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Kane County family law attorneysIf this is your first holiday season as a recently separated or divorced parent, you may understandably feel upset and disappointed. Holidays are simply not the same without the familiar sounds of children laughing and having fun. Parents may argue about which parent will spend which holiday with the children because they simply do not want to miss the experience. While there is no way to eliminate the pain of missing your children, there may be a way for you and your child’s other parent to work out a holiday parenting time schedule that works for both of you.

Put Holiday Parenting Time Arrangements in Your Parenting Plan

If you plan to get divorced in Illinois, you will be asked to create a parenting plan or parenting agreement. The agreement must include several provisions that detail how parental responsibilities and parenting time are divided between the parents. You will also want to include information about where the children will spend the major holidays. Some parents choose to split the holidays between them. For example, one parent may have the children on Thanksgiving and the other has the children on Christmas. Other parents decide to make a rotation schedule so that parents spend certain holidays with the children every other year. The most important thing is to decide on an arrangement as soon as possible so that you can avoid having the same argument about where the kids will spend holidays every year.

Change the Way You Think About Holidays

It is completely reasonable to be sad if you do not get to see your children on special days. However, it is important to remember that you can make any day special. Some divorced parents choose to create a new holiday tradition with their kids. For example, you may decide that even if you do not have your children on New Year’s Eve for the midnight countdown, that you will start a new tradition of going on a special trip at the beginning of every new year. Children are very perceptive, and they often pick up on their parent’s anxieties. Being flexible and having a positive attitude about the holiday season will not only lessen your stress, but it will also lessen your children’s stress as well.

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Kane County divorce attorneysIf you are in the midst of a tumultuous marriage—or a marriage that lacks the warmth and contentment for which you were hoping—you may have given some thought to a trial separation. In fact, you may have already spent several weeks staying with a friend or family member as you considered whether to file for divorce.

These situations occur frequently enough that they are practically formulaic in today’s culture. A married couple grows apart, one spouse moves out, and, in many cases, a divorce eventually ensues. Common practices, however, are not equivalent to statutory requirements. The fact that most people do something a certain way does not mean that you must do the same in a similar situation. Such is the case with a period of separation prior to divorce, at least according to Illinois law.

The Difference Between Legal Separation and Living Separate and Apart

When most people talk about a separation, they are usually referring to a married couple no longer sharing the same household. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act considers such an arrangement as “living separate and apart,” which is very different from a legal separation. A legal separation, by comparison, is a court-issued judgment that formally declares the couple to be separated. Legal separations are sometimes used by couples who do not wish to divorce for personal or religious reasons or those who are not quite ready to divorce. Following a legal separation, orders may be entered for spousal and child support, parental responsibilities, and, if the couple chooses, the division of property.

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Kane County divorce lawyerThere is little question that divorce can be a messy, often traumatic process. Unresolved anger and fear of an uncertain future can lead to a long, drawn-out proceeding that costs both spouses significant time, money, and energy. In many cases, a bitter, contentious divorce can destroy what was once a loving relationship, making it nearly impossible for the parties to even be in the same room for years into the future. Divorce, however, does not need to be this way. In fact, with a little work and the right attitude, a couple may find that an uncontested divorce may provide an opportunity to move forward with their lives more quickly and at much less expense.

Amicable or Uncontested Divorce

Sometimes referred to as an amicable divorce, an uncontested divorce is one that does not require the court to get involved in settling differences or ruling on issues between the spouses. Instead, the couple is able to reach a workable agreement regarding all of the necessary considerations, including:

  • Division of marital assets and debt;
  • Spousal support arrangements;
  • Parental responsibilities and parenting time schedules; and
  • Child support.

As long as the agreement is relatively fair and does not compromise the rights or best interests of the child in any way, the court will approve the agreement. In most cases, an uncontested divorce is much faster than litigation, and can often be completed with just a single appearance in court by the couple.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_divorce-costs-money-cash-broken-heart.jpgIn many divorce cases, finances are a major cause of contention. Depending on the complexity of a couple’s circumstances, the divorce process itself can be very expensive. In addition, divorce requires the marital estate, including all marital assets and debts, to be allocated between the parties.

When property division is left to the discretion of the court, Illinois law requires an equitable—not necessarily equal—allocation based on the consideration of a number of factors. These factors normally include the income and resources of each spouse, the contributions of each to the marital estate, and arrangements made for any children. The court must also consider claims of dissipation, or the inappropriate spending of marital assets by one spouse for purposes unrelated to the marriage. But are attorneys’ fees and other expenses of divorce considered “unrelated to the marriage?”

Unclear Statutory Guidance

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) gives the court presiding over a divorce case the authority to order one spouse to contribute toward the payment of attorney fees and related expenses of the other party. The court also has the discretion to order the repayment of dissipated assets to the marital estate by the offending spouse. However, the possibility of considering attorney fees and other divorce expenses as dissipation may not seem to be clearly addressed in the law. Thus, the court may rely on precedents set in previous decisions in making its determination.

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Kane County divorce lawyersWhen you are the one to file a divorce petition, it is up to you to decide where to file it. This means that you will select the county circuit court in which the divorce will be handled. On the other hand, if your spouse was the one to file, he or she had the opportunity to make that choice. It may come as a surprise, however, to learn that you are not automatically stuck with the decision that your soon-to-be ex-spouse made. While he or she might have gotten the ball rolling, it is your right to contest the choice of venue, but it is important to take action quickly.

What Does “Venue” Mean?

The legal term “venue” refers to the particular court in which a case is handled. At the state level, venue refers to the circuit courts of each county, and at the federal level, venue refers to specific federal district courts. As a state matter, a divorce in Illinois is handled by the circuit court of an individual county.

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Wheaton, IL 60189
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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