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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
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Recent Blog Posts

Dividing Retirement Plans in an Illinois Divorce

 Posted on January 15, 2018 in Division of Property

Illinois divorce lawyerDuring an Illinois divorce, the division of marital property is very often complex and divisive. One asset that can spark significant debate is each spouse’s retirement account or accounts, simply because the process to divide such an account can be laborious, and each spouse wants to ensure that division is fair and above board. Having an understanding of how a retirement account is divided can go a long way toward quelling arguments before they start.


With most private retirement accounts, the proceeds are normally only payable to the listed beneficiary - at times, the employee who earned it; at times, the spouse, at times, someone else. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) covers 401(k)s and mandates that only one’s spouse may be the beneficiary, although Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are not covered by ERISA.

Regardless, if your spouse is listed as the beneficiary on your retirement account, or if your retirement account is held to be marital property, it must be divided, like any other asset acquired during your time together. In some cases, it is possible to divide only those contributions made after the marriage began, as money contributed before the marriage is considered separate property.

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Dividing High-Value Assets in Divorce

 Posted on January 08, 2018 in Division of Property

Illinois divorce lawyerEvery marriage accumulates assets, classified as marital property, that must be divided upon divorce. However, the division process for assets that have significant value can get much more complex, simply because there must be a more thorough balancing of assets and debts in order to make sure that both spouses get a fair share, rather than leaving one spouse with the lion’s share of the property and one with the debts. It is important to have a good grasp of the process, so you can be doubly sure that you are not being given the proverbial short end of the stick.

Each Asset Is Different

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about this process of asset division is that each situation is different, as well as each couple. Some of the most common high-value assets include family businesses, retirement accounts, real property, and stakes in corporations, and all of these must be handled differently. Even more factors enter into the equation when one assesses each spouse’s role in acquiring or maintaining the asset, as well as numerous other factors generally considered by the court in every asset division.

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What Not to Do in Divorce Mediation Sessions

 Posted on December 29, 2017 in Collaborative Divorce

Illinois divorce attorneyMediation is not the ideal way for every couple to divorce. Couples who cannot communicate effectively and those who do not trust each other are not suited to this method of ending a marriage.

You might need a slight perspective adjustment to make yourself a good candidate for mediation. Mediation works for couples who are willing to put in the effort to make it work. If you are not sure how to conduct yourself at your divorce mediation sessions, discuss your concerns with your lawyer and keep the following tips in mind.

Do Not Talk Over your Spouse or the Mediator

The mediator’s job is to guide you and your spouse to healthy, mutually satisfying decisions for your divorce by providing legal context for these decisions and providing conflict resolution strategies. You and your spouse have the same right to voice your thoughts and opinions about the divorce. You cannot make progress toward a fair settlement if you delay the conversation by interrupting the mediator or your spouse. For some people, learning to stop interrupting others is not easy. If you tend to be an interrupter, take time before your first mediation session to learn ways to keep yourself from interrupting others.

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Child Custody in a Legal Separation

 Posted on December 22, 2017 in Child Custody

Illinois divorce attorneyWhen parents split up, it is not always done with a complete plan in place as to how the couple will share time with the children or parental responsibility. This can sometimes lead to disagreements as to which parent will keep the children and how often the other parent will see them. These disagreements are best settled with a court order, and parents can file for an emergency order while the divorce is pending.

Because both parents have parental rights when it comes to their children, unless a court has previously terminated those rights, each parent has a right to keep the children when the parents are separated. For example, the parents have an informal agreement that the children will stay in the marital home with the mother and visit the father. If the father takes the children for a visit and then decides not to return the children to their mother, the mother would have little recourse without going to court.

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Business Valuation during Divorce

 Posted on December 15, 2017 in Business Valuation

Illinois divorce attorneyWhen a couple decides to divorce, the assets and debts accumulated during their marriage will be equitably distributed to each party. Sometimes this means that assets are sold off so that they can be converted into liquid funds. On the other hand, Illinois law permits one party to be awarded the asset in lieu of receiving other marital assets. Dividing assets in the latter fashion is a very complex process if a family business exists. Ensuring that a proper valuation is reached so the business asset may be offset by other marital assets is a time-consuming and difficult process that requires the use of experts.

Illinois is a state that follows the equitable distribution theory of marital asset allocation in a divorce. What is a marital asset? Generally speaking, a business is classified as a marital asset if it was acquired during the marriage, and was not acquired by inheritance or gift. (Inheritances or gifts to one spouse are considered non-marital property by definition.) What is considered an equitable distribution? Each case is very different. Rather than simply selling all the assets and splitting the proceeds, some parties may prefer to be awarded a particular asset in lieu of another asset. A business, assuming that it is a marital asset, is no exception to this process. Sometimes one spouse wishes to keep the business, especially if it is a professional practice like a doctor’s office. A party may do so, but he/she will have to give up other marital assets in exchange for it. This means that an expert must place a value on the business before an equitable distribution of marital assets may be reached. .

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What Is Unallocated Support?

 Posted on December 08, 2017 in Child Support

Illinois divorce attorney

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5 Things to Know When Dividing Property in a High Net Worth Divorce

 Posted on November 06, 2017 in Division of Property

Lombard high net worth divorce attorneyWhen a married couple decides to end their relationship, the process of divorce can often be complicated and difficult. Whether the divorce is contentious or amicable, separating two lives that have been closely linked for years may raise some never before considered questions. When a couple has a high net worth, things become much more complex. As couples work to reach an agreement on how to divide their marital property, they should be aware of the following issues: 

  1. Stock options - Even if they do not fully vest until after a divorce is finalized, stock options may be considered marital property and be subject to property division in divorce if they were awarded during the marriage. However, in some cases, other considerations may apply, such as if options were awarded to promote future employment or performance. 

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Sponsoring Wheaton Newcomers Club

 Posted on October 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. is excited to become a sponsor of the Wheaton Newcomers Club, a social organization serving over 125 local families and connecting residents in the towns of Wheaton, Winfield, and Warrenville, as well as the surrounding areas.

About the Wheaton Newcomers Club

The Newcomers Club is not only for people who have recently moved to the area. The group consists of both new and long-time residents of Wheaton, Winfield, and Warrenville, and includes working women, stay-at-home moms, as well as both singe and married women of all ages.

The goal of the Newcomers Club is to help in meeting the needs of all local families by connecting area women and helping to build lifelong friendships. The club keeps all of its members informed about local resources and fun things to do in the area. In addition, members have access to discounts on goods and services from local businesses. Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. is proud to sponsor the club in its ongoing efforts to provide many free and inexpensive activities for women, adults and their families.

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Sponsoring Glen Ellyn Newcomers Club

 Posted on October 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. is now a proud sponsor of the Glen Ellyn Newcomers Club, a club that serves nearly five hundred local women and their families. The club promotes activities for all ages and stages of life, and Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. supports the club in its efforts to create a vibrant, active and social community in Glen Ellyn and the surrounding areas.

Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. is now a supporter of some of the most popular annual events in the area, including the Fall Family Fest, the Glen Ellyn Independence Day parade, and Breakfast with Santa, and hopes this sponsorship leads to even greater connection in the local community.

The Glen Ellyn Newcomers Club Encourages Connection

Connecting new residents of Glen Ellyn to long-time residents of the area is the goal of the Newcomers Club. To make things fun, the club encourages many ways to get together with other residents and many activities for residents to be involved in a variety of interests.

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Sponsoring Hinsdale Newcomers Association

 Posted on October 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. is proud to announce our association with and sponsorship of the Newcomers and Neighbors of the Greater Hinsdale Area social club. If you've not heard of this organization before for some mysterious reason, especially if you're new to the area, then you should do yourself a favor and check it out. And although the official name says Hinsdale, it encompasses much more. As their website says, membership is also open to all residents, both established and new, of the nearby towns of Oak Brook, Clarendon Hills, Burr Ridge, and Westmont.

So what is the Hinsdale Newcomers & Neighbors all about? Let Janet Roxworthy, co-president of the club, recently quoted in the Chicago Tribune, sum it up: "If you have been looking for fun new ways to meet people in the area, Newcomers & Neighbors is a great way to make connections. Whether you are new to town or a long-time resident, Newcomers & Neighbors is a club that creates opportunities to get together with people who have similar interests by providing socials, activities, clubs and sports on a regular basis."

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