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High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162

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Oak Park divorce attorney asset division

Every step of the divorce process is difficult. First, you make the decision to get a divorce that will forever alter your life, and then you must watch your life be divided up by two legal teams and your former spouse. Typically, children and finances are the subjects that bring up the most deliberation between soon-to-be exes. It can be difficult to watch everything in your life become a number to be split, but unfortunately, this is inevitable for those filing for divorce. Some couples may keep separate bank accounts throughout their marriage for their own sense of security and to be prepared for divorce if the relationship does not last. This decision is often made without consulting legal professionals or having a proper understanding of Illinois’ property division laws. Before you and your spouse decide to stay financially separate, you should recognize how this will affect your divorce.

Why Have Different Accounts?

Studies have shown that financial difficulties are one of the main reasons for divorce. This may mean that couples argue over their income disparities, their levels of control over accounts, or even their spending habits. Some couples look to avoid these arguments by keeping their accounts separate. This can promote autonomy in their relationship and avoid disputes regarding their spending since they are using the money that they earned themselves. Having a stronger relationship is not the only reason for separate bank accounts. In a similar way to prenuptial agreements, some couples may try to protect their earnings in the event they decide to legally terminate their marriage. 

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Hillside, IL empty nest divorce lawyerIt is a fact of life that children will eventually move on and leave the house when they reach a certain age. For many families, this occurs when kids head off to college, while for others, children may remain living at home for longer. Regardless of when the kids leave, it is not uncommon for parents to feel a sense of loss and uncertainty when their children move out. 

For many couples with children, their kids can become their whole life. Mornings may involve serving breakfast and packing lunches before kids head off to school, weeknights may be focused on helping with homework, and weekends can be all about sports tournaments and other activities. However, what may seem like chores and responsibilities can be sorely missed when they disappear from your everyday schedule. When these tasks vanish, and you and your spouse have more time alone with each other, it can be beneficial for your relationship, or it may expose unresolved conflicts and difficulties, which might result in a divorce.

When Is Divorce Necessary After Children Leave the Nest?

It is common for couples to experience a strong sense of loss when their children move out. For some parents, “empty nest syndrome” can make them realize that the only thing keeping their marriage together was their kids. If you are wondering whether divorce might be your best option after your children have left home, you may want to consider the following:

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Oak Park child support attorneyChildren deserve to receive financial support from both of their parents, whether a mother and father are married, unmarried, or divorced. In order to help unmarried or divorced parents share the costs of raising a child, a court may order one parent to make child support payments to the other. In Illinois, child support is calculated using the “Income Shares” method, which takes both parents’ financial circumstances into consideration. If a parent fails to fulfill his or her child support obligations, he or she can face serious civil and even criminal consequences. Child support orders may be modified later if one of the parents experiences a “substantial change in circumstances” that necessitates the change.

The “Income Shares” Model for Calculating Child Support

Before major changes were made to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) in 2017, child support was determined using a simple percentage of the paying parent’s income. For example, if a parent had two children with an ex-spouse, he or she would pay a monthly child support payment that was 28 percent of his or her monthly take-home income. Currently, however, Illinois uses a different model to calculate child support. This calculation method takes both parents’ net incomes, as well as the amount of parenting time each parent has, into consideration in order to arrive at an amount that is fair and reasonable. 

To calculate the amount of child support payments, each parent’s net income is established by taking their gross income and subtracting certain deductions, such as taxes, health insurance premiums, mandatory retirement contributions, and previous child support or spousal support obligations. Next, the total amount of money needed to support the child is determined based on the amount parents who earn that combined income would typically spend to support the number of children they share. Finally, this cost is split proportionally between the parents based on their net incomes. The parent who has the majority of parenting time will typically be the recipient of child support, and the other parent will be the payor.

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Oak Park divorce lawyer post-decree mattersGoing into a new year, many people often try to set goals in order to improve their everyday lives. These resolutions may range from promises to eat healthier to working towards a better career, and there are limitless possibilities for self-improvement. If you are trying to move past a divorce, there are several goals that you can put into place to help make this task easier to achieve. While beginning a new year alone can be difficult, there are a number of positive steps you can take that can help you build a successful life after your marriage has ended.

Act Appropriately Towards Your Ex

Following your divorce, you and your ex-spouse may still have to communicate with each other on a regular basis. Whether it is due to child custody, child support, or different post-decree matters, a variety of situations may arise that will require the two of you to cross paths and interact. By treating your ex with respect and kindness when possible, you can avoid a toxic relationship and reduce stress in your life.

If, however, your ex chooses to act in a way that increases conflict, it is highly recommended to remove yourself from the situation and seek help. Utilizing a support system that includes friends, family members, and a therapist or other trained professionals can provide you with a safe space where you can express your thoughts and feelings. You may also need to seek out legal help if you need to obtain a restraining order to protect your safety, or to possibly modify or enforce the terms of your divorce decree.

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Hillside legal parentage lawyer

Parentage (which is also known as paternity) is the legal relationship between a parent and his or her child. If a couple was married or in a civil union when their child was born or within 300 days before the birth, the mother’s spouse is presumed to be the father. However, if the mother and father were not married or in a civil union, paternity must be legally established. Naming a child’s legal parents is important, because it ensures that both parents have a right to participate in the allocation of parental responsibilities, and it allows the child to receive the necessary child support. For fathers who are trying to protect their parental rights or mothers who wish to confirm the parentage of their child, it is important to speak to an experienced family law attorney.       

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

If there is a mutual agreement between two parties about who the father is, a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) can be completed, signed, and filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). This will allow the father's name to be added to the child's birth certificate. A VAP can be completed at any time after the child is born, and the signing must be witnessed by a person who is 18 years or older who is not named on the document. 

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