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Peoria Family Law Blog

The authorities and your rights in child custody

Getting the authorities involved in a child custody case is not always a good idea. If you are a parent and someone has called the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on you, you need to do some basic research and ask questions to determine what your rights are under the law.

You need to have an attorney, first off. Advising your attorney and informing him or her that the authorities at DCFS have been called in is important. Anything that you tell the investigator or the police in this case can be used against you, so don't answer any questions unless your lawyer is there with you advising you.

Child support assistance available

Getting a divorce is hard. Getting a divorce when children are involved is even more difficult. The Division of Child Support Services in Illinois offers services to all residents of the state, not just those who receive public assistance. The Department of Child Support Services offers services to all families in Illinois.

DCSS can help you locate the parent that is not living with the children. This non-custodial parent may have obligations that need to be fulfilled. DCSS can help you establish the paternity of the father. This can be helpful when you aren't married and there is a question of who the father is.

Property division of an inheritance can be tricky

Getting a divorce often involves property division. Inheriting property and assets may be an issue. For instance, if your grandmother dies and leaves you property and assets in her will and makes no mention of leaving anything to your spouse, this may be a matter for the court to decide.

This is considered an inheritance acquired during a marriage and what action you take with this property will determine how this property is dealt with by the judge.

What is no-fault divorce?

Illinois is one the vast majority of states that now follow no-fault divorce laws. Essentially, what that means is a couple can obtain a divorce without providing a reason, other than the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. This is a legal term meaning that the couple is no longer getting along and it is unlikely that the relationship will be repaired.

In other words, the spouses don’t have to point fingers, blaming each other for what went wrong. This is much different from the fault-based divorce laws of the past, which required at least one spouse to prove bad behavior such as adultery, cruelty, violence, desertion or impotency. Of course, as well all know, accusations like these and others are still made in many contested divorce cases.

Same-sex marriage backdating provision to soon fall out of effect

For a time, the only option same-sex couples had available here in Illinois for a legally recognized union was to get a civil union. However, this changed last year when same-sex marriage was legalized in the state. As a note, the legalization of same-sex marriage did not take civil unions out of Illinois law; same-sex couples (and opposite-sex couples as well for that matter) can still form a civil union in the state if they wish. 

One of the options the legalization of same-sex marriage opened up for same-sex couples here in Illinois who are in a civil union is the option of converting their civil union into a marriage. 

College expenses issues in Illinois divorces

Issues regarding the kids are oftentimes the dominant legal issues in divorces of parents here in Illinois. There are a wide range of child-related issues that can be present in a divorce. Some such issues can have some rather major long-term implications. One such issue is the issue of the kids' future college expenses.

Sometimes, parents help their kids with their college expenses. In a divorce of parents, one of the issues that sometimes arises is whether any arrangements regarding helping with future college expenses of the kids will come out of the divorce. Divorcing parties can reach agreements in a divorce on how future college expenses of the kids will be handled. Also, sometimes, Illinois courts issue orders regarding parental help with future college expenses of the kids in divorce cases. 

Joint simplified dissolutions in Illinois

Here in Illinois, in addition to the standard divorce process, there is also a simplified divorce process. This simplified process is called a joint simplified dissolution.

A joint simplified dissolution is something that some Illinois divorcing couples who have an uncontested divorce may find attractive, as it is a simpler and expedited process as compared to the standard divorce process. "Simpler" and "quicker" are two words divorcing couples are generally pretty glad to hear when it comes to their divorce. 

Illinois in the top 10 for least-divorced states

Some recent statistics indicate that divorce may be less common here in Illinois than it is in quite a few other states. 

The statistics were compiled by FindTheHome using data from the 2013 American Community Survey. The statistics regard what percentage of total state population is divorced in the different states.

Actions you can take to improve health & wellness during divorce

Getting through divorce with your health and your sanity intact is rarely an easy task. That's one reason why it is common to hear phrases like "divorce battle" and "surviving divorce." One of the best things you can do to improve the divorce process and the divorce outcome is to find an experienced family law attorney who will strongly advocate for your interests.

Beyond that, surviving divorce often requires a good self-care routine and the adoption of healthy coping mechanisms. It all starts with physical self-care: Diet, exercise and sleep.

The financial difficulties women can face after a divorce

There are many different changes that can occur in a woman's life after a divorce. One is a significant change in financial situation. 

The time following a divorce can sometimes be a financially difficult one for a woman. This can particularly be the case for women who were stay-at-home moms during the course of their marriage. Here are some examples of things that can pose financial challenges for women following a divorce: 

  • Problems finding a job: Women who were stay-at-home moms while married may have difficulties finding a job following a divorce. Sometimes, they have to settle for rather low-paying jobs while they try to increase their overall job qualifications through things like going back to school. 
  • Not having much time available to work: Things like taking courses to improve one's job qualifications and caring for the kids can leave a divorced woman with not a lot of time to work, which can have significant income implications.  
  • Education costs: A woman could end up taking on quite a bit of student debt following a divorce in efforts to get the education needed to get a better job. 
  • Child care costs. 

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