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Belleville Family Law Blog

Can an app help me co-parent?

If you are one of the many divorced parents in Illinois who struggles with how to track financial expenses related to your kids in conjunction with your former spouse, you know that this is no easy task. Your divorce decree may outline the basic plan and criteria such as which one of you must pay how much in child support and how much each of you must pay toward health insurance or medical costs, but you quickly learn that there are many other things left for you to figure out. Even tracking the items that are clearly defined in your settlement can become complex and open up too many opportunities for conflict between you and your ex.

Fortunately there are many websites and mobile apps available today that give divorced parents the ability to take some of the emotion and complexity out of this money management nightmare. Coparently is one company that offers such a tool in both web and mobile formats.

Child support and incarceration

Are you the divorced parent of at least one minor child in Illinois? If either you or your former spouse are legally required to pay child support per your divorce decree, it may be important for you to understand the legal ramifications associated with nonpayment of support. Also important is an overview of what situtations may warrant a change to your existing child support order.

As explained by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the federal government's Office of Child Support Enforcement enacted a new rule at the end of 2016 regarding child support and incarceration of the non-custodial parent. The order allows non-custodial parents who are sent to jail or prison for offenses not related to their child support orders the ability to seek modifications of those orders. Additionally, states should not treat such incarceration as a voluntary attempt at being unemployed and therefore making them unable to pay support.

Co-parenting after divorce, does it work with young children?

Co-parenting is a term that essentially refers to a parenting arrangement after divorce that focuses on equal parental involvement. Both parents attempt to focus their efforts on the children, instead of one parent playing the role as the sole provider and the other having occasional visits. 

Financial support for children

If you are the parent of one or more minor children in Illinois and are getting a divorce from your spouse, you may be needing to know what if any financial support may be ordered by a court. Either parent may be required to pay support for their children depending upon the nature of the parental responsibility decisions that are made and which parent is deemed to be the custodial parent.

As explained by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, it is the non-custodial parent who may be ordered to provide financial support after a divorce. The amount of support to be paid is determined in part based upon how many children the family has. This ranges from 20 percent of a person's net income for one child to half of a person's net income for more than five kids.

Financial tips during and after a divorce

There is no denying the fact that getting divorced can be a stressful and financially challenging experience. For many couples in Illinois, in fact, financial struggles may well have been big contributors to the marital troubles that led to a divorce. In addition, life after a divorce can often see people with reduced income and the need to readjust their living styles in order to accommodate their new financial pictures.

Time indicates that one important thing for people to do is identify their personal financial goals. For some people, this may be financing a college education for their kids while for others this may be about paying down debt. There is no right or wrong here but these goals are important as they can dictate other decisions that may need to be made.

What is collaborative divorce?

Are you one of the many spouses in Illinois who is considering getting divorced? Whether you have spoken to your spouse about this yet or not, it can be important for you to understand some of the options available to you should you in fact end up going through with a divorce. In addition to what many may know of as a standard divorce process where each spouse has individual lawyers who essentially take the lead in negotiations all the way through, you may want to consider a collaborative divorce.

Many people mistakenly assume collaborative divorce is the same as mediation but that is not so. As Forbes explains, in a mediation, neither you or your spouse would hire a lawyer to represent you. Instead a neutral third party would act as a mediator. This person's job is not to counsel either of you or to put forth what is best for either of you but instead to guide you and your spouse through the process of determining your own settlement.

Retirement funds and child support

If you are an Illinois parent who is planning to get divorced or are perhaps currently in the midst of a divorce, making sure your child or children are taken care of will no doubt be a priority for you. This certainly means paying close attention to their emotional needs during this transition but it also means ensuring their financial stability. To this end, you may be required to make child support payments.

If you are concerned about how you can afford this new expense in your life, you should know that you may have the opportunity to use your 401K funds to help you do this. The United States Department of Labor explains that with the use of a qualified domestic relations order, you may be granted the ability to have money paid directly from your retirement account to your child in order to satisfy a legal child support order.

Can I keep my dog after my divorce?

Are you one of the many people who loves their dog but is facing an impending divorce? If so, you may well be concerned about what may happen to your dog. For couples without children especially, a dog can be thought of as their child and may well become a sticking point in a divorce. If both you and your spouse want to keep the dog, how do you think the decision may be made if you cannot agree?

Forbes explains that a few facts may be considered and these center largely around the different lifestyles you and your to-be former partner may live once you are living separately. This may include in part where each of you live. Will one of you live in a house with a yard and a pet door while the other one may live in a small second-floor apartment? Especially depending upon the size and breed of your dog, the house and yard may be a better situation for your dog.

How are student loans handled in a divorce?

If you are one of the many Illinois residents who is facing an impending divorce, you are likely concerned about the need to divide up your assets and your debts. In addition to things like a home if you own one and cars, student loan debt may also become part of your divorce settlement. This may be likely if any such debt was incurred during the time that you and your spouse were married.

As explained by Student Loan Hero, a few things are evaluated when deciding whether or not one or both spouses should share in the repayment of one person's student loan debts. One of these things is whether or not the student earned a degree during the marriage and, if so, to what extent that degree contributed to the earning potential and lifestyle of both spouses. In the same vein, the earning ability of both spouses will be considered in the overall equation.

Health insurance for kids after a divorce

As an Illinois parent, you no doubt know the importance of making sure your kids receive proper medical and dental care. This may include routine and preventive care such as annual exams, teeth cleanings and vaccinations. If your kids have any special needs or medical conditions, you may have ongoing health care concerns. A fall on a playground or a sports injury are yet other scenarios that commonly arise with kids and highlight the need for proper health insurance.

When you get divorced, just how can you make sure your kids will continue to have access to the care they need when they need it? As explained by 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, you and your spouse will need to work this out carefully during your divorce. In some cases, one parent agrees to provide health insurance for the children after the divorce and this agreement and requirement may be put into your divorce decree.

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Courtney, Clark & Mejias, P.C.
104 South Charles Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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