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Wheaton divorce attorney parenting plan co-parentingMany people use the start of a calendar year to make New Year’s resolutions. If you are a divorcing or unmarried parent, you may wish to make a resolution related to more effective co-parenting. Raising a child with someone who you used to date or be married to can be extremely complicated. It can be nearly impossible to keep personal feelings toward the other parent separate from parenting issues. However, studies show that children can be deeply affected by parental arguments and tension. Finding a way to work with your child’s other parent instead of against him or her will benefit both you and your child in a multitude of ways.

Keep Conversations Brief, Respectful, and Child-Focused

One of the best ways to avoid adding additional stress or complications to the already difficult process of co-parenting with an ex is to communicate effectively and respectfully. Keep conversations focused on your child and resist the temptation to discuss issues related to why your relationship ended or other personal matters. Do not criticize the other parent or use profanity. Even if the other parent chooses to disrespect you, do your best to take the high road and remain calm. Many parents find that communicating through email or text messages helps reduce the risk of arguments, but you should find the communication strategy that works best for your unique situation.

Stick to Your Parenting Plan

Divorcing parents in Illinois must submit a parenting plan to the court. This plan details how parental responsibilities will be shared, and it contains a schedule for parenting time, among many other important provisions. This parenting plan is not simply a formality. It is essential that you and your former partner follow the directions contained in your parenting plan. Do not make a habit of deviating from the parenting plan, because this will only increase the likelihood of miscommunication and confusion. If your child’s other parent refuses to obey the directions contained in your parenting agreement, contact a family law attorney to learn about your legal options for enforcement.

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Wheaton divorce mediation attorneyThe end of a marriage is rarely without conflict, but some divorces involve more contention than others. If divorcing spouses cannot reach an agreement about issues such as asset division, child custodychild support, and spousal maintenance, the court will need to intervene. Courtroom litigation is typically more expensive, time-consuming, and stressful than alternative means of resolution like mediation and collaborative divorce. When spouses are able to put their resentments aside and work cooperatively to resolve divorce issues, they will likely save a great deal of time and money. Read on to learn about two alternative dispute resolution methods available to spouses getting divorced in Illinois.

Negotiating Issues With the Help of a Mediator

It can be nearly impossible for two people who are ending their marriage to remain objective and reasonable when discussing divorce-related concerns. Spouses may understandably have a great deal of pent up anger, sadness, or disappointment about the circumstances that led to the end of the marriage. A mediator can be a huge benefit to spouses who need help staying on track and remaining focused on the goal of resolution during divorce negotiations. The mediator’s job is not to deem either spouse’s ideas and opinions as right or wrong. Instead, the mediator facilitates a productive, cooperative discussion so that spouses can reach an agreement about divorce issues without the need for court intervention. Unlike court litigation, conversations had during mediation are confidential.

The Collaborative Law Process Offers Many Benefits

The collaborative divorce process may be right for couples who have disagreements about the terms of their divorce, but they are not completely opposed to negotiating the terms cooperatively and amicably. During the collaborative law process, both spouses and their respective attorneys hold a series of meetings to discuss divorce issues in a non-combative, constructive way. The spouses, their lawyers, and any other professionals participating in the process, such as child specialists or financial professionals, sign a contract called a “participation agreement.” This contract states that both spouses, their attorneys, and the other professionals involved in the process promise not to go to court. When courtroom litigation is off the table, the spouses and their legal counsel can focus on finding creative ways to reach a resolution. Everyone involved is encouraged to work together to reach a settlement, because if the case does proceed to litigation, the parties’ attorneys will withdraw from the case, and both spouses will need to find new legal representatives.

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DuPage County spousal support attorneySpousal maintenance, also called alimony or spousal support, refers to payments that an individual makes to their former spouse after a divorce. Spousal support is only ordered in certain divorce cases, and it is meant to ensure that a divorced person can maintain the lifestyle they were used to during their marriage. In some cases, maintenance payments will be ordered when a lesser-earning spouse needs financial support for a period of time until he or she can obtain the skills or education necessary for suitable employment. However, some spouses may not ever be able to become financially independent after a divorce. In these cases, permanent spousal maintenance may be ordered.

When Is Spousal Maintenance Ordered?

There are two ways that spousal support will typically be awarded in Illinois. The spouses may have decided upon a spousal maintenance arrangement through a prenuptial agreement or another type of marital agreement, or spousal support can be ordered by a judge. During a divorce or legal separation, the judge will decide whether to award maintenance based on the circumstances of the case. In order to determine whether a person is eligible to receive spousal maintenance, the judge will consider factors including but not limited to:

  • Each spouse’s income, present and future earning capacity, and overall financial circumstances

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DuPage County divorce attorney for business valuation

The complexity and cost of divorce can vary significantly depending on a divorcing couple’s financial circumstances. One issue that will greatly complicate a divorce is owning a family business. If you and your spouse own a business, either together or separately, and you are considering ending your marriage, you probably have concerns about how the business will be affected by your divorce, and vice versa. The valuation and division of a jointly owned business can be a major source of conflict during divorce. In these cases, it is highly recommended that you consult a divorce attorney experienced in managing divorces involving business owners.

Should We Sell the Business?

In an Illinois divorce, marital assets are divided between spouses according to equitable distribution. This means that each spouse receives a fair share of marital property according to factors like each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, their income and nonmarital property, and more. However, dividing a business is often not as simple as dividing the funds in a bank account.

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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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