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Belleville and Edwardsville Divorce Law Blog

Clear communication could end child custody disputes

39482247_S.jpgIllinois parents who have gone through a divorce often experience tension and differences of opinion when sharing custody or dealing with visitation orders. Common problems include tardy drop off or pick up of children, ignoring parenting duties, withholding information about travel plans or challenging decisions about schooling, religion or health care. Resolution of these problems should follow a series of steps before escalating to court appearances.

Initially, a parent can express complaints through an attempt at civil conversation. The other parent might not be aware that certain behaviors like not washing kids' clothes or dropping off kids late are causing a problem. If a conversation does not produce results, the parent can begin documenting the complaint within a certified letter.

Grandparent have limited rights for visitation and custody

42781589_S.jpgDivorce and other life events in Illinois that require legally binding child custody decisions have the potential to be severely traumatizing to the children concerned. Although the best interest of the child and the rights of the parent are the two primary factors to be considered when the court makes its decisions, grandparents have a recognized role in the health and well-being of the child. If it is possible to do so, then the court will protect the rights of the grandparents and work with them to devise arrangements that allow visitation or possibly even custody of the child.

If both of the parents of the child have died or otherwise been permanently incapacitated, then the court will often award custody of the child or children to the grandparents. However, if only one parent is dead or completely unsuitable, the court will typically award custody to the other parent in preference to a grandparent.

Dealing with stalking after a divorce

56102117_S.jpgWhile many Illinois divorces are amicable, some separations can be fraught with conflict. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for emotions to run high at the end of a marriage. During some divorces, the conduct of one spouse can even become intimidating, frightening or possibly criminal.

A familiar scenario involves one spouse who wants to leave a marriage against the wishes of the other. In such cases, the spouse who wants to remain in the marriage may attempt to respectfully persuade the other to continue to work on family issues. Unfortunately, some might begin to stalk the ex in hopes of either achieving reconciliation or terrorizing the other spouse into submission.

The effect of unrealized income on child support

The amount of child support payments ordered by Illinois courts is determined primarily by the income of the spouses. This is termed 'income driven" child support. This makes it very important for parents to understand what constitutes income under the law. While some income sources may be obvious, many others are less so.

In general, state guidelines seek to define income as inclusively as possible. This means that a great variety of things are considered income. Often, these goes far beyond a weekly paycheck. For example, income received from pensions and trusts can be included as can the income from the interest on investments. Benefits that are not monetary in nature are also factored into the calculations. This is done by considering how much these perks, such as a company car or free housing, lower the overall cost of living for the parent.

When domestic violence is a factor in divorce

51187929_S.jpgDomestic violence may occur for the first time when Illinois couples are divorcing, or it might be the cause of the split. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one out of every three women have experienced some kind of physical abuse from a partner, and domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 28,000 each day.

Domestic violence may also be emotional or financial in nature. One example of financial abuse might be one spouse causing the other to lose their job due to being harassed at work by the other spouse. The abusive spouse might then prevent their spouse from finding another job, and this can make it impossible to leave. A spouse might also use another's identity to apply for credit cards or other loans or might handle the family finances and keep them secret. If this is the case, the spouse may also be able to keep all the assets in their name.

The concept of reasonable visitation

41393321_S.jpgIllinois parents who are going through a divorce know that child custody can be a contested issue. Parental visitation is one of the child custody issues that can be a major concern. When addressing this matter, the court may present reasonable visitation as an option.

In cases in which the court has determined that one of the parties is entitled to reasonable visitation, it is expected that the parents will try to work together to create a schedule. Having parents that are able to cooperate with one another is the preferred method of deciding on visitation schedules. Parents are able to customize the visitation so that they can accommodate their individual job and social demands.

Child support costs outside of the divorce settlement

19406161_S.jpgDuring divorce proceedings, one parent may be ordered to pay child support. When setting a rate of child support, the financial needs of raising a child are taken into consideration. However, there are a number of every day expenses that are not covered in the court order. What is covered varies from state to state, and Illinois courts may issue orders that are different in this regard from other jurisdictions.

Raising a child is not cheap, and all parents can agree that they want what is in the best interest of the child. But this goes past schooling, shelter, food and clothing. While schooling is usually a part of child support, what might not be included are costs related to after school care, tutoring, nannies and babysitters. These costs all need to be considered by parents.

Parenting dispute between Lena Headey and ex-husband

45229538_S.jpgIllinois residents who are fans of the "Game of Thrones" actress Lena Headey might be following her parenting dispute with her former husband Peter Loughran. Reportedly, Headey took their 6-year-old son to England and enrolled him in school there because she was unhappy with the school system in Los Angeles. Headey says she had Loughran's permission.

However, one source says that a judge ruled that she is in violation of their parenting responsibility agreement while another says there has not been a ruling. Loughran was supposed to have 10 days per month of parenting time with the child. It is reported that Headey will be able to keep the child in England while she is filming "Game of Thrones," but she will have to pay for Loughran's travel to visit the child.

Military pensions and divorce

43943371_S.jpgIf you live in Illinois and are either married to a military service member or are one yourself, you may wonder about how the court will treat yours or your spouse's military pension in the asset division portion of your divorce. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, the state's courts are allowed to handle military pensions as well as other retirement benefits in the property division portion of the proceedings.

You might have heard of the 10/10 rule, which is an important part of the USFSPA. You may mistakenly believe that the rule means that spouses of military service members are unable to seek a part of their service-member spouses' military pensions unless the marriage has lasted at least 10 years and the spouse served at least 10 years of qualifying time.

The problem of domestic violence in divorces

Domestic violence is a serious problem in Illinois and throughout the country. Abuse may be financial, emotional, physical or a combination thereof. Some married victims endure abuse for years while others only experience it for the first time at the end of their marriages.

The statistics are sobering. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a woman is beaten by her spouse or intimate partner every 9 seconds. One out of every three women has suffered physical abuse from an intimate partner, and one out of five has suffered severe abuse. One out of every seven women has been stalked, and 28,000 calls are made to domestic violence hotlines every day across the U.S.

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