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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 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.

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.

Kane County relocation attorneysIn past generations, it was not terribly uncommon for a person to grow up in a given area and to spend the vast majority of his or her life in that same area. This was especially true in financially healthy regions where jobs and educational opportunities were readily available. Today, however, is a different story, as a people are much more likely to move greater distances than ever before. Some move for employment reasons, others for education, and still others just for a change in scenery. While moving is rarely easy, most adults have the freedom to relocate whenever they choose, but for those who are subject to an Illinois parenting plan, there are limits on how far a move can be.

Who Is Affected?

The state of Illinois is invested in looking out for the best interests of children—especially those whose parents have divorced or were never married. Thus, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides specific guidance for parents who wish to move to a new home. The IMDMA states that a parent who has the majority of the parenting time with their child or shares parenting time equally with the other parent must adhere to certain rules when considering a move.

Kane County family law attorneyWhen a couple finally decides their marriage is beyond saving, one major concern most people have is how and when they should tell their loved ones. Individuals headed for divorce may feel ashamed that their marriage has failed or worried about how others will react to the news. While there is no perfect way to tell others that your marriage is ending, experts do have some advice to make the conversation go as smoothly as possible.

You Have the Power to Decide How Much Information to Divulge

Divorces can be full of deeply personal issues. If you are considering divorce or have already decided to end your marriage through divorce, you may feel pressured to explain yourself or your decision to others. However, the simple fact is that your divorce is no one’s business except your own. You are not required to tell friends or relatives any more than you feel comfortable telling. If nosey loved ones ask questions you are not ready to answer, politely tell them that you would prefer to keep certain information private.

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