Tag Archive for: DuPage Divorce Attorney

4 Must-Dos to Save Your Marriage: Insights from Masters Law Group

Trying to save your marriage feels like protecting a fragile journey that both of you have embarked on together. It’s about protecting the bond that connects your hearts, especially when facing tough times.

Please note: This article is not for individuals in a dangerous or abusive environment. If you or your children are at risk, seek immediate help via this link for Illinois’ Domestic Violence assistance, or call the Domestic Violence Helpline: 

  • 1-877-TO END DV or 1-877-863-6338 (Voice)
  • 1-877-863-6339 (TTY)

The hotline is toll free, confidential, multilingual, and open 24-hour.

63% of people who divorced said having a better understanding of commitment prior to marrying could have stopped their union from collapsing. More than half said that if they had a better understanding of their spouse’s morals and values prior to getting married, they might still be together.

At Masters Law Group, we empathize with the intricate dynamics of relationships, recognizing the strains that may push couples toward contemplating divorce. However, before taking that significant step, there are crucial actions you can take that could salvage your relationship. Here are four must-dos to try and save your marriage, grounded in professional insight and practical advice.


Communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. Misunderstandings, resentment, and emotional distance can easily creep in without it. Many couples drift apart simply because they stop talking to each other. At Masters Law Group, we’ve seen how poor communication often precedes the decision to file for divorce. If you’re looking to save your marriage, here are some tips to help move communication:

  • Schedule Regular Check-Ins: Make it a habit to sit down and discuss your feelings, concerns, and expectations. This doesn’t have to be formal—sometimes, the best conversations happen over coffee or during a walk in the park.
  • Active Listening: Listen to your partner without interrupting. Validate their feelings and show empathy. Often, people want to feel heard and understood.
  • Avoid Blame Games: Focus on expressing your feelings using “I” statements rather than blaming your partner. For instance, say, “I feel neglected when you come home late” instead of “You never come home on time.”
  • Seek Professional Help: Sometimes, a neutral third party, like a marriage counselor, can facilitate better communication. Therapy can provide tools and strategies to improve your dialogue and resolve conflicts effectively.


Over time, it’s natural for the initial passion in a relationship to fade. However, maintaining emotional and physical intimacy is crucial for a healthy marriage. At Masters Law Group, we often hear from clients who feel their marriages have become more like business partnerships than romantic ones. Here are some ways you can help reignite that spark:

  • Date Nights: Regularly set aside time for just the two of you. Whether it’s a fancy dinner out or a cozy night in, make sure it’s something you both enjoy.
  • Surprise Each Other: Small, unexpected gestures can go a long way in making your partner feel special. This could be a handwritten note, a favorite snack, or a spontaneous weekend getaway.
  • Physical Touch: Don’t underestimate the power of touch. Hold hands, hug, and make time for intimacy. Physical closeness can strengthen your bond and reinforce your connection.
  • Shared Activities: Find hobbies or activities that you both enjoy. This can create shared experiences and memories, reinforcing your bond.


Every couple argues—it’s a natural part of any relationship. However, how you handle these conflicts can make or break your marriage. At Masters Law Group, we’ve observed that unresolved conflicts can lead to long-term resentment and, eventually, marriage breakdown. Here are some strategies for conflict resolution:

  • Stay Calm: Avoid raising your voice or letting anger take control. Take a break if needed to cool down before discussing the issue.
  • Focus on the Issue, Not the Person: Attack the problem, not your partner. Stay focused on resolving the issue rather than bringing up past grievances or personal attacks.
  • Compromise: Be willing to meet in the middle. Relationships are about give and take; sometimes, finding a middle ground is the best solution.
  • Agree to Disagree: Recognize that you won’t agree on everything. It’s okay to have different opinions as long as you respect each other’s perspectives.


Having a robust support system can provide the emotional and practical help you need to navigate the ups and downs of marriage. At Masters Law Group, we understand that external support can often provide a fresh perspective and much-needed encouragement during tough times.

  • Family and Friends: Lean on trusted family members and friends who can offer advice and support. They can provide a different perspective and remind you of the love and commitment you have for each other.
  • Couples Therapy: Professional counseling can offer strategies and tools to strengthen your relationship. Therapists can help you understand each other better and work through issues constructively.
  • Support Groups: Joining a support group for couples can provide a sense of community. Sharing experiences with others in similar situations can be comforting and informative.
  • Self-Care: Taking care of your mental and physical health is crucial. When you feel good about yourself, you can bring a more positive attitude to your relationship.


Despite your best efforts, there are times when the challenges in a marriage may feel insurmountable. If you’ve tried these strategies and still find your relationship struggling, it may be time to seek professional help. 

At Masters Law Group, we offer comprehensive family law services, including divorce, mediation, and counseling referrals. We aim to help you save your marriage, and we understand that divorce is sometimes the best option for both parties.

Our divorce attorneys are here to help provide compassionate and knowledgeable support through every step of the divorce process. 


In order to help save your marriage requires effort, commitment, and a willingness to seek help. Divorce is a difficult journey, but couples in DuPage County and across Illinois can access professional help to make the process smoother for everyone involved. Masters Law Group offers guidance on divorce and mediation, helping you find the best path forward for you and your family. 

Contact us today to set up your complimentary consultation.

DuPage Polish-Speaking Divorce Attorney

Finding a divorce attorney who understands American and Polish cultural nuances is crucial for Polish-speaking individuals in DuPage County. (Polska wersja poniżej/polish version below.)

Polish-American culture is a significant and vibrant part of the Chicagoland area, with 1.9 million Polish Americans calling Chicago and the surrounding suburbs home. This rich cultural presence makes it essential to have legal support that respects and understands these unique needs.

In this blog, we will explore essential steps for navigating divorce and highlight how a Polish-speaking divorce attorney can provide valuable assistance. Here’s what you need to know to make the process smoother and more manageable.

Understanding the Complexity of Divorce

Divorce is a legal process that dissolves a marriage, ending the legal relationship between spouses. For Polish-speaking individuals, these challenges are compounded by the need to navigate the legal system in a second language. Understanding divorce requires acknowledging its complexities and potential impacts on individuals and families. 

Associate Attorney Catherine Brukalo

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 parental responsibility 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.

Why Choose a Polish-Speaking Attorney?

Navigating a divorce in DuPage County demands careful selection of legal representation. When seeking a Polish-speaking divorce attorney, reliability is paramount. A divorce attorney does more than represent you in court. They provide legal guidance and emotional support and help you navigate an often confusing. A Polish-speaking divorce attorney can help protect your rights and work towards the best possible outcome for your case. 

It’s not just about overcoming language barriers; it’s also about cultural understanding and sensitivity. At Masters Law Group, we proudly offer Polish-speaking divorce and family law services. Family law partner Catherine Brukalo is fluent in Polish and English, helping bridge the gap between Polish and American legal systems.

A Trusted Advocate in DuPage County

Partner Catherine Brukalo’s reputation as a skilled and trustworthy divorce attorney is well-established in DuPage County. Her clients appreciate her dedication, professionalism, and unwavering commitment to their cases. She understands the emotional turmoil that comes with divorce and offers not just legal representation but also emotional support. Her clients feel heard, understood, and supported throughout the entire process.

Whether it’s a high-conflict divorce requiring assertive litigation or an amicable separation needing mediation, Ms. Brukalo tailors her approach to help her clients achieve the best possible outcome. If you’re a Polish-speaking individual looking for help navigating the complexities of divorce, our attorneys can help you achieve a swift resolution with confidence and clarity.

Working With Masters Law Group

At Masters Law Group, we understand that divorce is stressful, and having support in your native language can make a significant difference. Our Polish-speaking divorce attorneys are here to help you navigate the process with ease and understanding. Here’s how our team can assist you:

  1. Parenting Time: If you have children, it’s essential to work closely with your attorney to determine the most suitable arrangements for parental responsibilities and visitation. We aim to help create arrangements that prioritize your children’s well-being and best interests.
  2. 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 help guide you through the processes, helping you achieve a smooth negotiation experience.
  3. 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 promptly addressing these changes.

Final Thoughts

Navigating a divorce is challenging but becomes manageable with the right divorce attorney. If you have questions about navigating divorce in DuPage County, a skilled Polish-speaking divorce lawyer can assist you.

Our firm has years of experience providing counsel to the community of DuPage County. We are here to answer any questions about divorce or other family law matters. Don’t face this journey alone—seek professional assistance and help ensure your rights and best interests are protected.

Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

FAQs for Polish-speaking individuals in DuPage County

  • How do I schedule a consultation with Catherine Brukalo? To schedule a consultation with Ms. Brukalo, contact her here.
  • What should I bring to my first meeting with a divorce attorney? For your first meeting, bring any relevant documents such as financial statements, property deeds, prenuptial agreements, and any court orders or legal documents related to your marriage.
  • How long does the divorce process take? The duration of the divorce process can vary depending on the case’s complexity and whether it is contested or uncontested. On average, it can take several months to over a year.
  • What if my spouse and I agree on everything? If you and your spouse agree on all terms of the divorce, Ms. Brukalo can help you draft a settlement agreement and help ensure that all legal requirements are met for a smooth and quick divorce process.


Polskojęzyczny Adwokat Rozwodowy.

Znalezienie adwokata rozwodowego, który rozumie amerykańskie i polskie niuanse kulturowe, jest kluczowe dla osób mówiących po polsku w powiecie DuPage i całym Illinois.

Polsko-amerykańska kultura jest znaczącą i żywotną częścią obszaru metropolitalnego Chicago, gdzie 1,9 miliona Polaków nazywa Chicago i okoliczne przedmieścia swoim domem. Ta bogata obecność kulturowa sprawia, że niezbędne jest posiadanie wsparcia prawnego, które szanuje i rozumie te unikalne potrzeby.

W tym blogu omówimy istotne kroki dotyczące radzenia sobie z rozwodem i podkreślimy, w jaki sposób polskojęzyczny adwokat rozwodowy może zapewnić cenną pomoc. Oto, co musisz wiedzieć, aby proces był bardziej płynny i znośny.


Rozwód to proces prawny, który rozwiązuje małżeństwo, kończąc prawną relację między małżonkami. Dla osób mówiących po polsku te wyzwania są dodatkowo skomplikowane koniecznością poruszania się po systemie prawnym w drugim języku. Rozumienie rozwodu wymaga uznania jego złożoności i potencjalnych skutków dla jednostek i rodzin.

Co prowadzi do rozwodu? Przyczyny mogą być liczne. Szereg czynników, takich jak brak komunikacji, niewierność, ciągłe konflikty i inne sytuacje, mogą zwiększać ryzyko rozwodu. Finansowo, rozwód często wiąże się z podziałem majątku i zobowiązań zgromadzonych podczas małżeństwa, ustaleniem wsparcia dla małżonka oraz rozstrzygnięciem kwestii odpowiedzialności rodzicielskiej.

Rozwód może mieć długoterminowe skutki dla dzieci, dynamiki rodziny i relacji społecznych. Dlatego szukanie wsparcia u przyjaciół, rodziny i adwokatów rodzinnych może być kluczowe w radzeniu sobie z zawiłościami rozwodu i kontynuowaniu życia z jasnością i odpornością.


Poruszanie się po rozwodzie w powiecie DuPage wymaga starannego wyboru reprezentacji prawnej. Szukając polskojęzycznego adwokata rozwodowego, niezawodność jest najważniejsza. Adwokat rozwodowy nie tylko reprezentuje cię w sądzie. Zapewnia on również porady prawne i wsparcie emocjonalne oraz pomaga poruszać się w często mylącym systemie. Polskojęzyczny adwokat rozwodowy może pomóc chronić twoje prawa i dążyć do najlepszego możliwego wyniku twojej sprawy.

To nie tylko kwestia pokonania barier językowych; chodzi także o zrozumienie kulturowe i wrażliwość. W Masters Law Group z dumą oferujemy polskojęzyczne usługi prawne dotyczące rozwodów i prawa rodzinnego. Partnerka prawnicza Catherine Brukalo biegle mówi po polsku i angielsku, pomagając wypełnić lukę między polskim a amerykańskim systemem prawnym.


Reputacja partnerki Catherine Brukalo jako kompetentnego i godnego zaufania adwokata rozwodowego jest dobrze znana w powiecie DuPage. Jej klienci doceniają jej zaangażowanie, profesjonalizm i niezłomne oddanie ich sprawom. Rozumie ona emocjonalne zawirowania związane z rozwodem i oferuje nie tylko reprezentację prawną, ale także wsparcie emocjonalne. Jej klienci czują się wysłuchani, zrozumiani i wspierani przez cały proces.

Niezależnie od tego, czy jest to rozwód wymagający zdecydowanego postępowania sądowego, czy przyjazne rozstanie wymagające mediacji, pani Brukalo dostosowuje swoje podejście, aby pomóc swoim klientom osiągnąć najlepszy możliwy wynik. Jeśli jesteś osobą mówiącą po polsku szukającą pomocy w radzeniu sobie z zawiłościami rozwodu, nasi adwokaci mogą pomóc ci osiągnąć szybkie rozwiązanie z pewnością siebie i jasnością.


W Masters Law Group rozumiemy, że rozwód jest stresujący, a wsparcie w ojczystym języku może mieć znaczącą różnicę. Nasi polskojęzyczni adwokaci rozwodowi są tutaj, aby pomóc ci poruszać się po procesie z łatwością i zrozumieniem. Oto, jak nasz zespół może ci pomóc:

Czas Rodzicielski: Jeśli masz dzieci, ważne jest, aby ściśle współpracować ze swoim adwokatem w celu ustalenia najbardziej odpowiednich aranżacji dotyczących odpowiedzialności rodzicielskiej i odwiedzin. Naszym celem jest pomoc w stworzeniu aranżacji, które priorytetowo traktują dobro twoich dzieci i ich najlepsze interesy.

Mediacja i Alternatywne Rozwiązywanie Sporów: Zachęcamy do eksploracji opcji takich jak mediacja i rozwód kooperacyjny, które mogą ułatwić wzajemnie korzystne porozumienia poza sądem. Nasi adwokaci rodzinnych będą cię prowadzić przez te procesy, pomagając osiągnąć płynne doświadczenie negocjacyjne.

Modyfikacje Po Rozwodzie: Życie może przynieść nieoczekiwane zmiany nawet po zakończeniu rozwodu. Mogą pojawić się okoliczności, które wymagają modyfikacji odpowiedzialności rodzicielskiej, odwiedzin lub ustaleń dotyczących wsparcia. Nasi adwokaci są tutaj, aby pomóc ci szybko zająć się tymi zmianami.

Ostateczne Myśli

Radzenie sobie z rozwodem jest wyzwaniem, ale staje się możliwe z odpowiednim adwokatem rozwodowym. Jeśli masz pytania dotyczące radzenia sobie z rozwodem w powiecie DuPage, wykwalifikowany polskojęzyczny adwokat rozwodowy może ci pomóc.

Nasza firma ma wieloletnie doświadczenie w udzielaniu porad społeczności powiatu DuPage. Jesteśmy tutaj, aby odpowiedzieć na wszelkie pytania dotyczące rozwodu lub innych kwestii związanych z prawem rodzinnym. Nie stawiaj czoła tej drodze sam – szukaj profesjonalnej pomocy i pomóż zapewnić ochronę swoich praw i najlepszych interesów.

Skontaktuj się z nami dzisiaj, aby umówić się na bezpłatną konsultację.


  • Jak umówić się na konsultację z Catherine Brukalo? Aby umówić się na konsultację z panią Brukalo, skontaktuj się z nią tutaj.
  • Co powinienem przynieść na pierwsze spotkanie z adwokatem rozwodowym? Na pierwsze spotkanie przynieś wszelkie istotne dokumenty, takie jak wyciągi finansowe, akty własności nieruchomości, umowy przedślubne oraz wszelkie postanowienia sądowe lub dokumenty prawne związane z twoim małżeństwem.
  • Jak długo trwa proces rozwodowy? Czas trwania procesu rozwodowego może się różnić w zależności od złożoności sprawy i tego, czy jest ona sporna, czy nie. Średnio może to zająć od kilku miesięcy do ponad roku.
  • Co jeśli ja i mój małżonek zgadzamy się we wszystkim? Jeśli ty i twój małżonek zgadzacie się na wszystkie warunki rozwodu, pani Brukalo może pomóc wam sporządzić ugodę i upewnić się, że wszystkie wymagania prawne są spełnione, aby proces rozwodowy przebiegł płynnie i szybko.

Navigating The Nuances of LGBTQ+ Divorce in Illinois

The end of a marriage is always challenging for the couple involved, and the impact on family members can be significant. This holds true for those in LGBTQ+ marriages as well. If you’re going through a divorce, striving for an amicable resolution is crucial.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Illinois on June 1, 2014, thanks to the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act signed by Governor Pat Quinn on November 20, 2013. This law also allowed civil unions in Illinois to be converted to marriages within a year. 

However, despite these strides, LGBTQ+ couples encounter unique complexities in divorce, including legal nuances and emotional hurdles. Support and guidance from a skilled divorce attorney are crucial to help navigate divorce effectively. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding LGBTQ+ Divorce in Illinois

Navigating a gay divorce involves grappling with legal frameworks that may still be evolving in some jurisdictions. While marriage equality is recognized in many places, the intricacies of divorce laws can vary widely. Moreover, dealing with societal attitudes and biases can add stress to an already challenging situation.

In Illinois, same-sex couples seeking a divorce must adhere to specific criteria. Firstly, they must be legally married. Additionally, they must fulfill the 90-day residency requirement and file for divorce in their county. Irreconcilable differences serve as the primary grounds for divorce, as is the case for all couples in the state. The divorce proceedings typically encompass a blend of out-of-court negotiations, courtroom litigation, and mediation sessions.

Given the intricate nature of divorce proceedings, same-sex couples should seek the guidance of a divorce attorney well-versed in the nuances of same-sex divorce. Getting the help you need will not only help ensure adherence to legal procedures and provide valuable resources for emotional support throughout the process.

Understanding Illinois Asset Division

Asset division can be contentious in any divorce, including for LGBTQ+ couples. Illinois Asset division divides marital property and debts between spouses fairly and equitably. It’s essential to understand that the goal is not necessarily to divide everything equally but rather fairly, considering the unique circumstances of the marriage. Here’s how it works:

  1. Contribution to the Marriage: The court looks at what each spouse brought to the marriage regarding money and non-money contributions like caring for the home or children.
  2. Duration of the Marriage: How long the marriage lasted matters, as it can affect how assets are divided.
  3. Economic Circumstances: Each spouse’s financial situation, including income and needs, is considered.
  4. Non-Marital Property: Things owned before marriage or received as gifts or inheritance during marriage may not be split.
  5. Custodial Arrangements: If there are kids, the court looks at the allocation of parental responsibilities and how it impacts finances.
  6. Spousal Support (Alimony): Whether one spouse needs support payments is factored in.
  7. Tax Consequences: Taxes resulting from asset division are considered to make things fair.
  8. Wasteful Dissipation: If one spouse recklessly spends or wastes money, it can affect the division.
  9. Future Needs: The court considers what each person will need, especially if one is in a tougher spot after the divorce.
  10. Agreements: Any agreements made before or during the marriage, like prenups, are considered if they meet legal standards.

A skilled divorce attorney can help prioritize your best interest regarding asset division. It’s important to note that equitable distribution doesn’t always mean a perfect 50/50 split. It’s about creating a fair and just arrangement based on each family’s unique situation. This process can be tricky, so it’s a good idea to work with a skilled family law attorney to help ensure your rights are protected during asset division in Illinois.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

In Illinois, same-sex couples enjoy equal rights to opposite-sex couples concerning the allocation of parental responsibilities and divorce. However, there are distinct legal considerations that LGBTQ+ couples may encounter during divorce. This includes the following: 

  1. The child is born while the spouses are married to each other.
  2. The child is born after the marriage is terminated. It must be within 300 days after that termination.
  3. In the first two situations, the couple attempted to enter into a marriage or civil union “in apparent compliance with the law.” However, that marriage or union is later terminated or declared invalid for some reason.
  4. A person marries the birth mother after the child is born and consents to being added to the birth certificate.

Additionally, the court may evaluate if one parent is unwilling or unable to engage in co-parenting, potentially leading to a sole parental determination. The law encourages parents to collaborate on crucial child welfare decisions, including education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities. Courts prefer shared responsibility between parents and may allocate it to one if necessary. If parents fail to reach an agreement on a parenting plan, a judge may employ the same criteria utilized in opposite-sex couples’ divorces to decide parental responsibilities.

A skilled divorce attorney can effectively advocate for the children’s best interests while nurturing a positive co-parenting dynamic.

Emotional Support and Healing

Beyond the legal intricacies, the emotional toll of divorce can be profound. For LGBTQ+ individuals, facing the end of a relationship can evoke a wide array of emotions, including feelings of isolation, rejection, and uncertainty about the future. It’s essential to prioritize self-care during this challenging time. Here are some tips for navigating the emotional journey of divorce:

  • Seek Support: Contact friends, family, or mental health professionals for emotional support and guidance.
  • Participate in LGBTQ+-Friendly Support Groups: Joining support groups or therapy sessions tailored to the LGBTQ+ community can provide a safe and understanding space to process emotions.
  • Practice Self-Care: Take time to engage in activities promoting relaxation, mindfulness, and self-reflection.
  • Be Gentle with Yourself: Understand that it’s normal to experience a range of emotions during this time, and it’s okay to give yourself permission to feel and heal at your own pace.
  • Focus on Personal Growth: Use this opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth. Explore new interests, hobbies, or goals that bring fulfillment and joy.

Taking proactive steps to address emotional well-being is crucial for navigating the challenges of divorce and emerging stronger on the other side.

Getting The Help You Need

One of the first steps in navigating the nuances of an LGBTQ+ divorce is seeking the guidance of a knowledgeable divorce attorney. Masters Law Group understands that divorce is a stressful situation and that our clients want to move on with their lives. We empower you to make informed decisions and strive for an outcome that supports your best interests and your family’s.

As such, we move through settlement negotiations, mediation, or litigation with our client’s assurance and well-being in mind. Whether you are facing an LGBTQ+ contested divorce, uncontested divorce, or civil union divorce, our firm’s divorce attorneys are ready to skillfully advocate for your position and provide your voice when you need it most.

Final Thoughts

As we close out Pride Month, Masters Law Group reaffirms its commitment to supporting all members of the LGBTQ+ community, including those navigating divorce. By fostering empathy and understanding, we can help LGBTQ+ individuals emerge from divorce stronger and ready to embrace new beginnings. You don’t have to navigate this journey alone. With the guidance of our compassionate divorce attorneys and a supportive community, healing and closure are within reach. 

Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Tips For Celebrating Father’s Day Amidst Divorce

Father’s Day holds special significance as a time to honor and celebrate the father figures in our lives. Yet, for dads navigating divorce, finding the balance of co-parenting and managing new parenting schedules can feel overwhelming.

The number of children living solely with their fathers has increased over the past few decades. In 1968, only 0.8 million children lived with their fathers. That number has grown to 3.3 million today, reflecting a shift toward fathers taking on roles traditionally reserved for mothers. While divorce and separation have become more common over time, it also provides hope that affected individuals still thrive despite its challenges.

In this blog, we’ll explore strategies for navigating Father’s Day, with tips for supporting your children, focusing on what you can control, and how a family law attorney can provide assistance. Here’s what you need to know.


Planning is one of the most crucial steps to a smooth Father’s Day celebration amidst divorce. Last-minute arrangements can lead to stress and misunderstandings. Here are some key considerations to help you effectively plan for Father’s Day:

  • Make a plan in advance: Discuss and agree on the Father’s Day schedule well in advance. This helps avoid last-minute conflicts and helps ensure both parents are on the same page regarding visitation arrangements. Planning early also allows for adjustments if needed, giving everyone extra time to prepare and make necessary arrangements.
  • Involve the Children: Consider your children’s wishes and feelings when planning for Father’s Day. Ask them how they would like to celebrate and try incorporating their ideas into the plan. Involving them in your plan helps their voices be heard, making them feel included in the celebration. Whether it’s a special outing, a homemade gift, or simply spending quality time together, involving the children in planning can make the day more meaningful for everyone.
  • Be Flexible: While planning is important, it’s also essential to remain flexible. Unexpected events or changes in circumstances may require adjustments to the original plan. Being open to flexibility and willing to accommodate each other’s needs can help prevent conflicts and provide a more enjoyable Father’s Day for all involved.

By proactively planning and considering the preferences of all parties involved, you can help ensure that Father’s Day is a positive and memorable experience amidst divorce.


Starting new traditions with your children for Father’s Day offers an opportunity to infuse the occasion with fresh meaning and excitement. It’s a chance to help create unique experiences and strengthen your bond as a family. Whether navigating Father’s Day in between a divorce or simply seeking to revitalize the celebration, establishing new traditions can be fun and rewarding. 

  • Consider Everyone’s Interests: Choose activities that cater to your interests as a father and your children’s preferences. Whether it’s a nature hike, a cooking session, or a fun craft project, find activities everyone can participate in and enjoy.
  • Make it Meaningful: Infuse your new traditions with meaning and significance. Consider incorporating elements that reflect your family values or create opportunities for bonding and quality time together.
  • Document the Memories: Capture the moments and memories created during your new traditions. Take photos, write in a journal, or create a scrapbook to preserve these special moments for years to come.

These new traditions can become cherished rituals that you and your children look forward to each year, strengthening your connection and creating lasting bonds of love and joy.


If you’re navigating Father’s Day amidst a divorce, it’s important to focus on what you can control and let go of what you cannot. While you may not be able to control your ex-partner’s actions or attitudes, you can control your response and behavior. 

  • Practice Self-Care: Take care of yourself emotionally and physically before Father’s Day. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether spending time with friends, practicing mindfulness, or pursuing a hobby.
  • Stay Present: Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, focus on being present and enjoying your time with your children.
  • Seek Support: If you feel overwhelmed or emotional, lean on friends or family. Surround yourself with positive influences who can offer encouragement and perspective.

A family law attorney can offer guidance and legal advice to help you develop a plan that provides clarity and structure throughout the planning process. With a clear plan, you can aim for special celebrations filled with warmth and understanding.


A parenting plan can help alleviate potential conflicts, including those surrounding occasions like Father’s Day. It provides a comprehensive framework for both parents to follow, reducing ambiguity and promoting smoother communication and cooperation. 

Once you receive a parenting plan after divorce, it’s not open for negotiation. Short of approval for an order modification, both parents are expected to follow their parenting plan as it’s written.

Essential components to have in your plan include:

  • Residence arrangements for the child.
  • Allocation of parenting time for each parent.
  • Protocols for sharing information and records concerning the child.
  • Transportation arrangements for parenting time.

Both parents must sign the plan indicating they agree on all the document terms when filing one plan. If parents do not agree, they must file separate plans. The court will look at each detail of both plans to determine what’s in the best interest of the child or children. Seeking a divorce attorney’s assistance can help facilitate productive discussions and formalize any changes to the parenting plan.


If you have followed the tips above and are having trouble reaching an agreement, an Allocation of Parental Responsibilities can help. Understanding the allocation of parental responsibilities is crucial for fostering a cooperative co-parenting relationship. In Illinois, there are three primary types of child allocation of parental responsibilities:

  • Joint allocation of parental responsibilities requires parents to collaborate on decision-making regarding their child’s education, healthcare, religious instruction, and other essential matters. The parents will agree, or the court will assign a residential parent. The non-residential parent will provide child support and have designated parenting time, as determined by a parenting time agreement or court order.
  • Sole allocation of parental responsibilities refers to an arrangement where one parent assumes full responsibility for making decisions concerning the child’s well-being. However, it doesn’t imply that the other parent is wholly excluded from the child’s life.
  • Shared allocation of parental responsibilities is a variation of joint allocation. It is suitable when the child spends equal time with both parents. The parents live in the same school district and can co-parent effectively. 

For fathers facing challenges in navigating parental responsibilities, seeking help from a family law attorney can be valuable. An attorney can provide legal advice and help establish a parenting arrangement that serves the child’s best interests while addressing both parents’ needs and concerns.


Celebrating Father’s Day amidst a divorce requires careful planning and focusing on the children’s well-being. Remember, the goal is to honor the father’s role in your children’s lives while fostering a cooperative co-parenting relationship.

At Masters Law Group, our goal is to help clients assert their rights to help protect the best interests of their children. Partner Anthony G. Joseph brings valuable insights to our firm as both a father and an experienced practitioner in divorce cases. He is also an approved Guardian Ad Litem and Child Representative listed for the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

With a strong focus on assisting clients in Chicago and Chicago’s Western Suburbs (Elmhurst, Hinsdale, DuPage, Oakbrook), we offer various services to help parents, children, and families through difficult times like divorce and allocation of parental responsibilities. If you face challenges navigating Father’s Day amidst a divorce and want to know your rights, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Contact us today to set up your complimentary consultation.

Navigating Divorce on Mother’s Day

As Mother’s Day approaches, moms going through a divorce may be experiencing sadness, loneliness, and guilt. However, the most important thing to remember is that it can also be painful for your children, but it doesn’t have to be. How can you move past these negative feelings and enjoy the celebration that you deserve? Plan new traditions!

Mother’s Day is a special occasion dedicated to honoring the mother figures in our lives for their love and selfless sacrifices. However, for mothers going through divorce, finding a balance through this transitional period can feel like an overwhelming and emotional challenge.

Approximately 50% of all children in the United States will witness the end of their parents’ marriage, underscoring the significant impact divorce can have on families. While divorce and separation have become more common over time, it also provides hope that affected individuals still thrive despite its challenges.

In this blog, we’ll explore strategies for navigating Mother’s Day, with tips for supporting your children, maintaining focus on what you can control, and how a family law attorney can help. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Children’s Emotions in Divorce

Divorce can be particularly challenging for children, and occasions like Mother’s Day may exacerbate many different emotions. Providing emotional support and creating a safe environment for your children to express themselves is crucial as a divorced parent. It’s important to recognize the signs of reactions exhibited by children, including:

  • Feelings of sadness and loss: Children may experience a sense of grief and mourn the loss of the intact family they once knew.
  • Anger and resentment: Children may express their frustration and anger over the divorce, often directed towards one or both parents.
  • Anxiety and insecurity: The stability and routine they once relied upon may be disrupted, leading to feelings of uncertainty and anxiety about their future. They may worry about their living arrangements, school changes, and how their relationships with their parents will be affected.
  • Academic and behavioral challenges: Divorce can impact a child’s educational performance and behavior. They may struggle to concentrate, exhibit aggression, withdraw, or act out to cope with their emotions.

Understanding the effects of divorce on children is crucial to providing them with the necessary support during this challenging time. Let’s look at how parental responsibilities and parenting time can be beneficial during this difficult transitional period.

Parental Responsibilities Tips for Mother’s Day

Parental responsibilities include two main items: parenting time (formerly “visitation”) and the power to make decisions for children. Parenting time is a schedule that shows when each parent spends time with the children. This schedule is created and approved by a judge in family court. If the parents can’t agree on the schedule, the judge will decide what’s best for the child and assign a schedule for the parents.

Parental responsibilities also refer to the decision-making obligations each parent will have on behalf of the child. Parents can agree to make these decisions together or divide them into categories, which should cover the following:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Religion
  • Extracurricular Activities

If the parents can’t agree on who gets what responsibility, the Illinois family court judge will allocate those responsibilities among them. Let’s dive into some tips to help you make co-parenting easier this Mother’s Day.

Review and Update Your Parenting Plan

One of the first steps in navigating Mother’s Day after a divorce is establishing clear guidelines for parental responsibilities. Crafting a parenting plan that addresses special occasions like Mother’s Day requires a well-thought-out agenda that can help alleviate confusion and minimize conflict. When creating a parenting plan for Mother’s Day, consider the following:

  • Alternating Years: Decide whether Mother’s Day will be alternated between parents each year or if there will be separate celebrations with each parent.
  • Flexibility: Be open to flexibility and compromise. Sometimes, unexpected circumstances may arise, and being willing to adjust plans accordingly can help benefit everyone involved.
  • Respect Boundaries: Respect each other’s boundaries and wishes regarding Mother’s Day celebrations. If one parent prefers to spend the day alone with the children, honor that request and find alternative ways to celebrate.

Try to maintain a united front regarding co-parenting decisions. Keeping children out of adult conflicts can help reassure them of your love and support.

Keep an Open Line of Communication

Effective communication with your co-parent can be key to successfully navigating Mother’s Day. While emotions may run high, maintaining a respectful and cooperative co-parenting relationship is essential for the well-being of your children. This partnership can help reassure children that special events can still be celebrated despite changes in the family dynamic.

Discuss plans for Mother’s Day to avoid last-minute conflicts or misunderstandings. Clearly outline expectations and responsibilities to help ensure a smooth celebration. Be willing to compromise and accommodate each other’s schedules and preferences. Remember that the focus should be on what’s best for the children, even if it means adjusting plans. 

Ways to Build New Family Traditions after Divorce

We’ve compiled a list of three, great ideas for newly divorced couples with families to create new traditions in the next chapter of their lives and the lives of their kids.

  • Plan Your Getaway: Starting a yearly vacation tradition with your family can be incredibly rewarding. You might opt to revisit a beloved destination annually, or perhaps you’ll gather everyone’s input to decide on a new adventure each year. This special time away gives everyone something to eagerly anticipate and offers a valuable opportunity to reconnect amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life.
  • Acknowledging Change: It’s unrealistic to expect life to remain unchanged post-divorce. Significant adjustments lie ahead, and it’s essential for everyone involved to recognize and accept this reality. However, this transition also presents an opportunity to establish new plans and traditions for the future. Clear communication about custody arrangements and upcoming events helps set expectations and fosters a sense of stability for all.
  • Embrace Flexibility: Flexibility can be a cornerstone of amicable divorces, though it can be challenging when tensions run high. Yet, being open to compromise can benefit everyone involved. For instance, offering to adjust your schedule to accommodate your ex-spouse’s plans for a special event demonstrates goodwill and may pave the way for reciprocal flexibility down the line.

Focus on What You Can Control This Mother’s Day

Finally, in navigating Mother’s Day after a divorce, it’s important to focus on what you can control and let go of what you cannot. While you may not be able to control your ex-partner’s actions or attitudes, you can control your response and behavior. Here’s how to focus on what you can control:

  • Practice Self-Care: Take care of yourself emotionally and physically before Mother’s Day. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether spending time with friends, practicing mindfulness, or pursuing a hobby.
  • Stay Present: Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, focus on being present and enjoying your time with your children.
  • Seek Support: If you feel overwhelmed or emotional, lean on friends or family. Surround yourself with positive influences who can offer encouragement and perspective.

A family law attorney can offer guidance and legal advice to help you develop a plan that provides clarity and structure throughout the planning process. With a clear plan, you can aim for special celebrations filled with warmth and understanding.

How Masters Law Group Can Help

Navigating Mother’s Day after a divorce requires patience and a willingness to prioritize the well-being of your children above all else. At Masters Law Group, our family law attorneys focus on helping clients assert their rights to further the best interests of their children.

As a mom herself, Partner Erin E. Masters can empathize the pain moms must go through when navigating divorce proceedings, especially over Mother’s Day. To help mother’s across Illinois, Erin is also a court-appointed Child Representative with experience advocating for children in these high-conflict matters. Furthermore, Partner Anthony G. Joseph is an approved Guardian Ad Litem/Child Representatives list for the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

With a strong focus on assisting clients in Chicago and Chicago’s Western Suburbs (Elmhurst, Hinsdale, DuPage, Oakbrook), we offer various services to help parents, children, and families through difficult times like divorce and allocation of parental responsibilities. If you face challenges navigating Mother’s Day after or during divorce and want to know your rights, don’t hesitate to reach out. Set up a complimentary consultation today.

Divorce In The Forces: PTSD

As we observe Military Appreciation Month this May, it’s essential to acknowledge the challenges faced by military families, particularly when it comes to issues like mental health problems and navigating divorce.

While at its core, military divorce shares common legal aspects with civilian divorces, complexities arise with military pensions, child custody arrangements, and other family law matters, often causing tensions between the separating spouses. Moreover, when mental health challenges such as depression and PTSD, prevalent among military personnel, are factored in, navigating this emotionally fraught journey becomes even more delicate and intricate.

Mental Health in The Military

The lifestyle of military families and the multiple stressors that military partners face can lead to anxiety as well as major depressive disorder. It is important to be aware of such where there’s anxiety; you may also find major depressive disorder.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 7 out of every 100 Veterans (or 7%) will have PTSD. In the general population, 6 out of every 100 adults (or 6%) will have PTSD in their lifetime. PTSD is also more common among female Veterans (13 out of 100, or 13%) versus male Veterans (6 out of 100, or 6%). We are learning more about transgender Veterans and those who do not identify as male or female (non-binary). PTSD can affect how couples get along with each other. It can also directly affect the mental health of partners.

A subsequent study by Combat Stress asked veterans’ partners about their experiences of living with someone with PTSD. The results showed that partners face challenges, including inequality in their relationship, loss of their own identity, living in a volatile environment, and emotional distress and isolation.

Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Divorce

PTSD is a mental health condition that can arise following exposure to or witnessing a traumatic event. The impact of PTSD can reverberate throughout every facet of a relationship, manifesting in communication breakdowns and even violent outbursts. Common symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about an event. 

According to the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS), Veterans with PTSD exhibit a higher likelihood of experiencing marital difficulties. The study revealed that Veterans with PTSD:

  • Are twice as likely to undergo divorce.
  • Are three times more prone to multiple divorces.
  • Tend to have shorter-lasting relationships.

It’s crucial to understand that these symptoms stem not from choice or weakness but from profound psychological trauma. If you are a spouse navigating a partner’s PTSD, patience, compassion, and education are paramount. Let’s explore some tips for navigating PTSD and divorce.

If you need support, you can:

Navigating PTSD & Divorce

Navigating divorce with a military spouse requires a delicate balance of empathy, understanding, and practical support. Understanding what your spouse is going through can help you respond with compassion. While being supportive is important, setting boundaries to protect your well-being is also essential. Make it clear what behavior is acceptable and what is not, and be prepared to enforce those boundaries if necessary.

While these strategies can help manage the challenges of divorce with a spouse with PTSD and other mental health issues, there may come a point where professional help is necessary. Here are some signs that it may be time to seek professional help:

  • Escalating Conflict: If conflicts with your spouse are becoming more frequent or intense, and attempts to resolve them have been unsuccessful, it may be time to involve a professional mediator or divorce attorney.
  • Safety Concerns: If you or your children feel unsafe or threatened by your spouse’s behavior, it’s essential to take steps to protect yourselves, which may include seeking a protective order or filing for divorce.
  • Lack of Progress: If your spouse is unwilling or unable to seek treatment for their PTSD, or if their symptoms are not improving despite treatment, it may be time to involve a mediator or divorce attorney.

Recognizing the right time to seek assistance from a divorce attorney is essential. It’s crucial to work with a divorce attorney who has experience in handling cases involving military families and comprehends the intricacies of PTSD.

What You’ll Need To File A Divorce

If you’re a military family, there are some limitations on what you can do regarding filing for divorce. When couples find themselves struggling to resolve conflict, and divorce seems like more and more of a reality, many parents question whether or not they should stay or pursue separation. Often, the best way to approach possible psychological issues in a military divorce is the same way they should be approached in every divorce, albeit with some unique additions.

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 could not 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. Even though there are a few added rules regarding the military divorce process, the remaining process is similar to civilian divorce. You will still need to agree on the following:

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. 

How a Divorce Attorney Can Help

We understand that military life can be difficult for families, especially when divorce is involved. At Masters Law Group, we consider all aspects of military life when working with our clients during their divorces. Here are some areas where we can help guide you:

  • Parenting Plans: If you have children, it’s essential to work closely with your attorney to determine the most suitable arrangements for allocating parental responsibilities and visitation. We aim to help create arrangements that prioritize 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.

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

Final Thoughts

PTSD, depression, and divorce can be a match made in hell. If you are seeking divorce in the military, you don’t have to go it alone. At Masters Law Group, 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 in the forces this Military Appreciation Month, 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 set up your complimentary consultation.

Masters Law Group Welcomes New Associate, Catherine Brukalo

Masters Law Group proudly welcomes Catherine R. Brukalo as its newest family law associate. With a deep knowledge of the legal field, Mrs. Brukalo brings a wealth of experience to the firm.

About Catherine Brukalo

Catherine Brukalo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and her Master of Arts from University College London in England. Mrs. Brukalo interned at the United States Consulate General in Krakow, Poland, during her time in London. There, she represented the Consulate to various private and governmental organizations. She earned recognition from the United States Ambassador to Poland, Christopher R. Hill.

Legal Experience and Contributions

Associate Attorney Catherine Brukalo

Catherine Brukalo

Mrs. Brukalo earned her Juris Doctorate from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. She would later begin her legal career as a Law Clerk under Supreme Court Rule 711 with the Cook County State’s Attorney. This helped her gain experience in a felony drug courtroom. Since then, she has represented clients in a variety of legal matters. These legal matters include:

  • Personal injury.
  • Wrongful death.
  • Professional Malpractice.
  • Probate.
  • Breach of contract claims.
  • Real estate transactions.
  • Domestic relations.

Mrs. Brukalo is actively involved in the legal community, having served in various capacities, such as a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, Advocates Society, McHenry County Bar Association, and Chicago Bar Association. She has received recognition for her contributions, including a Presidential Commendation from the ISBA President for her work on civics education and being named an Illinois Rising Star and Super Lawyer by Illinois Super Lawyers.

In addition to her legal prowess, Mrs. Brukalo is fluent in Polish and regularly publishes legal articles in a Chicago-based Polish-language newspaper. She is also trained in Mediation and Arbitration and holds certification as a Life Coach. She serves as a Director on the Board of the Niles Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Niles, Illinois.

Mrs. Brukalo’s primary focus at Masters Law Group is domestic relations, handling cases involving divorce, parentage, allocation of parental responsibilities, and child support. Her dedication to her clients and commitment to excellence make her a valuable asset to the firm.

About Masters Law Group

Recognized as one of the Best Law Firms in 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 surrounding areas. It concentrates on areas such as divorceallocation of parental responsibilities, and other family law matters. Our lawyers, Erin E. Masters and Anthony Joseph have been recognized by prestigious publications numerous times. This not only speaks volumes about their work but also their character.

Working with Masters Law Group

At Masters Law Group, we’re committed to helping you achieve the best outcome in your case. Our attorneys possess unique knowledge, experience, and talent in family law and divorce. With over ten years of experience handling family law cases, we know how important it is for our clients to feel comfortable. That’s why we offer free consultations, where you can meet before deciding whether to hire us.

Contact us to schedule a consultation today.

Divorce vs. Mediation – Which Path is Right for You?

When deciding how to handle a divorce, it’s important to consider the benefits of traditional divorce versus mediation. Each approach has its benefits and drawbacks, so understanding the differences is key to making the right choice for you and your family. 

Divorce can be emotionally challenging no matter where you are in life. Masters Law Group, based in DuPage County, Illinois, with offices in downtown Chicago, is committed to helping couples navigate these tough decisions and offers a comprehensive approach to divorce resolution. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Divorce

Divorce involves each party retaining their attorney to represent their interests in court. This process can be adversarial, with a judge often making negotiations and decisions if the parties cannot agree. There are three major types of divorce: contested, uncontested, and civil union. 

Contested divorce occurs when there are contentions between spouses and requires numerous steps. An uncontested divorce occurs when there is agreement on all aspects of the divorce. Civil union divorce follows similar divorce processes, but the couple leaves the state where they were granted civil union. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of divorce.

Divorce Litigation Pros:

  1. Legal Advocacy: Each spouse has dedicated legal representation to navigate the complexities of divorce laws and procedures.
  2. Court Intervention: A judge can resolve disputes when the couple cannot reach agreements on their own.
  3. Protection in High-Conflict Situations: In high-conflict cases, where emotions run extremely high or concerns about safety and abuse arise, litigation may provide a more structured and protective environment. Court orders can include provisions for restraining orders, protective orders, and supervised visitation to help ensure the safety of all parties involved.

Divorce Litigation Cons:

  1. Longer Resolution Process: Laws vary by state, and the process begins with how long one has lived in the state before filing for a divorce. The process can vary depending on the type of divorce. Contested divorces usually take over a year to finalize—although divorces can be completed in as little as three months.
  2. Impact on Children: The contentious nature of traditional divorce can have a negative impact on the children involved, potentially leading to increased stress and emotional difficulties.
  3. Lengthy Resolution of Disputes: Divorce can take longer to resolve disputes over issues like property division or allocation of parental responsibilities, further prolonging the overall process.

Understanding Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation involves a neutral third-party mediator facilitating discussions between the spouses to reach mutually acceptable agreements. 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.

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 job is to reach an agreement between the two parties. Here are the pros and cons of divorce mediation.

Divorce Mediation Pros:

  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. Reduced Conflict: Mediation often helps couples improve their communication skills and learn effective ways to resolve conflicts, which can lead to the resolution of family disputes.
  3. Reduced Post-Divorce Disputes: Because mediated agreements are 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 Cons:

  1. Voluntary Participation: Both parties must be willing to engage in meaningful negotiations for mediation to be successful.
  2. Potential Inequity: Without legal representation, one spouse may feel disadvantaged in negotiating legal and financial matters.
  3. Not Suitable for All Cases: Mediation may not be appropriate for high-conflict divorces or situations involving domestic abuse or significant power imbalances.

How a DuPage Divorce Attorney Can Help

Whether you choose traditional divorce or mediation, consulting with a skilled DuPage divorce attorney is crucial to protect your rights and interests. Masters Law Group’s divorce and mediation attorneys are fully prepared to advocate for you and your family. Here’s how our attorneys can help you:

  • Experienced Mediators: Erin E. Masters has been approved as a Mediator for the Cook County Domestic Relations Division and offers private mediation services. The firm’s mediation counselors 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 help 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 the best interests of you and your children.

Our senior attorneys, Erin E. Masters and Anthony G. Joseph, are highly esteemed professionals recognized by prestigious publications, including Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and Leading Lawyers. This highly esteemed recognition provides you with trustworthy guidance during your divorce process.

Moving Forward With Confidence

Divorce is a difficult journey, but couples in DuPage County and across Illinois can access professional help to make the process smoother for everyone involved. Masters Law Group offers guidance on divorce and mediation, helping you find the best path forward for you and your family. We aim to help you achieve a resolution, allowing everyone to move onwards with peace of mind.

Contact us today to set up your complimentary consultation.

National Pet Day: Understanding Pet Custody Laws in Illinois

Navigating pet custody during divorce can be intricate, especially when our beloved pets are deeply intertwined with our family dynamics. As we celebrate National Pet Day on April 11th, it serves as a poignant reminder of the unique connection we share with our furry friends. Nevertheless, divorce often stirs intense emotions, further complicating an already delicate circumstance.

As attitudes toward pets evolve, so do the laws governing their custody in divorce cases. In Illinois, courts recognize the profound significance of pets in family life and consider their well-being when determining custody arrangements. Navigating these legal intricacies can be daunting, which is why seeking the guidance of a compassionate divorce attorney can be essential.

Join us as we explore the evolving landscape of pet custody in Illinois and how a divorce attorney can be crucial for protecting the best interests of your beloved furry companions.


Traditionally, pets were treated as personal property in divorce proceedings, subject to division, and other assets such as cars and furniture. However, many pet owners found this approach inadequate, as it needed to consider the emotional bond between humans and their animal companions.

71% of domestic violence victims reported that their abuser also targeted pets. In one study of families under investigation for suspected child abuse, researchers found that pet abuse had occurred in 88% of the families under supervision for physical abuse of their children.

Recognizing this, several states, including Illinois, have adopted laws that allow courts to consider the pet’s best interests when determining pet custody arrangements. While pets are still technically considered property under the law, judges now have the discretion to award custody based on factors such as who primarily cares for the pet, who can provide a stable living environment, and the relationship between the pet and each spouse.


Pet custody is a significant consideration in Illinois divorce cases. When spouses cannot agree, the court decides based on various factors. Unlike parental responsibilities, no strict guidelines lead to varied outcomes. Disputes over pets like dogs and cats are common in divorces. 

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act addresses custody-like provisions for family pets, also known as ‘companion animals.’ These pets are treated as marital assets. However, it’s essential to note that not all pets fall under this category. The specific provisions may not cover pets such as reptiles, birds, or small mammals for companion animals. Ownership may be determined based on general property division principles rather than considering the pet’s well-being.

Factors determining pet ownership include:

  • Who adopted the pet.
  • Day-to-day caregiving.
  • Each spouse’s ability to care for the pet.
  • Any emotional attachments to the pet.
  • Any ownership agreements for the pet.

The owner retains sole ownership if the court deems the pet a non-marital asset. If it’s a marital asset, ownership is allocated based on the pet’s well-being. It’s important to note that while courts may consider the pet’s best interests, their primary concern is still the parties’ welfare. Fortunately, Illinois law recognizes that pets hold a special place in families and takes their well-being seriously when determining ownership during divorce proceedings.


It’s worth noting that, unlike the allocation of parental responsibilities, pet custody in Illinois is not based on the pet’s “best interests.” Suppose one spouse can demonstrate that they have been mainly responsible for the daily care and well-being of the pet, including feeding, grooming, and providing medical care. In that case, the court is more likely to award ownership to that spouse.

If you want to retain ownership of your pet after a divorce, it’s important to have evidence that shows your involvement in the pet’s life. This can include photographs and receipts for pet-related expenses such as veterinary bills. These documents show the court your commitment to caring for the pet and the bond you share with them.

It’s important to note that courts may consider parental responsibilities and parenting time when determining pet ownership during a divorce. Children often share a strong bond with family pets, and a spouse can argue that most parenting time could be affected. If spouses can’t agree on pet ownership, they may need to go to court to have a judge decide. Couples can mediate pet disputes when a divorce case doesn’t go to court. Regardless of the approach chosen, finding a solution that suits one’s specific circumstances is critical.


Navigating pet custody issues in divorce cases can be emotionally charged and legally complex. A divorce attorney can provide valuable assistance in protecting your pet’s rights. At Masters Law Group, you can confidently navigate the complexities of divorce and reduce stress. Your rights and the well-being of your family are our top priorities. Here are some ways our divorce attorneys can help:

  1. Negotiation and Mediation: Pet custody disputes can be resolved through negotiation or mediation outside of court. Your attorney can help advocate during these discussions to reach a mutually acceptable agreement that prioritizes your pet’s well-being.
  2. Court Representation: A skilled attorney is essential if negotiations fail and your case proceeds to court. Your attorney will present evidence and arguments to support your position, helping increase your chances of a favorable outcome in the judge’s eyes.
  3. Gathering Evidence: Your divorce attorney can assist you in gathering evidence to support your claim to pet ownership. This may include documentation of your involvement in the pet’s care, such as veterinary records, receipts for pet-related expenses, and witness statements attesting to your relationship with the pet.
  4. Addressing Parenting Time Concerns: If children are involved, a divorce attorney can help address concerns about how pet custody arrangements may impact parenting time. They can work to find solutions that prioritize both the children’s and the pet’s well-being.
  5. Emotional Support: A divorce involving pet custody can be emotionally challenging. Your attorney can provide compassionate support and guidance throughout the process, helping you navigate the difficult decisions and emotions.


Pets are uniquely positioned in divorce proceedings, representing shared property and emotional connections between spouses. Navigating the complexities of determining their custody and care can be challenging and emotionally charged. That’s why it’s crucial to have strong legal representation to assert your rights regarding pet ownership in an Illinois divorce.

If you’re contemplating divorce, mediation, or separation and have concerns regarding your pets, our attorneys are here to help. Contact us today to set up your complimentary consultation.

DuPage Divorce Mediation

The emotional turbulence of divorce and navigating the legal intricacies can seem daunting and overwhelming. However, in DuPage County, Illinois, there’s a pathway that offers a more amicable and efficient resolution: divorce mediation.

With the United States ranking third globally in divorce rates, at 2.4 divorces per 1,000 people, the need for effective resolution methods is more pressing than ever. In this blog, we’ll explore mediation and how a DuPage divorce lawyer can help you with the process. Here’s what to expect when pursuing this alternative method of resolution.

What Is Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that involves a neutral third party who facilitates communication between the parties to help them reach a mutually beneficial solution. Unlike a judge, the mediator does not make decisions for the parties; instead, they help them reach their agreement.

Mediation typically begins with both parties meeting with their mediator to discuss the issues at hand. The mediator then facilitates communication between the parties, helping them identify and address their concerns. Once an agreement is reached, the mediator drafts a written contract that both parties can sign.

In some cases, mediation may not be successful; especially surrounding domestic violence or substance abuse.  For those who have a more “black and white” separation vision, mediation helps the parties better understand each other’s positions and concerns, making future negotiations more straightforward. 

When Can You Use Mediation in DuPage?

In DuPage County, mediation can be used at any stage of the divorce process, whether before filing for divorce or during litigation. It’s particularly encouraged when couples wish to maintain a cooperative relationship and have more control over the outcome of their divorce.

Mediation offers a more private, confidential, and intimate setting, which can help to alleviate some of the stress associated with divorce. Parties can work together to resolve their issues in a safe environment without the added pressure of a courtroom setting. These agreements are typically confidential, meaning the dispute and resolution details are kept private. It can help protect the parties’ privacy and avoid potential negative publicity from a public trial.

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

Before diving into mediation, some groundwork is necessary. Start by gathering all pertinent information and documents related to the disputes in your divorce. For instance, if there’s contention over whether certain assets are marital or separate property, assemble the relevant financial records. 

Certain mediators may request this information as part of the initial intake process. Here’s how the process typically unfolds:

  • Choosing a Mediator: Couples typically select a mediator together, helping ensure they feel comfortable with the individual facilitating their discussions.
  • Initial Meeting: The mediator meets with both spouses to discuss the process, set ground rules, and identify the issues that must be resolved.
  • Negotiation Sessions: Over several sessions, the spouses, along with their attorneys if they choose to have legal representation, engage in discussions facilitated by the mediator. The goal is to reach mutually agreeable solutions on all aspects of the divorce.
  • Drafting the Agreement: Once agreements are reached, the mediator assists in drafting a legally binding agreement that reflects the decisions made by the couple.

What If You Don’t Reach an Agreement in Mediation?

While mediation aims to find common ground and reach agreements on all issues, it’s not uncommon for certain matters to remain unresolved. In such cases, couples have several options:

  • Continue Mediation: If only a few sticking points prevent a full agreement, couples can choose to continue mediation sessions to work through these remaining issues.
  • Seek Alternative Dispute Resolution: If mediation proves unsuccessful, couples may explore forms of alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration or collaborative law. These methods offer different approaches to resolving conflicts outside of traditional litigation.
  • Litigation: Couples may resort to litigation for those specific matters when mediation fails to produce a comprehensive agreement. This involves presenting unresolved issues to a judge, who will then make decisions on behalf of the couple.

It’s worth noting that even partial agreements reached through mediation can still offer benefits. Resolving some issues through mediation can help streamline the litigation process, reducing the time and costs associated with court proceedings. Working with a DuPage divorce attorney can help you find the right solution based on your needs and goals.

Finalizing a Mediated Dissolution In DuPage County

Once the mediated agreement is drafted, it must be reviewed and approved by each spouse’s respective attorney before being submitted to the court for final approval. Upon approval, the mediated agreement becomes a court order, legally binding to both parties. 

Having a trustworthy divorce attorney by your side can help ensure a smooth transition. Our team of experienced divorce mediation attorneys is fully prepared to advocate for you and your family.

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 that you have a reliable and dependable ally throughout your divorce mediation proceedings.

Working with a DuPage Divorce Lawyer

While mediation is designed to be a collaborative process, having a DuPage mediator by your side can help provide valuable support and guidance. At Masters Law Group, serving clients in Cook County and DuPage County, Illinois, our experienced attorneys understand that divorce is stressful for everyone involved. 

We prioritize our clients’ assurance and well-being throughout the mediation process. Whether you are facing mediation, a contested, uncontested, or a civil union divorce, our attorneys are ready to skillfully advocate for your position and provide your voice when you need it most.

Contact us here today to schedule a consultation.