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Wheaton, IL divorce lawyerDivorce can be quite costly, both financially and emotionally. This is especially true if you and your spouse have children. In addition, divorce can be challenging and confusing for children, who are too young to understand the complex nature of adult relationships. Therefore, to minimize the effect of a divorce on children, understanding their needs is essential to help ensure the process is as least traumatic as possible.

You may have heard of "guardian ad litem" and "child representative." However, have you ever heard of a child specialist? This blog will explain what a child specialist is and how they may be helpful in your divorce case. If you are getting a divorce and have one or more children, contact an experienced Illinois divorce attorney to learn how best to protect your children during the divorce process. 

Defining Guardian Ad Litem, Child Representative, Child Specialist, and Understanding Their Differences

A guardian ad litem is a lawyer chosen by the court to represent the child. He or she examines any allegations made during the divorce proceedings that pertain to alleged parenting problems during the marriage. They may be required during the proceedings to testify or submit a report to the court in which they detail their recommendations for how best to proceed in the child's best interests. Guardian ad litem may investigate alleged domestic abuse, drug abuse, parenting insufficiencies, and more. 

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What is the "Right of First Refusal?"

Posted on in Child Custody

wheaton child custody lawyerChildren are often caught in the middle of divorce proceedings, causing more significant amounts of stress to the divorcing parties. When parents get divorced, parents are often concerned that the divorce will disrupt their children's lives. To alleviate the burden of the impending divorce, parents must create a parenting plan. Within a parenting plan, topics like the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time guidelines are set so that once the divorce is finalized, the children's lives will be as stable as possible. 

Parenting plans are essential in ensuring that each parent will play a role in their children's lives. However, what happens when one parent is supposed to watch the children but, for whatever reason, is unable? Parenting plans may prepare for this scenario through a “right of first refusal.” If you are getting divorced and have children, consult with an experienced divorce attorney who is well-versed in the creation of parenting plans so you can have the peace of mind that once your divorce is official, your children's life will go on with the guidance and support of both parents. 

Defining the "Right of First Refusal" 

Through the right of first refusal, if a parent cannot watch the children, they must contact the other parent before contacting a babysitter, friend, or relative to watch them. At the core of the right of first refusal is the belief that the most beneficial environment for children to grow up in is with their parents. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerIt is often said that there is nothing more challenging and contentious than getting a divorce. While divorces are often emotionally taxing, the financial implications of a divorce can be even more devastating. As a result, topics such as the division of marital property can be highly combative. Not only can the matter be contentious, but it can also be deeply complex. 

Of all the financial issues during a divorce, figuring out what happens to the marital home can be incredibly challenging. While it is not guaranteed that the marital home will need to be sold, it is usually brought to the table and discussed. Assuming both spouses own the house, they can either sell the home or stay in the home and deciding who gets to stay is tough. If you are seeking a divorce and the division of marital property is an issue relevant to your case, consult an attorney who can protect your rights and walk you through the pros and cons of selling the marital home. 

Pros of Selling the House

At the outset, both spouses should know the home's accurate value. This will likely involve getting the house appraised to see what the house is worth on the current housing market. It will also be essential to know the monthly and annual costs of the house. This may include mortgage payments, utilities, and homeowner's insurance. If it is decided that the marital home will be sold, the money from the sale is usually split between the divorcing parties. Sometimes, a spouse may choose to "buy out" their spouse. This refers to paying the spouse what they would have received had the house been sold to a third party.

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wheaton divorce lawyerIn the early stages of divorce proceedings, the petitioner, or the party who files for divorce, must submit a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The individual who is served divorce papers, also known as the respondent, is then given the opportunity to reply to the divorce petition and participate in the divorce proceedings. During this period, the respondent may take issue with some of the petitioner's choices concerning matters such as the division of marital property, child custody, or other matters. The petitioner and respondent can negotiate terms to try and reach a settlement with help from their attorneys.If a settlement cannot be reached, the divorce case then progresses to a trial where a judge will handle unresolved issues. 

However, what happens if the respondent relinquishes their opportunity to partake in the divorce, refuses to respond, or cannot be located? In this situation, the court can choose to enter something called a default judgment. If you are getting a divorce and have reason to believe your spouse may not be willing to participate in the proceedings, do not hesitate to contact an experienced divorce attorney who has knowledge of divorce cases involving default judgments. 

Default Judgments in DuPage County Divorce Cases

Under Illinois state law, a respondent is granted 30 days from when the petitioner files the petition to respond. However, in some cases, the respondent may fail to reply to the petition within the allotted period of 30 days. In this case, the petitioner can file a motion for a default divorce. While the respondent can request an extension, they will not be allowed to prolong the divorce case to extend it. Proceeding with a default divorce means that the case will proceed without the presence of the respondent. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerNo matter how long spouses have been together, getting a divorce can be painful and rife with emotional anguish and sadness. For most marriages to work, there needs to be a foundation of trust and honesty to which each spouse adheres to. Unfortunately, trust and openness can rapidly erode when a marriage breaks down, and the possibility of divorce is brought to the table. 

Aside from the emotional implications, the financial consequences of a divorce can be challenging to deal with and accept. In essence, marriage is a financial partnership. As a result, when divorce proceedings begin and finances need to be distributed, people may resort to hiding assets from their spouse to prevent them from falling into their spouse's hands. If you are getting divorced and believe your spouse may be hiding assets, consider hiring an experienced divorce attorney with knowledge and experience with forensic accounting. This service can be implemented to identify assets your spouse may be hiding from you. 

What is Forensic Accounting?

In the context of a divorce, a forensic accountant is an accountant that possesses and implements exceptional investigative skills to collect and examine financial documents to locate hidden assets or income. Financial documents may include tax returns, real estate, bank records, court documents, insurance policies, job applications, and more. An attorney or individual party may obtain forensic accountants. Hiring a forensic accountant can help ensure an equitable division of assets and provide precise financial information.

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