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How to handle a difficult co-parent

 Posted on August 30, 2013 in Child Custody

After a contentious separation, divorced parents are still faced with the difficult challenge of raising a child together. If the split was particularly acrimonious, parents often have little incentive to work together, leading to difficult times and hard feelings. Parents who work hard to do the best for their child can often be disappointed in the efforts put forth by the other parent, especially when they miss custody appointments, skip child support payments or otherwise fail to uphold their side of the child custody agreement.

There are a number of things a parent can do to help deal with the frustrations of such a situation. First, parents should examine their own efforts, and their own reactions to the other parent's decisions. Often, lowering one's high expectations and easing up on harsh judgments can go a long way toward reconciliation.

When working with the other co-parent, parents should communicate their concerns clearly and patiently, and be open to compromise. Parents should try to be open to the other parent's point of view.

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Back to school season for divorced parents

 Posted on August 23, 2013 in Child Custody

Co-parenting can be a difficult process. After a divorce, emotions can be raw and there may be little goodwill left between the two parents. The child custody proceedings will set up the framework for the relationship between parents and children. But cooperation is essential between divorced parents if they are to help their children through this potentially difficult time.

This cooperation is especially necessary during back-to-school season. There are many financial and organizational hurdles at this time of the year, and often both parents feel the need to contribute. Pencils, notebooks, folders and a backpack all need to be purchased, as well as new clothes and sports equipment.

If possible, the best thing to do is to split these purchases up between parents. One parent can go with the child to purchase school supplies, and the other can help with the clothes shopping. This helps to spread out the financial strain, and it allows both parents to participate in the process.

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New law requires casinos, tracks to garnish for child support

 Posted on August 15, 2013 in Child Support

The state of Illinois has specific guidelines for how much noncustodial parents should pay in child support. Those guidelines may not apply, though, if two parents have joint physical custody of a child. To see how child support guidelines work in Illinois, parents can visit our Wheaton child support site.

As for enforcing child support orders, Governor Pat Quinn signed a law this week that requires gambling establishments such as race tracks and casinos to garnish the winnings of parents who are behind on child support. Unpaid child support in the state currently amounts to about $3 billion, and the new law is meant to whittle down the backlog.

When the tracks and casinos garnish the winnings, the money will be distributed to custodial parents by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Gambling establishments will have access to a database of parents who owe, and the new law requires that signs be posted indicating that if parents are behind on support, then payments will be taken from any winnings.

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Are you aware of your soon-to-be ex's stock options?

 Posted on August 09, 2013 in High Asset Divorce

When people get married, they tend to divvy up household duties such as lawn work, paying bills, grocery shopping or what-have-you. A problem that arises in divorce, then, is that one spouse has handled the financial side of the marriage, while the other spouse has essentially kept out of money matters. This happens more often than you might expect.

Unfortunately, one thing divorcing spouses in Illinois have to watch out for is the hiding of marital assets that should otherwise be divided equitably in the divorce settlement. Make no mistake: hiding assets in this way is illegal, and individuals need to be aware of the marital assets to which they are entitled.

We've discussed previously the division of property such as 401(k)s and other retirement accounts, but sometimes a spouse who started a work-related account will tell the other spouse that he or she doesn't have a right to it. But unless a prenuptial agreement states otherwise, retirement accounts started during the course of a marriage are regarded as marital property, meaning they are subject to property division.

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Actor Jason Patric seeks fathers' rights to 3-year-old boy

 Posted on August 02, 2013 in Fathers' Rights

Movie star Jason Patric is involved in a complex child custody case that may be of interest to Illinois residents who are concerned about fathers' rights. Patric, whose movies include "Speed 2" and "The Lost Boys," is in a custody dispute with his ex-girlfriend Danielle Schreiber.

In 2009, Patric donated his sperm to Schreiber after the couple, according to him, repeatedly tried to have children but couldn't. Now Schreiber has custody of her 3-year-old son, and Patric is fighting for his parental rights.

At issue are a number of pieces of evidence. First, apparently Patric wrote a letter to Schreiber indicating that he wasn't prepared to be a father, and Schreiber has claimed publicly that Patric only intended to donate his sperm. The letter also includes a request not to have Patric's name included on the child's birth certificate.

For his part, Patric claims that he and Schreiber signed an "intended parent" document when they decided to try in vitro fertilization. He says the document confirms his intention to father the child. He also says there are financial documents and photographs proving he has been involved in the child's life.

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Using a QDRO to split a retirement account in an Illinois divorce

 Posted on July 24, 2013 in High Asset Divorce

What are Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, and how do they relate to asset division in Illinois divorces? QDROs are used to give an alternate recipient the right to receive funds from a private-sector retirement account such as a 401(k) or a pension plan. The alternate recipient could be the plan participant's child, spouse or former spouse, so you can see why QDROs are important in dividing assets in the divorce process.

If a spouse started participating in a 401(k) or pension plan during the marriage, then the plan will be classified as marital property and thus subject to equitable division. Soon-to-be divorced spouses who want funds from such a plan should take the necessary steps to ensure that the QDRO is properly handled. An attorney can review this document prior the finalization of the divorce settlement.

There may be tax liabilities for the party named as an alternate recipient, so this issue should also be accounted for in divorce negotiations. Monetary penalties are also common when a retirement account is withdrawn early.

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Alimony troubles for NBA champ Dwayne Wade

 Posted on July 15, 2013 in Alimony

In an Illinois divorce, an Agreed Preliminary Injunction, or API, can require that the divorcing parties set up a shared bank account into which income should be deposited. Funds can then be allocated to the proper recipients, and this kind of agreement may be especially useful in a high-asset divorce.

Three-time professional basketball champion Dwayne Wade has recently run into legal trouble over what his former wife claims was a conspiracy to avoid putting money into a court-ordered account that was set up for Wade's marketing and endorsement income. Dwayne's ex, Siovaughn, has filed a lawsuit against him, his sponsors and his lawyers for civil conspiracy and breach of contract.

In 2008, when the former spouses divorced, they entered into an API stating that the entirety of Dwayne's income from endorsements should be deposited "immediately and directly" into an account the parties mutually chose.

After the court approved the injunction, Siovaughn says she sent documents to her ex's business partners to let them know that payments to Dwayne should go directly into the shared account. Her lawsuit claims that the API was breached when Dwayne and his business partners intentionally failed to comply. Siovaughn is seeking about $1 million in damages.

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What are the long-term effects of divorce on young children?

 Posted on July 10, 2013 in Child Custody

The results of a recent study may not be all that surprising to parents: that younger children tend to experience more long-term negative effects from divorce than do older children. Every case is different, of course. We established this blog to discuss these matters and more, so let us consider the study's recent findings.

A survey was created by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The survey was posted online and garnered 7,335 respondents, most of whom were women. About a third of the respondents said their parents were divorced. In general, the findings relate to how close the attachment is between divorced parents and their adult children, as well as to how people's romantic lives are eventually affected if their parents were divorced.

The good news is that having divorced parents tended not to have a huge effect on the parent-child attachment later in life, though people who were young children when their parents split up did tend to be more anxious around or resentful toward their parents.

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