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St. Charles family law attorneys“The best interests of the child” is one of the most common phrases in the realm of family law. A child’s well-being, of course, should remain among the top priorities in proceedings for divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, non-parent visitation, and adoption. The challenge, however, is that determining what exactly constitutes a child’s best interests is open to interpretation. As such, each parent may fully believe that they are acting in their child’s best interests yet hold vastly different objectives regarding the outcome of the case.

Helping the Process

When you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on a parenting plan or other arrangements regarding your child, the court is likely to offer several options. To start with, you may be required to participate in court-ordered mediation designed to help you and the other parent reach an agreement with the help of a third-party mediator. Mediation, however, is only possible in situations where both parties are willing and able to work constructively with one another.

Alternatively, the court may appoint a specially-trained and certified attorney—not one who is representing either you or the other party—to serve as a guardian ad litem (GAL). The guardian ad litem will be expected to investigate your family’s circumstances to develop an outside, objective opinion of what the child’s best interests are. Based on the GAL’s findings, the GAL will make a recommendation to the court regarding the most appropriate outcome for the case.

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Kane County divorce lawyersMarriages end for countless reasons. Sometimes, a married couple decides to divorce because one of the spouses has had an affair. Studies show that about 20 percent of men and 13 percent of women admit to cheating on their spouse during their marriage. If you are in this situation, you may wonder whether infidelity will influence your divorce proceedings. The answer will likely depend on your particular set of circumstances.

The Elimination of Fault-Based Divorce in Illinois

When a couple gets a divorce, the petitioner, or person requesting the divorce, must list the “grounds” or reasons for the divorce. In the past, Illinois allowed spouses to list fault-based grounds such as adultery, abandonment, or physical or mental cruelty as the reason for the divorce. However, all fault-based grounds have since been eliminated. Anyone seeking a divorce in Illinois must only prove that “irreconcilable differences” have caused the breakdown of the marriage and that efforts at reconciliation are not in the couple’s best interests. This means that a spouse’s adultery will not be listed as the reason for the divorce. However, this does not mean that adultery will not impact any divorce proceedings.

Cheating May Still Impact Divorce Proceedings

“Dissipation of assets” refers to a situation in which a spouse misuses or wastes assets at the end of a marriage. If a spouse spent a great deal of money during the affair or gave his or her paramour valuable property, this may be considered dissipation. The spouse guilty of dissipation may receive a reduced share of the marital estate during property division while the wronged spouse receives a greater share in order to compensate him or her for the dissipated assets.

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Kane County family law attorneysThere is absolutely no question that domestic violence continues to be a major problem in today’s society. In fact, there are a number of studies that suggest that the issue may be even more serious than previously acknowledged, including many under-reported cases involving male domestic abuse victims. The physical, psychological, and emotional damage caused by violence against an intimate partner or family member can rise to tragic levels, often requiring years of recovery if and when a victim can escape an abusive situation. It is for exactly these reasons that intentionally false allegations of domestic violence are so disturbing, and such allegations can substantially affect the outcome of family-related legal concerns.

Impact to the Falsely Accused

Under Illinois law, an emergency order of protection can be issued by a judge based solely on the testimony of a victim. In a situation where there is actual violence or the threat of violence, this is entirely necessary. However, when a parent or spouse brings false allegations of violence before the court, an emergency order of protection can affect a completely innocent person. Depending upon the details included in the claim, the order can potentially prevent the accused from remaining in his or her home, seeing his or her children, or even going about the normal business of daily living. An emergency order of protection can remain in effect for up to 21 days, or until a re-hearing on the matter can be scheduled, whichever comes first.

Potentially Long-Lasting Effects

Sadly, many individuals who file false reports of domestic violence do so to gain a perceived advantage in a divorce or parental responsibilities proceeding. Virtually all child-related legal matters require the court to take into account the existence of violence or the threat of violence in the household and toward the children. An unscrupulous party may be tempted to create false allegations as “proof” that the other parent should not be granted specific rights or responsibilities related to the child. While the court should be able to determine the actual truth, the allegations can still create an unhealthy level of contentiousness that could negatively affect the child, regardless of the court’s decision.

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Kane County divorce mediation lawyersDivorce can be very challenging, both emotionally and legally. Most divorcing spouses disagree about at least one divorce issue and may need professional help to reach a resolution. If you and your spouse are planning to divorce and you are struggling to reach an agreement about spousal support, parental responsibilities, parenting time, property division, or any other divorce-related concern, divorce mediation may be right for you. The mediation process offers an opportunity for spouses to negotiate divorce issues without the stress and animosity associated with litigation and offers a host of other benefits.

What Does a Mediator Do?

Divorcing spouses may agree to go to mediation voluntarily or the court may require them to participate in mediation. A divorce mediator is a neutral third party who has been specially trained on how to help resolve conflict. The mediator will not side with either spouse or make decisions of behalf of the spouses. Instead, the mediator helps identify the divorce issues which remain unresolved and facilitate productive negotiation and conversation about those issues. Ending a marriage can cause spouses to experience intense feelings of disappointment or resentment. These emotions can sometimes get in the way of productive conversation and cause divorce-related discussions to turn into arguments. The mediator helps the spouses stay focused on finding solutions rather than giving into negative emotions.

Benefits of Mediation

If you and your spouse can resolve issues during mediation and avoid litigation, you could save considerable expense. Furthermore, the litigation process can make spouses feel like they must “win” the divorce. Mediation is a much more collaborative process. Spouses are much more likely to comply with the final divorce decree when the terms are a result of mediation instead of a judge’s decision. Parents often find mediation especially helpful because it can help reduce the chances of there being major disagreements about child-related issues in the future.

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Kane County family law attorneysWhen most people think of divorce, they think about the end of a romantic relationship. However, a marriage is not only a romantic union, it is also a legal and financial union. Often, separating two spouses’ finances and property is one of the most complex parts of the divorce process. This is especially true if the couple has accumulated significant assets throughout their marriage.

One of the biggest concerns many divorcing couples have is what to do with the family home. Whether or not you choose to sell your home during your divorce is completely up to you and will depend upon your family’s unique circumstances and needs. If you are contemplating what to do with your home after divorce, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Can Either Spouse Afford the Mortgage Payments?

It can be extremely difficult to give up a home that you have come to love. This is often especially true for parents with children. Many divorcing parents worry that subjecting their children to a relocation in the midst of the divorce will be too much change for the children to handle. You may also worry about moving out of your school district and forcing the children to change schools. For some couples, selling the family home simply does not make financial sense. If you or your spouse wish to keep the home, you will need to decide one spouse will manage the mortgage payments on his or her own. The spouse who takes ownership of the home may need to refinance the mortgage or it may make more financial sense to assume the existing mortgage without refinancing.

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1737 South Naperville Road, Suite 100
Wheaton, IL 60189
630-549-0960
Evening and weekend hours by appointment.

We serve clients throughout Kane County, Illinois including St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elgin, Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elburn, Hampshire, Huntley, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sleepy Hollow, Wayne, West Dundee as well as throughout DuPage County.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree