Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIn the wake of recent political upheavals, it is becoming common to encounter instances when family law questions and concerns acquire an immigration element. Many U.S. citizens hold dual citizenship or are married to foreign nationals. Their children may also be dual citizens. Given that many issues seem to be unsettled, in terms of the new administration’s policies, it is important to be able to react to ensure your family is protected.

Immigrant Status and Family Law

In theory, immigration law is meant to promote the idea of family unity, but in practice, U.S. immigration law can often separate families of different citizenship. Federal immigration law controls where it exists, but there are many loopholes most often filled by imperfect or inexact state laws that are applied unevenly. For example, a battered spouse may apply under immigration laws to obtain a U visa or status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), but it is state family courts and family law that govern domestic violence cases.

One does not necessarily have to prove citizenship in any country in order to avail oneself of the courts in Illinois; however, one must prove state residency to be able to dispute certain issues such as parenting time or spousal support. Without proof of state residency, Illinois courts have no jurisdiction to enforce orders regarding these issues. Marriage may also be a question, especially in the context of VAWA claims or allegations of fraud.

Divorce and Child Issues

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIt is decidedly common for a noncustodial parent to be dissatisfied about the amount of child support that a court has ordered them to pay. However, this does not excuse them from paying it, even while a modification may be pending. If you are owed child support by your former spouse, this is referred to as an arrearage, and it must be paid, regardless of what other obligations your ex-spouse may have. In Illinois, there are various ways to collect on the debt.

Penalties for Non-Payment

If you owe child support and fall behind in payments without working out an alternative with your spouse (or the court), the state of Illinois will be informed, and possibly federal authorities, depending on your location and the amount owed. If you attempt to disappear to avoid obligations, there are entities such as the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) which exist to track down deadbeat parents, and you may be penalized more for attempting to shirk your commitments. In extreme cases, you may be jailed under the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act.

If you are located, there are multiple ways in which the state or federal government may obtain the amount owed (in addition to any penalties assessed for your failure to pay), including withholding your tax refund to put toward the arrearage or garnishing your wages. In Illinois, a program called the Family Financial Responsibility Act (known colloquially as the “Deadbeats Don’t Drive” program) also has the power to suspend or revoke your driver’s license until arrearages are paid. It is important to remember that these methods are intended to collect the back child support owed, while any penalties assessed on top of that may have to be paid in a different manner.

When Support Ends

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIllinois family courts tend to follow guidelines and case precedent when issuing divorce decrees, especially absent any input from the spouses themselves regarding disposition of issues like parenting time. However, sometimes a parenting plan will need to be modified, and it is important to realize that there are certain requirements that must be followed before a change will be permitted.

Family Court Has Authority

The most important thing to realize going in is that only family courts may make definitive adjustments to divorce decrees - you are welcome to work out an agreement with your spouse as to parenting time or support, but these agreements do not have the force of law. A court will not abide by them unless you have these unofficial agreements added to your decree. It matters, especially if you and your spouse have a tumultuous relationship, because if you become engaged in a dispute and refuse to abide by your arrangement.

In Illinois, however, the law holds that unless the parties agree or there is found to be an immediate reason in the best interests of the child, any modification of terms may not be made before two years have passed. The rationale behind this is that unless it is a demonstrable emergency, it can be harmful to a child’s emotional and mental well-being to undergo too many changes to their living situation, and the arrangement arrived at initially must be given time to work before it can be amended.

Modifications If You Cannot Agree

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerDomestic violence is one of the most common issues in divorces, especially when dealing with parenting time questions. Because it is so commonly discussed and dealt with, however, many persistent myths have appeared on the topic. If you do not have the right information when you need it, you run the risk of missing opportunities or information that could help you out of a difficult situation.

MYTH: Domestic violence laws in Illinois only apply to mistreatment between spouses. Fact: The Illinois Domestic Violence Act explicitly states that the laws do not only apply to abuse between spouses. 750 ILCS 60/ prohibits any abuse being visited on “family” or “household members,” which casts the net much wider. Past jurisprudence has included ex-spouses, roommates, co-parents of a child who lives in the home (not necessarily married), and disabled people and their caregivers under this umbrella. Essentially, as long as one or both parties to the abuse can demonstrate a relationship to the home, the law will apply.

MYTH: Abuse, for the purposes of charging someone with domestic violence, must be of a physical nature. Fact: As long as it can be shown that one person seeks to harass or control another person and has caused tangible harm in doing so, abuse can be alleged. Physical abuse need not leave bruises - if it causes harm or the imminent threat of harm, it is abuse under the law. Abuse in this context may also be emotional or even financial - essentially any act that seeks power over another person may be held to be abusive if evidence of intent and harm are presented.

MYTH: If you are an abuse victim, there is no one who must help you besides the police. Fact: In each state, there are many people who have, in their professional capacity, a mandatory obligation to report any suspicion of domestic abuse. In Illinois, the mandatory reporting requirement falls on medical care practitioners - any person authorized by Illinois law to “offer health care in the ordinary course of business” must furnish a suspected victim with resources on where to turn. They are also immunized against most (if not all) Good Samaritan actions.

MYTH: If you do not leave your abusive spouse immediately, it will be held against you when you later contest parenting time and support issues. Fact: It is becoming more commonly known that leaving an abusive spouse is not always possible, especially if one has children. To leave an abusive partner, one requires money and time, and given the controlling nature of most abusers, this may be very difficult to obtain. Good faith is generally ascribed to victims of domestic abuse unless it becomes readily apparent that this is misguided.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyNo matter the circumstances, ending a marriage can be a heart-wrenching experience. Knowing when to call to quits is especially difficult, especially when you have invested a significant amount of time with your spouse. Some couples pull the plug at the first sign of serious trouble, while others may wait months, or even years, for the warning signs to appear. Even after those warning signs begin to surface, however, many couples have trouble letting go.

Knowing When Enough Is Enough

The key to deciphering if enough is enough begins with asking yourself if the bad has begun to outweigh the good in your marriage. This can be hard to figure out, especially when there is a plethora of good memories hidden between the clumps of bad times that continue to pile up. Ultimately, though, divorce experts believe one of the most glaring tell-tale signs that a marriage is in trouble is when the good times slowly become fewer and farther between. Taking it a step further, ask yourself if you have recently made any of the following observations about your marriage:

1. You can (and often do) envision life without your spouse - One big warning sign that your marriage is on the rocks is if you can clearly see, and often envision, what your life would look like if you were single, living without your spouse. Not only does it indicate that you are unhappy with your current relationship, it also highlights the fact that the intimacy you once shared with your spouse - including the sharing of feelings, thoughts, and desires - has dissipated. A lack in these areas naturally leads to distance, and distance is not necessarily always a good thing.

2. You feel your spouse has checked out - Many people who go through a divorce or are about to commonly report that they feel completely alone in the relationship, especially when it comes to whatever conflicts they are facing. If you feel an intense lack of support or feel your spouse has been absent in general, there is a good chance your marriage may be on the rocks. The old adage rings true: It takes two to make things work. If you are the only one working to solve the problems and repair your marriage, you may be fighting a losing battle.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyFor both the custodial and noncustodial parent following a divorce or separation, understanding child support monetary arrangements is very important, as the arrangements affect both parties and the entire family, often for many years to come. From your personal financial standing and your ex-spouse’s paycheck to the everyday needs of your children, a child support order usually brings about significant financial changes for everyone involved.

How Long Does the Financial Obligation Remain in Effect?

In the state of Illinois, the lifespan of the financial assistance custodial parents receive child support depends on various factors. Generally, the state has some very clear guidelines that help clarify when child support officially ends. First, support is ordered until the youngest (or only) child reaches the age of eighteen, which is considered by Illinois law to be the legal age of emancipation. Second, the noncustodial parent may be required to make support payments for as long as it takes to pay off any past-due support. This means that even if the child reaches the age of emancipation, payments may still continue until all past-due support has been paid in full.

As the noncustodial parent ordered to pay support, when are you released from your duty? In short, your net income, along with the number of children you have to support, will determine the amount you are required to pay, and you will be held responsible for those payments until your child is no longer a minor. An exception to this guideline is extended support, which may be ordered by the court in order to wait until the child graduates high school or turns nineteen. Any other exceptions or amendments must be clearly agreed upon in writing or addressed in the judicial order.

Additional Responsibility

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyJust about everything we hear regarding comparing our divorce to someone else’s is overwhelmingly unanimous - and understandably, accurate. Experts galore emphasize the dangers of comparing our own divorce experience to our friend’s, neighbor’s, or co-worker’s. After all, everyone’s circumstances are drastically different, on many accounts. From finances and settlements to motivators for the split and the portrait of post-divorce life, everyone has their own horror and success stories to share, and two portraits rarely ever look alike.

The Good that Can Come from Comparing Divorce Experiences

While it is true that many negative results can spring from comparing the end of our marriage to someone else’s, like the bolstering of unrealistic expectations and greater emotional turmoil, there are a few benefits to making comparisons that can actually help, not hinder us. It is all a matter of perspective. Before you shut yourself away from conversing with fellow divorcees and turn off the urge to compare your split to your neighbor’s, consider the following:

1. Comparing allows you to discover you are not alone - One positive advantage of comparing your experience and listening to the various accounts of divorce from others is that you quickly discover you are not alone in your difficulties. While it is never fun to see someone else in pain or to witness their struggles firsthand (as it can easily add to your own divorce anxieties), some comfort can be drawn from observing one major similarity: No one escapes the divorce process unscathed. No matter the circumstances, everyone experiences unique obstacles, financial challenges, and emotional battles. Do not compare your experience in order to measure your divorce against another, but instead compare to gain insight and a fresh perspective on the loss you are grieving.

2. You have the opportunity to strengthen your support system - Therapists stress the importance of seeking out and building an emotional support system throughout the divorce process. A part of building such a support system often includes speaking to others who have been through what you are now going through. Discussing the experience with others and comparing their struggles to your own can help you relate and at the same time also strengthen the bonds you’ve made with those in your support network by building a sense of trust and safety.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyBefore resorting to divorce, many couples consider the idea of legal separation, which allows them the opportunity to live apart and test the waters before committing to the decision to officially end their marriage. Research shows that a trial separation can be a wonderful, effective tool, particularly for those who truly do not desire to split up and who would like to repair their marriage.

While there are many advantages to attempting such an arrangement, experts tell us that not every marriage will benefit from a time-out, however. Some marriages simply do not make it, and many separations that are initially intended to serve as a temporary break for both spouses often end up being permanent and inevitably result in divorce.

Is Legal Separation Right for You?

Psychology professionals tell us that trial separations generally work for couples who are realistic about what a time-out really entails, and this means recognizing that it involves a lot of energy, hard work, and willingness on behalf of both parties to make the arrangement an effective one. If you are on the fence about trying legal separation versus diving straight into divorce proceedings, consider the following three signs that may indicate a separation is a good option for you:

1. You are willing to play by the rules - Therapists stress the importance of setting boundaries and ground rules when deciding to separate. Both parties must be willing to discuss uncomfortable subjects, such as dating other people during the break and a potential deadline for making the final call. If you are prepared to help set boundaries and honor your part of the agreement, it may be worth trying out a trial separation. It is not uncommon for couples to get back together, and the time they spent apart can prove to be a healthy, productive experience in the end.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family attorneyRegardless of where you stand with money matters throughout the course of your marriage, the moment your relationship comes to an end, your financial security can change drastically, in a short period of time. Whether you have been accustomed to a very comfortable life or have always struggled to make ends meet, the moment you undergo divorce, your financial well-being is exposed to a number of risks, and many of those risks have the potential to affect your bank account and the overall quality of your life for many years to come.

Thinking Ahead

Many individuals are able to prepare for the financial implications of divorce well ahead of time, months before they even begin divorce proceedings. Others are left scrambling at the last minute or after the split to figure out how to put the pieces together and provide for themselves. Whatever your divorce circumstances, planning is key. Here are some ways you can take steps toward successfully standing on your own feet once your marriage is over:

1.Explore potential maintenance options - Once referred to as alimony, maintenance is a form of spousal support that requires the spouse who earns the larger income to provide payments to the other spouse. In the state of Illinois, not all lesser-earning spouses are guaranteed maintenance, and granted maintenance is usually temporary, but it is important to at least speak with an attorney to inquire about your potential options for receiving payments to ensure you aren’t missing out on funds that could help you provide for yourself. The court will look at a number of different factors when deciding whether or not to award maintenance payments, so do not rule out pursuing a maintenance order until you get all the facts.

2. Create a financial snapshot - In order to know where you stand before and after your divorce, it is essential to create a general snapshot of your finances. This means gathering as many details as possible and assembling lists of any and all debts, assets, and newly opened accounts. You will need a clear picture of what you owe versus the income you will bring in on your own, without your spouse, in order to sit down with a financial planner and create a new budget for your post-divorce lifestyle.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family attorneyOf all the emotions that individuals face during divorce, stress is one of the most common. Some experience it from grief, others because of anger or resentment, and still some due to contentious situations. Regardless, all can manage their stress and improve their situation. Learn how with help from the following divorce coping strategies.

Accepting the Divorce

You do not have to like the divorce to accept it. In fact, few couples truly celebrate the process itself. After all, no one wants to hurt a person they once (or possibly still) love. Unfortunately, some relationships simply do not last. Begging, trying to get revenge, pleading, or bargaining is unlikely to change that. For some, not even therapy helps. So, if you and your spouse are on the path to divorce, the best thing you can do to start coping is to accept that change that is happening in your life.

Dealing with Your Feelings

During divorce, emotions can change and shift quickly, often from one extreme to another. You might be sad one moment, and then angry another. Understand that these highly charged emotions are normal, and they are a part of the grieving process. However, if you start to experience extreme depression, struggle to deal with daily activities (i.e. work, caring for children, etc.), you may want to consider seeking outside help from a therapist or support group.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois child custody attorneyThroughout the years and perhaps due to the change in family dynamics in our country, the family law regarding child custody and visitation schedules have undergone significant changes. No longer are we in the ages of the clear cut, laid out in a black-and-white model of care arrangements. Legislators realized that there is no one-size-fits-all model. Instead of joint custody or sole custody division, Illinois has the additional assignment of parental responsibility. Although transitions such as these are beneficial because they allow the courts to mold a solution suitable for each family, terms become increasingly blurred and challenging for someone unfamiliar with the area. It is not uncommon for questions to arise when determining the best outcome for each child.

The Best Interest of the Child

As always, Illinois focuses on the best interest of the child, occasionally even if that is against the guardian's preferences. A judge will take into consideration if someone is unwilling or has a lack of want to care for the child, as well as those who do prefer to look after the child, however other factors play into consideration. By Illinois law, 15 factors influence the determination of parental control, including:

  • The child’s wishes and needs,
  • The child’s adjustment to the home, school, and surrounding community,
  • The mental and physical health of all parties,
  • The relationship of the parents (i.e. contentious, cooperative, etc.)
  • The history each parent has in decision making for the child,
  • Parental wishes,
  • Potential restrictions on decision-making capabilities,
  • Abuse, and
  • Sex offender registrant status.

Parental Responsibilities

Regardless of which parent has physical custody of the child involved, there is a separate matter of who has the decision-making capabilities. There is no legal obligation stating that both parents have an equal right to choose the upbringing of the child. For instance, a judge may determine that the mother can make a decision regarding education whereas the father makes the decision about religion. The major areas in which a judge determines who controls the decision making include:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyFor many couples who decide to end their marriage, the idea of bouncing back after the split is a daunting one. Regardless of how long you and your spouse were together or whether or not the divorce was a peaceful, mutual decision, saying goodbye to the relationship is an emotional journey that unfolds over time. Much like other losses in life, divorce brings about its own form of grief, which naturally slows down the rebound process.

Studies Show You May See an Improvement in Mental and Physical Health after You Leave a Poor Marriage

Although everyone needs time to work through the aftermath of the separation, moving on is not an impossible feat, as much as it may feel like it in the midst of the divorce process. A research study from the Journal of Family Psychology shows that those who have poor marriages generally do better after the divorce, and the overall satisfaction of individuals who divorce depends greatly on their perception of the relationship during the marriage. For example, if you and your spouse were fighting constantly and you experienced ongoing arguments and bouts of depression as a result, chances are you are going to benefit from the separation and all it entails.

Kick-Starting Your Goal to Move On

While you cannot force the healing period that follows divorce, you can be on your way to feeling better sooner, rather than later, by practicing the following:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_divorce-filing.jpgMany couples must ponder the idea of whether or not there is truly a “right” time to divorce when faced with the decision to call it quits. Is there really such thing as a good time to break the sad news to friends and family? No one is ever truly prepared for the emotional toll that divorce entails, so it is completely understandable when a couple chooses to delay the decision. Some couples hold off with hopes for possible reconciliation, while others feel it may be best to stay together for the children.

Identifying Priorities

Whatever the personal circumstances surrounding your imminent separation, weighing various factors that may ultimately shape your divorce experience for better or worse before officially ending the marriage can be beneficial. Evaluating these factors can help you identify your priorities in the divorce process, which can help you decide the best time to make the jump.

Explore some of these key areas when looking at the timeline of your divorce:

1. Financial Standing

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyThe American Psychological Association (APA) tells us that in the United States alone, more than 90 percent of people marry by the age of 50, but that 40 to 50 percent of couples end up divorcing. When it comes to subsequent marriages, the APA says the divorce rates are even higher, which tells us that although people continue to get married, certain troubles still tend to strain relationships and in many cases, inevitably cause marital demise.

Factors that Lead to Separation

While the causes for divorce are vast and diverse, there are certain trends in relationships that often result in separation, and ultimately, divorce. These trends all share common themes: Each one involves the breakdown of communication, intimacy, and trust. When combined, these factors turn into core conflicts and often result in the disintegration of a marriage. Among the many reasons for divorce, here are four of the most common:

1.Money management - Whether you have money troubles or not, the difference in how you and your spouse handle money can play a big role in your marital satisfaction. Many marriages end due to financial problems, and those problems do not necessarily always involve debt. For example, if you save a large portion of your income while your partner overspends, of if there is a significant difference in salaries, rifts can emerge that stem from tension and resentment.

2. Lack of contact - Physical intimacy, affection, and mere communication through texts and phone calls are all vital components to a successful, satisfying marriage. When there is a lack of intimacy, a decrease in basic expressions of affection, or no effort being made to reach out to one another, this lack of contact can erode the quality of the marriage over time. In some cases, it can cause the relationship to unravel quickly, depending on the other circumstances surrounding the problem.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyOver the years, an array of opinions has surfaced over the subject of legal separation before divorce. For most people, the term “separation” on its own sends off immediate warning signs that something must be wrong in the marriage. While the fact that separation clearly implies conflict in a marriage, the reality is legal separation is pursued by many different couples for various reasons, and the intent is not always to end the marriage. Many couples pursue legal separation with the hopes of saving the marriage and do succeed, eventually reconciling due to the time spent apart.

Motivations Behind Legal Separation

Others are simply unable to reconcile, however. In this case, the damage is done, the separation has only further clarified that the marriage is, in fact, over, and divorce naturally becomes the next step on the agenda. Most couples fall somewhere in the middle when they choose to legally separate. For example, married partners commonly separate because they are uncertain if divorce is the right choice for them and for their family, or they would like to try counseling and want time to attempt to repair the relationship before calling it quits.

Potential Benefits of Spending Time Apart

Whatever your personal circumstances, if you find that you are in a similar place, it may be worth it in your case to consider the benefits of legal separation before resorting to divorce. Here are three common reasons some couples opt for legal separation instead of divorce, and some points for you to consider as you weigh which option best suits your situation:

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThere is no greater dilemma for parents exploring the possibility of divorce than deciding whether or not to go through with the process for the sake of the children. There is much at stake where kids are concerned when deciding to end a marriage. Everything must be taken into account, including the immediate emotional and mental effects, to how the split will impact the children in the future, as the years go on.

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

The question of whether staying together is in the children’s best interests is a difficult one to answer, but one thing is certain: There are a number of diverse opinions on the matter, but ultimately only you, the parent, can decide if it is time to say when, or if it will work in everyone’s favor to remain a family unit despite the marital conflict.

Psychologists suggest examining the following as you explore whether divorce is the right decision for your family:

Consider the ways divorce would negatively affect your children.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family attorneyFor many, recovering from the emotional onslaught of divorce is a long, uphill battle, full of turbulent disagreement and ever-mounting tension. Others feel the same emotional weight in terms of loss, but experience a much smoother transition when it comes to the technicalities behind the divorce. When couples are able to work together and remain civil, keeping one another’s best interests at heart, they tend to bounce back with more ease than couples who exchange a lot of animosity and spite, and their overall ability to move on and let go is greatly improved.

Removing Obstacles

Whatever your personal circumstances are as you wade through the separation process, chances are you will, like most people, experience some bumps as you enter post-divorce life. Learning how to be single again and all the lifestyle changes that come with the transition can make the adjustment period difficult even for those parting on the most mutual of terms.

If you are about to embark on the post-divorce journey or are currently struggling with it, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you are on the right path to healing. Remove potential obstacles that can slow down the healing process by practicing the following:

1. Do what you love - Studies show that those who lose or have trouble regaining interest in the activities or hobbies they loved before the divorce tend to get stuck in the grieving process. While you cannot rush healing, it is important to stay involved with the things you love and to nurture your existing routines. It also helps to try new things and challenge yourself; you may discover a new interest along the way, which can help you as you work to re-discover who you are without your spouse.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerWhile it is not uncommon for the road to and through divorce to be a mutual, peaceful one, the reality remains that there is always that percentage of married couples who do not make it through the journey without multiple bumps in the road. Divorce is often plagued by conflict, tension, and problems reaching resolution on numerous matters, from everything to parenting time arrangements and the creation of a parenting plan, to the division of assets and child support payments.

Approaching Divorce as a Beginning, Not an End

Whatever your personal divorce circumstances look like, if you are on the verge of blending a new family dynamic together shortly after your split, then you are on deck for a whole new challenge entirely. Those pesky conflicts you faced throughout the divorce proceedings are no longer tied to the separation alone, but are now factors that will come into play with another issue: The task of beginning a new chapter with your newly blended family. Merging a new family means working with your former partner, addressing lingering hurt your children are experiencing from the previous marriage, and channeling your time and energy into building a healthy foundation with your new partner and their children.

Challenges You May Face as a New Stepparent

Some of the challenges a new stepparent may face are diverse. Here are some points of conflict you can expect to encounter if you are freshly divorced, or if your new partner has recently been through a split:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyAs a parent undergoing divorce, you have your work cut out for you. Not only do you need to address the legal technicalities of the split in the midst of experiencing the grieving process, you also need to tackle all the issues that accompany the end of a marriage, including everything from the division of assets and parenting time (visitation), to parenting plans and inventory of your personal finances. For the stay-at-home parent, divorce requires a complete lifestyle overhaul, which can trigger a number of concerns for the spouse who has been the primary caregiver at home.

Safeguarding Your Rights as a Stay-at-Home Parent

The idea that the stay-at-home parent will be able to continue to live the lifestyle they were originally accustomed to prior to the divorce is sadly not always a realistic one. While there are laws that vary from state to state that allow certain protections for the stay-at-home spouse, the parent’s lifestyle will inevitably change as their financial circumstances evolve due to the divorce. Parents used to staying home to raise their children can still make the effort to safeguard their rights during the transition in the following ways:

Explore the possibility of maintenance - Here in the state of Illinois, the law may entitle you to maintenance (alimony), which is sometimes awarded to account for a significant difference in income and earnings between spouses. The amount you may be eligible for and the length of time you may receive the award is determined by a mathematical formula and factors summarized in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/504). The court will look at everything from the current and future earning capacity of each spouse, joint property and assets, and the needs of each spouse, to the standard of living that was established during the marriage and how long the union lasted. Exploring your eligibility for maintenance can help you plan, prepare, and protect your financial well-being

Assess your assets - In order to protect your livelihood after your divorce, you need to first get a clear snapshot of what your finances currently look like. This will help you gauge what you are walking into after the divorce, and help you know what needs to be addressed when consulting with your attorney. Take stock of everything from your mortgage and car title to basic monthly expenses and debts, and also jot down any potential employment options as well as educational pursuits you may explore, which may incur additional expenses on your behalf.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois custody lawyerThere are countless aspects surrounding the divorce experience that parents are faced with when raising children throughout the separation process. Studies show that children are especially prone to the negative psychological effects that accompany the end of their parents’ marriage, due to the fact that they are still developing and learning to process - and cope with - rapidly changing emotions and circumstances. It is understandable, then, how something as anxiety-inducing as moving during or shortly after divorce can trigger a significant psychological struggle for children.

Moving and Divorce: A Psychological Toll

Recent divorce law changes in the state of Illinois now allow the primary residential parent to relocate with their child after divorce, as long as the move is made within a 25-mile radius. Because of this new guideline, that 25-mile radius can actually mean a jump over the state line, depending on which county you live in. Whether you are moving one neighborhood away or using up those permissible 25 miles, studies indicate that moving after divorce can be unsettling for children and can reap long-term psychological effects.

What Studies Suggest

The American Psychological Association (APA) reported studies that were conducted among students from an array of relocation scenarios, including subsets of students who experienced their primary (custodial) parent moving after divorce, and students who experienced no parental relocation at all. In general, the students of divorced families who relocated on some level were found to suffer more distress and perceive their parents in a less favorable light over the long term. Additionally, the students of divorced parents who relocated also experienced less life satisfaction and rated their physical and mental health poorly over time. They also felt more anger and hostility within their interpersonal relationships.

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