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Recent blog posts

Will COVID-19 Force Me to Leave the U.S. If I Am an International Student?The insurgence of COVID-19 throughout the world has left many universities unsure of how to proceed for the upcoming fall semester. This past spring semester, many colleges went fully online after it became clear that COVID-19 was highly contagious and no vaccine was on the horizon. Things have not cleared up as much as expected since then. As higher education institutions begin to roll out their plans for the upcoming school year, the eligibility of international students may be on the line. Recent guidelines set in place by the Trump administration will leave many international student visas invalid, forcing them to return home.

Do I Have to Return Home?

In early July, the Trump administration announced its new policy for international students in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since many universities are turning to an all-online platform for the upcoming fall semester, there were questions about whether international students who rely on visas could live in the U.S. while taking these online classes. Every college’s fall plan differs as they decide what is best for their institution, professors, and students. Some universities will have a hybrid course system where select courses are offered in-person while others are offered online. Other universities are not offering any in-person courses to avoid possible exposure and contagion on campuses across the country. 

Originally, the Trump administration had banned all international students from remaining in the U.S. if they were taking only online courses. These regulations placed universities in a difficult spot, having to choose between offering in-person courses and placing their professors and students at risk of contracting COVID-19 or losing thousands of dollars in student tuition as many international students return home. Displacing these international students also could have increased the risk of contagious students returning to their home countries and further spreading COVID-19.

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Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Credit Card Debt in Divorce?When going through a divorce, there are often two areas that bring about the most contention: children and finances. These two subjects can sometimes bring out a side of your spouse that you have never seen before. Financially speaking, a divorce forces you to look into the nitty-gritty details of both you and your spouse’s spending habits. Couples may think they know their partner until hidden debts get revealed. Whether or not you were the hand behind the spending, you may be responsible for paying these dues during the marital asset division process.

Equitable Distribution

Like most states throughout the U.S., Illinois follows the equitable distribution model when dividing marital property in a divorce. This means that all assets and debts are divided equitably, not necessarily in half. In other words, the judge considers various factors before dividing anything up between spouses. This includes each spouse’s income, financial needs, and personal assets. The asset division process not only includes positive property owned by the couple, but also any debt incurred throughout their marriage. This must also be divvied up between the two individuals, especially any credit card debt that has accumulated over the years.

What About Credit Card Debt?

Unfortunately, some spouses may uncover large amounts of credit card debt that they were unaware of and not responsible for during the divorce process. Though your spouse may have been the one spending the money, if your name is tied to the account in any way, you are still on the hook for the amount owed. A divorce agreement cannot alter your contractual obligation to the creditor who lent your spouse the money that they spent using the card.

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How to Help Your Child Through Divorce Depending on Their AgeMarried couples who have children often take the longest to recognize that their relationship is no longer working and to end their marriage. Children can act as good distractions, allowing you to focus on parenting rather than being a husband or wife. Parents may also see how good their spouse is as a parent and use this as an excuse to stay married even when their romantic and emotional relationship is non-existent. Coming to the decision to divorce is never easy and the thought of telling your kids about the split can be enough to keep some parents in their marriage “for the children’s sake.” 

If you have decided that divorce is right for you, you may be wondering how to help your children through this time, especially if they are all different ages. Since children have different development levels depending on their age, it is important to have age-appropriate conversations with your kids when telling them about the divorce and during the months following the finalization of your divorce.

Ages 0-5

Children this young can have an easier transition period since they do not yet have a sense of “normalcy” in their lives. As they get older, they will likely not remember a time when you and your spouse were together and their “normal” will be two loving parents who are no longer married. For kids this age, it can be difficult for them to understand where their other parent is at the beginning stages of the split. They will likely ask you where their other parent is for weeks, if not months, on end. When telling them about the divorce, you should provide them with simple, concrete explanations about which parent is moving out, where the child will live, and when they will see their other parent. It may be confusing to them at first, but providing them with a consistent schedule and stable, nurturing care will help ease the transition.

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What Can I Do If I Suspect My Child is Being Abused By Their Other Parent?A parent’s main priority is to protect their child, even if that means taking them away from their other parent. According to Childhelp, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds, and most abusers are family members or others close to your child. Whether you were never married, are filing for divorced, or are recently divorced, it is crucial to alert authorities if you suspect your co-parent of abuse. It can be uncomfortable and difficult to present your fears to the court, but this is the only way for you to take action for your child and protect them from their own parent. Courts typically lean towards keeping both parents in children’s lives, and it is a rare occurrence for a judge to give sole custody to one parent. However, accusations of violence and abuse make courts think twice about their parental responsibilities determinations to protect the child from harm.

Warning Signs of Abuse

The fear of making a false accusation of abuse is often enough to keep parents silent about their suspicions. If parents are not married and do not live under the same roof, it can be difficult for them to identify abuse with certainty. Look for the following signs in your child if you suspect that they are being subjected to abuse:

  • Extremely withdrawn, anxious, or fearful about making a mistake or doing something wrong
  • Frequent, unexplained injuries, welts, bruises, or cuts
  • Shying away from touch or flinching at sudden movements
  • Difficulties sitting or walking
  • Wearing inappropriate clothing for the type of weather (long sleeves on a hot day)

Possible Outcomes

There are a few ways that the court may address the accusations in order to protect your child. Depending on the evidence at hand, the court may be able to provide an immediate response and change to your parenting agreement. If you are divorced, this is known as post-divorce modifications. What the judge will likely decide as their initial response is to require supervised visitation for your child’s other parent. This means that they will continue to see your child but always have a designated supervisor present. This will allow the court to monitor their activity together and protect the child from any abuse that may occur behind closed doors. Depending on the extent of the abuse and the parent’s ability to keep a relationship with the child, the court will try to keep both parents in their lives to some extent.

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Should I Hire a Private Investigator for My Divorce?Some couples are lucky enough to experience an amicable divorce — the asset division may be mutually agreed upon, spousal maintenance costs may not bring up arguments, and determining how to share parental responsibilities may be a breeze. However, this is not the common divorce experience shared by most couples. Some couples may disagree on certain areas of the divorce while others may not be able to agree on a single portion throughout the process. For those who are on bad terms with their former spouse, they may seek out assistance from a third-party: a private investigator.

What Can a PI Do For Me?

Private investigators are professionals whose job involves researching and verifying information on any subject that their client needs them to. In the case of divorce, PIs will place their focus on their client’s spouse to help garner any information that may be useful throughout the divorce proceedings. Divorce investigations will typically focus on infidelity, hidden assets, and domestic violence.

  1. Infidelity: The state of Illinois does not require couples to provide grounds for their divorce aside from showing irreconcilable differences. Having a private investigator prove that your spouse is cheating on you may not be required to file for divorce, but it may help you in the asset division process. It is common for those having an affair to spend money on their new significant other. With proof that your spouse has been dissipating marital assets, you may be able to receive a higher amount as compensation when dividing your assets.
  2. Hidden Assets: In highly contentious divorces, it is not uncommon for someone to attempt to conceal their assets and keep them from their spouse. This may include keeping a secret bank account or giving friends a large sum of money in the form of a “gift” to be given back upon the finalization of your divorce. A PI can research into the financial history of your spouse to see if any asset concealment is occurring. Not only will this keep you from losing out on your own money, but it may also warrant you a larger division to make up for the unethical actions of your spouse.
  3. Domestic Violence: Unfortunately, domestic violence is all too common in homes across the U.S. Because most of this abuse occurs behind closed doors, it can be difficult to prove in a court of law. Many victims keep the abuse a secret out of fear of backlash or misbelief by the court. Hiring a private investigator to collect proof of the abuse is a constructive way of providing the court with proof while also avoiding possible violent backlash. This proof can help you obtain an order of protection and assist you in any conversations about parenting plans.

Call a Joliet Divorce Lawyer for Help

In order to be prepared for your divorce, it is important to go into the proceedings with support from an experienced legal team. Not all divorces can be as clean-cut as we wish them to be, and oftentimes you may need a private investigator’s help in addition to your attorney. The Foray Firm has worked with couples throughout Illinois for the past 10 years and has provided its clients with information about private investigators if their situation warrants additional help. We work tirelessly to help all of our clients move forward with their lives by putting their best foot forward. If you are considering filing for divorce, contact our Will County divorce attorneys at 312-702-1293 for a free consultation.

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