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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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Hinsdale divorce attorney for litigation or settlementsDivorce is stressful -- there is no doubt about that. There are so many things that you and your soon-to-be-ex have to decide on. How will your assets be split? Are you going to keep the house? If you do keep the house, who will live there? How will you share your parenting time? Will one of you receive spousal support? The list is extensive, and chances are, you and your ex will not see eye-to-eye on all of these issues. Many attorneys and the court system are of the opinion that spouses working together to reach a divorce settlement without court involvement is the more favorable option, but sometimes that just is not possible. If you are planning on getting a divorce, here are a few situations in which you may need to opt for litigation, rather than negotiation or mediation:

You Were in a Violent or Abusive Marriage

If you were in a marriage that ended because of violence or abuse, you should probably skip negotiation and head straight for litigation. In many cases, marriages that involved either of those two things also involved an imbalance of power between spouses. If you feel like you are unable to advocate for your wants or needs, you will never get what you need out of your divorce if you try to negotiate with an abusive spouse.

You and Your Spouse Have Trouble Cooperating

It is highly unlikely that you and your spouse will agree on everything in your divorce. While disagreements are to be expected, the intensity of those disagreements is what you should be concerned with. If your spouse is being so uncooperative that you are unable to come to a settlement, you may need to opt for litigation instead.


Oak Park, IL family law attorney for parental alienationThere is no doubt that a divorce can be a volatile process. In many cases, one of the partners does not want to end the marriage. He or she may feel anger or bitterness toward the other spouse. This can lead to the rejected spouse acting out and behaving irrationally. If children are involved, this kind of behavior can be detrimental to everyone. One parent may attempt to turn the kids against the other parent by talking negatively about him or her. This is common in divorces where one parent has the majority of parental responsibility, and the other parent harbors resentment against his or her ex. When one parent engages in parental alienation, the other parent should seek legal advice to protect his or her rights. 

Examples of Hostile Aggressive Parenting

According to the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO), parental alienation is a form of child abuse. Also referred to as Hostile Aggressive Parenting, it includes certain behaviors that cause children to be manipulated or bullied into the belief that their other parent is the enemy, and thus should be disrespected, feared, hated, and/or avoided. 

Parental alienation can take a variety of forms, including:


Cook County parenting plan modification lawyerDivorce often means many changes for both the couple that is ending their marriage and any children they have. In some cases, one of the parents may decide a change of scenery will be good for him or her as a way of moving on. In addition, a parent may want to move to be closer to family for support, or a job transfer may take him or her to another city or state. Regardless of the reasons, relocating with a child after a divorce can prove to be a difficult adjustment for all involved. Under Illinois law, in order for the custodial parent to move out of the state, he or she may require permission from his or her child’s other parent or from the court. 

Coming to an Agreement

In Illinois, the parent who wishes to relocate with the child must provide a minimum of 60 days’ notice (in writing) to the other parent. A copy of the notice will also need to be submitted in family court and include the date of the move, the location of the new residence, and approximately how long the relocation will last.

If the custodial parent receives approval from the child’s noncustodial parent to move out of the state, the parents can usually avoid further legal action, although the court will need to give final approval based on what is in the child’s best interests. It is important to put any agreement in writing and have it notarized. This helps make sure both parents are protected regarding parenting time (visitation) arrangements. 


Oak Park parenting plan enforcement attorneyManaging a divorce can be a stressful and difficult situation for all parties involved, but it is critical to remember that the child’s needs are what is most important. Adolescents who have the opportunity to spend time and receive love and affection from both parents have been shown to have more mental and emotional stability. Visitation, which is now referred to as parenting time in the state of Illinois, is the regular time that a parent is granted with his or her child in the divorce decree. However, in some cases, one parent might not follow the legally binding court orders that were set in place. When this occurs, it is crucial to work with a family law attorney to determine what legal steps should be taken. 

How Is Parenting Time Established?

According to 750 ILCS 5/602.7, parenting time rights can first be decided upon by the child's parents if they present a written parenting plan that the court can approve. When an arrangement cannot be agreed upon by both parties, however, a judge will make the decision based on multiple relevant factors. Parents are presumed to be fit, and both parents have a right to reasonable parenting time. Unless it is demonstrated through compelling evidence that the child's physical, mental, or emotional health is put at risk by being with one parent, there typically will not be any restrictions put in place on either parent’s parenting time.

Consequences of Violating Parenting Time

When a divorce decree is issued, it functions as a court order that parents are required to follow. If it is determined by a judge that one of the parents has disregarded a court-ordered parenting agreement, that parent may be penalized in a variety of ways, including:


Cook County property division attorney for vacation homesA divorce can be overwhelming and complex due to the numerous issues that must be resolved. The division of real estate, including the marital home, must be figured out. However, if a couple also owns a vacation home, or other rental/investment properties, that can further complicate matters. These types of residences are common in high-asset divorces, and determining which spouse retains ownership of this valuable real estate can often be a complex matter. If you and your spouse are going through a divorce and have multiple dwellings, legal representation from a skilled attorney can help make sure you get what you deserve. 

Illinois Dissolution of Marriage Laws

Marital property includes any assets obtained by either spouse during the marriage. According to Illinois divorce law, all marital assets are subject to “equitable distribution.” This means property is divided between each party in a fair way, but not necessarily split in half, or 50/50.  

The court considers several factors when dividing property, such as the following:

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  • Northwest Suburban Bar Association
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  • Lake County Bar Association
  • Kane County Bar Association




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