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Geneva divorce attorney for parenting plansA divorce can be one of the most stressful experiences of your life, regardless of whether you were married for a few years or a few decades. When you and your spouse have children together, adapting to life after the marriage ends can be very difficult. You will have to learn how to co-parent your children, even if you do not see eye-to-eye on everything. However, the most important thing to remember in a high-conflict divorce is to keep your children’s best interests in mind. “Parallel parenting” is an arrangement in which divorced spouses can co-parent by disengaging from each other, with limited direct contact, while remaining fully connected to their children. This version of co-parenting can be appropriate for ex-spouses who are unable to communicate with each other in a healthy or civil manner. 

Co-Parenting With Your Children’s Best Interests in Mind

One of the obstacles that divorced parents often face is determining how to resolve disputes over child-related issues, such as the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation). In some cases, parents can agree who will be granted the majority of the decision-making authority, including decisions regarding medical care, education, and religious upbringing. If they cannot reach a mutual arrangement, then the court will decide for them based on factors that affect the children’s best interests. For example, one parent may assume the decision-making responsibility for medical decisions, while the other parent handles anything related to educational goals. While both parents may agree on major decisions regarding their children’s upbringing, they may separately decide the logistics of day-to-day parenting when the children are in each parent’s care. That means each household might have a different set of rules related to discipline or other issues.

With parallel parenting, the ex-spouses typically only communicate through written means, such as email or text messages. That means there is limited in-person contact, face-to-face interaction such as video calls, or even phone conversations. This type of co-parenting can be especially helpful for high-conflict divorces in which the former partners do not get along and are prone to arguing. By using this method, you and your ex can work out the details of where children will stay on certain holidays via electronic means instead of getting into a heated dispute in front of the kids. 

DuPage County divorce attorney

Although the coronavirus health crisis has impacted day-to-day living, everything is moving forward in the family law court system. In Illinois, non-essential businesses such as restaurants and shopping malls were closed temporarily but not the judiciary. While many changes have been implemented, the courts have remained open to the public. In light of the stress of being quarantined at home or the loss of income, COVID-19 has placed an enormous strain on relationships, leading many couples to consider filing for divorce. Therefore, if you are wondering if you can obtain a divorce at this time, the answer is absolutely yes.  

Virtual Meeting Options

In order to protect the safety of their clients, many law firms are offering digital services to meet their clients’ legal needs. In the practice area of divorce and family law, this may include consultations with couples over the phone or by video chat. For those firms such as Douglas B. Warlick & Assoc. that offer mediation as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR), spouses may speak with their third-party mediator through various electronic means. This may include video conferencing apps such as Zoom, Go-to Meetings, or FaceTime. However, at the Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Assoc., we also continue to offer face-to-face meetings and personal mediation services, including Collaborative Law.

Geneva asset division lawyerThe end of a marriage involves several legal steps and decisions. Determinations need to be made about many issues, including how property will be divided, if spousal support is appropriate, as well as child-related issues if a couple has a family. During the divorce proceedings, spouses may come to agreements on all of these matters. However, they may also argue over who gets what. In such cases, the court will intervene and make decisions on their behalf. When determining how a couple’s assets will be divided, Illinois follows the equitable distribution method. This also means that any marital debt will have to be split fairly. If you are concerned about what will happen to your debt once you are divorced, a knowledgeable divorce attorney can help navigate this complex issue. 

What Constitutes Marital Debt?

There are many reasons for the accumulation of debt. Money is often borrowed to pay for higher education, to purchase properties, or to start a family business. Each spouse may bring personal debt to a marriage, or in some cases, none at all. Marital debt refers to any debts that a couple accrues after they are legally married. Therefore, if one party had significant student loans or credit card balances that he or she racked up prior to the marriage, that would not be considered marital debt. Similarly, any loans or bills that are accrued after the divorce are the responsibility of the spouse who made the purchases or took out the loan.

Under Illinois law, spouses are responsible for each other’s expenses to maintain the household or support the family during the marriage. This can include buying food, clothes, and toiletries, as well as paying rent or mortgage, vehicle costs, and health insurance. If these items are not paid for outright, they may be charged to a credit card. For housing, the mortgage payments would be made through a bank loan.  

Kane County divorce attorney for parental alienationThe decision to end a marriage can be difficult for many reasons. In many cases, spouses may be unhappy for a long time but hesitant to end the relationship if they have a family. Studies show that the stress of a divorce can significantly impact a couple’s children. This can manifest itself in various ways, such as manipulative behavior by one or both parents. The concept of parental alienation syndrome (PAS) was first introduced by psychiatrist Richard Gardner in the 1980s. This typically occurs during or after a divorce when one parent psychologically manipulates a child into exhibiting unwarranted fear, disrespect, or hostility toward the other parent. In some cases, the manipulative parent’s ultimate goal is that the child will reject the other parent and want nothing to do with him or her. After your divorce, it is important to recognize signals that indicate PAS might be occurring to protect your child’s well-being as well as your rights to custody and parenting time.

Symptoms of Psychological Abuse

It may be natural for a child to exhibit some hostility or sadness when his or her parents split up, regardless of the child’s age. However, parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse that can have devastating effects on a child as well as the parent who is being alienated. Some of the signs and symptoms that a child may be subjected to this include the following behaviors: 

  • Poor self-esteem
  • Angry outbursts toward the targeted parent and other family members
  • Inconsistent sleep patterns 
  • Eating disorders
  • Problems in school (academic or behavioral)

Manipulative Behaviors 

When a parent is actively trying to make his or her child “take sides” in a divorce, he or she may do certain things to accomplish this objective. Below are a few examples of what a parent might do to instill negative thoughts or feelings about his or her ex in a child’s mind:

Geneva family law attorney for annulmentThere are millions of married couples in Illinois and throughout the United States. However, not all marriages last. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of all U.S. marriages end in divorce. Many people may equate a divorce with an annulment or even a legal separation, but they are not the same thing. In a divorce, a couple will seek to dissolve a valid marriage. In an annulment, the marriage is ruled as invalid, as if it never happened. Some people assume that an annulment is easier to obtain than a divorce, but that is not always true. Annulments can have stricter requirements and time limits when compared to a divorce. If you are considering ending your marriage, it is essential that you hire professional legal counsel to fully understand your legal options.    

Declaration of Invalidity 

It is important to note that an annulment is not the same thing as a divorce or legal separation. When married couples legally separate, they live apart but are still technically married in the eyes of the law. An annulment is a way for two people who are in a fraudulent or invalid marriage to legally leave the marriage by essentially voiding it. A marriage can be deemed invalid for various reasons, including if one party was unable to consent to the union due to:

  • Mental illness
  • Substance abuse
  • Coercion
  • Incest
  • Bigamy
  • Inability to consummate the marriage
  • Being underage at the time of the wedding

A marriage can only be annulled if the court issues a Declaration of Invalidity. An invalid marriage represents an illegal relationship and is therefore not recognized by the state. 

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