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Have you decided on your New Year’s resolutions yet? If not, January is the perfect time to use your New Year’s resolutions as a way to grow closer to your children and help them cope with the changes associated with a divorce. Whether you just began the proceedings or your divorce was recently finalized, it never hurts to take a close look at your and your children’s situation and see what could improve. If you have been particularly stressed lately, you may need to focus on yourself so you can be more present for your kids. If your children’s behavior has changed for the worse because of the divorce, it is time to figure out what can help them get back on track.

Here are a few New Year’s resolutions that may help you and your children cope with a divorce:

  • Dedicate Time For Your Children

You are the most stable part of your children’s lives. They need to spend quality time with you to know their feelings matter and they are loved. Consider focusing on family dinners every night or make one night a week family night where distractions like cell phones are not allowed. You can expect some push back from teenagers who may feel too cool for family night, but over time, they will see that you make them a priority.

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Posted on in Divorce

It used to be called custody and visitation. Now, Illinois takes a more equitable and less adversarial approach by discussing parental responsibilities and time. Legal custody, meaning who has decision making authority over the child, has become parental responsibility. You may have all parental responsibilities or these may be shared between you and your child’s other mom or dad. Instead of sole or joint physical custody, you and your child’s other parent divide parenting time. Your child may live predominately with you or the other parent, or split his or her time between your homes. When you are divorcing or welcoming a new child while unmarried, it is crucial to understand Illinois’ new vocabulary and how a court will decide parenting time.

You Can Develop Your Own Plan

You and your child’s other parent have the right to come up with your own parenting plan, including how you will divide parental responsibilities and time. This can be faster and less costly than having your attorneys fight for what each of you want in court and attending multiple hearings for a decision. However, even when you and your child’s other parent intend to determine a plan yourselves, you should still work with an experienced Chicago family law attorney. Your lawyer will ensure you go into planning sessions fully aware of your rights as a mother or father. Additionally, your lawyer will help you prepare to arrange parenting time, including considering birthdays, holidays, school calendars, vacations, your child’s special needs, and transportation.

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Posted on in Divorce

When you and your spouse decide that divorce is the right thing to do, your next discussion must be about how you want to move forward with the process. If you and your spouse work together well and are on the same page as to what you both want from the end of your marriage, then mediation may work for you. Mediation enables you and your spouse to:

  • Decide how to divide your marital assets, including future retirement benefits
  • Decide whether spousal maintenance is appropriate, how much, and for how long
  • Allocate parenting responsibilities and time

7 Reasons to Divorce Through Mediation

The mediation process offers a calm and effective environment to decide the issues of your divorce between the two of you and outside of an adversarial courtroom. There are numerous benefits to mediation, including:

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You probably do not feel like concentrating on “things” during your divorce. You do not want to worry about the couch in the family room or the nice china. You simply want to move forward and begin to recover from the emotional turmoil of this time. However, you and your spouse will need to address your personal property. You two can decide how you will divide your things in a property settlement, or an Illinois judge will abide by the principles of equitable distribution and make these decisions for you. When you realize it is time to worry about the small things along with the big, and you need help receiving your fair share of marital property, call the DuPage County family law attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. at 630-961-0060.

Determining Marital Property

Whether you and your spouse are negotiating a property settlement or you take the matter before a judge, you will need to make the distinction between marital and non-marital property. Under Section 503(a) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, marital property is all property including debt, which was acquired by either or both spouses subsequent to the marriage. However, there are exceptions. Non-marital property includes:

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Posted on in Divorce

Spousal maintenance is never automatic during a divorce. You and your spouse can either agree to maintenance yourselves or a judge can decide the issue. Sometimes this is a contentious topic, and other times your ex may readily agree to support you following the divorce. No matter how your maintenance is determined, once it is set, your ex-spouse has a duty to uphold the arrangement. However, despite a legal obligation to do so, some individuals choose not to pay. If your ex is behind on payments, it is time to look into how you can enforce spousal maintenance.

Contact a Lawyer

If you do not receive your spousal maintenance as defined by the court order or settlement, the first thing you should do is call an experienced spousal maintenance attorney from Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C.. Contacting your ex-spouse about the issue may be enough to get your support back on track. However, you should not communicate with him or her without understanding your rights and your options if talking does not resolve the issue. You may also have more leverage with your ex if you are backed by an experienced lawyer and prepared to return to court.

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When family law judges determine child support, they are well aware this amount will need to change in the future. Parents’ incomes fluctuate and children grow up and have different needs. However, that does not make obtaining a child support modification less stressful. When your child support obligation becomes too much for you to handle or as the receiving parent, you are not getting enough, a modification is crucial. Whenever you need to return to court to alter a part of your child support arrangement, you should work with an experienced Chicago area family law attorney at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. to ensure everything is done the right way the first time and you walk into court with the best chance of success.

Reducing Child Support

To have your child support changed, you usually need to file an action in court. Next, as either the paying parent or recipient, you must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants an increase or decrease in the child support award. Many child support modifications are sought by paying parents who wish to have a lesser monthly payment.

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Posted on in Divorce

The decision to divorce is never convenient, but it can be even more difficult when it comes around moving time. If you or your spouse just moved to Illinois or one of you needs to move out of the state soon, you should take a closer look at whether you can and should obtain a divorce here. Illinois has a residency requirement, which means you or your spouse must be a resident of the state before your divorce can be finalized. Illinois courts have no jurisdiction over the marriages of individuals who do not live in this state. If you are new to Illinois or may move away soon, call the Chicago divorce lawyers of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. at 630-961-0060 to learn where you should file for divorce.

What is Jurisdiction?

Jurisdiction is a legal concept that means to have power over a person or legal decision. It is the reason why you cannot file lawsuits anywhere you want. All types of legal matters, whether a divorce, personal injury claim or breach of contract suit must be brought in a place that has jurisdiction over the issue. For Illinois to have proper jurisdiction over your divorce, you or your spouse must be a resident of the state.

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Posted on in Divorce

You face a multitude of questions once you decide adoption is the next stop. How do you adopt a child? Do you need an attorney? How much will it cost? While the adoption process can seem overwhelming at first, it is easily explained by an experienced Chicago adoption attorney from Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C.. You can choose to go through an independent process, private agency or a public agency adoption. All of those options will help you welcome a child into your home. To learn which path may be the best for you, call us today at 630-961-0060. We will explain your rights as an adoptive parent and the pros and cons of each option.

Private Adoption

Private adoption, also known as an independent adoption, is the process of adopting a child without going through an agency. You will need to be matched with a prospective child in another way, such as through family, friends or a religious community. During a private adoption, an experienced adoption attorney drafts any necessary agreements and guides you through the legal process.

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When it comes to developing a parenting time and responsibilities plan, you must prepare to sit down and talk with the other parent of your children. Together, you will need to arrange everything from important occasions to your children’s mundane day-to-day needs. You will have to make sacrifices by not seeing your children every day or missing them on holidays. But it is best if you and your children’s other parent create a parenting plan together instead of leaving these crucial decisions up to a judge. If you need help acquiring parenting time and responsibilities during a custody battle, contact the Chicago family law attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. at 630-961-0060.

When arranging parenting time, consider:

  • Birthdays. Do not plan for only the obvious birthdays, like your children’s. Also plan for your birthday, the other parent’s, and any other important family birthdays. Your children will have friend’s birthday parties to attend. Figure out ahead of time how you and the other parent will handle friend’s birthdays, including who is responsible for purchasing gifts and driving to and from locations.
  • Holidays. You and the other parent should take into account both religious and secular holidays, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July. Not only do many holidays come with days off school, but you and the other parent may have strong opinions on where your children spend these days. It is important to establish traditions and patterns as soon as possible.
  • The School Calendar. Schools will have additional days off for testing and teacher planning. You should have the school calendar ready when you sit down to discuss a parenting time plan. You and the other parent will need to determine who is responsible for the children or child care on these days. You should also consider snow days, sick days, or other potential impromptu days off.
  • Vacations. You will want to take your children on vacation once in a while. Whether it is a local trip to Six Flags or further away like Disney World, you need to plan for this time in advance. Your children’s other parent will also want to take them on fun trips, so you need to be careful not to overlap or plan similar adventures. You may also need to discuss the best time to take these trips, such as whether you use spring break as your time to get away or the summer.
  • Special Needs. If your children have any special needs, whether it is seeing a math tutor once a week, going to counseling or medical requirements, you and the other parent must be on the same page as to whose responsibility it will be to get the children to and from these obligations.
  • Transportation. A common issue that arises during parenting time arrangements is transportation. You need to know who will take the children to school, extracurricular activities, special events, religious commitments, appointments, and between your homes. It is too obvious to say that the parent who currently has the parenting time will drive. Never assume how transportation will work – talk it through.

A Chicago Parenting Time Attorney Can Help

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Divorce is both a specific process and an uncharted emotional journey. Outside of courtroom rules, you have to navigate a new path with your family – one that may not have the guidelines and structure you are used to. Once you decide to move forward with the dissolution of your marriage, you have to prepare how you will talk with your children about this change. You are not the first parents to divorce, and there are some strong suggestions you can follow in regard to answering your children’s questions. To learn more about obtaining a divorce and how you can handle the situation with your children, call Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. at 630-961-0060. We offer guidance on this process with skill and compassion.

Spare Your Children the Details

Your children do not need all of the nitty gritty details. However, they will need some information as to how the divorce came about. You and your spouse should decide how you will answer “why are you getting a divorce?” and other common questions. Make sure the answer is appropriate for the age of your children. Your 16 year old will understand more and may be ready to hear some specifics compared to your 5 year old.

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Posted on in Divorce

There are extra considerations when high net worth couples move forward with a divorce. For spouses with one or more high incomes and a significant amount of investments, dividing shared property and determining future financial obligations can be stressful, if not contentious. Spousal maintenance, or alimony, is one of these additional considerations in high net worth divorces, particularly if one individual was the primary provider. In Illinois, maintenance in high net worth divorces is left up to the discretion of the judge.

Illinois Maintenance Formula Does Not Apply

The spousal support formula outlined in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (Act) provides an objective standard for how much maintenance should be awarded to the payee spouse and for how long. However, the formula is for a combined gross yearly income of no more than $250,000. High net worth couples can greatly exceed this income, which means judges have discretion in determining how much should be awarded.

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Posted on in Divorce

Not every divorce is a contentious battle of he-said-she-said. Sometimes couples come to an understanding that their marriage is over together. When spouses are on the same page, heading to court can feel too adversarial. They may prefer to work out the details of their divorce together. However, even agreeable spouses need help in coming to decisions regarding parenting responsibilities and parenting time, property division, and spousal maintenance. If some assistance is needed, spouses can turn to mediation for guidance.

If you believe mediation may be right for you and your partner, call the Chicago divorce mediation attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. at 630-961-0060 to learn more about the process.

What is Mediation?

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In August, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed HB 3982 into law. This bill alters the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act and makes sweeping changes in how Illinois’ courts will calculate child support obligations. Instead of focusing only on the paying parent’s income to determine the necessary amount of child support, the new “Income Shares” model will take both parent’s incomes into consideration. This new law goes into effect July 1, 2017.

Current Illinois Child Support Law

Section 505 of the Act outlines Illinois’ current child support law. The statute considers the income of the parent paying support and then bases the percentage of net income to be paid on the number of children involved. For example, support for one child is 20 percent of the paying parent’s net income but three children receive 32 percent of his or her net income. The income of the parent receiving support is never taken into account.

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Depending on your age and perspective, retirement may be a long way down the road or it could be right around the corner. You might not feel like you should worry about retirement savings yet or you may have been putting money aside for years. Wherever you are in your journey to retirement during a divorce, it is a topic you need to consider. If you are ready to move forward with a divorce, contact the experienced Chicago divorce attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. to learn more about how dissolving your marriage can affect your financial future, including your retirement prospects.

The Importance of Retirement

You will retire one day, and when that day comes, you will need to have a significant financial savings to support your daily life. It can be difficult to determine how much money you need to retire, but you have to take into account inflation and potential medical care. If you wish to have an active and adventurous retirement you need to estimate the cost of travel.

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Many people hear they need to separate before divorce. This leads them to believe a legal separation is a component of divorce – one comes before the other. But legal separation is an entirely different proceeding than divorce. The separation people hear about in a divorce is not necessary a legal state. It is simply the process of spouses beginning to move on and living independently. The fact that these two situations are commonly called the same thing unfortunately lends to the confusion. If you are considering divorce or separating from your spouse, avoid confusion by learning the differences between legal separation and divorce in Illinois. The Chicago divorce attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. can answer any additional questions you may have.

Divorce

There is very little uncertainty about divorce. The law calls it the dissolution of a marriage. It is the end of two people’s legally binding union.

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No one comes to the decision to divorce quickly or lightly. Considering the end of a marriage is a tough process, but sometimes it is the right thing to do for your own wellbeing. Once you come to the decision that you need a divorce, you should take certain steps to prepare yourself for the process and set yourself up for success in the future before sitting down with your spouse.

Speak with an Attorney

Speak with an Illinois divorce attorney as soon as possible if you are considering a divorce. Even if you and your spouse are on the same page, you need your own legal advice to ensure you leave a divorce with what you deserve, including property, retirement savings, spousal maintenance, and time with the children. Without an attorney to help you understand the realistic process of a divorce and how to fight for your rights, you could be taken advantage of or end up in a financially devastating position.

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One of the hardest parts of sharing parenting responsibilities and time with your children’s other parent is actually implementing the plan. Whether you and the other parent figured the situation out yourselves or had to hand that power over to a judge, you now face the reality of following the schedule. At some point, the children will need to go from one parent’s house to another. These exchanges can be harder than most parents think, particularly if there are other unresolved issues between them. That is why some parents should consider using a public place for transferring kids from one home to another. If you are a parent facing a difficult parenting situation, contact the Chicago parenting time attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associations right away.

Benefits of Public Exchanges

Many parents just assume they will pick up their children from the other parent’s house or that parent will drop the children back off when it is time to switch. This arrangement may work fine for some, but other parents have a hard time going back and forth between each other’s homes. Choosing a public place for the children to move between parents can benefit everyone.

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It has many names: alimony, spousal support, or maintenance. The revised Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act refers to it as maintenance. No matter the title, it is essentially payments made by one former spouse to another. There are many reasons why couples agree to maintenance themselves or why the court orders it. However, what was once agreed upon or ordered may become financially difficult for the paying party. If this is the case, he or she needs to return to court to change the amount or duration of the payments. If you have questions regarding modifying maintenance in Illinois, contact the DuPage divorce attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. at 630-961-0060. The firm has helped individuals manage their maintenance duties following a divorce for more than 35 years.

Is Your Maintenance Modifiable?

Many spouses agree to maintenance on their own terms when they divorce. They determine how much will be paid and for how long. Payments may be a certain amount for life or only for a certain number of years until the receiving spouse can become self-sufficient. However, the parties can also contractually agree that the maintenance cannot be altered. Illinois law allows spouses to agree to maintenance that is non-modifiable in amount and duration.

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If you are getting a divorce or having a baby while you are not married, parenting responsibilities (custody), parenting time (visitation), and child support probably weigh heavily on your mind. You may be worried about having your child full time, while the other parent is worried about how much support he or she must pay each month. Both of you want what is best for your child, but that does not mean you agree on what that is. When you need to arrange parenting time, responsibilities, and support, call the experienced family law attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. at 630-961-0060 for help understanding Illinois’ new law and your options. It is possible for child support issues to be handled quickly and fairly.

Understanding the New Vocabulary

People have spent years hearing the terms custody, visitation, and child support. These terms and ideas are how parents automatically think of their future situation. But in the newest Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the state purposefully chose new vocabulary to change the way parents think about their family arrangement. Illinois wants parents to work as a team, dividing responsibilities and time in a way that is best for their children.

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Old laws, rumors, the news, and conventional wisdom all tell fathers they do not get as much time with their children as mothers when they have to establish a parenting agreement. Whether a dad is facing a divorce or was never married to his children’s mother, he may go into a parenting case thinking he has no chance of getting a significant amount of time with his kids. But this is not true.

Under Illinois law, moms and dads have the same chance of being awarded parenting time and responsibilities – both of which are based on the best interests of the child. If you are a father fighting for time with your children, contact the Chicago fathers’ rights attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. for a free consultation.

Old Doctrines No Longer Apply

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