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Should I Get a Home Appraisal Before Filing for Divorce?Deciding what to do with your family’s home after your divorce can be an emotional decision to make. You likely have a number of happy memories over the past years that are tied to your home. Oftentimes, one party will keep the home while the other will move out and find a new place to live. Deciding who will remain in the home may not be a hard choice, but divvying up your other assets and properties in a fair manner may prove difficult. A couple’s house is likely the most valuable asset that they have, both personally and financially, so the person who remains in the home is receiving the largest asset in the divorce. Since Illinois is an equitable division state when it comes to asset and property division, the other spouse must receive assets of similar value in return.

What is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is a financial estimate of your home from a licensed professional. Appraisers will determine the fair market value of your home by looking at sales of similar properties in your area over the past few months. Typically, they will look at the selling price of three recently sold properties and the asking price of three properties currently on the market. The appraiser will average the costs, make adjustments based on characteristics of your home, and determine a fair market value for your property. 

Why Do I Need One?

Appraisals can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several hundred dollars, and the price tag can often stray people away from getting their home financially evaluated. What many do not realize is that a home appraisal can save them thousands of dollars at the end of the day. It is important to know the true value of your home for equitable distribution during the property division process. Some couples may do their own property estimate by looking at the prices of properties nearby, but they fail to take into account the various other factors that can affect their home’s value. In contentious divorces, both spouses may consider getting their own appraisal done to ensure the accuracy of the presented value. If two appraisals are done, a judge will typically look at both numbers, see if they are different, and average the two.

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How to Conduct Yourself in Court During Your Parenting CaseFor many, a divorce may be their first experience in a courtroom with a judge making decisions for them. While you have probably seen television shows that depict court proceedings, this is not an accurate representation of court and the characters’ actions are likely something that you should avoid following. No matter the reason you are in court, your conduct can greatly affect the outcome of the case. This is especially crucial for those discussing parenting arrangements for their children. In these parenting cases, the way you hold yourself is your first impression on the judge and likely the most important. Courtrooms and legal proceedings often make those who are unfamiliar with the process nervous and uncomfortable, causing them to act differently than they do in normal life. While you may not be able to keep yourself from being on edge, keep in mind the following tips that can help you present yourself in a good light:

  1. Clothes Matter: In a similar fashion to a job interview, your outfit can be used to gauge your personality, commitment to the case, and overall capacity to appear professional when necessary. It is important to wear business attire to court — no jeans, t-shirts, or sweatpants. By dressing for the occasion, you are showing the judge that you take this court proceeding seriously and are able to put yourself together when necessary: an important parenting quality. It may be a good idea to show another person your chosen outfit before showing up in court.
  2. Timeliness Is Key: Being on time to your court hearing and being present shows your respect for the legal team working on your case and that you take the matters of parenting seriously. This is also reflective of your ability to make time for your children, even if it means showing up to court. The judge will be analyzing all of your words and movements, and being on time says “I care and I will be there for my child.”
  3. Respect the Judge: There are a few things that those involved in a court case should know before the hearing starts. Everyone in the courtroom should stand when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom. This is age-old etiquette that is still followed today. Anytime the judge speaks to you, stand and respond, calling them “Your Honor.” They will let you know when it is your time to speak, and you should avoid speaking out of turn. Showing disrespect to the judge will only work against you in the decision making process.

Call a Naperville Parenting Attorney Today

The best way to prepare for your courtroom hearings is to speak with an experienced attorney. They will be able to provide you with the basic etiquette information as well as any additional tips for the particular judge working on your case. Because they are familiar with the judges in the area, they will likely have some hidden tips that they can provide you with that cannot be found elsewhere. The Foray Firm has extensive experience working in the family courts throughout the south suburbs of Chicago and we assist our clients before every courtroom appearance. If you are fighting for your rights as a parent, contact our Joliet divorce lawyers at 312-702-1293 to schedule a free consultation.

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Markham parenting time attorney supervised visitation

During a divorce, parents must decide how they will continue to parent their child moving forward. This can be difficult for parents since they are likely used to seeing their children on a daily basis. Ideally, courts try to keep both parents in the child's life since this is often deemed beneficial for the child. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If the court determines that you are unfit to take care of your child alone, they may grant you supervised visitation or deny you from seeing your child at all. Typically, the court will allow supervised visitation before taking such drastic actions as banning you from spending time with your child. Having another party in the room while you are taking care of your kids can be uncomfortable, and the nerves may bring out the worst in parents. Staying calm and having a game plan for your supervised visit is the best way to move towards removing those restrictions.

Create an Active Visit

You will have a certain amount of time to spend with your child, so it is important to make the most of it. It is a good idea to have a few activities planned for your child so that you appear prepared and invested in spending time with them. These “events” do not have to be anything out of the ordinary, but they should tailor to your child’s interests. Even if you just color or play Legos, that shows that you are willing to set aside time for your kids.

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Homewood gray divorce attorney

When you think of divorce, you may imagine a recently married couple quickly realizing that they were not ready for marriage — or maybe you picture an ugly custody battle between two parents with young children. This may be a common depiction of divorce on TV or in movies; however, getting divorced at an older age is becoming more and more common. This is known as “gray divorce.” Given the false assumption that older people have life “all figured out,” many people are surprised to hear that older couples are getting divorced more frequently as each year passes.

Common Reasons for Gray Divorces

It may seem counterintuitive to get divorced at an older age — you and your spouse have already lived an entire life together, how could you end it now? Yet many people forget that a long marriage does not necessarily mean it was a good marriage. Every relationship is unique but there are a few commonalities that have been found relating to gray divorce.

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Do I Need Permission From My Child’s Other Parent to Relocate?After getting divorced, many individuals will choose to have a fresh start, and for some, this means moving to a new place in a new location. For those going through the major life changes that inevitably come with divorce, this fresh start can be a good way to move forward towards a future that is focused on their happiness. However, for those with children, it may not be that easy. Divorcing couples with children will forever be connected by their shared kids. With parenting time agreements and child support payments, it may feel as if this new beginning may never start. Making the decision to move with your children may be restricted depending on the circumstances, and it is important to avoid violating this restriction as it can lead to serious legal consequences.

What is Considered Relocation?

Not every change of residence is considered relocation. For instance, the state cannot restrict you if you would simply like to move down the street to start fresh in a new house. However, anyone looking to relocate with their children will need permission from their child’s other parent or from the court. So, what is considered relocation by Illinois law?

  • If the child’s current primary residence is in DuPage, Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, or Will County and you move them to a location within Illinois that is more than 25 miles from their current residence
  • If the child’s current primary residence is not in one of the abovementioned counties and you move them to a location in Illinois that is more than 50 miles from their current residence
  • If you move the child outside of the state of Illinois and their new residence is over 25 miles away from their current residence

How Do I Get Permission?

If the parent who is the primary caretaker of the child would like to relocate with their child, they will need to provide their child’s other parent with written notification of their intent to move. This must be done 60 days before the parent and child intend to relocate, and it must inform the other parent of their intended move date, their new residence’s location, and the length of time that the relocation will last if it is not intended to be indefinite. The non-relocating parent is able to sign the relocation notice, granting the moving parties permission to do so, if they are comfortable with the relocation taking place. If this is the case, court permission is not required. However, many parents may not be comfortable with their child being so far away from them. If the non-moving parent refuses to sign the notice, the relocating parent may file their request with the court. The court may also deny the request; however, they will be looking at the request from a much different perspective. With no emotional investment to the parents or child, the court can act as the necessary third-party to determine whether or not this move is really in the best interests of the child. In many cases, impartial judgment may be necessary as emotions can often cloud a parent’s judgment on both ends.

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