Category Archives: Family Law

IL family lawyerCustody and visitation court cases take their toll on families. Separating fathers or mothers from children, even if it is just the weekend or every few days per month during visitation, can cause some parents to take drastic measures. When a parent takes their child from the other parent, leaves town with the child against a court order, or refuses to allow the other parent their legal visitation or time with their child, they will be held in contempt of the court. The American Bar Association warns against taking matters into one’s own hands if a parent is unhappy with a court ruling regarding child custody or visitation. It will have grave consequences during the divorce case for that parent, who will also likely be tried in criminal court. A parent who commits parental kidnapping seriously compromises their chances of having a positive outcome during the divorce proceedings, as they have created a blight on their parenting abilities that no judge will ignore.

Consequences of Parental Kidnapping

Some possible consequences of parental kidnapping include the following:

  • Being arrested;
  • Spending weeks, months, or longer in jail or prison;
  • Fines and restitution fees;
  • Loss of child custody;
  • Limited visitation or supervised visitation only (the parent may also be required to pay a fee for the supervising authority during the supervised visitation as well, meaning that it cost them money every time they see their own child); and
  • Loss of all visitation rights.

Has Your Child Been Kidnapped By Their Other Parent?

Sadly, parental kidnapping is very common. In fact, kidnapping by a stranger is extremely rare. Most children who get kidnapped are taken by someone they know, who is usually a family member and almost always a parent. One study found that 875,000 children are abducted by a family member every year and that 90 percent of those kidnapping relatives or abductors were actually the parents of that child. Fathers were more likely to abduct or kidnap their child than mothers, and only 43 percent of abductions were reported to the police.

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IL divorce lawyerTen years ago, few people had ever heard about cryptocurrency. Today, millions of Americans have invested in companies like Bitcoin. In fact, over five percent of Americans, or over 15 million, have purchased Bitcoin alone, the most popular type of cryptocurrency, with the average American investing around $3,400. Some individuals have invested far more than this. And, because cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin rise and drop in value drastically at any given month, many people have made small fortunes with an early investment before 2018. In fact, one Bitcoin was worth around $700 in 2016. Today, one Bitcoin is worth roughly $3,800. That represents an increase in value of over 540 percent. As such, if someone invested $5,000 back in 2016, their investment would now be worth over $27,000. Interestingly enough, this can cause issues during the division of assets in a divorce.

Asset Division

One of the main aspects of divorce is dividing assets. Here in Illinois, marital assets are divided in an equitable fashion. This does not mean that all marital assets are split down the middle 50/50, however. When a couple cannot come to terms on their own or through mediation, a judge will divide the assets fairly or equitably.

What Is Marital Property?

Property owned before marriage is personal property. The value of this personal property, which may grow during the course of the marriage, remains personal property. Marital assets and property include everything that was acquired during the marriage. This includes bank accounts, real property, savings accounts earned with one party’s income, cars, and more. The only types of property acquired during a marriage that are not considered marital property are gifts, settlement or lawsuit awards, and inheritance.

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IL family lawyerDivorce is hard on adults. It can have serious impacts on each spouse’s physical and emotional health, with long-lasting implications. For children, divorce is orders of magnitude more difficult. Children often suffer from short to long-term problems following the separation of their parents. These issues range from behavioral and educational to physical and psychological, causing depression, anxiety, and a variety of other disorders. Divorce is tough on kids, but it does not need to be crippling on your child. In fact, living in a happy household is most likely much healthier for you and your child than pre-divorce, being exposed to loud arguments and deafening silences. Now that you have taken the first step in improving your and your child’s lives, the next step is to consider what type of parenting plan or living situation will best suit your child’s needs. A relatively new option that many parents have never heard of is called nesting, and it involves keeping the child in one home, while the parents take turns coming and going.

Stability and Predictability Are Key for a Child’s Health

Imagine how hard it is on you to be going through a divorce and the months of uncertainty afterward as a fully developed, emotionally cognizant adult. Now imagine being a child, not knowing what will happen next, where you will live, where you will go to school, and what the future holds. One type of parenting plan can make a huge impact on your child’s happiness and their ability to cope with this new situation. Traditionally, a child of divorced or separated parents spends time moving between the mother and father’s homes, potentially dividing their time equally between their mother and father, or spending the weekends with one and the weekdays with the other. This continual change in sleeping and living arrangements, the never-ending back and forth between homes, and the constant change in schedule is hard on children. Nesting can be a solution to this problem by allowing the child a more consistent, predictable, and stable lifestyle. The child lives in one home, while the parents take turns living with the child while staying at another shared home or separate homes during their off time.

Bird Nesting Requires Cooperation Between the Parents

As you can imagine, nesting requires a high level of communication and agreement between the parents. Because of a lack of communication and agreeability are often the cause of divorce in the first place, nesting is not for every divorced couple. It also demands more of the parents than in the traditional living model. While nesting disrupts the parents’ lives, who are more able to deal with disruption in their lives than their children, it allows the child to maintain routine, continuity, and permanency. Consistency is a cornerstone of child raising.

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IL family lawyerAfter a divorce, your spouse will eventually move on. Whether they enter into a long-term, committed relationship or they remarry, sooner or later, someone new will come into their life. This thought is painful for many exes to cope with, for obvious reasons. On your wedding day, you imagine that person being with you, and no one else, for the rest of your life. Even though the divorce is final, there is still a part of most spouses that feel a little emotional when this happens.

Without a doubt, these feelings intensify when children become involved. Not only is the newcomer involved in your ex’s life, but they are also becoming involved in the lives of your children. As parents, we become protective by nature; but there is a fine line between being protective and being possessive. For a quick resolution, try these tips if you are finding interactions difficult with your ex’s new significant other.

Find Common Ground

An excellent place to start is to find some common ground. Even if they are a high-powered professional and you are more laid-back, there is always something on which you can both agree. Maybe you both like the beach, hiking, or have a mutual love of bread. Keep trying. If all else fails, you always have the kids and your ex in common.

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IL family lawyerA good outcome of a divorce depends significantly on the arguments, as well as the agreements that you make during the divorce process. This transition period in your life is not typically a high-point of rational decisions, either. However, it is vital that you make well-thought-out agreements to ensure you have a good foundation for your life after divorce. Here are a few tips that can help.

The Decision

Generally, choosing to divorce is not a mutual decision. Typically, one partner feels unhappy or unappreciated in the union and begins to disconnect from the marriage, gathering a laundry list of bad qualities of their partner along the way. This coping strategy is relatively common, where one party blames the other spouse for the end of the marriage, but also extends the time they have to deal with the grief of the loss of their marriage. The other person is often seen as the victim and is caught off guard.

The Announcement

If you were the initiator or the victim influences the way that you will respond to the announcement; and it also has a direct impact of how you will behave in the following steps. Especially if children are involved, this is an excellent time to seek the advice of an experienced attorney so you can fully understand your options and plan your next steps.

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