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Libertyville Divorce Blog

Planning for college expenses during divorce

Higher education costs in Illinois and around the country have risen sharply in recent years, and attending a four-year nonprofit college in the United States now costs an average of $46,950, according to data from the College Board. Students attending state schools pay an average of $20,770 according to the nonprofit group. Putting aside the money needed to cover these costs can be difficult for parents struggling to cope with the financial fallout of a divorce, and determining how tuition fees and room and board will be paid for is sometimes a contentious issue during settlement negotiations.

Divorcing parents in Illinois may be wise to resolve these matters amicably because family law judges in the state can order divorced parents to pay their children's tuition fees, housing costs and medical expenses. However, the parent's income is taken into consideration when these decisions are made, and payment is only ordered when students maintain at least a C grade average.

Collaborating in divorce for greater financial stability

For some Illinois couples, ending their marriage can be financially challenging. The divorce itself can be costly, and after splitting up households, both people may find themselves with a lower standard of living than they enjoyed together. However, increasingly, couples are looking at ways to approach the process more cooperatively and lessen the financial pain.

Couples have a choice to negotiate a divorce settlement or go to litigation, and they might want to give the former a try before heading to court. Each person may want to think about assembling a team to help with the process. In addition to an attorney, this team may include a financial planner and supportive family members. Essentially, it is made up of the people needed to get through the divorce.

Becoming a custodial parent after divorce

When parents in Illinois go through a divorce, the thought of dividing time with their children is often difficult, and the world of child custody can be confusing and overwhelming. When beginning the child custody process, it can be particularly important to understand the legal terminology that all parties are using, especially when in court or working with a mediator to find a solution.

For example, the term custodial parent means the parent who has the most time with and physical custody of their child. This parent is most involved with and has the highest level of responsibility for the child, even when the other parent is an active, involved presence in the child's life. In some cases, both parents can be considered custodial when they share joint custody and equal time with their children. However, in many more cases, one parent is responsible for the children for the majority of the time, from helping with school to dealing with emotional issues, while the other has a different type of relationship. Being the custodial parent can be both highly rewarding and very challenging.

When parents share legal custody

In the state of Illinois, what many people think of as child custody is called parenting time. However, there is another element to custody that is commonly known as legal custody. This refers to which parent has the right to make decisions about major aspects of a child's life such as health care, religion and education. Legal custody is often shared, and there are advantages and disadvantages to doing so.

Shared legal custody can work well if the parents have a good coparenting relationship and both parents are responsible and regular participants in parenting. However, even if there is a lot of conflict between parents, they may still be able to create an effective co-parenting relationship. It can be good for children to see their parents work through disagreements and reach solutions. On the other hand, forcing parents to collaborate does not guarantee that they will be able to do so.

Practical solutions to common divorce issues

Sometimes you simply can’t avoid the emotional trauma that comes with a divorce. However, this pain does not have to control you throughout the divorce (or in the time after the split). While the job of an experienced divorce attorney is not necessarily to deal with a divorcee’s emotions. (After all, they are not licensed therapists.) However, there are a number of emotional issues that can be avoided by taking some practical cues.

In this post, we will share a few of them.

Reasons to use mediation in child custody decisions

There are a number of reasons Illinois parents who are going through a divorce might want to work out an agreement for child custody using mediation instead of going to court. Divorce is an adversarial process that might heighten the tension between parents, and this in turn is not good for their children.

In custody battles, even parents who feel they are fighting for their children's best interests may be damaging them in some way. If parents are not abusive, it is generally considered best for them to both have time with their children. A mediator is a neutral party who shifts the focus away from blame and toward the future and the best interests of the children. The process may also teach parents skills that can help them resolve co-parenting conflicts that may arise in the years ahead.

What divorced parents can do to help children adjust

When Illinois parents get a divorce, they can help or hinder their children's adjustment with certain actions. For example, parents should notice whether their children are depressed and may want to talk to their children's friends or teachers about how they are doing.

A relationship with the other parent should be encouraged. If the child is resistant to this relationship, the parent should discuss it with the child and attempt to resolve it. The parent should not make negative comments about the other parent in front of the child or attempt to convince the child of who was right in the divorce. Parents should also avoid using the child as a messenger or an informant of the other parent's actions. The child should not feel caught between the parents, and parents should avoid arguing in front of the children.

The basics of divorce mediation

Some people in Illinois who are getting a divorce might want to consider mediation instead of litigation. Mediation uses a neutral third party to help couples resolve conflict and reach an agreement.

The mediation process can have a number of advantages over litigation. It may be less costly, less stressful and less time consuming. When it comes to child custody and other family-related disputes, decreasing stress and conflict might be particularly important. However, mediation may not be the right solution for couples if one will not negotiate in good faith. Some experts also believe mediation is not appropriate if couples have a particularly complex financial situation.

Improvements for child support collections

Child support payments that Illinois parents submitted in the 2016 fiscal year may have been part of almost $33 billion that was collected. According to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, 75 percent of that balance was collected via income withholding. To continue collection efforts, the OCSE has announced measures it is taking to improve the agency and recommendations that are being made to payroll businesses and professionals.

Child support agencies use verification of employment requests to collect data on withholdings, wages and the availability of health insurance. The agencies have been voicing concerns about third-party agencies used by employers to respond to the requests and the fees that they are charging the agencies.

How is mediation different from collaborative divorce?

You may know that your marriage is past saving. But the thought of going to court? That seems every bit as demoralizing as the thought of divorce itself. What can be gained by airing your family's private business in a very public court of law?

Thankfully, in today's society, there are more amicable (and private) ways of getting divorced. You may have come across two of the most common in your Internet research: mediation and collaborative law. Both offer couples a way to work out differences in a less contentious setting - and out of the public eye.

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