Divorce represents a transition in your life, the dissolution of a legal contract, and an important event that affects both your financial and parental rights. If you are facing a divorce, it’s important to strategize your way forward – with a well-established divorce law firm in Downers Grove backing you up.
The primary divorce factor related to your financial rights is the division of your marital property, which is that property and those assets that you acquired over the course of your marriage. If either of you brought property into the marriage with you – and kept it separate throughout your marriage – it will likely remain yours alone, along with any appreciation on that property. In Illinois, marital property isn’t necessarily split right down the middle – instead, it must be divided equitably. Equitably does not necessary mean evenly under Illinois law, which means that the matter can quickly become complicated.
Another financial component of divorce is alimony (otherwise known as maintenance or spousal support), which often applies when a significant income disparity exists between the parties, there exists an impairment of the realistic earning capacity of a party, or another enumerated factor in the statute applies. If the court determines that maintenance should be awarded, then the Illinois maintenance formula determines the amount and duration of maintenance.
Illinois now refers to legal custody as the allocation of parental responsibilities and to physical custody and visitation as parenting time, but the basic meanings haven’t changed. The allocation of parental responsibilities have to do with who will be responsible for making important big-picture, life decisions on behalf of the children, including decisions about their:
Divorcing parents will need to agree on how to resolve these matters in a parenting plan, a formal document submitted to the court. If there is a dispute over how these responsibilities will be allocated, courts may examine a variety of factors to determine an arrangement that is in the child’s best interest. Court typically won’t deny a parent’s right to spend time with his or her children unless there is a very good reason for doing so.
Divorcing couples must also agree on a parenting time schedule. Parenting time refers to the specific days, times, holidays and special occasions each parent will spend time with the children. There are many options for parenting time schedules. Increasingly, parents are leaning toward equal parenting time, especially when both parents historically shared care taking functions for their children. Equal parenting time is not always in a child’s best interests and it may not always be practical or desirable. A experienced Downer’s Grove divorce attorney can advise you on the best parenting time schedule for your family.
Child support is based on statutory calculation guidelines, which are structured according to each parent’s financial ability to pay and the number of overnights each parent has with the children. In general, the higher earner will pay child support to the other parent even when the higher earner has less parenting time.
The fact is that you and your divorcing spouse can keep the decision-making process for each of these terms between yourselves – as long as you are able to negotiate terms that you both find acceptable. Mediation is often employed as a dispute resolution tactic prior to, and sometimes during, litigation. If, however, you and your divorcing spouse are not able to find common ground, you’ll need the court to intervene and make decisions on your behalf regarding whatever divorce terms remain unresolved.
Cameron H. Goodman at Goodman Law Firm in Downers Grove is a trusted and compassionate divorce attorney who takes great pride in protecting the rights of clients like you throughout the divorce process. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
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