110 E. Schiller Street, Suite 320, Elmhurst, IL 60126

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MaxineThe March 2018 issue of The Catalyst, the newsletter of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Women and the Law, contained an article spotlighting Attorney Maxine Weiss Kunz, looking at her career, her background as a Chicagoland native, her personal life, and the story of how she founded Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC.

This article highlights the passion and dedication that Maxine brings to her work in family law, as well as her achievements and the recognition she has received, including her selection as a 2018 Super Lawyer and as one of 40 Under 40 Attorneys to Watch by the American Society of Legal Advocates.

Along with her colleagues at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, Maxine Weiss Kunz works to help clients achieve positive results in cases involving divorce, parentage, allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, child support, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and adoptions. She is also a certified mediator and collaborative lawyer, and she serves as a guardian ad litem who is appointed by courts to determine children’s best interests in family law cases.

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divorce, retirement assets, elmhurst divorce attorneysFor many couples, dividing assets after a divorce is one of the most troublesome aspects of a separation. Matters such as retirement accounts, property division, and hidden assets can all arise as spouses begin to address and uncover the financial hurdles before them. It is only natural to be concerned about the money you have saved, the debts you have accumulated, the property you have acquired, and how your impending divorce will affect those areas.

The Distribution of Property and Debts Under Illinois Law

There are numerous laws that govern the division of assets when it comes to divorce. In general, Illinois law considers all property, including debts and other obligations, to be “marital property.” There are certain exceptions under this law, but nearly everything that was acquired by either spouse during the marriage is typically considered joint property.

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By Maxine Weiss Kunz

uncontestedIs an uncontested divorce something you and your husband or wife can agree upon? Do you and your wife or husband agree that your marriage is broken? Do you and your spouse agree on how to divide your estate? Do you and your partner agree on how to divide all assets and debts? Do you and the parent of your child agree on how to raise your child(ren)? If yes, then uncontested divorce will save you a lot of stress, and a lot of time and money.

An uncontested divorce or an uncontested legal separation is an option when you and your partner/spouse/other parent agree on all terms that would otherwise be decided upon if you had to take these issues to a judge. Some examples of areas to agree upon in order to be considered uncontested are as follows:

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By Maxine Weiss Kunz

COBRAMany people going through a divorce wonder how they will obtain health insurance if they have been covered by their spouse during the marriage. One option is to “COBRA” off the health insurance of your soon to be former spouse.

COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act which requires group health plans to provide a temporary continuation of group health coverage in certain situations, including divorce or legal separation. Divorce or legal separation are considered a “qualified event” which would trigger your right to COBRA. COBRA coverage can also cover dependents (your children).

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By Maxine Weiss Kunz

divorceMany changes are coming to family law as of January 1, 2016. These changes include changes to custody (a term of art that is going out the window) as well as changes to financial aspects of the act. Below are a list of some of the major changes that will be in effect as of January 1, 2016:

  • No more use of the word “custody” is the big claim to fame with the new Act. Instead, the court will decide on Allocation of Parental Responsibility. These allocations include who will make decisions related to a child’s health, education, religion and extracurricular activities. One or both parents can be assigned each of the 4 categories of decision making.
  • No more use of the word “visitation” either. Now we will call this category “parenting time.” The term of art is considered more user friendly.
  • No more double trials (we hope). What this means is that temporary support hearings will be heard on a non-evidentiary basis with few exceptions. You will no longer have to call a witness in temporary support hearings. The court will make temporary decisions based on financial affidavits and argument of counsel. There are exceptions to this rule, which will likely apply if a litigant’s financial affidavit is called into question.
  • No more fault grounds. (See our prior blog on this topic). Only the grounds of irreconcilable differences may be plead and the requirement of 2 years of separation is also to become moot. If the parties cannot agree on the date of breakdown of their marriage, then a separation of 6 months will now be required instead of the prior requirement of 2 years.
  • No more heavy dependence on caselaw. Many of the prior cases relied on by the courts have been codified, including the rule that you cannot strike a motion with a motion. (This is legalese that lawyers will understand and many litigants will not.)
  • No more use of the word “removal” if you want to move out of State with a child. Courts will now call this term “relocation” and it is based on mileage (i.e., 25 miles for Chicago-area, 50 miles for less urban areas) instead of crossing State lines. That also means that you can no longer move from Chicago to Peoria without Court permission – a distinct change to in-State litigants. If you want to move to the “Boonies” you may want to do it now.
  • No more reliance on terms such as “mother” and “father” in the Parentage Act, which is an acknowledgement of the rights of same-sex couples and their children.
  • No more pleading of injunction merits in a request for exclusive possession of a marital home, however, the requirement of a spouse or child being jeopardized by continued occupancy of the litigant you are seeking to remove remains.

All of the within laws become effective as of January 1, 2016 irrespective of when your pleading was filed if your matter remains pending at that time. Any matter resolved prior to January 1, 2016 shall follow the current laws and are valid agreements. A discussion point to have with your attorney is whether to get your matter resolved now, under the current laws, or to seek to finalize your matter in year 2016.

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