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Kane County child custody attorneyGetting a divorce is likely to be a stressful time in your life. As you go about the process of separating from your spouse, you will need to divide a variety of things, including both the property you own and the time you spend with your children. While your marital property will be divided based on what is fair and equitable, decisions about children are based on what is in their best interests, and the final decisions are set down in a document called a parenting plan.

What Is a Parenting Plan?

In Illinois, the laws regarding child custody contain some terms that may be unfamiliar to parents. In 2016, the terms “custody” and “visitation” were removed from Illinois family laws and replaced by “parental responsibility” and “parenting time.” A parenting plan created during divorce will address these issues, providing a framework for how matters related to children will be handled going forward. A parenting plan should include a variety of elements, including how parents will divide or share decision-making responsibilities for children, a specific schedule of when children will spend time with each parent, and rules for how parents will communicate with each other. If parents cannot agree with each other about the terms of their parenting plan, then the judge will make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child.

You may be worried about the prospect of working together with your ex-spouse to create a parenting plan that you can both agree on. Determining how to handle the many issues that must be addressed can be overwhelming, especially since life can be unpredictable, and you do not know what the next several years will hold. However, by following these tips, you can create a successful parenting plan that meets your family’s needs:

Kane County divorce attorneyMarriage is a bond that unites two people. However, even though a couple’s marriage vows say that they will stay together “in sickness and in health,” sometimes a marriage does not last, and divorce becomes necessary. Some cultures and religions look down on getting a divorce, and parents may think that it is better to say married for their children, but a divorce is often the best decision for the two parties, and living in an unhappy home can cause more harm to children than separated parents.

During the colonial days of the United States, one of the earliest examples of divorce could be seen in Massachusetts. In 1629, a judicial council was developed there to grant divorces on the grounds of instances such as of bigamy, adultery, or desertion. Today, an affair is still a common reason for a couple to get a divorce, but there are a wide variety of other circumstances in which a couple may decide to separate, including:

  • Different Life Goals - It is easy to think that life will proceed the way you expect after getting married. The truth is, some people get married without discussing their future together. If one spouse wants to travel the globe while the other wants to settle down and start a family, it will be difficult for them to see eye to eye down the road, and they may not wish to stay together. Some people also think that they will be able to change their spouse’s habits or negative qualities. When this effort turns out to be fruitless, it may be time to consider divorce.
  • Wrong Reasons - It is true that some people marry for money, and these types of marriages often end in divorce. Another wrong reason a person may get married is because they feel like they have to. If someone is in a relationship for a long time and feels pressured to take the next step, or if a couple chooses to get married before they are ready for this commitment, these marriages are usually not built to last.
  • No Romance - A relationship may have started out full of fire and passion, but after years of being together, the romance and effort may have died, and neither partner is likely to be happy. A healthy relationship maintains an equilibrium in which both partners are satisfied. Every couple has a different love language, but if partners are not taking time for each other or are avoiding each other’s company, there may be no love left to share, and divorce may be the best option. 

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

No matter the reason for your divorce, you deserve to take steps that will lead you towards a happier life. To ensure that you can reach a positive outcome to your divorce, contact an experienced Geneva divorce attorney to work out issues such as the division of assets and parental responsibilities. Call our office today at 630-232-9700 to schedule a consultation.  

Kane County family law attorneysYou have worked very hard for many years to accumulate significant assets which you assumed would fund your retirement. Whether you have a fully-vested pension plan, 401(k), IRA, or other investments accounts, those funds will likely be waiting for you when you retire—unless you get divorced. Retirement investments, like any other asset, may be considered marital property and, therefore, would be subject to division between you and your spouse in the event of divorce. There are several ways in which retirement accounts may be considered in divorce, including one that may require the use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO.

Dividing or Offsetting

Depending upon when you first began contributing to your retirement funds, all of your investments may not be subject to division. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, only the portion that accumulated during your marriage is considered marital property. You might need the help of a financial professional to establish the value of the investment prior to the marriage, so that only the correct portion is considered during the divorce process. Once that has been done, you, your spouse, and the court need to determine how, or even if, the investments will be divided.

If you and your spouse possess other significant assets such as homes, vehicles, or non-retirement savings, you may be able to negotiate a deal in which you keep your entire retirement investment. This could be even more likely if each of you already has a separate pension or 401(k). Instead of complicating matters by splitting benefits that will not be payable for years, you may, for example, be permitted to keep your pension, while your spouse is allocated a larger share of your marital cash holdings.

Geneva family law attorneysIn most cases involving divorce or family law matters, the parties are able to negotiate an agreement outside of the courtroom. They only require the court to approve and formalize terms already drafted, with very little actual decision-making required. Sometimes, though, the parties cannot reach an agreement and the matter is left to the court to decide. Such a ruling by the court typically carries an air of finality, especially if it feels like you were on the “losing” end. A less than favorable judgment is not necessarily the end, however, and filing an appeal could potentially allow you to work toward setting things right.

You Must Act Quickly

Following the entry of the initial court’s judgment, you have 30 days to file a Notice of Appeal. The notice must be filed with the circuit court and announces your intention to challenge all or part of the judgment and the relief that you intend to seek. The reviewing or appellate court may grant an extension for up to an additional 30 days, but only if you have a justified reason for missing the original deadline.

Appeals Are for Correcting Mistakes

It is crucially important to remember that appeal is not really a second chance to present your case. Instead, an appeal is typically based on a perceived error committed during the initial trial. Such a mistake may include:

Kane County family law attorneysToday’s world is, in many ways, more connected than ever before. Thanks to the rise of digital and online technology, it has never been easier to look for new employment or educational opportunities that may exist far from your current home. For some people, it is also relatively easy to pick up and move to a new city or state in search of a better life, but this is not the case for everyone. If you are divorced, separated, or unmarried and you and your child’s other parent share parental responsibilities, moving to a new area can be rather complicated.

How Far Is Too Far?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that any move that qualifies as a “relocation” must be approved by the court in advance. A relocation is any move by a parent with half or more of the parenting time with the child that exceeds a certain radius from the current home. If you currently live in Kane County—or Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, or Will County—an in-state move of more than 25 miles is a relocation. If you currently live in any other county, a relocation is any in-state move of over 50 miles. Finally, if you live anywhere in Illinois and move more than 25 miles to a new out-of-state home, the move is considered a relocation.

Why Is Approval Needed?

The law requires you to obtain the court’s permission for a relocation to ensure that the rights of your child’s other parent are not being unduly compromised. The other parent—in most cases—has the right to reasonable parenting time with your child and the new geographical distance can present major challenges. Obtaining the court’s approval can be relatively easy if the other parent does not object to your proposed relocation. If you are able to negotiate a new parenting time plan that allows for a continued relationship between the other parent and your child, the move will likely be allowed to proceed. If the other parent does not agree and you still wish to pursue the relocation, you will need to convince the court that move serves your child’s best interests.

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