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Posted on in Divorce

Joliet parenting time lawyer divorce child custodyWhen beginning the divorce process, it can be easy to get swept up in the societal expectations regarding how parents will raise their children together after separating. However, it is important for parents to understand how the law applies to their situation and use this information to address issues related to their children.

In Illinois, child custody is referred to as the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” In addition, Illinois law uses the term “parenting time” rather than “visitation” to better reflect the fact that both parents should be closely involved in their children’s lives. While attitudes about parents’ roles in raising their children have changed over the past few decades, many myths about how child custody is handled in divorce cases continue to persist. Here are some misconceptions many people have about child custody:

  • Parenting Time Can Be Denied if Child Support Is Not Paid - Child support is implemented to allow children of divorced parents to continue to receive the financial support they would have had if their parents had remained married. In Illinois, child support is determined based on the income earned by both parents. It is important to understand that if your ex-spouse does not pay the child support they owe, this does not mean that you can physically keep their child from them. There are situations in which restricting or eliminating parenting time may be justified, but failure to pay child support is not one of them. Child support is a separate issue from parenting time, and a parent may face consequences if they interfere with parenting time in retaliation for non-payment of child support. 
  • Custody Is Always Given to the Mother - In Illinois, most courts prefer for parents to agree on a joint custody situation, although there are some situations in which sole custody will be granted to one parent. When a custody agreement can be reached, a parenting plan is put into place which states exactly who spends time with the child and when. Decisions about how parenting time is divided will be based on a number of factors, including the child’s needs, the parents’ wishes, and each parent’s history of caring for their children. If sole custody is appropriate, this decision is based on what is best for the child rather than the gender of the parent.
  • Parenting Plan Changes Can Be Made Privately - Life situations change, and as your children get older, their needs will change as well. If you and your ex-spouse get along, it may feel simple enough to create changes to your parenting plan together without the need for involving the court. However, if there is ever a disagreement, the court will follow the original parenting plan rather than any private agreements. When making changes to the parenting plan, parents should always file a custody petition with the court, ensuring that the parenting plan can be legally enforced if it ever becomes necessary to do so. 

Contact a Joliet Child Custody Attorney

When making decisions about the custody of your children, be sure you understand how the law applies to you rather than relying on common knowledge. An experienced Will County divorce attorney can answer your questions and provide you with certainty regarding your parenting plan. Call our office at 815-726-9200 to schedule a free consultation. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Will County divorce ttorneyThere are many reasons why a couple may decide to end their marriage. Despite the negative stereotype of nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce, the rate for first time marriages is actually lower than what is usually portrayed in the media. The likelihood of a couple getting divorced depends on many factors, such as age, the length of the relationship, and the number of times a person has been married before, but the total percentage of marriages that end in divorce is closer to 40% than 50%. 

You may be considering divorcing your spouse because you two do not get along anymore, or because you are ready to move on to a different phase of your life. These are fairly common reasons why couples choose to end there marriage. However, there are other couples whose divorce was anything but ordinary: 

  • Money Hungry - A Californian woman ended her 25 year marriage after winning more than a million dollars playing the lottery. In an effort to keep her winnings for herself, 11 days after winning the money, she filed for divorce. The truth about her divorce filing was not revealed until two years later. Because she refused to disclose the winnings, the $1.3 million was awarded to her ex-husband. 
  • Asset Protection - Only four months after their marriage, a New York man divorced his new bride in secret while visiting the Dominican Republic. They went on to spend 22 happy years as an assumed married couple until the wife found out she was not listed as an owner on the deed to their home. When confronted, the man claimed it was to protect their assets, but she did not see it the same way and decided to legally divorce him in New York. 
  • Physical Deception - Days after their wedding, a man filed for divorce after seeing his 28- year-old wife without makeup for the first time while they were at the beach. The 34-year-old man claimed to be deceived by the cosmetics his bride applied. 
  • Letting it Go - A couple in Japan separated because of irreconcilable differences about the Disney animated film Frozen. The husband not liking the movie made his wife question who he really was as a person. She claimed anyone who could not understand the magic of the movie was not human. Days later, she moved from their shared residence and filed for divorce.

Contact a Will County Divorce Attorney

Getting a divorce is never simple, but certain circumstances can make the process extra complicated. No matter your reasoning for ending your marriage, an experienced divorce lawyer at Mevorah Law Offices LLC can guide you through the divorce process. Contact a Joliet, IL divorce attorney at 630-932-9100 for a free consultation. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Joliet parenting plan lawyer divorceWhen you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, there are a large number of decisions that need to be made about the various areas of your family’s lives that will be affected by your split. How marital property will be divided is one thing, but perhaps most important is determining how to handle child custody. This can be a time of uncertainty for your children, but a strong parenting plan will help them succeed and ensure that both parents play an active role in their lives after the divorce. 

What Is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is an agreement between parents detailing how their children will be cared for after divorce. This plan is an official part of the divorce decree, and it can help make the transition into post-divorce life as seamless as possible for a child as he or she adjusts to living in two homes and dividing time between parents.

A parenting plan should cover visitation (parenting time) schedules, specify how decisions about the health and well-being of the child will be made, and address any special circumstances that suit your family’s unique needs. Here are some tips for creating a successful parenting plan: 

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Posted on in Divorce

Joliet divorce lawyer parents teensDivorce can be challenging for children of all ages, including teenagers. While younger children may be more open about their feelings, teens tend to be more private and hold in how they feel. The good news is that there are certain strategies that you can use as a parent to help your teen cope with divorce. These strategies include:

Make Adults in Your Teen’s Life Aware of Your Divorce

It can be difficult and embarrassing for teens to have to tell teachers, coaches, and other adults in their lives that their parents are going through a divorce. Therefore, it is wise for you to inform these adults of your divorce so your son or daughter does not have to.

Handle Behavioral Changes Immediately

During and after your divorce, you may notice your teen’s behavior changing. Rather than allowing behavioral changes to escalate and hinder your teen’s everyday life, it is essential to deal with them right away. As soon as your teen displays behavior that is disrespectful or inappropriate, encourage them to discuss their feelings with you and find more positive outlets for their emotions.

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Posted on in Divorce
5 Back to School Co-Parenting Tips

Joliet divorce lawyer parents childrenCo-parenting after a divorce can be a real challenge. In order for it to be successful, both parents must be willing to communicate and coordinate with one another. Now that the summer season has come to an end, and it is time for back to school, it is important to keep the following co-parenting tips in mind: 

1. Coordinate in Advance

You need to work with your ex to figure out who is purchasing school supplies, how you will exchange school-related information, how parent-teacher conferences will work, and more. By coordinating in advance, you will be able to reduce conflicts and avoid arguments throughout the school year. 

2. Split School Supply Costs

School supplies can be expensive, especially if your children are older and require items such as high-end calculators. Therefore, it is a good idea to split the cost of school supplies with your ex. This can lead to improved cooperation between the two of you while allowing you both to play a vital role in your children’s back-to-school preparation. 

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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-design-26.jpgIt can be a difficult and emotional experience to go to court for a child custody hearing. If you will be going to court in the near future for a child custody hearing, there are several ways you can prepare yourself to increase your chances of winning custody of your child.

Understand Child Custody Laws

Child custody laws can be complicated. Therefore, you should do some reading and work with your lawyer to become familiar with the laws in Illinois. If you come across any confusion or questions, be sure to find clarity prior to your hearing.

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Posted on in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-design-5.jpgOne of the most difficult aspects of divorce is dividing up marital property. All assets and debts that have been acquired during a marriage are considered marital property. Tangible items such as houses, cars, cash, and household goods as well as intangible items such as stock options and debts like medical bills are all examples of marital property. Marital property does not include any property acquired before a marriage, gifts or inheritances to one spouse, or any property acquired by a spouse after legal separation.

In Illinois, marital property is divided equitably or fairly rather than equally. If possible, a couple should figure out how they will divide their property through divorce mediation or another method of alternative dispute resolution. By doing so, they can avoid a great deal of emotional trauma and have more control over how their assets and debts are divided.

If a couple cannot agree on how to divide their marital property, a judge will step in and decide how it should be divided. There are a number of factors a judge will look at prior to making a decision. Some of these factors include:

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Joliet family law attorneysAlthough there is little information on the rate of domestic violence in divorce, the overall statistics are both well-known and shocking. However, it is not just the intimate relationship that is dangerous to victims. Leaving can also place them in harm's way. As such, victims of violence need to know they have tools they can use to protect themselves and advocates who are willing to walk them through each step.

One prime example is the way that family law attorneys help domestic violence victims through the divorce. Able to provide you with resources and legal advice, they can help victims obtain orders of protection while they assist with the divorce process. The following information explains why you may want to obtain one in your divorce, and it explains how our attorneys may be able to further assist in your divorce case.

Why Obtain an Order of Protection?

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Will County divorce attorneysDivorce can be a stressful and contentious matter – and not just because of the impending split. Financial matters are also particularly important in divorce, and they can have a lasting impact on each party’s quality life. If you are planning on filing for divorce or have recently been served, beware of these money issues in your case and learn how an experienced divorce lawyer may be able to help protect your interests and financial future.

Housing and Living Expenses

When couples split, one typically leaves the family home. The other may stay, or the couple may agree to sell the home and both may vacate the premises. Regardless of the living arrangements that they agree to, parties are encouraged to prepare for an increase in living expenses. Couples should also consider how a decrease in income – an inevitable side effect of divorce – may impact their financial situation. As an example, consider downsizing early, before the proceedings begin, when maintaining the family home is not an option.

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Will County divorce lawyersWhen it comes to health complications, divorcees have the odds stacked against them. In fact, studies have linked divorce to everything from weight gain and depression to an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack. Granted, an increased risk does not mean you will experience a stroke, nor does it mean you should avoid divorce if it truly feels like the right path for your life. However, it does suggest that divorcees should know how to protect their health and mitigate against the risks.

Examining the Possible Link

Nearly anyone who has endured divorce can tell you it is an emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically trying experience. Thankfully, the stress usually diminishes over time, but the damage could already be done by the time things calm down. In fact, experts now believe that stress may be the driving factor behind all the health condition links. It certainly makes sense when you consider what stress does to the body.

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Will County family law attorneysAlthough many couples would much rather end their marriage and go their separate ways in life, there are others that may not be quite so certain. Alternatively, there may be extenuating circumstances, such as religion or domestic violence, that can either rule out or complicate the traditional divorce process. Is legal separation a viable alternative in these situations, or is it simply a waste of time and money? The following explores this question further, and it provides you with some details on where to find assistance with your decision.

Separation versus Divorce

Some think that separation is like divorce. Others assume that it is the first step to divorce. Both beliefs are incorrect. Unlike divorce, separation does not break the marital bond. The couple remains married, so neither party can remarry without a full, legal divorce. Separated spouses can pursue alimony and child support, however, and they can seek a determination on the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time for any shared children.

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Will County divorce lawyersIn divorce, each party has their own grief, anger, regret, and feelings of betrayal to overcome. Sadly, the typical divorce process often exasperates these negative emotions by placing the divorcing parties on opposite “sides.” Tempers can flare, and each one may forget that they used to love one another and may, instead, focus on what they can walk away with once the divorce process is complete.

When you add children into the mix, a contentious situation can become downright catastrophic - namely for the children who still love both of their parents. In fact, the damage can be so extensive that it carries on into the child’s adult life. Their own relationships may be tumultuous. They may struggle to form meaningful bonds.

Thankfully, this does not have to be your child’s reality. You and your spouse can choose differently in your divorce. The following explains.

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Posted on in Divorce

Will County divorce lawyersNearly all financial aspects of divorce are complex, but few are quite as confusing and consequential as the 401K. Unlike other assets, these plans often lead to costly penalties when dividing them, and those that dip into them to fund the actual divorce often find themselves in even more financial trouble. Learn how to effectively divide your retirement plan in divorce, and how the assistance of an attorney can mitigate the risks.

The Complexities of QDROs

Qualified domestic relations orders, or QDROs, are used to divide retirement and pension plans in divorce. They are also exasperating and frustrating for those who do not know how to handle them. This is especially true when the QDRO is handled by a third-party. Additional fees can be added when things do not go smoothly (such as failing to follow a third-party’s outlined instructions) - sometimes two to three times more than what the divorcing parties might have otherwise paid.

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Will County divorce lawyersWhile older children typically do understand divorce - or at least the concept of it - younger children may struggle to grasp at how divorce will affect their everyday lives. They may not even fully comprehend that divorce means one parent will be living at a different home. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding can make coping with the divorce that much more difficult for the child. Parents may be able to help their child by using the following tips.

Talk to Your Child’s Pediatrician

Pediatricians specialize in the growth and development of children. It is this in-depth understanding that makes them a valuable ally to parents going through divorce. Able to give insight into how the child may cope with the divorce, and their level of understanding of the process itself, a pediatrician can offer parents unique advice that is tailored to their child’s age, stage of development, and own personal history. If you are going through a divorce, ask your child’s pediatrician for advice.

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Will County divorce lawyersDivorce is a difficult endeavor with many financial pitfalls. Some couples fall into them and spend years trying recover. In fact, one study suggests that it may take as long as five years to overcome the financial impact of a divorce. Others may fight even longer, possibly for decades. Thankfully, it is possible to minimize the risk, as long as you know a few helpful tips. The following explains.

At the Intersection of Divorce and Debt

Most Americans have debt. Some fail to manage it responsibly, but others are diligent about only taking out the amount of credit they can afford. Yet both couples are at risk for financial difficulties after a divorce. This is due, in part, to the splitting of one home into two. Each party must now cover their own separate bills, housing expenses, and utilities. They must also be able to pay their share of the debt, which can be difficult to manage on a single income. The more debt a couple has going into the divorce, the higher their risk typically is.

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Posted on in Divorce

Joliet divorce lawyersFrom a legal standpoint, divorce is a lot like a business deal. Marital assets are dissolved and/or equitably split between the invested parties. Even the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time agreements have an oddly unemotional method for determining the best interests of a child. Underneath it all, though, there are emotions. There is pain and separation. Loss and grief. Those who generally adjust the best after divorce are those that take the time to acknowledge this emotional aspect in healthy ways. Yet, even the most well-adjusted individuals can experience post-divorce depression. The following can help you learn how to handle it.

Seek Support and Guidance

Too often, divorcees feel ashamed of their perceived “failure.” As a result, they may shy away from asking for help. Rest assured that divorce is not a failure in life, or in marriage. It simply means that your journey together came to an end. So seek help when and where you need it – be it a grief counselor, the pastor at your church, a friend who has gone through divorce, your family, or a divorce support group.

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Joliet divorce lawyersDivorce is an emotionally and financially complex process that affects around 800,000 Americans each and every year. Sadly, some studies estimate that, for those couples, net worth could be reduced by as much as 77 percent by the time the ink dries on their decree. Is that always the case though? Certainly not. In fact, those that plan and prepare effectively for divorce often fare better than those who do not. The following information can help you financially prepare for divorce.

Start by Taking an Honest Look at Your Debt

You often hear divorce help sites talking about how important it is to account for all of your assets. This is true, of course, but some fail to mention that you must also examine your debt. After all, debt is not going to simply disappear once the divorce is over. Instead, it will be distributed between you and your spouse, much like your assets. Yet, when it comes to debt, there are also some complexities that get in the way. For example, mortgages and other high amounts of debt may not be as easy to “split” because the lender or extender of credit may not be willing or able to remove one of you from the account.

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Will County divorce attorneysDivorce is a mentally and emotionally taxing process, but it can also have an adverse effect on your health. In fact, a recent study found an increased risk of heart problems among divorced women. Understand this risk, and how you can effectively manage it during and after your divorce.

Understanding the Risk

Published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, the cumulative study examined the data of divorced and married women over the course of 18 years. Results showed that heart attack risks among divorced women increased by 24 percent after one divorce, and an alarming 77 percent if they went through a second divorce. This remained true, even after researchers adjusted for social and physiological risk factors of heart disease, such as age, changes in occupation, body mass index, health insurance coverage, and diabetes. Furthermore, remarriage did not diminish the likelihood of a heart attack.

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Joliet divorce lawyersStudies have long touted that children with divorced parents are more likely to divorce themselves. However, new information suggests that parental conflict is the real culprit. In fact, children with divorced parents may have the same risk of divorce as children from low-conflict, non-divorcing families. In light of this, couples who are staying in a high conflict marriage "for the children" may wish to reconsider their decision. This may be especially true if their children seem to be especially sensitive to conflict within the home. 

Children Fare Better in Divorce Than High Conflict Families

Published in the journal, Marriage & Family Review, the study examined data on more than 1,200 American families to determine if children of divorce, or if children of high conflict marriages, were more likely to divorce later in life. Collected from 1987 to 2003, the data consisted of parental questionnaires on conflict within the marriage, confirmation regarding whether or not the marriage dissolved, and the relationship status of the adult child. All adult children were aged between 18 and 25 upon completion. 

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