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DuPage County family law lawyers, spousal supportThe purpose of spousal maintenance is to provide one partner with the financial means to support himself or herself according to a reasonable standard of living after a divorce. The award of alimony to one spouse is subject to modification based upon a variety of factors; however, the Illinois statute is clear on the circumstances that will terminate support:

  1. The death of either former spouse;
  2. Remarriage of the recipient party; or
  3. Cohabitation by the recipient party.

While the first two situations are straightforward, the cohabitation factor can be slightly tricky. It is necessary to take a close look at complicated statutory language and review case law, so you will need an experienced spousal maintenance attorney to assist with your situation.

Cohabitation Factors That Terminate Maintenance

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DuPage County family law lawyers, parenting time scheduleUnder Illinois law, divorcing parents may present a mutually agreed plan for decision-making responsibilities and a schedule for parenting time regarding minor children. The statute encourages parents to agree by including a caveat if they cannot cooperate: The court will make decisions regarding parenting time, taking control out of the hands of a divorcing couple. Therefore, it is important to at least try to come to an agreement on parenting time in the plan you submit to the court as part of the divorce process. An Illinois divorce lawyer can assist you in covering the primary factors to consider for allocation of parenting time.

Activities Scheduling

During the school year, there is more regularity in activities, but your parenting time should take all contingencies into account. You will need to consider how to handle plans if one parent must travel for work or has a variable schedule, such as healthcare workers, law enforcement, and others that may be called into work unexpectedly.

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DuPage County family law lawyers, parental responsibilitiesThe Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act defines the allocation of parental responsibilities when parents of minor children divorce, stating that it includes both parenting time and decision-making regarding the child. The law covers various aspects of raising a child, like choices involving education, healthcare, and religion. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act also refers to extracurricular activities, which might be obvious interests and pastimes the child enjoys. However, many parents overlook the importance of online activities in a child’s life—which should certainly be considered alongside sports, camp, music lessons, and other pursuits.

When working on the parenting plan that is required by law, talk with your divorce lawyer about online activities as part of parental responsibilities in Illinois.

Time Spent Online Per Day or Week

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DuPage County family law lawyers, parenting planWhen you file for divorce in Illinois and there are minor children involved, parents have 120 days to file a Parenting Plan with the court. If you and your spouse agree on decision-making for the child, living arrangements, and other critical factors, you can file jointly; where there are areas of disagreement, you will have to file separately. Moreover, there are certain requirements you will need to include in the Parenting Plan. Therefore, it is important to discuss these and other essentials required by law with an Illinois parental responsibilities attorney.

Allocation Regarding Decision-Making

You and the child’s other parent must determine how you will handle the important choices involved with raising him or her. In the Parenting Plan, you must allocate decisions involving education, medical care, and other activities that are critical to your child’s development. You should make sure to cover travel, entertainment, extracurricular activities, sports, and aspects of life that impact your child’s regular routine.

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County family law lawyers, relocating a minorTypically, the order finalizing your divorce contains the arrangement for the decision-making, parenting time, and other details regarding raising a minor child. However, it may not be so clear what happens if the residential parent seeks to move. The legal requirements of relocation depend on where the child currently lives and the distance of the new address, so you should discuss the specifics of your situation with an experienced DuPage County parental responsibilities attorney.

Whether the child lives with you or the other parent, it is important to understand the process of relocating a minor child after divorce.

Parent’s Duty to Notify 

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DuPage County family law lawyers, DCFS findingsIf you receive a notification involving child abuse allegations from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), it is important to understand your options if you want to contest the claims. The DCFS is entrusted with the protection of children and the agency takes investigations seriously, but you do have rights under the law. A DuPage County DCFS defense lawyer can provide more detail about your specific situation; however, answers to the more common questions may be useful.

What is a Notice of Indicated Finding?

Any person who comes into contact with your child may file a report with DCFS if he or she believes there has been abuse or neglect. The DCFS immediately begins an investigation into the allegations and will enter an “indicated finding” if there is credible evidence of abuse. You will receive a notification of an indicated finding and the information will also be reported to the State Central Register, where it will remain for anywhere from five to 50 years depending on the circumstances.

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Posted on in Divorce

Parenting Time and Taxes, DuPage County family law lawyersIf you are considering or in the process of divorce and there are kids involved, you also need to think about the tax consequences of different options regarding maintenance, child support and parenting time. To be sure, there exist some important tax considerations that may apply to divorced or divorcing parents and their children.

Filing Status

The first tax consideration to think about is your filing status. As you probably know you file your taxes during the April after the previous tax year. The key time and date to look at is December 31 at 11:59pm. If you were married at that date and time during the previous year then you need to file either “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” If you were divorced by then, then you can file “single” or “head of household.” You are still married until the judge issues the divorce decree. This is an important consideration and you may want to plan the date of your divorce with this in mind.

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Posted on in Mediation

DuPage County family law lawyers, mediation basicsIf you are considering divorce, changing custody agreements, negotiating a prenuptial agreement, or any other family law conflict, you may want to consider mediation. However, it is important to understand the process and whether it may work for you.

What is the Mediation Process Like?

Mediation is a process where the two parties who are looking to make an agreement try to come to a consensus about all the aspects of the agreement. This keeps all outcomes in the hands of the parties. With traditional litigation the judge ultimately gets to decide the parameters of the agreement.

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DuPage County family law lawyers, name changesBlended families, ones that unite a couple in a second marriage after a divorce, are not uncommon. And, in many cases, stepparents and stepchildren will not share the same surname. A biological mother or father retains the right to seek permission from the court to alter a child’s last name to match the last name of the biological parent and the stepparent. Under Illinois law, parents seeking a change of name for their child must demonstrate that the modification will benefit the child.

Steps to Changing Your Stepchild’s Name

A stepparent may not petition a court to alter a child’s last name. The child's biological mother or father must file a request to a court on behalf of their child before the court. Before requesting a name change, the parent must place a notice in a local newspaper for 21 days alerting the public of his or her plans to change his or her child’s surname. This notice in the paper serves as notification in the state for anyone, including the child’s other parent, who may not agree to the child’s name change. Once the notice has run and the petition for the name change is filed, a court will choose a time to decide whether to grant the name change.

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paying for college tuition, DuPage County family law lawyersIf you are a divorced parent in Illinois, and your child is nearing adulthood, you may be wondering what your financial obligations will be after he or she turns 18. Under Illinois law, if you are currently ordered to pay child support, you may  also be responsible for covering a portion of your child’s educational expenses. Educational expenses can include post-high school costs, during the period before your child obtains his or her bachelor’s degree.

More often than not, judges entering divorce judgements for couples reserve the decision of college expenses, postponing it until the children grow older. This is because circumstances can change significantly during the time that passes until the children are ready to graduate from high school.

If that time has come, and you need to pin down how much each parent will contribute to the children’s higher education, you may need to return to court with your ex-spouse. First, you will need to file a petition seeking these expenses from your ex in an Illinois court. Until you file this petition, you will not be able to get reimbursed for any educational bills, so the earlier you begin the process, the more likely it is that your ex-spouse will contribute his or her fair share. There are exceptions to this general rule, and if you have incurred expenses already it is certainly worth consulting with an experienced family lawyer to see if an exception may apply to your circumstances.

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