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Libertyville Divorce Blog

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.

Child custody and visitation schedules

When parents in Illinois separate, they may have to reach a custody agreement. In many cases, one parent has primary custody while the other has visitation rights to their child. A visitation schedule is the exact calendar of when the child will spend time with each parent.

If the parents live some distance apart, they might not be able to reach an agreement about the visitation schedule. In such instances, the court could step in and create the schedule. Judges generally take the position that children should spend time with both parents. In cases of abuse or neglect, however, one parent might be limited only to supervised visitation. A court might also create the schedule if the parents share custody.

Custodial interference is a bad choice

When Illinois parents are involved in a custody battle, acrimony and strong emotions can lead to making foolish decisions. One such bad decision is when one parent interferes with the other parent's custodial rights. People should know such actions are classified as custodial interference and can be prosecuted in criminal court with severe consequences for the offending party.

In the context of child custody litigation, a court order is usually put in place which governs the way parents work with each other to rear their children. The plan can be agreed upon by the parties or put in place by judicial mandate, but it is binding unless altered by another court order. If one parent refuses to comply with the terms of the custody plan, the other parent can seek relief from the court. If a parent does something to interfere with a parent's allotted custody time, like failing to deliver a child to the other parent at the appointed time, the police can be called and charges pressed. Parents are always encouraged to work together but when there is a pattern of behavior and communication is difficult extreme measures can be warranted.

Things to keep in mind when dividing a retirement account

Couples in Illinois who need to divide a 401(k) or company pension plan will need to use a document known as a qualified domestic relations order. Otherwise, they may have to pay high taxes and early withdrawal penalties. A QDRO should be prepared by an attorney in consultation with the plan administrator.

It is important for the QDRO and divorce agreement to be consistent. To that end, the order should specify how distributions will be made. While most people prefer to roll distributions into a retirement account, they can also take a direct distribution. A divorce is considered an exception to the restriction on taking distributions before the age of 59 1/2 without incurring a penalty. However, people will still owe regular income tax on whatever they receive.

Steps for financial protection in case of divorce

The possibility of divorce may not be the first thing on the minds of couples in Illinois who are getting married, but it might be a good idea to prepare financially all the same. For people who worry that this indicates a cynical view of marriage, one financial expert points out that it is not very different from the precautionary step of putting on a seat belt when getting into a car.

A couple who has not yet married can draw up a prenuptial agreement that addresses which assets and debts they would like to keep separate and what they want to happen to shared assets if they divorce. A married couple can do something similar with a postnuptial agreement. Another step a couple may want to take before marriage is having any assets that are difficult to appraise, such as a business, valuated.

Litigation may not be right for your situation

The process of divorce is ugly. It can turn what was once love into hate and make you reconsider ever getting married again. Ideally, when pledging “for better or for worse” to your partner, you probably envisioned growing old together instead of being embroiled in a bitter battle over which piece of furniture belongs to whom.

Amicable divorce

How to avoid financial ruin after a divorce

Divorce at any age can be difficult from a financial and emotional perspective. However, there may be unique challenges that Illinois residents or others face if they get divorced later in life. For instance, an individual who may be entitled to alimony may need to find ways to protect that source of income. This may be done by asking to receive a lump sum as opposed to monthly payments.

Doing so may prevent the loss of funds in the event a former spouse dies or loses his or her job. In a divorce, joint property is generally handled differently than separate property. Taking an inventory of assets may help a person determine what he or she may keep after the marriage ends. This may be especially important if assets, such as an inheritance, may have been commingled during a marriage. As a general rule, inheritances received are considered separate property.

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