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Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C.
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213, Hillside, IL 60162
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162

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Oak Park Divorce LawyerMediation as a means of resolving important issues in a divorce is an increasingly popular option. Indeed, judges these days often order divorcing couples to attempt to resolve their issues with the help of a mediator before allowing a case to proceed to litigation. In the vast majority of cases, a couple committed to resolving their divorce peacefully can resolve all of their issues in mediation, reach a satisfactory divorce settlement and move forward with their lives. 

However, despite being an inherently less adversarial process than a litigated divorce, mediation is not without its risks. One risk is that sometimes spouses who aim to reach a resolution in mediation may be willing to give up certain property and parental rights, resulting in a seriously negative outcome for them in the future. Having an attorney can help you avoid these possible errors and other potential pitfalls of mediation. 

Having the Right Lawyer

While having an attorney throughout the divorce process is important, it is equally important to have the right attorney. Not just any attorney will do. Some attorneys specialize in adversarial divorce litigation and will not be truly committed to helping you resolve your issues amicably. Other attorneys do not offer customized divorce representation and instead prefer to offer one-size-fits-all packages at set costs. 

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Oak Park Divorce AttorneyAn engagement ring is an object with a deep sentimental feeling attached to it, but it is also often the most valuable asset a young couple owns at the beginning of their marriage. When a marriage falls apart and a couple files for divorce, it is understandable that both spouses may have strong feelings as to the entitlement of the ring; the spouse who gifted the ring may feel as though a promise has been broken, while the spouse who wears the ring may feel as though gifts cannot be taken back. 

When a valuable engagement ring is at stake, what happens if the engagement is broken off? And, if a couple is married, how do they know whether the ring should be considered marital or personal property? Read on to find the answers to these questions and then contact an Oak Park divorce attorney for help with your case. 

When Does an Engagement Ring Have to Be Given Back? 

Engagement rings are different from other gifts that lovers give to each other; generally speaking, even a very expensive gift does not need to be returned if an engagement is called off. An engagement ring, however, is a gift given in exchange for the promise of marriage. If an engagement is called off, whether the ring must be returned depends on who ended the relationship. 

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Oak Park Divorce AttorneyEven as the negative consequences of using social media become increasingly clear, nearly everyone has a social media account on at least one platform. And while social media has been shown to have a negative effect on marriage, perhaps the effects of inappropriate social media use during an Illinois divorce can be even worse. 

In fact, inappropriate social media behavior is so prevalent and so useful when it comes to arguing a divorce case that the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers states that 81 percent of divorce attorneys say that social media has helped a divorcing spouse search for evidence of bad behavior. Unfortunately for the spouse who posted it, this evidence can later end up in court. If you are getting divorced in Illinois, it is essential to understand harmful social media behaviors to avoid in order to secure the best possible outcome. 

Venting About Your Divorce

Many people use social media as an outlet for venting their frustrations and pain during divorce. After a frustrating court hearing or a rude email from a spouse, it can be tempting to get online and seek sympathy from friends and family. But even though you may not be “friends” with your spouse on social media, it is not hard to access posts through friends or burner accounts. Nasty posts could trigger retaliation from a spouse and even end up in the hands of your children. 

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Oak Park Divorce LawyerMost Illinois couples start their marriage with high hopes for a lifetime of love and happiness. Unfortunately, certain characteristics and behaviors often do not come out until spouses are married and comfortable letting their guard down. This makes certain personality disorders very hard to detect before marriage and devastating to endure once they begin. 

Borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and psychopathy affect a relatively small percentage of the population yet are common enough that extensive research has been done about how these personality disorders affect the ability to form and sustain healthy relationships. If you are in a relationship with someone who suffers from a personality disorder, you likely already have experience with how unpredictable and contentious conflict with your spouse can become; unfortunately, getting divorced is likely to be even more challenging. The good news is that you are not the first person to go through this experience and there are things you can do to protect yourself. 

Minimize Contact

One of the hallmarks of common personality disorders is the need to maintain contact, even when the contact is hostile and embittered. If your spouse bullies you, gaslights you or contacts you repeatedly and inappropriately, cut off contact as much as possible. Even if they appear contrite and apologetic, do not get taken into discussions about reviving the relationship or negotiating the divorce. Allow your attorney to handle the conversations for you. 

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Oak Park Parenting Time LawyerFor most of American legal history, mothers held a decided upper hand in a divorce regarding child custody arrangements. According to the “tender years” legal theory, young children needed their mothers more than their fathers. Millions of fathers lost out on crucial years with their children, making it hard to ever recover a fully developed relationship when the children became older.

Today, Illinois family law takes care not to favor one parent over the other–in theory, at least. Although judges are charged with applying the law regardless of their personal beliefs, personal values and biases can still impact a judge’s perception of whether a father is fit to share equal parenting rights with a mother. A father may have to enlist the help of a skilled divorce attorney to help him fight to protect his relationship with his children in a parenting agreement. 

How Are Decisions About Child Custody Made in Illinois? 

It is important to note that the terms “child custody” and “visitation”  are no longer used in Illinois family law. Instead, the terms “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” are used, which mean, respectively, important decision-making authority and time spent with a child as his or her caregiver. Parental responsibilities and parenting time are addressed in detail in a legally-binding document called a “parenting plan” that parents create as part of their divorce agreement. 

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