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Hoffman Estates family law attorney

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. 

Spousal Maintenance

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. 

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Hoffman Estates uncontested divorce lawyer

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:

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Inverness divorce attorney parental alienation

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. 

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Inverness divorce attorney for child-related issuesCouples 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.

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Northwest Cook County divorce attorney child issuesDivorce can be extremely hard on the children involved. That is certainly not a myth. However, there are other myths surrounding divorce and children that are not true, and parents going through the divorce process should be prepared to address concerns about how their children will be affected. Four of these myths, and the truth behind them, are outlined below:

Divorce Is Easier for Younger Children

Divorce is not easy for any child, but some people believe that the younger a child is, the easier the divorce process will be for him or her. This myth seems to stem from the belief that when a child is a toddler, he or she is unable to form sufficient memories, and if a child cannot properly remember a divorce, it cannot cause as much trauma. Unfortunately, this is not true. Fighting and tension between parents can be extremely difficult things for a toddler to deal with, and these conflicts can impact a child’s development. As such, it is important for parents to try to address divorce disputes as amicably as possible when children are involved, regardless of how old those children are.

Each Parent Should Have the Same Rules After Divorce

It is natural for parents to have different approaches to raising their children, both when they are married and after getting divorced. Following divorce, parents often believe that they will need to impose the same rules in each household, but that is not true. Different rules in different households will not harm the mental or emotional health of a child, and in fact, those differences can help the child become more adaptable and learn how to be flexible in different situations.

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Barrington family law attorney, children and divorce, counseling and divorce, post divorce parenting class, Illinois divorce proceedingsChildren are known to suffer negative emotional and social effects following divorce, and parents must be willing to address these issues both during and after a divorce case concludes to prevent long-term damage. To support the wellbeing of children struggling with the adjustments divorce demands, various counseling programs are specifically targeted to this group and often need tailored approaches to avoid the academic, behavioral and financial repercussions.

After parents seek to intervene (and in some cases before), Courts also have the authority to order counseling as a measure to potentially save a marriage and help families with child-related issues deal with this difficult transition.

Consider the following information with regard to when a Court may order participation in counseling, as well as an overview of the parenting class all divorcing couples must attend, which is intended to facilitate more effective communication and parenting post-divorce.

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Barrington family law attorney, non-parents and custody, children and divorce, custody rights, child custody rightsParents are traditionally, legally and historically associated as the primary caregivers in their child’s life. This standard is supported by the fact that society and the law presume parents to be the most fit individuals to provide for their child’s needs and to make decisions in their child’s best interests. This paradigm works well in the vast majority of families, including those in which child custody is shared following a divorce or separation. However, in a minority of families, one or both parents are unavailable to provide adequate care, usually due to illness, substance abuse, or criminal issues. These children still require care, and if the living situation at home is unsafe or unstable, then alternate arrangements must be found.

The question that routinely arises in these situations is the long-term custody rights of non-parents to care for these children. In the worst case, these children end up — at least temporarily — in foster homes or State shelters. In fact, a recent article about Illinois’ handling of children unable to live with their parents reveals hundreds suffered unnecessary weeks and months in State psychiatric facilities, even though cleared for release, because there was nowhere for these children to go. Children should always have the benefit of growing up in a supportive environment.

Who Can Request Custody Rights

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Palatine family law attorney, child legal advocates, children and divorce, child custody, divorce proceedingsDivorce, child custody and child support are all emotional and difficult legal issues that separated families face. Parents typically intend to shield their children from the stress and negative emotions of these proceedings; however, sometimes, they leach out anyway. Further, even in the best of situations, the best interests of the child can become lost in the midst of legal battles.

To ensure the child’s needs are properly addressed and considered, a Judge has discretion to appoint a child advocate to help him or her better understand the child’s situation and the type of arrangement that would best promote the child’s healthy development. Attorneys are used for such an appointment and would serve in one of three differing capacities intended to provide a voice to the child’s past and current situations.

Consider the following three roles an attorney may play as a child advocate in family law cases, and examples of circumstances that may prompt a Judge to make this type of appointment.

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Posted on in Divorce

start of divorce, divorce process, divorce and finances, marital property, children and divorceThe road to divorce is rarely straight and clear and often involves a number of deviations and recalibrations as couples try to work through difficulties. When divorce is imminent, spouses may think that the hard part of the process is over. Yet while ending a marriage is extremely painful and complicated, deciding to move on is the just first step.

A spouse can certainly walk into a divorce attorney’s office without doing anything more than deciding to divorce, even before telling the other spouse. However, entering the divorce process without significant advance planning is likely to set a person up for a much harder transition, as well as a longer period of time to conclude the divorce case.

Taking the time to put key pieces of information together will allow consultations with a divorce attorney to be more productive and will make obtaining the result a person may want much easier. This approach may appear to involve more work than anticipated, but walking into the process without a clear picture of one’s starting position can greatly complicate things.

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Mt. Prospect family law attorney, divorce and sibling relationships, children and divorce, Illinois family law, child visitationDivorce is unavoidably difficult for people, both inside and outside of a couple's core family. However, children almost universally suffer a negative impact from divorce. Having a sibling to commiserate with and draw support from can help to mitigate the damaging effects. Still, this system of shared support can only work if siblings live together, or at the very least, visit regularly.

Splitting up siblings in a divorce is rarely the best or desired option for the children involved. However, for practical or legal reasons, sibling separation may still occur. Large families, blended families with half-siblings, and children with significant age differences are all examples of circumstances in which the children may be split between each parent. The best interests of the child are always at the forefront of child-related family law cases, and Illinois specifically wants to enable separated siblings to maintain regular contact.

Sibling relationships are special and important to each child's emotional and psychological development. To support these relationships, Illinois authorizes Courts to order visitation if a parent is preventing contact. Consider the following information with regard to when and how visitation will be granted by an Illinois Court.

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Palatine family law attorney,  divorce, moving out-of-stateThe mobility of Americans is one the hallmarks and benefits of living in this country. Moving to a new place for a job, better schools or a different lifestyle are common reasons people give for uprooting their family to a new home and community. Moving with children always brings additional considerations because leaving friends and transitioning to a new school is difficult for many children.

If a parent decides to move following a divorce, this decision is even more complicated. Because of the importance of this relationship, divorced parents who share custody of a child are not free to independently decide to move away with a child. Consultation with the other parent, and at times a family Court judge are necessary to stay within the bounds of the law and the parenting plan. Taking a child to another jurisdiction without permission can lead to serious consequences, including criminal charges for kidnapping or visitation interference.

A mother from Russia faced this situation when she was arrested at O'Hare airport earlier last year for removing her child to Russia without authorization from her ex-husband or a Court. She was placed under house arrest, but recently obtained approval from an Illinois Court to leave the U.S. with her daughter.

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Posted on in Child Custody

Palatine family law attorney, parenting plansIn any divorce with minor children, or in any case involving time-sharing with a minor, Illinois law requires that the parents implement a parenting plan. Parenting plans are documents outlining parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. Moreover, parenting plans are designed to ensure that both parents have the opportunity to foster relationships with their children and share in childrearing.

What Do Parenting Plans Include?

Parenting plans deal with parenting time and decision-making. At a minimum, parenting plans in Illinois must include provisions addressing the following:

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Palatine child custody attorney, Palatine divorce attorney, parent education class, parenting education program, case management conference, post-divorce, children and divorce, Illinois divorceThe Illinois Supreme Court rules require all parents involved in a child custody case, whether contentious or not, to enroll in parent education classes. Even if the one parent defaults or fails to participate in the proceedings, the other parent is required to attend the parent education class.

Each Circuit Court or county may create its own parenting education program, provided it consists of at least four hours and covers visitation, custody and the impact both have on children. Each parent is required to attend the parent education class no later than 60 days after there is an initial case management conference. The Court may impose sanctions of its choosing on parents who fail to attend the class as required, without showing good cause as to why their attendance should be excused. The Circuit Court of Cook County has two approved parent education courses: one in-person class and an online option. Parents are able to choose the course. However, there is one exception. Parents who are ordered to attend mediation or emergency intervention must attend the in-person classes. The goal of parent education classes is give parents tools to help minimize the stress marital conflict can have on their children and to help them learn how to have a non-adversarial relationship after the divorce. The better the relationship between the parents post-divorce, the easier the divorce and its aftermath will be on the children. While parents work their way through the custody process, the classes provide them with skills to promote healthier communication as a means to reduce conflict. The in-person course has three options, depending on where each couple is in the child custody process:
  • Pre-decree class: Parents in the process of a divorce or civil union dissolution.
  • Post-decree class: Parents who have custody issues arise after the marriage or civil union has already been dissolved.
  • Parentage class: Unmarried parents with children.
There is $25 fee for the in-person classes and a $40 fee for the online course. Palatine Child Custody Attorney If you and your partner are in the midst of a child custody dispute, contact Palatine child custody attorneyNicholas W. Richardson. Issues surrounding child custody are stressful on parents, particularly if they are being dealt with in conjunction with the breakup of a marriage or long-term relationship. Nicholas W. Richardson understands the stress placed on all parties in child custody cases, and he approaches all cases with the utmost respect for those involved. Serving clients in Palatine and the greater Chicago suburbs, contact The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., today to schedule a consultation.
 

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