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Geneva family law attorneysIn most cases involving divorce or family law matters, the parties are able to negotiate an agreement outside of the courtroom. They only require the court to approve and formalize terms already drafted, with very little actual decision-making required. Sometimes, though, the parties cannot reach an agreement and the matter is left to the court to decide. Such a ruling by the court typically carries an air of finality, especially if it feels like you were on the “losing” end. A less than favorable judgment is not necessarily the end, however, and filing an appeal could potentially allow you to work toward setting things right.

You Must Act Quickly

Following the entry of the initial court’s judgment, you have 30 days to file a Notice of Appeal. The notice must be filed with the circuit court and announces your intention to challenge all or part of the judgment and the relief that you intend to seek. The reviewing or appellate court may grant an extension for up to an additional 30 days, but only if you have a justified reason for missing the original deadline.

Appeals Are for Correcting Mistakes

It is crucially important to remember that appeal is not really a second chance to present your case. Instead, an appeal is typically based on a perceived error committed during the initial trial. Such a mistake may include:

Posted on in Divorce

Kane County divorce lawyersOnce you have made the decision to end your marriage, there is no point in delaying or dragging out the proceedings. Divorce is rarely easy but the legal process itself does not need to take countless months as you and your spouse place your lives on hold. In many cases, you may be able obtain a finalized divorce judgment in a little as just a few weeks, but doing so requires a bit of effort on your part and cooperation from your spouse.

#1: Develop a Plan of Attack

The easiest way to eliminate delays in divorce is to negotiate as much of your settlement as you possibly can. You and your spouse may not agree on everything, so start with the simplest topics. For example, if you have little concern about certain pieces of property, agree on those and then build on the cooperative momentum. Eventually, you will get to more difficult subjects, but, by that point, you will have likely established a level of commitment to completing the process amicably.

#2: Choose Your Battles

If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement before filing for divorce, you can still help move the proceedings along by controlling yourself and your need to “win” on all fronts. By picking a fight—or engaging when your spouse picks one—on every concern, you will never make real progress toward a resolution. Decide what is truly important to—your children, for example—and focus your energy on that particular area while letting less significant things go.

Geneva family law attorneyDivorce is complex; however, dividing property is often most complex aspect of a process that can take a long time. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the procedure for valuing and dividing a family-owned business. Between personal preferences and the market rates, dividing the value of a business will often create the biggest issues during the process.

Valuation Basics

As one might imagine, Illinois courts only have the ability to divide marital property during divorce proceedings. A family business qualifies as marital property if it is run by both spouses or if one spouse owns a controlling interest. The rationale is that the spouse working there will bring home paychecks earned by improving the business’s value. If the business is deemed marital property, it will be valued so that it and the couple’s other assets can be divided equitably.

Kane County divorce attorneyWhen your marriage seems destined for divorce, it is important to start preparing yourself for the process. From a practical standpoint, this may include putting aside some money in an emergency fund, compiling a list of your assets and debts, and, possibly, looking for a new place to live. Your preparations should also include a search for a reliable divorce attorney to help you through proceedings. Going through a divorce without a lawyer can be dangerous and could end up costing you more than you might expect.

To find an attorney, you will want to compile a list of possible candidates, perhaps taking recommendations from friends and loved ones. As you go through your list, reach out to each firm with a list of concerns that will help you narrow down your choices. For example, the attorney you choose should be able to provide satisfactory answers to questions such as:

  • How long have you been practicing handling divorce and family law cases? An attorney with significant experience is likely to have a firm grasp of the process and can provide valuable insight along the way.
  • What percentage of your practice is devoted to divorce and family law? Some firms handle divorce and child-related matters exclusively, while others only take a small number of such cases each year. Are you content to have an attorney who primarily handles personal injury cases, for example, managing your divorce?
  • How many cases does your firm handle at a time? You need to be sure that the attorney you hire will have time to devote to your case. If the firm is overloaded with cases, some—possibly yours—may get pushed to the back burner.
  • Who will be handling my case? It is not uncommon in some firms for a paralegal or associate to most of the work on a particular case only to have a partner put his or her name on all the paperwork. You deserve to know how your case will be treated within your lawyer’s office.
  • What will I be charged for? How a firm handles its billing practices is a major concern when choosing a divorce attorney. You should clearly understand if your lawyer charges by the hour, what fractions of an hour, and what constitutes billable time. Are phone calls and emails charged at the same rate as in-person meetings? With a clear fee structure, you could rack up thousands of dollars in unexpected expenses.
  • How many of your divorce case settle and how many go to trial? Some attorneys take pride in settling every case outside of court. Others take pride in never settling. Most, however, fall somewhere in between. An attorney who settles most of his or her cases may possess strong negotiating skills, but it could also be a sign that he or she gives in too easily. You will need to decide what is best for your unique situation.

Of course, you will probably have dozens of other questions for a prospective divorce attorney, and these are just a few of the most common.

Posted on in Divorce

Kane County divorce attorneyFinancial infidelity can be devastating to a marriage. When a spouse lies about financial decisions or makes big decisions without consulting the other it not only takes an emotional toll but can also lead to serious financial hardship for the family in the future. A recent study released by the National Endowment for Financial Education showed that 31% of Americans have lied about money to their spouse, and financial concerns are among the leading causes for divorce around the country.

What Does Financial Infidelity Look Like?

Financial Infidelity can take many forms. If your spouse is being deceitful about money, you may notice that:

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