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Five Keys When Telling Your Children About Your DivorceTelling your children about your divorce may be the most difficult conversation you have throughout the process. Unlike most people you talk to, your decision to divorce will directly and irreversibly affect your children’s daily lives. The news will cause pain to your children and stir up other feelings that may lead to outbursts or emotional withdrawal. Your initial divorce conversation with your children is important because it is one of the lasting memories they will have about your divorce. You should prepare for the talk while keeping these suggestions in mind:

  1. Have Everyone Together: Even though you and your spouse are not getting along, it is important that you tell your children about your divorce together. You need to show your children that you are still dedicated to working together as their co-parents – just not as a married couple. You should also try to have all of your children together for the same conversation because this is a decision that affects the entire family.
  2. Remain Calm: Your emotions will set a tone for the conversation. Being calm and compassionate may not prevent your children from becoming upset but is the best way to soothe them. Showing that you are upset may escalate your children’s emotions, making things worse.
  3. Focus on the Children: Your children do not need to hear the details about why you are getting a divorce. The most important thing to them is how the divorce will affect them. They want to know where they will live and how often they will see each of you. Though you may not know the answers yet, tell them that you will both still be an active part of their lives.
  4. Understand Age Differences: A teenager’s understanding of divorce may be more advanced than a younger child. With younger children, you may need to spend more time explaining what a divorce means. Older children may have enough of an understanding that they want to ask more specific questions about your divorce. Both will be upset by the news, though a younger child may show more obvious signs.
  5. Be Adaptable: It is fine to prepare a script for how you will start your divorce conversation and answer expected questions. However, you need to watch how your children are reacting and respond in an appropriate way. Your children may surprise you with how they respond to the news, which may force you to go off-script.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

Your children are just as affected by your divorce as you are, and the decisions you make during your divorce must have their best interest in mind. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you create a comprehensive parenting plan for after your divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Workers’ Compensation Limited in the Gig EconomyAdvances in digital technologies have caused a growth in the gig economy – a job market based on freelance work and short-term contracts. Uber, Airbnb, and Postmates are three examples of gig economy employers who are driven by apps and digital platforms. Employees like the gig economy because it gives them flexibility in when and where they work. Employers benefit from decreased personnel costs because most of their employees are independent contractors. One of the disadvantages of being an independent contractor is that you lack employee benefits, such as workers’ compensation insurance. If the gig economy becomes a larger portion of the workforce, states such as Illinois may consider adjusting their employment laws.

Independent Contractor Rights

Illinois requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance in case one of their employees is injured at work. Independent contractors do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under Illinois law. However, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has awarded benefits to independent contractors when it determined the employer treated the contractor as an employee. Examples of evidence include:

  • The contractor works fulltime and exclusively for the employer;
  • The employer determines the contractor’s schedule and work assignments;
  • The employer owns the equipment that the contractor uses;
  • The employer pays for expenses related to the work; or
  • The contractor must pass a drug test before they can start working.

Solutions

The lack of workers’ compensation benefits for independent contractors will become a larger problem if more workers rely on jobs from the gig economy as their sole income. Even for those who use the gig economy to supplement their main income, there is a concern that they will not receive benefits if injured while doing their independent contract work. State legislative action may be the only way to provide workers’ compensation benefits to gig economy employees. For instance, California recently passed a law that will classify independent contractors for gig economy companies as employees. The law states that a worker is an employee if:

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How an Uninsured Motorist Affects Your Personal Injury CaseA personal injury case involving a vehicle accident will start with filing an insurance claim before you decide whether to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. While you have two years in Illinois to file a personal injury lawsuit, the insurance claim process will start almost immediately. If the other driver was at fault for your injuries, their insurance will likely be responsible for compensating you. However, what happens if the driver at fault does not have auto insurance? In Illinois, your uninsured motorist coverage will pay you instead.

How Does It Work?

Illinois requires auto insurance providers to include uninsured motorist coverage in all insurance plans, whereas other states may only require that insurers offer it. Your insurance will compensate you if you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, including if:

  • You were driving another vehicle;
  • You were a passenger in the uninsured driver’s vehicle; or
  • You were a cyclist or pedestrian.

Your insurance policy will also compensate you if the liable driver is underinsured. In that instance, your insurer would pay the difference between what the other insurance company pays you and your medical expenses, up to the limit of your policy. However, your insurance might not cover property damage caused by an uninsured party, depending on the type of policy you have.

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Teen Suicide Prompts Illinois to Change Procedure for Juvenile InterrogationsMost teenagers cannot help but feel intimidated when a police officer questions them. They may not understand that being detained and interrogated is different from being arrested and charged with a crime. On the other side of the interrogation, a police officer may not appreciate the trauma that a teenager may experience after being questioned about a serious crime. In 2017, a 16-year-old high school student in Naperville, Illinois, committed suicide after a school resource officer had detained him for questioning at the school over an alleged recording of a sexual encounter. The teen’s parents were not aware of the allegations or the police questioning until after the teen took his own life. In response to this incident, Illinois recently enacted a new law that changes the procedure for police questioning a student on school grounds.

Parental Notification

A law enforcement officer who suspects a student younger than 18 of committing a crime must comply with the following steps if they intend to detain and question them on school grounds:

  • They must notify or attempt to notify the student’s parents or guardian;
  • They must try to allow a parent or guardian to attend the questioning;
  • If a parent or guardian is unavailable, they must allow a mental health professional to attend, such as a school psychologist or social worker; and
  • If reasonable, they must try to include a law enforcement officer who is trained in communicating with youth.

The law states that its rules apply when a student is on school property during regular school hours and when students are present.

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The Benefits and Risks of Using Witnesses During a Divorce CaseIt is rare that you will need to call on a witness to testify in your divorce case. You and your spouse can settle most divorce issues without involving someone else in the process. Divorce attorneys commonly gather third-party information when preparing for your divorce. They can use a court order to compel a noncompliant party to provide information without needing them to testify in court. You are more likely to need a witness when you are fighting over parental responsibility for your children or accusing your spouse of misconduct.

Using Witnesses

There are two types of witnesses that can be useful in a divorce case:

  • A character witness who can speak personally about you or your spouse; and
  • An expert witness on a topic that is relevant to your divorce.

Character witnesses are people who have observed or interacted with you, your spouse or your children. Family members are not convincing character witnesses because they often have a bias towards one of the parties. Close friends, neighbors, work colleagues, and childcare givers are common character witnesses who can speak to your good character or your spouse’s poor character.

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