No two divorce journeys ever take exactly the same course, but divorce always marks an important transition. If you’re facing a divorce, you have a lot to think about – and a lot of important decisions (that will have lasting ramifications for you and your children) to make. Working closely with an experienced Hinsdale divorce attorney can help ensure that the terms of your divorce work for you and bolster your best interests.
Since January 1, 2016, Illinois family laws no longer use the terms custody or child custody. What we once thought of as child custody has been replaced with major decision-making authority and parenting time.
Major decision-making authority refers to the ability of you and/or your ex-spouse to make important decisions on behalf of your children on the following topics:
Illinois public policy prefers that parents share major decision-making authority unless it is clear that are incapable of making decisions together. Parenting time is what once was known as “visitation” and refers to the specific days and times a parent spends with a child. It is always preferable for you and your spouse to determine how you will allocate parenting time and major decision-making authority between each other. If you are unable to reach an agreement, the court will intervene by appointing a guardian ad litum or a child’s representative. Judges use the best interests of the child standard to resolve “child custody” disputes over parenting time and major decision-making authority.
The assets that you accumulate during the course of your marriage will be divided equitably upon divorce. Equitable, in this context, means fair – in relation to a wide range of factors that must be taken into careful consideration.
Parents are both legally responsible for supporting their children financially, and child support is the mechanism for ensuring parental parity. These payments are based on state calculation guidelines.
Spousal support refers to what most people call alimony, and it isn’t awarded in every Illinois divorce. The court, however, will consider a multitude of factors in making decisions regarding the amount and duration of spousal support in those instances in which one spouse has a financial need, and the other has the financial means to help.
If you and your divorcing spouse can come to terms with each of these important elements of divorce together (with the guidance of your respective divorce attorneys), the court will almost certainly approve them in a Marital Settlement Agreement, and when applicable, an Allocation Judgment (Parenting Plan). If any of these elements becomes a sticking point, you have options available to help you find common ground, including having your respective divorce attorneys negotiate on your behalf and proceeding to mediation (where a professional mediator – a neutral third-party – will help you explore your options). Once you’ve exhausted these options, any matter that remains unresolved will need to be addressed by the court.
If you’re facing a divorce and need a Hinsdale divorce attorney, turn to Goodman Law Firm. Cameron H. Goodman is a dedicated attorney with the kind of experience that only comes from more than 20 years in private practice. Mr. Goodman is committed to helping you successfully navigate the divorce process. We’re on your side, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.
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