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Belleville Family Law Blog

Child custody: Handling visitation issues for the holidays

Heading into the holiday season might have many divorced parents in Illinois planning visitation schedules. While most parents want what is best for their children, regardless of which one has child custody, this could be a challenging process. Advisers say there are some old and established mindsets that be best replaced with new ones to benefit building more effective co-parenting relationships.

The old mindset of the custodial parent was thinking he or she is the only essential one in the relationship rather than recognizing that their children can benefit from both parents. Instead of competing to get more time, parents might pause to realize that the strengths of one parent could complement the weaknesses of the other. When both parents are involved in the lives of the children, the old mindset of wanting to parent alone might deny the children the benefits of having collaborative parents, even if they are living in different places.

How to deal with the challenges of high-asset property division

Regardless of how amicably Illinois couples manage to end their marriages, it will nearly always be a painful and challenging process. Property division might be one of the aspects that is most challenging. It might be even more difficult if you are facing a high-asset divorce. Making crucial decisions without adequate information could be detrimental, but help is available.

The legal team at Courtney-Clark Law, P.C. has all the skills necessary to deal with the marital division of complex estates. Your marital estate might include antiques and valuable art pieces, real estate in different states, investment accounts and properties. The more than 40 years of combined experience in our law firm could be invaluable in your quest to get your fair share of the marital estate.

Is the other parent sabotaging your relationship with the kids?

The news media would encourage you and the other parent to get along for the sake of the kids in the event of a divorce. Stories regarding celebrities and other couples who can live together, vacation together and otherwise have a friendly relationship with the other parent fill the internet.

Perhaps you tried this, but it just didn't work. You ended up going to court in order to have a judge decide what your post-divorce parenting time would look like. As you embark on this court-ordered journey, you may wonder whether your former spouse will attempt to sabotage your relationship with the kids since his or her anger at you seems to outweigh that parent's love for your children.

How to avoid making financial errors in the throes of divorce

Admitting that marriage has come to an end might seem like one of the most challenging things to do. However, as many in Illinois might know, getting through the divorce unscathed is an even more significant challenge. Along with matters related to children, financial errors made at this time can have long-term consequences. For that reason, knowing which mistakes to avoid might be a significant advantage. The most important task to prepare for a stable financial future is to develop a financial plan.

A common mistake is falling for retail therapy -- thinking that a new car, cosmetic surgery or a new home will ease the pain. The opposite is true because the debt will no longer be shared, and the impact on that person's credit score might be severe. Choosing to cash in investments is also a short-term solution because the tax consequences when investments are sold could be substantial. Following this route might also jeopardize long-term goals and financial stability.

Divorce and the many challenging decisions to make

Ending a marriage is one of the most challenging times for any couple. Navigating a divorce in Illinois requires both spouses to make many difficult choices and decisions that could determine many aspects of their post-divorce lives. Some realize too late that some choices were emotionally motivated rather than made for practical or financial reasons. One common concern involves the decision of where to live.

Parents who will have custody of the children often decide to keep the family home to limit the children's trauma. However, it may not be long before that parent realizes it was an unwise choice because he or she might not have the finances to maintain the home, garden, yard work and even the mortgage. Some find that selling the house can allow each party to invest in other properties, depending on how the net equity is divided between the parties. 

Is this your first holiday season as a co-parent?

If you finalized your divorce this year or will soon, you could be facing your first holiday season after deciding to end your marriage. Perhaps getting through the summer, the start of school and the first parent-teacher conferences wasn't as bad as you thought it would be, but as the year winds to a close, you may be experiencing some trepidation.

The holidays often present challenges during the best of times, but during or after a divorce, they can be overwhelming. With some work and preparation, you could still find a way to enjoy the holidays.

When does the court base child support on imputed income?

The Illinois family law court focuses on protecting the best interests of children, and most divorcing parents do the same. However, there are those who would do anything to avoid paying child support, and that is where imputed income comes in. When determining the amount of child support a parent must pay, the court might look at potential income rather than actual income.

Sadly, cases exist in which parents make intentional efforts to reduce their income. It could be a parent who changes a well-paying job for one that is less lucrative, and some even claim to be unemployed to escape or lessen child support obligations. On the other hand, the custodial parent might pull similar tricks in order to receive more child support. However, family courts have zero-tolerance for sandbagging tactics.

Property division: What happens to a small business in divorce?

No divorce is ever simple, even uncontested divorces in Illinois have some aspects that need careful consideration. The challenges typically involve property division, especially if the couple or one spouse owns a business. If not handled with care, a small business owner can lose everything that he or she worked to build up over years.

Problems can be avoided if a business that existed prior to the marriage was addressed in a prenuptial agreement -- as long as that agreement is valid in the eyes of the court. If ownership or division of the business is not included in a marital contract, the court will determine whether it is separate or marital property. Anything that one spouse brings into a marriage is typically separate property, and assets acquired during the marriage are marital property that gets divided.

Divorce rates seem to be affected by different generations

The lifestyle preferences of different generations seem to affect more than the consumer market. The CEO of a fast food establishment revealed slumping sales -- blaming it on the preference of millennials to prepare home-cooked meals. Illinois residents might also be aware that it was only months ago that a Wall Street Journal report indicated that mayonnaise sales had dropped considerably. Some suggest that this also follows changed lifestyles in which natural foods are preferred. Following another recent study, it was reported that millennials are less inclined to divorce.

The National Center for Family and Marriage Research at a university in another state reported that baby boomers -- those who were born between 1946 and 1964 -- had a high divorce rate at ages 55 to 64. However, new studies indicate an 18 percent drop in the divorce rate of millennials -- people born between 1981 and 1996. A professor at another university noted that women of this generation tend to marry after turning 25 years old, and most have bachelor's degrees or some level of higher education before they tie the knot.

Illinois courts now consider the well-being of the family pet

You probably had no reason to notice that a new law went into effect Jan. 1 regarding your family pet. This may be because at that time, you may not have been close to filing for divorce as you are now.

Now, it may be important for you to know that on New Year's Day, Illinois became the second state in the union to change its laws to allow courts to consider the well-being of the family pet in a divorce.

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Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
104 South Charles Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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