Getting a divorce can be one of the most difficult decisions of someone’s life. In some cases, couples may put it off if they have children because they cannot bear the thought of not seeing their kids all of the time. Parents also might worry about the negative impact the split may have on the children. However, studies show that youngsters are resilient and often handle major life transitions better than adults. Also, if spouses are unhappy, constant conflict and arguing in front of the kids does not do anyone any good, causing a lot of stress and anxiety. Learning to share parenting time can be challenging, but an experienced attorney can help you and your ex-spouse achieve a co-parenting arrangement that works for everyone.
Making the Most of Your Time Together
In Illinois, divorced parents must create a parenting plan that outlines living arrangements and shared time with the children as well as how decisions will be made regarding education and healthcare. Depending on your situation, you and your ex might be able to mutually agree on the details of your parenting plan. If you have difficulty coming to an agreement, the court will become involved, and a judge will make decisions for you. In any case, they will consider several factors to make determinations based on what is in the best interest of their children....
Although many people who enter into marriage believe it will last their lifetime, that is not always the case. A couple may choose to get divorced for many reasons, such as infidelity, financial problems, mental illness, or simply because they grew apart. In some cases, they may have gotten married very young and as they matured, realized that they did not have anything in common or their interests or goals were not aligned. Some older couples may come to this realization after they raised their children and are empty nesters. Regardless of when you end your marriage or your age, you can find love again. In these situations, you may want to make your relationship legal by getting remarried. Even though you have been through it before, a remarriage can present its own set of challenges, especially if you have children. Talking with an experienced Illinois family law attorney can help make sure your rights are protected this second time around.
In Illinois, spousal support may be awarded in certain divorce cases. For example, if one spouse stayed home to raise kids while the other spouse worked full-time, the stay-at-home parent is likely to receive payments as part of the divorce settlement until he or she can become self-sufficient. This financial relief can be paid out monthly or in one lump sum. However, it automatically ends when the receiving spouse gets remarried. The only exception to this rule would be if the former spouses agreed to a set duration regardless if either one remarries. On the other hand, if the paying spouse remarries, spousal maintenance may not be affected, unless the court determines that his or her former spouse is employable and should stop receiving payments....
When people hear the word divorce, they might automatically think a couple is fighting to the bitter end with a lot of drama and chaos. Although that can be the case, it is possible for some couples to end their marriage amicably and without conflict. This can be especially important when children are involved, since they may have a difficult time understanding why their family unit as they know it is over. Regardless, there are still many decisions to make in an Illinois divorce. In an uncontested divorce, couples do not have to go to court to resolve these issues.
Retains a Level of Control and Privacy
As is the case in most other states, an uncontested divorce in Illinois means a dissolution arrangement in which both spouses agree to divorce without objections. Both spouses generally accept the major terms, and there is no need to hash out the details in court and have a judge make the determinations in a public forum. A few of the main terms that need to be negotiated by couples before a divorce is finalized include:...
When going through a divorce, a couple may think once they sign the final paperwork, everything is set in stone. However, that may not necessarily be the case. Situations and circumstances can change down the road, which can mean an existing divorce order is not appropriate anymore. In Illinois, the usual type of orders are outlined in a parenting plan, and they cover issues such as spousal maintenance, allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody), child support, and parenting time (visitation). The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people, with some experiencing reduced work hours or a job loss. These circumstances may warrant a change to an existing divorce order.
A Substantial Change in Circumstances
To increase the chances that a current order can be changed, an individual must show valid reasons for it. If a couple has children, any request that is made should also be in the best interest of the kids. For a change in parental decision-making, a parent has to wait at least two years from the original order, with the only exception being if the child is in danger....
Although all divorces may have some things in common, each case is unique depending on the couple. Some spouses mutually agree to legally end their marriage while in other cases, one partner is blindsided by the breakup. Typically, there are several issues that must be addressed before the divorce is considered final. According to Illinois law, marital property is subject to equitable distribution, which means possessions are divided fairly but not exactly 50/50. This also includes any outstanding debt the couple may have acquired throughout their marriage. Another aspect that is considered is whether one spouse is entitled to spousal maintenance or support, which is also known as alimony. Financial support of this nature allows one party to maintain a certain standard of living after the divorce until he or she can secure employment and become financially independent.
Spousal Support Guidelines
As of January 1, 2019, the rules governing spousal maintenance in Illinois changed. If a couple cannot reach an agreement on spousal support payments, then the court will get involved. The court will consider all relevant factors to come up with a duration and an amount that is appropriate, including the length of the marriage, each party’s income level, as well as his or her future earning potential....
Although many people find love in their lifetimes, not all couples live happily ever after. The most recent census data and statistics show that approximately 40 percent of all U.S. marriages end in divorce. Whether you were married for a few months or a few decades, you may still have the same issues to determine. One of the most important aspects of any divorce is determining who gets what once the papers are signed. In some cases, spouses may agree to divide their assets on their own. In other scenarios, a couple cannot reach a mutual decision and therefore the court gets involved, with a judge making a determination based on the equitable distribution method, which means marital property is split fairly but not necessarily in half. Once the divorce decree or settlement is finalized and you and your spouse part ways, it may be necessary to update important financial and healthcare documents.
Preparing for Single Status Again
The thought of being single again after marriage can be frightening and exhilarating all at the same time. Naturally, you might be so focused on the emotional part of your relationship ending, that you do not even think about all the documents or paperwork that goes along with the dissolution of your marriage from a legal standpoint. One of the first things that need updating to reflect your new marital status is your last name. This would only apply if you are a female who wishes to start using your maiden name again. The court can include this name change as part of the divorce decree. If it is not included, you will need a certified copy of your divorce judgment from the circuit clerk to change your name....
Although most people enter into marriage thinking it will last “til death do us part,” not all unions make it that far. Whether a couple has simply grown apart or infidelity played a role, spouses may choose to legally end their marriage. In Illinois, the only reason for divorce is “irreconcilable differences,” which basically means the relationship has suffered an irretrievable breakdown and there is no hope for reconciliation. If a couple has children together, there are many issues that will need to be resolved before the divorce is final, including the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation). Co-parenting can pose its challenges even when ex-spouses get along well, but it can become downright combative if you and your ex harbor bitterness or anger toward each other. These feelings often end up being manifested through the children in what is called parental alienation syndrome.
Recognizing Alienating Behaviors
Parental alienation takes place when one parent attempts to disrupt his or her children’s relationship with their other parent. Unfortunately, it can be common after divorce, but it may happen gradually, so noticing the signs of this type of behavior is crucial before it gets out of hand....
The reasons for divorce vary, from infidelity to lack of common interests to substance abuse and domestic violence. Regardless of why a couple decides to part ways, if they have children, the spouses will be somewhat connected for years to come whether they like it or not. Co-parenting can have its challenges, especially during these trying times. “Birdnesting” or “nesting” in a divorce or separation occurs when parents take turns staying in the family home. Rather than making the children travel back and forth between two households, the kids stay put and the parents trade off being in the home for their scheduled parenting time. This type of arrangement can help children cope with the divorce and alleviate some of the stress commonly associated with this major life transition.
In the Children’s Best Interests
According to Illinois divorce law, spouses are allowed to come up with their own agreements in regard to financial and child-related issues, such as spousal support (alimony), parental responsibilities (child custody), and parenting time (visitation). These issues must be officially documented in what is called a parenting plan. In this legally binding document, any decisions made are outlined for both parties to follow once the divorce is final....
Figuring out how to co-parent after your Illinois divorce can be challenging to say the least, especially during a pandemic. Our way of life has changed dramatically since last March when many states issued stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. Non-essential businesses were closed, and students have been e-learning from their homes. Although employees in certain industries may also be able to work from home now, our new normal presents different challenges. For example, parents of younger children might have a hard time monitoring their online activities if they have to participate in teleconferences or Zoom video calls during the day for their jobs. With the upcoming holidays, kids will be on extended breaks from school, so that means divorced parents will likely have to figure out new co-parenting arrangements.
Patience and Cooperation
Learning how to co-parent with an ex-spouse involves a willingness to compromise and be flexible. In some cases, if a child is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, he or she may have to quarantine at one parent’s house for 10-14 days. This can disrupt an original parenting time schedule. However, for everyone’s health and safety, both parents need to be cooperative and understanding when plans change. In Illinois divorce cases, transporting children between homes is considered “essential travel,” but everyone’s best interests should still be considered, too....
Unfortunately, not all couples live happily ever after. The latest statistics show that approximately 40-50 percent of all U.S. marriages end in divorce. During these challenging times of COVID-19, many people have been spending more time than usual at home. This can be a blessing and a curse depending on the situation. For some families, quality time together has strengthened their relationships. For others, though, it may have exposed underlying problems within their unions. Regardless of the reasons that two people choose to dissolve their marriage, there are certain steps that must be completed before they can walk away. There are many things that may cause delays in finalizing your divorce, so it is important to be patient. An experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate this complex process.
A divorce that involves children is inherently more complicated than one without kids simply because there are fewer issues to resolve. When a couple has children together, decisions must be made regarding what is in the children’s best interests and what meets their basic needs. In Illinois, child support is calculated using the Income Shares model based on both parents’ net incomes. However, child custody and visitation may be worked out between parents if they can agree on an arrangement. However, coming up with a mutually agreeable schedule can be difficult since both parents often want as much time with their children as possible. Figuring out who gets the kids on what holidays and during the summer or school breaks can be challenging....
Making the decision to file for divorce can be very painful and full of emotions. There are a multitude of reasons why a couple may ultimately split, including infidelity, financial problems, domestic violence, or simply growing apart. One factor that can lead a spouse to seek the dissolution of his or her marriage is if the other spouse has an addiction or substance abuse problem. This can include an addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or even shopping. Behavior of this kind is often caused by a mental illness such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, bipolar disorder, and more. It can be especially difficult for the addict to accept the fact that his or her marriage is over, which can cause a lot of conflict during the divorce process. If you are considering legally ending your marriage, it is important to seek professional legal counsel if your spouse becomes combative in any way.
People who are addicted to controlled substances exhibit certain behaviors that make it difficult for loved ones to interact with them. Addicts can be functional or dysfunctional depending on the severity of their abuse. They may not only pose a danger to themselves but to those around them or even strangers. For example, an addict can become violent and physically or verbally abusive after a binge. In addition, if someone gets behind the wheel of a car and is drunk or high, that impairment can cause an accident with injuries to other motorists on the road....
Divorces can be difficult, even under the best of circumstances, such as when both spouses come to the mutual decision to part ways. Dividing up property and assets may have its challenges, and in some cases, subpoenas might be necessary during the discovery phase of your divorce. This part of the process involves full financial disclosure by each spouse of all marital and non-marital assets and the income you both earn. If you believe your spouse is not being completely honest, an attorney can use various methods to uncover the truth. According to Illinois law, attorneys are allowed to issue subpoenas, which are basically formal requests from attorneys. The recipients of these legal documents must comply with them by law. The term subpoena means “under penalty.” Subpoenas can play crucial roles in ensuring both spouses receive their fair share of the marital estate.
In order to initiate a divorce in Illinois, one spouse must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The receiving spouse (respondent) is required to file a response to the petition. Both parties need to make sure their divorce papers are filed with the court and properly served or delivered to the other spouse. Next, either side can serve discovery requests and the court can issue orders regarding the disclosure of pertinent information and documents....
The divorce rate among those over 50 has skyrocketed in the past several years compared to decades ago. This is partly due to the fact that people are living longer in general, and they want to enjoy the time they have left instead of being in a toxic or loveless relationship. In addition, many couples who are unhappy may put off filing for divorce until their kids are grown. They think their children may be better equipped to handle the news later in life. However, this is not always realistic. Although younger kids may have a more difficult time understanding the reasons why mom and dad are splitting up, older children may suffer just as much emotional trauma. Questioning everything they thought to be true, older kids may have trouble accepting their parents’ divorce.
Honesty Is the Best Policy
Telling your children that you and your spouse are getting a divorce is not going to be easy, even if you both came to the decision mutually after careful consideration. If you went to marriage counseling over the years, your kids may still be shocked at the news. Although they may have suspected you had problems, deep down they had hoped for a reconciliation and a long future together....
During the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. While many businesses shuttered temporarily to stop the spread of the highly contagious virus, other companies have allowed their employees to work remotely from home. Likewise, many school districts have switched to online learning, so more people are home now than they would be normally. Some divorced parents are finding their income significantly reduced if their position was eliminated completely and they had to file for unemployment. With such a disruption to everyone’s regular routines, you may be wondering if you can modify your existing divorce orders, including child support, parenting time, and child custody. Under Illinois law, you can amend these types of orders depending on the circumstances.
Continuing to find ways to support your children after you get divorced can be very challenging, especially if you and your ex-spouse do not see eye to eye on certain matters. Illinois law requires divorcing parents to come to an agreement on the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation). This parenting plan also includes who will have the authority to make decisions about the children’s educational opportunities and extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or theater. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, a judge will make decisions based on several factors, including the financial status of the spouses and the well-being of the children....
In today’s world, there is no such thing as a “typical” divorce. There are many ways a couple can end their marriage, and the outcomes will vary depending on the needs of each family. Some families are still traditional in the sense that the mother is the primary caregiver and is the one who spends the most time with the children. In other families, fathers are much more involved in the daily responsibilities of raising their children, which can cause tension and stress when it comes to making child-centered decisions during a divorce.
Though the law states that mothers and fathers should be treated equally, fathers are sometimes still seen as “second-class” parents, and some dads feel that they are not given the same consideration as mothers when it comes to issues such as parenting time. Divorce can be difficult for everyone, but its negative effects may be especially worrisome for fathers. Here are a few tips to help dads aim for success during and after a divorce:
Tip #1: Be Proactive
When you are involved in a custody dispute that requires intervention from the court, matters can quickly become complicated. You will need to prove to the judge that you deserve to have just as much parenting time as your former partner, if not more. To demonstrate this, you will need to be involved in your children’s lives, and be sure to confer with the other parent about things like doctor’s appointments, extracurricular activities, and school progress. The goal is to prove to the Judge that you contribute more to your children’s lives than just picking them up and dropping them off....
Most couples will experience some sort of conflict during a divorce. For many couples, the asset division process is one of the topics that bring about the most conflict. Prevailing during this process is important, because it can determine how financially stable you are after the divorce, and it can also affect your finances into the future. For many people, their retirement savings are among their most valuable assets.
In Illinois, retirement funds are considered to be marital property as long as they were acquired during the marriage. Marital assets may include individual retirement accounts, non-qualified plans, defined contribution plans and accounts, and pension benefits. These retirement funds must be divided between divorcing spouses, which can become tricky. In most cases, this is done using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO.
What Is a QDRO?
A QDRO is a legal document that defines how retirement assets will be split between spouses. It acts as a set of instructions to use when the time comes to disburse retirement benefits from qualified retirement plans, such as a 401(k). Using a QDRO to transfer these funds will allow ex-spouses to avoid taxes on these amounts or penalties for withdrawing funds before reaching retirement age...
Couples get divorced for many reasons. Maybe you and your spouse have realized that you are two very different people who want very different things. Maybe you still love each other, but you have grown apart. Or, maybe some other type of conflict has occurred, such as infidelity or financial issues. Whatever the reason for the divorce might be, you and your spouse will probably not be on the best of terms.
Unfortunately, couples often experience contentious divorces, and issues involving children are often some of the most difficult matters to resolve. Sometimes, children can be caught in the crossfire of marital conflicts. However, there are a few things you can to help protect your children as much as possible during your divorce.
#1: Do Not Fight in Front of the Children
One of the most detrimental things children can experience is to witness their parents constantly fighting and arguing. High levels of conflict can create a sense of tension and unhappiness in the home, and this can manifest negatively in children. Kids who observe their parents’ arguments are more prone to behavioral problems and emotional issues. During your divorce, you should do your best to avoid arguing in front of your children, and you should not force them to take sides or ask them to relay messages between you and your spouse....
Everyone knows that raising children can be expensive. The costs of food, clothing, toys, and other needs can add up quickly. In fact, it is now estimated that the average cost of raising and supporting a child to age 18 is around $233,610, according to a 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study. While this may not seem to all that much when spread out over 18 years, it can still be difficult for one parent to pay for all of the costs of raising a child. This is why child support is typically ordered in cases in which parents are divorced or separated, ensuring that both parents are responsible for financially providing for a child’s needs.
Extra Costs of Raising a Child
In Illinois, a basic child support obligation is typically determined during a divorce case, and this is meant to account for all of the child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, and housing. However, any parent knows that there are many more expenses involved in raising a child. With this in mind, Illinois law also has provisions to account for other child-related expenses, such as:
- Education: A court can order one or both parents to provide for a child’s school tuition. If the child was already attending private school or has been in private school for the majority of their educational career, they will likely be allowed to continue their private school education, and the costs of tuition will be divided between the parents. Parents may also be required to divide other school-related costs, such as registration fees or expenses related to school supplies.
- Child-Care Expenses: Paying for daycare while parents are working can become expensive. Illinois courts can order one or both parents to contribute to “reasonable child care expenses” for the child, which can be payable to one of the parents or directly to the child care institution. The costs for child care will most likely be prorated in accordance with each spouse’s percentage of the combined household income.
- Extracurricular Activities: As with schooling expenses, Illinois courts may require parents to divide the costs of the other activities in which the children participate. The court can order these expenses to be covered as long as the activities are intended to enhance the educational, athletic, social, or cultural development of the child.
- Health Care: A portion of the basic child support obligation is intended to cover some of the out-of-pocket costs associated with health care. The court can also order either parent to initiate or continue health care coverage for the child through their own health insurance plans, and the costs of health insurance premiums will typically be divided between the parents. Based on the needs of the child, the court can also order each parent to contribute toward other health care costs.
Contact an Arlington Heights Child Support Lawyer
Raising a child is no easy task. Doing so can put a strain on both your finances and your emotions, but it is one of the most rewarding things in the world. If you are wondering how your child’s expenses will be taken care of after your divorce, contact an experienced Barrington family law attorney at the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson. Mr. Richardson has more than 15 years of family law experience, and he can help you address and resolve any child-related issues you may have. Our firm offers free consultations, so call 847-873-6741 to schedule an appointment today....
When you are facing the possibility of a divorce, you are likely to have many questions. Where will you live? Who will get the furniture? How will you share parenting responsibilities for your children? All of these, of course, are very valid questions. Many who are considering a divorce may also wonder if they will be ordered to pay alimony—known as “spousal maintenance” under Illinois law. If you are headed for a divorce, it is important to understand how maintenance-related decisions are made in Illinois.
A Brief Background
Spousal maintenance, in general, is intended to help minimize the effects of a divorce on a spouse who is at a comparative financial disadvantage. In previous generations, alimony payments were practically standard in most divorce cases, because a significant percentage of households relied on the income of just one spouse—most often the husband. Meanwhile, the other spouse—most often the wife—usually worked substantially less, if she worked at all. Instead, her primary role was to maintain the family home and care for the couple's children.
When this type of “traditional” couple got divorced, it was effectively impossible for the spouse with hardly any income to support herself, especially if she was given primary custody of the children. As a result, the couple’s divorce judgment generally contained provisions that required the higher-earning spouse to make support payments. Such payments could be temporary or permanent based on whether the lower-earning spouse could eventually support herself....
Couples who are considering getting a divorce have another option besides permanently dissolving their marriages. For some couples, a divorce is necessary and in their best interests, but for others, a legal separation may be a better solution. Legal separation shares some similarities with divorce, but it has certain differences, as well as some unique benefits.
Legal Separation Basics
In legal separation cases, a couple who is no longer living together has the option to make arrangements for property division and parental responsibilities without actually filing for divorce. The couple will remain legally married, and thus cannot remarry until a formal divorce has been finalized; however, each spouse will be granted certain rights, protections, and privileges when it comes to debts, assets, and children. Additionally, maintenance and child support concerns are typically discussed during legal separation proceedings. Couples may choose to divide marital property during the proceedings, but they can also delay these negotiations until a formal divorce is filed.
Illinois law requires that the couple be living apart to file for legal separation. Either spouse may file, and either spouse may ask the Court for “reasonable support and maintenance” while the pair is living apart. It is important to note that the Court will enter orders for maintenance, child support, and parental responsibilities, if necessary, but the Court will not order the division of marital property in a legal separation. An agreement between the spouses, however, may be approved by the Court....