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IL divorce lawyerDomestic violence is a hidden epidemic in Illinois and throughout the country. Millions of men and women suffer silently in abusive marriages because they are unaware of the resources they have at their disposal. In fact, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence served over 45,000 adults and nearly 9,000 children in the year 2019 alone. If you are ready to leave an abusive marriage, you should know that there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your children.

Protecting Yourself and Documenting the Abuse or Harassment

In Illinois, what are often referred to as “restraining orders” are called orders of protection. An order of protection is a court order that prohibits an abusive person from further abuse or harassment. If the subject of the order, called the respondent, violates any of the terms of the protection order, he or she may be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. Furthermore, a protection order serves as a crucial record of the abuser’s actions that will be very important during any subsequent divorce or child custody cases.

Prohibiting your Spouse from Coming Near You

An emergency order of protection (EOP) is often issued on the same day on which it is requested. You do not have to wait to attend a hearing with your spouse in order to get an EOP. You must simply fill out the proper form and file it with the circuit clerk at your county courthouse. You will then attend a hearing and answer any questions the judge has about your request for protection. Your spouse does not have to know about the hearing.

The EOP may:

  • Prohibit your spouse from coming to your work or your children’s school
  • Force him or her to surrender firearms
  • Require your spouse to move out of your house
  • Prevent your spouse from contacting you or your children

An EOP lasts 10 days, however, you may be able to get a plenary order of protection if you require a longer protection period.

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IL family lawyerWhen a couple gets divorced, one of the parties may be subject to a child support or spousal support order. These court orders are legally-binding and must be obeyed. However, there are situations that can change child support and spousal support orders. One of these situations is the remarriage of either spouse. If you are divorced and your or your spouse is getting remarried, it is important to know how the remarriage could affect child support and spousal maintenance.

Spousal Maintenance Terminates Upon the Recipient’s Remarriage

Spousal maintenance, also referred to as spousal support or alimony, is intended to provide financial aid to a spouse who suffers financial harm due to divorce. Some spousal maintenance obligations are temporary while others are indefinite. If the recipient of spousal support gets remarried, his or her entitlement to maintenance payments automatically terminates. If the paying spouse made payments after the remarriage, he or she is entitled to reimbursement for those payments.

If the payor of spousal support gets remarried, there is no automatic impact on his or her spousal maintenance obligation. However, it is possible that the payor’s remarriage could influence spousal maintenance modifications.

Child Support and Remarriage of Either Spouse

Although child support payments are made to the child’s parent, the money is intended to support the child. Because of this, a child support recipient’s remarriage does not necessarily influence the paying spouse’s child support obligation. A stepparent is not required to help support his or her stepchild. However, there have been cases in which a parent’s child support obligation was affected by the recipient’s remarriage. In one case, the Illinois Appellate Court stated that trial courts may consider the income of a parent’s spouse when determining an appropriate child support award. This means that a recipient spouse’s remarriage could potentially influence the paying spouse’s obligation. If the paying spouse or “obligor” gets remarried, this is unlikely to have an impact on his or her child support obligation.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

The way that Illinois laws are interpreted is constantly changing. If you have questions or concerns about divorce, child support, spousal maintenance, or other family law issues, it is important to work with an attorney who is familiar with the ever-changing landscape of Illinois family law. For dependable legal support regarding a range of family law matters, contact an accomplished Kane County family law attorney from Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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IL divorce lawyerMany people assume that the decision to end their marriage is the most difficult part of divorce. Unfortunately, many divorcing spouses find that reaching an agreement about the terms of their divorce is just as challenging. When divorcing spouses disagree about child custody, property and debt division, alimony, and other aspects of their divorce, they have several options. One of these options is to attend family law mediation and work with a specially-trained mediator in an effort to reach a resolution. However, mediation is not effective or even appropriate in every case.

What Happens During Mediation?

Reaching an agreement about divorce issues is often the biggest obstacle divorcing spouses must overcome. When a divorcing couple cannot reach a decision on their own, they may choose to go to mediation. Family law mediation may also be ordered by a judge. During mediation, the couple works with a neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator does not choose one spouse’s side over the other or tell the couple how to resolve their differences. The mediator’s role is instead to help guide the conversations and negotiations so that they are as productive as possible. The mediator may help the couple stay focused on the task at hand and avoid arguing about unrelated issues. The mediator may point out any common ground that the spouses share and suggest potential compromises. However, reaching an agreement is ultimately up to the spouses themselves. Many spouses find that this extra assistance is what they need to reach an out-of-court agreement and avoid divorce litigation.

Limitations of Mediation

It is very important to note that mediation is not the appropriate way to resolve divorce issues in every case. If you and your spouse own complex assets such as a business, have an especially high net worth or are in the midst of complicated financial struggles, mediation alone may be insufficient. Mediation may be inappropriate if there has been a history of domestic violence, abuse, or large power discrepancies in the relationship. It is also important to remember that a mediator is not the same thing as a lawyer. Only someone licensed to practice law can provide legal advice or represent you during a legal proceeding. However, there are some lawyers who also act as mediators.

Contact a Kane County Mediation Lawyer

If you are ready to end your marriage and you want to learn more about the best way to do so, contact a St. Charles divorce attorney from Shaw Family Law P.C. Attorney Matt Shaw has served as a mediator and a Guardian ad Litem and is qualified to assist with a wide range of family law matters. Call our office at 630-584-5550 and set up your confidential consultation today.

 

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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 lawyerIllinois child support payment amounts are typically based on the “Income Shares” model. This model uses each parent’s net income, the amount of parenting time each parent is responsible for, and a specially designed formula to determine how much child support an obligor parent must pay. However, this child support calculation method may not be reasonable or appropriate in certain circumstances. Illinois law gives courts the option to deviate from the Income Shares guidelines if the court finds that a deviation is in the best interests of the child.

Child Support Calculations

By law, Illinois courts must follow the Income Shares guidelines for determining child support unless the court finds that a deviation would be more beneficial to the child. Courts consider the following factors when determining whether or not to deviate from the guidelines:

  • The child’s financial resources
  • The child’s physical and emotional wellbeing
  • The needs of the child including his or her educational needs
  • The parents’ income, assets, and financial needs
  • The standard of living the child would most likely have experienced if his or her parents were married

If you or your child’s other parent has a very high income or other special circumstances that may necessitate a deviation from the Income Shares child support calculation method, contact an experienced family law attorney. Your lawyer can help you petition the court to disregard the usual calculation method and instead make a child support determination that takes into consideration your unique situation.

Modifying an Existing Child Support Order

Life is constantly changing and sometimes parents need to adjust their child support order to reflect those changes. In Illinois, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services gives parents the right to request a child support modification review every three years. During the modification review, the court evaluates the parents’ financial circumstances and other information in order to determine whether or not the child support order should be adjusted. Parents may also be granted a child support modification if a “substantial change in circumstances” necessitates the modification or if the child support order deviates from the Income Shares guidelines by more than 20 percent.

Contact a Kane County Child Support Lawyer

Child support issues can be especially complex when one or both parents have a high income or other extenuating circumstances. For help establishing child support, enforcing a current child support order, modifying child support, and more, contact Shaw Family Law. Set up a free initial consultation with an accomplished St. Charles family law attorney by calling our office at 630-584-5550 today.

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IL divorce lawyerThe National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that one in four women and one in nine men have been the victim of violence or stalking at the hands of a romantic partner. Domestic violence affects people of all ages, ethnicities, and income levels. If you have been a victim of domestic violence or abuse at the hands of your spouse, you may be considering divorce. Leaving an abusive spouse takes a tremendous amount of courage. If you are divorcing a spouse who has abused you physically, emotionally, financially, or otherwise, you should know that you do not have to face the divorce process alone. A skilled divorce lawyer can help you with orders of protection, child custody, and child support concerns, property division, and more.

Emergency Orders of Protection

If you are worried that your spouse will react violently when you leave him or her, you may want to obtain an emergency order of protection (EOP), sometimes referred to as a “restraining order.” An EOP is a court order that instructs an abusive spouse or other family member to stay a certain distance away from you, your children, or your workplace or school. EOPs can contain many different types of directions depending on your particular needs. If the abuser violates the terms of the EOP, call the police and he or she will be arrested.

Child Custody Concerns

Child custody and visitation are called “the allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” in Illinois. If you or your children have been abused by your spouse, it is crucial that you notify the court of this abuse. Illinois courts make all child-related decisions based on the best interests of the child. If you believe that your children will not be safe with your spouse, you can petition the court for the sole responsibility of your child, sometimes called “sole custody.”

Getting a Fair Divorce Settlement

If your spouse tried to manipulate and control you through violence or intimidation during your marriage, it is likely that he or she will try to do so during your divorce as well. It may not be possible for you and your spouse to reach a fair agreement about the terms of your divorce by discussing these issues on your own. Mediation can sometimes help a couple reach an agreement about property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support, but the mediation process is not typically recommended for divorces involving a history of domestic violence or abuse. A lawyer will protect your rights and advocate on your behalf so you receive a fair divorce settlement.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

No one deserves to be abused by their spouse. If you are ready to divorce your abusive spouse, contact a St. Charles family law attorney from Shaw Family Law, P.C. for help. We can assist with obtaining an emergency order of protection, petitioning the court for sole custody of your child, fighting for your rights during property division, and more. Call us at 630-584-5550 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a compassionate lawyer from our firm.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen married relationships are no longer working for either spouse, most couples separate for a period of time before seeking out divorce. Most states require a couple’s separation, that is living under separate roofs, for a specific period of time before divorce can be initiated. The purpose of this forced separation is to allow each spouse to see what their life would be like without their significant other in order to decide if this is the best choice for them. While divorce is one of the most common answers if a couple is unhappy in their marriage, legal separation is also a valid response.

Legal Separation

If a couple is considering separation for a long period of time, a written agreement regarding their assets, debt, alimony payments, child custody, and visitation rights is advantageous for both spouses. While living under separate roofs and leading different lives may seem like a good way to move on, without legal documentation both spouses are still on the hook for the other’s finances. This includes debt incurred by either spouse.

Many couples decide to become legally separated for financial reasons as separation can have financial benefits for both parties. Some couples will use a legal separation agreement to reach the 10-year marriage requirement for social security benefits. If a marriage has lasted 10 years, a divorced spouse who has not remarried is eligible to receive such benefits later in life. Continuing under the same health insurance is also another advantage of legal separation. Many businesses will continue covering a separated spouse; however, it is crucial that you check the fine print of your healthcare plan as this is not always a guarantee. Legal separation can also lead to potential benefits when filing taxes. Sometimes couples, or ex-couples, can save money by filing their taxes jointly. This is also not always a guarantee but can be better determined with the help of an attorney.

Divorce

Divorce agreements include much of the same details regarding assets, debt, alimony payments, child custody, and visitation rights, yet all ties between the spouses become severed. Divorce agreements are also immutable. Once the papers are signed by both parties, the marriage is officially done. Divorce is most common because many couples wish to meet someone new after the ending of their marriage. If a couple is legally separated, they cannot get remarried and remain separated. A divorce is required. Many opt for divorce in order to completely disconnect themselves from their spouse and move on from their previous marriage.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Family Lawyer for Help

Divorce is a common result of unhappy marriages everywhere. However, many couples opt for legal separation because of the personal and financial benefits. Simply living in different houses does not qualify as legal separation. Couples must seek out an experienced legal separation attorney to hammer out the details. If you are looking to formulate a legal separation agreement, contact a skilled Kane County legal separation attorney for professional help at 630-584-5550.

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