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First Responder Divorce Issues
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Wheaton Office
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DuPage County Divorce Attorney for First Responders

Oak Brook family law attorney for firefighters, police, EMT

Lawyer Assisting With Divorce Cases Involving Police Officers, Firefighters, and EMTs in Wheaton, IL

Being a first responder can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also affect a person's life in a variety of unexpected ways. Firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and their spouses may encounter emotional, financial, or personal issues that can impact their relationships. When these or other concerns lead to the breakdown of a marriage, first responders and their spouses may need to address some unique issues during the divorce process.

At A. Traub & Associates, several of our attorneys and staff members have spouses or other family members who are firefighters, EMTs, or police officers, and we understand the issues that can affect first responders and their families. We can offer the support and legal help you need, and we will work with you to resolve your legal concerns during the divorce process.

Emotional Concerns

Due to the nature of their work, first responders can experience difficulties that others may not understand. Regularly witnessing pain, sickness, and death can take an emotional toll on a person, and this can lead to relationship problems that, if unresolved, may result in divorce. In addition, many first responders experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and they may struggle to deal with the resulting symptoms. Some of the issues that can result from PTSD, such as depression, anxiety, anger management issues, substance abuse, or infidelity, can not only affect a marriage, but they can play a significant role in the decisions made during divorce.

Spouses of first responders often face their own emotional concerns that can affect their marriage. When an EMT, firefighter, or police officer works long hours or is regularly called in to work at inconvenient times, this can leave their spouse feeling alone and isolated. These spouses may be required to handle the majority of the household and child-rearing duties, and if they are not receiving the support they need from their partner, they may choose to pursue a divorce.

Practical and Financial Issues During Divorce

First responders and their spouses will need to address many of the same issues as other couples when getting divorced, including the division of marital property, spousal maintenance, child custody, and child support. However, they may need to address certain types of unique concerns, including determining how to handle parenting time when a person has a work schedule that changes regularly.

When creating a parenting plan, spouses in these cases will likely need to be flexible. They should allow for changes to the time children will spend with a parent based on when they will be required to work, while including provisions for what will happen if a parent must work at unexpected times. The parenting plan may also address concerns about children's safety if a parent has experienced PTSD symptoms or other emotional issues, including requiring a parent to refrain from using alcohol or drugs during their parenting time.

Another issue that first responders may need to address during divorce is how to divide their pension benefits. While a police officer or firefighter may not begin receiving these benefits until many years after their divorce, their ex-spouse will likely be entitled to receive a certain portion of the payments, depending on how long they were married while working in a pension-eligible position. In Illinois, police and fire pensions are operated through the State Employees' Retirement System, and when dividing these pension benefits between divorcing spouses, a Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO) must be created.

Contact Our Lombard First Responder Divorce Lawyers

If you or your spouse are a firefighter, EMT, or police officer, our compassionate, dedicated attorneys can provide you with the guidance and representation you need during your divorce. We will help you understand your rights, and we will work with you to reach a resolution that will protect your relationship with your children and your financial interests. Contact us today at 630-426-0196. From our offices in Wheaton, Lombard, and Arlington Heights, we serve clients in DuPage, Kane, Will, and Cook Counties, including Oak Brook, Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn, and Glendale Heights.

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