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DuPage County child custody attorney

Technology has changed the way we communicate with loved ones, do our jobs, and generally interact with the world. If you are getting divorced, there are several things you should keep in mind with regard to your digital life. Social media is becoming increasingly relevant in divorce cases and family law disputes. Your use of technology and the Internet may seem unrelated to your divorce at first glance, but there are many different ways that social media, smartphones, email, and other online-based services can impact the outcome of your divorce. In some cases, it can affect spousal maintenance (alimony) and the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody). 

Change Your Passwords

According to one study, 67 percent of respondents reported that they knew their spouse’s log-in credentials. Even if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are on amicable terms, it is still a good idea to change your passwords when you separate from your spouse to maintain a sense of privacy. It may also be helpful to turn off “location sharing” on applications and websites. You may be logged into your email, Facebook account, or your bank’s website on shared devices like tablets or laptops and not even realize it. It is recommended that you change passwords for:

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Wheaton, IL divorce litigation attorneyTV shows and movies often depict divorces as dramatic confrontations inside the courtroom. However, the vast majority of divorce cases do not go to trial. Litigation is only necessary when a divorcing couple is unable to reach agreements on issues such as property division, the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, and spousal maintenance. Most divorcing couples are able to resolve these issues through lawyer-facilitated negotiations, mediation, or collaborative law. If a couple cannot reach a settlement, the case may go to trial. 

What Should I Expect During a Divorce Trial?

Divorcing spouses may need to make one or more court appearances during the dissolution of their marriage, even if the couple agrees about divorce issues. However, these court appearances are not the same thing as a divorce trial. During a divorce trial, a judge hears arguments from both sides and then issues a ruling regarding the unresolved issues. Divorce trials do not involve a jury, but they are otherwise conducted similarly to other types of civil trials. 

Before the start of the trial, each spouse and his or her attorney will gather information and evidence that support their arguments. This information-gathering process is called “discovery.” Discovery may involve written interrogatories, requests for admission, depositions, and other means of obtaining information about the facts of the case.

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Wheaton divorce attorney for child custody and property divisionThere is no doubt that social media can have a huge impact on divorce proceedings and family law matters. Although you may not realize it, the things you post on social media can be admissible as evidence in court. If you are getting divorced, you should know that the messages, photographs, and other information you are sharing online may be scrutinized and potentially used against you.

Proceed With Caution When Using Social Media During Child Custody Disputes

If you and your spouse disagree about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, you should be especially cautious about what you post on social media. When Illinois courts are considering what type of parenting arrangement is in a child’s best interests, they will consider a wide range of factors listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, including the child’s relationship with his or her parents, the parents’ physical and mental health, and more. One factor that often gets overlooked is “the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.” If you make disparaging comments about your spouse, it could be construed as an unwillingness to encourage a good relationship between your child and his or her other parent.

Social Media May Provide Clues About Financial Fraud

Courts can only make appropriate decisions about spousal maintenance, child support, and asset distribution when both parties are honest about their financial circumstances. If you suspect that your spouse may be lying about finances in order to manipulate the divorce settlement in his or her favor, social media may contain clues about this deception. For example, if you are pursuing spousal maintenance, your spouse may underreport his or her income in an attempt to avoid paying his or her fair share of alimony. However, if he or she posts pictures of expensive purchases and luxury vacations on Facebook, the court may have reason to look more closely into his or her true financial circumstances. If you have reason to suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, contact an experienced divorce attorney right away.

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DuPage County divorce mediation lawyerIn previous blogs, we have discussed the many advantages of divorce mediation. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that is much less stressful and expensive than court litigation. When a couple disagrees about child custody, spousal maintenance, or other terms of their divorce, mediation can help them reach an agreement that works for both parties. However, mediation is not right for every divorcing couple. A qualified divorce attorney can help you decide whether or not mediation will be in your best interests while working to protect your rights throughout the divorce process.

Marriages Involving Domestic Violence or Abuse

The main element of any abusive relationship is an imbalance of power. An abusive spouse may use physical violence, threats of harm, intimidation, gaslighting, and other tactics to maintain power and control over his or her victim. It is important to note that domestic violence does not only include physical abuse. It can also involve financial abuse, emotional or verbal abuse, and sexual abuse. If a person is leaving an abusive marriage, divorce mediation is rarely recommended, because the imbalance of power makes a cooperative mediation process virtually impossible.

Divorce Involving Financial Fraud

Many divorce issues discussed during mediation involve finances. In order for spouses to negotiate the terms of their divorce, both spouses must be transparent and honest about the assets they own, the income they earn, and the debts they owe. If a spouse is hiding assets or lying about income, property, or debts, mediation may be a waste of time. Some spouses may even dissipate, or waste, marital assets prior to divorce by spending money on an affair, drug or alcohol addiction, gambling addiction, or for other reasons. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is lying about their finances or has dissipated marital assets, you should contact an attorney right away.

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Wheaton, IL divorce attorney GALAlthough any divorce can be difficult, parents who choose to end their marriage may face a variety of challenges. Children with divorcing parents may experience a great deal of stress and anxiety as they struggle to understand why their parents are splitting up and how to cope with the changes. They may worry that the end of their parents’ marriage was somehow their fault or feel like they have to choose sides. In some divorce cases involving children, a special attorney called a guardian ad litem (GAL) is appointed to help address child-related issues. If you are planning to divorce, a guardian ad litem may be essential in making sure that the terms of your divorce are in your child’s best interests.

When Is a Guardian Ad Litem Appointed in a Divorce Case?

When a person involved in a legal proceeding such as a divorce cannot represent themselves, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to look out for his or her well-being. Most often, a GAL is appointed to help determine the best possible situation for a child whose parents are divorcing. Guardians ad litem are often appointed in divorce cases involving domestic abuse, child custody disputes regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, and disagreements regarding child support

In Illinois, a GAL may be requested by a parent undergoing a divorce or family law dispute, or a GAL can be appointed by a judge. Asking for a GAL may be beneficial when parents disagree about certain aspects of their child’s welfare, such as who the child should live with. Court litigation in front of a judge can be stressful and expensive. If parents can agree to accept the GAL’s advice, this may help them avoid unnecessary court hearings.

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