Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

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Sugar Grove, IL 60554

Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

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Posted on in Divorce

Kane County Divorce LawyerBeing married to a narcissist can be impossible. A narcissist is so focused on themself that they cannot fully commit to a marriage. They cannot be in an equal partnership. When you realize that the person you are married to is a narcissist and unwilling to change, divorce may be your best option. If this is the situation you are in, you should know that your path to a final divorce decree may be a bit bumpy. Narcissists are unlikely to cope well when their spouse decides to leave. It is very important that you are represented by a tough attorney who can fight back if your spouse tries any dirty tricks during the divorce process. 

What to Expect When You Leave a Narcissistic Spouse

Ending a marriage is always going to be complicated in some way. If you are going up against a narcissist, you can expect them to try a few less-than-fair tactics, such as: 

  • Grandiose gestures - If your spouse does not want to get divorced, they may go to great lengths to win you back. They may offer you all sorts of gifts, or swear to commit to therapy, or make grand romantic gestures. A narcissist will expect to be perceived as a hero for “saving the marriage.”  It is best to ignore this behavior. If you call off the divorce, it is highly unlikely that anything will change. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Kane County Family Law AttorneyDivorcing with young children can be stressful, and sometimes complicated. When you and your spouse have a disabled adult child who relies on you for care and financial support, your divorce may require a few extra steps. Working out a plan for providing continued support to a disabled adult is not like a typical child custody case. One or both of you likely already has legal guardianship of your adult child. Guardianship is typically the legal mechanism by which parents can maintain the ability to make decisions for a disabled child who has turned 18 years old. You and your spouse will need to make a plan that includes things like where your adult child will live and who will be responsible for making health care decisions. It can be a little bit more complicated than a routine custody case involving a minor, but our attorneys can help. 

What You Should Know About Supporting a Disabled Adult Child During and After Divorce

The transition from a two-parent household to each parent having a separate household can be difficult for adults with intellectual disabilities. If your adult child lives with you, helping them understand and process your divorce can be challenging. The logistics can be complicated as well. Some things to think about include: 

  • Consider the “nest” strategy - You may have your marital home set up in a way that is well-suited to the particular needs of your disabled adult child. Moving back and forth between households can be very difficult for people with certain disabilities who rely on familiar settings and routines. In the “nest” strategy, the disabled individual resides in the marital home full-time, while the parents move back and forth between the marital residence and their own households. 

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Kane County Divorce AttorneyIt is not a rare situation for one spouse to want a divorce while the other objects and wants to stay married. This is particularly common when there is abuse or when one spouse has a mental illness or substance abuse problem. It is also common in more conservative religious families where one spouse may not believe in divorce, while the other wants out. If you are the spouse who wants a divorce, you may feel a lot of pressure to stay in your marriage. You may be wondering whether it is even possible to get a divorce over your spouse’s objections. Fortunately, in Illinois, you do not need your spouse’s consent to divorce them. However, divorce can be a bit trickier when your spouse refuses to cooperate. 

How Do I Get a Divorce Finalized When My Spouse Objects?

If you know your spouse does not want to get divorced, be prepared for the process to take a bit longer. Your attorney will file a petition stating your grounds for divorce - in Illinois, this is always irreconcilable differences. Your spouse is likely to file an answer contesting the divorce. This does not mean that you are not entitled to a divorce - it just means that your spouse is not going to make it easy. However, if your spouse fails to respond at all, then you will most likely receive a default judgment. 

In most cases, the next step would be attempting some type of alternative dispute resolution so that you could come to an agreement on each issue and file an uncontested divorce. However, this is not likely going to work if your spouse has decided to dig in their heels and refuse to cooperate. This means that your only option is going to be divorce litigation. 

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Sugar Grove Car Accident Injury LawyerCell phones and other handheld electronics have been a part of our everyday lives for decades now. Most people know the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. Unfortunately, texting and driving and other types of distracted driving are still common.

If you or a loved one were hurt in a vehicle crash caused by a distracted driver, it is important to know your rights. You may be entitled to monetary compensation for your medical expenses and other damages.

Accidents Caused by Cell Phone Use and Other Types of Distracted Driving

Most states have enacted laws prohibiting handheld electronic use behind the wheel. Unfortunately, these laws have not prevented many drivers from focusing on their phones, GPS, or tablets instead of the road.

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Kane County Divorce LawyerApproximately 40 million Americans move every year. When parents share custody of their children, moving can present a significant challenge. If you or your child’s other parent intend to change residences soon, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities. In certain situations, parents must get permission from their child’s other parent and the court to relocate to a new residence.

Moves Classified as “Relocations” are Subject to Special Requirements

A parent with the majority of parenting time (formerly called the custodial parent) or a parent in a shared parenting arrangement (each parent has at least 40 percent of the parenting time) may seek to relocate with their child.

Per Illinois statute, a move is classified as a relocation if:

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Sugar Grove divorce attorneyNo one deserves to suffer through an abusive marriage. If your spouse is abusing you - physically, emotionally, financially, sexually, or otherwise - it is imperative that you put your safety first and get out of your marriage. Divorcing an abusive spouse can be challenging on many levels. Abusers often make their victims believe that they cannot make it on their own, but this is never true. You may also be fearful that your spouse will harm you or your children if you try to leave. 

Luckily, there are steps an attorney can take to help keep you and any children you have safe during this process. While the process may be difficult, it is worth it. If your spouse abuses you, make sure you let your attorney know what your fears and needs are when you begin to initiate the process of divorce. 

Helpful Information to Have When You Are Leaving an Abusive Marriage

When you are ready to safely exit an abusive marriage, there are a few steps your attorney may want to take before you file for divorce in order to protect you. Tips for divorcing an abusive spouse include: 

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Kane County divorce attorneyYou may be surprised at how common it is for one spouse to hide money from the other. In the past, it was extremely common for older women to advise young brides to always have some money secretly stashed in case of emergency. Today, it is more common for the higher-earning spouse to keep money or other assets hidden away lest their spouse come after those assets in a potential divorce. It is hard to divide assets one spouse does not know about. Those who are less familiar with divorce law may believe this is advisable, although it almost never is.

If you have a sneaking suspicion that your spouse has more property or money than they are letting on, you may be correct - and you are not alone. It may surprise the average person how common it is for hidden assets to surface during divorce proceedings. If you do not think that your spouse is making full disclosure of all their assets, an attorney may be able to help find out for sure.

3 Steps to Take if Your Spouse is Concealing Money or Property 

Perhaps the best thing you can do to protect yourself if you suspect that your spouse has a financial secret is to find an experienced attorney and inform them of your suspicions. Some steps you and your lawyer can take during your divorce include: 

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Kane County personal injury lawyerNavigating life after a serious car accident can feel overwhelming. You might have a to-do list that seems endless. You might be trying to figure out how to get the time you need off from work to recover. There is a constant stream of follow-up medical appointments for you to keep track of. On top of that, the insurance company will not stop calling when all you want to do is rest and heal. The whole time, you are in pain and not up to doing the daily activities you are used to doing. Many car crash victims must rely on others to help around the house or with childcare duties.

During this chaotic and tiring time, it can be extremely easy to accidentally make a mistake that could impact your ability to make a full financial recovery from the driver who caused your accident. Enlisting an attorney to handle your claim can be very helpful for a number of reasons. 

What Common Mistakes Could Affect My Claim?

There are a few very common types of mistakes that car crash victims make. Unfortunately, a misstep could ultimately reduce the amount you can recover from the responsible driver. Your best option is to call an attorney almost immediately after the crash. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you avoid potential pitfalls that could hurt your case. In general, you should not: 

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Posted on in Divorce

Kane County alimony lawyerDivorce can have a massive financial impact on spouses. Lesser-earning spouses may find themselves struggling to pay their bills without their spouse’s financial support. Higher-earning spouses may be required to pay child support or spousal support.

Whatever your situation, it is important to understand your financial rights and responsibilities in an Illinois divorce case. Alimony, called spousal support or spousal maintenance in Illinois, may be significant and it is important to be prepared.  

Who Can Get Spousal Support?

If you are getting divorced, you should know what to expect when it comes to spousal maintenance. In Illinois, spouses may be able to get spousal maintenance through a negotiated agreement between the spouses or a prenuptial agreement. Alternatively, the spouse seeking support may file a petition for spousal maintenance through the court.

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Kane County divorce attorneysSome of the most contentious issues in an Illinois divorce have to do with child custody, the allocation of parental responsibilities, and parental rights. It is understandable that emotions and anger levels may become high between the two parents, but it is important to let your divorce attorney handle these issues. Until a solid parenting plan is agreed upon, it is important to remember the following “do nots” in your case.

Do Not Put Your Child in the Middle

Although it is important for parents to have honest conversations with their child about the divorce and what changes this may mean for the family, this should never be done at the expense of the other parent. Focus on your child’s feelings, fears, and needs and not on what your opinions are of your soon-to-be ex.

Do Not Withhold Visitation or Child Support

One of the most egregious actions in the eyes of the court is when a parent uses their child to get back at the other parent. When one parent blocks access to the child or withholds child support, the person who is the victim and suffers the most is the child.

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Kane County family law attorneyWhen you are considering a divorce, it can be a very emotional and stressful time. There are certain steps, however, that you need to take in order to ensure that you get the best possible outcome possible based on your situation. One of the most crucial elements of any divorce case is ensuring that all information regarding marital finances—both assets and debts—are shared with your divorce attorney. The following are some of the steps you should take as you prepare to file for divorce.

Preparing the Paperwork

Whether you are still contemplating divorce or have made the decision that you want out of your marriage, there are things you can do to help organize your finances before you actually file your divorce petition.

When you file for a divorce, in addition to the motion requesting the dissolution of your marriage, you will also be required to provide the court with a financial affidavit. A financial affidavit asks a series of questions which will help determine what your financial status is. You will need to answer questions such as all sources of income, including any tax, insurance, union dues, or other deductions. You will also be required to provide a list of all your expenses and other debt.   

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Kane County airline injury attorneysWhile there are many people who are so afraid of flying that they often need medication to calm down enough to get on a plane, the truth is commercial airlines are one of the safest ways of traveling. However, although statistically the odds of dying in an airplane crash are so small they cannot even be calculated, there is a legitimate concern regarding the potential of serious personal injuries a person can suffer before, during, and after their flight.

Overhead Bins

According to several airline safety sources, more than 4,500 passengers are injured each year because of luggage and other items falling from overhead bins. Because most airlines now charge for any checked-in luggage, many passengers pack as much as they possibly can in their carry-on bags, so these items are usually fairly heavy. If one or more of these bags lands on top of a passenger opening a bin, they can suffer some serious injuries, such as concussions or even fractured bones.

Food Carts

There is also the risk of injury during a flight from rolling food carts. This can happen if the passenger is sitting by ramming their shoulders, legs, or feet while it rolls down the aisle or a cart can hit a passenger walking by due to how narrow plane aisles are.

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Sugar Grove paternity lawyerIn today’s world, fewer people are getting married before deciding to have children together. It is not at all uncommon for children to have parents who never were married and are no longer together. Illinois law addresses the various issues that involve parents and their children, regardless of whether the parents were ever married or not. When an unmarried couple has a child together, they should immediately take steps to establish paternity for the child, which provides important protections for all parties involved under Illinois law.

Voluntary Acknowledgements of Paternity

Some men who are certain about the paternity of their child will go ahead and voluntarily establish paternity, which typically occurs at the hospital shortly after the child’s birth. Both parents can sign a Voluntary Establishment of Paternity form, which places the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate and legally establishes him as the father of the child. Keep in mind, however, that signing a voluntary establishment of paternity form waives a man’s right to genetic testing and gives him both rights and responsibilities. For instance, he will have parental rights in terms of access to the child. He also will have financial obligations in terms of supporting the child.

Paternity Testing

If a man is not sure whether he is the father of a child, or he otherwise will not cooperate in voluntarily acknowledging paternity, then the man can be required to undergo genetic testing. The DNA test results will definitively prove whether a man is the biological father of a child or not. If the test results reveal that the man is the child’s biological father, then parentage can be formally established for the child, and the mother can pursue financial support for the child if she wishes.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1828226513.jpgThere are a variety of situations where parents may need to address legal issues related to their children. These cases will often involve the end of a relationship between parents, including when a married couple chooses to divorce or when unmarried parents break up. To ensure that children will have the necessary financial resources, child support will usually be ordered in these cases. While one parent will generally be expected to pay child support to the other, parents will need to understand how the amount of payments will be determined and the types of expenses that child support will address.

Basic Child Support Obligations and Additional Expenses

While parents may expect that one party will pay child support, they may not fully understand how Illinois law determines child support obligations. In most cases, the “non-custodial” parent will be expected to pay support to the parent who will have primary custody of the couple’s children. However, when child support obligations are determined based on the guidelines in Illinois law, both parents’ incomes will be considered, and the amount of parenting time that each parent has with their children may also be a factor that will play a role in the calculation of child support.

When creating a child support order, a “basic support obligation” will be determined, and this amount represents what the parents would have been expected to put toward providing for their children’s needs if they had not ended their relationship. Each parent will be responsible for a percentage of the basic support obligation, with these percentages being based on the proportions of each parent’s income and the combined income earned by both parties.

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 b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_439098511.jpgPeople often want to know what to expect when they are thinking about filing for divorce. The truth of the matter is that this can be a hard question to answer because every divorce unfolds in its own unique way. 

Even so, there are certain aspects of a divorce that can go one of two ways. For instance, if you file for divorce and need to present the divorce papers to your spouse, the hope is that your partner accepts them in a respectful manner. 

However, in some cases, both spouses are not in agreement with the idea that a divorce is the best decision for their relationship. In those instances, one partner will file for divorce and give the divorce petition to their spouse, only for their spouse to refuse to sign the documents. 

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IL divorce lawyerSubstance abuse can affect people of any age, gender, or income level. Addiction to drugs or alcohol can take over a person’s life and destroy relationships within a matter of months. If your marriage is ending and your spouse is an alcohol or drug addict, you may wonder if this will affect the divorce process. Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, so you will not report substance abuse as the grounds for the divorce. However, drug abuse can affect the financial and child-related aspects of divorce.

Drug Use and Child Custody in Illinois

Using legal drugs like cannabis or alcohol does not necessarily prevent someone from being a good parent. However, excessive use of drugs and alcohol – especially use of illicit substances like methamphetamine or heroin – can certainly affect someone’s parenting ability. If you believe that your spouse’s addiction may endanger your child, you may want to petition the court for all of the parental responsibilities and parenting time. Alternatively, you may want to request a parenting time restriction such as supervised parenting time.

Understanding Dissipation of Assets Claims

Illinois courts do not consider marital misconduct when dividing property between spouses. However, a spouse who wastes money prior to divorce may be subject to a “dissipation of assets” claim. Dissipation refers to wasteful or reckless spending or intentional destruction of assets. If your spouse drained the bank accounts or sold property to fund his or her addiction, this may be considered dissipation. If successful, a dissipation of assets claim will require the dissipating spouse to reimburse the marital estate for the lost funds. However, wasteful spending must occur within a certain time frame to count as dissipation.

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IL injury lawyerAny accident involving a commercial truck can be life-changing for all parties involved. If you or a loved one were seriously hurt, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit may be in one’s best interest. Any time spent in the hospital or days missed at work are damages you should be compensated for. Additional types of damages in these cases can range widely, and determining who is liable can be difficult. This is why hiring an experienced truck accident attorney is essential.

Types of Damages an Injured Person May Receive

In truck accidents, the number of involved parties tends to increase, as do the complexities of a personal injury claim. Property damage, medical expenses, and loss of income due to time off of work are the most common forms of compensation being sought by crash victims. You may have the right to further compensation, such as:

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Il divorce lawyerWhether you and your soon-to-be-ex are on good terms, or you cannot stand to be in the same room together, one thing is certain: Co-parenting with someone to whom you used to be married is hard. Even if you initially agree on child custody terms, disagreements and complications are bound to arise. This is why it is so important to build a strong parenting plan during your divorce. A well-thought-out parenting plan can help you and your child’s other parent focus on what really matters: Your kids.

Try to Work Out an Agreement that Minimizes Conflict

When parents divorce, they are required to submit a parenting plan to the court for approval. If the parents cannot agree on the plan, the case may eventually end up at trial. Child custody disputes are stressful for adults and children. If you can, try to reach an out-of-court agreement. Mediation may be a useful tool if you and the other parent are able to discuss issues cooperatively. However, if the situation is more contentious, negotiating an agreement through your attorneys may be the better option.

Include More Than the Bare Minimum

Illinois law describes 15 different issues that must be addressed in your parenting plan. You will need a parenting time schedule or detailed method for determining parenting time, an allocation of decision-making responsibilities, information about how the children will be transported between households, and much more. However, parents are encouraged to include additional information. The more detailed your parenting plan, the better. Consider the parenting obstacles you may encounter in the future and make a plan for how to deal with them. For example, which parent will get to spend time with the child on his or her birthday? How will parents transport the children to and from extracurriculars? How much time will children spend with grandparents and other family members? The more you can decide on in advance, the less you will have to decide in the heat of the moment.

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IL divorce lawyerGetting divorced is much more than deciding not to be married any longer. Divorcing spouses must also determine the terms of the divorce. Depending on their unique situation, they may need to address the distribution of marital property and debts, parenting time schedules, parental responsibilities, and spousal maintenance or alimony. If the couple can agree on these issues out of court, they may be able to save themselves time, money, and frustration. Mediation is one method of alternative dispute resolution that many divorcing couples find beneficial; however, it is not sufficient in every case.

Advantages of Divorce Mediation

During mediation, both spouses sit down with a mediator to discuss the unresolved divorce matters. They may negotiate the terms of their property division arrangement, decide who will keep the kids on what days, determine the amount and duration of spousal maintenance, and more. The mediator helps the couple stay focused and explore various solutions and compromises. Using mediation to resolve divorce issues allows you to stay in control of your divorce’s outcome. It may also help parents stay on relatively good terms so that they can build a functioning co-parenting relationship for the sake of their kids. The conversations you have during mediation are also confidential.

Mediation Alone Is Not Always Enough

In Illinois, divorcing couples are sometimes required to attend mediation. If you and your spouse are struggling to discuss divorce issues calmly and productively, mediation may be useful. In many cases, mediation is a great first step. However, you may need to take additional action to fully resolve the divorce issues.

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IL divorce lawyerNo divorce is without conflict or complication. However, some divorce cases are more complex than others. If you are thinking about divorce and you are over age 50, it is important to consider the unique obstacles you may face. “Gray divorce” or divorce involving older couples often involves unique legal and financial issues that divorcing couples in their 20’s or 30’s may not face. Consequently, it is highly recommended for older spouses to work with an experienced divorce lawyer versed in gray divorce issues.

Divorce and Your Retirement

One of the top concerns during a gray divorce is how the divorce will affect retirement. Many people wonder if they will be forced to share their hard-earned retirement with their spouses during divorce. They fear that they will be forced to take out funds early and suffer the associated withdrawal penalties or delay their retirement. Divorcing individuals who were homemakers or stay-at-home parents worry about how they will make ends meet during their golden years and whether they will have access to their spouse’s retirement benefits.

In Illinois, retirement benefits that a spouse accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property. Both spouses have a right to a portion of the retirement funds. A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is typically used to divide retirement and pension plans in an Illinois divorce. Spouses may also negotiate a property division arrangement in which one spouse keeps retirement funds, and the other spouse keeps property of equivalent value. A skilled divorce lawyer can help you determine the best way to address retirement accounts during your divorce.

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