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illinois child custody lawyerWhile most parents getting divorced in Illinois include specific plans for the summer months in their parenting plan, scheduling conflicts are still common. Parenting is a difficult responsibility that requires flexibility and cooperation, but this is not always easy when you are working with an ex-spouse as a co-parent. Fortunately, with careful planning and communication, conflict during summer break can be minimized and even avoided altogether. 

Be Flexible But Set Reasonable Boundaries 

One of the best parts about summer vacation is that many children do not have school, allowing the entire family extra freedom. Even for parents who are not particularly spontaneous, opportunities for fun activities are likely to arise last minute, making flexibility important. However, constantly changing agreed-upon plans can also be a source of enormous stress, especially for parents who struggle to communicate. It is important to know when you have plans set in stone, when you can allow yourself and the children some wiggle room to make last-minute plans, and when to say no to an ex who wants to change plans.

Communicate Carefully 

Divorce experts recommend having a separate email address that co-parents can use when communicating about their children. Not only does this make it easy to keep track of plans, but it also keeps everybody on their best behavior by making conversations easy to monitor and record. Co-parents who experience conflict can benefit by removing opportunities for fights that can easily be triggered by text, phone, or in-person conversations about important topics. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_350203016.jpgIf you have chosen to get a divorce, you will need to address multiple types of financial issues, as well as the legal matters involved in dissolving your marriage. The process of property division can often become complicated, especially if you and your spouse own multiple and different types of property and assets. Retirement benefits are an issue that sometimes can complicate this process, and determining how to divide these assets correctly can ensure that you will have the financial resources you need later in life.

Retirement Accounts, Pensions, and QDROs

Generally, any retirement benefits you or your spouse earned or contributed to during your marriage are part of the marital estate. They will need to be divided alongside your other marital property. These benefits may include retirement accounts provided by an employer, such as a 401(k), or an individual retirement account (IRA), as well as pension benefits earned while you were married.

In many cases, a spouse will be able to keep retirement accounts that are in his or her own name. However, the funds in these accounts may be divided by withdrawing or transferring some of the balance. It is important to understand that if you choose to withdraw funds from a retirement account before reaching the age of 59 ½, penalties may apply, and taxes also must be paid on the amounts that are withdrawn or transferred.


mchenry county famliy law attorneyIf you are getting divorced in Illinois, you and your soon-to-be spouse will be asked to file a financial affidavit with the court. You will be expected to list information about your income, expenses, debts, and assets. Unfortunately, some spouses lie on their affidavits in an attempt to gain a financial advantage during a divorce. Lying about finances during divorce not only is unethical, but also, it is also unlawful. Divorce issues such as property division and child support should be based on accurate, up-to-date financial data. If you are getting divorced, make sure to watch out for signs of hidden assets and other forms of financial fraud.


Keeping Financial Information a Secret

Per Illinois law, you have a right to an equitable portion of the marital estate. This means that you have a right to a fair share of any assets that were accumulated during the marriage. This may include bank accounts, retirement funds, business revenue, profits from investments, and more. One clue that your spouse may attempt to cheat you out of your fair share of the marital estate is a sudden increase in secretive behavior. Rerouting mail to a P.O. box, hiding tax returns and other financial documents, changing online banking passwords, and refusing to discuss finances with you, may all be signs of deception.


Posted on in Divorce

Kane County divorce attorney child supportCOVID-19 caused a global health crisis in addition to an economic downturn. In Illinois, non-essential businesses closed to stop the spread of the contagious virus. As a result, many people found themselves out of work or facing reduced hours and income. Depending on the industry, some companies have permitted their employees to work remotely from home. Similarly, many schools have switched to e-learning, with teachers and students participating online through video conferencing apps such as Zoom or Google Meets. With everyone adjusting to this new normal, divorced parents may be wondering if they can modify their current divorce orders for child support and child custody and visitation (now referred to as the allocation of parenting time and decision-making). Under Illinois law, it is possible to request changes to these types of orders in certain situations.

Child Support and Spousal Support Orders

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a divorce is finalized once a judge issues the official court order, which is commonly known as the decree or judgment. This legal document sets forth asset and property division, spousal maintenance (alimony), and child support. However, after a significant amount of time, the orders may not be appropriate or adequate for the current situation. For instance, if one parent suffers a job loss due to COVID-19, that will likely cause a substantial change in income. If the unemployed parent is making child support or spousal maintenance payments to the other parent, he or she can petition the court for a temporary order modification to reduce that amount. In addition, if the unemployed parent is the recipient of child support and/or maintenance, then that parent may petition the court for an increase in support.

Child Custody Orders and Parenting Time Schedules

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, most essential employees still have to work outside of the home, including those in the healthcare, government, and construction fields. However, if an essential employee has younger children who typically attend daycare during the day, many childcare facilities might be closed. If the other parent is furloughed or working remotely and can manage to have the children stay at his or her home during the day, both parents may mutually agree to temporarily change their parenting time schedule. In some cases, a parent who suddenly finds himself or herself out of work may find new employment out of state and then relocate, which could impact the existing allocation of parenting time. As for any order that involves children, a judge will always base his or her decisions on what is in the children’s best interests when making decisions regarding an order for modification.


Posted on in Divorce

Kane County child custody lawyer for parallel parentingAlthough couples typically do not enter into marriage thinking they are going to get divorced down the road, it can and does happen. Whether two people have been married a few years or a few decades, life circumstances can change, impacting their relationship. Sometimes, partners simply grow apart, or one spouse may have an extramarital affair. In many contentious divorce cases, a couple may want nothing to do with each other once the ink dries on their divorce decree. However, if a couple has children, they may struggle to share child custody if they are unable to communicate with each other in a civil manner. In these cases, parents may choose an alternative parenting plan. Parallel parenting is a type of arrangement where divorced co-parents have limited contact with each other. Depending on the situation, it may work better than the typical co-parenting option.

Agreeing to Disagree

In a divorce, if the ex-spouses do not see eye to eye on various issues, they can agree to disagree, so to speak, but still be involved in their children’s lives. By choosing a parallel parenting plan, they can avoid a lot of arguments and unnecessary stress and make sure they are not putting pressure on their kids. This may mean the only contact between parents will be through written communication, such as text messages or emails, with no face-to-face or telephone conversations.

Communicating with each other is important when considering the logistics of how and when kids will travel between each parent’s house. Similarly, both parents can support their children by attending their sporting events, band concerts, or theater productions, but they do not have to ride there together or sit by each other.