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Parenting Time Change Can Allow Child Support ModificationYou are allowed to modify the child support order from your divorce at any time as long as you can show that there has been a significant change of circumstances that makes the modification necessary. The change of circumstances is usually a change in the income of one of the parents or a change in the cost of supporting the children. However, a change in the division of parenting time may also be enough reason to modify your child support payment.

Shared Parenting

Illinois has a modified version of its child support formula that it uses when parents have a 60-40 division of parenting time or less, which qualifies as shared parenting. The paying parent does not need to provide as much support to the other parent because they are directly paying for more of the children’s expenses. Thus, it is appropriate to modify child support payments if the division of parenting time reaches the shared parenting threshold.

No Time Limit to Modify

A recent Illinois case shows that courts can misapply child support laws in ways that need to be corrected. In the case of In re Marriage of Izzo, a man sought to reduce his child support payments to his former wife based on three changes of circumstance:

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Seven Reasons Your Divorce Agreement Can Be Rejected in CourtIt can take weeks of negotiating and hashing out details with your spouse in order to create a divorce agreement that you are both satisfied with. The last thing you want is for the divorce court to tell you that the agreement is invalid or unenforceable, forcing you to make corrections and delaying the completion of your divorce. A divorce agreement is a contract between former spouses, and there are several ways that a contract can be deemed invalid:

  1. Illegality: Divorce agreements must adhere to Illinois’ laws in order to be approved. For instance, you are not allowed to waive a parent’s obligation to pay child support or to treat assets in a way that is meant to defraud a third party.
  2. Unconscionability: A court may reject a divorce agreement that it believes is unfair or inequitable. This most often occurs in the division of property, which Illinois law states must be equitable. The court will not allow one spouse to take advantage of the other through an agreement that is one-sided or leaves one spouse in a much weaker financial position than the other.
  3. Nondisclosure: A party in a divorce may try to gain an advantage by hiding assets that should be included as part of the marital property or accounted for when calculating child support or spousal maintenance. The divorce agreement will be invalid if you can prove that your spouse withheld information that would have changed how you settled your divorce.
  4. Coercion: It is illegal for your spouse to force you to sign a divorce agreement through the threat of violence or blackmail. Any agreement that is reached through coercion is unenforceable as long as you can prove that the coercion occurred.
  5. Undue Influence: A more subtle version of coercion, undue influence occurs if your spouse pressures you to accept a divorce agreement by taking advantage of the power dynamic in your relationship. For instance, your spouse may control the money in your marriage and prevent you from hiring your own divorce lawyer to represent you during the negotiations.
  6. Mistakes: An error in the written agreement may force you to make corrections before the court will approve it. A divorce agreement is too important of a document to allow it to be approved if there are inconsistencies or sections that are confusing.
  7. Incapacity: Both sides must be capable of understanding the divorce agreement that they are signing. A court will reject an agreement if one of the spouses was incapacitated due to injury or illness when they signed it.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group will work on your divorce agreement until you are confident that it serves your best interests and they know that the judge will approve it. To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled lawyers, call 630-584-4800.

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How Do Divorced Parents Apply for College Financial Aid?It is difficult to pay for a college education without some form of financial aid. Grants, scholarships, and loans can help cover the tens of thousands of dollars that it may cost to attend a four-year institution. Many students and their parents will use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see which sources of financial aid are available to them. When filling out the FAFSA form, parents must submit their recent financial records to determine which financial aid resources they qualify for. The application process is more complicated for parents who have divorced.

Who Fills Out the FAFSA Application?

Only one divorced parent will file the FAFSA application because only one of the parents will report their income. The Higher Education Act of 1965 includes a section explaining which parent must report their income if the parents are divorced or separated:

  • The filing parent is the one with whom the child has spent a majority of the time in the 12 months prior to the date of the application.
  • If the parenting time is exactly even, then the parent who contributed the most to child support in the past 12 months must fill out the form.
  • If neither parent contributed to child support in the past 12 months, then they will go back to the most recent calendar year in which child support was paid.
  • If parents have evenly split their child support costs, then the application reviewers may decide based on criteria such as which parent has a greater income.

What Counts as Income?

The filing parent must submit current federal income tax returns and records of any untaxed sources of income. Their income includes child support and spousal maintenance payments that they receive from the other parent. If the filing parent has remarried as of the date of the application, they must include their new spouse’s income.

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Signs That You Are Healing from Divorce GriefThe grief that you feel from getting divorced is likely painful but will not last forever. There will come a day when you are not consumed by emotions related to your divorce, whether they are sadness or anger. Unfortunately, there is no defined timeline for how long it takes to recover from divorce grief and reach the “acceptance” stage. Each person and divorce are different, and some people need more time to process their grief than others – even if they are part of the same divorce. Do not measure your divorce recovery by how long you think it should take or how long it took someone else. Instead, look for these signs that you are starting to recover from divorce:

  1. You No Longer Obsess Over Your Divorce: You cannot erase the memory of your marriage. There will be instances that remind you of your marriage. People still grieving over their divorce struggle to stop thinking about their marriage when they are faced with a reminder. One bad memory can easily lead to another, which dominates their thoughts and affects their mood. Once you have accepted your divorce, reminders of your marriage should no longer cause your thoughts to spiral out of control.
  2. You Can Be Honest About Your Marriage: People often lie to themselves during a divorce in order to protect themselves from pain. One of the biggest lies is that there was nothing happy about their marriage. People forget their good memories and focus on their bad memories, which helps them justify the divorce to themselves. You will eventually be able to admit to yourself that there was both good and bad in your marriage and that your divorce does not erase those good times.
  3. You Are Less Interested in Your Ex’s Personal Life: Divorcees have a bad habit of following the life of their former spouse and comparing it to their own life. Your ex’s ability to start new relationships and find happiness may make you jealous and resentful. When you have accepted your divorce, you will realize that your former spouse’s personal life does not affect your ability to find your own happiness.
  4. You Can Separate New Relationships from Your Marriage: Some divorcees start dating again before they have finished grieving their marriage. These new relationships often do not last because the divorcee is driven by an urge to replace their marital relationship. People who have accepted their divorce no longer define their new relationships by comparing them to their previous marriage.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

It can be a struggle to process your divorce grief on your own while also working through the legal process. Some people find a divorce coach to be invaluable. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Goostree Law Group can work with our in-house divorce coach to help you through the process. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

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How a Criminal Case Could Affect Your Parental ResponsibilitiesAn ongoing criminal case or past criminal conviction can be an important factor when determining how parental responsibilities should be allocated between parents in a divorce. A criminal charge may cause a court to doubt whether you can be a responsible parent and provide a safe environment for your children. However, the details of your criminal case will determine how much weight the family court will give it in your parenting case. Here are three relevant questions about your criminal case in relation to your parental responsibilities:

  1. What Is the Nature of the Criminal Charge?: Violent criminal charges cause the greatest concern about your children’s safety. Domestic violence or abuse charges, in particular, suggest that you may be violent towards your children if left alone with them. Crimes based on poor decisions, such as driving under the influence or drug possession, also reflect badly on your ability to be a responsible parent. A court may strictly limit your parenting time until you can demonstrate that you are not a threat to your children, which may require counseling and parenting classes.
  2. Is the Case Ongoing?: An active criminal case could be good news or bad news for your parenting case. If the case ends without you being convicted, your criminal charge may have a minimal effect on your parental responsibilities. However, the family court has the discretion to hold the fact that you were charged against you if you got off on a technicality or demonstrated poor judgment by putting yourself in the situation that led to your arrest. An ongoing criminal case also casts doubt on your future availability as a parent if a jail sentence is a possibility or you may lose your driving privileges as a result of your conviction.
  3. How Long Ago Was the Conviction?: If you have a criminal conviction on your record, your spouse may present this information to the court as a reason to limit your parental responsibilities. However, you may be able to downplay a previous conviction if it occurred a long time ago and you have demonstrated good behavior since then. A one-time mistake may not hurt you much if you can explain what you learned from the incident and why you will not repeat that mistake.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

A divorce court will presume that you have an equal right to parental responsibilities unless there is evidence that it would be against your children’s best interests. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group will work with you to ensure that you receive an appropriate amount of time with your children. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.

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