Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerNo matter which way you slice it, there is nothing fun about the divorce process. Even under the most civil, loving circumstances, the actual split and all it entails can be emotionally - and financially- draining. One area most people do not like to think about but are confronted with very early on in the process is money. Regardless of how peaceful the separation, the subject of money can test anyone’s patience and place them on the defensive, especially when it involves their lifestyle and livelihood following the divorce.

When it comes time to protect your quality of life and all you are accustomed to at the end of your marriage, how you handle your assets is critical. Even the smallest mistake can cost you a lot when it is time to negotiate settlements, and if you’re not careful, some errors can continue to cost you long after the divorce is over.

Here are three ways you could end up hurting your assets and their value when you divorce:

1. Keeping joint accounts

One way you can do serious damage to your funds when you decide to separate is to keep all of your accounts connected. For example, if you and your spouse share checking and savings accounts, credit cards, auto loans, or a mortgage loan, having your name on any of those accounts makes you liable in the event something goes wrong. If your spouse misses a payment on your mortgage, you are held responsible. If you have money tucked away into a savings account and both your names are on the account, all it takes is one heated disagreement for your spouse to potentially drain the account of those funds. Close joint accounts and separate your finances now. Do not wait for the divorce to be finalized or until an argument surfaces, placing your money at risk.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerProtecting your finances as you prepare for the divorce process is perhaps one of the most important tasks you can take on before your marriage officially ends. Planning is everything, as divorce can easily wreak havoc on your financial standing if you are not careful. Protecting your assets and monetary funds is critical if you want to maintain the lifestyle you are currently accustomed to and ensure your financial future is secure.

Constructing a Game Plan

As a divorcing spouse, you are already facing an emotional toll; the last thing you want is to tack on additional stress due to financial trouble, especially when some of that trouble can be avoided if addressed early on. Here are some important steps you can take to safeguard your finances amidst your impending divorce:

Take inventory - As overwhelming as it might be, taking financial inventory is a must. Sit down and create a list of every account and asset you share with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. You will need to take stock of joint accounts and pay special attention to lines of credit, as well as wills, retirement accounts, and any pending purchases or joint business investments. Also take note of any life insurance policies you opened up while with your spouse. You may wish to modify the policy if you had them listed as a beneficiary. Once you have a clear, thorough list of all your debts, accounts, and belongings, it is time to sit down with your spouse and speak civilly about what you would both like to see happen with each respective item on the list.

Establish your own credit - Whether you are at the beginning of the initial separation process, have a hunch that your marriage is on the rocks, or are diving straight into divorce, it is never too soon to try and establish your own line of credit. If you are on the verge of separating, you are at an advantage; the sooner you establish your own credit, the better off you will be post-divorce. This goes for standard bank accounts, as well. The moment you see your marriage coming to an end, start shuffling away some cash of your own. The divorce process itself costs money, and you will need funds to get by on your own afterward. This is imperative, especially if you have never lived alone or will be on your own for the first time in years.

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Posted on in Mediation

Illinois mediation attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThe decision to attend mediation to settle your divorce matters is a beneficial one. Couples have the option to discuss their post-divorce arrangements and come to settlement agreements in the presence of a professional mediator, who is trained to minimize conflict and help produce positive results for the entire family. Before you begin the negotiation process, though, it is important to address core issues that will be discussed during mediation. This will help ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible and that you are not caught off-guard when it is time to reach an agreement.

Here are some key areas every couple should discuss in preparation of the mediation process:

Joint Accounts

Whether you share regular checking and savings accounts, vacation funds, or credit cards, it is important to take inventory of all your joint accounts and make sure you have copies of everything. This includes mortgage statements, wills, and trusts. If you are able to civilly discuss money matters with your soon-to-be ex-spouse before mediation, it is helpful to do so, but if that is not an option, gather the financial records for yourself and wait to tackle the subject until your mediation conference.

Other Assets 

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyThe divorce process can trudge up a myriad of emotions and bring a lot of unresolved conflict to the surface, especially when you are getting down to the wire. The closer you get to the finish line, the more stressful the situation tends to be, as it is a taxing experience for everyone involved. Despite these common bumps in the road, many divorces run smoothly and end on a mutual, peaceful note. The entire process can prove to be a positive path for the whole family, as it often removes everyone from an unhealthy environment.

Even when you are fortunate enough to skim through a divorce without much tension, one area that can be significantly affected in the aftermath is your finances. This doesn’t mean your financial well-being needs to suffer, however. Here are three ways your divorce can affect your money and how to combat those changes so they don’t take a turn for the worst:

1. Tax Changes

When you divorce, the change must be reflected in your filing status. For example, if you are still married on December 31st, the IRS considers your status “married” even if you have been separated and the divorce is in progress. You can avoid needless trouble with the IRS by simply ensuring you choose the correct status. In short, couples cannot file a joint return for the year that their divorce decree became official.

If you have children, another area you will need to address is the Dependent Exemption. The spouse who is eligible to claim their child on the return is entitled to certain tax credit benefits, but you must meet specific requirements to claim this advantage. If your child resided with you longer than they resided with your ex-spouse during the tax year you are filing for, you might be eligible to claim the exemption. These details can be tricky, so it is important to work with a qualified accountant and attorney to properly address any questions and concerns when you file.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyNo one likes to think about the possibility of an impending divorce, especially after spending months or years investing time and energy into a relationship. It is not uncommon for one spouse to feel blindsided by the news that their partner is considering divorce, or to experience shock that there is even a problem to begin with. The reality, though, is the road to divorce often begins long before the final weeks and months of the marriage. There are numerous red flags that can signal the potential end - or the beginning of the end - of a marriage, and it can be easy to dismiss these signs early on if you are not tuned into the root issues.

Paying Attention to the Warning Signs

Whether you are newly married and have been feeling uneasy about your recent partnership or you have been married for years and are beginning to question your marriage’s foundation, if you are sensing something is amiss, it is wise to pay attention to your instincts. Even if things seem to be running smoothly in the moment, those unsettling feelings are often an indicator that trouble is brewing. These warning signs can morph into much larger problems down the road if not acknowledged early on.

Common Red Flags

Distance - Most red flags that signal imminent divorce typically revolve around something that is lacking in the marriage. Distance is a perfect example of this factor. Whether your relationship is lacking physical or emotional intimacy or your spouse is simply not around to share the most basic day-to-day moments that contribute to a life together, any distance, especially when it is a recurring pattern, is a sign that something is wrong.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_asset-division.jpgRegardless of how much or how little you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse own, the division of assets in the divorce process can significantly impact your financial standing after your marriage is over. Whether you need to look out for your own well-being or you have additional family members to care for after the separation, money matters. What you and your spouse split and how you split it will be a defining factor in the overall quality of your long-term financial security.

Where Asset Division Can Get Tricky

Determining Value

Some couples make the mistake of believing that the most important factor in the division of assets is the flat dollar value. Whatever something is worth must determine its overall value and it should simply be divided evenly, right? This is not always the case. When it comes to most assets, their worth must be based on more than just their dollar value. For example, you must take into account factors such as an asset’s liquidity as well as how its sale will be affected by taxes. The long-term worth of a piece of property is just as important as its immediate worth.

Types of Property

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerDivorce can be overwhelming on its own, but adding the possible tax implications of divorce to the mix can definitely contribute to the stress of the process. You and your spouse have already decided to split. Your lifestyle, future, and any children you both share will be affected by the separation. Decisions must be made regarding filing the paperwork and how you will handle mediation or time in court. The last thing you are probably thinking about when you are ending your marriage is your taxes, but the reality is that your divorce does have the power to impact your taxes both during and after the transition.

Filing Status

The first factor you should be aware of is your filing status. For example, the “Head of Household” status typically provides a slight advantage to divorcing taxpayers, compared to the “Married Filing Single” or “Single” statuses, but certain requirements must be met to be considered head of the household, so you need to ensure you are in line with those requirements first.

When it comes to your status, the IRS determines which one you are eligible for based on where you stand come December 31st. If you are married on this date, the IRS considers you “married” for the entire year. The same idea applies if you are divorced on December 31st; if you are divorced on that specific day, then you are considered divorced for the whole year. What does all of this mean? In short, if you divorced by the 31st of December in any given year, then you are not eligible to file as a married person for that year’s taxes, and your filing status is an important factor in how much money you owe or receive when tax season arrives.

Claiming a Dependent

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Posted on in Family Law

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyFor some couples facing marital troubles, divorce as a solution is a last resort and legal separation is the first course of action. There are countless reasons you or your spouse might not be ready to call it quits just yet, and legal separation allows you time to assess the damage and decide whether or not divorce is the right choice.

How Is Legal Separation Different from Divorce?

Like divorce, legal separation is a legal action that officially deems you both separated in the eyes of the law. However, legal separation is a term and is not an actual divorce. According to the law, you are still married and may not marry other people. Your property and possessions are not divided up unless you ask the court to divide those things for you. The court can decide other things with a legal separation, such as child support, parenting time (visitation), and allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody).

To qualify for legal separation in Illinois, you must have been living in the state for at least 90 days, not be “at fault” for the separation, and must be physically living apart from your spouse. “At fault” is defined by many things, including adultery and abandonment. Filing for legal separation does not prevent you from filing for a divorce later on, should you decide to end the marriage entirely.

Legal Separation Can Be Beneficial

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois mediation attorneyCouples looking for a smooth, amicable divorce solution often turn to mediation to settle their differences and come to agreement on lifestyle arrangements following the end of their marriage. While it is true many divorces can take a turn and become messy, the bulk of them actually result in a peaceful, mutual split. It is not uncommon for this kind of separation to stem from a thorough, professional mediation process.

Why Do Amicable Divorces Benefit from Mediation?

Respect: Although mediation is typically pursued by couples who struggle with conflict resolution, those experiencing amicable divorces greatly benefit from the mediation process as well due to one simple factor: Both spouses are interacting in a civil manner. Couples who are already cooperating with one another and communicating peacefully are on the fast track to success when they enter mediation. The trained mediator can more effectively do their job to facilitate settlements and manage negotiations when both parties leave hostility and conflict at the door. If your divorce is mutual and you and your spouse are communicating with respect and patience, your meditation experience can be a positive, productive one.

Resolution timelines: The Illinois State Department of Human Rights reports that their Mediation Unit boasts a resolution rate of over 80 percent out of all conferences held. Mediation is proven to be a quick, efficient, and affordable process for divorcing couples. It is an especially fast process when you and your spouse enter mediation on amicable terms. The more common ground you share and the more civil you are, the faster you will reach an agreement and resolve your divorce case.

Similar expectations: Chances are, if you are entering mediation on civil terms, you likely already share similar expectations in regards to what you are looking to achieve and what you are looking to walk away with when the process is all said and done. Discussing goals and individual expectations before you begin the mediation process is a good way to increase your chances of success. If you want to resolve your conflicts quickly and relatively painlessly, consider making the effort to respect one another’s opinions, wants, and needs, and attempt to find a way to meet on middle ground.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois alimony attorneyAmong the many questions divorcing spouses have following a separation, questions regarding alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, tend to be a big concern. This is particularly true for stay-at-home parents or spouses who are not the main earners in the household. Taking on greater financial responsibility - or in some cases, any financial responsibility at all - can be a scary thing, especially when one spouse has become accustomed to a certain lifestyle and is suddenly thrust into a new routine.

Alimony’s Nationwide Evolution

As societal roles and career opportunities have changed for both men and women in recent decades, so have the expectations and allowances surrounding spousal maintenance. More women are working now more than ever, and the concept of stay-at-home fathers is far from new. According to Labor Department statistics, nearly three-quarters of women work. In the year 2010, 97 percent of the 400,000 people receiving alimony were women, and that trend has been a continual one.

These statistics have revealed an important fact about alimony and its place in today’s post-divorce world: It seems the majority of alimony recipients continue to be women, but most of those women are actively involved in the workforce during the time of the marriage or become employed following the divorce. As a result, states all throughout the country have been taking these factors into consideration when determining maintenance awards in court rulings.

Is Spousal Maintenance a Sure Thing?

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Illinois adoption attorney, Illinois family law attorneySome hopeful parents plan to adopt for months, sometimes years, before they actually begin the official adoption process. The road to adoption is often a long and tedious one, but thoroughly rewarding and fulfilling for the individual who desires to be a parent and share their life with a child in need of a home.

If you are about to embark on the adoption journey or have already taken the first step, it is important to secure the right attorney, as you will need proper representation from start to finish to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. Here are some things every parent should know when beginning their search for an adoption lawyer:

  • You have the right to choose your own attorney. If you are adopting a child under the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Families, Illinois law gives you the right to choose your own attorney. The same goes for adoptions through private agencies; you can select the lawyer of your choosing that you believe will be the best fit for your situation and your family;
  • You should research any applicable legal fees and costs. Under certain circumstances, the Department of Children and Families may pay for any associated legal fees and costs. For example, if your foster child is a ward of DCFS and will be receiving a subsidy, the DCFS can pay up to $1,500 for court costs and legal fees for each child adopted. Typically, you are personally responsible for attorney and court fees, so be sure to find out what you owe and what assistance (if any) is available to you; and
  • Each type of adoption requires special representation. Whether you are pursuing one through a private agency or the DCFS, each adoption presents its own unique circumstances, requiring special attention from a knowledgeable attorney. For example, co-parent adoptions, which typically involve same-sex couples and related adoptions, which include family members such as grandparents, all present different obstacles and will have different requirements, depending on the case. You need an attorney who is responsive to you and who is qualified in the specific area of adoption you plan to pursue.

Selecting the right legal representation, understanding what the process will cost you, and gaining a better understanding of the type of adoption you are pursuing are the initial steps you will you need to take to get the ball rolling. Speak with a skilled Kane County adoption attorney today. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

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Illinois child support attorney, Illinois family law attorneyIf you are a divorcing parent in the midst of arranging child support, chances are you are also juggling to manage other parent-child issues that come with separation, such as the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation). The child support you receive is important for the mere fact that it enables you to care for your children after the divorce, but it can also have an impact on your lifestyle with your children as a whole once the family transition is completed.

Receiving a just and reasonable amount of support can ease tension between you and your spouse, which can mean more peaceful interaction during custody and visitation exchanges. In general, the smoother the child support process goes, the better chance you have at experiencing a smoother transition all together. So, how does the state calculate child support amounts? Which factors are considered when determining those amounts?

Here is a basic breakdown of how child support amount is determined:

The decision first depends on the noncustodial parent’s net income plus the amount of children they are to support. Illinois statutory guidelines require the minimum net income, as follows:

  • One child - 20 percent;
  • Two children - 28 percent;
  • Three children - 32 percent;
  • Four children - 40 percent;
  • Five children - 45 percent; and
  • Six or more children - 50 percent.

The court also considers the best interest of the child as a whole, and in some cases, these factors can cause the percentages to deviate from the dictated guidelines above. For example, the court considers all of the following when setting the percentage amount:

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Illinois child custody laws, Illinois child custody attorneyDivorce and separation can be difficult on the entire family, especially when it comes time to address the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation), as these issues impact the lives of both parents and children. A new lifestyle is born, and new routines are put into place, forcing everyone to adjust and adapt to many big changes at once.

Unmarried Parents Versus Married Parents

One question that often plagues the mind of parents undergoing divorce is whether or not their rights are equal. The subject of father’s rights are particularly concerning, as many children end up residing with the mother after a divorce. Do fathers receive the same rights? Is their desire to participate in the lives of their children taken just as seriously as the mother’s needs and wants?

If the couple is not married, these questions are doubly important. When couples are married, most states automatically assume that the husband is the father of the child and is therefore entitled to certain rights. The same is not true for unmarried couples sharing children.

What Rights Can I Expect to Have as a Father or Mother Going through a Separation?

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerWhether you are a non-custodial parent looking to participate in your child’s life or you are the main caregiver in your household, providing and managing financial support for your children following a divorce is important to the well being of your entire family. Thankfully, the state of Illinois offers a plethora of resources for divorcing parents to aid them with the transition.

If You Are Receiving Support

Child support is one topic that raises many questions for parents wading through the divorce process. If you are the parent receiving the financial support, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has made it possible for you to access your case information online and to receive your child support payments electronically, in one of two ways: direct deposit or bank debit card.

With direct deposit, the custodial parent can have support funds sent directly to a checking or savings account of their choice, or they can utilize the debit card option, which involves a special debit card that allows funds to be credited to its account. You can then use that debit card anywhere it is accepted. Think of it as a bank account designed just for your child’s needs.

Should you need to make changes to your support order at any time due to significant changes to your income or the needs of your child, you may submit your case for modification. Typically, a review must first be conducted to verify balances, updated employment status, and income information. Once the review is done, your case may be eligible for modification. In general, child support orders are automatically eligible for modification every three years.

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Illinois mediation attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerEven the most peaceful divorces can benefit from family law mediation. Whether there are minor or major disputes regarding issues such as finances or the raising of children, the groundwork for any separation is improved when spouses work with a certified professional who can both provide the resources and information needed to ensure the divorce process goes smoothly and help reduce tension at the same time.

Why Is Family Law Mediation Such a Helpful Tool?

  1. It reduces emotional and financial stress.

Divorce can make you go bankrupt - both literally and figuratively. It is not uncommon for spouses who feel hurt or betrayed to experience a lot of hurt and anger toward their partner. These emotions often turn into the desire for revenge, especially where finances are concerned. When consumed or blinded by these emotions, it is easy to lose sight of reality and form unrealistic expectations about how much money you will receive from your spouse or how much you will be responsible to pay following the separation. If you are not careful, this can translate to a lot of money and energy spent on “getting even,” which can sadly lead to serious emotional toll as a result. Divorce mediation helps keep the facts and your perspective in check, providing a professional, civil, organized environment for settling financial and lifestyle matters.

  1. It makes the divorce process more efficient.

Another common habit divorcing spouses adopt in the midst of a separation is independent research. In today’s day and age, it is completely understandable to want to research things like alimony and child support calculations on your own. While there are many useful tools on the internet for those going through a divorce, some of these resources are inaccurate or mere estimations. They cannot replace the true value and legitimacy of a legal professional, especially when it comes to the ability to lessen tension, reduce misunderstandings, and educate you and your spouse on your rights. The Illinois Department of Human Rights reports that the state’s Mediation Unit has a resolution rate of over 80 percent out of all conferences held. The mediation process is confidential, relatively fast, and removes any doubts or uncertainties you might have as you proceed with your divorce. All of these factors combined make for a more efficient divorce process, from start to finish.

Regardless of where you and your spouse fall on the divorce conflict spectrum, professional mediation offers an excellent alternative form of dispute resolution. If you want to minimize conflict, reduce tension, and ensure your rights are protected, it is important to speak with an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation today.

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Illinois child custody attorney, Illinois paternity lawyerWhether you are in an unmarried partnership, are in the midst of a divorce, or are planning to re-marry in the near future and share a child with someone else, paternity establishment is important. It ensures your rights as a parent are protected and that your child’s rights are protected as well. Without establishing paternity, your child’s medical and financial benefits might be at stake, and your parenting privileges can be compromised.

The state of Illinois utilizes various methods to help parents establish paternity, including personal interviews, genetic testing, and judicial court hearings, when necessary. However, you can opt to complete something called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (also called a VAP) if you would like to establish paternity in a simple, straightforward manner. This is typically done right at the hospital when the child is born, although a VAP may be completed, signed, and witnessed at any time for any child born to unmarried parents.

VAP Requirements and Where to Get One

You will find instructions for how to complete the VAP on the front and back of the form, as well as a list of the parents’ rights and responsibilities. To properly complete the form, you will be required to provide information about both parents and the child, and you must also have a witness present to sign and date the form beneath the parents’ signatures. Your witness must be at least 18 years of age and will need to provide their full name, address, and telephone number. It is common practice for the hospital to provide you with a VAP when your child is born if you are not married at the time of the birth, but you can request one at any time at any County Clerk, Human Service, or Child Support Regional Office.

The Purpose of the VAP

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Illinois social services, Illinois family law attorneyNon-custodial parents (also referred to as NCPs) face a number of challenges during big family transitions such as divorce. Whether you are in an unmarried partnership or are getting ready to go through a divorce or legal separation, if you share a child with someone, chances are you might run into some roadblocks as you navigate the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation).

Parenting Time

Parenting time (also known as visitation) is an important part of building and maintaining a healthy relationship with your child. As a part of the divorce process, it is very common for couples to disagree on lifestyle arrangements for their children. For example, disagreements can arise about everything from religious upbringing and school choices to which parent gets to spend time with the child and how often. Typically, parents work with an attorney, the state, and a mediator to put together a parenting plan, which establishes the groundwork for all these issues and creates guidelines for how the child will be brought up following the separation. This is especially helpful for the child, as it provides structure and encourages a safe, stable environment for them after their parents’ relationship ends. Never-married couples having trouble seeing their children also have options for managing their parenting time. The state’s Access and Visitation Program can help with mediation, counseling, enforcement of visitation orders, and much more.

Financial Struggles

It is not uncommon for newly single parents to struggle financially after a divorce or the end of a relationship. This can make it difficult to provide for yourself as a parent as well as continue to provide for your child and family. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) offers a variety of employment and training programs for non-custodial parents needing assistance in this area. Supervised job searches that utilize structured job search activities as well as something called the “Earnshare” program exist to support NCPs with resources and tools that can help them earn and provide for themselves and their children. Earnshare is a state sponsored program that offers paid on-the-job employment training and is typically referred by the Court and other administrative sources.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerDespite even the greatest efforts, some marriages end in divorce due to deterioration over time while others fade quickly due to inevitable circumstances beyond anyone’s control. Whatever your situation, when it comes time to file for divorce, you will likely come across the term irreconcilable differences, a concept used to describe conflict that is unable to be resolved between two spouses. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, irreconcilable differences are cited as the source for the “irretrievable” breakdown of the marriage. In some states and counties, these differences are also referred to as grounds for divorce.

When the court determines that certain efforts at reconciliation have failed, or that any further attempts at reconciliation in the future are no longer practical or productive, those efforts are no longer considered in the best interest of the family. In short, when both parties have done all they can do to resolve their problems and have reached no compromise or found no solution, their marriage is dissolved due to irreconcilable differences.

Common Conflicts

Everything from disagreements about politics and religion to in-law issues and money troubles can drive a wedge between spouses. What might seem like a minor or petty problem to one couple can actually be a serious problem for another. Here are some conflicts that are often unable to be reconciled in a marriage:

  • Intense Family Involvement: In-laws or extended family that is overly involved in a couple’s affairs can be a big source of tension and can ultimately contribute to the unraveling of a marriage;
  • Lack of Balance Between Home and Work: Too much time at the office and not enough time and home can create division and distance in any relationship. This typically leads to a breakdown in communication and intimacy;
  • Communication Problems: Communication is everything. If it is lacking in any way or one person is putting in more effort to communicate than the other, conflict eventually arises; and
  • Marital Affairs and Other External Relationships: Emotional and physical affairs, whether romantic or friendly in nature, can at times be a threat to a healthy marriage. Trust is lost, communication crumbles, and the marriage suffers.

If you find yourself facing a divorce due to any of these irreconcilable differences or are dealing with some other unique circumstance that has led to the dissolution of marriage, you need to speak with a professional Kane County family law attorney to ensure that your rights and best interest are protected. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation today.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois divorce processRegardless of the reason for your impending divorce, the challenges set before you as you wade through the ordeal can seem daunting, especially when you are unfamiliar with the steps required to initiate the process. Even the most civil agreement between two partners to end their marriage can prompt a lot of stress due to the overload of incoming information.

You have decided to divorce. So, what is next? What do you need to know? Are you taking the most reasonable course of action? Who can help guide you along the way? Here are three things every divorcing spouse should know:

Legal Separation Is Not for Everyone

Some partners choose to file for legal separation in order to officially live apart but hold on to certain benefits, such as health insurance policies and various financial arrangements. Living apart and filing for legal separation can protect the best interest of both parties while giving them time and space to live apart to examine whether or not divorce is the best option. For some, this is a way to test the separation waters before officially calling it quits; for others, it is merely a transitional stepping stone on the way to a sure-fire divorce. No matter which camp you fall in, one thing to know is that legal separation is just that: a separation. It is not an actual divorce, and it is only a temporary solution.

Mediation Works

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois paternity lawsYou may have heard the term parentage used to discuss laws that concern parenting in the world of family law. Parentage laws are also known as paternity laws, and they have continued to evolve in the state of Illinois in order to more accurately reflect and meet the needs of diverse families.

Although the laws change, their purpose and the concept behind them remains the same: Paternity laws exist to govern and protect parents and their rights, as well as the rights of the children and family as a whole. Some issues that Illinois parentage laws touch on include the following:

  • College expenses in child support;
  • Civil unions and gender neutrality;
  • Same-sex adoptions; and
  • DNA testing and its potential effect on the child.

Paternity Protects the Child and Parent

The paternity laws the state has in place are there to protect the best interest of the child and the parent. Paternity is a word used to describe a legal relationship between a father and his child. When two parents are unmarried and a child is conceived between the two of them, this sometimes leads to various disputes once they decide to separate or marry someone else. If paternity is not properly established, the rights of the father and the child are at stake. Without legal paternity establishment, the following issues arise:

  • The father’s name will not be on the child’s birth certificate;
  • Important family medical information may be inaccessible; and
  • The child may not receive the range of benefits they are entitled to, including inheritance, veterans, and social security benefits, as well as basic financial and medical support.

Establishing Paternity

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