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What if my teen doesn't want to visit me this summer?

When your child was young, the two of you especially enjoyed the closeness that the visitation weeks during the summer in Illinois brought you. Now that you have a teenager, though, things have changed. In the weeks leading up to the visit, you noticed that your teen hasn't shown the usual enthusiasm. From the moment of arrival, you've been facing the back of an electronic device. How can you turn the visit around without alienating your teen?

Middle Earth points out that even if your teen is reluctant to visit, it is still important for you to spend at least some of the summer together. The two of you need this time to maintain and grow your relationship.

How to find out if your antiques are worth fighting for

If a couple doesn't come up with a property division agreement, the Illinois family law judge will decide what is fair. When spouses are determined to come up with their own settlement, they must first figure out what is fair by putting a dollar amount on their antiques. According to the Huffington Post, there are several options, such as antique shops, websites and dealers, but the most accurate option is hiring a professional appraiser.

The Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers points out that it is worth doing a little online research ahead of time to make sure that the cost of the appraiser isn't more than the potential value of the object. The first step is to catalog each item. This includes the following:

  • The type of object it is (furniture, artwork, firearm, etc.), its title or subject matter, and a short description
  • Photographs of the object, especially including any distinguishing features, unique attributes, markings or inscriptions
  • When it was created
  • Who created it (artist, manufacturer, designer, etc.)

Picking up the pieces post-divorce

As a recent divorcee, you’re ready to regain control of your life. But how do you do that? You’ve seen friends and family members bounce back with ease after a separation, but that hasn’t been the case for you.

It’s important to remember that every divorce will present its own unique challenges and what works for some won’t always work for others. Even so, there are some things that you can do to take the first steps to begin the next stage of your life. Here are three ways to set yourself up for success after a split.

How can you write an effective and fair co-parenting plan?

While divorce is never an easy circumstance to navigate, if you and your ex have had children together, your situation may create an even more difficult process in Illinois. Now you are faced with the reality of having to continue to raise your children while living apart and leading separate lives. If you and your ex are pursuing a co-parenting agreement, you may be wondering where to begin. Fortunately, there are ways that you can articulate an arrangement that is both legally effective and personally beneficial. 

According to Psychology Today, despite the differences in formatting and layout of various co-parenting plans, your agreement should include some general clauses that will serve to protect you and your children, and enable your ability to continue to maintain a healthy bond and relationship with your children. Some of the parts you should be aware of include the following:

  • A breakdown of parental responsibilities and who will be in charge of what or under what circumstances responsibilities will be shared. 
  • A time period that the agreement will be in effect, as well as what route will be taken if you should ever desire to modify the arrangement. 
  • Specifics regarding the time your children will spend with you and your ex including holidays and overnight stays. 
  • A general statement that references your parental obligations and your agreement to uphold the best interests of your children at all times. 

How the law determines what is in your child's best interests

As you approach negotiations with your former partner to determine how you will divide your parental responsibilities, you may worry that some arbitrary formula will be applied, and you will not get to spend enough time with your child in the future. At Diaz Case Law, we often work with parents to come up with reasonable and healthy parenting arrangements based on the best interests of the children.

But what is a child's best interests? According to Illinois state law, when determining how to allocate parental responsibilities, a number of standard questions are asked to identify the unique elements of your case. 

  • Are there any safety factors such as domestic violence, mental health issues, a criminal conviction or substance abuse present in either home?
  • What do each of the parents want?
  • What does the child want?
  • What is the child's relationship with each parent?
  • How far is it between the parents' homes?
  • How will arrangements affect the child's home life and social and educational circumstances?

How can you keep your relationship with your child strong?

Now that your Illinois divorce is final, you have your visitation schedule and can plan how best to connect with your child during that limited time. Quality may be better than quantity, but you still want to maintain that same family relationship with your child rather than becoming a visitor. What can you do to keep that bond strong?

According to OurFamilyWizard.com, not only should you clear your schedule during your time with your child, you should also set aside the things that are causing you stress, as much as you can. You want to be able to focus solely on your child, and anxiety over bills or work situations can keep you from being an attentive parent.

Banks are still ruthless when foreclosing on homes

It’s been 10 years since the start of the Great Recession, when the housing crisis across Illinois and the nation was on the nightly news. As businesses shed jobs, millions of homeowners faced the reality of foreclosure or selling their homes short. Banks ended up with millions of devalued properties on their books. As Cook County emerged from the recession along with the rest of the country, jobs returned but the former homeowners were locked out getting a new mortgage because of a foreclosure on their record. Now, years after the recovery, banks still hold the title to millions of homes, on which they are paying property taxes. But bankers aren’t in the business of selling any foreclosed or repossessed property for anything less than the full value they can get from a buyer.

 

Losing sleep over back child support

There are many different reasons why falling behind on child support payments can be tough, whether a non-custodial parent fears that traveling will be impossible due to an inability to apply for a passport or someone is worried about being arrested. Unfortunately, these concerns can cause people to lose sleep at night, which might carry over into other negative consequences, such as poorer performance in the workplace. If you are a parent who is in this position, it is critical for you to explore your options and try to make the situation better.

With financial penalties, time behind bars, and a social stigma, life can be very hard for a parent who has not paid child support. Fortunately, there may be certain ways this dilemma can be prevented, such as planning ahead and being financially responsible. In the event that you have already fallen behind, whether your job was terminated, or you are struggling with a health issue, you may be able to either set up a payment plan or have your child support order modified. Regardless of your circumstances, it is important to take your child support responsibilities seriously and explore different options that could be available to you even if you are not able to make payments on time.

Illinois rules for property division in divorce

Understanding how Illinois addresses property division may help spouses approach negotiations with realistic expectations. FindLaw explains that Illinois does not have a community property law, and because the state seeks to divide property fairly, spouses may not end up each receiving half. 

What does the court consider when deciding what is fair? According to the Illinois statute, equitable division includes the following:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The contents of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
  • Child custody provisions
  • The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including homemaking
  • The occupation, employability and earning potential of each spouse
  • The value of the property that each spouse receives

Paternity establishes visitation rights and other benefits

Fathers in Illinois who are not married to their child's mother may wonder whether they will be allowed visitation rights, or even custody. According to FindLaw, the courts approach custody issues assuming that it is in a child's best interests to be able to spend quality time with each parent, with few exceptions. As long as a father has established paternity, the child's mother is unlikely to be able to prevent him from spending time with his child.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services explains that paternity is not just a biological connection; the relationship is a legal one. Even if a father knows he is a biological parent, if he was not married to the mother at the time of birth or within 300 days before it, he is not legally a parent. 

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