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1776 S. Naperville Road, Building B, Suite 202,
Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

wheaton divorce lawyerNo matter how you feel about getting a divorce, once you have made the final decision, certain steps must be completed. The type of divorce you pursue will affect these steps to some extent. For couples who can agree on everything or agree to mediation when they do not agree, an uncontested divorce may be the best option. For some couples, however, a contested divorce is the only option.  

Contested divorces can be messy, long, and expensive. Illinois family courts discourage this whenever possible by trying to motivate spouses to work together on a settlement; unfortunately, it is not always possible. A contested divorce may go all the way to trial but before a trial can begin, there is an important step called discovery. Discovery can be long and complex, so it is important to know as much about it as you can before the process begins. 

Before Discovery

In the best case divorce scenario, spouses will be open and willing to exchange information between each other and their lawyers. Sometimes spouses may be willing to share information about some topics, but stonewall about others. Even in a contested divorce, the more spouses can settle together outside of court, the easier the discovery and litigation processes will be. Talking to your spouse (even if just through their attorney) may help you get an idea of what you can expect to confront during discovery. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerWhen a married couple decides to end their relationship, one party may file for divorce. But an important part of getting divorced is being able to serve a spouse divorce papers - and if a spouse has decided to simply walk out without formally ending the relationship, serving papers can be difficult. Whether due to a criminal history, a desire to dodge child support obligations, or simply to try to start over again, some people disappear and cannot be located. 

If you want to get a divorce and cannot find or contact your spouse, you are not consigned to a lifetime of marriage to a missing person. Instead, with the help of an experienced divorce attorney, you can take steps to end your marriage - even without your spouse’s cooperation. 

Divorce by Publication

When one spouse is missing and the other spouse wants to get divorced, Illinois law provides an option called “divorce by publication.” Divorce by publication is only an option after a judge from an Illinois family court is convinced that the spouse filing for divorce truly cannot locate the missing spouse. The spouse filing for divorce is responsible for proving that he or she looked extensively for their spouse. This may be done using the following strategies, keeping accurate records for evidence: 

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naperville divorce lawyerIt is no secret that parenting during the holidays is difficult, especially in the first few years following a divorce. On top of gift shopping, work events, family parties, and children’s school schedules, trying to create a co-parenting plan during the holidays can seem next to impossible. A practical parenting plan can reduce everyone’s stress during this busy time, and even if you and your former spouse cannot agree on much, you can likely agree on that. Here are three tips for sensible, structured holiday co-parenting that can help make things easier for everyone. 

Make a Plan and Stick To It

There is an old saying - “Done is better than perfect” - and in this case, it is true. Create a concrete schedule for where children will be and when they will be there, and who is responsible for picking up and dropping them off. You do not have to like every detail of the plan, but when you know what to expect, confusion and conflict will be minimized. Keep in mind that the parenting plan you created for your children when they were very young will likely not meet their needs as they get older. If you need to adjust your parenting plan, consult an attorney before making changes. Failing to follow your parenting plan without consent from your spouse and a court-approved agreement in place can get you in legal trouble. 

Keep a Routine

You cannot do things exactly the same as you did after divorce, and trying to force a false sense of sameness can be hard on your kids. Understand that things are different and that your children may have stressed or uncharacteristic behaviors. You may also find yourself feeling lost or unexpectedly sad. All of this is normal, but having a routine can help make things feel more normal. If you can, work with your former spouse to establish similar bedtimes, diets, and rules about screen time. If one parent’s home is based on routine and the other parent’s home is a free-for-all, problems are bound to crop up. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerSocial media is almost universally used by residents of Illinois. Without thinking twice, many of us share intimate details about our personal lives on forums where anyone who knows how to take a screenshot can keep those details forever. 

It is always important to exercise caution when using social media, but when as much as 80 percent of divorce attorneys say they would use social media posts as evidence, during divorce it is absolutely crucial. In this blog, we discuss some ways that social media use could negatively influence a divorce. 

Financial Transparency

An important part of divorce is getting accurate information about each partner’s finances. Some spouses try to hide or lie about their income, only to get busted when posting pictures and videos about a lavish lifestyle. Even if someone is merely trying to give the impression of having more money than they really do, this could be used as evidence of financial dishonesty during divorce proceedings. Professional social media sites may be used to find discrepancies between a spouse’s stated employment and their true employment history. When in doubt, it is best to be completely transparent about your finances and avoid sharing anything related to money on social media. 

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Customizing a Parenting Plan in Illinois

Posted on in Divorce

shutterstock_718841020-min.jpgParenting plans are classically understood as legal instruments that detail how parents will share their children’s schedules and needs after a divorce is finalized. Parenting time, allocation of parental responsibilities, holiday schedules, and the right of first refusal are agreed upon by parents or mandated by the court, and then codified into a legally enforceable parenting plan. 

In addition to covering only the essentials, parenting plans can be written to include highly specific details about many issues that parents may confront. If you are interested in a parenting agreement that contains more specific provisions, read on. 

Additional Concerns in Illinois Parenting Plans 

According to Illinois law, certain issues must be addressed in every parenting plan. In addition to the aforementioned topics, parents must also agree on transportation and pick-up and drop-off arrangements, electronic communication when one parent is not with the children, potential relocation with the children, and how to make changes to the parenting plan. 

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