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DuPage County divorce attorney

Psychological research shows that when children are exposed to high levels of conflict between their parents, they may suffer from many long-lasting effects, including an increased risk of anxiety and depression. When you are in the midst of a divorce, it can be hard to shield your children from conflict entirely, but the more that you are able to do so, the better the position your children will be in to cope with the divorce and recover from the emotional trauma that it brings.

Protecting Your Kids from the Negative Effects of Conflict

The following suggestions can help you mitigate the effects of conflict on your children both during and after the divorce process:

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Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney parenting plan

If you are a parent who is planning to divorce in Illinois, you may already be thinking about how you and your spouse will share child-related responsibilities. As part of the divorce process, you will be asked to describe the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time in your “parenting plan” and submit this plan to the court. If the court approves of the plan, the plan becomes a part of the legally enforceable divorce decree. Illinois law lists the issues that must be addressed in a parenting plan, but these are only the minimum requirements. You and your child’s other parent have the option of including additional agreements in the plan as well.

Planning in Advance to Prevent Future Conflict

Most parents have different beliefs, ideas, and strategies when it comes to raising their children. These differences can develop into arguments and legal disputes after divorce. One of the best ways to prevent conflict regarding child custody issues is to create a detailed parenting plan describing each parent’s responsibilities and expectations. The more you agree upon during the creation of the parenting plan, the fewer issues you will need to sort out in the future.

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Wheaton family law attorney divorce

For many people, a divorce is a time of heightened emotions, including sadness over the end of your marriage, anger at your spouse’s behavior, and fear surrounding what will happen next. It can also be a huge source of stress, as you face the prospect of making important decisions that can affect the rest of your life, and possibly going through a lengthy trial or negotiation process. During this difficult time, it is more important than ever that you focus on your mental health while letting an experienced attorney help you navigate the legal proceedings. 

Strategies for Promoting Mental Health

It can be hard to put your mental health first with everything else competing for your attention during the divorce process, but here are some suggestions that might be beneficial:

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DuPage County divorce attorney child support

If you are getting a divorce and have limited financial means of your own, it is important to work toward a divorce resolution that allows you to support yourself and your children. Often, this means ensuring that your ex is required to make regular child support and spousal support payments after the divorce. However, these payments do not take effect until the divorce is finalized, which may put you in a difficult situation during the divorce process, especially if your spouse is unwilling to cooperate. If this applies to you, you may need to petition for temporary maintenance or support.

How to Petition for Temporary Support in Illinois

In the midst of the legal divorce process, you can file a petition with the court for temporary spousal support, temporary child support, or both. However, it is important to be sure that you have good reason to do so. With your petition, you will need to submit a financial affidavit explaining your need for support with fact-based reasoning. You will also need to submit documentary evidence supporting the affidavit, which may include your bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, and evidence of any other income.

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Lombard, IL family law attorney legal separation

The decision to get a divorce is hardly ever easy, and it is understandable that you would want to pursue all other possible avenues before beginning the process of legally ending your marriage. You may even hold out hope for reconciliation if you and your spouse can find a way to work together to resolve your marital issues. If you feel that some time apart from your partner would be beneficial, a legal separation could be a good option, but you may wonder how, or if, reconciliation may be possible after you take this step.

Coming Together After a Legal Separation

A legal separation means that you and your spouse stay legally married but begin living separately. Depending on your financial and family situation, you may need to reach an agreement on spousal support, child support, and parenting time like you would if you were getting a divorce, but the option remains open for you and your spouse to end the separation if you both agree to do so.

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DuPage County divorce attorney child custody

In most cases in which a child has two known, living parents, Illinois courts will determine that it is in the child’s best interest for both parents to share custody. In fact, in 2016, the state of Illinois changed the laws and language surrounding child custody so that the term “custody” is no longer officially used. Instead, these decisions are now referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, out of recognition of the benefits of a cooperative arrangement. However, there are still situations in which a parent or another party acting on the child’s behalf can legally challenge the other parent’s rights to parenting time and parental responsibilities.

When Can a Parent Be Denied Parenting Time or Responsibilities?

First and foremost, an Illinois court will seek to establish a parenting agreement that serves the child’s best interests. It may be considered in the child’s best interests to restrict or deny one or both parents’ rights to parenting time and decision-making responsibilities if the parent:

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Lombard, IL divorce attorney parenting time

A divorce can not only change the lives of you and your spouse, it can affect your whole family dynamic. Your children will have to adjust to living in two different households, and the nature of your relationship with them may change, especially if you will not be spending as much time with them as you used to. However, your relationship does not have to deteriorate, especially if you continue to make an effort to foster love, trust, communication, and quality time with your children. Working with your co-parent can also help your children feel more at ease during this major life transition. 

How to Keep a Close Bond With Your Children

As you and your children acclimate to life after your divorce, here are some things to keep in mind that can help you maintain a strong relationship:

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Lombard, IL divorce attorney parenting time

Divorce may be difficult for children of any age, but it can be especially confusing for toddlers who cannot fully understand their parents’ separation and the reasons for the change in their routine. If you decide to get a divorce while your children are still very young, you should be aware of the effects it may have on them and do everything you can to make the transition easier for them and continue providing them with a happy and healthy life.

Effects of Divorce on Young Children

Due to the stresses placed on your toddler both during and after your divorce, you may see some concerning changes in his or her behavior, including:

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Lombard, IL divorce attorney property division

The decision to get a divorce affects your entire family, especially any children that you and your spouse share. Throughout the divorce process, you will need to resolve important issues related to your children, including child support, parenting time, and the allocation of parental responsibilities. However, your children may factor into other important decisions as well, such as the division of marital assets. As you decide on the properties that will remain with each spouse, you should consider how certain properties may help you be a better parent and help your kids adjust to the changes that divorce brings.

Marital Properties That May Affect Your Children

In general, a fair distribution of assets is important so that both parents can continue to financially provide for their children as best as possible. However, certain tangible or physical properties may be especially important to maintaining a sense of normalcy for your kids. Some of those properties include:

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Wheaton family law attorney divorce

For children of divorce, the coping process often continues long after the divorce is finalized. Their parents’ separation is a major, usually permanent change in their lives, and it is only natural that they may struggle in the months and years that follow. One area that often suffers is the children’s educational goals and performance, but parents can help by showing support and understanding. The following are a few examples of how co-parents can encourage their kids to keep up with their schooling after divorce. 

Tips for Helping Your Children With School

A new school year is just beginning, and whether your divorce is recent or a few years in the past, this is likely to be a challenging time for your children. Here are some ways you can help:

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Wheaton divorce attorney mediation

Many divorcing couples recognize that although it is no longer the right decision for them to stay married, they both continue to share the goal of providing the best possible life for their children. This desire to co-parent effectively can be a major motivating factor toward pursuing a cooperative divorce, rather than allowing the process to devolve into destructive conflict. If you and your spouse are hoping to work together to establish a parenting plan that works for everyone in your family, divorce mediation may be the right choice for you.

Why Is Divorce Mediation Beneficial?

In divorce mediation, you and your spouse are able to make your own, cooperative decisions regarding the terms of your divorce. A neutral mediator guides the process so that discussions stay on track and both spouses have the opportunity to voice their perspectives. If mediation works for you, you may be able to reach a faster resolution and reduce expenses when compared to a trial, and you are also able to keep your divorce proceedings out of the public eye. Mediation can resolve a variety of issues in your divorce, including the division of property and spousal support, but it can be especially helpful for child custody and visitation.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parental relocation

During your divorce process, you likely devoted significant time and energy to establishing a parenting plan that was suitable to you and your ex-spouse and addressed your children’s best interests. However, as your children get older and all of your living situations change, it is sometimes necessary to revisit and modify your parenting plan to meet your current needs. One of the biggest changes that can affect a parenting plan is the relocation of one of the parents. If you or your ex are planning a major move, you should consider how you will need to modify your parenting plan to accommodate this substantial change in circumstances.

Modifying Your Parenting Plan After Relocation

It is important to note that when divorced parents share custody of their children, one of them may not simply move at any time. The relocating parent must provide the other parent with reasonable notice, usually at least 60 days, of his or her intent to move. Even then, the other parent can object, in which case, there will be a court hearing to determine whether the relocation will be permitted. One of the most important factors the court considers is the impact the relocation will have on the existing parenting agreement.

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DuPage County Divorce Attorney asset division

Each week, month, and year, new social media trends get released and new platforms begin to surface. What was popular last week, may not mean much once another Monday rolls around. As smartphones and social media have become more integrated into our lives, it can be easy to forget that there are still personal boundaries when it comes to what should and should not be posted online. Studies have shown that social media content has affected people’s views on their relationships, including romantic ones, sometimes causing issues that could be mitigated without the high usage of social media. With Facebook’s option to list your relationship status, Instagram’s ability to post photos with your new significant other, and Twitter’s propensity to elicit Tweets venting about your ex, your social media posts can greatly impact your Illinois divorce.

Using Your Spouse’s Posts to Your Advantage

If both you and your spouse are heavy social media users, your posts may become evidence in your divorce proceedings. While a judge cannot make a decision based on a single post, online postings can be an indicator of your spouse’s character and reveal white lies he or she may have attempted to tell throughout the divorce. 

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DuPage County divorce attorney infidelity

Going through a divorce is never easy. Rightfully so, going through a divorce caused by an affair can be even more heart-wrenching. If you discover that your partner was cheating on you during your marriage, you may experience trust and loyalty issues in future relationships. Additionally, you may also believe that your spouse’s mistress caused this, and therefore you wish to take legal action against her. Within the state of Illinois, an individual may file a civil tort claim for alienation of affection or criminal conversation against the mistress. In this type of claim, the individual may sue the person who ruined her marriage and ask the judge to award damages based on mental disruption, humiliation to the public, and loss of support and/or wages from her spouse.

Criminal Conversation

Despite its name, criminal conversation is a civil case brought up in civil court where the defendant will not face criminal charges or jail time if convicted. Criminal conversation requires ample evidence, and in this case, the individual suing the spouse’s mistress must prove that adultery happened during the duration of the marriage. Such evidence includes pictures and/or videos that are gathered with the help of a private investigator.

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DuPage County divorce attorney child support

A divorce involves many issues that need resolving, especially when children are involved. When determining child support, the financial status of both parents is seriously considered. If the non-custodial parent is providing support, the child’s medical expenses may cause an additional financial burden. These additional expenses could cause the judge to lessen the amount of support given to the custodial parent. Whether you are the non-custodial or the custodial parent, it is important to consult with a skilled family law attorney if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child support payments.

Determining Support

Child support calculations can be incredibly complex. Within the state of Illinois, child support payments are usually paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to provide additional financial support for the child’s basic needs such as food and clothing. Payments can also be used to fund tuition, transportation, housing expenses, extracurricular activities, and medical care costs. These factors, as well as the net income of both parents, will be used to determine the amount of support the custodial parent will receive from the non-custodial parent. 

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DuPage County family law attorney child custody

During a divorce, one or both spouses may seek counseling or therapy. Due to the universal Doctor-Patient Confidentiality Agreement, patients are reassured that the sessions are private. However, it is possible your therapy records could end up in the courtroom during your divorce proceeding. When this occurs, it is important to hire a family law attorney to protect your rights. 

Record Contents

Typically, if you are attending therapy or seeking the help of a professional counselor, you may have overwhelming issues that affect you psychologically and hinder your daily activities. Discussing them with an unbiased individual can be comforting and allow you to process your emotions. Problems may involve alcohol/drug addiction, a tragic event, or mental health issues. Within a divorce proceeding, these issues may negatively affect spousal support, and/or the allocation of parental responsibilities.  

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Wheaton divorce attorney

When a couple decides to call it quits, one or both spouses may file for divorce. However, in some cases, one spouse may walk out without an explanation, leaving the other spouse to wonder about his or her whereabouts. If you wish to get a divorce but are unsure where your spouse is, be sure to contact a knowledgeable family law attorney to help resolve this complex situation.

Publication Divorce 

If a spouse would like to get a divorce but is unable to find their spouse, Illinois law allows “divorce by publication.” Publication divorce occurs only after a judge has been convinced that the divorcing spouse is unable to find the missing spouse after extensive searching. Extensive searching may include:

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Wheaton divorce attorney child custody

According to the Addiction Center, more than 90 percent of people who have an addiction started to use drugs or drink alcohol before they were 18 years old. Problems with drugs or alcohol may impact a person’s professional and personal life. Substance abuse is one of the most common reasons for divorce. Since substance abuse can affect many different aspects of a divorce proceeding, it is important to consult with a skilled family law attorney to ensure that parental rights and responsibilities are protected. In some cases, a spouse’s addiction may influence the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody). 

A Child’s Best Interest

Within the state of Illinois, the allocation of parental responsibilities is heavily based on a child’s best interest. Typically, both parents will split time with the child. However, if substance abuse plays a role in the child custody battle, the judge may determine that an arrangement of that nature would not be suitable for the child’s well-being. 

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DuPage County family law attorney prenuptial agreement

A prenuptial agreement, typically known as a prenup, is a written contract created by two individuals prior to their marriage. This legally binding document establishes the future of any separate and marital property and/or assets, debts, and estate plan for each spouse in the event of a divorce. The state of Illinois has its own laws on what can and cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement, so before you sign on the dotted line, make sure to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to verify the validity.

Important Issues to Address in a Prenup

A prenup is not a one-size-fits-all arrangement, meaning the elements that one couple may address in their agreement might not be appropriate for another couple’s situation. However, the topics listed below are a few general ideas you may want to consider including in your agreement:

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DuPage County child support attorney

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have had to lay off or terminate their employees for a period of time in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Losing your job for any reason can be alarming, especially if you have children. Being unemployed can affect your finances, as well as your mental and emotional health. In addition, if you are a divorced parent, it can impact your ability to pay child support. In Illinois, child support is a legal order made as part of a divorce judgment, and the amount of child support payments is based on the needs of the children, as well as both parents’ financial situations. This type of support is meant to pay for children’s necessities, such as food and clothing. If you have recently lost your job, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities regarding child support payments according to Illinois law.

What to Do if You Cannot Pay Child Support

Within the state of Illinois, you are required to follow the court's orders regarding payment of child support, regardless of your current circumstances. If you miss any payments while you are unemployed, you will still have to pay them at some point, and interest may be applied to past-due payments. Missing payments could result in significant penalties, including fines, the loss of your driver's license, or even jail time. To save yourself from potential legal trouble, you may be able to receive unemployment benefits that will allow you to meet your obligations, and you can take steps to modify your child support order based on your financial circumstances.

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