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naperville divorce lawyerIf you are getting a divorce from your spouse, it is important to learn about all of your options. An alternative resolution option many divorcing couples find beneficial is mediation. The mediation process involves working with a trained mediator to negotiate various issues in your divorce, from child custody to division of assets. Mediation may help you and your spouse reach an agreement and avoid the often stressful process of divorce litigation. However, mediation is not right for everyone. 

Advantages of Mediation

During mediation sessions, you and your spouse will sit down in a quiet room and try to come to an agreement on how your divorce matters will be dealt with. Rather than providing legal advice, a mediator will facilitate the discussion and help you stay focused on the issues at hand. Here are several benefits of mediation:

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joliet custody lawyerIf you and your divorcing spouse have children together, you are required to create a parenting plan that details how the two of you will continue to care for them after you are separated. Some of the information needed in this plan includes transportation arrangements, a parenting time schedule, and an allocation of parental responsibilites. However, matters can get complicated if you and the other parent cannot agree on a plan.

What Will Occur If and Your Spouse Cannot Come to an Agreement

Sometimes parents cannot seem to agree on a child custody arrangement. In this situation, a judge may order parents to go to mediation. During a mediation session, a court-appointed mediator will sit down with both parents and facilitate a discussion about the issues they disagree on. A mediator will not make decisions for either parent. Instead, he or she will attempt to help them come to a compromise they can both live with.

It is important to come to mediation with an open mind. If you are willing to hear the other parent and mediator’s viewpoints, you may be more likely to reach an agreement quicker. Before your mediation session, write down your proposals in a notebook so that you do not forget to bring them up. When coming up with your proposals, be sure that they reflect your child’s needs rather than your own.

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naperville divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce is never easy. If your spouse makes allegations of abuse against you, it can make the process even more stressful. You may understandably be upset that your spouse is making up horrible lies about you and worry that the allegations will negatively affect the outcome of divorce or child custody proceedings. If you have found yourself in this situation, it is important to maintain your composure and take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.

How False Allegations Can Affect Your Divorce

Family law judges take accusations of domestic violence or abuse very seriously. A judge may order an emergency order of protection that requires you to leave your home or prohibits you from contacting your spouse and children.

Because change is hard on children, Illinois courts typically try to maintain the “status quo” in child-related legal matters. Consequently, an order of protection may give your spouse an advantage in your custody case. Since your kids will be with your spouse during the protection period, your spouse may argue that granting joint custody could disrupt their routines. 

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naperville divorce lawyerIn a perfect world, your divorce would get settled quickly and not involve any complications. Unfortunately, however, there are several matters that can complicate your Illinois divorce, including a personal injury settlement. If you are waiting for your personal injury claim to settle while getting a divorce, you should educate yourself on how your settlement may be divided between you and your spouse.

Defining Marital Property in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, marital property refers to any assets acquired during a marriage. There are particular types of property that are non-marital, such as items received as a gift or inheritance to one spouse, property obtained before the marriage, property obtained after legal separation, legal judgments given to one spouse, and assets excluded from marital property by mutual agreement. One might assume that personal injury settlements would be considered non-marital property in a divorce. However, in the state of Illinois, personal injury settlements, workers’ compensation benefits and disability benefits can be, and often are, part of the marital estate.

Perhaps the most important element in determining whether a personal injury settlement should be considered in a divorce is the date of the incident that caused the injury. For example, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident before you got married, any compensation for your losses would be considered non-marital--even if you receive the settlement during your marriage. 

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Naperville, IL attorney for contested divorce

If you have been unhappy in your marriage for a long time, you may have decided to file for divorce. While the decision may not have come easy, you knew it was a necessary one. However, what if you are faced with the dilemma that your spouse refuses to sign the papers. This can definitely prolong the process and make it more stressful, but it is still possible to get a divorce.

Common Reasons Why Spouses Do not Sign Divorce Papers

It is frustrating when a spouse refuses to sign divorce papers, but it can and does occur. Some spouses may be religiously opposed to divorce, while others feel that you cannot get divorced unless both spouses sign the documents. In other situations, spouses may feel so bitter that they were served with papers that they want to retaliate.  

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Will County divorce attorney for pregnant womenA divorce is stressful enough on its own. When you and your spouse are expecting a child, it can make matters even more complicated. In addition to dealing with legal paperwork and feelings of hurt and resentment, you are facing the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy. If you have plans to get divorced, you should consult an Illinois divorce attorney promptly.

Can You Get Divorced in Illinois While Pregnant?

In Illinois, there are no laws that prohibit you from divorcing your spouse because you are pregnant. However, it is important to understand that certain issues can still arise. For one thing, you will not be able to get a simplified divorce. If you are expecting a child, you can anticipate proceedings to take longer to complete.

There is also the matter of paternity. If you become pregnant while married, it is generally assumed that the husband is the father. However, if there is a chance that the father could be someone else, you will have to order DNA testing to establish who is actually the biological father. Once paternity is determined, both biological parents will have parental rights to the child.

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Naperville, IL family law attorney

As with many life events, change is inevitable during and after a divorce. For families with children, divorce can be especially stressful. Children may experience difficulties since their entire life is being turned upside down. Small things, like who will be there to tuck them in at night, can be a source of great stress and discomfort for children when regular patterns change suddenly. As a parent, there are certain things that you can do to help your children through this time of transition while also easing some of your own stress as you learn how to co-parent your children with your ex-spouse. 

Follow Your Parenting Plan

One of the easiest ways to keep your co-parenting relationship positive is to obey the terms of your parenting plan. Before you can finalize your divorce, you will be required to file a parenting plan with the court that contains a variety of information about how you and your spouse will raise your children. If you both make it a point to follow your parenting plan, there will be less of a chance that a disagreement or fight will occur over something.

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Will County divorce attorney for Temporary OrdersEven though no two divorces are exactly the same, most divorces follow a similar pattern. Most divorces begin when one spouse files a petition for divorce, prompting the other spouse to file a response. The divorce is not final until you and your spouse both appear before the judge to receive your final decree, which officially divorces you from your spouse. However, this process does not happen overnight. Sometimes, it can take months or even years to complete a divorce. In the meantime, you may be wondering what you are supposed to do regarding parenting time or even child support, if your spouse no longer lives with you. Thankfully, this is the exact reason temporary orders exist for Illinois divorces.

Types of Remedies in Temporary Orders

Many times, temporary orders that are requested during a divorce have to do with financial issues such as support, however, there are various issues that temporary orders can address during a divorce. If you request orders that only last the duration of the divorce, they may include:

  • Temporary spousal maintenance and/or child support: One of the biggest reasons people file temporary orders while they are going through the divorce process is to establish their right to spousal maintenance and/or child support. You can ask the judge to make a preliminary determination on amounts that are needed for you to run your household and support your children while you are going through the divorce.

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DuPage County divorce attorney debt division

When you get a divorce in Illinois, there are various things that must be taken care of before you can finalize the divorce. One of the issues that can have a huge impact on your life is the property division process. Many couples have some form of disagreement about property issues, but most are so busy arguing over their assets that they forget that they must also determine what they will do with their debts. Even though it may not be the most fun topic to talk about, all of your marital debts will also have to be included in your property settlement. The easiest way to deal with debt during divorce is to not have debt at all, but that is not feasible for many couples. Most couples will end up bringing some form of debt to the divorce that will need to be allocated.

Classifying Debt During Your Divorce

One of the first things you do when you begin the asset division process is to gather all of your information pertaining to your finances. Knowing the type of debt you have that needs to be divided will help you determine how it will be handled. Secured debt is any debt that you have that has physical property attached to it. For example, the most common types of secured debt that couples have are mortgages and auto loans. If one of you wants to keep either the vehicle or the house, you will have to refinance the debt under that spouse’s name. On the other hand, unsecured debt is debt that is not attached to a specific piece of physical property. The most common type of unsecured debt is credit card debt. Credit card debt can be easily transferred between accounts, so the balance or part of a balance on a credit card can usually be transferred to a new account in only one spouse’s name.

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Naperville, IL attorney for High Conflict divorcesFor couples who are able to complete their divorce in a quick manner with little conflict, it is a huge accomplishment. In many cases, couples are not on the same page with one another when they begin their divorce. While it is possible to go through a divorce with a contentious spouse, it will likely take much longer than an uncontested divorce and would involve much more stress and strife than is needed. However, the majority of couples do not have a choice on whether or not they get divorced from an agreeable or combative spouse. When children are involved, especially, steps should be taken to ensure that you are reducing your divorce stress as much as possible.

How to Lower Divorce Stress

Conflict during divorce can not only provide you with undue frustration, but it can also cause long-term effects on your children. Studies have shown that children whose parents take part in divorces riddled with conflict typically face issues later in life, such as intimacy issues or even difficulty regulating their emotions. Here are a few ways you can help keep your divorce stress to a minimum:

  • Examine your method for divorce. There are various ways you can complete a divorce. In a traditional divorce, litigation is usually used and may or may not involve going to trial. In most divorce cases today, though, some form of alternative dispute resolution is used, such as the collaborative process or mediation. Alternative dispute resolutions can be extremely helpful in allowing you and your spouse to get divorced on your terms, which may help minimize any conflict you face.

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Naperville divorce lawyer for parallel parenting Not all divorces end in a peaceful manner. Sometimes the movies and television shows are accurate with their depiction of divorce and how people can act throughout the process. In some divorces, peace is simply not an option and the couple cannot even get along enough to discuss or agree on issues related to their divorce. In these highly-contested divorces, child-related issues can also be a sore subject. Many times, parents will attempt to use their children to their advantage to try to hurt the other parent. However, this can be extremely toxic and emotionally damaging to the child. Parents who cannot get along during the divorce will also not likely be able to get along after the divorce. However, when you have children together, there will always be a certain degree of communication and interaction that will be required. Co-parenting can provide many challenges for parents who do not get along with one another, but “parallel parenting” can be a helpful alternative.  

What is Parallel Parenting?

Traditional co-parenting involves both parents working together to help raise the child. However, in situations in which the parents are unable to cooperate with one another, parallel parenting may be better suited for them. Parallel parenting is simply co-parenting from a distance. The idea behind parallel parenting is to limit the interaction between the parents, that way there is less of a chance that toxic behavior will be present. 

Benefits of Parallel Parenting

Many people have touted the benefits of utilizing a parallel parenting style after a divorce that involved a lot of conflict. One of the main benefits of parallel parenting is that it reduces the chance for conflict to occur. Conflict -- especially between parents -- can be emotionally damaging for children. Children feel safer when they are in an environment that does not have a lot of conflict. The absence of conflict can help your children immensely when it comes to coping with the divorce.

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DuPage County mediated divorce attorneysThere is more than one method for getting a divorce. Traditionally, getting a divorce meant you and your spouse both needed to go out and hire attorneys, attempt to negotiate your divorce issues and then end up either settling instead or taking the case to court to have a judge decide your fate. In today’s world, alternative methods of divorce have been gaining popularity, like divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. Divorce mediation is a process that allows you and your spouse to use an arbitrator to help you make important decisions about your divorce. For many couples, mediated divorce can prove to be helpful, as it provides a variety of benefits and advantages over a traditional litigated divorce.

Advantages of Mediation

Getting a divorce is a significant and important point in your life. The decisions that you make during your divorce can be life-changing, which is why you must give your divorce the attention that it deserves and choose the best process for your family. Mediation is a good option for many couples -- and for many reasons. Some of the benefits that mediation provides include:

  • Providing a quicker divorce option. Mediation allows you and your spouse to complete your divorce at your own pace. When you get a litigated divorce, you are at the mercy of the court schedule. Divorce mediation allows you to get the process over much quicker than litigated divorces.

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Naperville, IL GALIt is not uncommon for divorcing couples to disagree on matters that they must settle during a divorce, but when those issues involve decisions that affect their children, the matter is suddenly more serious. Studies have shown that conflict, whether during marriage or divorce, can cause harmful, long-term effects, such as low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, and even less stability in their own romantic relationships. When parents cannot come to an agreement on child-related issues during a divorce, a judge will make the determination. But a judge does not know anything about your family beyond what he or she has observed in the courtroom. To help them better understand the dynamics of the situation and make an informed decision, they may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to your case.

What is a GAL?

According to Illinois laws, a guardian ad litem is an attorney who is appointed to a case to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Their job is to investigate the family situation and make reports pertaining to whatever the case’s contested issues may be, which often include the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, visitation, and/or child support. Because of this, the GAL is often referred to as the “eyes and ears” of the court. 

How a GAL Can Help

There are many benefits to working with a GAL, especially when an agreement cannot be reached with your spouse. A GAL will conduct a full investigation into your family and the situations surrounding the disagreement. To do this, the GAL will do things like:

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DuPage County divorce attorney

While the overall divorce rate is decreasing in the United States, the divorce rate for adults over the age of 50 is actually still rising. According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate for adults 50 and older nearly doubled since the 1990s, while the divorce rate for adults 65 and older has nearly tripled in the same time period. Older adults who divorce face many different and often more difficult challenges than younger couples, which may also be why research tends to show that divorce also affects older adults more than younger adults. Going through the divorce process can be arduous at any age, but it can be especially difficult for adults who are over the age of 50. Here are a few things that may help ease the stress and strain of the divorce process when you are an older adult:

  1. Remember to Take Care of Yourself

According to some studies, adults who are over the age of 50 and who have gone through a gray divorce report higher levels of depression than adults over the age of 50 whose spouses have died. Going through a divorce later in life can be hard mentally and emotionally, so it is important to practice self-care throughout and after the divorce. Drink enough water, get enough sleep and try to stay active to keep yourself feeling your best.

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Bolingbrook divorce attorney asset division

One of the most difficult decisions you may ever be faced with is determining when the time is right for a divorce. All couples go through periods of being unhappy, but when it becomes a frequent occurrence, you may begin to wonder whether or not you would be happier alone.  In most cases, there is some form of resentment during the divorce, whether it is about a specific issue, or the divorce itself. In many cases, this can lead to mistrust. Even though you are ending your relationship, there are many things that require a level of trust during a divorce, with the most important of them being the financial side of things. Is your spouse being honest and open about his or her assets? If you feel they are not being honest and you are worried about not receiving your fair share of the marital estate, the discovery process can be used to ensure that property issues are settled fairly.

Tools You Can Utilize During Discovery

When you begin the divorce process your first step is to try and come to an agreement on

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Naperville divorce and family law attorneyMany divorced individuals reported the conversation of asking for divorce as one of the most stressful conversations they have ever had. When you ask your spouse for a divorce, you are essentially telling your spouse that you are no longer in love with them, which can be hard for anyone to hear. Breaking the news of divorce can become even more difficult if you have children. Even though a divorce is an adult problem, children are often caught in the middle of the turmoil. The initial conversation you have with your child about your divorce can set the stage for how they will cope with the divorce throughout the process. When you go to have that conversation with your child, here are a few tips to use:

Act as a United Front With Your Spouse 

Even though it may be the last thing you want to do, you and your spouse should act as a team when you have this conversation with your children. You should break the news of your divorce when both of you are together and all of your children are present. Work out and agree on what you will say beforehand so you can avoid any emotionally fueled or impulsive remarks.

Explain the Situation to Your Children in Words They Understand

Your child will want to know why you are getting a divorce, and it is your job as a parent to explain it to them in a way that they will comprehend. As an adult, you understand the complexities surrounding the divorce, but your child(ren) will not and will question why mom and dad do not love each other anymore. The information that you tell your child will depend on their age and ability to understand. Obviously, younger children will suffice with simpler information, while older children will naturally want to know more.

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DuPage County divorce attorney child support

Most people in today’s world would agree that raising a child is the job of both parents, rather than just one. However, when the parents are not together because of divorce or another reason, raising a child can become complicated, especially as it relates to the financial side of things. Raising a child is not cheap. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), parents spend, on average, approximately $233,610 to raise each child through age 17. Even though the living arrangements likely place the child with one parent for the majority of the time, the other parent will still be required to financially contribute to the child’s upbringing through child support payments.

Child Expenses That Should Be Included

The monthly child support payments are calculated in the same way for everyone, by using a standardized formula set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The formula takes into account certain factors from both parents, such as income and the amount of parenting time each parent has and produces an amount that is usually paid by the parent with the least amount of parenting time to the parent with the most parenting time. Child support is intended to be used for the majority of the child’s needs, such as food and clothing, but there are other expenses that come up that your child’s other parent is also responsible for helping with, such as the following:

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Naperville divorce attorney spousal support

There are dozens of things that you and your spouse will have to agree upon before you can finalize your divorce agreement. Some of the most contentious issues throughout many divorces are those dealing with two notorious topics -- finances and children. Things such as property division and child custody have the potential to turn a mildly agreeable divorce into one that is fueled by strong emotions, rather than reason. Even after you have come to a consensus, nothing is set in stone. Under certain circumstances, you may need to petition the court to modify your divorce agreement. One of the most common reasons for doing this is a remarriage by either spouse.

Remarriage and Child Custody

When it comes to child custody issues, such as parenting time and parental responsibilities, the remarriage of either parent can create the potential need to change the parenting time order or child support order. In nearly all cases, the child support order will likely never be terminated, but there is a possibility that the monthly amount could change. In Illinois, all child-related decisions are made using the child’s best interests. This means in a remarriage scenario, the actions taken are very situational depending on the family’s circumstances.

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DuPage County divorce attorney

When it comes to choosing a process for getting a divorce, there is no one right or wrong answer for everyone. Some couples disagree on major issues such as property division and child custody so harshly that they end up stuck in hostile litigation, putting unnecessary stress on the whole family. Alternative dispute resolutions, such as mediation and collaborative law, can both provide a solution to divorce litigation and allow couples to settle their divorce outside of the courtroom. However, there are differences between the two methods. Choosing a process for getting a divorce is a very situational and personal decision that can be affected by many factors. Choosing a method that fits your family’s situation can save you a lot of stress in the long run.

Understanding Divorce Mediation

During divorce mediation, the couple works with a neutral, third-party mediator who helps them come to agreements on important topics that they disagree on. The mediator does not take the side of one spouse and does not try to influence either spouse’s decision in any way. The mediator may offer opinions and suggestions during the negotiations, but his or her main job is to act as an intermediary for the couple.

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Naperville child support attorney

In divorce cases that involve children in Illinois, one of the issues that must be addressed is child support. In Illinois, the financial duty of raising a child is not the responsibility of solely the custodial parent -- both parents have a legal obligation to financially provide for their children. Typically, the parent with the least amount of parenting time will pay the other parent support each month until the child’s 18th birthday or until they graduate from high school, whichever comes later. The amount of child support that each parent is responsible for is determined by using a formula that takes into account both parents’ incomes and parenting time shares. Over time, the factors used in that equation or your life circumstances may change and the amount of child support currently being paid may no longer be sufficient. Fortunately, it is possible to modify your support order in Illinois.

Common Significant Changes in Circumstances

There are only three reasons why a child support order is permitted to be modified: Either parent can demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances, the support order has been found to deviate from the support guidelines, or the child’s healthcare needs have changed. The most common reason, however, for child support modifications tends to be significant changes in circumstances. Some of the most common changes can include:

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