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Elgin Illinois Family Law Blog

Speak out if your ex-spouse is misusing child support funds

Child support is an important support for your children. It's a way to make sure they have the income of a two-parent household supporting them, even if you can't live with them.

Child support may seem unfair to some parents, especially if they have their children half the time or even more. The truth is that the support you pay goes toward the things your child needs in their other home. When they're not with you, that money goes toward helping them live in a safe environment, to go to a good school and to receive the necessities of daily living.

You can seek help for a custody dispute

Child custody concerns are probably going to be on your mind during a divorce until you're able to resolve any custody disputes you have. You and your spouse may both want what is best for your children, but you'll also likely disagree on some major points.

It's normal to disagree on visitation time and other factors that involve your children, especially when you're divorcing. However, you can resolve your conflicts in a helpful manner. One thing you may want to try is mediation. Another is arbitration. Even family therapy might be helpful in this situation.

Here's what to do if you're served a divorce summons

If you have received a summons for divorce from your spouse, then you need to know the steps to take next. A summons just lets you know that they have filed for divorce and would like to have your response.

You have 30 days to respond to the summons by filing your appearance and a response. You can also choose not to provide a response to the summons. If you choose not to respond, then the court is able to hold you in default, and your spouse is able to continue the divorce process without any further notice to you.

What do you do if child support causes disputes?

Child support can quickly become a point of contention during a divorce. This is one of many reasons why child support is normally dictated by the court. The judge may tell you how much that the noncustodial spouse will pay based on the guidelines for the state.

However, it is potentially possible to negotiate child support. As long as you and your spouse can agree on how much support is necessary, then you may not need to ask the judge to base your support on the state guidelines.

3 tips for talking to kids about divorce

It’s no secret that divorce can be an emotionally challenging time. Between filing paperwork and separating possessions, it can be easy to lose sight of the most important thing. Talking to your children about divorce is not a conversation that any parent wants to have, but it’s a necessary one.

Life isn’t only going to be different for you, but it will be different for them as well. Divorce can be emotionally devastating for children if handled improperly. However, good communication between parent and child and a gentle approach can help alleviate some of the negative effects of a divorce.

What happens to joint credit card debt in divorce?

Once you decide to divorce, your attention will turn to a variety of matters. For example, it's imperative to create a property and debt division checklist.

As a married couple, you may have used joint credit cards for a number of reasons. If you have this type of debt and are ready to go through the divorce process, there are some things you can do to ease your stress:

  • Talk to your spouse about paying off joint credit card debt: If you have the means to do so, pay off your joint credit card debt before you divorce. This gives you one less thing to worry about.
  • Use balance transfer credit cards: With this approach, you and your spouse can split the balance down the middle. The end result is a credit card in your name, allowing you to deal with the debt however you want.
  • Cancel all joint credit cards: It doesn't matter if you're paying off your debt or transferring it to separate credit cards, cancel any joint cards. If you fail to do so, your spouse could continue to use it, putting you on the hook for half the balance.

What happens with your pet when you divorce in Illinois?

You might have heard before of an "amicable divorce". Those spouses that are most apt to reach a friendly conclusion to their marriage are few. It's generally only those who've been married a short time, have little assets and no kids that can amicably resolve their differences. The more property or children that a couple has, the more likely that they are to have to litigate their divorce.

Pets are increasingly becoming another reason why divorcing couples have to head to court. This is especially the case if one or both spouses see the pet as more of a family member as opposed to a mere animal.

Can you modify your visitation schedule?

A visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent is often a big part of a parenting agreement. If you have visitation rights, it's critical to understand what you can and can't do. This will help you avoid a mistake that could upset your children or your ex-spouse.

There may come a time when you need to modify your visitation. This is nothing to take lightly, as the process requires attention to detail and the involvement of the other parent.

Key steps to financially prepare for divorce

You know that divorce will alter your life in many ways, so taking steps to protect yourself is of utmost importance.

There are many things you can do to financially prepare for divorce, including the following:

  • Make a list of your assets and debts: This will come in handy when negotiating property and debt division. A detailed list should include both separate and marital property, as well as all joint debts.
  • Set a budget for the future: Your financial situation will change as the result of your divorce, so you should immediately set a budget for the future. For example, if your spouse was the primary breadwinner, you'll need to adjust your expenses to ensure you can live on your salary alone.
  • Gather all the necessary documentation: This typically includes bank account statements, retirement account statements, investment account statements, mortgage statements, credit card statements, recent pay stubs and past tax returns.
  • Get help: For example, you can consult with your accountant to better understand the tax implications of divorce.
  • Don't make any big financial decisions: Now's not the time to buy a car or home, give big gifts or run up a large credit card bill. It's more important to maintain financial stability at this time.

A parenting agreement can save you time and stress

As you move through the divorce process, you'll turn a good portion of your attention to child custody related matters. With a parenting agreement in place, both you and your ex-spouse will have a clear idea of how to best parent your children in the future.

While creating a parenting agreement is easier said than done, once you have this in place you'll have greater peace of mind. Your agreement can outline things such as:

  • Where your children will live
  • If one or both parents have legal custody of the children
  • A visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent
  • A schedule outlining where children will spend vacations, holidays, birthdays and other special events
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