Tagged as Divorce Attorney

Do You Need A More Private Divorce?

Our new 2017 website was created to enhance client options for a more private divorce. Check out below how our firm makes your privacy a priority.

VIEW WEBSITE ANYWHERE

Our new website is now compatible with any device: smart phone, tablet, laptop, computer. You can view our site privately and easily anywhere you feel comfortable. Our blog can help you privately gather information for your divorce and our attorney can help you achieve your legal goals in-person or virtually.

VIRTUAL SERVICES

You lead a busy life.  It can be hard to make in-person appointments with your attorney without informing work or your spouse.  Our divorce attorney is now available to serve you privately as a Virtual Attorney.

PRIVATE CLIENT PORTAL

You shouldn’t have to use your work or personal email during your divorce.  We offer our clients a secure client portal for sharing documents, invoices, and appointment reminders. You can also pay your invoice through the portal or via our contact page.

We know our clients have limited time due to work, children, or family obligations.  Now you can view our website or access your private documents when it is convenient for you.  We look forward to our how our new website, services, and secure client portal will improve the divorce process for our clients. To learn how our attorney can best work for you, contact us today.

ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin BirtIllinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over thirteen years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.  She also serves clients in Cook County, Kane County, Kendall County, and Will County.

Erin opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

How Social Media Can Impact Your Illinois Divorce

love Dislike Icon. Thumb down SignSocial media (Facebook, Twitter, texting and more) has become a favorite way for people to share information about their lives in real time.

However, if you’re involved in a divorce and/or child custody case, what you post or text can have a huge effect on the ultimate outcome, and you need to be very careful about the information you share.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND FAMILY LAW

According to the site Divorcesource.com, “Lawyers are now more than ever using the social media websites as evidence in all types of family law cases. When people are typing on their computer, and no one is watching them, they have a false sense of anonymity when none really exists. However, in reality you are posting your private life to the entire cyber world.”

Social media can provide attorneys with information on everything from job search activities and spending habits to parental behavior, and it’s now “routinely used in divorce cases, alimony reduction/Lepis hearings, child support hearings, and child custody visitation disputes.”

Text messages can also create trouble, says Law Technology Today, since the message strands can be printed out and entered into the court’s record. “Anytime you pick up your phone to have a conversation, whether voice or text, there may be an exact record of what was said.”

WHEN IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT

When you’re tempted to jump on social media to vent feelings about your spouse, discuss your children, or talk about a new relationship, stop and think of the impact it could have on your case. Even if you’ve blocked your spouse from your Facebook page or other accounts, you may not have blocked friends or relatives who will see the comments and pass them on to him or her.

If your spouse brings this to court, you’ll have to consider divorce mediation or spend time and money defending yourself against anything from poor parenting to potential adultery. Should your child happen to read negative comments you made about your spouse’s parenting skills, you could be guilty of disparaging a parent in front of a child, possibly violating a court order.

As Law Technology Today reminds us, “Because we now live in a world where we tend to share our frustrations or our private moments with more and more people, we need to remember that what we share with our ‘friends’ could end up in the hands of people who will use those frustrations and private moments against us.”

And always check with your divorce attorney before shutting down a social media account, as deactivation could be seen as an attempt to withhold potential evidence.

I can help you successfully navigate these and many other issues through mediation and collaborative divorce options. Contact me to learn more.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association.

Resolving Divorce Debt Issues Through Mediation

Divorce decreeOne of the most difficult issues for divorcing couples in Illinois is how to handle the debt that has been accumulated during the marriage. It is definitely not as simple as “handing it off” to one party or the other.

While a divorce can allocate debt between both parties, it cannot change existing contracts with third-party creditors such as a mortgage lender or a credit card company. For example, the court could assign $25,000 of credit card debt to the husband, but if this was a joint account the wife is still liable for that debt should the husband fail to make payments.

In other words, someone still has to assume responsibility for the debt regardless of the divorce.

OPTIONS FOR HANDLING DIVORCE DEBT

There are generally three ways to resolve debt issues in a divorce:

  • Pay off the debt
  • Refinance the debt
  • Sell the property to pay off the debt

A key step prior to finalizing a divorce is for both parties to determine whether either party can quality for a new mortgage, a refinance loan or a personal loan to handle any existing debt. Whoever cannot qualify will then know it’s not worth the time and court costs to fight for a certain asset such as the house or car since they cannot pay for it.

In situations where couples cannot refinance or pay off debt for certain property, a court will often order the sale of that property rather than create an alternative since the ultimate goal of divorce is to sever all property interests and liabilities between the parties.

SOLUTIONS THROUGH DIVORCE MEDIATION

In some cases, neither party can maintain or refinance the debt nor sell off the property. When this happens it’s important to develop a feasible payment plan to potentially prevent either party from being sued or to keep their credit history from being harmed due to non-payment.

An experienced divorce attorney or mediator can help parties develop these payment plans when debt cannot be completely severed upon divorce. And if debt allocation is possible, divorce mediation allows parties to talk out issues around desired property and what–if anything–can be done to meet everyone’s needs.

Contact me for more information on using divorce mediation to resolve debt issues for your unique situation.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT:

Erin_Birt_37032Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association.

Amended Spousal Maintenance Laws in 2015

Judge Hitting Mallet On DollarBeginning January 1, 2015, significant changes will take effect in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

For divorcing couples in Illinois, 2015 will bring standardized rules for determining the amount and length of court-ordered financial support payments (aka spousal maintenance or alimony) by one spouse to the other.

It appears there will be no change in how the court decides whether or not maintenance is necessary.

♦ AWARD AMOUNTS ♦

• Proposed ChangesCurrently there is a great deal of subjectivity in spousal maintenance decisions which have led to inconsistent maintenance awards in Illinois. The inconsistent awards stem from the permitted subjectivity and discretion of a Judge who is influenced by their own personal background and experience.

When the new law takes effect, the court must follow updated guidelines based on a mathematical formula that uses the income percentages of both spouses as well as the length of the marriage.

These guidelines should help judges to more easily and objectively determine both the amount and length of any financial support, making awards more predictable and consistent.

This in turn should help prevent additional appeals litigation, reduce divorce attorney fees and decrease frustration for divorcing couples by providing realistic expectations of what will be paid or received.

• Who It AffectsThese new rules will primarily apply to divorcing couples with a combined household income of $250,000 or less and where neither person has children from a previous marriage.

• One CautionThe court isn’t obligated to follow the new formula to determine a maintenance award. It, however, must create findings that clearly explain why it did not follow the formula.

♦ AWARD EXTENSIONS ♦

• Proposed Changes – Current law prevents a Judge from terminating maintenance payments awarded for a fixed period of time without consent of both spouses. In other words, court ordered maintenance payments are always reviewable under current Illinois law.

Under the new law, Illinois divorce courts will now have the authority to block renewals of fixed-term maintenance payments without the agreement of both divorcing parties.

A terminating maintenance award protects the paying party from the financial difficulty of unexpected payment continuation because the receiving party cannot return and ask the court for a time extension.

• Who It Affects – Couples married less than ten years will feel the most impact from these changes.

Contact me today to learn the specifics of this new law, how they would impact your divorce proceedings and how I can help you navigate this updated process.


About Erin Birt:

Erin_Birt_3703.compressed web pageIllinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her team of collaborative professionals develop creative outcomes that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association.