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St. Charles family law attorneyWhen you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, there are a large number of decisions that need to be made about the various areas of your family’s lives that will be affected by your split. Perhaps most important for parents of young children is determining how to allocate parental responsibilities. A divorce can be a time of uncertainty for your children, but a strong parenting plan will help them succeed and ensure that both parents play an active role in their lives after the divorce.

What Is a Parenting Plan?

parenting plan is an agreement between parents detailing how their children will be cared for after the divorce. This plan is an official part of the divorce decree, and it can help make the transition into post-divorce life as seamless as possible for a child as he or she adjusts to living in two homes and dividing time between parents.

A parenting plan should cover parenting time (visitation) schedules, specify how decisions about the health and well-being of the child will be made, and address any special circumstances that suit your family’s unique needs. Here are some tips for creating a successful parenting plan:

Kane County divorce lawyerdivorce can be a stressful and contentious matter, and not just because of the impending end of the relationship. Financial matters are also particularly important in divorce, and they can have a lasting effect on each party’s quality of life. If you are planning on filing for divorce or have recently been served, beware of these money issues in your case and learn how an experienced divorce lawyer may be able to help protect your interests and financial future.

Housing and Living Expenses

When couples split, one typically leaves the family home. The other might stay, or the couple might agree to sell the home and have both parties vacate the premises. Regardless of the living arrangements that you agree to, you should prepare for a possible increase in living expenses. You should also consider how a decrease in income—a common by-product of divorce—will affect your financial situation. As an example, you might consider downsizing before the proceedings begin if maintaining the family home is not a viable option.

Challenges for Disadvantaged Spouses

In a marriage, one spouse might handle all of the couple’s finances, bills, and expenses. In some cases, this same spouse is also the sole income earner. When these two realities are combined, it can create a serious disadvantage for the non-earning spouse. While maintenance and child support may be available, including while the divorce proceedings are pending, disadvantaged spouses often lack the knowledge or resources to pursue such provisions on their own. If you are in such a position, an experienced attorney can help, even if you do not have funds of your own. Do not forgo talking to a lawyer just because you lack available cash. Instead, find out what options may be available to you.

St. Charles high-conflict divorce attorneyThe divorce process is rarely, if ever, a pleasant experience, but not every divorce is an extraordinarily contentious fight. Even if your spouse has a tendency toward creating drama and conflict, there are a few things that you can do to prevent the situation from getting out of hand. Keeping your divorce as civil as possible is in your best interest, as well as that of your spouse, because with more conflict comes more time, energy, and money spent on resolving the issues at hand.

Think Before You Speak

When you are going through a divorce, you and your spouse will each go through a wide range of emotions, and you are likely to be at different points on the emotional spectrum at any given time. There is a good chance that your spouse will say or do at least a few things along the way that upset you, some of which may even be intentional. The same is probably true in reverse. Before reacting, however, it is a good idea to pause and take a mental step back.

By taking the time to slow down and look at the situation from your spouse’s perspective, you might gain a better understanding of what he or she is saying and trying to accomplish. You might not agree, of course, but by taking some time to collect your thoughts, you can respond calmly and logically instead of responding emotionally and making the situation worse. If you are talking on the phone or in person, take a few deep breaths before you say anything. If the conversation is via email or text, wait a few hours rather than firing back an angry response.

Posted on in Divorce

Kane County divorce lawyerIn the state of Illinois, the only way to get legally married is by obtaining a marriage license and having a legal ceremony before a duly appointed officiant. However, other states still allow for the practice of common-law marriage, and if a couple moves to Illinois after being married under common law in another state, Illinois will recognize that marriage as legal. Regardless of how a couple was legally married, the only way to end a marriage in Illinois is through the legal process of divorce, and this can raise some unique complications for couples with common-law marriages.

Illinois and Common-Law Marriage

Generally, a common-law marriage is a situation in which the couple holds themselves to be married in public, has lived together for a substantial amount of time, and has acted in ways typical of a legally married couple, such as owning property together, filing taxes jointly, or taking the partner’s last name. This list of states that still allow such marriages is small, but in those states, a couple that becomes married under common law has the same benefits and responsibilities as a couple who was formally married in a legal ceremony. These benefits and responsibilities can be upheld even when the couple moves to a state such as Illinois that does not allow common-law marriage.

Divorce After a Common-Law Marriage

While some states have common-law marriages, there is no such thing as a common-law divorce in any state. This means that a divorce must take place through the court system. If you met all the requirements for a common-law marriage in another state and then moved to Illinois, you would need to follow Illinois’s legal process for getting a divorce if you wish to end your marriage. Keep in mind that you must reside in Illinois for at least 90 days in order to file for divorce in Illinois.

St. Charles IL family law attorneyIt is one thing to tell your spouse that you want a divorce. However, telling your children that you and their other parent will be divorcing is another thing altogether. While parents are likely to worry about how their divorce will affect their children, it can actually be the best option for both the adults and children. Rather than experiencing regular conflict and tension between parents, children can benefit from growing up in a less stressful environment. When breaking the news of divorce, parents will want to approach the conversation in a way that helps children understand and prepare for how their lives will change.

Talking to Younger Children

The approach to telling your children that you and your spouse are getting a divorce is going to differ depending on their ages. A younger child may have a harder time understanding what a divorce means, but they could have an easier time adjusting to the change. If your children are far apart in age, you may wish to discuss the divorce with each of them separately. 

There is no definitive guide for telling your child about your divorce. Every family is different, and every child will have a different level of emotional intelligence. That said, here are some tips that may help you talk about getting a divorce with your school-aged children:

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