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Will County divorce lawyerEnding a marriage can be a complicated process, especially when the couple has built a life together over many years. However, some people recognize early on that their marriage is not going to work and decide to file for divorce after a short time. If you and your spouse are in agreement about ending your marriage, you may be eligible for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage in Illinois, which can make the process much easier and more efficient.

Joint Simplified Dissolution Criteria

Under Illinois law, there are several qualifications that a couple must fulfill in order to pursue a joint simplified dissolution of marriage. You and your spouse may meet the requirements if:

  • You have been married for less than eight years.
  • One or both of you have been an Illinois resident or stationed in Illinois for military service for at least the past 90 days.
  • You are in agreement that your marriage has broken down due to irreconcilable differences.
  • You do not have any children together and one of you is not currently pregnant.
  • You have reached a written agreement on the ownership of any pets or companion animals.
  • The value of your marital property is less than $50,000, and your assets do not include any real estate property or retirement savings of a combined value of $10,000 or more.
  • Your individual gross annual incomes are both less than $30,000, and your combined gross annual income is less than $60,000.
  • You have disclosed all relevant financial information to each other and reached a written agreement on the allocation of marital debts and any marital assets worth more than $100.
  • You have both waived the right to maintenance, otherwise known as spousal support or alimony.

Reaching a Resolution

Pursuing a joint simplified dissolution of marriage does not mean that you have to waive the right to an attorney, and in fact, it can be quite beneficial to consult with a lawyer before moving forward. An attorney can help you review your case to determine whether you are eligible, and can also advise you of your rights to property and assets to help you protect your interests when negotiating an agreement with your spouse. Attorney fees for a joint simplified dissolution are often much more affordable than for a more complicated divorce, and at The Foray Firm, you may be eligible for a flat fee divorce.

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Will County family law attorneyFor many divorcing parents, decisions related to their children are not only legal matters, but extremely personal matters. This is especially true when it comes to what the children’s living arrangements will be after the divorce, as the outcome can have major ramifications on parent-child relationships and the day-to-day lives of both the parents and the children. As you attempt to resolve the question of parenting time in your divorce, you should consider a few important questions.

Can You Reach an Agreement With Your Spouse?

If you and your spouse are on fairly good terms, you can work together to create a parenting time schedule that meets the needs of the whole family. Doing so can help you save time and stress during the divorce process, and it can also help you be better, more cooperative co-parents after the divorce is complete. As you work toward an agreement, it may be important to discuss who, if anyone, will continue to live in the family home, how parenting time can be balanced with each parent’s work schedule, how you will share holidays and special occasions, and how you will resolve any future disagreements.

What Are the Children’s Best Interests?

When creating a parenting plan, your top priority should be your children’s best interests. If you and your spouse create an agreement together, the court will need to review it to determine whether your children’s interests are protected. If you are not able to agree with your spouse, you will need to prepare to demonstrate in court that your proposed arrangement best meets your children’s needs. Among other things, it is important to consider the living environment in both parents’ homes, the proximity to the children’s school and other important activities, the children’s preferences and unique care needs, and the ability for the children to maintain a relationship with both parents. In some cases, it is also important to consider whether time with a parent could put the children at risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm.

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Joliet divorce attorneysThe holiday season will look a bit different for everyone this year. With COVID-19 impacting Americans’ ability to host typical holiday gatherings and businesses being limited to help reduce the spread of the virus, the upcoming winter holidays will be different from previous years. For those recently divorced, the pandemic as well as recent life changes can make the holiday season feel especially heavy. 

If you are about to enter your first holiday season single, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Accept that things are difficult: It is not uncommon for recently divorced individuals to try and ignore their feelings and treat the holiday festivities as they normally would. Going into the holidays with these expectations can leave you feeling disappointed when you do not find yourself in the same spirits that you are typically in during the holidays. As the season begins, recognize that this year is unprecedented in a number of ways and that you may not be in the same cheerful mindset as you have been in the past.
  2. Create boundaries: The winter holidays often include family parties and the annual life update that you provide to your extended family members. Some may still have small gatherings with family this year, and if you have not seen them in a while, you could be asked a number of uncomfortable questions about your divorce. Setting your boundaries and preparing your responses before you step into these situations are good ways to avoid any unexpected confrontation or inquiries.
  3. Avoid intoxication: It is no secret that holiday parties are often filled with seasonal alcoholic beverages to set the mood. While a drink or two may help to calm your nerves, indulging too much can bring up unwanted sentiments, such as sadness or anger towards your recent divorce. It may be a good idea to keep the alcoholic drinks to a minimum to avoid any uncomfortable outbursts, conversations, or even a driving under the influence (DUI) charge on the way home.
  4. Remember your kids: Depending on the impact of your divorce, you may wish to cancel your holiday gatherings and traditions altogether. For divorced parents, this is not necessarily an option. It is important to remind your children that life goes on after your divorce, including the holidays. By focusing on making the holidays cheerful and fun for your children, you can help get yourself in the holiday spirit. You may need to update your holiday traditions, depending on the details of your parenting plan and schedule
  5. Steer clear of complete isolation: The COVID-19 pandemic has required Americans to limit social interactions for their health and safety. Depending on your own health and quarantine social bubble, it is a good idea to remain connected to close family members and friends. Whether your gatherings occur virtually or in-person, these interactions can help you remember the good things in your life and avoid getting lost in your old wedding video, romantic movies, or memories of your previous marriage.

Contact a Homewood, IL Family Lawyer

A common issue that recently divorced couples face during the holiday season is how to share their parenting obligations. If you forgot to include these details in your parenting plan or would like to modify your previously outlined parenting schedule, the legal team at The Foray Firm can help. Our Joliet family law attorneys assist families going through transition, no matter the time of year. If you are considering divorce or would like to modify your parenting plan, contact our family law firm at 312-702-1293 for help.

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Is My Co-Parent Purposely Damaging My Relationship with Our Child?When parents get divorced, their ongoing relationship can be tricky to navigate. Unlike other divorced couples, co-parents do not have the option of living completely separate lives. Maybe they spend time with their kids together or perhaps they only communicate regarding parenting arrangements and other necessary decisions. While it is always advisable to have an amicable co-parenting relationship, this is not always the case. In fact, some parents will go so far as to create a division in the relationship between their child and their co-parent in a tactic known as parental alienation.

What is Parental Alienation?

The term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) was coined in 1985 by child psychologist Richard Gardner to describe the behaviors seen in a child when they are subjected to parental alienation. When one parent discredits the child’s other parent, this can directly influence the child’s relationship with the discredited parent. The words and actions that are done to damage this relationship are known as parental alienation. This can come in many forms, a common example being one parent telling the child that their other parent does not love them or care about them. He or she can also provide in-depth details of why their marriage failed in an attempt to turn their child against their other parent. The severity of parental alienation tactics can vary and may not always be intentional. However, these criticisms can leave a lasting, damaging impact on the quality of the child-parent relationship.

Signs of PAS

Parental alienation syndrome is not an officially recognized mental health condition, but a court may acknowledge one parent’s efforts to damage the other parent’s relationship with their child. If you have suspicions that your child is being subjected to parental alienation, look for the following signs:

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If My Ex Remarries, Am I Still Obligated to Pay Spousal Support?After your divorce proceedings are finalized and all the dust settles, it can sometimes still feel as if you have marital obligations to your former spouse. Spousal support is often a requirement for divorced couples, and if you share children, you will continue to communicate and see each other in the years to come. Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is the financial support from the higher-earning spouse to the other. Oftentimes, these payments are made monthly and the allotted amount is determined and mandated by the court. All spousal support agreements vary, both in amount and timeline, and you may be wondering how long the payments will go on. As the years go by, this financial assistance can begin to seem unnecessary, especially if your former spouse is in a serious relationship with someone new. Luckily, Illinois law addresses the instances that warrant spousal support adjustments or termination for situations such as these.

Adjusting Spousal Support Obligations

Is the possibility of marriage on your former spouse’s horizon? This situation arises for many divorced couples and warrants adjustments to your spousal support obligations. According to Illinois law, there are three situations that warrant immediate termination of spousal support obligations: the death of either spouse, the remarriage of the receiving spouse, or if the receiving spouse begins cohabitating with another person. Because the purpose of alimony is to help the lower-earning spouse stay afloat, if a new spouse comes into the picture, then the financial assistance is no longer necessary. 

If your spouse does not remarry, but you believe that you have a case to modify your spousal support obligations, it is best to discuss your situation with a divorce attorney to verify that it qualifies for an adjustment. According to Illinois law, spousal maintenance obligations may be modified or terminated if the paying party can prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as the following:

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