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IL divorce lawyerWhen you have children with another person, you will forever be connected to that person, whether you like it or not. Divorcing couples who have minor children must figure out some sort of agreement for how they will divide their parenting time and how they will allocate their parental responsibilities. Most parents will opt to agree to co-parenting, meaning you work together with your child’s other parent to raise them. However, co-parenting requires a specific degree of communication and cooperation, which not all couples have. For some high-conflict couples, a parallel parenting agreement is a much better option.

What Is Parallel Parenting?

In a normal co-parenting relationship, both parents are able to communicate and are willing to cooperate with one another as they raise their children. In some situations, however, that is not possible. Couples who have exhibited an inability to get along with one another may do better in a parallel parenting situation. Parallel parenting is similar to co-parenting, but with parallel parenting, the parents are disengaged from one another and have limited communication with one another. This style of parenting is meant to reduce the conflict between the parents and the tension that the children may feel.

Benefits of Parallel Parenting

Though it is not necessary for all couples, there can be many benefits to parallel parenting for couples who need it. The basis of parallel parenting is to reduce the amount of interaction between the parents, which in turn reduces the likelihood that you and your spouse will fight or argue in front of the children. Studies have shown that children do not respond to conflict well and can actually suffer long-term consequences if they are constantly exposed to it. In cases where parents cannot seem to get along, parallel parenting is in the best interests of the children.

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Il divorce lawyerParents and caregivers alike can agree that children are expensive. This is why it is generally agreed that both the mother and the father have an obligation to provide financial support for any children they have. When the parents are not married or they are getting a divorce, a child support order can be entered to ensure both parents contribute their fair financial share. Child support is calculated using a formula that incorporates both parents’ income, amount of parenting time, and whether or not they have other child support or spousal maintenance obligations.

However, monthly child support obligations do not always cover all costs associated with raising a child. There are expenses that will appear that are not accounted for in the monthly child support obligation. You are not required to address them in your parenting plan or support order, but doing so can save time and stress in the long run.

Dividing Your Child’s Additional Expenses

For some parents, decisions about how expenses are allocated can be made as needed, however, this type of arrangement typically only works if the parents are on good terms with each other and they are willing to compromise. In most cases, it would behoove you to try to address any foreseen additional expenses in your parenting plan or support order before your case is finalized. These expenses can include:

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Il family lawyerFor many people, the largest asset they own is their home. Real estate can make for some tricky situations when it comes to the asset division process of divorce. Everything must be divided, including real estate, like your family home. While cutting your home down the middle will not help you out, there are three viable ways you can deal with your marital home during your divorce: keep the home under joint ownership, sell the home or have one spouse own the home in their name only.

To Appraise or Not to Appraise?

Getting an actual appraisal for your home is an important step in the process. You may think you are able to estimate how much your home is worth, but it is actually in your best interest to get a home appraisal so you have a legitimate figure of how much you are working with. There are many reasons why someone would want to have their home appraised, which include:

  • Ensuring the estimated value of your home is accurate
  • The divorce court requires a current official appraisal of your home
  • The value of your home may have changed since you last had it appraised
  • Having proof of a specific numeric valuation in the case their spouse disputes the value

Preparing for Your Appraisal

During a home appraisal, an inspector will come to your home and assess its value based on square footage, lot size, measurements, photos, the number of rooms in the home, and the condition of the property. The appraiser will also factor in things such as the neighborhood demographics, housing trends, available utilities, and other details about your home.

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Il divorce lawyerFor many couples who are divorcing with children, much of the stress present during the divorce accumulates because of child-related issues. It can sometimes feel like you are fighting tooth and nail to ensure your children are getting what is best for them. The issue is that your spouse also thinks that he knows what is best for the children and most of the time, that idea does not line up entirely with yours. Most parents will have some sort of an argument or disagreement at some point during the process, but when the situation gets too out of hand, the judge might intervene and order you and your spouse to work with a parenting coordinator.

The Role of a Parenting Coordinator

A parenting coordinator, also known as a PC, is a highly-trained professional who helps parents that are separated or divorced settle their disputes about child-related issues. PCs are used in situations in which the parents of a child just cannot seem to get along or cooperate with one another. The PC’s main task is to help couples make decisions without having to make multiple court appearances. A PC may also:

  • Make recommendations to the court concerning approaches that are aimed at reducing the conflict between parents and stress on the children
  • Mediate disputes between parents
  • Recommend other resources such as psychotherapy, drug counseling and/or testing, or parenting classes
  • Serve as a line of communication between parents
  • Give the couple tools and practices to help facilitate healthy communication

When Would a Parenting Coordinator Be Appointed?

Most of the time, parenting coordinators are appointed to couples by a judge. Parents are permitted to hire a parenting coordinator of their own will, but both parents must be in agreement, making it a rare occurrence. A parenting coordinator is usually used as a last resort and is appointed if:

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IL divorce lawyerWhen you first begin the divorce process, you will likely be advised to come up with a list of issues that matter the most to you -- the ones that you are adamant about fighting for. What is on that list? For some people, their finances are at the top of their list of concerns. The way your finances are handled during your divorce could significantly impact your financial situation after the fact and for years to come.

The first step in successfully managing your finances during your divorce is taking an actual inventory of everything that you and your spouse own. This includes both physical items such as vehicles and jewelry and immaterial items, like bank accounts or retirement funds. Ensuring you have an accurate picture of your financial situation before any decisions are made is crucial. Here are a few tips to help you inventory your assets:

Make a List of Common Assets

Firstly, make a list of any assets that you and your spouse both have ownership to. This should include both physical and immaterial items that are considered marital property and subject to division during the divorce. Physical items can include things such as real estate, vehicles, artwork, or other important and/or expensive assets. Other items that you will want to include on the list are things such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, gym memberships, airline miles, or other immaterial items.

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