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IL divorce lawyerEven though a divorce technically just involves you and your spouse, the two of you are not the only ones who will be affected by the divorce. Getting a divorce affects the whole family, especially if you have children. Having children also means there is likely a greater chance that there will be disagreement during your divorce proceedings. When it comes to child-related issues, it is not uncommon for parents to be unable to see eye-to-eye. In cases in which there is extensive disagreement, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to your case to help your children’s voices be heard.

What Is a GAL?

In Illinois, the default procedure is to encourage parents to come to an agreement on child-related issues. The court will try to get the parents to use various methods of negotiation, including mediation, to settle disagreements. If the judge determines that the parents are unable to work together or put their children’s needs ahead of their own, they may appoint a GAL to help keep the children’s best interests in mind. A GAL is a highly-trained professional, often an attorney, who is appointed to basically be the attorney for the children and protect their best interests.

How Will a GAL Impact My Case?

To accomplish their job, a GAL will employ a variety of methods for gathering information so they can make their recommendations. Many times, a GAL will conduct interviews with each of the children, the parents, and other people that are present in the family’s lives, such as teachers or psychologists. The GAL will also likely conduct a home visit during which they will observe the interactions between the family members.

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IL divorce lawyerUnfortunately, domestic violence is something that is present in millions of families throughout the country. Domestic violence occurs when a person commits an act of abuse or violence toward a family or household member. Sometimes, it can be a stressful event that triggers the beginning of the violence, such as a separation or divorce. Other times, violent tendencies that were already present are just exacerbated by the divorce. Whatever the situation, there are remedies available to you to help you protect yourself and your children. The most common form of help for these situations includes the issuing of an order of protection.

What Is an Order of Protection?

An order of protection is a legally-binding court order that can help protect you if your spouse is being violent or abusive. An order of protection can contain provisions that your spouse must adhere to or face further penalties, with the most common requirement being to stay away from the petitioner. An order of protection can be brought against a person by any of that person’s family or household members, including spouses, former spouses, parents, children, roommates, people who are dating and adults with disabilities, and their caregivers.

What Can an Order of Protection Do?

Contained in an order of protection are what are called remedies. These are things that the respondent is either prohibited from doing or things that the respondent is required to do. There are many different remedies that can be included in an order of protection, though the most common remedies include:

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IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce brings about all kinds of issues that you must deal with, both emotionally and financially. Though the emotional side can be difficult to manage, the financial side has a lot of bearing on how your life will turn out in the future. Financial issues can be especially important for older couples who are nearing the age of retirement. Retirement accounts are assets that are usually quite valuable to both spouses, setting the stage for disagreements over how the assets will be divided. Ignoring or forgetting your retirement accounts during your divorce could spell disaster for your financial future. If you are getting a divorce, be sure to take these necessary precautions to help protect your retirement plans.

Understand What You Are Working With

Before you make any decisions, you should fully understand what type of retirement accounts you and your spouse have and the rules that govern each account. Common retirement accounts include employer-sponsored plans such as a 401(k) and individual retirement accounts such as an IRA. Each type of plan has its own rules, especially when it comes to dividing and distributing the funds.

Speaking with a financial adviser can help you figure out how you should divide your plans and how you can do so while avoiding any penalties or tax repercussions. A financial adviser will also be able to help you make sure you understand your financial portfolio so you can make informed decisions.

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IL divorce lawyerHaving a child puts everything into perspective. Instead of focusing on yourself, your goal is to make sure your children are happy, healthy, and grow up to be successful, well-adjusted adults. Many people falsely believe that the best situation for children is having two parents who are in a relationship with one another, but staying together for the kids can actually do more harm than getting a divorce.

Studies have shown that children who are subject to constant stress and conflict have more issues with anxiety, depression, anger, and social difficulties. However, there are also studies that show children whose parents divorced are actually well-adjusted and successful, suggesting there is a way you can help your children through divorce.

Helping Your Children Through the Process

If you are getting a divorce, you should be proactive about how you deal with the situation if you have children. Here are a few ways you can minimize the impact your divorce has on your children:

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IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce is an extreme life change. Nearly every single aspect of your life is affected when you make the decision to get a divorce. And not just your life -- the lives of your family members are also affected. Even though your children are not the ones getting divorced, divorces do not discriminate and affect everyone around them. It is not uncommon to seek a change in scenery after a divorce. For some people, moving allows them to be closer to family, closer to a job opportunity, or simply just offers a fresh start. Children are often a point of contention throughout divorce, but they can also be a point of contention when it comes to relocating.

Petitioning for Relocation

If you were assigned the majority of parenting time or an equal amount of parenting time during your divorce, you can ask the court to allow you to move with your child. To do this, you must first notify your child’s other parent in writing at least 60 days before the intended move. Your notice should include your date of relocation, the new address where you and the child will live, and how long the relocation will last if it is not permanent.

If your child’s other parent signs the notice, then you can move with your child without further court intervention. If the child’s other parent objects to the relocation, you must then file a petition to relocate with the court.

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