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Lombard estate planning attorneysDo you have a signed and executed will or any other elements of an estate plan in place? If so, you are already ahead of more than half of American adults.

Next question: Have you had in-depth discussions about estate planning with your children and other important family members? If so, you and your family are well prepared for unexpected surprises—assuming your estate plan addresses all or most of the details that are significant to you and your loved ones.

Final question: Would your children agree that you have had the necessary conversations and do they know where to find important documents, passwords, and account information? Unfortunately, serious disconnects in communication are all too common when it comes to estate planning.

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Lombard estate planning attorneysUnless you are one of those rare, fortunate individuals who inherited a great deal of wealth or hit the Powerball jackpot, you have most likely worked very to accumulate the property and assets that comprise your estate. You have put in the hours, made intelligent financial decisions, and were generally careful when making purchases both large and small. When it comes time to decide what will happen to your estate after your death, it is your right to make such decisions as you see fit.

It is important to understand, however, that while you have the right to make estate planning decisions completely on your own, doing so could lead to problems down the road. For this reason, estate planning experts and legal professionals recommend discussing your intentions with family members and loved ones before finalizing your estate plan.

Preventing Misunderstandings

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Lombard family law attorneysNot many children get home from school excited to dive right into their homework. Almost every school-aged child has homework assigned at least a few nights per week and many have homework on weekends too. Under the best of circumstances, even the most dedicated students can get burned out. For a child dealing with their parents’ divorce, the issue of homework can become a battleground if the parents do not make the conscious effort to cooperate.

Parents want what is best for their children. In a divorce situation, emotions and stress can sometimes lead a parent to try to establish complete control over the child’s education and assignments. Children may benefit more, however, when both parents agree to each take responsibility, especially when their share custody during the school week. While the specific arrangements of any family situation will be different, there are a few things that divorced parents should strive to offer their children, regardless of whether the children are with Mom or Dad.

Consistency

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children, communication, Lombard divorce lawyersAs a parent, you probably feel like you spend half of your day repeating yourself to your children. Despite their best intentions, it can be challenging to get your message across for a variety of reasons. In many ways, talking to your children about an imminent or ongoing divorce is much the same. It is not a conversation that you will have one time, never to be revisited or brought up again; in fact, the reality is quite the opposite. You will want to be sure that the lines of communication between you and your children remain open throughout the divorce, which can help you all better adjust to the upcoming changes.

Share, But Not Too Much

Once you begin to discuss divorce with your children, make sure that they know that they can ask questions and talk to you about what is on their mind whenever they need to do so. Their questions are likely to address what may have happened between you and your spouse, and how their lives will be affected. You will need to tailor your answers to match each child’s age a maturity level, and to only share information that you know they are prepared to handle. For example, you may be able to tell your teenage daughter about more complex relationship concerns, while a younger child may just need to know that you and your spouse will not be living together anymore.

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co-parenting, Lombard family law attorneyIf you are a parent, the decision to divorce your spouse or to break up with your child’s other parent will have an effect on more than just the two of you. Your children and the stability of their lives are also likely to be greatly impacted. While things may never be the same for your children as they were during your marriage, it does not mean things will necessarily be worse, just different. As you and the other parent look toward the future, there are some things you can do to help build a positive foundation for co-parenting together for years to come.

Find Common Ground

Every element of effective co-parenting is dependent upon your ability to communicate with your child’s other parent, despite the issues that may have driven you apart. More than likely, the two of you still have a great deal in common, and, at the very least, you both want what is best for your child. Using that as a basis, begin developing a parenting plan around the elements upon which you can agree, including who will be responsible for the majority of the parenting time, which school your child will attend and other fairly straightforward considerations.

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Posted on in Divorce

cell phone, phubbing, Arlington Heights family law attorneysWith today’s technology, there is world of information and connectivity available with just a few taps on your smartphone. Cell phones and mobile devices have become such a part of modern life that virtually everything that once accessible only by a desktop computer can now go with you everywhere. The potential downside, however, is that it can be easy to get lost in the virtual world and a recent study indicates that many relationships are starting to suffer as a result. Phone snubbing—or phubbing, as it has come to be called—is becoming a problem for many couples, as one or both partners are often distracted by their phones even while in each other’s company.

First Formal Research

A research group at the Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business conducted a study that is being billed as the first of its kind, examining the effects of phubbing on relationship satisfaction. The findings, which were published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, indicated that more than 45 percent of the 453 adults surveyed have been phubbed by their partner. Nearly a quarter of the respondents indicated that phubbing is causing conflict in their relationship. Co-author of the study, Professor James Roberts observed, "Something as common as cellphone use can undermine the bedrock of our happiness—our relationships with our romantic partners."

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communication, custody, visitation, Illinois family law attorneyIf you are subject to child custody or visitation order, you have undoubtedly faced challenges related to dealing with the other parent. They may have been minor issues, if you are lucky, or they may be larger problems, including a complete lack of consistency on the part of the non-custodial parent. You may feel obligated to continue to push the other parent to comply with the arrangements you have in place, but it is important for you to realize where your responsibility to do so ends.

Moral Obligations

Like any responsible parent, you want what is best for your child. Studies continue to show that active participation of both parents in a child’s life can lead to a more positive outcome for the child, regardless of the parents’ marital status. It is totally understandable that you would want your child to have every possible opportunity to grow up healthy and well-adjusted, even if it means continuing to encourage the other parent to uphold their responsibilities. If he or she continues to act with inconsistency, you may wish to consult a pediatric health professional to help you understand where you should draw the line with the other parent.

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marriage breakdown of communicationNumerous studies confirm that the primary contributing factor of divorce is the breakdown of communication. The Huffington Post recently posted the results of yet another study confirming that communication is essential for a successful marriage. The online lifestyle resource, Your Tango, recently polled 100 medical health professionals who in agreement, at 65 percent, still cite the lack of communication as the major contributor to divorce.

Dr. Kelly M. Flanagan, an Illinois licensed psychologist and contributor to The Huffington Post, begs to differ. Dr. Flanagan contributes the following additional factors as possible contributors responsible for the high rate of divorce.

We Like, Therefore We Think We Love

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce, reason for divorce, relationships, cause of divorce, marriage, Illinois divorce lawyerDivorce is a common peril for almost 50 percent of all American couples. When we hear about a recent "conscious uncoupling" we assume the wife is responsible for placing the call to an experienced divorce attorney. Our assumption would have been correct.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, 65 percent of all divorce proceedings are initiated by the wife. In states such as Illinois, when introducing no-fault divorce, rates jumped as high as 70 percent. If we learned anything from John Gray's, Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Venus, we are quite aware that there are fundamental differences between women and men. Women tend to view things at a more emotional level and perhaps the following, offered by Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D. can categorize the feelings behind a woman's decision to dissolve her marriage: "I hurt all the time because I feel alone and abandoned."

"My husband is no longer my friend."

"The only time my husband pays attention to me is when he wants sex."

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If you ask your divorced friends what led to their divorce, most of them will tell you that they stopped talking to each other. According to a report in Psychology Today, the most common predictor of divorce is the lack of communication, which leads to hostility in the relationship.

THeresa You, You, You

When the going gets tough, most people have a hard time taking responsibility for their part of the problem. No one wants to admit that he or she has done something wrong. This is where the blame game begins. With that blame comes judgmental statements such as:

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Although some couples would prefer to never have contact with one another again following their separation or divorce, those who share children must continue to communicate in some manner, perhaps for many years to come. A recent New York Times article, however, points out that with the advent of technology, formerly hostile and emotional exchanges between former spouses can become relatively neutral and perhaps be avoided altogether. These electronic communications can even allow an almost unworkable joint custody situation to become doable, at least from a distance.

While cell phones allowed for a convenient source of communication, they still require ex-spouses to hear each other’s voices, which can be an automatic source of irritation for some. E-mail and text messages, though, eliminate voices altogether, and allow for a more detached, much less emotional form of communication. Other parents use a mutual Google calendar in order to map out visitation arrangements regarding their children. Whatever the type of electronic communications used, most parents agree that the lack of hostility in their interactions has enhanced their relationship and made it easier for their children.

Technology has also made interactions between parents and their children easier, as well. Children often must have cell phones so that both parents can access them at designated times, without going through the other parent. The development of Skype also can bring parent and child closer together, particularly when distance is a factor.

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