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How Mediation Helps You Make Important Decisions in Your DivorceFor many couples who are preparing to divorce, one of the biggest concerns is the stress and conflict that can arise throughout the divorce process. It is true that almost no divorce is easy, but you may be able to avoid much of the hardship by pursuing the option of divorce mediation, which allows you and your spouse to work together to make important decisions on a number of issues.

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

For a mediated divorce process to work, you and your spouse must be willing to cooperate and communicate with each other, whether that is face-to-face or through some other means. The two of you maintain control over all of your final decisions, and each of you will have the opportunity to express your perspectives throughout the deliberation process. A trained mediator, who is often an attorney, will be present as a third party to guide the process and ensure it proceeds smoothly without taking a side or attempting to influence the outcome. When mediation is successful, a couple may be able to avoid a trial entirely, which can save time and money and allow them to maintain greater privacy.

Decisions to Address During Mediation

Unlike a trial in which the judge issues a final ruling, mediation allows couples to reach an agreement tailored to their specific needs and preferences. Mediation can assist with all elements of your divorce agreement, including:

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What to Expect If You Are Divorcing While UnemployedIn an ideal situation, a couple would choose to get a divorce when both spouses are financially stable and able to maintain their accustomed lifestyle independently. However, this is not always possible, and it may be especially difficult at a time when so many people are struggling to find or maintain steady employment. Whether you are voluntarily unemployed in order to be a stay-at-home parent or you have recently lost your job due to COVID-19, there are a few things to consider regarding how your unemployment can affect the divorce process.

Voluntary vs. Involuntary Unemployment

If you have been fired, laid off, or furloughed due to COVID-19 or for most other reasons, and you are actively seeking employment, your unemployment will likely be considered involuntary. This means that your financial obligations related to the divorce will usually take your actual current income into consideration. However, if you are voluntarily unemployed, the court may instead consider your earning capacity when determining your ability to make financial contributions. Note that there may be an exception if you are voluntarily unemployed so that you can contribute to the marriage in some other way, such as being a stay-at-home parent to care for your children while your spouse works.

Unemployment and Child Support in Illinois

In Illinois, each parent’s child support obligation is calculated based on an equitable proportion of the parents’ combined incomes. If both parents are regularly employed, this calculation can be relatively straightforward, but if one of you is unemployed, it can become more complicated. If the paying spouse is involuntarily unemployed, his or her child support obligation will often be lower than it would be in the case of regular employment. If the receiving spouse is unemployed, he or she may expect to see the other parent pay for a majority of the child support obligation.

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Parenting Teen Children During Your Illinois Divorce   Divorce is a difficult experience for parents and children alike, filled with sadness, anger, fear, uncertainty, and a range of other strong emotions. While it is a challenging time for children of all ages, teens may find it especially hard to deal with their parents’ divorce at a time in their life that may already be marked by major transitions and heightened emotions. As a parent, you should be prepared for the impact your divorce will have on your teenagers and do your best to help them cope with the changes that come.

Common Responses to Divorce For Teen Children

Many teens struggle with their parents’ divorce and react in ways that may have a negative impact on their lives. Some of the most common effects of divorce on teens include:

  • Academic Performance Issues: During a divorce, increased stress, lack of sleep, and difficulty focusing may all cause your teen’s grades and enjoyment of school to suffer.
  • Behavioral Issues: You may find that during and after your divorce, your teen lashes out at both parents more often or rebels against your rules and requests in ways that they had not before.
  • Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Some teens turn to substance abuse in response to their parents’ divorce, and they may also be more likely to engage in early, unsafe sexual activity.
  • Difficulty in Relationships: Divorce can put a strain on teens’ relationships not only with their parents but also with their friends and peers. They may also find it difficult to form and maintain romantic relationships after seeing their parents’ marriage fail.
  • Mental Health Issues: Divorce can contribute to a teen’s depression or suicidal thoughts and cause actions that require immediate attention and care.

Helping Your Teen Child Adjust to Divorce

It can be difficult to focus on the emotional needs of your children when you are struggling yourself, but the more you can be there for your teen children, the better you can help them work through their feelings and prevent some of their more dangerous and unhealthy reactions. Devoting time to talk to your children and listen to their concerns can make a big difference, as can continuing to support them in their interests. Asking for their input in your parenting plan can also help to ensure the arrangement works for everyone in the family. Most importantly, always be on the lookout for behavior that may indicate depression or other mental health issues that require help from a professional.

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How to Prepare for Remarriage After an Illinois DivorceIn the months and years following a divorce, many people find new partners with whom they want to spend their lives and decide to get married again. Remarriage can be a happy occasion and a time for celebration, but if you are planning for a second marriage, you should be sure to consider the changes it will bring for you and your family, as well as the legal matters you may need to address.

Addressing the Changes That Remarriage Brings

First and foremost, if you want to remarry, you must ensure that your divorce has been finalized and that your previous marriage has legally ended. If this is the case, then there are some additional factors for you to think through, including: 

  1. Combining Households and Families: You and your new partner will need to decide where you will live after your remarriage and if this means buying a new home together. If you have children, you should think through the best way to introduce them to your new partner and any potential step-siblings. You also may need to seek a modification to your parenting plan to accommodate your new living situation.
  2. Changes to Spousal and Child Support: In Illinois, a person who remarries is no longer able to receive spousal maintenance from the previous spouse. However, the paying spouse may still be required to pay spousal support after remarrying. When children are involved, both parents will still need to contribute to child support, but a modification may be in order if the remarrying parent experiences a significant increase in income as a result of the marriage.
  3. Pursuing a Prenuptial Agreement: Second marriages often happen at a point in life when both partners have significant financial assets, so you may find it important to develop a prenuptial agreement that specifies which of you has the right to certain properties if you get divorced in the future.
  4. Modifying Your Estate Plan: You may need to adjust your will and any trusts to include your new spouse as a beneficiary. It is also important to consider how your spouse’s inheritance will impact that of your children and other dependents from before the remarriage.

Contact a Naperville Family Law Attorney Today

An experienced family lawyer can help you not only during your divorce but also in the years following. At Davi Law Group, we can give you the legal advice you need to help your remarriage go smoothly, allowing you to focus on the positives and the strengthening of your relationships with your new family. Contact a Wheaton divorce lawyer for a free consultation at 630-504-0176.

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Illinois divorce attorneysDivorce can feel like the end, but in truth, it can be a new beginning. Maintain an optimistic outlook, focus on yourself, and you can thrive (not just survive) the grueling process. The following six tips, and the help of a competent divorce lawyer, can give you a running start. 

Let Go of the Guilt, Anger, and What-Ifs 

Guilt, regret, anger, and doubt can creep in shortly after you start the divorce process. You might wonder if things could have gone differently if only you or your spouse had made different choices. Unfortunately, actions cannot be undone and words cannot be unsaid. No one can go back, so rather than torment yourself over the past, work to let it all go and focus on your future.  

Focus on Your Strength and Magnificence 

In a relationship, people often tie their identity up in the other person. When the marriage fails, they may struggle to find their own selves again. Now is the time to focus on yourself. Find your strengths and marvel in them. See and celebrate your own magnificence - the things that make you unique. Learn to love who you are as an individual. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyersIn the past, pets were treated as property in a divorce. Of course, a pet cannot be divided, so instead, the courts examined financial factors to determine who received the family’s furry friend at the end of the proceedings. Thankfully, the laws have now changed, ensuring that the owners’ emotional attachment and time invested are considered when determining who should get the family pet in a divorce. 

That has not been the only change to the law regarding pets. Families can also set up a “custody plan,” so long as both owners are fully and completely invested in the animal’s happiness, care, and well-being. Learn more about how “pet custody” works in today’s Illinois divorce in the following sections, and discover what our seasoned divorce lawyers can do to help protect the interests of you and your pet in contentious or potentially dangerous situations. 

How Illinois Determines “Pet Custody” in Divorce

While pets and children are very different, Illinois family law courts now recognize that animals do have feelings and needs - and that their well-being is worth protecting. So, when determining who takes the family pet in divorce, various factors are considered, including:

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Wheaton divorce lawyersBack in 2015, a groundbreaking study determined that some 7.2 million Americans are hiding money or lines of credit from their spouses. If you think that statistic is alarming, consider how many of those same couples will ultimately divorce (current statistics suggest a little less than half). Then contemplate whether a spouse is more likely to hide assets in divorce if they did so in marriage. Could you be at risk for asset hiding during your divorce? Learn how to protect yourself from such practices, and discover how an attorney can help you fight for your fair share.

Signs and Symptoms of Asset Hiding

To find hidden assets, you must first determine if you may be at risk. Look for strange business behaviors, secretive practices, evasiveness, and overall defensiveness anytime money is discussed. Also, watch for any signs of overseas travel, new sales or purchases (including strange, odd, or even seemingly low-value items), loans, sudden or frequent business trips, gifts to family and friends, and other uncharacteristic practices or behaviors. Be especially alert if you have a high net worth marriage or are a disadvantaged spouse (meaning you earn less than your spouse or do not earn any of your own money). Couples that have a business as a part of their marital estate (joint, or single-owned) should also be extremely conscious of strange or out-of-character behaviors or practices, including any that may pertain to the business itself.

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Illinois divorce lawyersParents know that divorce can negatively impact their children, which is why most will go to any lengths to protect them. Nesting divorce – an arrangement in which the children keep the home, and the parents rotate in and out – is one of the most recent strategies for minimizing the potential damage. Is it beneficial though, or is it more of a hindrance for young children?

Potential Advantages of a Nesting Divorce

Most children can benefit from a healthy and continued relationship with both of their parents after a divorce. Nesting divorce not only encourages this relationship, but it also carries that relationship out in a familiar setting. Parents can maintain schedules and minimize changes (i.e. school, home, friends, etc.) immediately after the divorce, which may also assist the child with the coping phase of a divorce. However, experts believe there may be areas where the purported benefits of nesting divorce are over inflated.

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DuPage County divorce attorney, children and divorce, adjusting to divorce, divorce process, divorce isolationPsychology experts tell us a variety of studies have shown that children of all ages tend to struggle with change, especially where routine is concerned. Divorce is easily one of the biggest threats to a child in terms of disruption of an established routine. This is particularly the case for young adults, due to age-related brain developments. Younger children have been shown to adapt with more ease when they feel safe, and when parents communicate with them about the changes happening in the household. Still, even younger children thrive on routine and rely on it to feel secure.

How Do You Know if Your Child is Struggling to Cope?

As a parent going through divorce, you have a whole range of challenges to deal with on your own. You experience many of the same emotions your child does, with the added pressure to care for him or her as well as yourself. In the midst of such big lifestyle changes, it is easy to miss signs that your child is having trouble adjusting to the divorce.

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DuPage County divorce attorney, kids and divorce, divorced families, divorce transitions, divorce processAlthough the effects of divorce can be far reaching and mentally draining for the whole family, the end of a marriage can be especially emotionally charged for the children. A number of factors can impact and shape the divorce experience for children, however.

Research shows that a majority of kids from divorced families actually adjust very well, and over a fairly short period of time. In fact, experts from Psychology Today report that studies reveal how 80 percent of children recover so well, most of them experience no lasting negative effects. These findings apply to all areas of life—social adjustments, educational performance, and overall health.

Helping Your Child Thrive

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divorcing parent, DuPage County divorce attorney, parenting plan, parenting agreement, allocation of parental responsibilitiesAs a divorcing parent, the pressures you face are amplified, as your responsibilities are nearly doubled due to the transitional needs of the entire family. Not only do you need to make living and financial arrangements for yourself while also looking after your physical and emotional health, you must make arrangements for any children you share with your spouse, too. A solid parenting agreement is essential when entering post-divorce life, as it will provide the legal blueprint for how you will continue to raise your child once you are separated.

Getting Organized

Although the pressure may be overwhelming as you address the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation), there are a few ways to to help streamline the parenting plan process and ensure you start off on the right foot. Here are some key steps to drafting an effective parenting plan:

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DuPage County divorce attorney, Illinois divorceThe most common reason for not hiring a lawyer to assist with divorce in Illinois isn not surprising: Many spouses believe they cannot afford legal representation, so they decide to go it alone. You may agree with this position yourself, thinking you can rely on the Internet for assistance with the process. However, attempting to represent yourself in divorce without a legal background is a mistake—similar to trying to fix your car without mechanical training.

Trying to save money on legal representation will likely cost you more in the long run. Hence, you should work with an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer to represent you.

Knowledge of the Law

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Posted on in Property Division

DuPage County divorce attorney, high asset divorcesDivorce is a complex emotional and financial event. This is true for couples regardless of their financial status. Wealthy couples with high assets will face a unique set of challenges and stress during their divorce. You and your spouse will need to work through the emotions of a divorce and defend the financial assets you have built. You will also have the difficult task of sorting through your stocks, property, IRAs and 401k accounts. Additionally, in many cases, you will need to investigate your spouse's finances to ensure that you have identified all available assets to divide in the divorce. In many high asset divorces, property division can become the central issue.

Protect Assets with a Prenuptial Agreement

While prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy, it is probably a good idea for wealthy couples to consider drafting such a contract. Under Illinois law, couples can use a prenuptial agreement to make decisions about their assets and other issues that may arise in a divorce. Issues that you can incorporate in your prenuptial include:

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Posted on in Family Law

DuPage County divorce attorney, family court decisionLawyers do not like to lose in court. This is particularly true in divorce cases where the attorney knows the “losing” party might experience a tremendous financial change or lose parental rights.

When you lose in court, you may feel like you want a second chance to change the court's decision. Many individuals have heard of the term ‘appeal,’ and understand that an appeal can reverse a court's decision on a matter. What you may wonder after a decision in a divorce is whether or not you can appeal the trial court's decision; and, if so, if you in fact should appeal the decision.

Ultimately, the answer depends on the specifics of the case, which is why it is important to speak to an attorney beforehand.

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorney, default judgmentUnderstanding divorce and the associated timeline can be confusing. However, it is important that you respond to request from the court and show up for court when you have a hearing. If you do not appear at hearing related to your divorce, it is possible that a court may decide to enter a default judgment against you in the divorce proceedings. When the court enters a default judgment, this means that the court has decided that you did not properly respond or participate in your divorce proceedings. If the court believes you have not properly responded, the court will make a judgment in favor of your spouse.

Once a court enters a default judgment entered against you in your divorce, you need to respond quickly. There is still time to protect your rights and interests that were not addressed by the judgment. It may even be possible to have your default judgment vacated. However, whether this is possible depend on the reason you were not able to appear in court.

Vacating a Default Judgment

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Posted on in Property Division

DuPage County divorce attorney, hiding assetsOftentimes, one spouse is responsible for managing household finances, while the other spouse may not have a clear idea about the family’s income and expenses. Handling finances this way is fine when both spouses plan to stay in the marriage. However, if the marriage begins to deteriorate and divorce becomes a possibility, then the spouse handling family finances may try to take advantage of this situation by hiding assets. 

Most divorces will involve the division of property, including marital financial assets. Spouses may hide assets in an attempt to avoid losing all or part of these assets in the divorce settlement. They may plan to then use these hidden assets for their own gain later on. Hiding financial assets is unethical and illegal.

Stay Involved in Household Finances

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DuPage county divorce attorneys, legal separationThe Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act allows for legal separation. Legal separations are not very common, since the expense of a legal separation is similar to a divorce. However, it is possible that a couple may prefer legal separation over divorce.

If you and your spouse are considering a legal separation, then there are a few factors you may want to consider as you begin the separation process.

What Are the Requirements for a Legal Separation?

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DuPage County divorce attorney, marital and non-marital assetsDivorcing couples must decide how to divide assets and marital property. If a couple can decide how to divide assets without contention, this process can be simple. Sometimes, however, it is not easy for a couple to identify marital assets or decide on how to divide the assets. When this happens it is important to understand how marital property is defined. Understanding basic differences will allow a divorcing couple to properly discuss marital assets with their divorce attorney. 

Defining Marital Property

Illinois is a non-marital property state. This means that property either spouse gained during the marriage is marital property. It does not matter if only one spouse has the title to the property. If the property was purchased during the marriage it will be divided in the divorce. Examples of marital property acquired during a marriage include: 

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Posted on in Divorce

Former spouses may find it difficult to put their finger on a specific event that foreshadowed the end of their marriage. Yet for others, changes in their lives can be easily identified. Common developments that can prompt the breakdown of a marriage include job loss, childbirth, living apart, trauma, illness, children leaving the home and infidelity.

Reasons for Separating

Changes to a spouse’s job, especially layoffs or severe reductions of hours or pay, are a common factor in the deterioration of marriages. Studies show that unemployed spouses are more likely to leave or be left by the other spouse. Understandably, the loss of a job by one or both partners in a marriage can cause stress about finances and can easily translate into marital dissatisfaction. Changes to work schedules can impact how couples spend time together, de-prioritizing a marriage in order to focus on work responsibilities can cause in isolation and resentment between spouses.

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Alimony, also known as spousal support, is intended to provide a financial cushion for divorced spouses who find themselves at a financial disadvantage after the end of the marriage, often because they declined to further pursue their education or career in order to care for the family. As traditional gender roles shift, it is increasingly common for ex-husbands to turn to the court to require their ex-wives to pay them spousal support. Although women, in general, still earn less than men in this country, many wives contribute significantly or solely to the family’s finances.

The Process of Deciding on Alimony Amounts

Some former spouses are able to come to an agreement about the amount of alimony that the more financially advantaged spouse will provide to the other spouse, either independently or with the help of a divorce lawyer.

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