Recent Blog Posts

Negotiating Property Division in Divorce Mediation

 Posted on October 26, 2017 in Property Division

Illinois divorce lawyerNo matter how you approach your divorce, you will need to work through the division of your marital property. When you divorce through mediation, a neutral third party guides you and your spouse through each issue to be resolved and finalized in your divorce settlement. For many couples, the division of their marital property is the most complex of these issues.

Before you begin working with a mediator, talk to your lawyer about how you should approach your property division. You will need to be your own advocate during the mediation meetings, which can be confusing and overwhelming if you do not completely understand why a specific breakdown of your marital assets is in your best interest.

What Are Your Current Financial Needs?

If you do not make enough money to cover your home’s mortgage and property tax payments on your own, it is probably not in your best interest to fight to retain the house. In this scenario, you might see a much greater benefit by selling the home and splitting the profit with your former spouse. If you receive spousal maintenance, this could be a consideration in your property division. If you are a parent, your parenting plan could also be a point to consider when dividing your assets.

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Can a Paternity Test Be Performed Before My Child Is Born?

 Posted on October 19, 2017 in Paternity

Yes. But you cannot officially establish your child’s parentage until he or she is born. In other words, though you might know who fathered your unborn child, that man does not have parental rights until the child is born and if you are not currently married to him or were not married when the child was conceived until he officially acknowledges his parentage or the court makes this determination.

It is important to note that although the term “paternity” is often used in this type of discussion, the Illinois Parentage Act contains gender-neutral language. When a child is born, any individual who was married to the child’s mother at the time of conception or birth has automatic parental rights to the child, regardless of his or her gender.

Prenatal Paternity Testing

There are a few different ways to determine paternity before a child is born. The most accurate method is known as Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity (NIPP). It can be performed any time after the eighth week of pregnancy by taking a sample of the alleged father’s blood and the mother’s blood and comparing it to the fetus’ DNA that can be found in the mother’s bloodstream.

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Why Are Women More Likely to Initiate Divorce Proceedings than Men?

 Posted on October 12, 2017 in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorneyDivorces occur between all types of couples for a variety of reasons. Just like no two couples and no two marriages are alike, every divorce is unique in its own way. But this does not mean that there are not measurable patterns and statistics that can help us learn more about which types of couples are most likely to divorce and why couples choose to end their marriages. Data from many different studies can tell us quite a bit about who is most likely to file for divorce and why.

According to a 2015 study of 2,262 adults in heterosexual marriages, women initiate approximately 70 percent of divorces. The most common reason for divorce is dissatisfaction with one’s marriage, which women are more likely than men to experience and take action to address by filing for divorce. This is not a new phenomenon. Women have been more likely than men to file for divorce since the 1940s.

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The Divorce Mediator’s Job

 Posted on October 06, 2017 in Mediation

illinois divorce attorneyIf you and your spouse decide to complete the divorce process through mediation, you will work with a divorce mediator to reach an appropriate, equitable divorce settlement. Although many divorce mediators are lawyers, your divorce mediator will not act in this role. Rather, he or she will act as a neutral third party who does not work “for” you or your spouse, but for a fair resolution to your divorce.

The Mediator Is There to Guide You Toward a Fair Settlement

In mediation, you and your spouse work with the mediator to reach agreements about your divorce settlement. The mediator acts as a guide to these conversations, asking questions about your marriage and divorce goals and helping you and your spouse work through your disagreements. You and your spouse will negotiate with each other under the mediator’s guidance.

A Mediator Asks Questions to Provoke Thought and Gain Insight

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Can We Save Our Marriage?

 Posted on September 29, 2017 in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorneyWhen you are facing difficulties in your marriage, do not jump immediately to divorce. If you and your spouse are willing to put in the work, you can overcome your difficulties and emerge as a stronger couple than you were previously. But this is only possible if you are both committed to trying to save the marriage and even then, sometimes it is simply not possible.

The following four questions can help you and your spouse determine if you can save your marriage. Your answers might surprise you – you could learn something new about yourself or you could find that divorce is the right way to go.

Are You Both Willing to Take Action?

You cannot just stand back and wait for your problems to resolve themselves. You also cannot expect your spouse to do all the work to repair your marriage, even if he or she was the one who cheated or committed another transgression. You both have to be willing to make changes to your lifestyle and seek professional help if necessary.

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Can My Child Choose His or Her Own Parenting Time Schedule?

 Posted on September 22, 2017 in Child Custody / Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Illinois custody lawyerThe short answer is this: it depends on the child and the circumstances he or she is facing. Typically, Illinois courts permit adolescents age 14 and over to weigh in on their parenting time schedule. When a young man or woman expresses a well-developed opinion about his or her parenting time, the court will often consider it alongside other factors to determine an appropriate parenting schedule for him or her. But a child’s opinion cannot be the only thing the court considers, and it is not required to consider the child’s opinion if there are other, more significant, factors present.

Yes, but the Court Can Overrule Your Child’s Choice

When the court develops a parenting time arrangement, it creates the arrangement that it determines to be in the child’s best interest. In most cases, it is in the child’s best interest to maintain a consistent relationship with each parent. One parent could be deemed to be better equipped to care for the child, and when this happens, that parent generally has a greater share of the child’s parenting time.

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Your Responsibilities during Your Divorce Mediation

 Posted on September 15, 2017 in Mediation

Illinois mediation attorneyWhen you decide to use mediation, rather than litigation, to end your marriage, you and your spouse can save yourself a significant amount of time and money. Although mediation is often “easier” than completing a courtroom divorce, it is not without its demands on the divorcing couple. You have certain responsibilities to uphold while you work through your divorce, which include the following:

Provide All Relevant Documents to Divide Your Marital Assets

Division of your marital assets will likely be the most time-consuming portion of your divorce. Make this part as straightforward as you can by coming to your mediation sessions with all your relevant documents handy. These might include:

  • A recent appraisal of your home;
  • Statements for your financial accounts;
  • Pay stubs;
  • An itemized list of your tangible assets and their values; and

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Talking to Your Adult Children about Your Divorce

 Posted on September 08, 2017 in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorneyFor divorcing parents, talking to their children about the divorce can be one of the most difficult parts of the pre-divorce process. These discussions often include talking to children about the changes that will occur and stressing that they did not cause the divorce.

With adult children, talking about your divorce is different. You no longer have to worry about custody and child support issues or explaining the divorce in an age-appropriate manner. But you naturally still want to protect your children emotionally and continue to have a strong relationship with them, which can make any parent anxious about this discussion.

Their Age Does Not Mean They Need All the Details

When speaking to a young child about divorce, a parent generally leaves out all the details and focuses on the basics: Mom and Dad are no longer going to be married, they will live in separate houses, and you will spend time in both houses. As kids grow older, parents can fill in more details.

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Couples Who Divorce through Mediation More Satisfied with their Results

 Posted on August 31, 2017 in Mediation

Illinois divorce attorneyEvery marriage, and by extension, every divorce, is unique. Some divorces are resolved fairly quickly while others drag on for months, even years. Some couples divorce at the first sign of marital discord whereas others suffer for decades before choosing to end their broken relationships. For many couples, mediation is a positive alternative to the traditional courtroom divorce. With mediation, the couple works with a mediator to reach a fair divorce settlement through a series of guided discussions. A few benefits of mediation are:

Couples Who Mediate Retain a Greater Level of Control

In a courtroom divorce, the partners and their lawyers present their arguments but ultimately, the court has control over the final outcome. This is not the case with mediation. In mediation, the couple works with the mediator to reach agreements for each aspect of their divorce settlement, giving each the opportunity to advocate for his or her goals the other a way to negotiate them.

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How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Illinois?

 Posted on August 24, 2017 in Alimony / Maintenance

Illinois divorce attorneyWhen one spouse chooses to leave the workforce to care for the couple’s home and children or takes on lower paying work than he or she would otherwise be able to perform in order to do so, that spouse may seek spousal maintenance, once known as alimony, as part of the couple’s divorce settlement. Spousal maintenance is designed to prevent a lower earning spouse from experiencing financial hardship following his or her divorce.

Permanent vs. Temporary Spousal Maintenance

In the past, it was far more common for one partner to stay home while the other provided the family’s sole income than it is today. Divorced individuals who stayed home during their marriages were also less frequently expected to reenter the workforce or enter it for the first time after their divorces. These individuals were frequently awarded permanent alimony, which ensured that they received support from their former partners until they remarried or their former partners died.

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