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Kane County parenting time attorneyA divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences one can go through, especially if children are involved. The allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) are two important issues that need to be resolved during the divorce proceedings. A couple can create a parenting plan, which essentially outlines details such as what days of the week the child is with each parent. If they cannot agree on the terms, a decision will be made based on the best interest of the child by the court. 

Courts will also weigh other factors before making a decision on parenting time in order for both parents to take an active role in child-rearing. However, in these uncertain times, with stay-at-home orders issued in many states, parents are being creative by using technology for virtual visits if they cannot be done in person.  

Determining Factors for Visitation

Illinois courts recognize that children benefit from a relationship with both parents. This is generally true as long as there is no evidence or history of abuse or that a parent poses a threat to the welfare of a child. Otherwise, parenting time may be denied or supervised visitation ordered. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_home-buying-open-house-real-estate-selling.jpgDeciding to get a divorce can be one of the most difficult decisions of anyone’s life. For those couples who have been married a long time or who have children, it can be devastating. The mere thought of separating and starting over can be daunting. For some parents and kids, the marital home may have sentimental meaning. This is especially true if the couple purchased the house together after they got married and it is where they raised their family. However, the division of property is one of the main issues that needs to be resolved in any divorce. That does not automatically mean the house will have to be sold, but it is a possibility. Assuming both spouses own the home together, there are two options: sell or stay. Deciding who gets to stay can be the source of much conflict during the proceedings. A skilled divorce attorney can help figure out what is the best option.  

Benefits of Selling the House

It is imperative that both spouses learn the home’s current value. This may require an appraisal to get an accurate amount of what it is worth on the market. An assessment of the home’s monthly or yearly costs is also important, which may include the mortgage payment, homeowner’s insurance, and utility bills. Depending on the economy and housing market, most people hope to earn a profit when they sell a house. This money is typically split between divorcing spouses in the final property settlement. In certain situations, one partner “buys out” the other from the home. This means paying the spouse the portion that he or she would have received if the home was sold to an outside party. For those who want to stay in the home, possibly with the kids, this can be a good option.  

Some of the advantages to selling the marital home in a divorce include: 

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Kane County family law attorneySome people have a tendency to become addicted to certain substances or activities. This can include alcohol, drugs, gambling, or pornography. Addictions to these things can often lead to the demise of a marriage. In many cases, controlled substances can change the addicted spouse’s personality and make him or her physically and emotionally abusive to his or her partner or child. In other situations, a spouse may dissipate assets to sustain his or her gambling problem. If you are considering filing for divorce and your spouse has an addiction, it is important to take certain precautions in order to protect your best interests as well as your child’s during the proceedings. 

Preparation Is Key

Deciding to legally end your marriage takes courage, but it also requires careful planning if your spouse has an addiction. Preparation is key to make the process as smooth as possible, even if your spouse tries to contest the divorce. Here are a few ways to mitigate the stress of divorcing an addict: 

  1. File for an order of protection if you feel like you or your child is in immediate danger. 
  2. Save text, voice, or email messages that show your spouse’s harmful behaviors.
  3. Take photos of any damaged property caused by alcohol- or drug-induced incidents. 
  4. Change your passwords for email, social media, phone accounts. 
  5. Remove your spouse from your joint credit card, bank, or retirement accounts.
  6. Move valuable items such as jewelry or family heirlooms to a safety deposit box.
  7. Confide in people you trust or a therapist. 

If a court decides that it is not in your child’s best interest to spend time with his or her other parent, you will probably be allocated the majority of the parental responsibilities. This may also mean that you receive the marital home as part of the property division to maintain some sense of stability for your child.

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St. Charles family law attorneyWhen contemplating divorce, you may be concerned about how it will affect your children. Even if you and your spouse have been unhappy for years, you may have put off filing to protect your kids’ feelings. Although you may think this is in the best interests of your children, it is sometimes better to end the marriage. Kids can sense the constant tension and turmoil, which can be detrimental to their emotional well-being. Once a couple decides to divorce, there are many issues that need to be addressed, including the division of marital property, child support, spousal maintenance, and the allocation of parental responsibilities.

Child support payments are court-ordered, but in some cases, a parent may fall behind on payments or fail to pay altogether. Since the other parent relies on this financial assistance to care for the children, it may be necessary to enforce the order. If you are struggling to collect child support payments, a skilled family law attorney can advise you of your legal options.

Enforcing Court Orders

In Illinois, child support services are administered by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). A child support order, however, is issued by the court and enforceable under penalty of law. Therefore, a parent who fails to pay his or her designated child support can be held in contempt of court. In extreme contempt situations, an obligor who fails to pay child support may be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in up to one year in jail.

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Kane County family law attorneysUnfortunately, not every marriage ends happily ever after as they do in the fairytales. In some cases, spouses simply grow apart or cannot reconcile due to infidelity or an addiction problem. When a couple has a child with a physical or mental disability, it can also put a significant strain on their relationship. In these family situations, the decision to divorce can be especially difficult. The thought of caring for a special needs child as a single parent can be overwhelming. On top of the usual issues that need to be resolved, such as the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, and the division of property or assets, there can be a lot of uncertainty about caring for your child as a divorced parent.   

Disabilities Can Take Different Forms 

A special needs child is a minor who has been diagnosed with a condition that requires attention and certain assistance that other children do not. The state may declare this status for the purpose of offering benefits for the child’s well-being and growth. Some of these conditions may result in occupational or physical therapy, in addition to emotional or behavioral support. In some cases, a child may be confined to a wheelchair or need a seeing-eye dog. 

The following disabilities are typically placed in specific categories: 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_dissipation-wasting-money-divorce-broke.jpgDivorce can happen after three years or 30 years of marriage. Every relationship is unique, and there are many factors that cause the breakdown of a relationship. Some of these may include adultery, addiction, financial problems, and even mental health issues. In some cases, a spouse may be blindsided by the news that his or her partner wants to end the marriage. Divorce under the best of circumstances can be challenging, so for those individuals who are not prepared, it can be overwhelming. 

There are many issues that need to be resolved, including how all the couple’s possessions will be divided. Unfortunately, this can be a contentious process, especially when one party is not being truthful. The dissipation of assets occurs when one spouse intentionally squanders or destroys marital property to prevent the other spouse from getting his or her fair share of the marital estate.

Examples of How Assets Are Dissipated

In order for a court to find someone guilty of dissipation, the spending must be wasteful, excessive, and without the other spouse’s knowledge or approval. It is also important to note that this means it is only benefitting one spouse while the marriage is going through an irreconcilable breakdown. Dissipating marital assets or property can take different forms. Here are a few examples of the most common actions that constitute such behavior: 

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Kane County family law attorneysThere is no denying that a divorce can be challenging even if both spouses mutually agree it is for the best. The decision to end a marriage may be especially difficult if a couple has a child together. In many cases, both parents want to spend as much time with their child as possible and it is one of the reasons they often put off filing for divorce. Every state has laws governing divorce and child-related issues, and Illinois is no exception. The allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) must be determined before a divorce is finalized. It is possible for the custodial parent to relocate, so it is crucial to know the rights each parent has under Illinois divorce laws.

Illinois Divorce Laws

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, one parent is typically awarded the majority of the parental responsibility for his or her child in a divorce. According to a new statute that was enacted in 2016, that parent must give the other parent 60 days written notice if he or she wishes to relocate with the child. Several important details must be included within that notification, such as: 

  • Date of the planned move
  • New address
  • Length of time if the relocation is temporary

The parent is permitted to move with his or her child within the state according to certain guidelines. A move beyond the mileage restrictions or out of Illinois requires permission from the other parent unless the court allows it. If the other parent objects to the move, the court may still permit the move if it is considered to be in the child’s best interest.

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St. Charles parenting plan attorneysThe COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of people on a global scale, from China to Italy to the United States, as well as many other countries. This novel (new) coronavirus is highly contagious and results in respiratory illness that can range from mild to life-threatening. Those who have pre-existing medical conditions or who are over the age of 65 are reportedly at a higher risk of fatalities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is aggressively responding to the worldwide outbreak of the virus, with updates and guidelines for citizens to follow. Some of these directives include isolation or quarantine orders if someone tests positive for the virus. During this unsettling time, parents who are divorced may be worried how it will affect their parenting plans

Illinois’ Response to Coronavirus 

Here in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker and his administration are committed to the health and safety of citizens across the state. In an effort to flatten the curve on the number of new cases, Pritzker issued a “stay at home” order that began March 21 and tentatively runs through April 7. This means that all “non-essential” businesses are closed, including schools, restaurants (dine-in service), bars, casinos, shopping malls, salons, and more. Students are doing online schooling and people who can work from home are doing so. Government offices, medical facilities, gas stations, and grocery stores are still open. Health and county officials are urging people everywhere to practice social distancing. This means keeping six feet away from others and refraining from large gatherings or traveling unless absolutely necessary.   

Child-Related Issues Amidst the Outbreak

In an Illinois divorce, one parent is typically awarded the majority of the parental responsibilities (child custody). The non-custodial parent has designated parenting time (visitation), which is outlined in a parenting plan. This document is basically a schedule of when the children are with which parent. For example, some parents alternate weeks or weekends and holidays. However, what happens when the kids are off school for a prolonged period of time, such as during the COVID-19 outbreak?  

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Kane County divorce attorneysWith all the issues your divorce might bring – child custody, child support, and more – the division of marital assets can seem especially complicated. If you and/or your spouse own a business, the proceedings can be even more complex. Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, which means a court will determine how to split assets fairly instead of just dividing your and your spouse’s assets precisely in half. Therefore, you must have a business valuation conducted to accurately determine the company’s worth. To receive your fair share of this asset, it is important to hire an experienced divorce attorney, who, along with a financial professional, can ensure your rights are protected every step of the way.

What Valuation Method Is Best for My Business?

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to valuating a business, and a forensic accountant along with a skilled lawyer will typically choose from these three methods:

  • The market approach: With this method, an appraiser would look at what similar businesses were sold for recently and use those values as a reference.
  • The income approach: In this case, an appraiser compiles your profit-and-loss statements, tax returns, and any customer contracts to determine your earnings in the near past and estimate what you are likely to earn in the near future.
  • The asset approach: As it sounds, this method uses your business’ assets, accounts receivable, and enterprise goodwill, which is the value that your name or brand carries in the public’s eye. It is difficult to estimate this last item’s value, but that is why you need subject matter professionals to help you place a value on your business.

What If My Business Is Non-Marital Property?

Just because you acquired your business before your marriage does not mean that you do not need a proper valuation during your divorce. Your spouse may be eligible for some of those assets if you invested any marital funds in your business. For example, if you used $10,000 to renovate your retail space and you earned $20,000 in profit, your spouse could receive a portion of the initial investment and a portion of the profits.

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St. Charles divorce attorneysThe decision to file for divorce is just the first step in a long road toward legally ending a marriage. One of the major concerns for couples who are divorcing is figuring out who gets what in the final settlement. Illinois is an equitable distribution state when it comes to dividing marital property in a divorce. However, non-marital property is handled differently. Under Illinois divorce law, both spouses are entitled to keep all of their own or separate assets. Non-marital assets are classified as property acquired as a gift, through an  inheritance, or prior to the marriage, as well as property that is specifically protected by a valid prenuptial agreement. In some cases, disputes can arise if spouses argue over these items.  

Identifying Separate Property 

Distinguishing between marital and non-marital or separate property in a divorce is not always as simple as it may seem. One of the difficulties that can arise when trying to establish a non-marital asset occurs when the spouses have commingled or mixed non-marital and marital funds. Tracing is a method of following the flow of money or assets from their original source to demonstrate that they are indeed non-marital. This requires proof that the original source of the asset came from a gift, an inheritance, or ownership prior to the wedding. 

Proving the non-marital nature of inheritance money may require documents such as wills, trusts, and tax returns. These documents can establish the timing of when a spouse received the inheritance. Next, it must be proven that it has not been commingled with any marital funds, such as put in a joint bank account. If this occurs, then the non-marital asset can be transmuted into marital property, which is subject to division between both spouses. 

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Kane County divorce attorneysThe thought of going through a divorce can be intimidating, even if you are in an unhappy marriage. Suddenly becoming single after years of being married is often a difficult transition. When children are involved, the breakup of the family unit can seem devastating. However, a dysfunctional relationship is not healthy, so in many of these cases, divorce is the best option. Facing a new chapter of your life may be scary, but there are steps you can take to alleviate the stress. It is also critical that you hire a proficient divorce attorney to guide you through the process and protect your rights when it comes to the division of property or assets, spousal support, and child support.

Practical Ways to Adjust to Your New Life

You will most likely go through an adjustment period once you are divorced. You may be sad, angry, or bitter. Similar to when someone you love passes away, there is no set time when you should “be over” your divorce. It is painful even if it was your idea to split up. Here are several helpful tips for obtaining a fresh start after your marriage ends: 

  • Give yourself time to grieve. Regardless of the circumstances, a divorce is a loss, and you need to acknowledge that. Cry if you want, or spend time with family members and friends who can provide unconditional love and support. 
  • Process your feelings and emotions. Talk to a therapist or join a divorce group to talk about your regrets, hopes, and dreams. People who are going through the same thing can often relate. 
  • Rediscover your interests. You may have put aside your dreams or hobbies during your marriage if your spouse did not like the same things. Take time to pursue your passions by joining a book club or a fitness class. 
  • Try new things. Be adventurous and open to exploring different things, such as taking golf lessons or learning how to crochet or paint. Book a trip to a place you have always wanted to go. 
  • Embrace your new status. When you are ready, you may want to start dating again. Join a dating service or “meet up” groups where other singles enjoy networking and mingling in a social setting. 

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney 

Although a divorce signifies the end of your marriage, it does not mean your life is over. Many people can find happiness again, whether they remain single or get remarried. It is important to understand the necessary legal steps to finalize your divorce in an efficient manner. The dedicated legal team at Weiler & Lengle P.C. will fight for your rights to secure the best possible outcome. Speak with a qualified Kane County spousal support lawyer to learn your options for protecting your rights to the marital estate. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 630-382-8050.

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St. Charles family law attorneysMany couples who are unhappy put off filing for divorce if they have children together. The thought of hurting their kids by breaking up the family can be overwhelming. However, ending a dysfunctional marriage may benefit everyone in the long run. In Illinois, parenting time (visitation) refers to when a parent sees his or her child after a divorce or breakup. Parents can develop their own arrangement for parenting time, but a judge will still have to approve the schedule. When a couple cannot reach an agreement, the court will determine an appropriate parenting time schedule for the parents.

Illinois Divorce Laws

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) is divided into two main elements. The first aspect involves decision-making authority for important issues, such as education, religion, and healthcare. The second basic element of parental responsibility is parenting time, which may include the right of first refusal. This means that if a parent intends to leave a child with a caregiver for a substantial amount of time, that parent must first offer the other parent an opportunity to take care of the child. Examples of third parties include a babysitter, relative, stepparent, friend, or daycare facility. 

First Refusal Rights

When divorcing parents or the court includes the right of first refusal in a parenting plan, the plan must address details of how the right can be exercised. This includes:

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St. Charles family law attorneysThe decision to file for divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences of someone’s life. If a couple has children together, breaking the news to them can be just as heartbreaking. Many spouses who are unhappy stay together just for the sake of their kids. However, remaining in the relationship can do more harm than good. It is important to be honest and open with your children about your marriage ending so they are not blindsided if one parent suddenly moves out of the house. Following are some practical tips for helping you and your children during this major life transition. 

Preparation and Delivery Are Important

It is crucial that you do not tell your children that you and their other parent are getting a divorce until you are absolutely sure that is what you are going to do. The news that their family unit as they have known it is splitting up can be devastating to kids. It is critical that you make it clear to them that this is not their fault; it is a breakdown of the relationship between you and your spouse. The conversation is not going to be easy, but the manner in which you deliver the news can make a difference in your kids’ reactions and set the tone for moving forward.

Here are a few ways that parents can alleviate the stress of an impending divorce on their children: 

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Kane County family law attorneyA divorce can be difficult for a child to process. His or her world changes dramatically when the family unit as he or she knew it is no longer intact. Moving out of the marital home and into a new residence may be a challenging adjustment for any child, especially if he or she is living part time with both parents. 

According to Illinois law, parenting time (visitation) is determined based on several factors if the parents cannot come to their own arrangement. Depending on the allocation of parental responsibilities, one parent may have the majority of the time with the child once the divorce is final. However, there may be other family members who wish to see the child on a regular basis. In certain situations, other relatives such as grandparents or aunts and uncles may be awarded visitation rights. There are specific conditions that may warrant this scenario.      

Best Interest Considerations

Unlike parents, other immediate or extended family members typically do not have the presumed legal right to visitation, even if the child lived with them for a period of time or has a close personal relationship with them. However, depending on the circumstances, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling may have been denied visitation. This is common in contentious divorces, where a bitter spouse does not want the child to spend time with the other parent’s family. In these cases, those family members may file a request with the court asking to modify an existing visitation order. 

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Kane County divorce attorneysNo couple really expects to get a divorce when they first enter into a marriage, but unfortunately, not all partners live happily ever after. In some cases, people slowly grow apart for various reasons, causing a relationship to deteriorate over time. In other situations, one spouse may abruptly leave and file for divorce, leaving the other spouse shocked. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a divorce, there are many issues the two parties will have to resolve before they can legally end their union. A divorce decree is a legal document that specifies the court’s final ruling on matters as well as any judgment orders that make the termination of a marriage official. However, in certain situations, it may be possible to appeal a judgment handed down by the court if you feel it was made erroneously. In other words, an appeal is a formal request of the court to set aside a judgment and hear the case again.   

Divorce-Related Issues That May Be Eligible for Appeal 

A request to change a court’s ruling is called an appeal. The right to appeal is included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. It is important to note that someone cannot appeal a decision simply because he or she does not agree with it. An appeal is used to address a procedural mistake, a judge’s incorrect interpretation of the law, the admissibility of evidence, or how the law related to the initial proceedings. For example, it is possible for a judge to miscalculate a spouse’s available resources when determining spousal or child support order amounts. In other cases, insufficient evidence may have been presented during the initial court proceedings, resulting in unfair bias toward one spouse. 

The individual who challenges a court’s decision is known as the “appellant,” and the other party is called the “appellee.” When someone appeals a ruling, the case goes to appellate court instead of going back to trial. It is important to note that a person has up to 30 days after the ruling to file an appeal.

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Kane County divorce lawyerAlthough it would be nice if all divorces were amicable, that is rarely the case. Even if a couple mutually decides to end their marriage, they may disagree on many of the marital issues that need to be resolved when divorcing. Some typical points of contention include dividing assets or property, determining spousal support, and creating a parenting time schedule. When children are involved, it can be hard for parents to reach common ground, especially for the allocation of parental responsibilities. Child custody disputes during the divorce process can cause both parents and children to feel anxiety and guilt. In some situations, it may be necessary to seek the professional opinions of subject matter experts in addition to a skilled divorce attorney to come to a resolution.   

How Can a Professional Evaluation Help?

When determining which parent will be awarded the majority of the parenting time, the court will consider what is in the best interest of the children when making any decisions. A judge may order one or both parents to undergo a mental health evaluation. This is often the case when one parent is worried that the other parent may pose a risk to their children due to a mental illness, substance abuse problem, or similar psychological issues. The judge then uses the findings to determine whether one parent is better equipped to care for the children. In certain cases, the results can affect parenting time rights. 

A psychologist or a licensed clinical social worker can conduct an evaluation using different personality tests and interviews. He or she then submits recommendations to help the court decide what would be best for the children’s emotional well-being. This third-party evaluation will address the developmental needs of the children and the capacity of each parent to meet those needs. He or she will consider several factors regarding the parents, including: 

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Kane County divorce attorneysThere is a common misconception these days that half of all marriages end in divorce. However, recent statistics show the rate is between about 30 and 40 percent. When a couple decides to end their marriage, each spouse should seek legal representation offered by a knowledgeable divorce attorney. In some cases, a separate divorce coach can also help spouses as they navigate this transition. A divorce coach is a specially trained divorce professional who works alongside an attorney to help clients better understand the legal and emotional process of a divorce. This type of coach can act as a guide and provide emotional support as you work your way through the proceedings.

Practical Ways a Coach Can Help 

It is important to note that a divorce coach plays a separate role from your attorney. Your lawyer will represent you in court, inform you of Illinois divorce laws that apply to your case, draft your legal documents, and negotiate with your spouse’s attorney regarding a settlement on marital issues. This includes determining who gets what in the divorce since Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state. Issues such as child support, spousal maintenance, division of assets/property or debt, allocation of parental responsibilities, and parenting time can all be decided with the help of your legal team.

A divorce coach can do the following once you file for divorce: 

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St. Charles Family Law AttorneysA divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences for someone to go through. Even if the decision to end your marriage was both you and your spouse’s idea, there are many issues that require careful consideration before you can obtain your final divorce decree. Illinois is classified as a “no fault” state for divorce, and the only grounds for legally terminating your union is “irreconcilable differences.” This means you have tried to reconcile but the marriage is beyond repair. Although you and your soon-to-be ex may verbally agree on how to split up certain marital property, it is critical to get any decisions put in writing.  

Marital Settlement Agreement

In Illinois, parting spouses must create a marital settlement agreement (MSA). Every divorce is unique. For example, some couples may have children while others do not. They may also have signed a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement that clarified how to divide assets ahead of time in case the marriage did not last. A parenting plan is often part of the MSA, and it specifies the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation).

Drafting the MSA typically requires at least one settlement conference, which can be an informal negotiation or meeting between you, your spouse, and your attorneys or a more formal conference with a judge. Often referred to as a judicial settlement conference, this can avoid the expense and time spent in litigation if your divorce case goes to trial. The judge will listen to your concerns and suggest helpful solutions. Hopefully, this will help you and your spouse compromise on certain matters so you can finalize your settlement agreement. 

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St. Charles family law attorneysParenting children under the same roof can be challenging in and of itself, but parenting them from separate homes almost always requires an even greater amount of effort. Yet, studies have consistently shown that children usually fare best in a divorce if they have the continued support of both parents. Illinois’ family laws encourage parents to work together in meeting the mental, emotional, and financial needs of their kids during and after their divorce. Most often, this goal is met through the drafting of a parenting plan, which contains two major components: the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody) and parenting time (previously referred to as visitation). 

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities 

Throughout the course of a normal day, parents make multiple decisions about their children’s lives and future. While most decisions are relatively minor and require no prior “clearance” or approval from the other parent, there are certain aspects of their kids’ well-being that are considered “protected.” Examples include choices regarding education and religion. Parents also have certain legal obligations to their children, such as ensuring that the children’s medical needs are met. These issues are covered under the allocation of parental responsibilities. 

Under the Illinois Marriage and Marriage Dissolution Act (IMDMA), the law seeks to ease the often difficult transition related to the division of parental rights and responsibilities, including the decision-making authority between the parents in addition to where the children will live. In handling these sections of their parenting plan, some divorcing parents may reach an agreement easily. However, they must also figure out how disagreements will be handled, should they arise in the future. 

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Kane County divorce attorneysOne of the most difficult parts of the divorce process is the often division of assets. Married couples usually accumulate a significant amount of property during their marriage. When a couple decides to divorce, differentiating between martial property and non-marital property can become quite complex. Assets that were once considered personal, non-marital property can be transformed into marital property, which is then eligible for division. When property division issues become convoluted, it is best to hire a divorce attorney with experience managing complex property division during divorce.

Illinois Equitable Distribution Law

Illinois law regarding property division in a divorce follows a set of principles known as “equitable distribution.” Under the doctrine of equitable distribution, a couple’s marital estate is to be divided equitably, or fairly, according to each spouse’s needs and financial circumstances. There is no guarantee that each spouse will receive an equal share.

It is important to realize that only marital property is divided in an Illinois divorce. Marital property includes any assets which were acquired by either spouse during the marriage, and non-marital property includes assets which the spouses owned before the marriage as well as certain types of gifts and inheritances. Non-marital property is assigned to the original owner during a divorce. Asset division can become especially confusing when assets are commingled or mixed.

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