All posts by Abear Law Offices
Factors that Can Prolong the Divorce Process in Illinois
Coming to the end of a marriage can be devastating. The divorce process can be stressful too. Many people would like to just get it over and done with as quickly as possible.
There’s no set length of time for divorce processes. Each and every divorce is as unique as the couple going through it and their circumstances. A divorce can take anywhere from 30 days to several years to finalize. There are several factors that can delay the finalizing of a divorce in Illinois. These include:
One of the most common causes of delay in finalizing a divorce is children. It can be difficult to resolve issues such as child support, child custody and visitation. Decisions regarding children should be made in the best interests of the children. However, parents may disagree on the allocation of responsibilities and their obligations regarding the children as their emotions drive them during the divorce.
Having attorneys present during the determination of a parenting plan and deciding other issues such as custody and support can help to separate emotions from logic. Couples will be in a better position to make decisions that will meet the needs of their children after divorce.
Division of assets
Another issue that often results in the prolonging of divorce proceedings is the division of assets. Determining who gets what and in what proportion can be a great source of contention.
The law in Illinois requires the equitable distribution of marital assets and property. This means that any property or assets acquired during marriage must be divided fairly between the spouses. Assets in this case may include vehicles, houses, furniture, antiques, jewelry and even family-owned businesses.
Divorces where couples have high-value assets are often difficult to resolve. There are also instances where a spouse may hide assets or believe that their spouse is hiding assets. Accountants may be brought in to uncover these assets. This can prolong divorce proceedings. It can also take longer to settle a divorce where the couple has accrued a lot of debt during marriage. This debt will need to be split during divorce. It can take a long time to determine who ought to be held responsible for the debt.
The level of cooperation of the spouses
If the spouses involved are willing to sit down and negotiate, then even the most complicated divorce case can be resolved much faster. If the spouses aren’t willing to negotiate or agree on even the simplest matters, the divorce process can go on for years. In some cases, where spouses are unable to reach an agreement on their own, the divorce ends up in court where the solutions will be determined by a judge.
Litigation should be considered a last resort as it takes the power of decision out of your hands. If you’re seeking a divorce, hire an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. Legal representation will help to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Divorce Mediation?
If you’re seeking a divorce, there will be various issues that will need to be discussed and agreed upon before your divorce is made final. These range from child custody to property and asset division. These matters can be addressed through mediation or in a court.
Mediation is always the best choice for divorce. It offers many benefits including being less expensive and offering spouses more control over the outcome of the divorce. Going to court will result in huge expenses in legal fees and it will result in a judge making all the decisions for you. Going to court also means that the divorce will most likely take anything from several months to years to be finalized. Mediation is a great option if you and your spouse are willing to sit down and negotiate.
If you and your soon-to-be ex have opted for mediation, you will need to hire a mediator. This is a neutral party that guides the conversations to help you come to an agreement. It is also a good idea for each spouse to hire a divorce attorney. Here’s why:
You’ll gain access to legal knowledge and experience
Divorce laws can be complex. It can be difficult to understand the long-term impact of a decision you make during mediation. An experienced attorney will provide you with guidance to ensure you make the best decisions for you and your children if any. They will help you better understand the requirements of the law and how you can protect yourself.
You’ll get legal advice for your particular situation
Mediators only provide spouses with information about the options available to them. As unbiased parties, they cannot provide legal advice to any of the spouses.
An experienced attorney will assess your circumstances and provide you with advice based on their experience and understanding of the law. A lawyer will step in and ensure your best interests are considered in issues such as child custody, division of assets, sharing debt and much more.
An attorney will help to remove the emotional aspect from the decision-making process
It can be difficult to come to an agreement during a time when your emotions are all over the place. You may not be able to think clearly. You may want to take revenge on your spouse or even want to give up some of your rights in the heat of the moment just to get it over and done with.
An attorney will help to take that emotional aspect out of the decision-making process as they are not personally involved in the case. They can provide you with an objective view of the situation and advise you on the best decisions to make to safeguard your future.
They can help you save money in the long term in many cases
The decisions made during a mediation are legally binding once the divorce is finalized. Hiring an attorney may seem expensive right now but will save you a lot of money in the long term in many cases. A legal representative will help you make better decisions regarding division of property, child support and other financial matters. They can help you secure your financial future after divorce.
If you’re seeking a divorce, be sure to contact an experienced attorney to guide you through the process.
Is Nesting a Good Option for Your Divorce?
Going through a divorce is stressful for a couple. Children of divorce also experience significant amounts of stress. This is the case even in an uncontested divorce which is completed in a short period. Children still find that they have to adjust to many changes, which can be difficult.
Children thrive on stability and permanence. Divorce disrupts their sense of stability. They were accustomed to having both parents in their lives and now they only have one parent that is their main caregiver and with whom they live the majority of the time.
Some parents consider ‘nesting’ as a way to help their children make the transition after a divorce.
What is nesting?
Illinois divorce laws allow spouses to determine their own agreements when it comes to child-related issues such as who gets primary custody of the children, the amount of spousal support they should expect as well as parental visitation rights. Issues relating to children in divorce are outlined in a parenting plan. This document is legally binding. Therefore, decisions that are made and documented must be adhered to once the divorce has been finalized.
Divorced parents in Illinois can therefore make a nesting plan. In this type of arrangement, both parents live in separate spaces outside the family home. The children are the only permanent residents of the home during the nesting period. Each parent comes to the home to live with the children for a set time according to a parenting schedule. The parents are never in the home at the same time. Some parents opt to have the same second living space as they are never in this space at the same time either.
In such a scenario, the father may live with the children in the primary family home for a week or two in a month. The mother will live with the children the rest of the time when the father is away.
The pros and cons of nesting
There are several benefits and downsides of nesting. Nesting helps parents focus on their children’s needs as opposed to their own needs. It gives children a greater sense of stability as they can still enjoy time with both parents within the family home. It also gives both parents time to spend with their children and helps children ease into the more permanent parenting plan after the divorce.
However, nesting can be expensive as the parents must have separate living spaces outside the family home. Depending on how long the nesting arrangement is for, it can make it difficult for the parents to move on after divorce and pursue romantic relationships. Nesting can also give children a false sense of hope. They may think that their parents will get back together.
Is nesting right for you?
Are you considering nesting for your family after your divorce is finalized? There are several factors to consider. Can you and your spouse afford a second residence? Who will be responsible for the monthly bills and upkeep of the primary family home? How long would you be able to keep the nesting up?
It is important to talk to your divorce attorney to better understand how nesting works and if it is a good option for your family.
4 Ways You Can Speed Up Your Divorce Proceedings
Ending a marriage can be traumatic, not just for the couple but also for their family and especially for their children. However, when a relationship has come to a point of no return, divorce may be the best solution.
There is no set time for how long a divorce case can take. Some cases drag on for months while others are finalized within a matter of weeks. If both parties are certain that divorce is the best solution, it may be in their best interests to speed up the divorce case. Speeding up your divorce will help to reduce the legal costs involved. It will also help both parties begin the process of picking up the pieces and learning to live life without their partner.
Tips to speed up your divorce case
Maintain open communication
This can be tough, especially for a couple going through a divorce. Many problems in marriage that result in divorce often start with communication breakdown. In cases where the divorce is the decision of one spouse or the result of the actions of one spouse, the other spouse may be feeling hurt, anger, shock or grief. Communication may seem impossible in these situations.
Couples that keep the lines of communication open are able to discuss important issues and agree on how to move ahead. This makes it easy to come to a consensus on issues such as child custody and splitting assets. If you’re having difficulty communicating, consider seeing a therapist as a couple or individually.
Use a mediator
A great way of coming to an agreement on issues such as dividing assets is by seeking mediation. Mediation brings in a neutral third party to negotiate for a fair settlement. Mediators are trained professionals. They are especially helpful when couples can’t agree but do not want to have a long, drawn-out court battle.
Even if you’ve opted for mediation, be sure to have an experienced divorce lawyer present with you throughout the process. Your lawyer will help protect your rights and ensure you get a fair settlement.
Many couples end up in drawn-out court battles because of the dishonesty of one or both spouses. A party may lie about their assets in order to protect them and the other party may decide to litigate as they feel hurt and betrayed.
If you want to speed up the divorce proceedings, it is best to be open and honest throughout the process. This means full disclosure of all your assets including debts, income and expenses. Your lawyer will help you devise a strategy to safeguard your interests.
Put it all in writing
It is important to document everything that is related to the divorce. This should be done in the presence of a lawyer. This is especially important for when you reach an agreement about any contentious issues such as child custody or division of assets. If the same issue arises again, you will have a written statement to refer to.
Speeding up your divorce will help you get started on the journey to healing much earlier. Follow the tips above to help speed up your divorce case.
Things to Avoid During a Divorce
Are you going through a divorce or planning to file for a divorce soon? There are various mistakes that people make when going through a divorce that can lead to them ending up with the short end of the stick. The following are mistakes you should avoid if you want to protect your rights.
Insisting on taking your case to court
Going through a divorce is an emotional process. You may feel betrayed, hurt and angry all at the same time. It isn’t uncommon for a hurt spouse to want to take revenge by prolonging the divorce proceedings and insisting on taking the case to court.
While you may initially get some satisfaction from taking your case to court, your case can quickly become complicated in a court setting. Going to court will increase the cost of the divorce significantly. A prolonged divorce can be stressful on you, your children and your friends and family. The outcome of a court case is unpredictable. You may end up with a judgment that is unfavorable to you.
Bad mouthing your spouse
It isn’t uncommon for spouses to be angry and hurt when going through a divorce. Many people badmouth their spouses to their children, friends or on social media in an attempt to win them over and take their revenge on their soon-to-be ex-spouse. While this may be satisfying in the moment, it can have negative consequences.
Bad-mouthing your spouse can harm your children in the long-term. Remember that your ex-spouse is still their parent. It won’t help to involve your children in a dispute between you. You could also end up hurting your chances of getting custody of your children. The court will consider which parent will foster a healthy relationship and may choose your spouse if there is evidence that you badmouth your spouse.
People have a wide range of reasons why they hide assets from the court in divorce proceedings. You may feel betrayed by your spouse and not want them to benefit from divorcing you. It may be that you put a lot of work into obtaining assets after marriage and feel that it isn’t fair to have to split assets with your spouse.
Whatever your reasons, hiding assets is not in your best interest. Lying to the court could result in you losing ground in your divorce case. Your lies may give your spouse the opportunity to appeal divorce decrees that are in place and be awarded even more of your assets than was initially agreed upon. You may even face criminal charges for fraud.
Allowing your emotions to guide your decisions
Parties going through a divorce experience a wide range of emotions including rage, despair and frustration. However, it is important to be calm and rational when making decisions during a divorce. This will help you make logical decisions that are in your best interest. Allowing your emotions to take over can result in prolonging the divorce, which will ultimately increase your financial and emotional burden. It can also lead to making poor decisions that have long-term repercussions.
Avoid the mistakes above when going through a divorce. Consult an experienced divorce attorney to determine the best way to approach your divorce.
Getting a Military Divorce – Things You Should Know
Are you planning to get a divorce? A divorce where one or both parties are military service members is no more complicated than divorce involving only civilian parties. However, there are some special rules and requirements that only apply to military divorces. These can present challenges for couples seeking to end their marriages.
Understanding the special requirements for military divorces is important. This will help you be prepared for the challenges you may face. The following are some things you should know about military divorces.
Deciding where to file your divorce can be tricky
This is especially true when you or your spouse is in active service. Members of the military tend to move around a lot. They therefore have multiple homes. Some move around with their families and therefore have multiple records of home addresses shared with their spouses. There are some who have a shared address with their spouse and addresses for where they currently reside.
Deciding where to file a divorce in a civilian marriage is easy. You file in the jurisdiction in which you are resident. For a military divorce, you should file for a divorce in the place where the domicile spouse holds legal residence. At least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for 6 months immediately prior to filing for the divorce.
How military pension is split depends on the court
Divorce proceedings often become complicated when it comes to dividing assets including property and savings. Couples often disagree when it comes to splitting assets. This also applies to military divorces.
For military divorces, military benefits are also considered as part of the assets that ought to be divided between the spouses. The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFPA) gives partners of military personnel the legal right to part of their spouse’s benefits. This applies to marriages of any length. The court may therefore decide how your military pension will be divided.
A divorced spouse may continue to benefit from healthcare
As previously mentioned, military benefits are considered part of the assets in a military divorce. While many benefits that the spouse was entitled to while married to the military service member end on the date of the divorce judgement, they may still be eligible for healthcare coverage. This depends on how long the couple has been married and the length of the time the military service overlapped with the marriage.
Former military spouses may also obtain health insurance coverage by applying for Continued Health Care Benefit Plan.
An active duty service member can get custody of their children
Child custody is often one of the biggest sources of conflict in divorce settlements. Active servers often worry that they won’t be able to get custody of the children because of their work. However, this isn’t the case. Although being in the military can have an impact on awarding custody, active military service members can get custody of their children. However, arrangements for custody can be complicated by their military service. A family care plan which guides parents on how the children will cared for after the divorce is finalized will help to make the situation easier for the couple.
If you’re facing a military divorce, get in touch with a seasoned lawyer to guide you through the process. A good understanding of the special requirements for military divorce will help ensure your rights are protected.
Important Facts about Child Support Lawyers
Child support lawyers play an important role in helping resolve child support cases during or after a divorce. The law does not oblige you to get a lawyer to assist you in a child support case, but hiring an attorney can be a good idea in many circumstances.
Hiring a lawyer is especially important if you are in the process of handling a divorce or a dispute about child custody and you and your partner are unable to reach an amicable settlement about support or custody. Here are three crucial facts that you need to know about child support lawyers.
What child support lawyers do?
Child support lawyers are family attorneys whose role is to assist you in your child support case in various ways as noted below:
- Assessing your case and offering you appropriate legal advice on the way forward
- Explaining the details of the case and what is expected at each stage
- Computing any expected child support payment
- Representing you during negotiations
- Appearing in court on your behalf
Why you need a child support lawyer?
You may think that hiring a child support lawyer is costly or even unnecessary. However, from the points above, you can see that there are many things that lawyers do which you may not be able to do on your own. Here are some reasons why you need a child support lawyer:
- If your former partner has a lawyer: To be on the same level, you should have a lawyer to represent you if the other party has an attorney.
- When the case is complicated: Some child support cases are complicated. For example, you and your former partner may have a dispute regarding issues such as custody or the amount to be paid as child support. In such a case, you need a lawyer to help you argue your case and offer you all the assistance that you need.
- A lawyer can help you calculate the amount of child maintenance: Child support lawyers know the information that is taken into consideration when computing the child support amount. Thus, by working with a lawyer, you will be able to compute the amount correctly.
- Modifying the child support amount: Any alteration that is made to the child support amount needs to be done carefully. A lawyer can guide you through the process and make it easier.
Factors to consider before hiring a child support lawyer
There are several factors that you should consider before you hire a child support lawyer. These include:
- Whether paternity issues have been addressed
- Whether there is another custody lawsuit pertaining to the same child or children.
- How child support will affect your financial status
- The child support amount that is expected.
A child support lawyer can give you priceless assistance during your child support case. Although having a lawyer during a child support lawsuit is not a requirement, there are many instances in which you will need legal assistance. Understanding what child support lawyers do, why you need one and the factors to consider before you hire them can go a long way in ensuring that you make a strong case.
Reasons That You May Need a Child Custody Lawyer
If you have a child custody case, you may be in a dilemma on whether to hire a child custody lawyer or not. Many people often argue that hiring an attorney is expensive. However, there are many benefits that you can get by hiring a child custody lawyer. Key among the benefits is that child custody lawyer knows the ins and outs of custody cases, which you may not be aware of.
There are also many situations that make it necessary for you to hire a lawyer to represent you in a child custody lawsuit. Here are four compelling reasons why you should hire a child custody lawyer.
The other party has a child custody lawyer
Even if your custody case looks uncomplicated, it is advisable not have too much confidence in yourself. If your former partner has hired a private child custody lawyer, you also need to hire your own lawyer in order to be on an equal footing in the case.
There are many details about child custody cases that you may not be familiar with, but which lawyers know. By hiring a lawyer, you will get the necessary advice about the case. The lawyer will also assist you and ensure that you have a convincing argument. You would not wish to feel that your case did not go the way you wanted just because the other party had an attorney and you didn’t.
The case involves complex issues
If you have recently gone through a separation or divorce, it may not be appropriate for you to rely on just any type of lawyer in your child custody case. This is because not all lawyers are conversant with custody issues. A child custody lawyer will be more appropriate if the case involves complex issues that need to be reviewed.
The case involves different jurisdictions
Child custody laws vary across countries and even within states in countries like the United States. If you and your former partner live in different jurisdictions, the matter of who takes custody of your child or children needs to be evaluated by considering the laws of the states or countries involved.
Thus, if your case applies across jurisdictions, you will need to work with a lawyer who understands the laws of the jurisdictions involved, including international laws. The good news is that child custody lawyers are familiar with such matters.
You think your child is not safe
If you believe that your child is in danger after a separation or divorce, you should get in touch with a child custody lawyer immediately for help. The lawyer should be able to help you with processes such us getting a restriction order to stop any kind of abuse against the child. The lawyer will also help in addressing any potential repercussions of your intervention.
There are many reasons why you need a child custody lawyer. Even if a case about the custody of your children appears simple, these reasons may make it necessary to involve a lawyer to help you.
3 Top Reasons to Hire a Divorce Lawyer
When your marriage is coming to an end, it is important to get help from a divorce lawyer the moment you have made the decision to move forward with divorce proceedings. This is because the lawyer will start representing you and giving you the right advice.
There are many things that you need to sort out during the divorce proceedings, and a divorce lawyer will help you find the right way to navigate the issues. Some of the things that you need to iron out include your relationship with your children, how to share finances and property, and whether there is need for spousal support among other issues.
Three key reasons why you should hire a divorce lawyer to assist you are discussed below.
You can make significant savings during the divorce process
You may be concerned, and many people are indeed concerned, that hiring a divorce lawyer is expensive. However, the truth is that getting the services of a divorce lawyer as soon as you plan to start the divorce proceedings can help you in the long run.
By involving a lawyer at the start of the process, you and your partner can work hand in hand with your respective attorneys and arrange to have an out-of-court process. With an out-of-court process, it is possible for you and your spouse to arrive at an uncontested agreement.
Divorce lawyers understand the law and can guide you on how to reach an amicable settlement. They are also able to help their clients by using their negotiation skills and keeping emotions out of the negotiation process. Therefore, by involving a divorce lawyer, the likelihood of you and your spouse being able to get a fair deal on issues such as child custody, support and property division is increased.
Helps in safeguarding your bond with your kids
If you and your spouse have children, whatever agreement you make regarding your divorce has to be in the best interest of the children. The custody agreement that you make should allow you adequate time to see your children so that you can continue creating a strong bond with them.
With the help of a lawyer, you and your partner can negotiate on the matter of child custody and come up with a parenting plan without requiring a court’s intervention. This way, you can create a plan that works well for you, your spouse and the children without having one party compelled to act in a certain way.
If you are unable to reach an agreement out of court, your lawyer will represent you in court and help you present a compelling argument to the court regarding your relationship with your children.
A divorce lawyer can help you with long term finances
Divorce outcomes that require you to pay for spousal support or share marital property can adversely affect your financial status. A divorce lawyer can assess your financial status and help you make a strong argument so that any decision that is made regarding your finances does not harm you.
These three key points demonstrate why you should hire a divorce lawyer in case you decide to end your marriage. Even if the divorce process looks simple, there are some things that a lawyer can help you iron out.
Reasons to Modify Your Child Support Order
Child support exists to ensure that children receive the monetary support they need regardless of whether their parents are legally married or not. As such, this legal document is enforced to the fullest extent of the law and must be carefully followed once it is in place. That doesn’t mean, of course, that there is never any reason to modify the court order. There are a few different situations that could warrant a second look at your child support decree.
1. Change in Income
Child support is based at least partially on parental income. If that income changes substantially, the child support order might need to be modified. Note that this can include “good” changes as well as “bad” changes. If one parent receives a raise or takes a new job with a higher income, the child support order might need to be adjusted. The same is true if a parent loses their job or their income otherwise drops.
2. Undisclosed Income
Because child support is partially based upon parental income, any money made that is unreported and discovered after the order has been finalized might be grounds for modification. If one parent is working “under the table,” in other words, and the other parent can prove this, the child support order will likely need to be adjusted to account for the change in earnings.
3. Increased or Reduced Child Expenses
If your child’s expenses increase or decrease, it might be time to modify the child support order accordingly. This can happen if the child’s health insurance needs to change, for example, or if expenses like private school, tutoring, or care for children with special needs become an issue.
4. New Custody Arrangements
Another reason your child support order might need to be modified is when the child custody situation changes. If those circumstances change, or if the other parent fails to pay their support as ordered, you can return to court and document the changes and request a modification to reflect the new circumstances.
If you’re considering changing your child support order, reach out to the experienced attorneys at Abear Law Offices today at 630-904-3033!