Tag Archives: child custody

IL family lawyerChild custody is one of the most highly disputed issues of any divorce. It is also one of the most misunderstood. Parents often enter into child custody hearings thinking that a judge will award them sole child custody, based on their gender, or the fact that their child prefers to live with them. Other times, parents think that when they are not satisfied with the judge’s decision, they can make a motion to modify the order right away.

These are just two of the most common misconceptions about child custody. If you are going into child custody hearings, it is important that you know the facts about this legal issue, so you can better understand what to expect. Below are six facts to keep in mind throughout your divorce case.

Child Custody Decisions Are Always Based on the Best Interests of the Child

A judge will consider many factors when making a decision on child custody, and they all reflect the best interests of the child. These factors are identical in all child custody cases. While the preference of the child is one of these factors, it is never the sole deciding factor. A judge will also only consider the preferences of the child when they are of a certain age and maturity to make such preferences known.

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IL divorce lawyerNearly everyone has heard of a friend or family member that has gone through a nasty divorce. It can seem as though this is the only way to get a divorce, but that is not true. Uncontested divorces are those in which both parties agree to all terms of the divorce and they simply draft an agreement reflecting those terms. Couples often seek uncontested divorces because they allow the parties going through the process to do so with less stress in a shorter amount of time, and it also allows them to save money during the process.

Willingness by Both Parties

If even one party in a divorce is intent on dragging out the process and making it as difficult as possible, an uncontested divorce is not possible. To get an uncontested divorce, both people must be willing to remain open, reasonable, and objective. It is crucial that differences are put aside, which is often challenging in a situation when emotions run high. Still, this is the most important element when trying for an uncontested divorce.

The Right Attorney

Just because a divorce is uncontested and agreed upon does not mean that spouses cannot use an attorney. In fact, each spouse can and should have separate representation to ensure that their rights are being upheld. However, choosing the right attorney is of paramount importance. Some lawyers are so focused on taking a case to trial that they cannot move from the mindset of a litigator to that of a collaborator.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen considering divorce, you are likely thinking about how it could be a long process, and the many steps you will have to take throughout it. While the actions you take during divorce will depend on the specifics of your case, there are also some things that anyone considering divorce should do before they even file. The most important of these are listed below.

Prepare Financially

You will need a lot of documentation during your divorce case. Now is the time to collect records of financial accounts, phone records, car notes, and mortgages. Many times, spouses share these documents and when that is the case, you should take photocopies of the documentation and store them in a safe place.

Be Realistic About Child Custody

If you have children, custody issues are likely to be one of your biggest concerns as you consider divorce. It is important to remember that in most cases, a judge will award both parents time with the child unless there is an extreme situation such as addiction or domestic violence. Reviewing your work schedule, your child’s schedule, and the obligations you have will greatly help you prepare for the child custody process. If you and your spouse can reach a child custody agreement that is fair, your divorce will proceed much quicker and much more smoothly.

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IL divorce attorneyWhen two parents get divorced it typically means that the children of that marriage will spend much less time with one of their parents. Historically speaking, the parent to lose the most time with their children has been the father. Although today, Illinois courts are not supposed to take gender into consideration when allocating parenting time, the sad fact is that many still do. The data is there to support the notion that mothers are usually awarded the most time with their children. However, a new bill has been introduced into the Illinois House of Representatives, and it may mean equal time for both parents in future divorce cases.

Minimum Parenting Time in Illinois

Most people agree that when both parents are fit to raise their child, it is in that child’s best interests to spend equal time with both parents. Unfortunately, that rarely happens in Illinois and legal authorities in the state have continued to support favoring one parent over the other.

The Illinois Family Law Study Committee has found that it is in the best interests of the child to spend at least 35 percent of weekly time with each parent when both parents have been deemed good and fit. Although the Illinois State Bar Association also publicly supports equal parenting time, they have opposed the notion of each parenting getting that amount of time. In fact, the Association does not have a minimum amount of time at all for parents that are considered fit to spend time with their children.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen getting a divorce, couples have a lot to think about. They will likely wonder what will happen to their car, to the marital home, and other assets. One factor that is often overlooked though, is the family pet. If the pet was acquired during the marriage, it is considered marital property. So, when this is the case, what happens to the pets in an Illinois divorce?

Pets According to Property Division Rules

In many cases, the courts may choose to include the pet in property division hearings. This means it will be treated just like other property. Illinois is an equitable distribution state. That means that property is divided fairly, although not necessarily equally. Of course, a pet cannot be divided, leaving many couples again wondering what will happen to it in a divorce.

If one of the spouses really wants to keep the pet and both spouses can agree, the courts may grant ownership to the spouse that wants to keep the animal. In exchange, the courts will also likely grant the other spouse a greater portion of other property or assets, in order to keep property division hearings fair.

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