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How to Keep Your Illinois Divorce Costs as Low as PossibleNothing in this world is free and that holds true for a divorce. The estimates available for the average cost of getting a divorce differ greatly depending on the source. Some sources state you can get a “do-it-yourself” divorce for a couple of hundred dollars, while other sources state that a litigated divorce can cost upwards of $100,000. Certain things can affect the cost of a divorce, such as the type of divorce you get, where you live, the retainer cost for your attorney and your attorney’s hourly rate. The cost of getting a divorce can seem daunting, but there are some things you can do to help keep those costs down.

  1. Choose the Right Type of Divorce for Your Situation: When it comes to divorce, you have a few options. You can choose between a traditional litigated divorce, a mediated divorce or a collaborative divorce. Typically, the most expensive type of divorce is a litigated one and can cost you big time when it comes to court costs, filing fees, and attorney rates. If you and your spouse are willing to work together with one person who is knowledgeable of family law, a mediated divorce might work, which reduces the cost of two attorneys to one. If you and your spouse are somewhat contentious but you do not want to litigate the divorce, a collaborative divorce might work for you.
  2. Make Sure You are Organized: Being organized and prepared is key when it comes to saving money on attorney costs. If you come to meetings with your attorney and you do not have the needed documents or information for the topics at hand, you will have to meet with your attorney again, costing you more money in the long run. It pays to be prepared and efficient when it comes to a divorce. 
  3. Try to Settle As Many Issues as Possible On Your Own: Another slightly obvious way to save money during a divorce is to try to negotiate as many issues as you can with your spouse without involving your attorney. For example, do not use a meeting with your attorney to hash out the details of who gets which household items if that is something that you and your spouse can work out together. The less time you have to spend with your attorney, the less money you have to pay him or her.

Hire a Skilled Will County Divorce Attorney

If you are concerned about what it will cost to get divorced, there are certain things you can do to ensure you are not paying more than what is necessary. At The Foray Firm, we are not only efficient at what we do, but we also offer a flat-rate divorce for those who want a fixed price prior to beginning the divorce process. Let our knowledgeable Homewood, IL, divorce lawyers assist you with all aspects of your divorce. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 312-702-1293.

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Can a Parent’s Mental Health Impact Parenting Time in Illinois?According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one out of every five American adults will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives and nearly 10 million adults live with a chronic and serious mental illness. Mental illnesses can vary greatly when it comes to the severity and how they affect your life. Having a mental illness can mean you have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, an eating disorder or even post-traumatic stress disorder. By far, the most common mental illnesses are depression, which affects around seven percent of adults, and anxiety disorders, which affect around 18.1 percent of adults.

When it comes to divorce, mental illness can definitely play a part in how the divorce is hashed out. Depending on the type and severity of the mental illness, it can even affect things such as parenting time and parental responsibilities in a divorce.

Understanding the Child’s Best Interests

When it comes to any issue involving the children in a divorce, the court’s first and foremost concern is the child’s wellbeing. The court’s main goal is to ensure that the child is being taken care of and is given every possible opportunity to flourish in life. If decisions are left to the court, the court will make child-related decisions based on the child’s best interests. The court will take into consideration factors such as:

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Will County adoption attorney

The “nuclear family” was traditionally seen as the ideal American family – a mother, a father, one or two children and perhaps a dog. Now, there are many types of families that exist in the U.S., each of which is just as loving as the traditional family unit. Households containing just a single parent have increased dramatically since 1960 – when only around nine percent of children were being raised by a single parent. Now, around 27 percent of American children are being raised by a single parent. For some, adoption is the way they have chosen to grow their family, even when it comes to people who are not married. Being a single parent is difficult, even when the child is your biological child. If you are a single parent who is considering adoption, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Do You Have Family and/or Friends Who Support Your Decision?: One of your most invaluable resources as a single parent is your support system. Typically, your support system is composed of family members and/or friends who you can rely on if you need help. Being a single parent, you will most likely need help from time to time. Before you make the decision to adopt a child, consider whether or not you have people around you that you can ask for help; whether or not your friends and family are supportive of your decision to adopt as a single parent; and how your friends and family would react if you adopted a child who had special needs, was from a different country or who was a different race or ethnicity.
  2. Will You Be Able to Balance Work and a Child at Your Current Job?: As a single parent, you will be the sole provider for yourself and your child. This means that work will play a significant role in your life. Ask yourself if you are up for the challenge of not only being a single parent but also a working parent. Will you be able to devote enough time to being a parent? Is your employer family-friendly? Having a child poses issues such as occasionally needing to leave or take off from work to care for your child.
  3. Do You Have the Financial Means to Raise a Child?: Similarly, do you earn enough at your job to make ends meet with a child in the picture? You do not have to be rolling in cash to raise a child, but children can get expensive. Before you make the decision to adopt, consider all of the expenses you will be faced with if you are a single parent:
    • Educational costs
    • Medical care
    • Childcare
    • After-school care
    • Extracurricular activities

A Will County Adoption Lawyer Can Make Your Dream of Being a Parent a Reality

Adopting a child is a fulfilling and rewarding experience for those who have the means to do so. If you are thinking of adopting a child as a single parent, you should meet with a skilled and knowledgeable Joliet, IL, adoption attorney first. At The Foray Firm, we understand the Illinois adoption process and will handle the legalities of the process so you can focus on settling into life with your child. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 312-702-1293. 

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Can I Modify My Illinois Child Support Order?No two divorces are ever the same because no two families are ever the same. However, one constant that will always be present in divorce cases involving children is child support. In the state of Illinois, child support is an obligation that both parents have to a child. The state believes that parents have the financial responsibility of providing for their child, even if they are not a part of their child’s life in any other way. Child support is paid to the child’s main caregiver, typically the parent with the majority of parenting time, until the child graduates from high school or turns 18, whichever comes later. The amount of child support that is paid depends on a variety of factors, including the number of children who are receiving child support, the income of both parents and how much time the children are spending with each parent.

Modifying Child Support Orders

Many things in a divorce decree are set in stone and are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to change once they are finalized. One of the things that can be changed, however, is child support stipulations. In general, Illinois child support orders are able to be reviewed and changed if needed every three years. The state of Illinois understands that sometimes circumstances change between those three-year marks, which is why you are able to petition for a modification if the need for change is urgent or if there has been a “significant change in circumstances.” 

What Constitutes a “Significant Change in Circumstances?”

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that there are three reasons why a child support order can be modified: the original child support order deviated from the support guidelines, the order needs to address the child’s healthcare needs or there has been a significant change in circumstances. The most common reason a child support order is modified is that a parent claims there has been a change in circumstances since the order was entered. Examples of a significant change in circumstances include:

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Do Not Forget About the Right of First Refusal During Parenting Time NegotiationsCo-parenting is not easy. Balancing the responsibilities of taking care of children between you and your co-parent is challenging even for couples who are together. When you become a single parent, balancing these responsibilities become more difficult to manage. Many divorcing parents often worry about the fact that they will most likely have to split their parenting time with their soon-to-be-ex-spouse. It is hard for many parents to cope with the fact that they may not see their children every day anymore or be there for every one of their child’s milestones or achievements. One small solace that can be awarded to divorcing parents is what is known as the right of first refusal.

What is the Right of First Refusal?

Illinois courts strongly encourage parents to come to their own agreement on child-related issues such as parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, then the court will step in to allocate parenting time and decision-making responsibilities in the child’s best interest. If the court must step in, it may award either parent the right of first refusal, which is a clause in the parenting plan that states that the other parent must be the first person to be offered the right to care for the child if the parent cannot watch the child during his or her designated parenting time. The parent must ask the other parent if they are able to or would like to care for the child before they seek alternative options for childcare.

Right of First Refusal Agreements

The court is not the only one who can create a right of first refusal agreement. If the parents agree to come up with a parenting plan on their own, they are permitted to include information about the right of first refusal if they please. Clauses about the right of first refusal should include:

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