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IL divorce lawyerWhen parents split up, children can sometimes feel as if their entire world has been turned upside down. Divorce that involves a significant amount of contention is often especially hard on children. If you are a parent who is going through a high conflict divorce or you suspect that you soon will be, you are probably worried about how this will affect your kids. Poor performance in school, behavioral issues, low self-esteem, and other psychological consequences have been shown to result from parental conflict. However, there are things that you can do to reduce the negative effects of divorce on your children.

Use Caution When Telling the Children About the Divorce

The moment that your children learn that you and the other parent are divorcing may be one that they remember for the rest of their lives. It is important to plan out what you will say in advance. Most experts suggest that parents tell their children the news together, however, this may not be possible in a high conflict situation. The age of your children will determine the types of conversations that you can have about divorce, however, experts agree that it is best to tell them all at once. This prevents one child from having to keep a secret from the others.

Make sure to keep it fact-oriented and to avoid details about why the marriage is ending. Blaming the other spouse for the divorce or bad-mouthing him or her can make it much harder on the children. It may also lead to allegations of parental alienation. Focus on reassuring your children that they are loved and safe.

Keep Conversations About the Divorce Out of Earshot

Research shows that parental arguments and tension have a profound impact on children. A child’s mental health, future relationships, and overall emotional wellbeing can all be negatively impacted by family conflict. It is important to shield your children from conflict as much as possible during the divorce. Keep conversations with the other parent or your lawyer private. Do not fight in front of the children and never ask them to choose sides.

Create a Detailed Parenting Plan

During the divorce, you and the other parent will be expected to create a parenting plan. If you cannot reach an agreement, the court will determine a plan for you. The more detailed your plan is, the less room there is for disagreements in the future. An attorney experienced in high conflict divorce can help you negotiate a parenting plan and represent you during your child custody dispute.

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IL family lawyerFor many married couples, it can be hard to know when to officially call it quits. Many couples consider divorce for months or even years before they make the decision to end the marriage. You may find yourself in that situation now. Perhaps you are unhappy in your marriage but you still hope that things can change. In situations like these, many couples decide to undergo a “trial separation.” If you are interested in temporarily separating from your spouse, it is crucial that you know the potential legal and financial ramifications.

An Information Separation Is Not a Legal Separation

People often use the word “separation” in reference to both living apart and getting legally separated. However, these are two completely different situations in the eyes of the law. If you are living apart from your spouse, this alone does not change the status of your relationship. A legal separation, on the other hand, involves a legal action. If you get legally separated, you and your spouse will formally decide on issues like the division of assets and debts, parenting time and parental responsibilities, child support, and spousal support. You can reach an agreement about these issues outside of court, or if you cannot reach an agreement, the court will hand down a decision. The only issue that Illinois courts cannot determine during a legal separation is property distribution.

An Informal Separation Can Leave You Vulnerable During Divorce

If you and your spouse decide to live apart for some time while you work out your differences, you should know the impact this can have on your finances and your potential future divorce. Simply living in separate homes does not afford you legal protections the way a legal separation does. For example, if your spouse racks up a great deal of debt during the trial separation, you could still be on the hook for repaying it. Courts also cannot enforce any informal arrangements you make about child support or spousal support.

You should also know that the child custody arrangements you decide on during the trial separation can influence future child custody decisions if you divorce. Illinois courts aim to make divorce as easy on children as possible. This means that they are more likely to favor the “status quo” as opposed to a new custody arrangement. For example, if your spouse kept the children during the school week during your trial separation and you decide to divorce, the court may favor keeping the custody arrangement the same.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

If you want to learn more about legal separation or divorce, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. A Kane County family law attorney can help with matters related to child custody, property division, child support, and more. Call 630-584-5550 for a free, confidential consultation.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are a parent who has decided to end your marriage, announcing the divorce to your children may be the most dreaded part of the entire ordeal. You may be worried about how your children will react to the news or afraid that you will not have the answers to their many questions. You may also be concerned that your children will think that the split is somehow their fault. Unfortunately, there is no avoiding this important discussion. On the bright side, a tremendous amount of research has been conducted about how to help children cope with divorce. There are several things experts say you can do to make the divorce announcement go as smoothly as possible.

Include Both Parents in the Conversation

Understandably, you and your spouse may not be on the best terms right now. However, psychologists and other experts suggest telling the children about divorce together, if possible. When one parent announces the divorce in the other parent’s absence it can sometimes make the children feel as if they have to choose sides. Having the conversation as a whole family can help your children feel more secure. Explain that even though you and your spouse will no longer be living together, you will still love and care for the children just the same.

Avoid Oversharing Details About the Reasons for the Split

Children are naturally inquisitive. While it is important to remind children that their actions did not cause the divorce, be careful not to divulge too much information about why you have decided to split up. Talking about the reasons for the divorce can quickly lead to blame and accusations between the adults. Even if the divorce was largely caused by one spouse’s infidelity or other harmful behavior, telling the children too much adult information will only burden them.

Remind Children That Their Feelings Are Normal

Children can have a wide variety of reactions to the news of divorce. Some will pretend that everything is fine and act like they did not even hear what you said. Others will break down and cry or become angry and non-communicative. Some children, especially those who have been exposed to numerous parental arguments, may even feel a sense of relief. Remind your children that their feelings are valid. Answer their questions to the best of your ability and remind them that you are available if they want to talk or ask other questions in the future.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

The practiced St. Charles family law attorneys at Shaw Family Law know just how difficult divorce with children can be. We are here to help you with all aspects of your divorce including child custody matters, child support, property division, and more. Call our office at 630-584-5550 and schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your needs today.

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IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce, or dissolution of marriage as it is called in Illinois, is not reversible. Some married couples who are having relationship problems may know that they want some space apart, but they are unsure of whether or not divorce is the right choice. This is just one situation in which a legal separation may be beneficial. Couples who get a legal separation are still technically married so if they choose to reconcile, they will not be required to get remarried. If they do not decide to continue the marriage, divorce is still an option. Most importantly, legal separation offers married couples a way to address issues such as property division, allocation of parenting time and responsibility, and spousal maintenance without the finality of divorce.

Illinois Separation Process

It is important to note that there is a difference between a physical separation and a legal separation. A married couple is not legally separated until they are granted a separation through the court. In order to be granted a legal separation in Illinois, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for a minimum of 90 days and the spouses must be living apart. If a spouse wishes to file for separation, he or she will need to file a petition for legal separation and a summons with their county’s Circuit Court. The petition and summons is then served to the other spouse and a date for a hearing is set. If the spouses have already resolved issues such as the allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, division of assets, and spousal maintenance through a separation agreement, the judge will likely grant the separation after this initial hearing. If the parties have not reached an agreement about one or more of these issues, they may need to attend an additional hearing. The authority of Illinois courts to divide assets and liabilities during a separation is much more limited than it is during a divorce. The court can only include asset division in the order for legal separation if the spouses have reached an agreement regarding how their assets and debts should be divided.

Benefits of Legal Separation

There are many different reasons that a couple may choose to get a separation instead of a divorce. Some couples are simply not sure whether or not they are ready to divorce. Other spouses get a legal separation in lieu of a divorce because divorce is prohibited by their religious or cultural beliefs. A spouse may also choose to stay married and obtain a separation so that he or she can still receive benefits such as social security, health insurance, or pension benefits. A legal separation is an effective way for a married couple to separate their finances and resolve issues such as child custody without ending the marriage. If you are interested in learning more about the legal separation process in Illinois, contact an experienced divorce lawyer.

Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney

Legal separation does not end a marriage. However, it does allow spouses to resolve issues including property division, child custody, spousal maintenance, and more. To discuss whether or not a legal separation is right for your unique situation, contact Shaw Family Law. Call our office today at 630-584-5550 and schedule a free, confidential consultation with a seasoned St. Charles divorce lawyer.

 

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are planning to divorce and there is a discrepancy between you and your spouse’s financial circumstances, you or your spouse may be required to pay spousal support. Also called alimony or spousal maintenance, spousal support is typically designed to supplement a lesser-earning spouse’s income until he or she can obtain the skills or education needed to gain appropriate employment. The amount and duration of spousal support payments depend on a wide range of factors and vary from case to case. Spousal support payments are often temporary, but in some cases, permanent spousal support is ordered.

Illinois Laws Regarding Spousal Support

Some spouses are required to pay spousal support after a divorce because of provisions in their prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. If you and your spouse have previously agreed on a spousal support arrangement in a marital agreement and the court finds that agreement valid, you will be expected to comply with the agreed-upon terms. If no such agreement exists, you and your spouse may negotiate a spousal support arrangement or the court will determine a fair spousal support order. The court will consider you and your spouse’s age, health, income, assets, employability, contributions to the marital estate, and other information in order to determine whether or not spousal support is appropriate.

Ending a Spousal Support Obligation

The majority of Illinois spousal support orders are intended to be rehabilitative in nature. The support payments are only ordered to last the length of time that the recipient needs to become financially independent. In these situations, a spouse’s support obligation ends automatically based on the court order. However, when a marriage of twenty years or more ends, the court may award permanent spousal support or support for a period of time equal to the duration of the marriage.

Spousal support payments may also end if the recipient spouse remarries or starts cohabitating with a romantic partner in a marriage-like relationship. It is the responsibility of the paying spouse to petition the court for termination of spousal support if the reason for the termination is cohabitation. If you or your spouse have experienced a major change in circumstances, you can also petition the court to modify or terminate your spousal support obligation.

Contact an Aurora Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

If you are considering divorce, you may have questions about whether you or your spouse will be awarded alimony. For help establishing spousal support, modifying or terminating an existing spousal support order, and other support-related concerns, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Schedule a consultation with an experienced Kane County divorce attorney from our firm by calling 630-584-5550 today.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois mediation lawyerIf your marriage has reached the point where divorce is inevitable, do not assume that a lengthy court battle has to be part of your divorce. You and your spouse could be good candidates for mediation, which will make the divorce process less stressful, less expensive, and overall more empowering for you.

With mediation, a divorcing couple works with a mediator, a neutral third party, to reach agreements about their divorce settlement through a series of guided discussions. These discussions cover every aspect of the couple’s divorce settlement, such as the division of their property and how they will handle spousal maintenance. Often, couples who divorce through mediation report higher levels of satisfaction with their divorces than those who divorce through litigation. But mediation is not the ideal solution for all couples. When domestic violence is present in a marriage, mediation is rarely a viable option. Similarly, couples who cannot work together are generally not well suited for mediation. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if mediation is right for you.

Can You Work Amicably with Your Spouse?

If you cannot look at your spouse without wanting to punch him or her, mediation is not for you. Similarly, if you cannot discuss issues related to your marriage in a calm, rational way with him or her, you will not have a successful mediation. Mediation requires a couple to work as a team to determine a fair settlement, which involves putting their emotions aside to work toward the greater good.

Do You Trust Your Spouse?

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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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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyBreaking up is always hard to do, no matter what time of year it may be. New studies from the University of Washington have recently revealed trends that show seasonal patterns in divorce rates. While some spouses decide to call it quits from the moment they agree their marriage is over, others decide to hold out in the hopes that maybe, with a little more effort - or more time - the marriage can potentially be salvaged before it’s too late.

Here is a snapshot of some common divorce trends that revolve around specific times of year:

Holidays are a big factor.

According to the data compiled by the University of Washington between November 2001 and December 2015, there are significant dips in divorce filings around the holidays, indicating that there is a good chance most couples prefer to announce their separation after the holidays have passed. This may especially be the case when children are involved. Co-author of this UW study, Associate Professor of Sociology, Julie Brines, believes some couples may choose to wait until after the holidays to file due to high expectations, fueled by the hope that things will get better during the holiday season. No one likes to drop the bad news as the holidays are approaching, after all.

Couples wait until after summer vacation to file.

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emotional support, Kane County divorce lawyerDivorce can have long-lasting effects on the entire family. Issues such as allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody), child support, and parenting time (visitation rights) all need to be addressed as the divorce process is underway, and the emotional toll on everyone involved can be incredibly overwhelming.

The state of Illinois is also aware of these effects, and thankfully, the state legislature encourages certain practices to help ensure the children in the family are receiving the emotional support and attention they need during such a tough, transitional period.

Divorce Education Benefits the Whole Family

The Kids in a Divorcing Society program—also simply referred to as "KIDS"—is an educational program provided by Kane County for parents undergoing divorce. The goal of the program is to help equip parents with the tools they need to learn how to best restructure their families in a way that minimizes the negative emotional impact on their children before, during, and after the divorce is finalized. The KIDS program teaches the parent coping skills for re-entering the world as a newly single parent, and also benefits the child long-term by empowering and arming the parent with positive, effective parenting techniques.

Some helpful topics the program will cover:

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Posted on in Family Law

new illinois family law 2016, kane county divorce lawyer

New Divorce, Parentage and Family Law statutes become effective on January 1, 2016. The changes are immense and reflect the most significant shift in family law since the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was instituted in 1977. As news reports of the new laws hit the internet, there is both information and confusion. Clients are beginning to ask: how will this affect my case? Former clients who have been divorced for years or are having their alimony or support amounts reviewed are asking: will this change the amount I pay or receive?

Our firm is studying the new laws, strategizing about how to best help our clients, and implementing changes for the first of the year. Our office will be closed on Thursday, November 5, 2015, as all of our attorneys will be attending an all-day seminar on the new laws.

I had served on committees which drafted proposed legislative changes, and testified before the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on the custody law changes. Our firm will incorporate that knowledge in advising clients on the new allocation of rights and responsibility laws which replace our former custody laws.

The new maintenance and child support laws provide for complex calculations in determining how much each side will pay or receive.

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