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Joliet family law attorneysFor those going through a divorce, the financial demands that come along with the legal process can make things challenging, especially for lower-earning or stay-at-home spouses. Rarely do spouses make the same amount of money, which can sometimes lead to issues throughout the marriage, divorce, and months following the split. In order to make up for this financial discrepancy, Illinois law requires divorcing couples to discuss spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support, and divorcing parents to create an agreement regarding child support obligations. Those in a cooperative divorce can typically create these legal designations with the help of their attorneys, while those battling it out in a courtroom will have these decisions made for them by a judge. Your divorce agreement is meant to last the tests of time, but what about when circumstances change? Many divorcees will seek out new romantic relationships as time passes, and in some cases, these new partners can impact the details of your divorce agreement.

Spousal Support

Any changes to your divorce agreement are known as post-divorce modifications. In any instance of adjustment, the requesting party must show a substantial change in circumstances. When it comes to spousal support obligations, the following circumstances warrant the termination of spousal maintenance:

  1. The death of either party
  2. The remarriage of the party who receives maintenance
  3. The cohabitation of the receiving party with another person on a continuing conjugal basis

As you can see, living with a new partner can lead to the automatic termination of spousal support. The purpose of spousal support is for one spouse to help the other until it is no longer financially necessary. These financial obligations are not meant to last forever. In fact, there are three different types of spousal support agreements that may be made. Fixed-term maintenance requires the paying party to provide financial support for a specific period of time, and at the end of that period they are no longer responsible for assisting their former spouse. Indefinite maintenance is an agreement with no specified end date, leaving this determination up in the air until modification or termination is requested. Reviewable maintenance sets a particular arrangement for a specified period of time, having both parties review the arrangement every few years.

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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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