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Joliet divorce attorneysDo you turn to social media to seek out support from others who share similar experiences or do you use it as a personal diary to vent about your problems? Now that social media has become so integral to our lives, these digital platforms take on different meanings for everyone. Depending on your current circumstances, social media can be a fun pastime or an emotional outlet, but when it comes to your divorce, these platforms should always remain neutral. When divorces become contentious and conflict begins to arise, social media accounts are one of the first places that your spouse’s attorney will turn for evidence in his or her favor.

Areas of Concern

The two places where contention typically surfaces is during child custody determinations and the asset division process. If your co-parent is dead set on parenting alone, they will need to provide an explanation of why you are not fit to be a parent. In some instances, these accusations can be made out spite for the conflict that occurred during your marriage, rather than a true testament of your ability to act as a responsible parent. Whether or not the accusations are actually true, social media posts can make it easy to convince the judge otherwise. A number of photos of you out with some friends, holding a beer in one hand, can be misconstrued as a common occurrence of alcohol abuse. Without adequate or accurate context, a judge can view the series of photos as a testament of your character and ability to safely parent your child, resulting in reduced or even supervised child custody orders.

Additionally, your social media presence can be telling of your financial situation. When it comes to asset division and spousal maintenance decisions, the court will decide who gets what based on each spouse’s income and personal savings. If you claim that you have a very limited income, asking for consistent spousal support or a particular marital asset, then post a photo of you on vacation, the judge can easily get the wrong idea. Even if you planned the vacation well in advance of your divorce or the trip was a gift from a close family member, your spouse can attempt to spin the situation to work in his or her favor.

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Will County paternity lawyerIf you have recently had a child, or simply never identified your child's father on their birth certificate, it is important that you legally recognize who the child’s biological father is. For some mothers, naming their child’s father may open a door for a contentious or abusive relationship between the child and their biological father. For others, they may not be certain about who the father is. A difficult situation that some mothers encounter is their child’s biological father passing away before they were able to name them on the birth certificate. Even if the child’s father is deceased, proving paternity can lead to a number of benefits, both financial and emotional. Luckily, those with male children still have the ability to do so with the help of modern technology.

DNA Testing on Family Members

For those who want biological proof of who their child’s father is, DNA testing is the manner in which this can be done. This is a common option for men who are uncertain about their biological connection to a child. Though it may seem far-fetched, this is also a way to prove paternity for a man who is deceased if you have a son. Modern technology has allowed lab technicians to determine a child’s father by analyzing the man’s blood relatives’ DNA. Such paternity testing will be conducted using DNA samples from the paternal grandparents or alleged father’s other children since this will reveal whether or not the genes actually match the deceased, alleged father. By looking at the chromosomes within the DNA, lab technicians can determine whether or not there is a biological connection between the child and the man in question.

Taking a closer look at the biology behind the testing, one must understand that men have an X and a Y chromosome while females have two X chromosomes. For male children, their Y chromosome will be compared to that of the paternal male relatives. Y chromosomes are passed virtually unchanged down the male line. By comparing the Y chromosome of the male child to the alleged father’s brother or father, one can determine whether they match—signifying their biological connection—or not—proving that they are unrelated.

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Joliet divorce attorneysDetermining what to do with your family home during the asset division process can be a difficult task. For some, it may be obvious who will be keeping the house and who will be moving out. For others, it may be a contentious conversation to have during your divorce proceedings. Illinois divides marital property equitably, but not necessarily equally, and this reality can leave you wondering how you and your spouse will each be granted equivalent amounts of marital property if your family home is your most expensive asset. With the help of a reputable divorce attorney, you can be fully informed on the options available to you and will receive your fair share.

Dividing Your Large Assets

For those who have more than one large asset, determining who gets the family home may not seem like an unfair discussion. If you and your spouse have multiple large assets, such as luxury cars or a vacation home, you may just agree to have one spouse keep the home and the other keep the second large asset. This is the easier route to take if it is a possibility, but for most families, their home is their one and only particularly large asset.

Buy Out Your Spouse

In order to avoid having one spouse benefit by receiving the largest asset, while the other spouse feels short-changed, the spouse who intends on keeping the marital home can buy out their former spouse. This requires an official appraisal of your house’s current market value, dividing the number in half, and the new sole-homeowner paying their former spouse for their half of the ownership. This is a common solution used by divorcing parents, allowing the children to remain in their current home with one parent while the other parent finds alternative housing.

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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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