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Kane County Divorce AttorneyMost people getting divorced are doing so for the first time. Uncertainty is normal and having questions is common. Even if you are sure that you want to get divorced and have a sense of what you want to get out of the process, you may be unsure of how to choose the right divorce attorney. With so many options out there, it can be difficult to know what to look for and even what questions to bring to your first meeting. At Goostree Law Group, our Illinois divorce attorneys are prepared to guide you throughout your divorce - including a few things you should discuss with your attorney in your first consultation. 

Am I Likely to Reach a Settlement With My Spouse?

Many, if not most, divorces can reach a settlement before going to trial. If you and your spouse can negotiate a settlement, even if you need the help of a mediator, you can avoid the time and expense of courtroom litigation. However, settlement negotiations are not reasonable or safe for everyone, so talking to your attorney about your situation should help you better understand whether negotiation is the best path for you to pursue. 

What is My Financial Situation? 

Understanding your financial situation is essential for preparing for divorce. However, having questions about the financial aspects of divorce is normal, especially because things like child support and spousal support can be hard to predict. An attorney can help you understand whether you are likely to make or receive support payments, as well as how the process of dividing the marital estate works in Illinois. An attorney can also help you estimate the cost of a divorce and whether their services fall within your budget. 

What Happens During a Child Custody Evaluation? 

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County Child Custody lawyerChild custody issues can be complicated. Emotions are often running high and the parties involved are looking for a fair outcome. In many child custody disputes, each parent has a very different idea of what is best for their child.  This is why many courts use a child custody evaluation.

A child custody evaluation is an assessment of each parent's ability to provide for their children and the best interests of the children involved in the dispute. The court will appoint a neutral, third-party evaluator who has experience in family law or mental health counseling. 

Child Custody Evaluations in Illinois 

A child custody evaluation is conducted by an experienced, impartial professional who has expertise in both family dynamics and psychology. The purpose of the evaluation is to help the court make an informed decision about the best interests of the children. 

What Can I Do If My Ex is Stalking Me During Divorce? 

Posted on in Divorce

Kane County divorce lawyerDivorce can bring out the worst in people - especially in a high-conflict divorce. Sometimes, antagonistic behavior during a separation or divorce escalates to stalking. Following someone to school or work, calling obsessively, monitoring their social media, or showing up uninvited at their home are all examples of stalking behaviors. If your ex is stalking you during divorce, it is important to take action to protect yourself and your children.

How to Handle Stalking During Your Illinois Divorce

Stalking can involve many upsetting, unnerving, and even frightening actions and behaviors. Some people cannot accept that their marriage is ending and act out in inappropriate, threatening, and unlawful ways. If your divorce has turned nasty and you are dealing with a stalker, here are some things you can do to protect yourself: 

  • Keep a Stalking Log - Keep track of every instance of stalking behavior, no matter how small. Note the date, time, location, and what happened. This will help you identify patterns and document the severity of the stalking for future reference.

Is There Any Way to Lower My Child Support Payment?

Posted on in Child Support

St. Charles, IL child support lawyerThe state of Illinois expects parents to financially support their children even if they are unmarried or divorced. Child support payments help divide the financial burden between both of the parents. The parent with the lesser amount of parenting time provides financial support to the parent with the greater share of the parenting time. The parent with the majority of parenting time makes his or her financial contributions to the child by paying for things like housing, groceries, and other everyday expenses.

If you are the paying parent or “obligor” you may be worried about your ability to make child support payments. Perhaps you have lost your job or experienced another financial hardship, and you can no longer afford child support. There are ways to modify a child support payment amount, however, the courts only allow child support modifications in certain circumstances.

Request a Modification Review

Child support obligations are based on both parents’ net incomes and are designed to be affordable and reasonable. However, the state recognizes that parents’ financial situations can change. If you wish to reduce your child support obligation, you will need to file a petition to modify your child support order. You will need to explain your reasons for requesting the modification. Typically, a “substantial change in circumstances” is needed for a parent to get his or her child support order changed.

Kane County divorce lawyerWhen a married person realizes that divorce is on the horizon, he or she may look for ways to reduce the complexity and acrimony of the divorce as much as possible. Many people facing divorce ask themselves, “Do I really need a lawyer to get divorced?” They may worry that getting a divorce will send the wrong message or even exacerbate the tension between them and their soon-to-be ex.

Working with an experienced divorce attorney can be advantageous for many different reasons. Contrary to popular belief, retaining a lawyer does not necessarily increase the contention between spouses. Modern divorce lawyers understand that spouses want to resolve their divorce with as little difficulty and conflict as possible. An experienced attorney will know how to provide the guidance and support a spouse needs while encouraging cooperation between the parties.

Working Toward a Divorce Settlement While Protecting Your Rights

Divorcing spouses will need to address several important issues when they end their marriage. Spouses must determine what assets are non-marital and what assets are part of the marital estate. Marital property, including liquid assets, investments, real estate, and retirement accounts, will need to be valued and divided. If the couple shares children, the spouses will need to formulate a parenting plan that describes how the parents will make major decisions about their child, including educational and healthcare decisions. They must also establish a parenting time schedule that describes when each parent will care for the children. In some cases, the spouses will also need to address alimony or spousal maintenance.

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