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LIbertyville Family Law Blog

Does your new job signal a need for child custody changes?

Changes are a normal part of our journey through life, and sometimes they affect the agreements we have in place. If you are a divorced parent, a significant change in circumstances may necessitate modification to your child custody agreement.

Any requested changes to such an agreement must be in the best interests of the children involved. You can engage the services of an experienced family law attorney who understands the court process and knows how the judge is likely to respond to your petition.

Understanding family law terminology in Illinois

You have probably noticed how terminology in nearly every facet of life changes constantly, and you have to get used to new buzz words and phrases. This is also the case with the database of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, or ILCS.

With regard to the parenting functions that take place as the result of a divorce, Illinois no longer uses the traditional wording that you may associate with those functions. Newer terms are firmly in place in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Here is a brief guide:

  • Allocation of parental responsibilities: Wording such as “custody” or “child custody” had been used in normal discourse and in legal parlance for many years. The court used these words in making decisions as to which parent was given responsibility for a child after the parents’ divorce. The terminology has changed to “allocation of parental responsibilities,” the purpose of which is to identify the parent responsible for making decisions about the child’s upbringing.
  • Parenting plan: You may have heard this phrase, although it is relatively new to the jargon surrounding divorce and its aftermath. There are other new terms that are spinoffs from this one, such as the replacement for “visitation.”
  • Parenting time: “Visitation” has become “parenting time,” the obvious term referring to the block of time a parent spends with the child.
  • Caretaking functions: These are activities that include seeing that the child eats, sleeps, does homework, plays and goes to school, to the dentist, to soccer practice and so on.
  • Restriction of parenting time: This, of course, refers to any sort of limit on the block of time Mom or Dad spends with the child.

Do you understand the maintenance formula in your divorce?

As if many divorce settlements were not complicated enough, the state has put together a maintenance formula, which is explained in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Basically, the act contains guidelines for establishing the amount and duration of a maintenance award, if the court considers this kind of payment to be appropriate.

The court calculates the award by considering a dozen factors and predicate it on the duration of the marriage. However, sorting out all the information could make your eyes cross, which is why you should engage the services of a family law attorney.

A divorce don't: yelling in front of the children

Prior to the decision to file for divorce, many couples see an uptick in the number, duration and intensity of their arguments. Their emotions can lead to more frequent and more heated fights, that involve everything from bad language to physical violence. Studies have shown for years that domestic abuse in a home has an obviously detrimental impact on children, even if they themselves aren't necessarily the target of the abuse. Recent research indicates that the act of yelling at or around children could, in some ways, be just as detrimental.

In fact, the negative impact of shouting in the home can actually last longer than the effects of spanking or other forms of corporal punishment. Researchers found lasting evidence - in the form of unfulfilling relationships and poor emotional control - when people who had been yelled at during their youth grew up and got married themselves. Plus, teens whose parents regularly screamed at them or used so-called "harsh verbal discipline" (shouting, using insults or belittling) reported much higher rates of depression and behavior difficulties.

Children of divorce find comfort in routine

Living between homes requires considerable adjustment for children whose parents have divorced. They will react to the situation differently according to their age, and parents must be prepared to deal with everything from tears and whining in younger children to sulking and outright defiance in adolescents. There are many ways you can make this new chapter in young lives easier, and one is to help smooth the transition between two homes. No matter where and with whom they are living, children need a daily routine, one to which they are accustomed, and this is something parents can provide as a team.

4 frequently asked questions about spousal maintenance

Divorce is a process that can be confusing for many separating couples. If you are getting divorced in Illinois and have questions about certain topics such as spousal support, it is important to get a basic understanding of the principles and guidelines. Here are some frequently asked questions about spousal maintenance.

A guide to equitable property division in an Illinois divorce

When you bought furniture for your home with your spouse, you were probably not thinking about who would get it if you got divorced. Illinois does not have laws to require an equal split of marital property, meaning you could be arguing over furniture and other assets in the presence of a judge. Instead, marital property in Illinois is distributed under the system of equitable distribution laws. This means your marital property is divided in a manner that is considered fair rather than a literal equal split down the middle. 

Expenses that are typically not calculated into child support

A divorcing couple must prioritize financial responsibility, particularly when child support is required. In Illinois, the court determines the amount of child support needed based on the number of dependents and the parent's income. While child support covers several expenses, there are certain things that are not covered. If you are currently negotiating child support, you may want to know what your payments do not cover so that you can plan accordingly.

What are the important elements of a parenting plan?

Assigning parenting time through a parenting plan is standard procedure for most divorce cases. It is a legal document that establishes obligations and rights for both parents regarding their children. An attorney can draft a parenting plan when both parents agree on parental res ponsibilities. Once a judge submits the plan, it becomes a court order that both parents must adhere to.

6 signs your spouse is hiding marital assets

Going through a divorce is never easy. Not only does divorce cause emotional unrest, but it can also result in stress related to property division. Understanding marital property laws and assigning assets fairly can be a confusing and complicated process. It's important for assets to be fairly negotiated and valued before being divided.

One thing that can make the process even more stressful is when a spouse hides marital property to cause an imbalanced division. Know the warning signs of this activity so that you do not end up in an unfair position. Here are six behaviors to watch out for.

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