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

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Oak Park divorce attorney parenting time

When a couple with children gets divorced, they must make several decisions regarding the children’s care and upbringing going forward. In most cases, both parents will be awarded a designated amount of parenting time (visitation) depending on the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) between them. A "right of first refusal" is a subject which arises when a parent intends to leave his or her child with a caregiver for a portion of his or her normal parenting time; that parent must first ask the child’s other parent if he or she can watch the child instead. Parents may reach an agreement on this subject in their divorce, but if they cannot agree, the court will consider whether to award one or both parties a “right of first refusal” in connection with caring for a child during the other parent's regular visitation time. 

Parenting Time 

A substitute caregiver for a child might be a babysitter, a second spouse, a family member, a close friend or a neighbor. Any involved parties should always consider first and foremost the child's best interest. When the court awards a “right of first refusal” in an Illinois divorce, the judge's award will typically clarify the following: 

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Oak Park family law attorney paternity

When a couple is married and they have a baby, it is presumed that the man is the legal father of the child. However, when two people are not married, paternity (parentage) has to be legally established before the father is eligible for specific parental rights, and before the child is entitled to certain benefits. Studies have shown that children thrive most when they have a relationship with both of their parents, so confirming parentage is important for everyone’s best interests and well-being of all parties. Establishing parentage for children born out of wedlock can also help provide a basis for obtaining child support payments, and for fathers, it may be necessary for the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and can allow them to be more involved in their child’s life moving forward.

Legally Recognizing Parentage 

In Illinois, when parents are in agreement on who the father of the child is, both parties can fill out and sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” (VAP) form, which legally establishes parentage. In situations where the parents do not agree on the father’s identity, they can do either one of the following:

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Oak Park, IL divorce attorney property division

It can sometimes take a long time for a couple to come to the realization that their marriage should end. Regardless of the reasons for the relationship breakdown, sometimes it is for the best. The legal process of ending a matrimonial union involves many steps and decisions regarding various issues. Divorce laws vary by state, but in Illinois, the division of property follows the equitable distribution method. This means that marital property and assets are divided in a fair way, but not necessarily 50/50. Any property that is acquired during the marriage is subject to division. However, if your ex-spouse did not disclose all of his or her financial information, the divorce settlement is likely unfair. With the help of an experienced divorce attorney, you may request a modification of the property division orders.  

Hiding or Dissipating Assets

It is possible that your former spouse hid or dissipated assets toward the end of your marriage in order to gain a financial advantage in the final proceedings. For example, if there is less money in a bank account, there is less to split. There are several ways that someone can engage in these deceitful behaviors. Spending or wasting funds after the relationship has irretrievably broken down is considered dissipation of assets. Hiding property by putting it in another party’s name or assigning it a lower value are examples of ways that a spouse can be untruthful during the divorce process. 

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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.

Build a Unified Gameplan

As previously mentioned, there are no cookie cutter means by which to make this transition feel natural. You and your co-parent should, however, have a clear understanding of how you will proceed in terms of caring for your kids and maintaining a civil, if not amicable, relationship. You should have a specific plan of action before notifying your children that divorce is your next step as a family. Who will live where? How often will they stay with their other parent? Where is their other parent moving to? You should have answers to all of these questions so that you are prepared to present your kids with a unified front moving forward. This will reassure them that despite your impending divorce, both of their parents will continue to be actively involved in their lives.

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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. 

Why Separate?

Even though separation is no longer required, many couples will continue to live separately for months, or even years, before going through with their divorce. Living separately can typically give couples the clarity that they need regarding their relationship. Do they prefer living on their own or do they miss their partner? Are their arguments inconsolable or did they just need some space to realize that the fights are not that important of a problem? Living on your own can give you perspective on what life will be like once your divorce is finalized, and your feelings during this trial period can often tell you about your true desires for the future.

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