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Oak Park divorce attorney parenting time

The period immediately following your divorce can be among the most challenging times of your and your family members’ lives. If you are a newly divorced person who shares children with your former spouse, you and your kids may be entering into uncharted waters over the next few months. Both you and your children are likely to be experiencing a sense of grief, though this emotion arises differently for different people. There is no “one size fits all” approach to overcoming your post-divorce emotions, but how you handle the transition period can help your kids move forward into your new future as a family more resilient than before.

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Hillside divorce attorneyWhen the thought of divorce becomes a real possibility, couples can face a few different options: try to make things work with some additional help, separate to see if divorce is the right decision, or move forward with the divorce. Many couples will actually go through each of these options before determining that divorce is in fact the right choice moving forward. No one is expected to know that divorce is the right choice from the get-go, which is why many marriage counselors and professionals will suggest a trial period of separation before starting a divorce case. Whether you and your spouse decide to try a trial separation, or sign legal separation documents, there are some things that you should know.

Update to Illinois Law

Before 2016, those filing for divorce in Illinois were required to provide a reason for their divorce, such as infidelity, and to live apart for a certain period of time before filing. The law was updated four years ago to reflect the most accurate ground for divorce: irreconcilable differences. This term means that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and that neither spouse wishes to be married any longer. Irreconcilable differences is now the only ground for divorce available in Illinois. The updated law also no longer requires couples to be separated for a specific period of time before filing for divorce. If, however, one spouse does not agree to the divorce, six months of separation is considered enough evidence of irreconcilable differences in an Illinois court of law. 

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Hillside divorce attorneyIf you are a parent who is filing for divorce, there are certain aspects of your current everyday schedule which will now need to be reevaluated. For instance, your responsibilities as a parent,  which likely come naturally to you, will be reviewed and divided between you and your ex-spouse in a process known as allocation of parental responsibilities. The time that you spend with your kids will no longer be around the clock, but rather, will be scheduled and known as parenting time, or visitation. As part of the legal process, the court will be assessing your role and competency as a parent, which in some cases can lead to restrictions in the form of supervised parenting time.

What Does Supervised Parenting Time Entail?

No one enjoys the feeling of being scrutinized for their parental decisions and abilities. However,  this is a part of the divorce process if you and your spouse share children. In most cases, this evaluation will be fairly quick and the court will divide the responsibilities and parenting time fairly equally. In more contentious cases, tho, a judge may require one parent’s visitation time to be monitored by a third party. If the judge determines that you are in any way a danger to your child, or unable to fully perform your parenting duties, a court-appointed official will be present during your parenting time to monitor your parenting abilities. This is often a temporary order before the court makes a final decision, which is why the way that you handle these orders can ultimately determine your parenting role moving forward.

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Oak Park divorce attorney spousal maintenance

For some, the financial implications of a divorce may be more harmful than the end of their relationship. It can take months, or even years, for couples to make the decision to file for divorce and their romantic relationship has often deteriorated long before they have even come to this realization. Some spouses may stay together simply because of their financial reliance on each other. In order to prevent people from remaining in an unhappy marriage due to their inability to live financially independent, Illinois courts will evaluate the individuals’ financial situation during the divorce process and determine whether or not financial assistance is needed for either party. It can be a shock to transition from living off of a combined income to barely scraping by on a single income, but often the spouse with the lower income is likely eligible to receive financial assistance, known as spousal maintenance, or spousal support, or alimony, from his or her former spouse.

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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.

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