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Posted on in Family Law

IL divorce lawyerA name is a crucial part of your identity. Although it has become more popular for women to keep their birth name after getting married, a person who changes their name also has the option to change it back after a divorce.

A person may decide to change their name back to their birth name to disassociate themselves from their ex-partner. However, that may prove difficult if you are professionally known by your spouse’s last name, or if that is the last name you share with children from the marriage. It may be easier to wait on changing your name legally until after you are retired or your children have started lives of your own. There are no legal requirements to change your name in regards to a marriage or divorce, it is all about personal preference.

To return your name to what it was before, the easiest way will be to include it in your divorce filing. This is then signed by the judge as part of the final divorce agreement. You may be asked to explain why you wish for a change of name to ensure there is no malicious intent in regards to fraud. An amendment can be included if you decide to change your name during the divorce process as opposed to the start of it.

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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

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
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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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 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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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. 

Posted on in Divorce

Will County divorce attorney, cohabitation agreementFor generations, the majority of both young men and women had the goal of meeting someone, getting married, and raising a family. However, statistics reveal that for many, that goal has changed a bit. Today, couples are choosing not to marry.

A study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that approximately 20 percent of adults age 25 years or older have never been married. In 1960, it was only 10 percent.

There are several common reasons cited as to why people choose not to get married, with one of the major ones being financial—people want to be financially stable before walking down the aisle.

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Posted on in Divorce

Will County divorce attorney, 529 Plan and divorceWhen parents of young children are divorcing, they are typically focused on immediate life issues—which parent will live with the children, where will the children spend holidays and school vacations, and who will pay for childcare? Frequently, one of the important matters that gets overlooked is how will the children’s college education be paid and who will “own” those college funding accounts.

Many families open a 529 plan—also referred to as a qualified tuition plans—to fund their child’s college education. These plans are operated either by the state or by certain educational institutions. There are certain tax advantages to these plans which make them attractive to parents.

If parents are divorcing, then one option is to freeze the account. There can be no more deposits made to the account, and funds are only allowed to be used for the education of the child of whom it was set up.

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Posted on in Divorce

Will County divorce attorney, preparing for divorceFor many people, the decision to end a marriage is not a sudden one, but one that is made after a period of time where there has been a gradual erosion of a relationship. However, once the decision is made—or even before, if it is one that you are considering—steps should be taken to gather all legal and financial information and documentation needed to ensure that you receive the best possible divorce settlement.

Seek Assistance

Even if you are the one who is seeking the divorce, you will most likely find yourself navigating through an emotional roller coaster over your decision. As difficult as it may be, try to avoid allowing these emotions to rule your behavior. Seeking out the services of a professional therapist often helps in staying focused, even more so than confiding in family and friends. A therapist is unbiased and can help guide you through working through the feelings you are dealing with about the divorce. What you share with the therapist is also confidential, unlike sharing with a friend who may repeat what you tell him or her and the information gets back to your spouse.

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