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Dealing With Custody Evaluations in an Illinois DivorceAs times have changed, so have laws concerning divorce and child custody, which Illinois now calls the allocation of parental responsibilities. Rather than just assuming the mother is the obvious caretaker for the children in a marriage, the state of Illinois believes that children will thrive and do their best when both of their parents have an active parenting role in their lives. Because of this, it is assumed that it is in the child’s best interest to spend time with both parents unless there are other reasons why a shared parenting time arrangement would not be in the child’s best interest. If the court has reason to suspect that such a restriction on parenting time may be warranted, they can order a professional evaluation of the situation to be completed.

Basics of a Professional Evaluation

If a professional evaluation is ordered by the court, often, a mental health professional will be hired. These professionals may be psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists or counselors trained in family disputes. Depending on the information the court is looking for, the evaluation can be focused on the parents, the child or a combination of the parties. 

The evaluator’s job is to observe and gain an understanding of the relationships and interaction between the two parents, the child and any other family members, such as siblings. The evaluator will likely use multiple methods to conduct his or her study, which can include:

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4 Ways Staying in a Bad Marriage Can Affect Your ChildrenWhen it comes to making the decision to get a divorce, one of the biggest reasons couples hesitate to begin the process is because of their children. A rather common question that couples have when deciding whether or not to get a divorce is, “How will it affect the children?” While there is no one specific way divorce affects children, it is known that children can and will bounce back after their parents get divorced. Many couples think that staying together for the children is the best option, but it is, in fact, the opposite. Here are a few ways that staying in a bad marriage can have a negative effect on your children:

  1. Your Kids Can Develop Low Self-Esteem: Children absorb everything around them. When they are living in a household where mom and dad are fighting all of the time, they may begin to feel unsure of themselves or even rejected. Children will internalize their emotions, and constant fighting can cause them to develop feelings of unworthiness.
  2. Your Kids Will Be Living with Chronic Tension: If you can feel the tension between you and your spouse, your children can feel it too. Subjecting a child to a home that is filled with chronic tension is never a good idea. Children will begin to feel uneasy in their own homes and will walk on eggshells around their parents to try to prevent any more fighting.
  3. They Can Develop Intimacy Issues: Children who come from unhappy homes can also have issues in their own relationships when they get older. They saw how their parents interacted as they were growing up, so they tend to steer clear of any type of intimacy because they fear they will be hurt. Even when they do enter into an intimate relationship, they tend to remain reserved, cautious or guarded.
  4. They Can Develop Mood or Behavioral Issues: Many children whose parents are constantly bickering or fighting tend to develop mood or behavioral issues. Children who come from households full of tension tend to struggle with problems such as dysthymia, depression, anxiety or even personality disorders or substance abuse. These children may also have behavioral issues, such as difficulty managing their anger.

A Homewood, IL, Divorce Attorney Can Answer Any Questions You May Have

It is no secret that a divorce can be tough on everyone in the family, especially the children. As a parent, you have a responsibility to protect and care for your children. In some cases, getting a divorce may do just that. Though it may be rough for a little while, your children will be happier and healthier in the long run. If you have questions about the divorce process or how to get started, contact The Foray Firm. Our skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys can answer any questions you may have about the process. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to set up a consultation.

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Four Key Post-Divorce Moves to Manage Your FinancesOften, being married means nearly every part of your lives are entwined with each other – and finances are no exceptions. Many married couples have joint finances and share financial assets such as bank accounts, credit card accounts, investments, and even retirement accounts. When you go to get a divorce, you have to split all of that up in the most equitable way possible. This can be difficult even for the most amicable of couples. It is important to understand that a lot – but not all – of your post-divorce financial success depends on how you handled the finances during the divorce. Here are a few things you can do after the divorce to ensure you have a bright financial future:

  1. Take Care of Your Credit: You should take steps to make sure your credit is protected and that you are starting to build new credit in your name only. If there are any credit cards still open in both your and your ex-spouse’s name, be sure to close them as soon as possible. Open one or two credit cards in your name only to begin building credit on your own.
  2. Make Sure Your Estate Planning Documents are Up to Date: This is something that couples often forget about when they get a divorce. Once your divorce is final, you will want to be sure to update all of your estate planning documents, if you have them. The last thing you would want is for your ex-spouse to inherit your estate if you were to suddenly die. Be sure to update the beneficiaries in your will, trust or other documents.
  3. Sell or Refinance Your Home: If you and your spouse bought a home while you were married, you will also need to determine what to do with such a large asset. If neither of you wants the home, the easiest thing to do would be to sell the home and split the profits. If one of you is keeping the home, you may need to refinance it to make the payments more manageable.
  4. Form a Budget For Yourself: Now that you are single, you will need to rework your budget to meet your needs, while also fitting within your new income. Before, you probably relied on both yours and your spouse’s income to run the household. Now you must make sure you can survive on your income alone. 

Get Help From a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Your finances are one of the biggest issues that will affect you for the rest of your life following a divorce. Getting help from a knowledgeable Bolingbrook, IL, divorce attorney can ensure your divorce settlement addresses as many of these issues as possible. At The Foray Firm, we can help you plan for your financial future before your divorce and help you modify the terms of your agreement after the fact. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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Four Tips For Successful Co-Parenting After Your Illinois DivorceWhen you have children, one of the hardest aspects of life after a divorce is figuring out how to be a successful and effective co-parent. This can be especially difficult for couples who no longer get along with one another or who had a very contentious divorce. Though you may wish you were rid of your spouse, having children with them prevents that from being possible. It is your job to work together with your ex to make sure you can provide a secure and loving childhood for your kids. Co-parenting after your divorce is one of the toughest things you will learn to do, but it is also one of the most important. Here are a few tips to help increase your chances of co-parenting success:

  1. Put Your Feelings Aside: This is perhaps the most important tip of all. You and your spouse need to make sure you are putting your feelings to the side and focusing on the wellbeing and happiness of your children. Your children should be the most important part of your life, and ensuring their happiness is more important than the issues you have with your ex.
  2. Work on Communication With Your Ex: Though it may be tough, communication is key when it comes to co-parenting. You should be aiming for peaceful and purposeful communication between you and your ex, all for the benefit of your children. You should keep your ex in the loop when it comes to your child and you should make sure you are including them in any major decisions involving your child.
  3. Stay as Consistent as Possible: It is also important to keep a sense of consistency between the two households for the sake of your children. Obviously, not everything will be the same at both your and your ex’s homes, but general routines and rules should stay the same so your child has a sense of consistency and familiarity.
  4. Remind Your Children That You Love Them: This is also important because it is common for children to blame themselves for the divorce. You should reassure your children every now and then that both you and their other parent still love them very much and that your issues have nothing to do with them.

Hire a Compassionate Will County Family Law Attorney 

At The Foray Firm, we understand that it is often difficult for divorcing parents to transition to life as a single parent, while still taking into account the other parent. Our skilled Joliet family law lawyers can help you and your spouse have a solid and comprehensive parenting plan in place to help reduce any uncertainties after the divorce. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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Unique Assets That You May Need to Divide in Your Illinois DivorceBeing married, even for just a few years, can leave you and your soon-to-be ex with a mess of tangled assets, which can be stressful when all you want is for the divorce to be over with. Illinois courts support the idea that divorces work best when the couple comes to agreements for issues on their own, although that is not always possible. Illinois judges will first make you and your spouse attend mediation sessions to try to work out the details of your divorce, but you will end up in court if it does not go as planned. The process of dividing your property can become lengthy, especially since you have to address almost everything you and your spouse own together or separately – even the not-so-common assets. 

Physical Items

Physical assets are those that you can see, feel and touch. Typically, when most people think of property division, they are thinking of physical assets, which can include:

  • Pets or other animals: Prior to 2018, Illinois treated pets much like property was – whoever contributed the most financially to the animal usually ended up keeping it. Now, pets are treated more like children and a judge can decide who to place the animal with, based on the relationship between the animal and each spouse and the wellbeing of the animal. Pets are still one of the more contentious issues in property negotiations.
  • Collections or other mementos: Items such as photographs and home videos are invaluable and can be highly fought over in property division. With today’s technology, making copies of these things is fairly easy, though having the originals is another matter. Collections can also be fought over, especially since many collectible items are worth a lot of money.
  • Gifts given to each other: Items that were given as gifts before you were married – such as the engagement ring – are not subject to division. However, any items you may have given as gifts while you were married are fair game.

Abstract Assets

These assets are sometimes overlooked because they are not technically physical things. Just because something cannot be touched or felt does not mean that it lacks value. Intangible, yet valuable assets that you should not forget include:

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