Category Archives: Family Law

IL family lawyerDivorce is usually a time of drastic changes. Everything from your normal breakfast routine to where you sleep at night goes out the window during divorce. For many couples, selling the home becomes a necessity to manage finances. As the two spouses split up and live in different locations, paying the mortgage on top of rent becomes unmanageable, particularly when the two parties have to pay separate utilities and a plethora of other expenses that used to be shared. In fact, 61 percent of divorced couples end up selling the home. However, not all soon-to-be divorced couples sell the home, and in some cases, this is the best decision if at all possible.

If You Have to Sell the Home

Finances or moving out of town are two of the most common reasons that divorced couples sell their home. Selling the home can provide the best way to split the value of the property during division of assets, can allow both parties financial footing to start off anew, and can minimize stressful costs by getting rid of an expensive mortgage. After all, if one party ends up owning the house, they may not even be able to cover the mortgage by themselves. If you are selling your home during divorce, make sure to follow the tips below:

  • Discuss the full plan with your spouse before taking any other actions, as well as the pros and cons of selling or staying;
  • Divide the costs of cleaning, maintenance, renovations, and any other repair work evenly or at least keep close track of the costs;
  • Choose a realtor together;
  • Keep dialogue open with your spouse during the sale;
  • Hire an attorney before the sale goes through; and
  • Divide the assets. Marital property in Illinois is divided equitably.

Choosing to Keep the Home

For parents who can afford to keep the home, the stability that brings to your children may outweigh any other positives that selling the home has to offer. Additionally, older divorces may benefit by holding onto a home that they own outright. After all, late-life divorces are much more common now than in the past. In 2014, Americans over the age of 50 were twice as likely to get divorced than 50-plus-year-old Americans in 1990. For divorcing couples that choose not to sell the home, they, along with their attorneys, need to figure out an equitable way to divide assets, since the home (usually) cannot continue to belong to both parties. And, if there is a mortgage left to pay, the spouses must reach a decision on who is responsible for paying what. In some cases, the spouse who no longer lives in the home may be responsible for paying part of the mortgage.

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Il family lawyerDivorce is hard on adults. Just think how difficult it is for children, who rarely understand why their parents are separating, do not have any say in where they live or what their new lives will entail, and whose entire life schedules and normal routines are disrupted every few days or weeks when they go to stay with their other parent. As a mother or father, you can make this difficult process easier on them. The months that divorce takes will be a challenge, but you have the ability to minimize the stress and anxiety that your children experience during this time.

Refrain from Bad Mouthing the Other Parent in Front of Your Children

Children are more likely to identify with the parent that is the same gender as they are. Sons will identify with fathers, and daughters will identify with mothers. As such, if a father says to his daughter, “I hope you don’t end up being like your mother,” or makes some other crude or disrespectful comment in front of his daughter, his daughter may internalize that and her emotional development will be delayed or impaired. Even saying something negative about a son’s mother, who is a different gender than him, has a negative effect on the child. It may be tempting to bad mouth or grumble about the other parent, but this can have serious consequences on your child’s emotional and psychological state of mind.

Keeping Conflict Away from Your Children, Communication, and Maintaining a Relationship with Both Parents

Even discluding court appearances and mediation, divorce is filled with conflict between the two spouses. Children pick up on the most subtle derogatory comments just as easily as a shouting argument. Exposure to any type of conflict increases the child’s risk of developing psychological and social problems, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Parents should consider doing the following:

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IL family lawyerThere were 26,132 divorces in 2016 in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Many of these cases are the dissolution of religious marriages. In fact, 50 percent of residents in Illinois say that religion plays an important role in their lives, according to the Pew Research Center. Depending on their religion, spouses who are planning on getting divorced may need to carry out specific actions before their divorce is recognized by their church or religious leaders. While Illinois courts do not take religion into account at all, a religious divorce validated by a spouses’ church or center of worship may be just as important as the state-recognized divorce, which sorts out custody, visitation, child support, division of property, and more. A DuPage County attorney with experience carrying out religious divorces will be best suited to meeting both your religious and civil divorce needs.

Christian Divorces and Catholic Annulment

For most Christians, their divorce does not need to follow any particular set of rules in order to be seen as valid by the church. However, for some sects of Christianity, such as Catholicism, spouses may need to tread carefully. For example, Catholicism does not allow for a divorced person to remarry within the church. As such, some spouses may wish to have their marriage annulled if at all possible, rather than go through divorce. Other particularities may exist depending on the type of Christianity that you follow. In Illinois, 71 percent of the population follows Christianity, with Catholicism making up the largest sect at 28 percent.

Orthodox Jewish Divorces

For Orthodox Jews hoping to divorce, the husband must submit Get, a written document of proof, to the wife for the divorce to be validated by the synagogue. If the husband refuses to submit Get, the wife cannot divorce the husband. As such, under Orthodox Judaism, the wife cannot remarry and cannot have any more children who are religiously legitimate until Get is submitted by her husband—even though her “husband” may no longer be her actual legal husband under Illinois law at this point. There is no legal recourse for an Orthodox Jewish wife to take in order to force her husband into submitting Get, which is really just his permission. As such, Orthodox Jewish wives have no power in their religious divorce.

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Il family lawyerDivorce is often an expensive, long, drawn-out affair that takes many stressful months and east up thousands of dollars. On the other hand, your divorce could be amicable, be over in a short period of time, and cost you very little. However, you never know how your spouse will react to your demands, what problems may arise, and whether or not things will take a turn for the worse. As such, it is important to not only seek out legal counsel from the beginning, but to create a plan to ensure that you have enough money to get through the divorce, potentially with independence from your spouse.

Living Arrangements

Some spouses can make it under the same roof for many months during their divorce, and some even choose to live with one another after the divorce has been finalized. For those who do not have close friends or family members to stay with and are stretched tight for cash, living with your soon to be ex-spouse may be the only option available. For those who do have the means or opportunity to live apart, separating may be the best choice during divorce. This means deciding who stays in the current home and who rents an apartment or house for the next number of months. The additional cost of renting another place may be taken into account during divorce.

Deciding with Whom Your Children Will Live

If you have children, child custody and the parenting plan may be the most hotly contested part of the divorce. However, even before the divorce is finalized, parents must either agree on a living situation, or they can take the matter to court. Under 750 ILCS 5/603.5, the court can create a temporary parenting plan before the divorce is finalized, making a decision based on what is in the child’s best interest.

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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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