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Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.
Recent blog posts

DuPage County Family Law AttornyMany divorced parents of minor children remarry before their children reach adulthood and move out of the home. And while stepparents, stepsiblings, and the half-brothers and -sisters that come later are a very common feature of American family life, blended families are not without their problems. One of the most difficult parts of putting together children from different families is the inherent differences in opinion between the newly married parents, as well as the children’s parents from previous marriages, regarding how discipline should be handled. 

Nearly all parents agree that children need structure and discipline, but there are widely varied philosophies about what discipline intended to correct unwanted behavior should look like. Some parents spank liberally, while others consider any form of corporal punishment tantamount to child abuse. So what can you do if your ex has remarried and you disagree with your ex’s new partner’s method of disciplining your child when she is at their home? 

Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities

When a couple gets divorced, their parenting plan lays out specific details regarding how important decisions will be made for a child and when a child will be at each parent’s home. When a parent is exercising parenting time, they have full authority to make everyday decisions related to the child’s well-being, including discipline.

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DuPage County Marital Asset Division LawyerOne of the most important parts of filing for divorce is separating your marital assets. While this obviously involves major assets like real estate and vehicle value, it also applies to bank accounts. But if you will eventually be using separate bank accounts anyway, can you simply open a bank account during divorce and transfer money into it from your current joint account? When can you start claiming that your income actually belongs to you, and not your marriage? Read a brief overview of how to begin separating your finances during divorce and then contact an experienced Illinois divorce attorney for more tailored advice. 

Do We Need to Wait for a Court to Start Separating Assets? 

You do not need to wait for a judge’s approval to begin separating your belongings. In fact, you can begin this process well before you even file for divorce. Many couples prefer to resolve all of their issues before even opening a divorce case so they can file for a faster, cheaper uncontested divorce. While it may require the help of a mediator or divorce attorneys to help you negotiate your asset division, you can start whenever you are ready. 

Many spouses begin separating their things as soon as one spouse starts planning to move out. Generally, the first things people lay claim to are their clothing, vehicles, memorabilia, and beloved pets. As long as both spouses agree to the division of more valuable items like vehicles, this is not a problem. 

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DuPage County Family Law AttorneyWhile fiercely litigated divorces and heated child custody disputes were more common in the past, Illinois family courts today try to ensure all children are provided with opportunities to have warm relationships with both parents. Unless there is a good reason to do otherwise, the assumption is that both parents will be involved in a child’s life. While parents are encouraged to resolve parenting disputes on their own or with the help of a mediator, when a judge does have to get involved, one of the factors she can use to determine whether a parent is suitable to spend time with a child is the nature of the relationship between the child and parent and whether it is psychologically healthy for the child. 

What judges do not want to see is one parent going out of their way to psychologically alienate a child from their other parent. This phenomenon, known as “parental alienation,” is known to cause lasting harm to children and has the potential to permanently damage the relationship between a child and her parent. If you are concerned that your spouse is doing this to your child, it is important to take action as soon as possible. 

What is Parental Alienation, and What Does it Look Like? 

The term “parental alienation” is subject to some dispute. What is not disputed, however, is whether the behavior that is often described by the term sometimes exists and is damaging to children. The hallmark of typical parental alienation involves efforts by one parent to create a hostile relationship characterized by negative perceptions about the child’s other parent. Parents trying to alienate a child from each other may try to: 

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DuPage County Family Law AttorneyAmong all the other important questions an engaged Illinois couple must ask each other is whether they want to sign a prenuptial agreement. Even if a couple feels completely committed to a each other, discussing a prenup can bring up some sticky issues. Is it bad luck to discuss a divorce this early? How much do you really want to share financially? Here are some things to think about as you consider whether a prenup is right for you and your fiancé. 

Potential Benefits of Signing a Prenup

While every couple starts their marriage off on a high note, realistic couples will be aware of nationwide divorce rates. While this should not necessarily scare anyone, it should place a serious tenor on the topic of marriage. Couples should consider the importance of marital commitment in the face of the consequences of getting divorced, especially if one or both spouses suffered in childhood from the stresses of having divorced parents. 

That being said, a discussion about a prenup can open up wonderful opportunities to think about what a couple would do should their marriage fail. While they are in the blush of love and positivity, a couple can consider how they would like to watch out for each other even under the worst circumstances. This may not only mean making sure each couple saves a portion of their marital estate for themselves, but it could also mean shielding each other from the burden of student loans or business debt. Even if you do not ultimately sign a prenup, the biggest benefit of discussing the possibilities is the openness and communication that comes from having conversations about tough subjects. 

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Wheaton Parenting Time LawyerWith the help of a mediator or collaborative divorce team, most parents can come to an agreement about a parenting plan during their Illinois divorce. But for some families, the presence of domestic violence, substance abuse, or the death of a parent can make negotiating and planning difficult or impossible. 

When parents cannot make decisions in a child’s best interests, a judge will do so. While a judge has to use discretion and good judgement, a “child’s best interests” is not a completely subjective term. Rather, the Illinois legislature gives up at least 15 factors that a judge could consider when making decisions about a child’s well-being. Read on to learn what these are. 

What Factors Are Considered in a Child’s Well-Being in an Illinois Custody Dispute? 

The factors a judge will consider must depend on the circumstances of each case. The child’s age, the parent’s home environment, and the relationship between a child and a non-parent  pursuing custody can affect which factors will be taken into account. The most common things a judge will consider include, but are not limited to: 

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