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St. Charles IL divorce lawyerSo much of the conversation when we talk about divorce centers around the allocation of assets–property, money, investments. But a couple’s allocation of debt is often just as important, especially in an age where so many people carry the burden of enormous student loans.

Here, we will discuss different types of debt, the factors that can affect debt division, and the process by which debt is divided in an Illinois divorce.

Types of Debt

Marital assets and debts follow a similar pattern in a divorce. Debt that was owned by spouses prior to the marriage will generally be owned by that same spouse after a divorce. Debt that was taken on during the marriage is generally considered marital debt and will be divided between the spouses.

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County child custody attorneyAlthough some parents will act aggressively to get full parental responsibilities for their children, others feel differently. You may not want full or even partial custody of your child for a number of reasons. Your job, your children from a previous relationship, your desire for privacy, or your feelings that you are not equipped to provide the care your child needs are all possible reasons for wanting your child’s other parent to have the majority of the childcare responsibilities.

What is Best for the Child?

Whether during divorce proceedings or when establishing parental responsibilities between unmarried parents, the court will make decisions according to what is in the best interests of the child. The court also takes the preferences of the parents and the child into account. If you do not want custody of your child at all, the court will most likely award full custody to the child’s other parent.

You must also consider the long-term impact of the lack of a close relationship with your child on your child’s mental health and wellness. Children often do best when they have both parents in their lives, and although you may not be in a position where you feel you can adequately parent now, that may change later on. It can be difficult to modify existing custody orders, and it may be much harder to get custody or visitation rights in the future.

Kane County divorce lawyerIn a high-conflict divorce where you and your spouse are unable to agree on anything, much less who should have custody or parental responsibilities for your child, character witnesses can be a valuable advantage to help you prove that living with you is in your child’s best interests. Here, we will explore the kinds of character witnesses you might use, as well as what a witness does and what you should do if a witness is reluctant to testify.

Types of Witnesses

There are essentially three types of witnesses that might appear in divorce proceedings. An independent expert witness, such as a court-appointed psychologist, testifies about a specific topic but does not work for either spouse. A controlled expert witness likewise testifies about a specific topic, but is retained or paid for by one of the parties.

A lay witness–the most common type of character witness–is not an expert, and ideally is someone who is not biased in your favor. This could be a teacher, a babysitter, a neighbor, or anyone else who has seen interactions between you, your spouse, and your children. A character witness can testify regarding your favorable parenting abilities, or regarding your spouse’s unfavorable abilities. Family members may be seen as biased in your favor, so getting a variety of character witnesses may be more beneficial in supporting your case.

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County family law lawyerIf you share a child with your ex, and they are considering moving out of Illinois, you may feel nervous about what this means for the future of your relationship with your child. Fortunately, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act includes provisions limiting how far custodial parents can move with their children without court approval.

When is a Parent in Illinois Allowed to Move with a Child?

If your ex has custodial rights or parental responsibilities for at least half of the time, they are able to ask permission from the court to move and take the child with them.

A parent who lives in Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, McHenry, or Will County can move with a child within Illinois up to 25 miles away from where they lived previously, without receiving court approval. A parent who lives in any other county may move up to 50 miles away. Likewise, a parent who lives near the Illinois border with any other state may move into a different state as long as they remain within 25 miles of their previous location.

Kane County divorce lawyerWhen you are going through a divorce, it can feel like the list of things you have to do is neverending. There are dozens of issues that must be addressed before you can finalize your divorce, and resolving them often takes some time. The day you are finally able to sign your name on the dotted line is the day that you can officially say you are divorced—a sigh of relief for many. But what happens when you suddenly remember something that was left out of the divorce agreement? Can you go back and amend your agreement, even if it has already been finalized? It can be difficult to amend a divorce agreement, but it is not impossible with the help of a knowledgeable Illinois divorce lawyer.

Modifying Your Divorce Settlement Through Agreement

The court will not allow certain major issues to go unresolved before a divorce is finalized. These issues include the division of marital property, orders for child support and spousal support, and the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities. However, there may be smaller details that slip through the cracks, perhaps regarding the specifics of your parenting plan. The easiest and most peaceful way to address these issues is to discuss them with your ex-spouse so you can come to an agreement. Just like during the divorce process, coming to a mutual agreement can be much more efficient than fighting a contested battle in court and leaving the decision up to the judge.

Modifying Your Divorce Settlement With a Court Order

If urgent issues arise after your divorce that you were not aware of during the divorce process, perhaps related to your former spouse’s dishonest or dangerous behavior, agreeing on modifications peacefully will likely not be possible. In this case, you will likely have to get the courts involved. However, you cannot just modify your divorce settlement for any reason; it has to be significant enough to warrant a change. For example, if your spouse concealed information about their assets or did something to endanger your children, it is important to address these issues as soon as possible.

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