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How does property division work in Illinois?

 Posted on October 05, 2022 in Divorce

Illinois law requires that property division in a divorce is done equitably, which means fairly and impartially. It means you might not end up with equal portions of the marital estate after a divorce. Here is what you should expect when dividing property and debt in an Illinois divorce.

Several factors weigh in during property division

If there is no legally binding property division agreement like a prenup, an Illinois divorce court will divide marital assets and debts in what the court considers the fairest manner. Some of the factors that will influence the property division process include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The financial situation of each spouse
  • Any existing domestic obligations from a previous marriage
  • The custody of the children
  • The health, age, education, or employability of each spouse
  • If either spouse dissipated or wasted marital assets in the lead-up to the divorce, among others

A family court judge will determine each spouse's share of the marital estate after taking into consideration all these factors.

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What are the long-term effects of parental alienation on the child?

 Posted on September 28, 2022 in Divorce

Sometimes, divorce can bring out the worst in people. One of the most serious mistakes couples make during and after the divorce is using children to settle scores. Generally, this is referred to as parental alienation or parenting interference, and it hurts pretty much everyone involved.

Parental alienation can impact the child in a variety of ways. And not only that, the effects of parental alienation can linger around through to the child’s adulthood years. Here are some of the ways parental alienation can impact adult children.

Poor emotional management skills

Most adults who grow from alienated kids tend to feel they have a right to throw tantrums at anyone. As kids, they were encouraged to show disrespect and hostility towards their parent, and this sense of rage became their standard operating procedure. In adulthood, it is not uncommon for them to feel entitled to baseless anger and exhibit immaturity to have their way.

Poor relationship skills

A child who grows up perceiving their own parent as entirely bad or evil will have a difficult time trusting and seeing the best in anyone. This applies to their romantic relationships as well as professional and social relationships.

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Will a new relationship impact your child custody case?

 Posted on September 20, 2022 in Child Custody

Legally speaking, no law prohibits you from finding love again following your marriage’s failure. And if you get into a new relationship, it may be exciting to introduce your new partner to your family and kids. Unfortunately, this might not thrill your ex-spouse, especially if you share a child with them.

As you probably know, child custody can be quite complete. It involves coming up with a new plan for your child’s life. And that plan must focus on the best interest of the child. If you decide to date again, it is important that you understand how this decision will impact your child custody case.

Here are two instances when your dating life can threaten your custody case.

If your dating life is affecting your ability to care for the child

If your new relationship is robbing you of your parenting time, then there could be a problem with your custody case. For instance, if your ex discovers that you are missing the child’s medical appointments or other important activities in the child’s life like school functions in favor of your time with your new love, then they might use this as the basis for modifying an existing custody order.

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Mistakes to avoid when dividing assets and property

 Posted on September 14, 2022 in Divorce

Filing for divorce, even in the best circumstances, isn’t pleasant. It can be messy and involve hurt, anger, and many other emotions.

While some couples let their emotions guide the way, these individuals usually have a longer and more expensive divorce than those who remain calm and are prepared. When dividing assets, some mistakes are made by couples who aren’t thinking clearly or focusing on the process. Knowing what these mistakes are can help you avoid them.

Look at the true and long-term value of an asset

On the surface, some assets may seem equal. However, after factoring in the taxes, this will likely change.

For example, having $5,000 in cash differs from having stock valued at $5,000. When you sell the stock, there’s a tax impact. The profit you make is taxed as a short-or long-term capital gain (depending on whether you had it for under or over a year).

While assets may seem equal now, be sure to look five or even ten years down the road. There’s a good chance one asset will be worth more than the other at this point.

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Raising good students as co-parents

 Posted on September 06, 2022 in Child Custody

If you’ve been reading about studies and statistics showing that children’s school performance often drops when their parents divorce, you’re likely concerned about your own child. Whether they’re straight-A students or they’ve always struggled with learning, you don’t want their grades to suffer as a result of the changes in your family.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to happen. Even if you and your co-parent have a less-than-amicable relationship, you can commit to helping your child maintain or improve their academic performance. Let’s look at a couple of things that can make a big difference.

Make schoolwork a priority in both of your homes

This means having consistent rules about things like getting homework done before screen or playtime. Kids benefit when their parents agree on expectations and rules for them – even if they don’t like the rules.

Having habits in place, like expecting them to get to their homework immediately after dinner across both homes and checking in to see if they need help or to quiz them ahead of a test, can show them you’re both interested in their grades regardless of what’s going on in your own lives.

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Can your current custody arrangement be changed?

 Posted on August 31, 2022 in Child Custody

As a parent, your first priority during the divorce will have been to settle matters relating to child custody. Whether you and your co-parent were able to come to an agreement, or the court intervened, the final custody order is legally binding.

This means that it must be stuck to. Is this custody arrangement final or can changes ever be made?

When a parent has relocated

For the most part, parents will try to work their lives around the children. However, things can change fast, especially with employment circumstances. An opportunity has arisen for one parent to make much more money, which could give the child access to better opportunities in the future. If the job is out of state, then the current custody arrangement may simply not be workable. Under these conditions, it may be possible to ask the court to make a modification.

When terms have not been followed

Your co-parent was not happy with the arrangement that the court put in place. As a form of protest, they’ve been late for pick-ups and drop-offs and it’s causing disruption for both you and the child. If this pattern of behavior is regular, then the court may have no option but to step in and modify the terms.

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2 tools people employ that could help them avoid a divorce

 Posted on August 26, 2022 in Divorce

Many people do not understand the reality of marriage until they have already made a long-term commitment to someone else. Married couples may find that they have a hard time maintaining their relationship because of bad behavior from one spouse, a mismatch of goals, opposite schedules or even health issues.

When spouses start to grow apart or resent one another, it may seem like divorce is the inevitable outcome of that situation. However, couples can employ tools to rework their relationship and sometimes prevent a divorce. What are some of the more popular approaches employed by those who want to save a troubled marriage?

A postnuptial agreement

Spouses who have conflict in their relationship due to misconduct or a change in values or expectations don't necessarily have to end their marriages. They can discuss those issues and draft a postnuptial agreement.

A postnuptial agreement can give you an opportunity to address bad behavior and impose penalties for substance abuse, infidelity or secretive gambling. It could also give you an opportunity to reevaluate your goals and values so that you and your spouse can work toward the same future together.

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Can a history of substance abuse impact your custody case?

 Posted on August 22, 2022 in Child Custody

Whether it is related to alcohol or hard drugs, substance abuse can adversely impact the whole family, especially minor children. This is especially true when parents are divorced and are in a shared custody arrangement where the parent with a substance abuse problem has a right to their share of custody and/or parenting time.

Since the court makes custody ruling on the basis of the child’s best interest, it goes without saying that substance abuse can greatly impact the outcome of your custody case. At a basic level, a parent’s substance abuse can affect the child’s safety and wellbeing. Consequently, the court may impose the following conditions on a parent who using drugs while ruling on custody and parenting time:

Supervised parenting time

In Illinois, the family court can put restrictions on parental access to protect the child’s best interest. Depending on the circumstances, the court may direct a court-appointed supervisor or someone from the children’s welfare to be present while the non-custodial parent is having time with their child. The court may also specify where the parent in question will be meeting the child.

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How does the court determine the best interest of the child?

 Posted on August 15, 2022 in Family Law

Divorce is a difficult undertaking for everyone involved. Divorce can specifically, be difficult for the children. As such, the court takes an exceptional interest in the children’s post-divorce living arrangements.

Basically, the court will rule on custody and parenting plan based on what it believes to be the best interest of the child. But what exactly does this mean?

The best interest of the child as defined by the family court

The doctrine of the best interest of the child may not be straightforward. However, it basically means that the child’s post-divorce living arrangements (custody, visitation and parenting plan) must focus on promoting and encouraging the child’s safety, happiness and overall health (physical, mental and emotional).

At the very basic, the custody decision should focus on meeting the child’s essential needs. This should facilitate opportunities for the child’s development into adulthood. Of course, each child’s needs and interests are unique.

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2 tips for healthy boundaries among co-parents

 Posted on August 09, 2022 in Child Custody

When you divorce, one of the best things you can do for your children is to find ways to work out a co-parenting arrangement with your ex. This requires working as a team to make decisions that are best for the kids.

Co-parenting isn’t always easy. It’s best if you set some firm boundaries at the start of the co-parenting relationship. This can help to reduce the stress of the situation and it sets a good example for the children.

Leave your personal lives out of the co-parenting relationship

One of the most important things to do is to remember that the focus has to be on the children. You shouldn’t worry about your ex’s personal life – and they shouldn’t worry about yours. The only time that personal lives should come into the picture is if there’s a chance that the circumstances could be detrimental to the kids.

Stick to the established schedule and agreed upon changes

The parenting time schedule is important. This provides the child with consistency by knowing they’re able to spend time with both parents. You and your ex must commit to keeping that schedule unless there are changes that you both agree to. Remember to alert your co-parent to important events in your child’s life if you’re the one who handles that schedule.

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