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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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4 Tips For Creating a Successful Parenting Plan For Your TeenFiling for divorce when you and your spouse share children together always makes things more complicated. Add in the challenges of raising a teenager and the process only becomes more difficult. Divorcing as a parent requires additional legal considerations to be made, including the drafting of a parenting plan. If you and your spouse are involved in a collaborative divorce, you will be able to build this plan together as you see fit. The unpredictability of kids when they are in their teenage years may leave you feeling overwhelmed when trying to determine what is best for your child moving forward. The following four tips can help you tailor your parenting plan to meet the needs of your teenager and maintain a relationship with them even though they may be living under two separate roofs:

  1. The More Detailed, The Better – Without a detailed plan in place, things can quickly go awry. Be sure to have a parenting schedule that outlines when your child will be with each parent and determines which holidays will be spent where. Since your child is of the age where they have their own circle of friends and life outside of your home, penciling in designated family time can make sure that your teen is still spending time with each parent.
  2. Consider Their Schedules – When creating your detailed schedule, it is important to take your teen’s schedule into account. Your child is at the point in their life where they have their own interests and activities. Failing to consider these key parts of their life will not end well. Have a copy of you, your spouse, and your child’s schedules in hand while designating each parent’s scheduled time.
  3. Financial Implications – Your teenager comes with some significant costs, especially if they do not have a job. Those over the age of 16 will need financial assistance for academic and social activities and college tuition costs if they intend on going in that direction. Consider these incoming costs and outline who will be responsible for what to avoid future conflicts in this area.
  4. Life Changes – You should include a clause regarding how things may change within your parenting plan and how you and your co-parent will make these decisions. The life of a teenager changes from day-to-day. From their academic responsibilities to their social lives, your teen is only going to become busier and more independent as the years go on. Take this into account when creating your plan so that you are prepared for any changes that may come your way.

Contact a Joliet Family Lawyer For Help

Whether you are in the process of filing for divorce or need help adjusting your parenting plan to meet your teen’s needs, The Foray Firm is here to help. Divorce is an emotionally taxing experience, especially when you have a teenager who has grown up with married parents up until this point. The best way to handle your divorce when you have a child is to have a detailed plan in place. Our Will County family attorneys believe in preserving the dignity of families, even in the instance of divorce. For help with your parenting plan, contact our Joliet divorce attorneys at 312-702-1293.

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Is My Prenuptial Agreement Valid in Illinois?If you could protect yourself from an unpredictable future, would you do it? Many engaged couples have come to the realization that protecting yourself from the unknown is better than being unprepared. As a bright-eyed and recently engaged couple, divorce is likely not at the forefront of your mind. You are probably spending time thinking about the fun part of the engagement: planning a wedding and a future together. Just as nailing down the details of your wedding arrangements is critical for a successful wedding day, recognizing and preparing for the possibility of divorce can also lead to a better marriage. The unpredictability of an ending relationship can add anxiety and tension to marriage, whereas having things planned out with the help of a prenuptial agreement can ease your worried mind. If you are considering signing a prenup, you should be aware of the following mistakes that can make your agreement invalid in a court of law.

DIY Disaster

As is the case with most legal proceedings, generic legal forms can be found on the internet and filled out by each spouse to act as their prenuptial agreement. Rarely do these unsupervised and uninformed DIY prenups hold up in a court of law. Trying to cut out the cost of an attorney and create your own prenuptial agreement with your spouse can actually lead you to spend more time and money in court later on. Working with an attorney is critical for ensuring equality within the agreement, compliance with your state’s laws, and proper filing of the legal document.

Full Disclosure

The most common reason why couples decide to create a prenuptial agreement is to divide their assets and debts evenly before emotions are heightened by the stress and devastation of divorce. It is imperative that you and your spouse fully disclose your assets and debts in the agreement. Failure to do so can invalidate the entire agreement. If you do not disclose your financial background, the court may assume that you were trying to conceal assets and keep them out of the divorce and your spouse’s hands. Whether intentional or not, you could find yourself scratching your entire prenuptial agreement if things are left unsaid.

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What Can I Do If I Am Facing Domestic Abuse During the Illinois Stay-at-Home Order?Unfortunately, a high number of Americans are victims of abuse in their own homes. No spouse, significant other, family member, or child should be subjected to domestic violence, yet many struggle to survive at home. Recognizing this domestic violence epidemic is especially relevant during these unprecedented times. With Illinois stay-at-home orders still in place, many domestic violence victims are finding themselves unable to escape their perpetrators. Luckily, the state of Illinois has taken action to help those who find themselves in these unfortunate situations.

Support During COVID-19

Since March, Illinoisians have been asked to remain within their homes to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. While this allows some people a chance to spend much needed time with family members, those in abusive living conditions no longer have the time or space to get away from their abuser. Illinois has recognized this apparent issue and addressed domestic violence survivors in the details of its stay-at-home order. Illinois was one of the 17 states that listed domestic violence survivors and those seeking physical safety as exempt from the stay-at-home order. The state even went so far as to list domestic violence shelters and employees as essential businesses and workers.

Obtaining an Order of Protection in Will County

Another issue that many victims have seen in these past few months is courts closing or restricting their case numbers. Many of these courts closed their doors until the beginning of June, Will County included. This presented a problem for those looking to file for an order of protection during those early weeks of the pandemic. This problem has since been mitigated as the Will County court system reopened on June 1. Though still restricting the number of cases allowed in court, Will County courts are hearing most of their family law cases through virtual means. However, domestic abuse cases may be deemed necessary to be seen in the courthouse due to the severity and urgency of the situation. This is under the discretion of the judge, but regardless, Orders of protection can be filed during the pandemic. If your case does happen in person, the following precautions have been put in place:

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