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St. Charles IL divorce attorneyWith so many attorneys in practice in the United States, it is important for potential clients to know how to weed out those who will fight for them from those who simply want to look busy. It can be very helpful to come into an attorney’s office with a list of questions to ask and to know which answers you want to hear. Divorce is one of the most stressful events most people will experience, and ensuring you have a quality attorney on your side can make an enormous difference. Some important questions to ask include:

#1. What Is Your Experience Level?

While some people think family law is a “safe” or easy discipline, it is in fact extraordinarily complex. In Illinois, it is arguably more so, as many rules and laws do not necessarily align with those of other states. It can be a game-changer—for the worse—if your attorney does not have significant family law experience, as regulations frequently change and the stakes in these cases tend to be very high. 

#2. Will You Handle My Case Personally?

It is sadly common for attorneys to bait and switch, highlighting the most experienced or reliable member of their firm to land a case, and then delegating most of the work to a junior associate or even a paralegal or other staffer without a law degree. If an attorney is evasive as to whether or not they will be personally handling your case, it is rarely a good sign. 

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St. Charles child custody attorneyThere is a long-standing debate among psychologists and in divorce courts as to a specific definition of the term “parental alienation syndrome”. While child psychologists have been discussing parental alienation syndrome for over three decades, the debate surrounding it continues in part because it is not always easy to correctly identify.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation syndrome, or PAS, is alleged to occur when one parent creates a contrived illusion to the child or children regarding the child’s other parent. This often leads to the child experiencing manipulated, negative emotions toward and detachment from the other parent.

In cases where there are allegations of PAS, it is often because one parent believes that the other parent is deliberately working to undermine their relationship with the child. This may occur in situations where one parent is disrespectful to the other parent in front of the children or when one parent perceives that the child has developed angry or dismissive feelings toward them due to the actions or words of the other parent. 

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How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Illinois?For many couples, getting a divorce can be a big financial burden. Going from being a dual-income family to having to run a household on one income can be tough on anyone. In situations in which one spouse may be greatly disadvantaged financially after a divorce, a judge might deem it appropriate to award that person spousal maintenance. In Illinois, spousal maintenance, which is also known as alimony or spousal support, is calculated using a specific formula, and it usually only lasts for a specific period of time. If you are getting a divorce, you should understand the basics of Illinois spousal maintenance.

Calculating Spousal Maintenance

If a spouse is awarded spousal maintenance, the formula set forth by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) will be used to determine the amount of the maintenance award. The formula applies to any couple whose combined gross annual income is less than $500,000. The formula is as follows:

  • 33.3% of payor’s net income - 25% of payee’s net income = Maintenance award

The law also states that the amount determined in that formula is not permitted to be more than 40 percent of the combined gross income of both spouses. The length of time the maintenance award is paid depends on the length of the marriage. The IMDMA sets forth a list of multiplying factors that determine the payment period.

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5 Tips to Help You Prepare Your Finances Before Your Illinois DivorceIt has often been said that preparation is the key to success, and getting divorced is no exception. Most areas of your life will change after a divorce, including your living situation and parenting situation. Even though your divorce is an emotional process, it is just as much a legal and financial process.

Dealing with marital finances during a divorce can be tricky, especially since financial issues are often the root of disagreements during divorce negotiations. Proper preparation is crucial when it comes to the financial side of your divorce. Here are a few ways you can prepare your finances before you begin negotiations:

Tip #1: Collect Your Records

The first thing you need to do is to gather all of your financial information from the past couple of years. This can help you get a good idea of your financial picture and will ensure that you have everything ready as you begin the negotiation process. You should try to gather records such as:

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How Does Mental Illness Affect Parental Rights in an Illinois Divorce?Many adults experience mental illness during their lifetime. In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 43.8 million adults experience mental illness in any given year. While mental illness can be naturally occurring, it can also be triggered by major events in your life, such as divorce. Mental illness will not typically factor into divorce decisions, but it can be an issue to address when making decisions related to children, namely, decisions about parenting time or decision-making responsibilities.

Elements to Consider When Making Child-Related Decisions

Any child-related issue that must be settled during a divorce is made in the child’s best interests. If the parents disagree on what is in the child’s best interests, then a judge will have to intervene and make decisions about the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities for the parents. When making these decisions, the judge will look at various factors, including:

  • The wishes of the child, taking into account the child’s maturity
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate with each other
  • The level of conflict that may exist between the parents
  • The wishes of each parent
  • The needs of the child
  • The ability and willingness of both parents to facilitate a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent
  • The mental and physical health of both parents and the child

It is the judge’s job to understand the family dynamic as accurately as possible so that he or she can ensure the child has a happy and healthy life.

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