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

Effective parenting strategies after a divorce

48506875_s (1).jpgOne of the biggest challenges in an Illinois family law case is dealing with child custody and visitation rights. For many couples, the lingering problems that led to the divorce can continue as they try to co-parent. Still, there are strategies to make the process easier.

The best interests of the child are paramount. Taking certain steps can facilitate meeting the child's needs. It is easy to say that the child should come first, but to put that in practice can be complicated. It is important to remember that there does not need to be complete agreement with the other parent for effective co-parenting. The child should not be placed in the middle of parental disputes. Important decisions can be shared with common ground.

How Illinois millennials are using prenuptial agreements

135597646_s.jpgPrenuptial agreements are becoming more common among millennials. However, some analysts say the phenomenon indicates that this age cohort takes marriage seriously. The divorce rate has also declined among millennials. Furthermore, while many people may think of prenups as being for wealthy people, for millennials they may be more about addressing the debt they are bringing into the marriage as well as what they will do about property.

With a prenup, couples can be transparent about their debt. It can also address what might happen to any additional debt the spouses acquire during the marriage. This can prevent situations in which one person takes out a loan but both individuals are liable for it. A prenup can also address what may happen to future earnings. In some cases, both partners earn roughly the same amount of money and assume this will continue into the future. However, one person might take several years off work to do child care. A prenup can address what would happen in a divorce if a significant income disparity existed.

Women file for divorce at a higher rate than men

25265536_s.jpgPerhaps in part due to how the situation has been portrayed in books and on the screen, it has long been thought that many women in Illinois and around the country are far more keen on getting married than men. However, research has shown that once they have tied the knot, women are also the ones who are more likely to file for divorce.

Several studies, including one that was conducted by the American Sociological Association, have revealed that this is the case. The ASA study found that women are the initiators of more than two-thirds of all U.S. divorces. Some matrimonial and divorce professionals have posited several possible reasons why this might be so. While women now are far more likely to have their own careers, they still usually shoulder far more of the household chore burden than their husbands. This can generate feelings of resentment. A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report that was released in 2019 revealed that, among couples who were both fully employed, nearly half of the women did housework daily as opposed to around 20% of husbands.

Divorce on the decline among millennials

44260589_s.jpgIllinois millennials may be less likely to divorce than baby boomers. Among millennials, the divorce rate has dropped significantly, but as the oldest ones approach 40, it is unclear whether the trend will continue.

The University of Maryland sociology professor who reported the lower divorce rates in his book "The Coming Divorce Decline" believes it will. He found that between 2008 and 2016, divorce rates went down 18%. For millennials who do get a divorce, the process seems to be less complicated than for older generations. They tend to have all the necessary information available electronically, and they are often financially independent from one another. That financial independence is partly due to the fact that they are often older and more established in their careers when they get married in the first place. This has also led to a rise in prenuptial agreements among millennials.

"Anchorman" actor David Koechner files for divorce

41177317_s.jpgIllinois movie fans might be interested to learn that "Anchorman" actor David Koechner is ending his nearly 22-year marriage to self-help podcaster Leigh Koechner. The couple, who have five children together, were married in 1998 after meeting on a plane.

According to media reports, the 57-year-old actor filed a petition to dissolve a marriage involving minor children on Jan. 14 in California. The documents failed to disclose a reason for the divorce. The couple appeared happy in a photo Leigh Koechner, 53, posted on social media around Christmas, and they apparently spent the holiday together with their kids.

Does Illinois favor the mother or father in custody decisions?

134958013_s.jpgWhile there is no cut-and-dry answer to this question, one report in 2018 showed that our state's fathers are typically awarded 32 percent less parenting time than mothers. Research, across the board, shows that states lack sufficient laws to support, or to entice court decisions for equal shared parenting time.

There is no doubt that, when both parties are fit to be parents, a child will benefit from spending time and building bonds with both. No child deserves to be forced to cut-off communication with a parent just because the adults are unable to set their differences aside. The child's best interests should always come first.

What to know about pursuing alimony during a divorce

37047209_s.jpgSecuring alimony, also called spousal maintenance or support, can be an important part of getting through a divorce with one's financial security intact. In order to understand how to pursue alimony, an Illinois resident should be aware of the many factors that courts may look at in order to decide if spousal support is appropriate. This post will discuss some of those factors but may not be comprehensive. Readers are always encouraged to talk to their own attorneys about their family law and divorce needs.

One of the most relevant factors that courts will analyze during an alimony assessment is the capacity of the divorcing parties to earn money for their own care. In some divorces, both of the parties will have full-time, adequately paying jobs that will allow them to maintain their own needs once they are out of their marriages. When individuals lack the capacity to earn money after they divorce, they may be more likely to receive alimony awards during their divorces.

What is a child support modification?

131144943_s.jpgChild support is the payment of money from one co-parent to the other for the benefit of their shared child or children. It may be used to cover a range of costs that are related to raising a child in Illinois, such as buying the child food or clothing, paying rent so that the child has a home, and covering the costs of their education. Child support is generally mandated during divorce proceedings or may be agreed to by a child's parents when they end their relationship.

Child support payments generally occur on regular schedules and in regular amounts. Past posts on this family law blog have discussed some of the penalties that may be assessed if a parent fails to pay child support as stipulated in their agreement or order. A parent who misses child support payments may be subject to fines, the loss of their driver's license, and even incarceration.

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.

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