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Wheaton high conflict divorce attorneyMarried couples choose to divorce for countless reasons. Sometimes, spouses simply grow apart or realize that it was a mistake to get married in the first place. In these cases, spouses may not want to be married any longer, but they still have a high level of respect and concern for each other. On the other hand, some divorcing spouses are vengeful and combative. Divorces involving infidelity, deceit, domestic violence, or vindictiveness may require a very different approach than more amicable divorces. If you have reason to believe that your divorce might be hostile, you may wonder if there is anything you can do to start preparing yourself now.  

Consider a Guardian Ad Litem

Continuous divorces between parents may involve strong disagreements about child custody and visitation, which are called “the allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” in Illinois. Illinois courts make decisions in these areas based on what is in the child’s best interests. Unfortunately, some parents may attempt to sway the court’s decision in their favor by misrepresenting themselves or lying about the other parent. In some child custody disputes, a Guardian Ad Litem is assigned to the case to represent the children’s best interests and uncover the true facts of the case. The Guardian Ad Litem may do this by conducting interviews, evaluating parents’ homes and interactions with children, and analyzing financial information. You may want to request a Guardian Ad Litem if you have concerns about your spouse’s parenting abilities or if you want your child to have a specially-trained advocate.

Mediation May Not Be Your Best Option

Some divorcing couples who disagree about property division, child custody, spousal support, or other divorce terms are able to work out a solution to their disagreements through mediation. During divorce mediation, parties agree to work with a qualified mediator, negotiate in good faith, and collaborate with experts in order to reach a resolution. However, if there is a major power imbalance between the spouses, or if a spouse refuses to have reasonable discussions about divorce-related disagreements, mediation may not be a viable choice. It may be better for spouses to consult with their respective attorneys and formulate a divorce strategy personalized to their unique set of challenges.

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Wheaton divorce litigation attorneyJust as no two marriages are the same, no two divorces are the same. There are several different paths that a person getting divorced in Illinois may choose to pursue. Some couples are able to work out the terms of their divorce on their own. Others require help from a qualified mediator to come to an agreement about property division, child custody, and other divorce-related issues. Collaborative law offers yet another option for couples ending their marriage. In some situations, especially those involving spouses with a high net worth, a divorce case may require courtroom litigation. Here are some situations in which a divorce may need to be resolved in court:

Cases Involving Financial Fraud

In order for a divorcing couple to reach a fair settlement, the spouses must fully disclose their incomes, assets, and debts. If a spouse is unwilling to be honest and transparent about his or her financial circumstances, effective mediation or a successful collaborative divorce may not be possible. Some spouses will attempt to hide assets or income in hopes that these assets will not be divided during divorce. A person may misreport the income they earn in hopes of influencing decisions about spousal maintenance or child support. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is hiding assets or revenue streams, speak with a divorce attorney right away.

Couples With a History of Abuse or Domestic Violence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have been the victim of intimate partner violence. If your spouse has physically abused you, used threats to manipulate your actions, or made you feel unsafe, mediation is typically not recommended. You may be coerced or intimidated into accepting a divorce settlement that is not fair. Many victims of domestic violence find that litigation is the only way to get the divorce settlement they truly deserve.

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DuPage County high conflict divorce lawyer parenting plan

While nearly every divorce has some degree of contentiousness, a high-conflict divorce can be especially volatile. High levels of conflict can be the result of two spouses who are unwilling or unable to cooperate, or they can be caused by one spouse who is especially resentful of the other. When parents decide to end their marriage, they must consider how they will share parental responsibility and parenting time. Making these decisions can be nearly impossible without court intervention if the parents cannot effectively communicate with each other.

During a high-conflict divorce involving parents, it is often the children who suffer most. Fortunately, there are many resources and strategies available to parents that experts say can reduce the emotional turmoil of a high-conflict divorce for everyone involved. These include:

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Divorce, like other stressful situations, sometimes brings out the worst in people. However, if you are in a high-conflict divorce, knowing how to handle hostile communications from your spouse can be difficult. Developing a strategy to manage communications with your spouse can help to improve your mental health, provide more stability for your children, and may even help you have a better outcome in your divorce.

Responding Without Escalating

One of the negative consequences of having access to communications technology is that it is easy to send a nasty email, text, or social media message-all without taking the time to think about the consequences. Moreover, when you receive a distasteful message from your spouse, your initial reaction may be to lash out. However, responding with anger often leads to a series of hurtful messages back and forth-messages which may cause a further breakdown in communications and make any issues harder to resolve.

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