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How to Know When You Need a Postnuptial AgreementCouples have the option of creating a prenuptial agreement before they get married, but some never act on it. There could be several reasons for this, such as:

  • Believing it is unnecessary given their level of personal assets
  • Feeling uncomfortable with the idea of preparing for a hypothetical divorce
  • Simply not thinking about getting a prenup or knowing what it is

Now that you have married, you still have the opportunity to create a postnuptial agreement. Like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement can decide how you will divide your marital properties, define which properties are separate, and determine whether one of you will owe spousal maintenance to the other. If you did not feel a need to create a prenuptial agreement, you may ask why you would want to create a postnuptial agreement. There are several financial factors that could cause you to change your mind on creating an agreement:

  1. You Have Started or Grown a Business: Many couples begin their marriages owning few valuable assets. Starting a successful business or practice means that you now own valuable property. Businesses that are created or see growth during a marriage are considered marital property. During a divorce, your spouse would have a right to an equitable share of your business. With a postnuptial agreement, you can state that you would keep complete control of the business in the event of a divorce.
  2. You Stopped Working During Your Marriage: It is common for a spouse to take time off from work in order to raise children. Even if you did not leave your job, you may have reduced your hours or passed up opportunities for career advancement, which makes you more reliant on your spouse’s income. You would be entitled to spousal maintenance if you divorced, and it may be easier to negotiate the maintenance amount now in a postnuptial agreement than during a divorce.
  3. You Received an Inheritance: People can suddenly come into possession of valuable properties, such as when they receive an inheritance from a family member. Inheritances are not marital properties when they are gifts meant for one person. However, the longer you possess the inheritance, the more likely it is that it will mingle with your marital properties. A postnuptial agreement can define which properties make up your inheritance.

Contact a Naperville, Illinois, Family Law Lawyer

Creating a postnuptial agreement does not have to be an awkward experience. At Calabrese Associates, P.C., we work with many couples who have decided to make a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement for practical reasons. To schedule a consultation with a DuPage County family law attorney, call 630-393-3111.

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How Your Parenting Plan Can Determine Religious UpbringingYour parenting schedule is only one part of the parenting plan that you will create during your divorce or separation. The plan also states who is allowed to make decisions regarding your children, including their religious upbringing. This means that the plan can tell you which religious beliefs and customs your children should follow, as long as they are conscionable. Parents are encouraged to come to an agreement on religious upbringing, but this can be a contentious subject if you have different religious beliefs than your co-parent. The family law court can make its own ruling on religious upbringing if you cannot reach an agreement.

Points of Contention

Your agreement on religious upbringing may include instructions on:

  • Attending regular religious services
  • Following customs at home
  • Sending your children to a religious school
  • Allowing trips out of the country to visit religious sites

You may come into conflict with your co-parent if you disagree on which religion your children should follow or how much of a role religion should have in your children’s lives. Attending religious services may also interfere with your parenting time. For instance, a parent whose time with the children is during the weekend may not want to spend their Sunday mornings attending church if they are not religious. If your co-parent shows a sudden increased interest in religion following your divorce, it is possible that they are using religion as a way to control the children and gain more parenting time.

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Improving Your Communication With Your Ex During DivorcePoor communication is one of the fundamental reasons that many couples end up divorcing. Thus, it should be no surprise if your poor communication continues during and after your divorce. Your communication will affect your ability to negotiate your divorce agreement in a timely manner, which may increase the cost of your divorce. If you have children from your marriage, you will need to communicate with your co-parent as long as you are sharing parental responsibilities. Healthy communication between divorced couples requires cooperation from both sides. You can improve your attitude and approach towards communication by following these suggestions:

  1. Know When Not to Talk: There are times when you are better off waiting before responding to your spouse, letting your divorce lawyer talk for you, or not responding at all. Avoid talking to your spouse when you are in a bad mood and feel tempted to respond emotionally. If your spouse is the one lashing out at you, do not let them draw you into an emotionally charged conversation. Your lawyer can handle sensitive conversations that are likely to cause conflict.
  2. Set Communication Boundaries: You have the right to request that your spouse not contact you except during specific situations. Receiving unexpected messages can be stressful and make you feel pressured to respond. You can tell your spouse that you want to limit your communication to your divorce negotiations and scheduled calls to discuss your children. They should not contact you outside of those times unless it is an emergency.
  3. Watch Your Tone: The way in which you talk to your spouse can determine their reaction. Your tone should always be civil, leaning towards a friendly voice. Avoid shouting, scolding, sarcasm, or other tones that may elicit an emotional response. Be careful when sending an email or text message because your spouse may interpret the tone of your message in a different way than what you intended.
  4. Stay On-Topic: Communication between divorcing spouses can break down when they talk about issues that are unrelated to settling their divorce. Discussing your grievances with each other will distract you from the work you need to complete and inject negative emotions into your negotiations. Stay focused on the present instead of reliving past arguments.

Contact a Naperville, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer

When you are uncertain of how to best communicate during your divorce, you should turn to your lawyer for advice. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can lead you through an amicable divorce process. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Should You Pay Off Your Marital Debts During Divorce?Figuring out how you will divide your marital debt is one of the many important tasks you must complete during your divorce. As part of your divorce agreement, you can determine which debts each of you will be responsible for repaying. You also have the option of repaying your debts during or even before your divorce. Getting rid of the debt would relieve a financial burden on your life after divorce. However, it is possible that repaying your debts is not feasible or the best choice in your situation. There are several questions you should answer before deciding whether to immediately repay a debt.

Is It a Marital Debt?

The simple definition of marital debt is one that you entered into while you were married, but other factors can determine who is responsible for a debt, such as:

  • Whose name is on the loan agreement
  • Who has benefited from the loan

If you and your spouse are equally liable for the debt, paying it off immediately could be a prudent decision. You should not repay your spouse’s separate debts before you start your divorce negotiations. Instead, you can save it as a bargaining chip by offering to help repay the debt in exchange for marital assets.

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Relearning Life Skills Following Your DivorceOne of the advantages of being married is having someone to share the workload when it comes to completing the responsibilities that come with adult life. Whether it is intentional or not, spouses tend to assign tasks to each other that become their sole responsibility. When you divorce, you will be responsible for completing the tasks that your spouse previously took care of. There are some tasks that you have experience doing, but you will need to adjust to being the one who does them. For instance, you may need to remind yourself which day you take the trash to the curb for pickup. There are other tasks that will require you to learn new skills. Maybe you have no experience with making meals for your children or paying your bills. Whatever the tasks may be, there are a few steps you can follow to better handle them:

  1. Make a List of Tasks: Your first step is to figure out which tasks you need to complete on a regular basis. It may help to write out these tasks in a list. Expect that you will continue to update the list as you realize additional tasks that you are responsible for.
  2. Organize Your List: Some tasks take priority over others. For instance, paying your bills on time is more urgent than regularly cleaning your home. Both tasks need to be completed, but there are immediate consequences for missing a payment. If a task has a deadline, record it on a calendar so you do not forget.
  3. Study Up on Your Skills: It is okay if there are tasks that you do not know how to perform, whether it is using a washing machine or managing your budget. Even if you have past experience with a task, the way it is done may have changed since the last time you were single. For instance, many bills are now paid electronically instead of through the mail. Use the resources at your disposal to learn more about these tasks, such as watching tutorial videos or asking friends and family for advice.
  4. Get Your Kids Involved: There may be age-appropriate chores that your children can help you with. Maybe they can take out the trash or assist with washing and drying dishes. Your children will learn life skills and the importance of taking responsibility around the house.

Contact a Naperville, Illinois, Divorce Attorney

Divorce will be a large adjustment to your lifestyle but is manageable with planning and effort. A DuPage County divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you prepare for life after divorce. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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What Is a Parent’s Right of First Refusal in Illinois?The parenting time schedule that parents create during a divorce is the best estimate of what times of the week each parent will be available to care for the children. There are always special circumstances in which a parent may be unavailable during their normal parenting time. Maybe your job needs you to stay late or travel for a meeting. Your best friend may have invited you to their birthday celebration. You could become sick to the point that you temporarily cannot function as a parent. If your children are too young to care for themselves, you will be looking for another caregiver, such as a relative, friend, or babysitter. However, some parenting agreements include the right of first refusal, which requires you to offer your co-parent the chance to care for the children before anyone else.

How Do You Create the Right of First Refusal?

The right of first refusal is not implied in Illinois. Your parenting plan must state that each parent will have the right of first refusal, which you can add yourselves or a court could require. When parents cannot agree on the right of first refusal, a court may decide to include it in the parenting plan if it would be in the best interest of the children.

How Does the Right of First Refusal Work?

Each parenting plan has its own terms for when and how the right of first refusal will be activated, which either you or the court will define. Key factors you must define include:

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How to Become the Guardian of a Minor in IllinoisThere are situations in which a child’s parents may be unable or unavailable to perform their basic duties as a parent. If that happens, another adult can become the legal guardian of the child, either on a short-term basis or until the child becomes an adult. The guardian is authorized to make decisions about the child just as if they were the child’s parent. If you wish to become a child’s guardian, you will need to receive court approval. There are several important facts about guardianship in Illinois that you should understand.

Who Can Become a Guardian?

You do not need to be related to the child in order to be their guardian, but it is in the child’s best interest if you have some history of interaction. The basic requirements for being a guardian in Illinois are:

  • Being at least 18
  • Being of sound mind
  • Being a U.S. resident
  • Not having a legal disability
  • Not having a felony conviction related to harming or threatening children

When Is Guardianship Allowed?

Granting guardianship presumes that the parents are unable to make decisions regarding their child. Courts will not transfer parental rights to another adult unless there is a strong reason, such as if the parents:

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How Do You Divide Jewelry in a Divorce?Including jewelry in your division of marital property during your divorce is more complicated than it may seem. Normally, valuable assets obtained during a marriage are considered marital property, and that would be the case if you purchased jewelry for yourself. However, jewelry is often given as a gift, and gifts are excluded from marital property. Deciding whether jewelry is marital property could be a difference of thousands of dollars in your divorce. Thus, it is important to remember how you obtained each piece of jewelry that you own.

Was It a Personal Gift?

Whether a gift is a marital property depends on whether the gift was meant for one person or the couple together. The following questions may help you determine the intent of the gift:

  • What was the occasion for receiving the gift?
  • Who was the gift addressed to?
  • Who would have reasonably been expected to use the gift?

Wearable jewelry is often personalized and given as a gift on a special occasion, such as a birthday, anniversary or holiday. It is unlikely that a necklace or earrings were intended as a couple’s gift. If your spouse purchased the jewelry for you at a time that did not coincide with a special occasion, you can argue that they presented it to you as if it was a gift. It may help if you have saved a note that went along with the gift.

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Work Stoppage May Require Child Support ModificationsThough much of the U.S. economy has come to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, many expenses continue on as normal. For parents who have divorced or separated, child support payments are still necessary. Unfortunately, parents may have increased difficulty paying for child-related expenses if they have lost their jobs or are not receiving pay. You need to immediately talk with a divorce lawyer if your income has been reduced, whether you are the payer of child support or the recipient.

Consequences for Payers

The only way to lawfully reduce the amount of child support you pay to your co-parent is by modifying your child support order in court. Losing your job makes you immediately eligible to modify your child support payments, but the courts may be slow to act on it because they are partially shut down due to the virus outbreak. Once your case is heard, the court will likely calculate a new child support amount based on your current income. Unemployment benefits will count towards that income.

If you are already behind on making child support payments, you now have an added incentive to catch up with the payments if you can. The federal stimulus bill includes a one-time payout of $1,200 for adults who meet the income requirements. However, one of the senators who authored the bill has publicly stated that the payment may be offset in part or in full if the recipient is reported to have missed child support payments.

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How the Coronavirus Is Impacting Divorce CasesAll Illinois residents are currently experiencing some disruption in their lives because of the coronavirus epidemic. This includes people who are planning to or in the process of getting divorced. The DuPage County Courthouse has postponed hearings that it does not consider to be urgent until at least April 17. With all of the uncertainty surrounding the virus, there is no way of knowing for certain when hearings will be rescheduled and whether the courthouse will have to take other steps to protect the public. For those who have already completed their divorces, there may be urgent questions about what to do if they cannot comply with the support payments and parenting schedule in their divorce agreement.

Support Payments

Many people are currently unable to work because of businesses closing in response to the epidemic. Others may have significantly reduced hours and pay. Unfortunately, people do not know when their jobs may come back if they come back at all. Lost income affects people in many ways, including their ability to pay child support and spousal maintenance. Violating court-ordered support payments can result in fines and penalties. If you are worried that you will not be able to afford your next child support or maintenance payment, you need to contact a divorce lawyer to discuss:

  • How much you can afford pay while having enough money left to pay for your living expenses
  • Whether you need to request a reduction in your support payments because of the change in your income

You will not be able to schedule a hearing to modify your child support or maintenance payments until your local courthouse is operating at a greater capacity. However, you can still prepare and submit your petition and request that the payments be reduced retroactively.

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How to Determine a Fair Spousal Maintenance AgreementSpousal maintenance is not a requirement for every divorce agreement but is often included because it is considered fair compensation for the recipient. If there is a large income discrepancy between spouses, then the recipient may be entitled to financial support from the payor. What is a fair amount of maintenance to award and how long should the payments continue? Illinois courts consider factors such as the duration of the marriage, the income potential of the recipient, and how long the recipient may need to become self-supporting. There are other factors that can be relevant to a spousal maintenance ruling:

  1. Standard of Living: The spousal maintenance recipient is not limited to receiving only enough support to live off of. If the spouses had an expensive lifestyle during their marriage, then it is reasonable for both spouses to be able to continue a similar lifestyle after the divorce. It would be unfair to expect a lower-income spouse to live a much poorer lifestyle while the other spouse keeps the same standard of living, especially if both spouses and their children had become accustomed to that lifestyle after several years.
  2. Career Sacrifice: When one spouse becomes highly successful in their career, it is often possible because of sacrifices that the other spouse made. The other spouse may have foregone earning a college education or quit their job in order to raise the children or help their spouse start a new business. Now that they are separated, the other spouse may have difficulty finding a job to support themselves. They may need time to complete their college education or update their job skills. It is fair to expect the higher-income spouse to support the lower-income spouse if they owe their success in part to their spouse’s sacrifice.
  3. Parental Responsibilities: Divorcing parents already have child support to cover their child-related expenses. However, the division of parenting time can have an indirect effect on the parents’ incomes. If one parent is responsible for significantly more parenting time, then they may be limited in the number of hours they can work or projects they can take on. With these limits to their ability to increase their income, they may be more reliant on spousal maintenance payments.

Contact a Naperville, Illinois, Divorce Attorney

Negotiating spousal maintenance can be tricky because there is greater flexibility in determining the amount and duration of the payments than with child support. A DuPage County divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., will help you determine what a fair maintenance agreement would be. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Posted on in Divorce

Should You Try to ‘Win’ Your Divorce?It is healthy to approach your divorce with clear goals in mind and the motivation to accomplish them. You need a divorce agreement that allows you to financially support yourself and have ample parenting time with your children. However, being overly competitive with your spouse can cause problems. Trying to “win” your divorce may create contentious negotiations that prevent you from achieving an optimal divorce agreement – as well as make the process take longer than it needed to. Instead, an amicable or collaborative divorce process, such as mediation, often results in better agreements that both sides can be satisfied with.

Problems with ‘Winning’

Divorce is not meant to have “winners” and “losers.” Divorce law recognizes that both parties need to benefit from the agreement, and a divorce court will not approve an agreement that flagrantly benefits one side at the expense of the other. There are several problems with believing that you need to win your divorce:

  • You may set unrealistic goals that your spouse will not agree to and a court would reject.
  • You may reject a reasonable offer from your spouse that would benefit you.
  • Your focus may shift towards wanting your spouse to lose, even if you are hurting yourself in the process.
  • You are more likely to be dissatisfied with your final agreement, even if it is objectively a good agreement.

There are unavoidable “losses” for everyone who gets divorced. You will lose a portion of your marital properties. You will lose the ability to pool your income with your spouse’s income to pay for living expenses. You will lose some of the time that you normally get to spend with your children. It is part of the cost of divorce.

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Solutions for Three Parenting Time ConflictsDivorcing parents would love to come up with a perfect parenting time arrangement – for their children’s sake if not their own. Unfortunately, plans are rarely perfect, and you may soon realize that your arrangement is not working out as you had hoped. You are allowed to modify your parenting plan, but only if one of the following is true:

  • It has been two years since the plan was last approved or modified.
  • There has been a significant change in circumstances for one of the parents or children.
  • Both parents agree to the modification.

Not every parenting time problem requires a modification to your plan. Here are three potential conflicts and ways that you can solve them:

  1. Your Children Are Struggling to Adjust: Splitting time between two homes is a major change for children that can cause them stress and make them uncomfortable. If you notice your child struggling with the change, talk to them about what is bothering them. There may be something missing from the new home that would make them more comfortable. A tweak in your parenting schedule could make the situation easier for them. Talk to your co-parent about your child’s problems and come up with a solution that works best for your child.
  2. Your Co-Parent Is Not Following the Schedule: Your parenting plan is a legal contract that you both must adhere to. Your co-parent is breaking that contract if they interfere with your parenting time by not dropping off your children when they are scheduled to. When you notice this problem, you should ask your co-parent why they are not sticking to the schedule. There may be a logistical issue that is delaying them, which you can work together on solving. If they do not have a reasonable explanation and the problem continues, you need to file a complaint in court in order to enforce your agreement.
  3. You Have Frequent Schedule Conflicts: When choosing your parenting time, it is important that your children are with you when you are available to spend time with them. Sometimes, unforeseen commitments will interfere with your parenting time. If your parenting time is consistently clashing with your work schedule, you may need to adjust one of them. Starting a new job is a significant change in circumstances that should allow you to immediately modify your parenting plan. If your children’s activities are conflicting with your parenting time, you need to work with your co-parent on a solution. Ask whether it is possible to become involved in your children's activities or if your co-parent is willing to adjust the schedule so that you are not losing as much parenting time.

Contact a Naperville, Illinois, Divorce Attorney

A parenting plan should be designed to serve the needs of your children and yourself. You need to change the plan if it is no longer doing that. A DuPage County divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you create and modify a parenting plan. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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How Do You Determine Who Keeps Your Pet After Divorce?A pet is not a mere object to most people who own them. The emotional bond that you form with your pets makes them more like family members to you. Illinois divorce law used to treat pets like properties that must be divided between spouses, but that practice changed with the enactment of a new pet custody law in 2018. Now, courts consider the well-being of pets when divorcees argue over who should keep a pet, which is similar to how courts settle parenting disputes.

What Counts as a Pet?

For the purpose of divorce, Illinois law makes a distinction between “companion animals” and “service animals.” A service animal is any animal that has been trained for the purpose of helping someone who is disabled. A companion animal is any animal that is not a service animal. You cannot claim ownership of a service animal that your spouse needs to perform their everyday tasks.

How Pet Custody Works

Illinois’ divorce law still defines pets as properties that can be marital or nonmarital. A pet is a marital property if you purchased it during your marriage, with an exception for pets that were gifts or inheritances. You can also stipulate whether a pet is a marital property in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

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Three Costly Mistakes You Can Make During DivorceWhen faced with the potential cost of getting a divorce, many people look for ways that they can save money on the process. Some conclude that they can best cut costs by conducting their divorce without hiring an attorney or completing it as soon as possible. While it is true that either of these measures can save money, divorcing without legal guidance or rushing your divorce can lead to costly mistakes. You may need to revise and refile your divorce paperwork after a judge points out a mistake that makes your agreement invalid. You might not notice other mistakes until after your divorce agreement has been approved and becomes legally binding. Here are three costly mistakes that people make during their divorces:

  1. Not Researching Enough: The groundwork for a successful divorce starts with gathering information on your marital finances. You need to identify all of your marital properties and how much they are worth. Bank statements, receipts, and tax returns are just a few of the documents you need to collect, and you may need to file a court order to force your spouse to turn over some documents. Insufficient research puts you at a disadvantage when negotiating the division of marital property and may allow your spouse to get away with paying less child support and spousal maintenance than they should.
  2. Not Financially Separating Themselves: Once you have started the divorce, you should freeze or close your joint bank and credit accounts and open accounts in your name only. You need to start saving money in your own bank account because the divorce court can freeze your marital accounts to prevent either of you from draining the account before the division of property. You can be liable for debts that your spouse amasses in a marital credit account, even if you are in the process of divorcing.
  3. Not Considering Taxes: Some decisions that you make during a divorce negotiation incur tax consequences. Keeping a property such as a house means that you will be paying taxes on that property. Making an early withdrawal from a retirement account may mean that the withdrawal is taxable income. You and your spouse may be in different income tax brackets following your divorce, which could affect how you negotiate spousal maintenance. There is no longer an alimony tax deduction.

Contact a Naperville, Illinois, Divorce Attorney

It is difficult for a person who is getting divorced to keep track of all of the divorce rules and avoid costly mistakes. A DuPage County divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., has the knowledge to help you get the most out of your divorce. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Naperville Family Law AttorneyThe mental fitness of each parent can be an important factor when determining who should receive greater responsibility for the children following a divorce or separation. A family court or one of the parents can request a psychological evaluation of the other parent if they believe that the other parent’s mental condition may affect their ability to care for the children. You may be understandably upset if your co-parent questions your mental wellness. However, undergoing a psychological evaluation does not guarantee that you will lose your parental rights, and behaving calmly and cooperatively is the best way to prove that there is no reason to worry about your mental condition.

Granting an Evaluation

Though your co-parent is allowed to request that you undergo a psychological evaluation, the court will determine whether to grant that request, based on whether it believes that your co-parent’s claim has merit. The court understands that a psychological evaluation is invasive and expensive and will order one only if it is convinced that there are serious concerns about your psychological condition that may affect your parental fitness. If your co-parent is the one who initially requested the evaluation, they will be required to pay for it.

Protection Against Baseless Claims

Your co-parent is not allowed to use requests for psychological evaluation as a way to harass you or prolong the trial. Baseless allegations against you should be rejected and may damage your co-parent’s credibility when they try to make other arguments during your case.

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How to Shield Your Business From a Potential DivorceThere can be a fine line between financial success and failure when running a business. A young business may not be able to survive an unexpected loss of revenue, and even an established business may suffer a setback. Most owners do not consider divorce when guarding their business against risks, but your business will get caught up in your divorce if the business is marital property. You may be forced to choose between giving up part of your business to your spouse or paying them off with other assets. By planning ahead, you may be able to protect your business from the division of property.

Prenuptial Agreement

If you started your business before you got married, you can use a prenuptial agreement to say that your business would not be marital property in the event of a divorce. The agreement could further specify:

  • Which parts of the business are marital and nonmarital
  • Whether your spouse would receive a portion of the amount that your business increased in value during your marriage
  • That you would have complete ownership of the business in case your spouse becomes a co-owner

You can create a postnuptial agreement instead of a prenuptial agreement if you have already married or you started the business after you married. In order for your agreement to be valid, you cannot coerce your spouse into signing it or withhold vital information.

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Ways Women Can Be Financially Unprepared During DivorceA financial literacy gap between spouses can cause problems when you are trying to support yourself after a divorce. If you are unsure of how to use your divorce to secure your financial future, you need to address the issue with your divorce attorney and a financial adviser before you start the negotiations. Traditionally, women were at a disadvantage when it came to financial literacy in a marriage. That has changed in recent decades as more women are in charge of or share responsibility for their marital money. However, a recent survey conducted by Worthy and the Association of Divorce Financial Planners found that some divorcing women are still uncertain about their personal finances:

  1. Few Women Used Financial Planners: Only six percent of the women who answered the survey said that they used a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst during their divorce. Sixty percent were unaware of CDFAs, and 30 percent could not afford one. This does not mean that they were without any financial advice because attorneys can help their divorce clients with financial planning. However, 61 percent of the women said it would have been valuable to work with a financial planner in addition to their attorney. 
  2. Women Were Less Confident About Finances Outside the Household: More than half of the women said that they had enough knowledge to make informed decisions about household expenses, health insurance, debts, and dividing assets. If they had children, they also considered themselves knowledgeable about child-related expenses. They were more likely to say that they were unfamiliar with spousal maintenance and taxes. To be fair, most people do not have a reason to be familiar with spousal maintenance while they are married.
  3. Many Women Did Not Have a Plan to Replace Maintenance Payments: Thirty-five percent of the women said that they receive monthly support payments, and 42 percent of those women said that they have not planned for how they would replace the income from support payments if they end. Even if you are receiving permanent spousal maintenance, you may need a backup plan if your former spouse dies or loses a significant portion of their money. Plans could include increasing your work income, cutting down on your living expenses and selling luxury items.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Financial planning is an important consideration for everyone because of the ways that divorce can affect your savings, disposable income, and retirement benefits. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can work with a financial planner to help you with your post-divorce finances. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.

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Posted on in Relocation

Keys to Winning a Child Relocation CaseDeciding whether to allow a divorced parent to relocate with their child can be a complicated issue for a family court. Courts in Illinois are supposed to use the child’s best interest as the primary consideration, but there are often positives on both sides of the argument. Is providing the child a better living situation more important than being able to see both parents regularly? There is no perfect answer to this question because both are important to a child’s wellness and development. If you are trying to relocate with your child, the key is to understand how the court will make its decision.

Statutory Factors

As of 2016, Illinois has 11 factors that courts must consider when ruling on a contested child relocation case. One of the factors is broadly described as anything that affects the child’s best interest, meaning that almost anything related to your children could be a factor. However, the court will not weigh all of the factors equally. For instance, the court will not consider the child’s preference as strongly if the child is not mature enough to decide where they should live. The primary factors that courts consider include:

  • Why the one parent wants to relocate
  • Why the other parent contests the relocation
  • How the relocation would affect the child
  • Whether the other parent could still have reasonable parenting time with the child

Making Your Case

When requesting to relocate with your child, you must show how the positives for your child would outweigh any negatives. You should frame each argument around why the relocation would be better than your current situation and how you would minimize the negative impactive it may have on your child’s relationship with their other parent:

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Reasons to Contest a Child Support Modification RequestEither parent in a child support agreement is allowed to request a modification to increase or decrease the monthly payments. Co-parents often disagree on whether a modification should be allowed, and the parent who is requesting the modification bears the burden of proving their case. The court will consider the request if three years have passed since the agreement was created or last modified or if there has been a significant change in circumstances for either parent. A parent who claims a reduction in their income can request that their child support payments be reduced or that their co-parent’s payments be increased. However, the court may still reject the modification depending on the circumstances:

  1. Voluntary Unemployment: A parent cannot claim a change of circumstances if they voluntarily quit their job or took a significant pay cut. Even if they involuntarily lost their job, they must make a good faith effort to find new employment within a reasonable amount of time. A parent who is capable of working cannot forgo employment and expect their co-parent to cover the child-related expenses for an indefinite period.
  2. Not a Significant Change: A minor reduction in income does not mean that a parent is no longer capable of making the same child support payments. The court will expect the parent to try to continue paying their share of child support by dipping into their disposable income before it orders the other parent to contribute more child support.
  3. Optional Expenditures: When a parent makes questionable or unnecessary purchases, they may be using money that should have gone towards child support. Using their budget on luxury expenses is not a good reason for a parent to try to modify child support.
  4. Bankruptcy: Filing for bankruptcy is a significant change in financial circumstances but does not necessarily mean that child support payments should be modified. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the parent’s monthly income should not change, meaning they can still afford child support. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, part of the parent’s income is going towards a long-term repayment plan. Child support payments are a priority in the repayment plan, and the court will decide whether the support amount should be modified to accommodate the repayment plan.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

When considering a modification to child support, the most important factor is whether the children’s needs are being met. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., will work on your behalf to modify child support payments or contest an unnecessary modification. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.

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