioritizing your children’s well-being and best interests.
  • Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution: We encourage exploring options like mediation and collaborative divorce, which can facilitate mutually beneficial agreements outside the courtroom. Our family law attorneys will skillfully guide you through these processes, representing your interests and helping you secure a smoother negotiation experience.
  • Post-Divorce Modifications: Life can bring unexpected changes even after the divorce is finalized. Circumstances may arise that require modifications to parental responsibilities, visitation, or support arrangements. Our attorneys are here to assist you in addressing these changes promptly and effectively, helping protect your rights and the interests of your children.

By working with a DuPage divorce attorney, you can confidently navigate the complexities of divorce and reduce stress. Your rights and the well-being of your family are our top priorities.

Last Thoughts

The complexities of divorce, especially concerning children and/or substantial assets, necessitate legal assistance. Masters Law Group is ready to advocate for you throughout your divorce process.

If you have questions about divorce in DuPage County, an experienced DuPage divorce lawyer can assist you. Our firm has years of experience providing counsel to the community of DuPage County, and we are here to answer any of your questions about divorce or other family law matters. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Divorce Mediation vs. Litigation

Divorce mediation or litigation? When couples decide to end their marriage, they often choose between the two. While both approaches have their merits, it’s crucial to understand the differences and consider your options carefully. 

Divorce is a challenging and emotional process, no matter where you are at in life. Masters Law Group, located in Oak Brook, Illinois, with offices in downtown Chicago, is a law firm committed to helping couples navigate these difficult decisions and offers a comprehensive approach to divorce resolution. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Divorce Mediation

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where an impartial or neutral mediator helps guide you and your spouse in settlement efforts. Unlike judges, a mediator cannot decide for you or your spouse. Their job is to keep you and your spouse focused on your needs and interests instead of faults and rights.

When a couple begins divorce mediation, they choose the mediator in advance, or the court may appoint one. Both spouses provide documentation to support their viewpoints regarding disputed issues while the mediator works with both sides to find a resolution. The mediator’s goal is to reach an agreement between the two parties. 

Benefits of Divorce Mediation include:

  1. Faster Resolution: Mediation often leads to a quicker resolution than a court-based divorce. Mediation sessions can be scheduled at the convenience of the parties involved, and they can work at their own pace, leading to a faster outcome.
  2. Greater Control: In mediation, the divorcing couple retains control over the outcome and decisions made. They actively participate in crafting agreements that best suit their unique needs and circumstances, rather than having a judge impose decisions on them.
  3. Less Emotional Stress: Mediation tends to be less adversarial and confrontational compared to litigation. It provides a more supportive and less combative environment, which can reduce the emotional stress and conflict associated with divorce.
  4. Confidentiality: Mediation is a private process, and discussions that occur during mediation are generally confidential. This allows both parties to speak openly and honestly without fear of their statements being used against them in court.
  5. Preservation of Relationships: For divorcing couples who will continue to co-parent or have ongoing relationships, mediation can help maintain a more amicable and cooperative atmosphere, which can be beneficial for both parties and any children involved.
  6. Customized Solutions: Mediation allows for creative and customized solutions that take into account the specific needs and concerns of the divorcing couple and their children. This flexibility can result in more tailored agreements than what a court might provide.
  7. Reduced Court Involvement: Since many issues are resolved through mediation, there may be fewer court appearances and less time spent navigating the legal system, reducing the overall burden on both parties.
  8. Improved Communication Skills: Mediation often helps couples improve their communication skills and learn effective ways to resolve conflicts, which can be valuable skills for future interactions and co-parenting.
  9. Reduced Post-Divorce Disputes: Because mediated agreements are typically reached through mutual understanding and cooperation, there may be fewer post-divorce disputes and a higher likelihood of compliance with the agreed-upon terms.

Divorce Mediation Drawbacks

While mediation offers numerous benefits, it’s important to acknowledge the potential drawbacks. These drawbacks come into play when the parties involved are unwilling to engage in constructive negotiation. Successful mediation hinges on the commitment of all parties to resolve. Issues that remain unresolved can lead to additional expenses and extended negotiation timelines.

In addition to understanding the advantages and disadvantages of mediation, it’s valuable to discern when mediation is the most appropriate choice for your unique situation. Some cases that are particularly well-suited for mediation include:

  1. Partnership disagreements
  2. Contract issues
  3. Will contests
  4. Employment issues
  5. Divorce
  6. Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

By recognizing the strengths and limitations of mediation, individuals can make informed decisions regarding their conflict resolution needs.

Understanding Litigation

Divorce litigation is a legal process used to resolve the issues surrounding the dissolution of a marriage when couples cannot reach an agreement on their own. This approach involves taking the divorce case to court, where a judge will make decisions on key matters, including property division, child custody, and spousal support if the spouses cannot agree to negotiation or mediation.

Here’s a breakdown of how divorce litigation typically works:

  • Filing a Petition: The process begins with one spouse filing a divorce petition, formally initiating the divorce proceedings.
  • Legal Representation: Both spouses hire their attorneys to represent their respective interests. These attorneys will provide guidance, negotiate on behalf of their clients, and advocate for their rights during court proceedings.
  • Court Proceedings: Divorce litigation involves court hearings, legal motions, and formal discovery processes where each side gathers evidence and information.
  • Decision by the Judge: Ultimately, a judge will make decisions on the disputed issues, often after a trial. The judge has the final say, and the outcome is out of the hands of the divorcing couple.

Here are some potential benefits of litigation over mediation:

  1. Adjudication by a Judge: In litigation, the divorce case is presented to a judge who makes legally binding decisions on the issues in dispute, such as property division, child custody, and alimony. If you believe that your interests are not being adequately protected in mediation, or if there are serious disagreements that cannot be resolved through negotiation, going to court allows for a neutral third party to make the final decisions.
  2. Legal Protections: Litigation offers a more formalized legal process with established rules and procedures. This can provide legal protections to ensure fairness and adherence to the law. In some cases, individuals may be concerned that mediation could lead to agreements that are not legally sound or enforceable.
  3. Discovery Process: Litigation allows for the use of legal tools such as depositions, subpoenas, and interrogatories to gather evidence and information from the opposing party. This can be crucial in complex cases where there are concerns about hidden assets or uncooperative spouses.
  4. Enforcement of Court Orders: Court-ordered judgments are enforceable by law. If one party fails to comply with the court’s orders, the other party can seek legal remedies through the court system to enforce the judgment.
  5. Binding Decisions: In litigation, the judge’s decisions are binding and final, providing a clear resolution to the divorce case. This can reduce the potential for ongoing disputes or disagreements after the divorce is finalized.
  6. Protection in High-Conflict Situations: In cases of high conflict, where emotions run extremely high or there are concerns about safety and abuse, litigation may provide a more structured and protective environment. Court orders can include provisions for restraining orders, protective orders, and supervised visitation to ensure the safety of all parties involved.
  7. Clear Legal Precedent: Litigation can establish legal precedent in certain cases, which can be important for clarifying legal issues and setting standards for future cases. This can be particularly relevant in cases involving complex legal questions.

It’s important to note that litigation can also be more time-consuming, emotionally draining, and potentially more expensive than mediation.

Litigation Drawbacks

While divorce litigation can resolve challenging cases, it also comes with certain drawbacks that individuals should be aware of when considering this route. It’s important to know that this option can become a long endeavor, characterized by multiple court appearances, filing legal motions, and extensive documentation. 

In litigation, the ultimate determinations rest with the judge, reducing the divorcing couple’s control over the outcome. Furthermore, court proceedings are generally open to the public, potentially exposing sensitive personal information to scrutiny. While it is a necessary option in some cases, it’s worth exploring alternative methods of conflict resolution to determine what best suits your specific circumstances and priorities. Working with an experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate this complex terrain.

Masters Law Group: Your Oak Brook Divorce Law and Mediation Professionals

If you’re currently residing in Illinois and seeking a family law attorney to assist you in finalizing your divorce, Masters Law Group is here to provide the support you need. Our team of experienced divorce and mediation attorneys is fully prepared to advocate for you and your family. Here’s how our attorneys can help you:

  • Experienced Mediators: The firm’s mediators have extensive experience in family law and are skilled in facilitating productive discussions between divorcing spouses.
  • Experienced Litigators: A skilled litigator has the experience to present your case effectively before the judge. They meticulously prepare legal arguments, gather evidence, and strategically plan to secure your most favorable outcome.
  • Conflict Resolution: They are professionals in conflict resolution, focusing on finding peaceful solutions for both parties and their children.
  • Protecting Your Interests: Masters Law Group attorneys work to protect your legal rights and best interest for you and your children.

Erin E. Masters and Anthony G. Joseph have consistently earned recognition from esteemed publications year after year (including Best Lawyers, Best Law Firm, Top 100 Lawyers, and Leading Lawyers), a testament to their unwavering work ethic, strong character, and experience in family law. Our track record of success reassures you have a trustworthy ally throughout your divorce proceedings.

Final Thoughts

Divorce is a difficult journey, but in Oak Brook, and across Illinois, couples have access to professional help to make the process smoother and more manageable for everyone involved.

When choosing between divorce mediation and litigation, the decision should be based on your unique circumstances. Masters Law Group offers guidance and a compassionate approach to divorce and mediation, helping you find the best path forward for you and your family. Whether mediation or litigation, the goal is to achieve a resolution allowing everyone to move forward.

Contact us today to set up your complimentary consultation.

DuPage Divorce Lawyer

With nearly a million residents, DuPage is Illinois’ second-most populous county. With a higher population, DuPage also has the second-highest divorce rate in the state. If you need a divorce lawyer in DuPage County, see how Masters Law Group can help. 

Located just west of Chicago, DuPage County provides a supportive ecosystem for businesses, a launchpad for innovators, a strategic location for critical logistics operations, and a healthy home for families. But living in a picturesque suburban town doesn’t equal happy families for all. As with anywhere in the world, troubled marriages and divorce persist.

What factors lead to divorce?

In Illinois and around the country, married couples seek divorce for many reasons. This study found that the following factors may increase a couple’s risk of divorce.

  • A lack of communication
  • Infidelity
  • Conflict and arguing
  • Marrying too young
  • Financial issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Health issues
  • Lack of family support
  • Religious differences
  • Lack of premarital education

The state of Illinois is considered a no-fault divorce state. The only grounds required to seek a divorce are irreconcilable differences, meaning that divorcing spouses do not need to prove fault to be granted a divorce in Illinois.

NAVIGATING DIVORCE IN DuPage

One of the most important decisions you’ll make during the divorce process is choosing the right lawyer.

When seeking a divorce lawyer in DuPage County, reliability is essential. It is vital to evaluate how effectively they communicate with you to establish a positive relationship. A strong rapport is crucial because divorce cases can take several months to settle. While the DuPage-based lawyer’s goal should not be excelling in personability and charm, (it should be excelling in family law, especially divorce law), it is important that you trust and respect their professional advice and want to work with them.

Throughout the process, you may have multiple questions, concerns, or disputes, and you require someone who can ease your worries. Voted Best Lawyers 2023 and Best Law Firms 2023, Masters Law Group, we begin by understanding your goals for the divorce and how you wish to feel once the process is complete. We discuss your objectives in detail to provide exceptional legal representation. Additionally, we offer complimentary consultations to help you evaluate if we are the right fit for your needs.

GETTING STARTED

Aside from contacting your Illinois-based family law attorney, as soon as one or both parties decide that divorce is absolutely the only answer, the first step is filing the paperwork with your local court clerk. The forms you complete may vary from county to county, so it is important that you do some research based on DuPage County divorces. Wherever you live, however, you will need to file what is called a “petition for dissolution of marriage.” The forms are a bit different if you have children. For example, you will need to file a joint parenting agreement, uniform order of support, and visitation forms if you have children. You can also find other required forms on the Illinois court website.

Although the law specifically prohibits judges from analyzing fault when dividing property in a divorce, judges may evaluate whether or not one spouse dissipated marital assets during the marriage.

DuPage CONTESTED DIVORCES

A contested divorce happens when both spouses want a divorce but can’t agree on some of the terms of the divorce, like custody and spousal support. It can also occur if the spouse does not respond to the divorce petition.

In contested divorces, the judge may order you to go through additional steps like divorce mediation in DuPage. The mediation can result in an agreed settlement between the parties.

If mediation doesn’t work, your case will go to trial, and the judge will make the final determination on specific issues you and your spouse couldn’t agree on.

ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURES in DuPage County

If you and your spouse don’t have any children, have little money, and agree on everything, Illinois courts may allow you to have what is called a joint and simplified divorce.

You and your spouse can file a Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage if:

  • no spousal support (alimony) will be paid
  • no-fault grounds are used
  • there are no children and the wife is not pregnant
  • you have not been married more than 8 years
  • neither of you have any real property
  • the total equity in your marital property is less than $10,000
  • the combined annual income of you and your spouse is less than $35,000
  • neither of you earn more than $20,000 annually
  • you both disclosed your assets and tax returns for the years you were married, and
  • you and your spouse have a written agreement dividing all of your property in excess of $100 in value, and allocating who will be responsible for each debt owed.

If you don’t meet the requirements for the Simplified procedure, but you and your spouse are in agreement on all matters, you may still file an uncontested divorce using the standard procedure.

DuPage LEGAL SEPARATION

DuPage County (and across Illinois) is one of the areas that recognize legal separation. Legal separation does not permanently end the marriage. However, a judge must approve the separation agreement, which defines the spouses’ legal rights and obligations.

For individuals with religious concerns or insurance issues who may be discouraged from seeking a formal divorce, a legal separation could be the preferred course of action.  With a legal separation, many of the same issues determined in a divorce can be adjudicated, but without the finality of a legal divorce being granted.

This is a good option if you don’t want a divorce but want to live separately and want legal clarification on matters concerning child custody, child support, child custody, and property division.

DuPage CIVIL UNION DIVORCE

Civil unions allow two adults, of either the same or opposite sex, to enter into a legally recognized relationship. Several unique issues can arise during the process of establishing or dissolving a civil union, so it is vital to have a knowledgeable DuPage Divorce lawyer to guide you through every step.

Dissolving a civil union is nearly the same as dissolving a marriage. Any couple who wishes to dissolve a civil union will be able to do so in the State of Illinois. To receive a certified copy of a Dissolution of Civil Union records, an interested couple will need to go to the county circuit court clerk where the civil union was granted.

GETTING THE HELP YOU NEED WITH MASTERS LAW GROUP

Even a no-fault divorce is a complicated legal process, particularly when children or high assets are involved.

Whether you are facing a contested divorce, uncontested divorce, or a civil union divorce, the experienced DuPage attorneys at Masters Law Group are ready to skillfully advocate for your position and provide your voice when you need it most.

If you are seeking answers to questions regarding divorce, separation, child support and other matters in DuPage County, contact Chicagoland’s premier family law group here today to schedule a consultation.

Common Mistakes to Avoid During a Divorce

Divorce Mistakes can be minimized dramatically through proper preparation and avoiding pitfalls. If you’re facing an unsettling divorce situation, here are our top pitfalls to avoid. 

Divorce is difficult in many layers. It affects not only 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 reducing these challenges?

Beyond choosing a quality divorce firm and emotionally preparing yourself, there are many mistakes – that, if avoided – will make divorce much more accessible. Read on to learn common mistakes we’ve observed at Masters Law Group after years of counseling those seeking a divorce.

Not Talking to a Divorce Attorney

When looking to divorce, some will attempt to settle on their own. This may come from an idea of an “amicable approach,” but it can put you and your loved ones in a compromising position in the long term. Approximately half of all marriages end in divorce. Notably, this figure primarily applies to first marriages, of which about half result in dissolution. However, the failure rate for second and third marriages is significantly higher.

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 aren’t easily navigated. Avoid this mistake if you can. Seek quality legal counsel so that your life post-divorce is what you want.

Setting Unrealistic Goals & Timelines

The emotional aspect of divorce can often influence our approach to the process. Whether you’re the one seeking a divorce or it’s your former partner, you might feel that certain aspects are “unfair” or that the process should move faster than it is. One common problem that arises with unrealistic timelines is when a spouse becomes disgruntled and intentionally prolongs the process to cause financial or emotional harm to the other party.

This situation highlights the importance of having legal counsel that can remain emotionally detached from the divorce. Having such counsel will help you set appropriate timelines and realistic goals while providing you with an advocate who works at the highest level to achieve the best possible outcome.

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 complicated than need be.
  • Divorce Tunnel Vision: While getting wrapped up in your divorce is easy, 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 divorce. If your legal counsel isn’t aware, these unforeseen challenges can derail a plan they’ve laid out. This can ultimately cost you more money and reduce the positive outcome of your goals.

Final Thoughts

Avoiding these mistakes and sidestepping potential challenges is your best course of action for a positive outcome in your divorce. Consequently, being unprepared or even attempting to divorce can lead you to these issues, causing emotional harm and potential financial and legal ramifications. 

At Masters Law Group, our firm’s mission is to solve your problems and achieve the best possible results for you and your loved ones. With a strong emphasis on serving clients in Chicago’s Western Suburbs, including Elmhurst, Hinsdale, DuPage, and Oakbrook, we offer a range of services designed to assist parents, children, and families during difficult times such as divorce, parenting time, and the allocation of parental responsibilities.

If you’re currently navigating a divorce, or considering one, schedule a consultation with us today to learn how we can help.

Getting a Military Divorce? Here’s What You Should Know

Military regulations are clear that remarriage means that a spouse loses the military ID card and associated privileges (e.g. commissary and base exchange shopping). But there are more unique situations that are associated with military divorces. Read on to learn more. 

If you’re getting divorced and your spouse is in active military service, you may be wondering what this will mean for your divorce. Even if you and your spouse mutually decide to split, your spouse’s military status may have an affect on how your divorce goes.

Whether you are looking to file a simple no-fault divorce or if your case is more complex, Masters Law Group can help. Here’s what you need to know.

Active Duty Service Members and Divorce

If you’re a military spouse, you may be wondering whether you can pursue a divorce. The answer is yes. However, there are some limitations on what you can do.

The Federal Service Members Civil Relief Act of 2003 requires a person seeking a divorce to state their spouse is not a member of the U.S. armed forces. This rule prevents spouses from divorcing military members who would be unable to attend divorce proceedings.

If your spouse is a member of the military, you can pursue a divorce as long as they consent. However, they have to sign a defendant’s affidavit of consent.

Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act

If you or your spouse are an active member of the military, there’s a good chance the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) may affect how you divide your assets.

Here’s what the USFSPA covers:

  • Commissary and exchange privileges
  • Health care coverage and other benefits
  • Military retirement pay

If you or your spouse is an active member of the military, it’s important to know that a former spouse does not automatically get a portion of the service member’s retirement pay and there are specific requirements to qualify.

What You’ll Need to File a Divorce

Even though there are a few added rules when it comes to the military divorce process, the remaining process is very similar to civilian divorce. You will still need to agree on the following:

  • Division of assets such as homes, vehicles, money and other property
  • Division of credit card debt, loans and any other outstanding debt
  • Spousal support
  • Child custody

In many cases, you can file for a no-fault divorce (Illinois is a No-Fault Divorce State) if you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce. If not, however, an experienced divorce lawyer can help mediate your dispute and draft a settlement agreement. 

Last Thoughts

It’s never easy to make a decision that will impact your life and the lives of your family members. But when you’re a military family, there are even more considerations to keep in mind.

Because military families face unique challenges, our firm has made it our mission to help make sure you get through this difficult time as smoothly as possible. In Illinois, you need to comply with the mandatory waiting period that exists for military families. Typically, there is a 90 day waiting period to obtain a divorce if one spouse, or both spouses, are active in the military. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act requires a spouse to either reside or be stationed in Illinois for 90 days.

How Masters Can Help

We understand that military life can be difficult for families. When it comes to divorce, there are many factors to consider before making a decision about your future. 

From splitting retirement pensions to child support, at Masters Law Group, we take into account all aspects of military life when working with our clients during their divorces. We know that there are more than just two sides to every story; when working with us as your attorneys, we will give both sides equal weight as we chart out a plan that works best for everyone involved.

We can help you and your spouse understand the unique circumstance of a military divorce and ensure that you make the best decisions for your family. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

 

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.

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.

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.