IL family lawThe holiday season has its own difficulties for everyone. For some, family parties and the amount of money being spent on gifts become their source of stress. While for others, December becomes breakup season. It is fairly common for couples to decide that divorce is best amidst the holidays. Due to the additional amount of time that couples spend with their families and each other, along with the financial pressures that the holidays can bring, divorce decisions are often made during or immediately following festivities. The idea of “new beginnings” can also spark a need for change. Breakups that occur during the holiday season can be difficult; however, those going through their first holiday season after a recent divorce often struggle the most.

Survival Tips

Whether you are considering divorce, are in the process of one, or have just come out on the other side, it is important to keep the following things in mind throughout the holidays:

  1. Validation: Many try to ignore their pain or sadness thinking that it is wrong to be depressed during a time when everyone else appears to be jolly. It is important to remember that your feelings are valid under such circumstances. The pain of divorce does not take a break just because Christmas is around the corner.
  2. Remember Your Children: In the midst of divorce, holidays often become irrelevant; however, those with children cannot cancel the holidays. While you may be lacking holiday cheer, it is important for your children’s lives to remain relatively similar as before. This includes the celebration of holidays as a family, whether or not this includes your ex.
  3. Create New Traditions: Continuing to celebrate with old traditions can cause old sentiments to resurface. Discontinuing old traditions and creating new ones is a good remedy, especially for those traditions that include your former spouse.
  4. Volunteer: Many families volunteer their time throughout the holidays whether they find themselves in a tough place or not. Volunteering is a great way to keep your mind off your own matters and also reminds you of the great things you have in life.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Divorce Attorney for Help

Deciding divorce is the correct path during the holidays can be difficult for all parties involved. It is important to have an experienced divorce attorney help you through this difficult time. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we work with our clients to make the process as painless as possible. Contact our Kane County divorce attorneys for a free consultation at 630-584-5550.

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Posted on in Family Law

IL family lawyerAll new parents experience nervousness before finally having their child, especially with a 9-month waiting period. Adoptive parents have the same pre-day jitters though they usually have a much longer waiting period. This additional time can intensify the anxiety since adoptive parents are not actively involved in the child’s birth. Though the preparation may be slightly different for adoptive parents, there are measures that can be taken to fill the time spent waiting for their child.

  • Enjoy your child-less freedom while you can: Many couples look forward to the change in lifestyle that a child will bring to their relationship. Though adopting a child is an exciting new addition to a relationship, many parents do not realize just how much their lives will change once a child is added to the mix. Go on the vacation you have always dreamed of or throw a loud party at your house because soon your life will become less selfish and more selfless for the sake of your child.
  • Spend time getting to know your child: This may seem like a silly thing to do since you will get to know your child when your adoption is official; however, it is important to know your child’s previous life and background. Having a good understanding their background aids adoptive parents in formulating their parenting styles and having a greater understanding of their child.
  • Set up a support system in advance: Many new parents do not realize how difficult raising a child can be. While parenting is extremely rewarding, it can be a challenge to manage alone. It is important to have a support system in place before you pick up your child in order to make the lifestyle transition easier.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for the child’s adjustment: Adopting a child is one of the most exciting days of a parent’s life. Though you may be ready for your child to come home, children usually take time to adjust to the new lifestyle. Being mentally prepared for slight discomfort from your child is crucial in handling the situation as it happens. Some parents will send the child care packages before the adoption day to begin the acclimation process.

Contact an Illinois Adoption Attorney for Help

If you are considering adoption, legal help is necessary to ease the sometimes lengthy process. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we understand that adoption can be a difficult and emotional process for all the people involved. Our firm helps relieve the stress of the legal portion of the process so that families can enjoy the rest of it. Contact our Kane County adoption attorneys for a free consultation at 630-584-5550.

 

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IL divorce lawyerThe rights of the LGBTQ community and same-sex relationships have greatly evolved in the United States within the last 20 years. Unlike many countries, the United States has legalized same-sex marriage throughout all 50 states. Learn about how historical changes can result in difficult divorces and dissolutions:

Making History

Same-sex marriage officially became legal across the country just three years ago. The 2015 decision of Obergefell v. Hodges resulted in the highly anticipated legalization of marriage. Before permitting same-sex marriage, the various states across the country allowed for “civil unions.” A civil union is a legally recognized arrangement that is similar to marriage. The first civil union was offered by the state of Vermont in 2000. The legal trend spread throughout the United States, including in Illinois in 2011. Though civil unions did recognize same-sex relationships, many people within the LGBTQ community did not view civil unions as having the same power and meaning as marriage. Obergefell v. Hodges put an end to marriage inequality, making the loving agreement legal in all 50 states.

Divorce and Dissolution

Like all other relationships, just because one can get married does not mean it will always work out in the end. Divorce between same-sex couples is often easier said than done. Before the legalization of same-sex marriage, many couples had been together for 10, 15, even 20 years. This means their life together is often much longer than their marriage certificate recognizes. As a result, it can be much more difficult to determine parental rights, alimony payments, and various other aspects that are decided in a divorce. Some courts will recognize prior years of cohabitation; however, this is not always the case. On the other hand, some couples decided never to say “I do” and simply stuck to their legally recognized civil union. As is the case with marriage, a civil union is a binding contract. Thus, more goes into the ending of a civil union than simply walking out the door. The dissolution of a civil union is very similar to the procedure for divorce. Assets get divided, parental rights must be decided, and spousal maintenance is allocated if necessary. Though the words divorce and dissolution may be different, the result is the same: a terminated contract with loose ends to tie up.

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IL divorce lawyerFor those who have children and choose to get divorced, child support payments are inevitable. The parent who holds primary custody will often receive the child support payments since they spend the most time, and thus the most money, with the child. These payments are no longer percentage based. The court determines the amount of money needed to care for the child based on his/her parents’ income then divides this amount between the parents. The details of these payments are determined before the divorce papers can be made official; however, certain situations and life-altering events can result in necessary changes being made.

Recent Unemployment

Unemployment does not result in the ending of child support payments. The payments will simply no longer be taken out of your paycheck. If approved for unemployment benefits, the parent should then contact the unemployment office regarding their mandatory child support payments. These payments will then be deducted from their unemployment benefit wages.

Incarceration

If a parent becomes imprisoned and is required to pay child support, the parent can petition for his/her payments to be altered. Some courts will allow for the payments to be reduced or suspended while the parent is in prison. This is not always a guarantee. Often times, the judge will decide that the payments must continue to be paid throughout the parent’s sentence.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce comes with hundreds of life-changing questions that must be answered in a matter of months. Add children to the mix and things get even more complicated. If you and your former spouse have decided on joint custody, an agreement will be written for you to follow after your marriage has been officially ended. This agreement will include details about each parent’s rights and responsibilities, information about the child, and a parenting time schedule. This schedule breaks down who the child will be with at each hour throughout the week and weekend. The purpose of the parenting time schedule is to avoid having further disputes about time spent with the child. Although a parenting time schedule can be different for each family, there are common schedules that many families choose to follow.

  • The 50/50: This plan is pretty straight-forward. Your child will spend 50 percent of his/her time with mom and the other 50 percent with dad. Some families choose to alternate custody on a weekly basis while others select a biweekly schedule.
  • The 60/40: This can be broken down in two ways. Some families decide to have an “every extended weekend” schedule in which the child spends a long weekend with one parent every week and the remaining four days of the week with the other. Others decide to spend four days with one parent and three days with the other, not necessarily lining their plans up with the weekend.
  • The 70/30: In the 70/30, a child spends five days with one parent and the remaining two days with the other. This is most often done by having one parent take weekends and the other take weekdays.
  • The 80/20: This plan gives one parent primary visitation hours. Under the 80/20 plan, a child will live with one parent most of the time, while seeing the other parent on a bi-weekend basis. In other terms, one parent will see their child every other weekend while the other has their child the rest of the time.

Parenting Agreement Help

Selecting a parenting agreement that works best for your family can be a stressful and difficult decision to make, especially if you and your spouse are not on the best of terms. Our seasoned Kane County parenting agreement attorneys have experience with creating parenting time schedules, whether it follows a common format or not. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we spend time working with both spouses to come to a conclusion that works best for your family. Contact us to receive your free consultation at 630-584-5550.

 

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Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerDivorce is commonplace in today’s society. Many families go through this legal process and some even have to sign the papers multiple times. Like the statistics say, 50% of marriages end in divorce. Though high-conflict divorce is seen on television and social media every day, divorce is not always conducted through a screaming match. Some couples divorce due to infidelity or constant arguing; however, two of the most common reasons for divorce are lack of intimacy and not being prepared for marriage. Divorce may not be pleasant for any of the parties involved, but getting a divorce does not mean you hate your spouse. Learn about the two types of divorce and the common options available to those going through the ending of a marriage.

Contested Divorce

This is the type of divorce often televised or included in movie plotlines. A contested divorce occurs when neither party can come to an agreement about the terms and details of the divorce. This includes the division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or child custody. Those going through a contested divorce will find themselves arguing in court, in front of a judge. Because of the lack of agreement between the parties, a judge will make the decisions for the couple, by taking all aspects of their relationship, family, and financial situation into consideration. This takes away all forms of decision making from the divorcing couple and places it into the hands of the judge. Often times, couples will begin the divorce process in a contested manner but eventually come to agreement to save themselves from enduring a divorce in front of a court.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is one of agreement and compromise. Those going through an uncontested do not necessarily have to “get along” but they do need to be able to come to a conclusion on matters such as division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or child custody. Though this may not be an easy task, learning to compromise can save couples from wasted time and money. Many couples going through an uncontested divorce seek divorce mediation. The purpose of divorce mediation is for the couple to decide on the terms of their divorce with the helping hand of a divorce attorney. The lawyer is not there to act as a referee between arguments, but rather to legally record the terms of the divorce while acting as a neutral negotiator between the two parties. Though mediation does not work for all couples, it is a good option for those going through an uncontested divorce. Not only does it save time and money, but it also allows for the couple to sustain an amicable relationship after the ending of their marriage.

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IL family lawMany people decide to move after finalizing their divorce because starting over is done much easier in a new place surrounded by new people. However, divorces involving children are much more complicated than simply packing a suitcase and signing an apartment lease. Before getting divorced, many people do not realize how much control the court system can have over you and your familial decisions. Though you may want to start you and your child’s life over in a new place by relocating, there are many steps that must be taken before the house hunt can begin.

The Process

Moving from one area to another is stressful enough. Adding a divorce and child into the mix only further complicates things. Follow these three steps to get yourself on the path of relocation:

  1. Choosing your location: Moving from one house to another within the same area is not considered “relocation” under Illinois law. However, if you plan to move over 25 miles from the child’s current residence, your former spouse and courts may become involved in the process.
  2. Speaking with your ex-spouse: One of the first steps that must be taken is discussing your decision with your ex-spouse. Whether you have primary custody of your child or not, you are not legally allowed to relocate your child without your ex-spouse’s permission.
  3. Notify the court: The court and your ex-spouse must receive a written notice 60 days prior to relocating. If your spouse agrees to the relocation and signs it, no further court action is required; however, without this written permission, you will have to petition the court to move without your former spouse’s permission.

In the Eyes of the Court

If you failed to receive permission for your relocation by your former spouse, court action will be required. Rather than choosing between one parent or another, most courts make their decision based on what they think is best for the child. There are a number of factors judges consider including the following:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_marijuana.jpgLots of people use marijuana. As more and more states legalize cannabis use for medicinal and recreational purposes, more adults openly admit to using the plant to relieve their stress and pain. In family court, marijuana use is a touchy subject. In Illinois, it is legal to use cannabis medicinally through the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. Possession of a small amount of marijuana has been decriminalized throughout the state, but this does not mean it is actually legal to possess and use marijuana without a valid prescription. Simply using marijuana will not result in having your parental rights terminated, but it is important for you to understand that many judges are biased against marijuana use and that it can impact your parenting plan. If your former partner alleges that you are addicted to drugs or that your cannabis use negatively impacts your ability to parent your children, work with an experienced family lawyer to show the court the truth.

Keep your Medication and your Children Separate

Do not give your former partner any possible “ammunition” to use against you. If you are a medical marijuana user, keep your medication out of your children’s reach at all times. Do not use marijuana while your children are with you, and if you consume cannabis in the form of edibles, keep them in a secure place where there is no chance of your children accidentally consuming them. Failing to keep medication securely out of children’s reach is poor parenting and can be grounds to limit the time you spend with your children.

Another tip to keep in mind is to keep discussions of your medical marijuana use off social media. Posts and images can be taken out of context and used to create a narrative that is not actually true, a narrative that casts you as an unfit parent. Do not post any content that can be used against you this way.

Be Prepare to Show the Court the Truth

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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_domestic-violence_20180918-213803_1.jpgBattered wife syndrome, also known as battered woman syndrome, does not only affect women. It can affect any domestic violence victim, male or female, who lives with an abusive partner. Domestic violence knows no gender.

Despite the law and the medical community recognizing that a person of any gender can perpetuate and suffer domestic violence, the term “battered woman syndrome” is still frequently used to describe the psychological effects domestic violence can have on a victim.

The Stages of Battered Wife Syndrome

When an individual faces domestic violence, he or she can internalize it and feel like he or she caused it to happen. This internalization and sense of responsibility for the violence is battered wife syndrome. Generally, it follows this pattern:

  • Denial. The victim refuses to accept that he or she is being abused;
  • Guilt. The victim recognizes the abuse and feels he or she caused it;
  • Enlightenment. When the victim realizes he or she did not cause the violence to happen, he or she is in the enlightenment stage; and
  • Responsibility. In this stage, the victim recognizes that only his or her abuser is responsible for the violence. This is where the victim leaves the relationship.

Not all victims make it to the enlightenment stage. Many stay in the guilt stage, feeling like they caused their abuse to happen and trying to be better partners to make the violence stop.

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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_rape.jpgMany people are familiar with the various types of domestic violence, such as physical abuse, psychological abuse, and financial abuse. Not quite as many are familiar with the term “spiritual abuse,” which refers to the use of religion as a way to control another individual’s actions and diminish his or her agency. Spiritual abuse can be perpetuated by a church leader against a congregation member, a parent against a child, or a spouse against a partner.

Signs of Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse can be difficult to recognize because it often invokes religious principles as justifications for violence and control. Individuals who practice any religion can face spiritual abuse. In a marriage, spiritual abuse can arise out of the gendered power imbalance many religions perpetuate.

A few examples of spiritual abuse include:

  • Prohibiting a spouse from working, opening a credit card, or accessing funds with religious justification;
  • Using one’s role as the home’s “spiritual leader” to exert authority over how a spouse speaks, dresses, interacts with others, and practices religion;
  • Using religion to isolate a spouse from his or her friends and family;
  • Exerting sexual control over a spouse, citing religious justification for doing so; and
  • Using guilt and shame to coerce a spouse into behaving in a specific way, claiming that he or she is not living according to their religion if he or she does not obey.

Read these statements again but this time, remove any reference to religious justification. If something is abusive when it happens without religious justification, it is just as abusive when it is done in the name of religion.

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IL family lawyerOver the years, legal separation has gained popularity. This has nothing to do with love and everything to do with money. A legal separation is a court order that specifies the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they remain married yet apart. This can be a “loophole” from losing lots of money in a divorce case. Though there are other reasons for separation, such as religious beliefs or hope for improvement in the future, many have discovered the money-saving capabilities that legal separation can have and decided this was the best option for them and their family. Read about the various financial stipulations that a legal separation can eliminate before deciding to choose divorce.

  • Social Security Benefits: By law, a marriage must last at least 10 years to receive social security benefits that coincide with your spouse. Though these benefits do not begin until you reach 62 years of age, many couples think of this before signing the divorce papers, especially those who are close to the finish line. Many couples will choose to be legally separated until the 10-year mark, then use their legal separation agreement as an outline for their divorce.
  • Health Insurance Benefits: Whoever is the “breadwinner” of the household usually holds the health insurance benefits; however, some employer’s health plans allow spouses that are legally separated to continue with the benefits. This is a case-by-case basis and is dependent on the employer’s contract and plan.
  • Tax Benefits: Some choose legal separation in hopes that they will save money if they file their taxes together. This is also dependent on a case-by-case basis. Because of the complexity of tax law at the state and federal level, some states allow legally separated couples to file their taxes together while others do not.
  • Personal Finances: It is no secret that divorce is an expensive life adjustment. Some couples simply cannot afford to move out on their own and buy everything needed to start a new life. In this case, couples will get legal documents stating their separation and “divide” the belongings in their household.

Discuss Your Situation with an Attorney

Legal separation changes state to state, making it necessary for a detail-oriented lawyer who knows the federal and state regulations inside and out. Our Kane County legal separation attorney has extensive experience throughout Northern Illinois, serving clients in St. Charles, Geneva, Aurora, Batavia, Wheaton, Yorkville, Elgin, and the surrounding areas of Kane, DuPage, DeKalb, and Kendall Counties. Call the office of Shaw Family Law, P.C. to receive your free consultation, educating you on the legal separation process and the benefits involved.

 

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Posted on in Mediation

IL family lawyerDivorce mediation is an alternative to battling out your divorce agreements through the court system. This is a good choice for those who find that they can talk their divorce through in a peaceful and non-argumentative manner. Couples who decide that mediation is best for them are not those going through a divorce because they have personal issues with their spouse, but rather it is for couples who amicably agree that their marriage is no longer the best option. Selecting mediation as your divorce method forces both partners to put emotions aside and be mature about every aspect of the ending to their marriage. It is done in a neutral setting with a lawyer present and encourages both parties to talk out their differences rather than arguing in front of a judge. While divorce mediation does have benefits, it can also result badly for some couples.

Advantages of Mediation

  • Less expensive: Divorce mediation is often less costly. Usually one attorney will be present throughout the mediation process and rather than paying to wait in court, spouses will be paying for time allotted solely to their mediation session.
  • You have control: A typical divorce procedure leaves little to no control in the hands of those getting divorced. Though they have some say in the matter, a judge makes the final decisions. Mediation allows for the couple to make decide what is best for the both of you, with a mediation attorney there to keep things on track.
  • Greater confidentiality: Because divorce mediation occurs in private, your business stays your business. Those who decide against divorce mediation will have their marriage problems being discussed in front of a courtroom of legal employees.

Disadvantages of Mediation

  • Waste of money: Though mediation can be a cheaper option for couples seeking a divorce, it can result in wasted time or money. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement within the time set aside, they will have to start all over with the little progress that has been made.
  • Allow the partnership’s behavioral patterns to take over: Every couple has certain traits common to each member, usually resulting in one partner having more control than the other. If one partner is more submissive than the other, it will likely result in the other spouse receiving what they want more frequently.
  • Emotions running high: Divorce is an emotional time for all parties involved, making it difficult to set emotions aside. Though mediation is a successful alternative to many couples, others can find that putting control into their hands can lead to emotional results.

Contact Our Kane County Mediation Attorney

Our Kane County mediation attorney has experience helping couples come to an amicable agreement in regards to their divorce. If you are considering mediation, call our office at 630-584-5550 to discuss whether or not you would make a good candidate for divorce mediation. Though mediation may not be for everyone, we find that with the help of our mediation attorney, many couples successfully talk through their divorce without involving a judge.

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IL family lawyerIn the past, mothers have had the power in the custody courtroom. The mother is often given custody as a result of female stereotypes and age-old parental roles. She is seen as nurturing, selfless, and “the primary parent” whereas fathers can be seen as careless and unfit to care for a child on his own. Though times have changed and these parental stereotypes have been proven inaccurate, fathers continue to fall short in the courtroom.

Dad Data

Joint custody is the most common decision made because it is thought that a child should be raised by both of his/her parents. Joint custody may allow for both parents to be in the child’s life, but not necessarily in equal amounts. Illinois ranks in the bottom five states for the amount of custody time allotted to fathers. These children only spend an average of 23.1 percent of their time each year with their dad, giving the mother the other 3/4 of their time. The United States may be moving towards eliminating gender bias; however, the state of Illinois is in 47th place in the U.S. for the amount of custody time fathers are provided.

Though joint custody is often best for the child, not all situations allow for this to happen. Extenuating circumstances force judges to choose one parent over the other, leading to the impossible choice of giving full custody to one parent. According to the 2016 U.S. Census Report, fathers only win primary custody 17.5 percent of the time. Laws may have been passed stating that there is no custody preference for women over men, but the data shows otherwise.

Four Tips to Win Custody

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Posted on in Family Law

IL family lawyerChoosing to adopt a child is a life-changing decision for both the potential parents and the child. Though you may have made up your mind about adopting, the process involves much more than just a signature on paper. One of the first choices that must be made is the type of adoption you wish to have. Common misconceptions about domestic and international adoptions often lead people into selecting the latter; however, many people fail to realize that international adoption is not always the best choice for every family.

Cost

Many people believe that international adoption costs far less than domestic adoption, but this is often not the case. According to Adoptive Families’ 2016 survey, the average cost to adopt from China was $36,070, Ethiopia was $38,667, and South Korea was $46,412. These are three of the most popular countries to adopt from, with China taking the lead at 2,354 adoptions to the U.S. in 2015. That same year, the average cost for domestic adoption through an attorney totaled $34,594.

Many people fail to recognize the travel and medical expenses that are involved in international adoptions. Often times the adoptive parents must get vaccinated, along with their future child, and make multiple trips to their future child’s country of origin. Travel and medical expenses greatly increase the cost of international adoptions.

Timing

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 IL divorce lawyerWhen an individual is unhappy with his or her marriage, the obvious solution is for him or her to file for divorce. In some cases, the individual has another option: annulment. An annulment is different from a divorce in that it officially breaks down an invalid marriage, rather than legally dismantling a legitimate one. Annulments are rare in Illinois, but a judge may award one when an individual provides sufficient documentation to show that he or she is in an invalid marriage.

If you are in an invalid marriage, meaning that the marriage is not legally binding for some reason, an annulment is a way to officially recognize that the marriage is invalid and relieve you of any obligations you face related to it. In most cases, each party simply reverts to the lifestyle he or she led before the marriage, complete with his or her separate assets, after an annulment. When necessary, the court may create a property division or spousal maintenance order for a couple annulling their marriage. Any children born into an invalid marriage have the same rights as children born to married and unmarried parents.

Valid Reasons to Annul a Marriage in Illinois

In Illinois, a marriage may be annulled for any of the following reasons:

  • One spouse cannot engage in sexual intercourse;
  • The couple is closely related to each other;
  • One spouse or both spouses were already married to another person when the marriage was performed;
  • One or both spouses were underage and did not have parental permission to marry when the marriage was performed;
  • At least one spouse was unable to consent to the marriage due to mental incapacity, duress, or being under the influence of drugs when the marriage was performed; and
  • One or both spouses entered the marriage fraudulently. An example of a fraudulent marriage is one where a resident alien marries a citizen to avoid deportation.

Certain Grounds Have Time Limits for Annulments

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 IL divorce lawyerWhen you marry another single parent, you create a blended family. Whether you both have your children living in your house full-time or the children move in and out of the home according to their parenting time schedules, you and your spouse are the heads of a new family unit. Integrating your children into your new blended family is not always easy. The tips below can help you make the transition less stressful for you, your spouse, and your children.

Create New Family Hobbies and Traditions

Every family has their special traditions and hobbies they enjoy. Now is the time to cultivate the family traditions you and your spouse will enjoy with your children. Determine a few fun, age-appropriate activities the whole family can enjoy and make them part of your routine. They do not have to be expensive or complex – just enjoyable.

Maintain Consistent Household Rules and Expectations

If you and your spouse decide that all the children are expected to finish their homework before dinner, maintain this expectation equally for all children. Enforcing certain rules more strictly with one “set” of children and maintaining different expectations for them can cause conflict and make your children feel like you are showing favoritism.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce is the legal process of dismantling a marriage, and as such, the divorce process involves many financial decisions like dividing a couple’s marital property and determining whether spousal maintenance is necessary and appropriate. For the individuals getting divorced, the divorce process can be expensive. It also involves individual planning on each partner’s part to ensure that he or she does not face financial hardship after the divorce. Your discussions with your lawyer should cover every financial topic related to divorce, such as the tax obligations that come with certain marital assets and how to divide your retirement accounts through a QDRO. On your end, take the following initiatives to make the divorce process as financially straightforward for yourself as possible.

Completely Sever Yourself from Your Spouse Financially

Before the divorce is finalized, work with your spouse to close all your joint accounts. If he or she is an authorized user on your credit cards, remove him or her from them. You might choose to divide your outstanding credit card debt yourselves by transferring it to two new, separate credit cards. This is also the time to determine how to divide your shared investments.

Determine Your Post-Divorce Obligations and Create a Budget

After your divorce, you will probably be living off just your own income. This significant change in household income warrants a new budget.

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Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerEvery marriage has its ups and downs. Communication differences, differences in life goals and lifestyle needs, infidelity, addiction, and financial distress can all challenge a couple to the point of making them consider divorce. In many of these cases, the couple does divorce. In others, the couple chooses to remain together, sometimes in a miserable relationship and in other cases, happily and successfully after making an effort to resolve the conflicts that drove them apart.

Couples who successfully recover from marital distress do so by employing effective conflict resolution strategies. The most effective way for you and your spouse to learn more about these strategies and how to employ them in your life is to work with an experienced marital counselor.

Actions that Will Not Fix Your Marriage

Some couples attempt to fix their marriages with significant life changes like moving to a new state or having a baby. In most cases, these are not effective ways to resolve marital difficulties because they do not address the couple’s existing conflicts, they only mask them. Additionally, certain life-changing actions like having a new baby only increase a couple’s stress level, pushing their marriage closer to divorce instead of strengthening it.

Actions that Can Fix Your Marriage

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IL divorceSome divorce factors are obvious, like high levels of conflict and disparate drinking habits between a couple. But there are many other factors that can predict a couple’s likelihood of divorce, some of which are not quite obvious and can even be surprising or counterintuitive. Below are four surprising factors that can influence whether a couple’s marriage will end in divorce.

The State Where You Live

Some states have higher divorce rates than others. In fact, some regions of the United States have higher divorce rates than others. You are more likely to get divorced if you live in the South than if you live in the Northeast. But couples who live in Nevada have the highest divorce risk of all, while New Jersey couples have the lowest.

How Much You Spent on Your Wedding

Some couples think of the money they spend on their weddings as an investment in their marriages, but the opposite is actually true: couples who spend less money on their weddings are less likely to divorce than couples who spend a lot of money. To put it into perspective, couples who spend $20,000 or more on their weddings are 3.5 times more likely to divorce than couples who spend between $5,000 and $10,000, and the group with the lowest divorce rate is couples who spend less than $1,000.

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IL divorce lawyerToday, the divorce rate for individuals over the age of 65 is three times what it was in 1990. There are many different factors that contributed to this rise in “gray divorces,” such as Americans living longer and a reduced social stigma around divorce.

Couples who divorce at later stages in their lives have very different needs and considerations to make than younger couples. One big difference between these divorces and divorces among couples in their 20s, 30s, and 40s is that usually, couples over 50 no longer have minor children and thus, do not need to develop parenting plans or create child support orders. This does not mean their divorces are any less complicated than divorces between parents of young children, just that they are different. Below are a few important issues that older divorcing couples face.

Your Retirement Plans

Your retirement accounts are marital property, which means they are subject to equitable distribution in your divorce. The court will likely divide your retirement accounts through a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), which ensures that an alternate payee, the spouse whose name is not on the account, receives his or her fair share of its contents.

Changing Your Estate Plans

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