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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 attorneyAlthough we often do not consider it as such, a divorce is the end of a financial relationship just as much it is a romantic relationship. When a couple gets married, they combine not only their personal lives but also their finances. When a married couple divorces, courts must decide how to divide the property, assets, and debt which the married couple owns. The courts must also consider whether either spouse should be ordered to pay child support or spousal maintenance (formerly called alimony) to the other. In order to make these decisions, courts rely on both parties’ complete honesty and transparency regarding their financial situations. When one or both spouses are not honest regarding their finances during a divorce, there can be serious consequences which significantly complicate the divorce process.

How Do Spouses Misrepresent Their Financial Status?

A spouse lying about their assets, property, income, or debt is not as easy to spot as you might think. There are many methods unscrupulous spouses use to hide their true financial status from the courts. A spouse being untruthful about his or her finances may:

Geneva divorce attorneysIf you are a parent of young children and you are getting divorced, you will undoubtedly have questions about how your divorce will affect your kids. While most children are eventually able to adapt to their parents’ post-divorce reality, it can be incredibly difficult to break the news to them. Talking about divorce is not easy, especially with children whose entire world is about to change, but experts offer some useful tips that can help you know what to say.

School Aged-Children Know More Than You Realize

If your children are between the ages of about 4 and 8, he or she probably knows other children whose parents are divorced, especially if your children go to school—including preschool. Your children may understand that not all families have both parents living in the same house, but their concerns are likely to revolve around how your decision will affect their lives directly. They may wonder if they will have to move or change schools, and when they will get to see each parent. You may not have the answers to these questions immediately, but that does not mean you should avoid telling your children what is about to happen.

Geneva divorce attorneyNormally, when one brings a civil suit in Illinois, it is that person’s responsibility to cover all the attorney’s fees and other costs associated with bringing suit. This can frighten many people when they begin divorce proceedings, especially if they are in a precarious financial state, have no savings, or cannot access their savings due to the actions of their spouse or another party. However, divorce is an exceptional case, and there are options by which attorney fees can be paid.

Pro Se and Payment Plans

Many parties to a divorce choose, at least at first, to go it alone and represent themselves pro se. Many courts, including Cook County, offer resources to assist with doing so, but stories abound of pro se parties who make mistakes, or who wind up signing away far more than they should. While handling your divorce pro se is possible, it is generally not recommended, especially if you and your spouse actually have disputes to resolve.

Geneva family law attorneysYou probably know at least a few married couples who are going through a rough patch in their marriage. One or two of them may even have separated as they try to figure out what to do next. While many couples who undergo a trial separation end up back together, it is the beginning of the end for others. In fact, most couples who get divorced live separately for a period time before filing and while the proceedings are underway. But, does the law require a separation period before a divorce in Illinois?

Recent Changes

Before 2016, Illinois law required a couple seeking a no-fault divorce to live separate and apart for up to two years before the divorce could be granted. If both spouses agreed, the court could shorten the separation period to six months. If a spouse filed for divorce on fault grounds—including bigamy, adultery, repeated mental or physical cruelty, and abandonment—the separation requirement did not apply. The filing spouse, however, was required to provide proof to the court of his or partner’s misdeeds. As a result, fault-based divorce fell out of favor with the average couple.

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