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

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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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Oak Park Parenting Time LawyerSpouses in Illinois often get divorced because abuse or neglect exists in the marriage. Sometimes, such behavior is directed towards a couple’s children even before the couple decides to separate. Other times, fears of child abuse may suddenly arise after a child comes back from spending parenting time with their other parent and something seems terribly wrong. Regardless of how the issue arose, it is essential to take your hunches about child abuse or neglect seriously. If you are in this situation and wondering whether the situation may justify a parenting agreement modification, read on. 

Do I Need to Show Evidence of Abuse? 

Illinois courts take allegations of child abuse very seriously. However, family court judges are also aware that spouses will sometimes make false or exaggerated claims about abuse to try to get revenge on each other, or to try to keep children away from their other parent. For these reasons, it is essential to have some tangible evidence that child abuse is taking place so something can be done. 

Sometimes, child abuse is obvious. If your child comes home from visiting their other parent and has physical injuries, or claims their parent or someone else hurt them, you may need to contact the authorities right away. But when abuse is more subtle or takes the form of emotional or verbal abuse, gathering evidence can be more difficult. Parents should be cautious about questioning their children about abuse because it may be easy to accidentally give children false memories, or to make it difficult for them to remember what really happened. Help from a therapist or other child psychological experts may be necessary to discover the truth.   

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Oak Park Divorce LawyerIf you or your future spouse own a business, you know the hard work and dedication it takes to be an owner. As you are approaching your marriage, you may have questions about the impact that getting married  may have on your business. To protect your business’ assets and clearly and legally establish what is and is not marital property, you and your spouse may choose to sign a prenuptial agreement. No one wants to think about divorce before they are even married, but having a prenuptial agreement in place, especially when a business is involved, can provide peace of mind and establish a clear understanding of your finances. 

Signing a prenuptial agreement is not a predictor of divorce. As the average age of wedded couples grows older, and more assets are often brought into the marriage, it can be a good way of knowing each other's assets and debts. This can help avoid arguments about finances later, which are a leading cause of divorce. Both parties should be as upfront as they can during the preparation of a prenuptial agreement. During the divorce process, the agreement can be thrown out by a judge if, for example, one of the parties hid assets from the other, or if one spouse felt coerced into signing the agreement. 

With regard to a business, you will likely need to get a formal valuation of it for the purposes of a prenup . Typically, if a business was started before the marriage, it is usually considered non-marital property. A prenuptial agreement may also still be a good idea if you will be going into business together, or if one spouse will be doing work at the business of the other, because even if you started the business before the marriage, without a prenup, the business  might later be considered partially or even fully marital property. A prenuptial agreement can also be used to specify each spouse’s share of the business's assets and liabilities, as well as how any appreciation would be divided  in case of a divorce. While Illinois is an equitable distribution state–marital assets are divided equitably between the parties, not equally–it can still be beneficial to both spouses to agree upon a split upfront. 

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