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Belleville and Edwardsville Divorce Law Blog

Why a child's relationship with both parents is important

42248152_S.jpgWhen Missouri parents get a divorce, they might wonder how they can address the best interests of their children. Some parents might feel it is best if the child lives with them, but in most cases, it is helpful if each parent tries to facilitate the child's relationship with the other parent.

In some cases, this could mean taking extra steps to maintain a relationship when the other parent has done something to make that relationship more difficult. For example, one custodial parent moved 80 miles away from the noncustodial parent. While the custodial parent had good reasons for doing so, this made it much harder for the child to maintain a relationship with the noncustodial parent. At one point, the custodial parent did not have a car to drive the child to visitation. Fortunately, the noncustodial parent had the resources to make the extra effort to keep seeing the child. The custodial parent eventually moved back to be closer to the noncustodial parent even though this mean leaving behind a home and having to pay rent on an expensive apartment.

How couples communicate could be a predictor for divorce

50739648_S.jpgMany Missouri married couples may be interested to learn that the way that couples communicate could be a major predictor for divorce. One expert, for example, was able to identify four negative communication patterns that indicated that couples could soon be headed for divorce. They included contempt, criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling.

Of those, contempt appeared to be the most destructive due to the fact that it indicates that one or both spouses do not respect each other. Treating each other with contempt often includes destructive behaviors such as name-calling, hostile humor, eye-rolling and sneering. If there is no respect in the marriage, the bonds that hold the two people together could erode and cause problems during the actual divorce itself.

Good reasons to sell the marital home

61274841_S.jpgOne of the most important decisions an Illinois couple that is going through a divorce is whether or not to keep the marital home. While it may be tempting for them to keep it, there may be many reasons not to. In many cases, this asset is tied to guilt, disappointment and anxiety. People may feel guilty about selling the home a child grew up in or upset about having to move regardless of the reason why.

In some cases, keeping the home may not be the smart financial option. An individual who has just gotten a divorce may be solely responsible for paying a mortgage, property taxes and the cost of maintaining the house. This could result in a situation where a person is considered to be house poor. In other words, a person has a home but not enough money to maintain a decent standard of living.

Some first responders blame victims of domestic violence

90024429_S.jpgMany victims of domestic violence in Illinois may not know what to do when physical abuse becomes an emergency except to dial 911 and hope that first responders will be able to help keep them safe. Family law can provide a temporary restraining order or permanent protective order, but not everyone in a dispute over legal issues will abide by them, meaning that police and paramedics may be needed. The attitudes of first responders may disappoint or even horrify those making emergency calls after a custody dispute or other family issues go south.

A recent survey of emergency medical professionals by a team of mental health and social work specialists points to a crisis in "victim blaming" that may undermine the confidence of those who would call upon first responders during an incident of domestic violence. They found that fully a third of emergency medical personnel consider domestic violence to be a normal reaction to everyday frustration and stress, indicating that they might see a request for emergency assistance in such a scenario as excessive.

Men are victims of domestic abuse too

20639921_S.jpgIllinois men and women can be victims of domestic violence, which is a form of abuse that occurs between spouses or others who are related to each other. Men have the same rights under the law as women do if they are victims of such actions. In addition to hitting or other acts of physical violence, domestic abuse can be inflicted verbally, sexually or psychologically.

While extreme events such as violence with foreign objects or murder may get attention from the media, any abuse can be harmful. In some cases, relatively minor transgressions such as verbal insults or jealousy can foreshadow these significant outcomes. Men who are the victim of domestic abuse are urged to remain calm and call police. If a person is taken into custody, it is usually the primary assailant, and this person may or may not be the one who initiated the abusive behavior.

New laws are changing child custody determinations

35489272_S (1).jpgChild custody laws have changed in Illinois and many other states in recent years. It was once common for one parent, often the mother, to be awarded primary custody and for the other parent to be awarded visitation on alternating weekends and holidays. Many states have enacted new laws that favor joint custody.

The sweeping changes have been enacted in response to lobbying by father's rights organizations that promote gender equality and equal parenting time. Courts have previously recognized the "tender years doctrine" that presumed that women were superior natural caregivers when awarding primary custody to mothers.

Ex-wife of Mel Gibson being sued by accounting firm

14129234_S.jpgIllinois celebrity watchers might be interested in the latest legal battle for Mel Gibson's former partner, Oksana Grigorieva. The 47-year-old singer and mother of two is being sued by a forensic accounting firm that alleges that it helped her secure a child support increase from Gibson for their daughter, Lucia.

Grigorieva filed for bankruptcy in 2015, and later hired the firm White, Zuckerman, Warsavsky, Luna and Hunt to investigate Gibson's finances for her case to get an increase in child support payments from the actor and director. The accounting firm is now suing Grigorieva for $108,000 in unpaid fees.

Why supervised visitation may be necessary

28651878_S.jpgIf there are serious questions about an Illinois parent's ability to look after their child, a judge may order supervised visitation. This generally means that the person can only spend time with their kids in a controlled setting under the watchful eye of a social worker or another family member. These visits may take place either in a public setting or at the home of another family member.

Supervised visitation may be beneficial for both the parent and child. For the child, it provides an opportunity to interact with a parent in a safe and structured manner. For the adult, it provides an opportunity to maintain a relationship and improve as a parent. Depending on the facts of the case, supervised visitation may occur either temporarily or on a permanent basis.

Who gets the pet in a divorce?

37974813_S.jpgIllinois couples who own a pet and are facing divorce might find themselves seeking custody of the pet. In the past, disputes over pets were becoming more common in divorces that ended up in court; however, more recently, pet owners are negotiating who gets custody of the pet outside of court.

Traditionally, pets were treated as property to be divided during negotiations. However, Illinois has a law that allows judges to decide who gets custody of a pet during a divorce. To make this decision, the judge can consider who put in more effort with the pet, such as who bought the food and fed the pet, who cleaned its environment, who exercised it or who kept up with the pet's vaccinations and health checks. This also means that joint custody of a pet might be a possible outcome. Basically, pets are no longer treated as things; instead, they have been elevated to the family members in the eyes of the law, so the decision over custody would be made in the best interest of the pet, not just on its value and the desires of the owners.

Domestic violence calls decrease over the holidays

51087016_S.jpgIllinois residents may be interested to learn that statistics suggest that those experiencing domestic violence are less likely to make reports. Law enforcement officials and local experts suggest that this may be due to potentially maintaining the appearance of family happiness. It should be noted, however, that this does not necessarily equal a decrease in the rate of domestic violence.

In 2016, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence reported that the hotline received an average of 829 calls every day. However, the number of actual calls dropped to 480 on Thanksgiving. On Christmas Day, there were 560 calls. On New Year's Day, there were 650 calls. The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence also found that the number of calls dropped in December when compared to November and January.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
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Belleville, Illinois 62221

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