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Posted on in Mediation

IL divorce attorneyOnce you have come to the decision that you and your spouse are getting a divorce, your next task is to determine how you will go about getting the divorce. Though it may be surprising, there is more than one way you can get a divorce. Your default choice when you make your decision should be some form of a collaborative process. You can use a collaborative process, litigation, or mediation. The process you use to get divorced entirely depends on your unique situation and what would work best. An Illinois divorce attorney can help you determine the right course of action.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that allows you and your spouse to work with a third-party mediator to complete your divorce. Mediation, unlike most other forms of divorce, does not assign an attorney to each spouse. Instead of attorneys, the mediator is present to keep the couple on track about which issues they must address and helps to settle arguments if they arise. As such, the mediator is not allowed to give legal advice and is not permitted to pick sides or sympathize more with one spouse.

Mediate or Not?

Divorce mediation can be enticing to many couples because it often reduces court costs and completes the divorce as quickly as the couple pleases. There are also other benefits of divorce mediation, such as the ability to make your own decisions for your family, being able to have a more peaceful divorce and keeping stress to a minimum. In some cases, however, a mediated divorce would not be in the best interests of the family. You may want to consider a different method of divorce if:

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IL divorce lawyerThough it remains federally illegal, marijuana for recreational use and medical purposes is legal in the state of Illinois and other states across the country. In its fourth month of legality, recreational marijuana still faces negative stigmas surrounding its use. In Illinois divorce cases, spouses may become concerned about how recreational cannabis will factor into the case. In many cases, a spouse’s recreational cannabis use will not significantly affect the outcome of the divorce. However, in some situations, a spouse’s recreational marijuana use may affect certain aspects of the divorce case.

Marijuana Use and Asset Dissipation

Couples who divorce in Illinois must come to an agreement on how their assets will be divided. The only assets that are subject to division are marital assets or those gained by either spouse during the marriage. This can include income or money in savings accounts. Asset dissipation occurs when one spouse uses marital property for their own benefit for a purpose unrelated to the marriage, while the marriage was undergoing an irretrievable breakdown. If a spouse has a habitual and excessive cannabis hobby, the other spouse may be able to claim that the cannabis-using spouse dissipated marital assets to fuel their cannabis use.

Marijuana Use and Child Custody Concerns

If a couple has children during a divorce, they must also come to an agreement as to how their children will be raised after the divorce. Couples with children must come up with a parenting plan that outlines the time that each parent will spend with the child and what kind of decision-making responsibilities each parent has concerning their child.

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IL divorce lawyerSocial distancing guidelines have been in place for weeks in an effort to slow the rapidly spreading coronavirus. Nearly every aspect of our lives has been affected by this situation, including governmental and legal matters. In Cook County, the circuit court has changed some of its guidelines as to how court functions will take place during this pandemic. One of the changes includes how prove ups for a divorce are permitted to take place during this time. At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, we have already utilized these new guidelines to conduct prove ups since the courts have been closed. This has resulted in successful outcomes for our clients in their divorce cases. 

What Is a Prove Up?

When a couple has an uncontested divorce, they must take steps to finalize their divorce and make it official. To do this, they are required to attend a hearing before a judge, allowing the judge to review their agreements and ensure that the agreements are fair and in the best interest of any minor children involved in the divorce. Once the judge signs the divorce agreement, the divorce is final. This chain of events is commonly referred to as a prove up. Prove ups are typically required to be in person, with everything in writing, though such circumstances have temporarily changed due to the reduction in court operations.

Requirements for Oral Prove Ups

The Cook County circuit court has put measures into place to allow couples to finalize their divorce remotely. If a couple wishes to have their prove up conducted remotely, they must sign a document stating they agree to do so. The agreement, as well as all required documents, must be submitted to the court via email. The agreement must contain a requested date, time and method of communication, such as Skype or a conference call. The court will then respond with a confirmation of your chosen date and time or a new date and time for the prove up.

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IL divorce lawyerAs COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, spreads across the United States, many people are starting to feel the effects. Dozens of cities and states have ordered the shut down of non-essential businesses in an effort to “flatten the curve” so to speak. Officials have also started to issue stay-at-home orders requiring citizens not to leave their homes except for life-sustaining or essential activities.

Illinois was one of those states, issuing a stay-at-home order that became effective March 21. Because of the stay-at-home order and the business closings, many people have been laid off without pay, putting stress on their financial situations. Many people, especially those who have children, have been concerned about how these closings and stay-at-home orders will affect their family situations. Child support is required to be paid by law, but what happens if you are laid off without pay?

Can I Change My Child Support Order?

Typically, a child support order is only eligible for modification every three years or if there is a “significant change in circumstances.” This is a broad interpretation and does not have a set definition, so a variety of situations can be eligible for a modification. Most commonly, a change in the non-custodial parent’s income is cause to re-evaluate child support orders.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorcing with children is an entirely different situation than if you did not have children. Having children when you get a divorce means you have to deal with a different set of concerns and make even more decisions than if you did not have children. Parents often know how a divorce will affect themselves, but what they worry about is how the divorce will affect their children.

The effects that a divorce has on children manifests differently in each child. Some children may be minimally affected, while other children will have a harder time coping with the stress of the divorce. Getting a divorce does not mean that it will have lasting effects on your children, as long as you are able to help your children through the process. To do this, you must be able to recognize signs that your child is having difficulty coping.

Changes in Sleeping Patterns or Behaviors

When a child has difficulty handling stress in their lives, this can often manifest in a range of sleeping issues. Your child’s sleeping patterns may change. They may have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep. Younger children might regress to behaviors such as wetting the bed or wanting a pacifier. Night terrors are also common in younger children who cannot cope with stress. Older children may exhibit an increased need for sleep or they may not sleep enough.

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