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Recent blog posts

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 divorce lawyer for child support enforcement and modificationChild support is intended to help unmarried or divorced parents share the cost of raising a child. Illinois takes child support orders very seriously. When a child support order is entered by the court, the payments are not optional. If you do not pay court-ordered child support, you can face serious penalties, which may include criminal charges. If you cannot afford your current child support obligation, you may be able to request a modification from the court.

Consequences of Child Support Nonpayment in Illinois

In Illinois, child support enforcement is managed by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services' (DHFS) Division of Child Support. Through the Child Support Enforcement Program, the DHFS monitors child support payments and ensures that child support orders are being followed. When a recipient parent is not receiving court-ordered child support payments, he or she may contact the DHFS for help. Once the DHFS is aware of the problem, the agency will take steps to collect the unpaid child support. If the non-paying parent is receiving public assistance, the DHFS can take funds directly from the parent’s public assistance benefits.

If you fail to pay child support, your wages may be garnished. This means money will be taken directly out of your paycheck. In addition, your tax returns may be intercepted, or your bank account may be seized. If you are more than 90 days behind on your child support, your driver’s license or any professional licenses that you have can be suspended. If you owe more than $5,000 of past-due child support, or if you have not paid in six months or more, you may even be charged with a criminal offense.

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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 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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