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Posted on in Guardian ad Litem

Geneva family law attorneyFamily law is one of the most sensitive and challenging areas of the law. While the applicable statutes themselves may not be quite as complicated as tax or real estate law, for example, the personal nature of issues such as divorce and the allocation of parental responsibilities make them particularly difficult for who are going through them.

In some cases, child-related disputes can become so contentious that the parties are unable to remain objective and focused on the child’s best interests. When this happens, the court may appoint a specially trained attorney to serve as a guardian ad litem (GAL) for the duration of the proceedings.

The Job of a GAL

Kane County divorce attorneyGoing through a divorce can be one of the most stressful things a person ever endures. According to the American Institute of Stress, divorce is second only to the death of a spouse in terms of the stress it brings to a person’s life. Although some couples will simply not be able to divorce without court intervention, preventing courtroom litigation can significantly reduce the emotional and financial costs of a divorce. For couples that are able to at least partially cooperate, mediation may be the best way to end their marriage fairly and civilly.

Mediation Puts More Control in the Hands of the Spouses

If your divorce ends up in litigation, any decision you and your spouse cannot agree to will be made by the judge. Judges can make decisions regarding spousal maintenance, child support, property division, and more. Although courts will always try to be as fair as possible, often court-ordered decisions do not fully satisfy either spouse. Mediation, on the other hand, puts much more control in the hands of the spouses. With help from the mediator, spouses negotiate and come to their own conclusions about things like property division and maintenance payments. Studies have shown that when individuals have more say over these types of decisions that they are more likely to comply with the judge’s final divorce decree. This results in fewer instances of returning to court to enforce or modify the decree. 

Kane County family law attorneyIn just a few short weeks, your children will be out of school for the summer. They are probably already looking forward to the freedom to sleep in and to spend time recreating with their friends. As a parent, you may also be excited for summer, but it is also common for parents to approach the extended break from school with at least some concerns. Such worries are often amplified for parents who share parental responsibilities with an ex-spouse. If you are subject to an Illinois parenting plan or custody agreement, it is important to prepare well in advance for the months ahead.

Review Your Existing Arrangements

Before planning any trips or summertime events, it is important to know what your parenting plan says about the summer break. Many parenting plans give the bulk of summer parenting time to the parent who sees the children less often during the school year—particularly if that parent lives relatively far away. Other plans keep a schedule similar to that which is in place during the school year. If your plan makes definitive arrangements regarding summer parenting time, you need to follow them or come up with a compromise so that both you and the other parent can enjoy the summer as well.

Geneva family law attorneyIf you are a parent considering divorce, your number one concern is probably about how the divorce will affect your children. Fortunately, there are many good resources for parents planning to divorce. One thing parents should do if they are planning to share custody of their children after the split is create a parenting plan or parenting agreement.

Every Plan is Different

If you are a parent getting divorced in Illinois, the courts will require you to draft and submit a parenting plan. In it, you should define the proposed custody and visitation schedule (technically called allocation of parental rights and parenting time respectively) as well as solidify other parenting decisions. Only the custody and visitation schedule is required, but many experts suggest parents use a court-required parenting agreement as an opportunity to get on the same page regarding the children. Each family is different, so your parenting plan will not look exactly the same as another family’s plan.

Kane County child support attorneyWhen a couple with children divorces, the parent with less parental responsibility and parenting time is often ordered to pay child support by the court. Such a parent must make periodic payments to the other parent in order to help with child-rearing expenses. Since 1988, Illinois has allowed court-ordered child support payments to be paid through automatic income withholding. The amount of money that can be deducted from the payor’s paycheck is based on the Income Shares model. This method of determining child support takes into consideration both parents' incomes as well as the amount of parenting time and parental responsibility each parent has.

When a Parent Does Not Pay His or Her Required Child Support

Sometimes, for a countless number of reasons, parents are unable or unwilling to pay their court-ordered child support. When this occurs, the recipient parent, meaning the parent with more parental responsibility who is due support payments, can petition the court to address the problem. The state of Illinois has the authority to take child support obligations from other periodic payments such as worker’s compensation and unemployment benefits.

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