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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

1100 Lake Street, Suite 120, Oak Park, IL 60301

Oak Park | 708-848-3159

DuPage County | 630-852-9700   Mokena | 815-727-6144

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Cook County divorce mediation lawyerFiling for divorce or being served with divorce papers can be an overwhelming experience. There are many decisions to make, especially if you and your spouse have children together. However, if you and your spouse are able to cooperate and work together to make these decisions, the process can be completed more quickly and easily. One way of doing so is through mediation.

During divorce mediation, you and your spouse will meet with a neutral third-party mediator to work through the issues you need to resolve so the two of you can end your marriage as peacefully and cost-effectively as possible. During mediation, the two of you will work to reach agreements on issues such as child custody, spousal support/maintenance, property and asset division, and any other matters that will need to be addressed in order to legally end your marriage.

How a Mediator Can Help You

If you and your spouse are willing to communicate and compromise on the issues that will need to be resolved, divorce mediation may be your best option. The benefits of divorce mediation include, but are not limited to:

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Oak Park property division attorney for LGBTQ couplesThe state of Illinois legalized marriage between two people of the same sex in 2013. Same-sex couples have the same rights and responsibilities as their heterosexual counterparts regarding marriage. This means all the same issues will need to be resolved in the event of a divorce. In the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, marital property is defined as any assets that were acquired by either spouse after they were legally married and before a judgment of legal separation. In a divorce, any marital property is subject to “equitable distribution.” This method involves splitting assets acquired during the marriage in a “fair” manner, but not necessarily completely equally or in half. Same-sex couples who divorce can face unique challenges when dividing their property due to the nature of their relationship.  

What Is “Ownership of Property”?

Determining who gets what in a divorce is not always simple for LGBTQ couples. Same-sex partners may have been together for a long time before they could legally marry. Therefore, the partners may have brought many assets to the marriage, both together and separately. These can include cars, a house, furniture, artwork, clothing, and more. Items acquired before a couple was legally married are considered “separate property,” even if the partners had behaved as if they were married for a long period of time.

Determining ownership of property acquired before the date of marriage can be a complicated undertaking, since some of these assets may have been “commingled” during the relationship. That means even though one partner purchased an item, the other partner could have used or benefited from it. In many cases, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be helpful, because it can specify who will own certain assets if the couple decides to get divorced.

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Oak Park child support attorneyGoing through a divorce involves many legal steps with various issues to discuss and resolve. If a couple has children together, that means a lot of decisions will need to be made regarding their welfare. Issues such as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time may be agreed upon by both spouses. However, if the parents cannot come to a resolution, the court will intervene, and a judge will decide what is in the best interests of the kids. Child support is another important issue that needs to be addressed when a couple legally terminates their marriage. The non-custodial parent will typically be required to pay the custodial parent a certain amount each month to help address the child-rearing costs.   

How Is Child Support Calculated?  

According to Illinois’ divorce laws, an “income shares” method is used to determine parents’ child support obligations. The income shares child support model became effective on July 1, 2017. This approach uses a table with economic data to determine the amount that parents would spend on their children’s needs if they were married, based on the combined family income and the number of kids. This amount is known as the Basic Support Obligation, and it is meant to address children’s daily needs (food, clothing, shelter, etc.). Under the income shares method, each parent’s percentage share of the combined income will also be calculated, and this percentage will be used to determine how costs will be divided between parents. 

Important Child-Related Costs 

Raising children can be an expensive endeavor. Child support can ensure that both parents contribute to a wide range of costs, from clothes to education to sports clubs. These costs can vary depending on the age of the children. For example, if both parents work full-time, and they have a younger child, they will likely need to pay for daycare until the child reaches the age where he or she begins attending school. In addition, a private school’s tuition will be higher than if their child goes to a public school. A portion of medical and dental visits may be covered by one or both parents’ insurance policies, but there can also be out-of-pocket costs. 

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Cook County divorce lawyer for online harassment

A divorce can occur for many reasons, and domestic violence is one of the most serious issues that may lead to the end of a marriage. This type of abuse can take many forms, including harassment, stalking, and electronic monitoring. Stalking is often thought of as the act of physically following someone, and it is not uncommon for an abusive spouse to continue to stalk his or her partner even if one party has moved out of the marital home they once shared together. In today’s online world, a person can also stalk or harass someone electronically via computers or phones. Electronic monitoring refers to videotaping or tracking an individual’s movements without consent by placing video cameras or audio recording devices in his or her home. Fortunately, there are actions victims of this kind of harassment can take to protect themselves and punish their stalkers. 

Stalking Defined 

Stalking is often defined as the act or crime of willfully and repeatedly following or harassing another person with the intent of causing anxiety, fear, or harm to that individual. It is important to note that a person can be charged with stalking someone if he or she remains outside of that individual’s home for more than 10 minutes at a time or for more than 30 minutes total in a 24-hour timeframe for a minimum of five times.

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Oak Park divorce attorney for holiday parenting timeWhen a couple gets a divorce, there are many issues that need to be addressed, especially if the spouses have a child together. Child-related issues such as allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, and parenting time are all important matters. Determining which parent the children will live with and when or how often the other parent gets to see them can be decided mutually by the couple. In this case, the couple can create a parenting plan that outlines the details of a proposed schedule. Co-parenting can be challenging, but studies show that kids benefit from having both parents actively involved in their life. With the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, being open to changes in co-parenting schedules will alleviate stress for everyone. 

‘Tis the Season for Cooperation

The holidays can be chaotic under normal circumstances, but they may seem overwhelming if you are dealing with a recent divorce. Sharing your kids with your ex-spouse may cause conflict, especially if grandparents or other relatives expect them to be at their gatherings, too. Difficult emotions can resurface, but there are ways to minimize the stress of it all. Here are a few tips for navigating the holiday season after divorce to ensure a smooth co-parenting process:

  • Put your children first: Try to imagine how your kids are feeling. Try not to pressure them into feeling bad or guilty if they are spending time with their other parent. You want to help them create happy memories versus negative feelings.       

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