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Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney co-parenting

If you are a parent who is recently separated or is planning to divorce, you probably have concerns about the upcoming holiday season. You may be especially concerned about how your children will deal with the holidays. Between COVID-19 concerns, remote learning at school, and your divorce, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to make the best of the situation. Fortunately, there is a good deal of research about how to alleviate the stress caused by divorce and the holidays.

Make Detailed Holiday Co-Parenting Plans

Divorcing parents in Illinois must submit a “parenting plan” that describes how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be allocated to each parent. If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court may determine a suitable plan for them. If you have not yet filed for divorce, you may not have any formal parenting plans in place. In order to reduce the chances of conflict and confusion during the holidays, make a plan with your spouse ahead of time about how you will share custody. Include the days and times that the children will stay with each parent, how the children will be transported between homes, and other relevant information.

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Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney parenting time

If you are a parent who is facing a breakup or divorce, you may struggle with the idea of splitting custody with your child’s other parent. When you are used to seeing your child on a daily basis, the thought of seeing him or her a limited number of days can be heartbreaking. In Illinois, divorcing parents are required to create a “parenting plan” that outlines arrangements for parental responsibilities and parenting time. One of the provisions in this plan is the “right of first refusal.” This provision may enable you to enjoy additional time with your child during the other parent’s absence.

Requiring Your Child’s Other Parent to Contact You Before Contacting a Babysitter

Parenting time, previously called visitation, refers to the time a parent spends directly caring for his or her child. If a parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time responsibility because of a vacation, work obligation, or another reason, that parent may choose to hire a babysitter or ask a relative to watch his or her child. This can leave the child’s other parent frustrated and upset. The right of first refusal refers to a parent’s right to be informed about parental absences and given the opportunity to “refuse” additional parenting time. For example, consider a situation in which a mother has the children Monday through Friday and the father has the children on the weekends. The mother will be out of town on a work trip Monday and Tuesday. Because the parents’ right of first refusal provision dictates it, the mother is required to inform the father that she is going out of town and ask him if he wants to keep the children on Monday and Tuesday. If the father cannot watch the children those days, the mother is free to hire a nanny or find different childcare arrangements with other family members.

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Posted on in Divorce

Arlington Heights divorce attorney QDRO

Retirement savings are some of the most valuable assets people can have, and dividing them during a separation or divorce can be complicated. Even with a precise division of assets defined in your divorce agreement, tax implications prevent that money from being dealt with properly. To get around this hurdle and ensure that a retirement account holder or provider can issue payments without the payee being penalized, you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO.

When Is a QDRO Necessary? 

A QDRO can apply to child support, alimony, or property rights, but divorcing couples use them frequently to instruct a retirement plan provider on how to adhere to the division of assets outlined in your divorce agreement. For this reason, many retirement plan providers have their own QDRO forms that you can submit. Most people will use these standard forms, but if the division of the account is complicated, you may want to draft your own QDRO. Regardless of whether you take advantage of existing forms or draft your own QDRO, you should enlist the help of an experienced divorce attorney to fully protect your interests.

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\Arlington Heights divorce lawyerMany divorce settlements include terms for spousal support, where one former spouse provides financial support to the other until they can fully support themselves. Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, can be made in regular payments or a lump sum. The terms, either agreed to in mediation or ordered by a judge, are legally binding. There are a few ways that a court will enforce a failure to adhere to your alimony payment schedule. If your ex falls behind on spousal maintenance payments, contact a divorce attorney before acting.

Enforcing Court-Ordered Spousal Support

Before bringing your case to court, you should try to communicate with your ex-spouse to find out if there are any circumstances preventing him or her from making payments. Common reasons include the recent loss of a job, illness, and injury. If your former spouse is willing to cooperate, you can form an agreement until he or she is capable of catching up with the payments. For instance, you both could suspend alimony payments until the paying-spouse returns to work. You should have an attorney draft this agreement. Informal contracts can lead to misunderstandings and difficulties in court if you need to opt for that route.

If your ex-spouse refuses to make support payments or fails to adhere to any new agreement you made due to his or her income reduction, you can take the issue to court. Failure to follow a court order means the court will hold the offender in “contempt.” In this case, you would file a motion for enforcement or contempt of court. To ensure that you eventually receive your support payments, a judge may garnish your former spouse’s wages, bank accounts, or tax returns. You may also explore alternatives like increasing the duration of support or adding interest to future payments. Continuous non-compliance could result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Courts issue significant fines and jail time for these offenses.

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Arlington Heights prenuptial agreement lawyerAlthough it is not pleasant to think about right before your wedding, a good number of marriages will end in divorce. Because of this reality, planning for that possibility could save you a lot of trouble in the future. Of course, if you and your soon-to-be spouse never end up separating, your prenuptial agreement (prenup) will not weigh you down in any way. However, if you do file for divorce and do not have a prenup, settling the terms of your separation will be a lot more difficult than it needed to be. 

What Can a Prenuptial Agreement Do for My Marriage?

The basic idea of a prenuptial agreement is to decide, in advance, how a couple will divide property and assets upon their divorce. Although you create a prenup before marriage, it does not take effect until the date that you get married. If you end up in court for divorce litigation without a prenup, a judge can decide how to divide your assets between you and your spouse.

There are plenty of reasons to get a prenuptial agreement. Maybe you own a business that you built well before your marriage: a prenup will help ensure that it remains yours in the event of a divorce. Perhaps you own property or you have funds set aside for children from a previous marriage: a prenup can help you keep those in your possession. Although it sounds unappealing to have these discussions with your spouse right before your wedding, the legal agreement can ease a lot of stress and any underlying concerns about what you will do if your marriage does come to an end.

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