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Springfield, IL Divorce & Family Law Blog by Stange Law Firm, PC

Understanding child custody during the holiday season

44246261_s.jpgAs winter approaches, families throughout Illinois may be planning their holiday celebrations and the travel they will undertake to visit with family members and friends. While the holidays can be a wonderful time of year for parents and children alike, it can also be a very difficult time for families that are split due to divorce. Parents can find themselves struggling to work with their co-parents when they cannot agree about how and where they will each see their kids during holiday celebrations.

Parents caught in this difficult conundrum can always turn to their controlling custody and visitation documents for information on this topic. Many parents choose to address the holidays in their parenting plans, and different schedules may be established to accommodate the various needs of families. Individuals' family law attorneys can help them work out the details of their custody schedules to find suitable answers.

What is a premarital agreement?

95413181_S.jpgMarriage is both an emotional and legal undertaking. While an Illinois resident may initially find themselves drawn to another person on an emotional level, they must formalize their relationship through the legal process of marriage in order to be recognized by the state and thereby qualify for marriage-related benefits. Choosing to marry is thus a big decision. Those who decide to pursue marriage can and should speak with their prospective partners about whether they will enter into a premarital agreement.

Premarital agreements are contracts that individuals enter into with their prospective spouses. These contracts help the parties sort out financial and property-based matters that may get complicated in the event that the parties' marriage ends in divorce. Through a premarital agreement the parties may stipulate what separate property each will retain if their marriage ends and how support may be structured if one party is in a stronger financial position than the other.

Claims of paternity may be challenged

105557641_S.jpgEstablishing paternity is an important part of solidifying the relationship between an Illinois father and his child. As previously discussed on this blog, one way paternity can be proven is through DNA testing that compares the genetic material of a man to that of his purported child. Paternity testing happens after a child is born to either give a father rights or to require a father to pay child support.

However, not every claim of paternity that is made against men is valid. A man may find himself in the middle of a paternity lawsuit even though he is sure that he is not a child's biological father. When this happens he can fight to overcome claims of paternity so that he is not legally and financially tied to a child that is not his.

What penalties can be assessed for failing to pay child support?

131144969_S.jpgChild support in Illinois is a significant financial responsibility. Based on an agreement between a child's parents or an order from their family law court, a person may be required to provide their child with money until that child becomes an adult or is otherwise self-sufficient. A child who does not have the financial support that they need may struggle to attain their most basic needs, and because children should not be made to suffer for their parents' choices the state takes child support enforcement very seriously.

Child support enforcement refers to the system of penalties that may be assessed against a parent who fails to pay their child support obligation. After a parent misses a child support payment their co-parent may seek enforcement remedies to compel action. A judge may review the matter and mandate that the non-compliant parent pay owed support or else face the consequences.

Working a child's best interests into their custody plan

97054374_M.jpgEvery child is a unique individual with their own special needs, preferences, and expectations. Illinois parents who have more than one child may recognize the diverse talents, emotions, and requirements possessed by each child. When children are affected by the divorces of their parents it can be difficult for adults and the courts to establish custody and support plans that will meet all of their needs and further their best interests.

When children are involved in an Illinois divorce their best interests must be factored into any agreements or orders that result from the proceedings. A child's best interests represent a number of factors that may influence with which parent they should live and how their care should be managed. In some situations a child's opinions on these matters may be considered, but the age of the child may dictate how much weight this opinion is given.

Spousal support can be a critical component of a divorce

95228013_S.jpgMoney is sometimes the reason that Illinois residents decide to end their marriages in divorce. When the partners to marital couples cannot agree on how to spend and save their money, they may find that unhealable wounds are created in their relationships. While money is not the key to happiness it certainly is an important part of supporting a growing family.

Similarly, money is an important component in the divorce process as well. When two people end their marriage, one of them may ask the court for spousal support. As past posts on this family law blog have discussed, spousal support is the payment of money from one former partner to the other for the support and maintenance of the recipient. Not all divorces involve spousal support, but when one partner will be financially disadvantaged by the divorce it may be applicable.

What is a post-divorce modification?

128681022_S.jpgIt can take months for an Illinois couple to work out the details of their divorce. If they have children and share significant wealth, there may be many unsettled issues that they must process through in order to ensure that all of the members to the dissolving family will be provided for once the divorce is complete. When a court agrees that the parties to a divorce have resolved all of their outstanding issues it will issue a decree of divorce that formalizes all of the relevant decisions.

A final divorce decree gives divorced parties a set of rules and expectations that they must follow and meet in their post-divorce lives. Depending upon what had to be settled during their divorce, parties may look to their decree to explain their child custody and support responsibilities, if and how alimony must be paid, and other important matters. Divorce decrees generally must be followed, and when parties do not uphold their responsibilities under them they may be sanctioned.

Considerations for military members going through divorce

53124723_S.jpgThe divorce process is hard on everyone, even when the partners to the ending marriage are willing and able to work together. However, individuals who serve our country as a member of the military can run into extra challenges when they decide that they want to get a divorce. In Illinois and other states throughout the nation, military members must consider residency, benefits, and other factors when they wish to end their relationships with their spouses.

One issue that may complicate a military divorce is where the process should play out. Military members are often stationed in locations that are not their states of residency, and when divorce occurs their partners may move to different locations as well. There may be three different jurisdictions in which the divorce can happen, and choosing where to pursue it can be complicated.

Divorce later in life can be financially crippling

116391239_S.jpgWhile it is important for Illinois residents to always be true to their own needs and emotions, it is important that they also fully realize the consequence that their decisions may have on their lives and futures. This is especially true when a person decides that they want to end their marriage in divorce. A divorce can bring about many emotional, financial, and legal changes that those who pursue it may not be prepared to cope with.

This may be particularly true when the party considering divorce is over the age of 50. Gray divorce, sometimes called later-in-life divorce, happens when the parties are older and may have reached retirement age. Gray divorces have been found to be financially devastating to some individuals and may result in some older Americans living in poverty.

Interference can impact a father's relationship with his child

42941577_S.jpgParents would do anything for their kids, and when parents must share their children's time with their ex, it can be hard on everyone to find a good balance of how and when to be together. For some Illinois families, following the terms of child custody and visitation agreements are straightforward and the parties respect each other's time with their shared children. For others, respecting their ex's right to have interactions with their children is next to impossible.

When a parent deliberately gets between a child and the child's other parent, those actions may be deemed interference. Parental interference can become a major family law problem when it limits or curtails the contact a parent has with their children. In some situations, a parent may actively try to prevent their ex from being with their kids. They may fail to drop their child off for visitation time, or may show up early when it is their time to pick the child up.

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