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Posted on in Divorce
One reason that spouses may hesitate to initiate divorce is because they are concerned about the potential impact on the children. Certainly, divorce can have a profound impact on the emotional well-being of children, but conflict within the house arising from tension in the marriage can also have a negative influence. In some cases, children of divorce are better off than those who watch their married parents fighting.  Research from the Economic and Social Research Council shows that children can interpret conflict between their parents in different ways. Some children experience extreme emotional outbursts when they have difficulties coping with conflict, whereas others make it through relatively unscathed. The child's reaction depends on the nature of the conflict. If the words exchanged between two parents made a child feel concerned that the family would split up or caused the child to feel threatened, he or she would be more likely to experience emotional impacts like depression. To get to the root of the issue, it’s about how children understand problems in their parent’s relationship. A myriad of issues can affect a child’s mental well-being including maternal depression, poor parenting skills, and a relationship between parents that appears hostile. In some situations, this calls for parents to explore how they interact with one another and work on resolving disagreements in a different manner. For those individuals whose conflicts go above and beyond occasional arguments, separation or divorce might be considered. Although it will take some time for a child to get used to his or her parents being divorced, continuing to raise that child in a hostile atmosphere with a great deal of tension between parents is not a positive environment, either. Are you thinking about a divorce? You need to schedule an appointment with an Illinois family law attorney who can help you and your children through a tough time.
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Posted on in Divorce
Many studies have linked waiting to get married with better long term outcomes, like a lower rate of divorce or fewer arguments between spouses. However, recent research has shown that there are benefits for those who marry in their early 20's too.  pre-marital agreementNew information from the National Marriage Project indicates that those who get married younger than the national average (27 for women and 29 for men) might be happier. For individuals between the ages of 20 and 28 who classified themselves as “highly satisfied” with their lives, the highest percentage of respondents indicated that they were married. If you choose to get married in your 20's, you might also drink less alcohol.  A 2012 research project published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior states that engaged and married young individuals reported less overall drunkenness when compared with single people in the same age category. The journal’s authors believe that the increased responsibilities associated with marriage reduced the chances that an engaged or married person in their 20's was spending a significant amount of time drinking alcohol. Finally, more research shows that there’s no real benefit to waiting if you already believe you’re ready to get married. A 2010 sociology research project argues that those individuals who hesitate because they believe they are not at the right age for marriage aren't receiving any advantage by putting off a trip to the altar and are only losing the health and emotional benefits that youth can bring to a marriage. Good planning and deep consideration of marriage can be beneficial for your marital bliss in the long run. A pre-marital agreement can be an important document for your marriage. If you think you’re ready to get married and want to discuss the benefits of a pre-marital agreement for making the transition to wedded life, contact an Illinois family attorney today.
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Could your yearbook photo really give you clues about your likelihood to divorce? According to a recent study from DePauw University psychology professor Matthew Hertenstein, the answer is yes. Your smile in childhood photos, according to the study, can be telling for your potential for future marital bliss.  The study, which is revealed in the professor’s new book, shows that individuals who smiled broadly in childhood photos were more likely to become members of lengthy marriages. This was compared with individual who smiled weakly or not at all in their childhood photos, who tended to have shorter marriages. The research team used a few hundred photos from college yearbooks to make the connection by determining how much people smiled in those photos. Those who smiled least in their college yearbook photos were five times more likely to be divorced when compared with those who smiled the most. Hertenstein believes that it all comes down to compliance: people who smiled broadly in photos were more likely to obey the photographer’s orders to “cheese” it up in the photo. Hertenstein argues that compliance and obedience are crucial for marriage success and that this explains why the bigger smilers had better success in marriage. It could also be argued that those who smile more in photos are simply happier in life and that they approach marital issues with a better disposition to start with. In this case, a positive outlook can go a long way towards happiness. Unfortunately, not all marriages are happy and long-lasting. A myriad of issues may have affected your marriage, regardless of whether you smiled or not in childhood photos. If you believe that it’s time to end your marriage and begin a new life, you need to speak with a knowledgeable Illinois family attorney to learn what to expect and to begin the process.  
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Section 510 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides for maintenance, formerly known as spousal support, and for the termination of maintenance payments in a variety of circumstances. For example, maintenance payments may stop or change a party’s employment status, income, or future earning capacity changes. Maintenance payments will also stop when or if the party receiving maintenance remarries or cohabitates with another. This last criteria, cohabitation, has the possibility be tricky and upsetting for one or both parties.

Loving young coupleCohabitation, when two unmarried persons live together, is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Cohabitation often makes sense for a couple because of finances, companionship, or some other reason. The Chicago Tribune reports that the number of unmarried couples cohabitating has increased 550 percent since 1995, to a total of about 1.5 million couples today. Perhaps more importantly, cohabitation today is not just limited to younger couples who have never been married; cohabitation is also popular among couples aged 50 and older. And typically, cohabitating people of this age group have been divorced. After a divorce, both parties are likely trying to look to the future, move on, and perhaps pursue a new relationship. Cohabitation may not even be a factor that occurs to them. However, cohabitation is important because of its tremendous impact on maintenance payments and because there is not necessarily a clear line between cohabitation and dating. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act does not offer a definition of cohabitation, it merely specifies that cohabitation must be “on a resident, continuing, conjugal basis.” Illinois courts, including those in Kane County, have held that the burden of proving cohabitation is on the party seeking the termination of maintenance to prove that the party receiving maintenance is in a de facto husband and wife relationship with a third party. In interpreting this, courts have looked to the length of the relationship with the third party, the amount of time the couple spends together, the nature of the activities engaged in, the interrelation of their personal affairs, whether they vacation together, and whether they spend holidays together. For example, in In re Marriage of Susan, a 2006 case in which the Appellate Court of Illinois for the Second District considered cohabitation, an divorced woman who spent the night several times a week at her boyfriend’s house, spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with him, went on camping trips with him, and sent out joint Christmas cards with him was found to be co-habitating and her ex-husband’s petition to terminate maintenance was successful. The facts in each individual’s situation will likely be different, and there is no clear line between dating and cohabitation. For help understanding if Illinois law on cohabitation may affect you, contact a Kane County divorce lawyer.
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Posted on in Divorce

If the department managing child support has handed down a decision in your case that you do not agree with, you can appeal via a written request to the department within the time frame listed in your notice by working with your family law attorney.  When you receive your notice, keep track of the contact information and dates listed in that documentation. Staying on top of the dates and being prepared goes a long way towards getting you a fair child support appeal hearing. You can only request an appeal or a change in child support amounts when there are significant circumstances in your life or the life of the child that warrant such a change. For example, a job loss or a reduction in income for the non-custodial parent is an adequate reason for an appeal. If you do appeal for an additional hearing, the review of your request will depend on submitted documentation. Some examples of commonly submitted documents include an amended or new court order and copies of any circuit clerk payment ledgers that have not previously been provided by you. Crafting a letter to the department will initiate your appeal hearing. You must include the reason you are appealing and details about the initial finding from the department. When you submit these documents, be sure to include our name, Social Security number, the name of the custodial parent, the order docket number, and your child support case number (this one starts with a “C”). These details should be included in any communication and documentation send to the child support department. If you are missing some of the documents needed to start your appeal, do not hesitate to send in what you have already, since the time frame for appealing is a firm deadline and could terminate your option to appeal at all if you do not adhere to it. Going through a child support case, and especially finding out that the determination obtained is not what you were expecting, can be difficult. Knowing the steps in a child support case and determination is important for putting your mind at ease. If child support will be an issue for you, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney today to schedule a consultation about a child support appeal.  

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