Divorce, family law and appeals representation in Joliet, Illinois

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Joliet Family Law Blog

Issues with child custody and parental responsibilities

For divorcing couples with children in Illinois, child custody and allocation of parental responsibilities will likely be foremost in their minds. A key factor is the child's best interests and how to create a situation for the child to thrive with as little disruption as possible. To achieve this, parents should understand the issues a judge will consider.

There are certain questions a judge will ask to come to a determination. Financial circumstances are critical. The judge will want to know about the parents' ability to provide the necessary care, including shelter and food. The desires of the parents will be part of the hearing. Parents frequently want joint custody, and the court might prefer such an arrangement to maintain a close relationship with both parents. However, sole custody could be necessary for the child's safety. Questions as to why the other parent should not have custody will be asked, and evidence may need to be shown as to why that is the case.

Considering prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements

When couples in Illinois are in love and planning for their next steps, divorce may be the furthest thing from their minds. However, these milestone occasions like marriage or pregnancy may inspire people to make plans in case they separate in the future. Prenuptial agreements are contracts that spouses-to-be negotiate with each other before they marry. These can address matters like inheritance or generational wealth, but they can also handle a range of financial and practical matters. They are a form of divorce planning, but they are handled while people are in a happy, loving relationship.

In the past, prenups were considered a matter for only the ultra-rich or celebrities. However, younger people are embracing prenuptial agreements in increasing numbers. If people decide against a prenup or simply never consider it, a post-nuptial agreement is still an option. A postnup can address spousal support and asset division, although it cannot handle matters like child support and custody. Financial planning is a big part of preparing for a baby, and a post-nuptial agreement may be part of those plans. These agreements can help couples decide on serious financial matters that are often contentious long before they consider a divorce.

Making an informed decision about divorce

When couples in Illinois struggle in their marriage and consider divorce, they risk making an uninformed decision on whether to continue in the marriage. Being knowledgeable about the things that impact relationships, how division of property and custody matters are handled in their state and the emotional effects of a split can help them make a clear decision on how to proceed.

For some couples, divorce seems like the only way to end the tension and fights that might have developed in their marriage. But it is Important to remember that many of the things couples disagree on, that often lead to divorce, will still be there once the divorce is final. Another thing is that some people also believe that only one partner is to blame for the end of a marriage. However, just like there are two people in the relationship, the end of it often comes due to actions, words and feelings from both partners.

Divorcing at the end of summer? You are not alone

If you are choosing to move forward with a divorce in the near future, you are probably not the only one. Many people choose to go ahead with the decision to file at the end of summer, and there are many factors that play a role in this trend. Regardless of why or when you opt to initiate this process, you will find it beneficial to keep your eyes on fighting for terms that allow you a strong future.

Summer is a fun time for many Illinois families, but it can also be a difficult time as well. This season can often exacerbate problems that exist in a marriage or make it clear why a person wants to divorce in the future. Before you move forward, you may want to think about ways you can protect your interests, focus on your long-term interests, and intentionally pursue a fair and sustainable final divorce order.

How compensation structure affects divorce

The type of compensation structure spouses have can have a big impact on decisions during a divorce. Each party needs to consider things like bonuses, stock options, commission, and other unique forms of compensation. For couples in Illinois who just have straightforward salaries with no bonuses, asset division is likely to be relatively simple. They don't have to worry much about the timing of a divorce filing affecting total assets.

Prepaid bonuses with a claw-back provision can be particularly challenging to deal with in a divorce. This is a bonus that's paid at the beginning of an employment term that can be reduced or withdrawn in the employee quits or doesn't meet certain performance marks. If this bonus is divided during a divorce, it should be clear in the agreement that a spouse must be ready to give their part of the bonus back if the claw-back is enforced.

Parents' rights to their children

A father generally has the same rights to his children as a mother does after a divorce. This is true despite the fact that fathers in Illinois and across the country may feel as if they face long odds of obtaining physical or legal custody of their children. A court will look at many different variables when determining if a parent gets full or partial custody of a son or daughter.

Those variables typically include the mental and physical health of a parent as well as the depth of a relationship between a parent and child. The court may also look at whether a parent can meet a child's basic needs such as providing a stable living environment. Older children and teenagers may be allowed to help determine whom they live with or who should make decisions on their behalf.

The financial impact of divorce on older adults

While people in Illinois who are over 50 might be more likely to get divorced than younger people or previous generations in their age group, the financial and emotional toll can be high. According to one study conducted by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green University, wealth for people who get a divorce after age 50 drops about 50%. Older divorced people in one study also reported a higher rate of depression than those whose spouses had died.

For women, the financial effects can be particularly acute. One study found that the standard of living for women went down 45% when they divorced after age 50 while for men it decreased 21%. Furthermore, people did not tend to regain their previous financial status over the ensuing years. For many older people, there is simply not enough time to make up for the financial impact of divorce.

Divorce planning in the summer

According to psychology and family law experts, summer is the prime time for Illinois residents to begin plans for a divorce. The results of a study that was conducted by sociologists at the University of Washington indicate that divorce filings tend to increase during August and March.

Generally, if there are complications in a marriage, those complications will get worse if a couple has to spend more time with one another. When couples are able to resume their routines, divorce filings will spike.

Does your spouse have a high-conflict personality?

When you got married, you likely had dreams of your relationship lasting the test of time. While dating, your future spouse may have seemed like the perfect person to complement your personality, and you likely felt that you two were a perfect match overall. However, after tying the knot, you may have begun feeling that your relationship was less than perfect.

In fact, you may have begun wondering how you chose to marry your spouse in the first place. At every turn, it may seem as if he or she is trying to pick a fight, and due to the unhappiness you have experienced, you have decided that the time has come to end the marriage. However, you may worry that the process will be conflicting as well.

A way to split retirement plans in divorce

You and your spouse have been busy making plans, including retirement plans. A divorce means you must now think about unmaking those same arrangements.

The good news is that many have been down the same road. Divorce is a legal procedure, and even in a stressful and less-than-amicable split, divorce courts have a tried and true way to do just about everything.

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