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Learning to set boundaries regarding your co-parent’s dating life

 Posted on December 08, 2022 in Child Custody

Co-parenting with someone for whom you likely have a highly conflicted mixture of feelings can be difficult. Newly separated or divorced couples sharing custody of their children typically do best when they focus more on their children and less on what their former partner is doing with their lives.

That means establishing some boundaries. Of course, that’s easier said than done. There are a lot of things that are no longer any of your business – and that goes for both of you. It’s easy to justify making them your business by saying they affect your child – and anything that affects your child is your business.

One crucial boundary that you both need to respect is your ex’s romantic life. Are they dating anyone seriously or more than one person casually? Have they introduced any new romantic partners to your child?

The less you pay attention to your ex’s social and romantic life, the faster you can move on. That means not looking at their social media pages. It also means not trying to get information from your child.

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Has your ex turned gift-giving into a competition you can’t win?

 Posted on December 02, 2022 in Child Support

This time of year can be particularly challenging for divorced parents. If you’ve got a co-parent who is determined to get your child expensive, lavish gifts that you can’t afford or simply don’t think they need, it can be particularly frustrating.

Divorced parents shower their children with gifts for any number of reasons. Some just want to be the “favorite.” Others are relentlessly competitive. Sometimes, parents who feel guilty about the divorce or not being able to spend as much time with their kids as they’d like try to make up for it by buying toys, games, sports equipment, clothes, vacations and more.

Try to reach an agreement

As with most co-parenting issues, the best strategy is to try to talk about it and come to an agreement. You can ask your co-parent to commit to a spending limit for individual gifts and share the cost (and credit) for larger gifts – unless they’re coming from Santa. See if they’ll agree to a provision in your parenting plan about gift-giving.

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Child custody and relocation in Illinois: What you need to know

 Posted on November 28, 2022 in Child Custody

For some reason, you may want to relocate with the children after a divorce. It could be due to a new job opportunity, remarriage or even a change of environment. However, certain child custody laws might affect your move, and it is prudent to stay ahead of the situation.

For context, relocating does not necessarily mean moving with your children to a different state or country. Changing residence within the state can still be considered relocation if it meets specific criteria under Illinois law. If you share custody of the children, you cannot act alone and move with the children, as explained below.

How the process works in Illinois

Suppose you intend to relocate with the children. In such a case, you must provide written notice to your co-parent and file a copy with the clerk of the circuit court. The law requires at least 60 days' notice unless it is impractical. In such a case, you must inform your co-parent and the court as early as possible.

The notice should provide details of your move, such as the new address, how long you intend to stay and your travel date. Should there be no opposition from your co-parent on your relocation, then you should be able to move without problems. The court will not be involved unless there are modifications to the custody arrangement that needs to be formalized.

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Familiarizing your child with your new home

 Posted on November 20, 2022 in Child Custody

Part of the divorce process involved moving out of the family home. You’ve found a new place and while it is a bit smaller, there is still enough room for you and your child to be comfortable.

You have your child twice a week and they stay with you on those days. They like your new place but admit it feels more like visiting a hotel or guesthouse. You’d like to change this and make it feel more like a second home. How can you go about doing this?

Stick to the routines

One of the most important aspects of settling your child into post-divorce life is keeping up the same routines. The responsibility for this falls on both you and your co-parent. There will be a custody order in place and this has to be honored. Sticking to the same routines is the first step in helping your child become familiar with your new home because visitation days will become more low-key.

Keep it child-friendly

Having your own place is a chance to create something unique to you, but it’s important to consider your child in all of this. Why not decorate and design at least one room together, with the child taking the lead? This way, whatever happens, they always have that safe space to go to that they have designed themselves.

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Is your child finding school difficult post-divorce?

 Posted on November 10, 2022 in Divorce

Neither you nor your ex found the divorce process easy, but you got there in the end. You’ve managed to reach amicable agreements and are now looking to move forward with your lives. It’s not as simple as you both going your separate ways, you still have a child to bring up.

If you and your spouse found the separation difficult then the chances are that your child found it even tougher. You’re concerned about the impact it’s all having on their schoolwork. Outlined below are a few signs that your child is struggling at school post-divorce.

Have they gotten into trouble?

You dropped your child off at school in the morning and set about the rest of your day. In the afternoon, you were shocked to receive a call from the school. Your child has gotten into a fight and you’ve been asked to collect them. This is totally out of character and has never happened before. Is it possible that another child provoked them because of the divorce?

Are they shutting you out?

It’s a tradition for the family to sit around the dinner table every night and discuss the events of the day. Your child was always pleased and eager to tell you what they learned at school. This tradition ground to a halt after the divorce. This is a sign that your child may not be enjoying school in the same way that they did before.

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Staying calm is beneficial during divorce

 Posted on November 02, 2022 in Divorce

The romantic relationship between you and your spouse has run its course. The only viable option left is divorce. Traditionally, divorce has been framed as a battle, but it doesn’t need to be this way. In fact, a more amicable divorce could benefit everyone involved.

Staying calm during divorce proceedings is easier said than done, but it really could help you. Outlined below are a few practical tips to consider.

There is no rush

Of course, you want to get the divorce over with quickly, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of your well-being or rights. If you’re feeling the pressure, take a moment to pause for reflection. Sometimes, one spouse settles for more than they are worth simply to get it all over with. Usually, they end up regretting this further down the line.

Focus on your children

You and your spouse are both great parents, you just didn’t function anymore as a couple. You both still have your parenting skills and the best interests of your children at heart. Placing this above any personal disputes in the past will serve both of you well, and it will also help your children to process the separation.

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Your debt obligations after a divorce

 Posted on October 27, 2022 in Divorce

During a divorce, a big part of the process is splitting your marital assets and debts. Unlike other states, Illinois relies on dividing property equitably, which means fairly but not always equally.

Your assets and debts will be divided in basically the same way. As a result, you and your spouse will likely wind up with certain debts you are responsible for. However, just because you were not assigned a debt during your divorce, if you co-signed on it, the creditors may still seek repayment from you if your spouse fails to fulfill the obligation.

Understanding debt liability

Your liability for a debt isn’t changed just because you divorce. Creditors aren’t concerned with your marital status – they are worried about being paid the money they are owed.

While Illinois will split the debts fairly, if your spouse doesn’t make payments on a debt they were assigned that is also in your name, you can be held responsible for it. If you also fail to meet the repayment obligation, your credit rating may take a hit, and the creditor may seek additional repayment methods.

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Can you move with your children after an Illinois divorce?

 Posted on October 26, 2022 in Divorce

The neighborhood where you lived during your marriage may not be where you want to remain after your divorce. Maybe you can't afford the local property prices without two incomes, or perhaps you simply have too many memories that are painful for you. Other people have job opportunities that they want to take advantage of or family members in other states.

As a parent who shares their parental rights and responsibilities with your ex, there are certain limitations on what you can do. For example, if you hope to move to the opposite side of Illinois or even leave the state, you may find that your parenting plan or state law prevents you from doing so unless you follow the right steps.

What are the rules for parental relocations in Illinois?

When you share parental rights and responsibilities, both you and your ex have an interest in living close to the children and being with them frequently. It is common for couples to impose limitations on travel or post-court relocations in their parenting plans.

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Maintaining a functional co-parenting relationship

 Posted on October 19, 2022 in Child Custody

Your divorce has been settled and the custody order has been put in place. The court has decided that both you and your former spouse are individually both good parents, and you’re in agreement with this. What matters now is that you’re able to work together successfully as co-parents.

In any co-parenting relationship, there are bound to be disagreements. What matters is how these disputes are resolved. Of course, where possible, conflict should be kept to a minimum. After all, it is widely agreed upon that children cope better with more stability.

Outlined below are a few tips for maintaining an effective co-parenting relationship.

Stick to the custody order

It is not uncommon for disputes to arise over the custody schedule. Your former spouse may not agree with the terms, and might even start to disobey the arrangement. In such a situation, it’s important that you stick to your end of the deal. As frustrating as it can be, you should not retaliate by refusing visitation to your former spouse. If possible, try and remind them that the arrangement is legally binding and that there could be consequences for not sticking to its terms.

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Don’t let hidden assets devalue your divorce settlement

 Posted on October 12, 2022 in High Asset Divorce

One of the most pertinent parts of the divorce process is the division of assets. In Illinois, the family court divides marital assets based on the equitable distribution doctrine. This means that marital assets will be divided in a way that seems fair to all parties.

The process of equitable distribution only works on the condition that all marital assets are disclosed properly. If this isn’t the case, then it is no longer equitable. How can you tell if your spouse is attempting to hide assets?

Asking you to sign some mystery documents

Your spouse has called and asked if you wouldn’t mind signing some documents. You said you’d take a look so they came around. Upon arrival, they seem flustered. They thank you for taking a look at the documents but state they cannot hang around for long. They assure you that it’s nothing to worry about and that the papers are "just an administrative thing" that they need to get sorted out.

It is never a good idea to sign documents without taking your time and being aware of exactly what they are. It’s possible that your spouse could be trying to get you to sign over your rights to the family home or agree to a loan that will empty your equity or other valuable assets.

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