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When Can Parenting Time Be Restricted in Illinois?There is arguably no relationship more sacred than the one between a parent and child. For children, solid, loving relationships with their parents are crucial for their healthy development and well-being. Because of this, many states, including Illinois, have placed a specific emphasis on allocating parenting time to both parents of a child, rather than solely to one parent. Though it may not always be a 50/50 split, most cases involve both parents having parenting time with their children, and it is typically in the child’s best interests to spend time with both parents. However, there may be cases in which the court finds that it is necessary to place restrictions on parenting time.

When Are Parenting Time Restrictions Appropriate?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) specifically states that both of a child’s legal parents are presumed to be fit to care for their child, and in the vast majority of cases, the court will not restrict or limit parenting time. When children are involved in a divorce or a parental dispute, the duty of the judge and the court is to ensure the child is being taken care of adequately. If the court finds that the physical, emotional, or mental well-being of the child would be seriously endangered by allowing a parent to exercise parenting time, the judge can restrict parenting time for that parent.

How Can Parenting Time Be Restricted?

Before it is determined that a parenting time restriction is in the best interest of the child, a hearing will be held. During such a hearing, the court will do its best to investigate the situation and determine if spending time with the parent in question would truly endanger the child. The court will examine issues such as each parent’s work schedule, living arrangement, and any history of domestic violence, mental health issues, or substance abuse.

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McHenry County family lawyerWhen a couple gets married, it is not at all uncommon for a spouse to take her partner’s last name as a symbol of their union. Some partners choose to hyphenate their surnames so as to keep their own identity while adding their spouse’s name to theirs. When a marriage comes to an end, it is relatively easy—and usually part of the standard divorce paperwork—for a spouse who changed her name to change it back during the proceedings. But, what about the children of a divorcing couple? It turns out that changing the name of a minor child in Illinois may be more complicated than most people realize.

What Does the Law Say?

Most legal details surrounding marriage and divorce are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5), but name changes are typically made in accordance with the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5). The statute provides that changing the name of a minor child will only be approved if the court finds “by clear and convincing evidence that the change is necessary to serve the best interest of the child.” A separate provision in the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 (750 ILCS 46) allows for a child’s name to be changed if both parents agree, though this law is typically utilized in cases of unmarried parents or when parentage is in question.

Considerations of the Court

According to the law, when considering a name change for a minor child, the court is required to take into account all of the relevant factors of the case, including:

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How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Affect Your Divorce?Coming to a settlement that both parties agree to can be challenging even in the most amicable divorce. There are many important factors to consider, including division of assets and debts, spousal support, child support, parenting time, and parental responsibilities. Couples who are considering a prenuptial agreement or who already have one in place may expect that it will prevent any major disagreements in the event of a divorce, but it is important to keep a few things in mind about how a prenup may actually impact the divorce proceedings.

A Prenup Can Ease Financial Negotiations in a Divorce Settlement

Under Illinois law, a prenuptial agreement can address a variety of important financial considerations that are likely to come up in a future divorce. Couples can determine which of their properties will be considered marital and non-marital assets, which may be beneficial if one or both spouses have family heirlooms or businesses that they want to retain. Couples can also agree as to how assets and debts will be distributed in the event of a divorce, as well as whether any spousal support will be paid.

If both spouses entered the prenuptial agreement in good faith, divorce settlement negotiations regarding finances often proceed smoothly, especially if the divorce is amicable. Because there are few, if any, additional property decisions to be made, divorcing couples have more time and energy to focus on other aspects of the separation.

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Five Reasons Divorce Increases After HolidaysSurveys and studies have concluded that divorce requests tend to increase following the holiday season. Some call the first Monday after winter break “Divorce Day” because of the sudden influx of divorce filings. A 2016 University of Washington study stated that a consistently above-average number of divorce filings in March can be traced back to the holidays because spouses needed a couple of months to prepare. Why do divorces increase immediately after the holidays? The reason will vary by couple, but researchers have come up with several explanations:

  1. Holiday Delay: Spouses may have known that they were headed for divorce but put off acting on it until after the holidays. Announcing a divorce leading up to the holidays is seen as bad timing, particularly when there are children. The couple may decide to tough it out in order to give the family one last holiday together.
  2. Holding Out Hope: Couples may use the holidays as a last chance to try to salvage their marriages. The holidays are generally a joyous time that brings families closer together. The couple may hope that the holidays will rekindle their passion for each other. When that does not occur, their disappointment may confirm that divorce is their only option.
  3. Exposing Weaknesses: While the holidays are a happy time, they are also filled with stress. Couples spend more time than normal working together to prepare for celebrations or shop for gifts. Flaws that already exist in their relationship may become more apparent because of their increased interaction. After the holidays are over, they may conclude that they are no longer happy being married to each other.
  4. New Year’s Resolution: Couples are unlikely to resolve to get divorced for the new year. However, the start of the new year is when people are most likely to reflect on where they are at in their lives and where they would like to be. In the process, they may realize that they are not satisfied with their marriages and that their relationships are keeping them from pursuing their goals.
  5. Financial Incentives: When couples create prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, they may include triggers that increase one spouse’s financial obligation to the other after a certain number of years have passed. The new year reminds the spouse about the looming deadline and motivates him or her to divorce before the increase starts.

Post-Holiday Blues

Couples have legitimate reasons to divorce after the holidays, but they may be reacting to temporary emotions. A McHenry County divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you decide whether divorce is the right choice. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Six Reasons You Can Expect to be Happier After DivorceNo one should expect you to consider your divorce to be a positive development in your life. Your marriage is ending, your family is being torn apart, and the divorce process is often stressful and unpleasant. At times, you may question whether going through a divorce is worth the pain. When you feel doubt, you need to trust that you are divorcing for the right reasons and that the outcome will be what is best for yourself and your loved ones. As painful as divorce can be, there are several reasons you are more likely to find happiness after it is over than if you had continued with your unhealthy marriage:

  1. Escaping a Toxic Environment: An abusive marriage is obviously a threat to your well-being, but being miserable is also unhealthy. The longer you stay in an unhappy marriage, the more you will come to accept your unhappiness as normal.
  2. Being Your True Self: An unhappy marriage will change your personality in ways you may not like, such as being more irritable or depressed. You may not notice the change, but your friends and family likely have. After you have finished your divorce, you will realize how much your marriage affected the person you became.
  3. Working on Yourself: After your divorce, you will have time to reflect on what caused the end of your marriage and what role you played in it. As a result, you may learn ways you can improve yourself and your relationship skills. Such introspection is more difficult during a marriage because you often feel defensive.
  4. Reason for Hope: There is no guarantee you will find happiness after your divorce. However, you know that you can no longer find it in your marriage. Leaving your marriage at least creates the possibility of a better life.
  5. Finding Your Own Identity: Your marriage often defines and limits what your personal interests are. After divorce, you are free to explore new interests and meet other people who share them, without needing to consider whether your spouse will approve.
  6. Another Chance at Love: After your failed marriage, you likely have a better understanding of what you want in a relationship. Being divorced allows you to date new people and find a more compatible partner.

Long-Term Benefits

Going through a divorce may feel like a long slog, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you look for it. A McHenry County divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can guide you through the divorce process and to a better life. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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