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St. Charles Family Law Blog

What happens to child support if a parent becomes disabled?

It is never easy to be a single parent and still provide all the child's needs. While the child support paid by the non-custodial parent can help a lot, life is unpredictable, and anything can happen to limit those payments. What happens when an Illinois parent who pays child support suffers a debilitating injury or illness that makes it impossible to maintain the court ordered child support payments? There is not much the other parent can do, although that does not remove the disabled parent's responsibility.

In such circumstances, the court can be asked to modify the child support order. The question will be whether the disability is permanent or temporary. A modification can be entered for the expected period of the disability, and if it lasts beyond the end date, an application for an extended period must be made. If the parent can show medical evidence to indicate that the disability is regarded as permanent, a permanent modification might be entered.

Divorce is not the only consideration when signing a prenup

Gone are the days when prenuptial agreements were considered to be meant for the famous and the wealthy. More and more members of the millennial generation in Illinois and elsewhere choose to sign marital contracts. Why would that be? Could the fact that divorce was part of the lives of so many millennials as they grew up make them cautious? Even if their own parents stayed together, chances are they all had friends who needed emotional support when their parents went through bitter divorces.

It is a known fact that a carefully drafted prenuptial agreement is a proactive way of avoiding litigation in a divorce. Because most millennials wait longer before they get married, they are more mature and less likely to blindly stare at the romance of marriage without being realistic about life. They have also had time to establish careers and accumulate assets, which they will want to protect.

Hiring an expensive attorney doesn’t guarantee better results

There are a few times in your life when you may need to hire an attorney – you may be getting divorced, dealing with child custody issues, or creating an estate plan. And you may think that hiring an attorney with high fees will produce better results than a less expensive attorney.

Equating an attorney’s fees to better end results is never a good idea. Instead, look for these two things when choosing an attorney.

The why and how of stepchild adoption in Illinois

Although various forms of adoptions take place in Illinois, stepchild adoptions might be the most frequently filed adoption applications. The reasons for pursuing a stepchild adoption are often aimed at the best interests of the child because it usually involves the loss of one parent, either through death or divorce. This period is typically an emotionally turbulent time for the child.

Despite the child's emotions, he or she may find comfort in knowing that he or she will now be fully accepted into the new family. It might provide him or her with a sense of permanency and belonging that lacked before. This peace of mind might help the child to accept the departure or death of his or her other parent.

Divorce mediation might be quicker and more cost effective

Divorcing couples in Illinois can avoid the adversarial litigation system in which antagonism and post-dissolution contention are often par for the course. Without going to court, couples can create divorce agreements that are legally sound, equitable and mutually acceptable. Divorce mediation is one option that allows spouses to play a role when the details of their divorces are determined.

Typically, couples who have young children have continuing relationships, and the skills parents learn during mediation can be invaluable. Not only will they learn to communicate and compromise, but they will be equipped with the skills to resolve conflict going forward. However, mediation is not the suitable option if one or both spouses refuse to compromise in good faith or when there is a history of family violence. Furthermore, handling the complicated financial arrangements of high net worth couples might require more than a mediator.

The challenges of navigating a gray divorce

Many couples in Illinois and other states decide to end their marriages after the age of 50. A later-in-life divorce has become known as a gray divorce. The prospect might conjure up anxiety in anticipation of the whole process that will likely be best navigated alongside a savvy family law attorney. This is because a divorce at a later age does not leave anyone much time to realign retirement plans.

For that reason, the steps taken in the time between deciding to end the marriage, and the receipt of the final divorce decree must be carefully planned and executed. The first decision will involve the choice between litigation, direct negotiation or alternative dispute resolution options like mediation or collaboration. One of the latter two options will likely produce less stress, though the support of legal counsel and their additional resources for both parties will remain crucial. An attorney can often help avoid a battle in court, though the lawyer will also be prepared should litigation become necessary.

What to do first after deciding to divorce

Now that you’ve made the plunge into separating from your spouse, it’s time to figure out what exactly this means. Divorces come in many forms and involve almost every aspect of your day-to-day life.

When you first discover that divorce is in your future, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the process, costs and laws in addition to your own emotions. The following guidelines can give you a good sense of how to begin this transition.

Family law is so much more than divorce

Most people in the Chicago area probably can't think of a time when they ever thought of contacting an attorney. Life isn't thought to be so complicated that legal help is required - facing criminal charges perhaps being the one exception. Consider, however, family law.

Few would be hard pressed to find an area that affects more people on a daily basis. Getting married, you will need a license. Getting a divorce, you will need to get the blessing of the court. Even if you don't get married, choosing to live together, enter a domestic partnership or creating a civil union has legal ramifications that can cause frustration unless you address the complexities of the law and the courts that have developed over time.

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