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Posted on in Divorce

Schaumburg divorce attorney, parental responsibilities, marital property, family pet, pets and divorceThe process of divorce can be difficult and contentious, especially when spouses disagree about how to divide assets and debts and/or allocate parental responsibility. While a lot of attention is paid to issues like the best interests of the children of divorcing parents and what is considered marital property, one issue that sometimes gets overlooked during divorce is what to do with family pets.

While cats, dogs, and other animals are not human, many people consider them to be part of the family, and treating them like another piece of property to divide often does not seem right.

Illinois law was recently updated to reflect these attitudes, and some additional considerations are now given to pets when determining their ownership during divorce.

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Posted on in Divorce

Palatine divorce mediation attorney, divorce mediation, divorce process, children and divorce, divorce and communicationWhile some people see the end of their marriage approaching, others find that divorce is unexpected. But whether they are ready to divorce or not, people will often be blindsided by the legal complexities and financial costs of dissolving their marriage.

Divorce can be expensive and difficult, but one way to make the process easier is through mediation. If couples are able to work together with a trained mediator to resolve the issues in their divorce, they can complete the process much more quickly and efficiently. 

Consider the following four benefits of divorce mediation:

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Arlington Heights divorce attorney, order of protection, domestic violence, parenting issues, parental responsibilitiesWhen parents end their marriage, they must continue work together to co-parent their children after divorce. However, their parental roles and responsibilities can be complicated if domestic violence occurred during the marriage.

While it is essential to protect the safety of spouses and children who have suffered violence or abuse, it is also important for children to have a relationship with both parents. But how well are parents able to work together following violent situations?

A recent study from researchers at the University of Illinois looked at mothers who had experienced domestic violence during the first year after their divorce to see whether they had any issues or conflicts while acting as co-parents with their ex-spouse. 

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Schaumburg child support lawyers, pay child support, child support payments,  child support obligations, Illinois family lawWhether parents are married, divorced, legally separated, or were never married, they both have an obligation to support their children financially. Failure to pay court ordered child support can result in serious consequences, and parents should be aware of the steps that courts can take to enforce a child support order and punish a parent for non-payment.

Illinois Child Support Enforcement Law

A person is guilty of the offense of “failure to support” when he or she willfully fails to meet his or her support obligations while he or she has the ability to pay them. Illinois law provides several remedies for parents who do not meet their child support obligations, including:

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Schaumburg child support attorneys, divorce judgment child support law, divorce judgment modification, parental responsibilitiesWhen parents complete the divorce process, their final divorce decree will specify how parental responsibilities will be allocated, the parents’ schedule for parenting time with their children, and the amount of child support that one parent will pay to the other. But while this is meant to be a permanent agreement (or, if parents were unable to reach an agreement, a judgment by the court), the law recognizes that people’s circumstances change, and a divorce decree may need to be modified at some point in the future.

Following the implementation of Illinois’ updated child support law, which went into effect in July 2017, parents may wonder if their divorce decree should be updated to reflect the new methods for calculating the amount of child support payments. However, before petitioning the court, they should understand when these types of modifications are allowed.

Modifications Require a Substantial Change in Circumstances

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Hoffman Estates divorce lawyer, family-owned business, divorce process, postnuptial agreement, divorce and financesWhen a couple ends their marriage in divorce, the process of separating their lives from each other can be a lengthy, difficult process. Determining how to divide physical property, financial assets, and debts can be a complex matter, and when one or both spouses own a business, this process can become even more complicated.

Spouses who are business owners often have many of their mutual financial assets tied up in the business, making it difficult to divide these assets while keeping the business intact. Taking the following measures can help you ensure that your family-owned business will survive your divorce and that you will be able to maintain financial stability:

  • Consider a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement - If you owned a business prior to your marriage, a prenuptial agreement can specify that you will retain ownership in the case of divorce. For a business that was formed after your marriage, a postnuptial agreement can define how ownership will be handled after divorce.

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Schaumburg divorce attorney, divorce and finances, financial mistakes, divorce proceedings, finances during divorceWhen your marriage is ending, your life will likely be thrown into chaos as you and your spouse work to separate the many aspects of your lives which have become closely linked over the years of your partnership. During divorce, it is important to understand how your finances will be affected and plan for how you will manage your ongoing budget.

Consider the following tips to get on the right financial foot during divorce proceedings and after your divorce has been finalized:

  1. Create a budget - You should make sure you have a full understanding of your income and expenses, including any spousal maintenance or child support payments you pay or receive after the divorce. Additionally, be sure you are accounting for rent, utilities, groceries, credit card bills, vehicle maintenance costs, insurance, and child care costs. Setting everything down in a budget and planning month to month management will ensure that unexpected costs do not arise and cause problems in the future.

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collaborative divorce, Schaumburg divorce attorney, Illinois Collaborative Process Act, alternative dispute resolution, divorce processIn our modern society, divorce is often unavoidable. But while divorcing couples will need to resolve issues such as the division of assets and debts and the allocation of parental responsibility, reaching a decision on these matters does not have to be contentious.

By using methods of alternative dispute resolution, couples can settle the outstanding issues in their divorce while avoiding costly litigation. 

One of the best ways divorcing couples can work together to reach a settlement is through collaborative divorce (also known as collaborative law). This practice has become more common in recent years, and it has been formally recognized in the state of Illinois through the Illinois Collaborative Process Act, which Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law in August 2017 and which goes into effect on January 1, 2018.

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Schaumburg family law attorney, college expenses, 529 college savings account, college savings plans, college and divorceDivorce can cause a great deal of financial upheaval in a couple’s lives, and as parents seek to restructure their finances following the end of their marriage, they will need to continue to provide for their children.

One financial aspect of divorce that parents sometimes neglect is how to pay for their children’s college expenses, especially if they divorce when their children are still young and college is several years in the future.

However, as college approaches, and families begin the process of applying for financial aid, they can take certain steps to ensure that children will be able to receive a college education without breaking the bank:

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Schaumburg spousal maintenance divorce lawyerWhen a couple ends their marriage in divorce, each spouse should be able to maintain a standard of living similar to what they experienced during their marriage. When one spouse earns more than the other, the lower earning spouse may be eligible to receive spousal maintenance (also known as spousal support or alimony).

While the formula for determining the amount and duration of maintenance is straightforward, courts have some discretion when determining whether maintenance is appropriate. 

Illinois statutes list 14 factors that a judge should consider when deciding whether to grant maintenance:

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unmarried couples, Schaumburg family law attorney, cohabitation agreement, Illinois Supreme Court, common-law marriageToday, many couples choose to live together before getting married or even forego marriage altogether, while still combining their finances, intermingling their property, and raising children together. While this type of living arrangement has become more and more common over the past several decades, unmarried couples should understand their rights and take steps to protect themselves in case their relationship ever ends.

Legal Decisions Regarding Cohabitation in Illinois

Illinois does not recognize common-law marriage, and a 1979 decision by the Illinois Supreme Court found that an unmarried person does not have any rights to his or her domestic partner’s property after the relationship ends. When this decision was made, the court stated that it was intended to discourage cohabitation and avoid weakening the institution of marriage.

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With all of the do-it-yourself (DIY) divorce guides online, it is no wonder that interest in legal self-representation is increasing. Although a DIY divorce could be effective in some cases, it is often best to retain an attorney who focuses on family law to represent you

Many assume that mediation, one of the alternative ways in which to pursue the divorce process, and other methods for the divorce process do not require an attorney. However, you may wish to hire a lawyer if your divorce case is more complex or requires eventual litigation. In addition, an attorney can help you address your distinct concerns and rights.

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Beginning July 1, 2017, new guidelines will be put in place for the determination of child support in Illinois. Current law bases child support calculations on a set percentage of net income. For example, the child support payment for one child is 20% of the net income of the non-custodial parent. Under the new "income shares" model, the incomes of both parents will be taken into account in the calculation.

What is the "income shares" model, and how does it work?

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