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DuPage County parenting plan lawyerIf you are an unmarried parent or parent going through a divorce, you may have concerns about sharing parental responsibilities and parenting time with your child’s other parent. Going from a situation in which you spend every day with your child to one in which you have to share custody can be extremely difficult. In order to maximize the amount of parenting time, or visitation, you have with your child in a shared parenting arrangement, you will want to make the most of a “right of first refusal” provision in your Illinois parenting plan.

Your Right to Spend Time with your Child

An Illinois parenting plan or parenting agreement is a required document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of divorced or unmarried parents. The plan includes directions for how parental responsibilities are allocated, how major decisions about the child will be made, a parenting time schedule or method for determining parenting time, transportation arrangements, and more. Parents are encouraged to create their own parenting plan, but if parents cannot come to an agreement on parenting time and other issues, the court will decide on behalf of the parents. One item that often gets overlooked in Illinois parenting plans is the right of first refusal. Put plainly, the right of first refusal gives you the right to care for your child if the other parent is not able to care for the child during his or her scheduled parenting time.

Elements of the Right of First Refusal

Consider this situation: you are a parent who only gets to see your child every other weekend. You miss your child on the off weekends and wish you got to see him or her more often. On one of the weekends that your child’s other parent is allotted parenting time, he or she decides to take a trip out of town. The other parent hires a babysitter to watch your child during his or her absence. Due to your limited time with your child, you will likely feel that you should be the one to care for your child rather than an outside party.

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce lawyer for marriage annulmentAlthough they are both ways to end a marriage, annulment and divorce are two completely different legal processes. Unlike divorce, annulment effectively cancels a marriage. Annulling a marriage declares the marriage invalid and makes it as though the marriage never occurred. There are a variety of reasons that a person may seek an annulment. It is important to remember, however, that only certain marriages are eligible for an annulment.

Annulment Cancels an Invalid Marriage

In Illinois, annulment is called a Declaration of Invalidity. The purpose of annulment is not to end a valid marriage, but to “undo” a marriage that was never valid in the first place. If a marriage does not meet the criteria required by Illinois law, the marriage may be eligible for an annulment. More specifically, a marriage can be annulled if one or more of the following conditions are present:

  • A spouse did not or could not consent to the marriage. If a spouse was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the marriage was solemnized, the marriage may be declared invalid. A marriage can also be invalidated if a spouse lacked the capacity to agree to the marriage due to mental illness or intellectual disability.

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Wheaton, IL divorce attorney emotional issuesAccording to the Holmes Rahe Stress Inventory, divorce is the second most stressful life event a person can experience. Only the death of a spouse is considered more emotionally traumatic than the end of a marriage. If you are going through a divorce, you may feel depressed, confused, enraged, or even completely numb. While there is no way to completely eliminate the emotional pain associated with divorce, mental health experts do have some advice for how to cope with divorce in a healthy, effective way.   

Do Not Judge Yourself for Your Feelings

Divorce is different for everyone who goes through it. It is very likely that you will not experience divorce in the same way as your friends or family members. Because of this, it is important not to judge yourself for your reaction to the divorce. You may be consumed with anger and resentment toward your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, or you may miss them terribly. You may feel relieved about the end of the marriage, or you may be devastated that your attempts at reconciliation have failed. You may be emotionally numb and feel almost nothing at all. Whatever your response to the trauma of divorce, know that your feelings are normal and that the emotional pain will decrease with time.

Reach Out to Others for Help

Research has consistently shown that people are better able to cope with divorce if they have support from others. You may wish to share your thoughts and feelings with friends and family, or you may choose to confide in a mental health professional. Participating in a divorce support group or religious organization may also help you cope with the end of your marriage. Although you may want to isolate yourself during this turbulent time, this can actually make you feel more alone and upset. Connecting with others can help you work through the emotional difficulties you are experiencing.

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DuPage County child support attorney income shares

If you are a parent considering divorce, you may wonder how the state calculates child support payments. Which parent receives the support payments? How is child support related to the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time? Illinois uses an “income shares” method to formulate child support orders which are reasonable and appropriate for the financial circumstances of both parents. Read on to learn about the most important elements of Illinois child support orders and what you can do if you need to establish or modify child support in Illinois.

Illinois Recently Changed the Way it Determines Child Support

Significant changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) went into effect in July 2017. Before the changes, child support was determined by applying a certain percentage to the paying parent’s net income based on the number of children needing support. For example, a parent with one minor child paid 20 percent of his or her income, and a parent with two children paid 28 percent of his or her income in child support. Child support orders that went into effect before the changes to the IMDMA may still be based on the old calculation method. However, child support orders may be eligible for modification if they meet certain criteria.

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Wheaton, IL divorce attorney for asset dissipation

Marriage is just as much a financial union as it is a romantic partnership. When a couple marries, their debts and assets become deeply intertwined in a variety of ways. Undoing this financial entanglement during divorce can become quite complicated – especially for couples with complex assets or a high net worth. In some cases, a divorcing spouse may attempt to deceive his or her partner regarding the couple’s assets and income. Financial fraud is a common issue that anyone getting divorced should be aware of.  

Financial Fraud Is Common When One Spouse Has Total Control over Finances

Some married couples share responsibility for financial decision-making and money management. In other cases, one spouse has sole responsibility over the finances, while the other is completely uninvolved in financial decisions. While this division of labor works well for some couples, being in the dark about one’s assets and debts can put a person at a significant disadvantage during divorce. However, spouses who were not involved in household finances are not the only people who can find themselves victims of financial fraud during divorce. Even if you were heavily involved in paying household bills, making purchases, and completing other financial transactions, it is still possible to be deceived by an untruthful spouse.  

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