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DuPage County family law attorney divorce mediation

If you are getting a divorce, you might want to consider employing divorce mediation to help both you and your spouse reach a fairer and less stressful dissolution of your marriage.

In addition, many other issues in family law could be resolved through mediation as well, including child custody. Here is some more information about mediation in case you are considering it for you and your family.

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DuPage County divorce attorneyEnding a marriage is a difficult endeavor with many possible financial pitfalls from which a person may spend years trying to recover. In fact, one study suggests that it may take as long as five years to overcome the financial impact of a divorce. In some cases it may take even longer, possibly decades. However, there are ways to minimize the financial risks of divorce, especially if you are well prepared and you have the guidance of a qualified divorce attorney.

The Intersection of Divorce and Debt

Most Americans have debt. Some fail to manage it responsibly, but others are diligent about only taking on obligations they can afford. However, both groups are at risk of financial difficulties after a divorce. This is due, in part, to the splitting of one household into two. Each party must now cover their own separate bills, housing expenses, and utilities. They must also be able to pay the share of the marital debt that was allocated to them, which can be difficult to manage on a single income. The more debt a couple has going into the divorce, the higher their risk typically is.

How Divorce Planning Can Help

Instead of leaving themselves open to financial risks during and after divorce, couples can plan for the event and adjust their situation accordingly. This might mean putting off the divorce until debts are paid, or determining who will be responsible for each debt ahead of time. This can be done through mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Alternatively, if an agreement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to take an aggressive litigated approach to protect your interests during the divorce process. In either case, the assistance of an attorney is highly encouraged.

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Wheaton family lawyerLaws throughout the United States, including in Illinois, require both of a child’s legal parents to contribute to child support to provide for basic needs until the child reaches the age of 18. However, many children benefit from the financial support of their parents even after they reach adulthood, especially if they want to pursue a college education. In general, parents are not legally required to provide support under these circumstances, but Illinois law does include a provision through which both parents may be ordered to contribute to their children’s college expenses after a divorce or separation.

When Is a Child Eligible for Support for College Expenses?

Parents are, of course, free to make their own arrangements to contribute to their children’s higher education under any circumstances. However, after a divorce or separation, it may be best for a parent to pursue a legally binding order that ensures that both parents contribute. In these cases, an Illinois court will only consider issuing an order if the following criteria are met:

  • The child must usually be under the age of 23, but support may continue until the age of 25 if there is a valid reason.

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DuPage County divorce attorney spousal maintenance

As you contemplate whether to get a divorce, one of your biggest concerns may be your ability to support yourself financially without your spouse’s income, especially if you are a stay-at-home parent or you are out of work for other reasons. In these cases, you may be able to make the case for spousal support as part of your divorce resolution. It is important to understand when spousal support, otherwise known as maintenance or alimony, is awarded and how long it may last so that you can plan accordingly.

When Is Spousal Maintenance Awarded?

If you and your spouse have a legally valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that provides for the amount and duration of spousal maintenance in the event of a divorce, you can likely expect the court to honor that agreement. However, in any other case, decisions regarding spousal support are settled at the time of your divorce. You will either need to negotiate for maintenance with your spouse or demonstrate to the court that you have a need for it. Some reasons the court may consider include:

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting time

For many families, the winter holidays are a time for celebration. They can also be a time of heightened emotions, and those feelings are not always positive. Families who have recently gone through a divorce may still be coping with grief, sadness, even anger, and they may understandably find it hard to recapture the joy of past holiday seasons. However, this does not mean that this year’s holidays cannot be enjoyable in a different way. 

Approaching the Holidays as a Divorced Parent

As a parent, there are a few things you can do to help make the holidays less sad or stressful and more enjoyable after your divorce. Here are some suggestions to consider:

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DuPage County divorce attorney mediation

Many divorcing couples try to avoid the time, cost, and stress of a trial by pursuing an uncontested divorce, in which they come to an agreement on many important decisions. However, this can be easier said than done, and in many cases, it helps to seek the assistance of a qualified divorce mediator. Mediation can be especially beneficial when attempting to resolve the often complicated matter of dividing marital assets, property, and debts.

What Is the Role of an Illinois Divorce Mediator?

Unlike a divorce attorney, whose role is to represent the interests of one of the parties, a mediator remains neutral and seeks to guide negotiations between spouses to allow both perspectives to be heard, minimize conflict, and identify opportunities for agreement on the way to a finalized resolution. While there is usually some financial cost for divorce mediation, it is often lower than the expenses that the two parties may face if the divorce goes to trial.

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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 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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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 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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Wheaton divorce parenting time lawyerThe divorce journey looks and feels different for every couple, with varying shades of complexity. From the amicable to the horrendous, divorces manifest in all kinds of distinct ways, depending on the circumstances surrounding the relationship and if children are involved. Something every divorce has in common, however, is that they are all emotionally charged events by nature. Regardless of how civil both parties are with one another throughout the process, everyone involved is bound to experience emotional pain and discomfort, especially as the divorce proceedings develop. Difficult issues can arise that must not only be discussed but also resolved between both parties in order to make progress and move forward.

Typical Setbacks and What to Do When They Happen to You

Conflicts, even small ones, are inevitable throughout the divorce process. Here are some issues that commonly cause setbacks for both parties during the transition and how to address them when they happen to you:

  • Parenting time conflicts - If you and your spouse share children, you may quickly discover that you have different ideas of what parenting time should look like after the separation. It is not uncommon for couples to think they are on the same page regarding child custody issues, such as who will get the children on weekends and holidays, only to find they have drastically different feelings once the divorce is underway. Parenting time conflicts can turn into time-consuming, ongoing battles if not addressed early on. A positive course of action is to work with a well-seasoned, qualified family law attorney to create a fair, cohesive parenting plan to submit to the court for review. Should any modifications be necessary, your attorney can guide you through these changes from start to finish.

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Posted on in Divorce

competition, divorce, Lombard family law attorneysA quick Google search of the phrase "winning your divorce" brings up about 21 million results (your result may vary slightly), each offering advice or a step-by-step guide on how to gain an advantage over your spouse as your marriage comes to an end. In the last 50 years or so, we have somehow gone from a society that frowns on divorce to one that welcomes and all but celebrates the battle. Of course, it is certainly understandable that you will experience certain emotions related to the end of your marriage, and that anger and a desire for retribution are often among them. You need to remember, however, that no matter how justified you may feel in the moment, there are no real winners in divorce, and an unnecessarily contentious battle can leave both you and your spouse on the losing end.

Remember the Person You Married

The very fact that you are faced with divorce means that you, at some point, loved your spouse enough to marry him or her. There may be situations in which this is not true, but that is a topic for another day. Now, you may claim that your spouse has changed and that he or she is not the same person you married. Fair enough, but are you the same person he or she married?

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