IL divorce lawyerSpouses often know that their marriage is crumbling and that they are likely headed for divorce. When this is the case, you may wonder whether you should file for divorce first and if there are any advantages in doing so. The family courts will not take into consideration which spouse filed first when making decisions on child custody, property division, and more. However, there are some advantages you will gain if you are the first to file.

Retain Control

During a divorce, there is so much that is outside of a person’s control. By filing first, you take some of that control back. You can make arguments within the complaint about any wrongdoing done by your spouse, which leaves them with the responsibility of responding to those arguments. You can also choose which jurisdiction to file in, which is particularly advantageous if your spouse lives far away at the time of filing.

Preparation Is Easier

When filing for divorce first, it provides you with the necessary time to prepare, which can give you a financial advantage. Preparing for divorce involves collecting important financial documents, such as life insurance policies, banking accounts, titles to property, and more.

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IL divorce lawyerChild support is often awarded in divorce cases and typically, payments are made by the non-custodial parent to the parent that won custody. Falling into arrears on a child support order means you have not paid the appropriate amount of support, and it is a very serious matter. Child support orders are court orders and as such, they are legally binding. If you have been ordered to pay child support, it is essential that you do your best to make payments on time so you can avoid the consequences that come with falling into arrears.

Interest on Child Support Arrears

Child support arrears are calculated by subtracting the amount of money you have paid by the total amount of support you were supposed to pay. If you fall into arrears or do not pay the proper amount of support, you still owe the money. However, the total amount of arrears also collects interest at a rate of nine percent, which is more than the vast majority of types of investments.

A parent that is owed child support payments may not take action right away, allowing that interest to continue to build. Once they do take legal action, the interest owed alone can be so great that any payments you are able to make only cover the interest. That essentially means that you do not make any progress in paying the amount originally owed.

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IL divorce lawyerA collaborative divorce is one in which each party agrees to come to an agreement outside of the courtroom. However, a collaborative divorce has some significant differences from mediation, another form of alternative dispute resolution. If you and your spouse are considering collaborative divorce, it is important to understand how the process works.

Choosing the Right Lawyers

During a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse will only meet with each other and each of your attorneys. It is essential that you work with a lawyer that understands how the collaborative divorce process works. Collaborative lawyers have special skills, including conflict management and guiding negotiations. If the collaborative divorce process does not work and you have to enter litigation, your lawyer will not be able to represent you, so it is important that your lawyer is just as committed to the process as you are.

Professionals Involved

Unlike mediation, there is no neutral third party involved in a collaborative divorce that helps you and your spouse come to an agreement. However, professionals are sometimes called in to help with the process. These professionals may include a parenting allocation evaluator that can advise on child custody decisions or appraisers and accountants that can help with property division matters. Although these professionals come with an added cost, they can still save you money because you and your spouse do not have to hire experts on your own, but can share in the cost during collaborative divorce.

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IL divorce lawyerThe holiday season is upon us and, while it is going to be slightly different for many this year, there are some things that will not change for parents of divorce. The COVID-19 pandemic has not affected court-ordered child custody and visitation time. Even though dropping a child off at someone else’s house does come with unique concerns during this time, the fact is that child custody orders are legally binding, and parents must continue to comply with them.

The holidays can present even more unique challenges, particularly if the parents do not have a visitation schedule in place. If you have gotten a divorce, or are getting a divorce and do not know how to divide this time, below are some common options.

Alternating the Holidays

One of the most common ways to handle child custody during the holidays is to alternate them. So, if the mother has the children over Thanksgiving, the father will have them over Christmas. The following year, those holidays will rotate with the mother having the children for Christmas, and the father spending Thanksgiving with the kids.

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IL divorce lawyerThe highly-publicized divorce of Hollywood actors Jason Bege and Angie Janu has resulted in both parents sharing joint custody of their two sons. Although divorces are not uncommon in the entertainment industry, the story was an encouraging one as Bege and Janu were able to come to an agreement on the issue of child custody. Losing out on time with a child is every parent’s biggest fear when going through a divorce, but joint custody holds many benefits for any parent that enters into such an agreement, or that must do so according to a court order.

Sharing Matters of Discipline

Regardless of whether parents are divorced or still together, no one wants to be the parent that is always disciplining the child. When the parents can agree on joint child custody, each parent will have to take their fair share of disciplinary actions. Joint custody allows the child to build a bond of trust with each parent, and not resent one more because they are always in charge of disciplinary matters.

Forced Routines

Divorce will upend the lives of everyone in the family and so, even families that did not regularly follow routines before will greatly benefit from them during and after divorce. When you share child custody, you will always have to arrange to bring your child to a certain place on certain days or pick them up. All of this brings routine to your daily life and that of your child’s, which is beneficial for both of you.

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