Celebrating Halloween as a Divorced ParentHalloween is a holiday that is full of precious memories for parents and children. If you are divorced or separated from your co-parent, you may be missing out on watching your children trick-or-treat or enjoy other Halloween festivities. Divorced parents carefully divide their time with the children during the winter holiday season, but you may not have thought about Halloween when creating your parenting plan. There are still ways that both divorced parents can share Halloween with their children

Trick-or-Treating

Both of you can accompany your children for trick-or-treating if you and your co-parent can be cordial with each other for a couple of hours. Focusing on your children may distract you from falling into your typical arguments. If you cannot stand being around your co-parent for even that long, you could plan to switch as chaperones to the children midway through the trick-or-treating. You could also take your children to trick-or-treat in your neighborhood if you live close by. However, they will feel most comfortable trick-or-treating in their own neighborhood with their friends.

Maintaining Roles

One parent may have traditionally taken the lead on certain Halloween activities while you were married. Maybe one of you is better at carving jack-o-lanterns or putting together costumes for your children. Keeping up these traditions after divorce will make Halloween more enjoyable for yourself and your children.

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Being First to File for Divorce Gives You Advantage in PreparationWho files your petition for divorce may be a formality, but taking the initiative in the divorce process can give you an advantage in some cases. The advantage will not change the requirements for a fair and equitable divorce. Instead, the spouse who files first may be more prepared and feel in greater control of the process. These advantages can help you in negotiating a favorable divorce settlement.

Preparation

Filing for divorce immediately affects your access to your marital assets and forces you to have legal representation in time for the first hearing. By being the one to file, you can:

  • Hire your divorce attorney in advance;
  • Collect the documents you will need for the negotiations;
  • Determine how you will financially support yourself during the divorce; and
  • Put aside money for personal and legal expenses.

By the time that you file your divorce paperwork, you will already have a plan for surviving the immediate aftermath and handling the next stage in your case.

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Guarding Your Business from Your DivorceYour efforts to protect your business from a possible divorce should have started at the beginning of your marriage. Keeping your business finances separate from your personal finances prevents your spouse from claiming ownership of your business. You can also create a premarital agreement that gives you complete control of your business in case of a divorce. Without these protective measures, your business is a marital property that you must account for in the division of property. You can maintain control of your business after your divorce, but it may require some sacrifices. Here are four steps to protect your business during your divorce:

  1. Separate Business from Marriage: Your business may already be a marital property if you invested marital assets into it. Moving forward, you should create a wall between your business and personal finances. Have separate accounts for business and personal expenses and do not transfer money between them. Limit your use of marital properties as part of your work. You should have separate business and personal finance records.
  2. Ease Your Spouse Out of the Business: Your spouse should no longer be involved in your business, whether as an owner or an employee. You can offer to buy his or her ownership interest in your business. You can fire your spouse as an employee but should understand the consequences of this action. By cutting off your spouse’s source of income, he or she will be more dependent on you following the divorce. You can instead lessen your spouse’s role in your business and encourage him or her to seek new employment.
  3. Assess Your Business: You need an accurate value for your business to ensure a fair division of property. Overvaluing your business means you will give up too much in order to keep it during the division of property. You must assess both the current and future value of your business. You can be conservative in projecting your business’s growth and the economic outlook for your industry.
  4. Identify Bargaining Chips: You will need to give up other valuable marital properties in order to keep complete ownership of your business. Privately decide which properties you are willing to sacrifice but do not lose leverage by letting your spouse know the properties you think are expendable. Your marital home may be your most valuable bargaining chip.

Your Business as a Marital Property

By protecting your business, you are also protecting your source of income and something you have invested great time and energy into. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can give you strategies for keeping your business during a divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

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Is Divorce Contagious Amongst Friends?A long-term study on the social effects of divorce found that people are more likely to divorce when others in their social circle have already divorced. According to the data, a person’s likelihood of divorcing increased by:

  • 75 percent when a friend divorced;
  • 147 percent when multiple friends divorced;
  • 22 percent when a sibling divorced; and
  • 50 percent when a co-worker divorced.

Researchers refer to groups of friends divorcing around the same time as divorce clusters. Some observers have wondered whether divorce may be contagious – not as a virus but as a social influence. A friend’s divorce may help you decide to divorce but is unlikely to be the cause of your divorce.

Living Evidence

Many divorcees needed years to conclude that their marriages were broken beyond repair and they were better off getting divorced. Uncertainty about your life after a divorce may keep you in a marriage that you know is not working. When a friend divorces, you have an example of what life after a divorce may be like. Your friend’s experience may give you a positive impression of divorce if he or she:

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How Stepparents Can Secure Visits After DivorceStepparents can form strong connections with their stepchildren that are similar to the children’s relationships with their biological parents. If the stepparent divorces the biological parent, it may be in the children’s best interest to continue to see their stepparent. Illinois allows stepparents to petition for parental responsibilities or visits with their stepchildren following a divorce. However, the stepparent likely needs the biological parent’s consent in order to see the stepchildren. Obtaining parental responsibilities is rare because it requires proving that the biological parent is unable to perform his or her duties.

Visitation

A stepparent can request court-ordered visitation with a child after a divorce, but the biological parent must consent to the visits. Illinois law has a rebuttable presumption that a fit biological parent’s choice to deny visitation does not harm the children. The stepparent must prove that denying his or her visitation is unreasonable or harmful to the children. The court will consider:

  • The length and quality of the stepparent’s relationship with the child;
  • The mental and physical health of the child and the stepparent;
  • The wishes of the stepchild, if he or she is mature enough to make that decision;
  • The intentions of the stepparent and the biological parent;
  • The type of visits the stepparent is requesting; and
  • Whether the visits would expose the child to conflict.

You can usually satisfy the court that you have established a relationship with your stepchildren if you have lived with them for at least six consecutive months and have had regular contact with them for 12 consecutive months. Visitation does not have to include the child staying overnight.

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 200
St. Charles, IL 60174

 630-584-4800

 1770 Park Street, Suite 205
Naperville IL 60563

 630-364-4046

 400 S. County Farm Road, Suite 300
Wheaton, IL 60187

 630-407-1777

Our Illinois divorce attorneys represent clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County, including Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, Virgil, Lily Lake, Aurora, North Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Gilberts, Millcreek, Maple Park, Kaneville, LaFox, Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Bristol, Newark, DeKalb, Sycamore, Naperville, Wheaton, West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Oak Brook, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Schaumburg, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Plainfield, Sandwich, Yorkville and many other cities.

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