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wheaton divorce lawyerNearly all divorces will involve some degree of disagreement between the couple, however, some divorces involve more disagreement than others. Sometimes, all of that resentment can also affect the way the couple parent their children. Most of the time, couples will set up a co-parenting plan that they will follow after the divorce. However, when parents do not get along with one another very well, co-parenting may be the wrong choice. Co-parenting success depends on both parents being willing to communicate and cooperate with one another to raise their children. In situations where parents are unable to do this, parallel parenting can be more effective and provide an overall more peaceful environment for everyone involved.

What is the Difference Between Co-Parenting and Parallel Parenting?

There is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to parenting. What may work for some families after a divorce may not work for another family. When it comes to co-parenting, parents usually have to be on somewhat good terms for this parenting style to work. Divorced parents who co-parent are able to attend functions at the same time, help their child transition between households without issue, and solve issues with the other co-parent when needed. Not all parents can do this, which is why some parents may find more success with parallel parenting.

In parallel parenting, parents disengage from one another on a day-to-day basis. Limiting the amount of communication between one another also limits the amount of conflict that may arise. Parents who parallel parent do not get along with one another and may even schedule separate days for certain functions and holidays. Each parent is responsible for making most everyday decisions for their children and only consult with the other parent if an issue arises, or for certain topics, like the child’s medical care. Parallel parenting can provide many benefits to families that have contentious parents and reduce the amount of stress that the children feel because of it.

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dupage county divorce lawyerWhen any couple gets divorced in Illinois, one of the many issues they will have to address is how property will be divided between the two of them. The property division process can be taxing for many couples, especially if they cannot agree on how the property should be distributed. In some cases, issues can arise when one spouse does not agree with the marital and nonmarital property designations assigned to certain assets. Many couples have expensive and valuable assets, such as the family home, vehicles, and perhaps even a business or professional practice. Determining a correct designation for those assets is crucial to getting a fair distribution of marital property. However, determining what is and is not marital property is not always as clear-cut as you would think.

Determining Commingled Property

In Illinois, only marital property is included in the division process. This means that any property or debts you and/or your spouse acquired during your marriage is fair game, with a few exceptions. Property is considered nonmarital property acquired during the marriage if it was:

  • A gift given to you only

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dupage county divorce lawyerCouples get divorced for a variety of reasons. According to one study, more than half of survey respondents stated that financial problems were the main reason that they decided to divorce. Marriages are often stressed when the couple has financial issues and that stress can carry over to the divorce, too. Your finances can take a toll during divorce, leaving you with a headache to deal with after the divorce is finalized. The best way you can protect yourself from financial disaster during and after your divorce is to make sure you are fully prepared before you go into the process. 

Open Individual Accounts

Once you have filed your petition for divorce, all of the assets that you acquire are no longer considered marital property. You should immediately open individual accounts for your checking, savings and potentially even credit card accounts. Having these accounts can help ensure that your own separate property is not commingled with marital property.

Make Sure You Have Access to Financial Documents

Many times, there is one spouse in a marriage that takes care of the financial side of things. This is often referred to as the “in spouse,” while the other spouse is referred to as the “out spouse.” If you are the “out spouse,” you need to make sure that you have access to all of you and your spouse’s financial information and documents. This may include documents such as bank records, credit card statements, retirement account statements, deeds, loan information, mortgage paperwork, and more. 

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dupage county divorce lawyerThe overwhelming majority of divorce cases end in a settlement. This means that the couple is able to come to an agreement about various divorce issues without having to go to trial. However, court involvement may be necessary if spouses cannot reach an agreement. If the case does end up going to court, the couple will no longer have the final say over the decisions made -- a judge will. The judge will make determinations that are in line with the law, but before they can do that, they have to understand all of the facts of the case. This is typically done by each spouse’s attorney presenting evidence, but in some cases, expert witnesses can also be called to the stand to give testimony about certain issues. A consulting expert may provide insight and help your attorney build a strong claim before the case advances to trial.  

Property Division Issues

During the property division process, the judge will use a variety of factors to determine how the couple’s marital property will be distributed amongst the two of them. These factors include things such as each spouse’s income and earning potential, how long the marriage lasted, what the potential tax consequences of distribution may be, and the age and health of each spouse. In order to provide the judge with accurate information, your attorney may put an expert witness on the stand to allow them to give their opinion on your situation. Many times, expert witnesses are forensic accountants or financial analysts who can speak about issues relating to property division, such as asset valuation and developing a basis for the couple’s standard of living during the marriage. 

Child-Related Issues

Experts can also be useful in cases involving child custody disputes. In many cases, these experts are child psychologists, parenting coordinators, family counselors, or even child custody evaluators. These expert witnesses can help paint the picture that you want to convey to the judge by providing their opinion on child-related issues, such as parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.

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wheaton child support lawyerDivorce can be financially taxing, even for the wealthiest of families. When a divorce is contested, it can be even more expensive and time-consuming than expected. For those who have children, child support can be one of the most important financial aspects of divorce. Ensuring that your children are adequately provided for may mean that you need to include child-related expenses above and beyond what typical child support payments provide. 

Expenses to Consider Adding to Your Support Order

In some cases, a child may have additional needs or expenses that the custodial parent needs assistance with. In these cases, the custodial parent can request that these additional expenses be added to the child support order so the cost can be split between the parents. Though parents can create their own individual child support agreements containing whatever provisions they see fit, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides for specific child-related expenses that may be added to the support order. These expenses include:

  • Medical Expenses - Either one or both parents must provide health insurance for the child or obtain state-sponsored health insurance if it is not available from their employer. You may be able to add certain medical expenses to your child support order if they are not covered by insurance. These expenses can include things like prescription medication costs, co-pays, portions of medical costs not covered by insurance, and costs related to dental or vision care.

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