Tag Archive for: Illinois legal separation

Navigating Divorce on Mother’s Day

As Mother’s Day approaches, moms going through a divorce may be experiencing sadness, loneliness, and guilt. However, the most important thing to remember is that it can also be painful for your children, but it doesn’t have to be. How can you move past these negative feelings and enjoy the celebration that you deserve? Plan new traditions!

Mother’s Day is a special occasion dedicated to honoring the mother figures in our lives for their love and selfless sacrifices. However, for mothers going through divorce, finding a balance through this transitional period can feel like an overwhelming and emotional challenge.

Approximately 50% of all children in the United States will witness the end of their parents’ marriage, underscoring the significant impact divorce can have on families. While divorce and separation have become more common over time, it also provides hope that affected individuals still thrive despite its challenges.

In this blog, we’ll explore strategies for navigating Mother’s Day, with tips for supporting your children, maintaining focus on what you can control, and how a family law attorney can help. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Children’s Emotions in Divorce

Divorce can be particularly challenging for children, and occasions like Mother’s Day may exacerbate many different emotions. Providing emotional support and creating a safe environment for your children to express themselves is crucial as a divorced parent. It’s important to recognize the signs of reactions exhibited by children, including:

  • Feelings of sadness and loss: Children may experience a sense of grief and mourn the loss of the intact family they once knew.
  • Anger and resentment: Children may express their frustration and anger over the divorce, often directed towards one or both parents.
  • Anxiety and insecurity: The stability and routine they once relied upon may be disrupted, leading to feelings of uncertainty and anxiety about their future. They may worry about their living arrangements, school changes, and how their relationships with their parents will be affected.
  • Academic and behavioral challenges: Divorce can impact a child’s educational performance and behavior. They may struggle to concentrate, exhibit aggression, withdraw, or act out to cope with their emotions.

Understanding the effects of divorce on children is crucial to providing them with the necessary support during this challenging time. Let’s look at how parental responsibilities and parenting time can be beneficial during this difficult transitional period.

Parental Responsibilities Tips for Mother’s Day

Parental responsibilities include two main items: parenting time (formerly “visitation”) and the power to make decisions for children. Parenting time is a schedule that shows when each parent spends time with the children. This schedule is created and approved by a judge in family court. If the parents can’t agree on the schedule, the judge will decide what’s best for the child and assign a schedule for the parents.

Parental responsibilities also refer to the decision-making obligations each parent will have on behalf of the child. Parents can agree to make these decisions together or divide them into categories, which should cover the following:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Religion
  • Extracurricular Activities

If the parents can’t agree on who gets what responsibility, the Illinois family court judge will allocate those responsibilities among them. Let’s dive into some tips to help you make co-parenting easier this Mother’s Day.

Review and Update Your Parenting Plan

One of the first steps in navigating Mother’s Day after a divorce is establishing clear guidelines for parental responsibilities. Crafting a parenting plan that addresses special occasions like Mother’s Day requires a well-thought-out agenda that can help alleviate confusion and minimize conflict. When creating a parenting plan for Mother’s Day, consider the following:

  • Alternating Years: Decide whether Mother’s Day will be alternated between parents each year or if there will be separate celebrations with each parent.
  • Flexibility: Be open to flexibility and compromise. Sometimes, unexpected circumstances may arise, and being willing to adjust plans accordingly can help benefit everyone involved.
  • Respect Boundaries: Respect each other’s boundaries and wishes regarding Mother’s Day celebrations. If one parent prefers to spend the day alone with the children, honor that request and find alternative ways to celebrate.

Try to maintain a united front regarding co-parenting decisions. Keeping children out of adult conflicts can help reassure them of your love and support.

Keep an Open Line of Communication

Effective communication with your co-parent can be key to successfully navigating Mother’s Day. While emotions may run high, maintaining a respectful and cooperative co-parenting relationship is essential for the well-being of your children. This partnership can help reassure children that special events can still be celebrated despite changes in the family dynamic.

Discuss plans for Mother’s Day to avoid last-minute conflicts or misunderstandings. Clearly outline expectations and responsibilities to help ensure a smooth celebration. Be willing to compromise and accommodate each other’s schedules and preferences. Remember that the focus should be on what’s best for the children, even if it means adjusting plans. 

Ways to Build New Family Traditions after Divorce

We’ve compiled a list of three, great ideas for newly divorced couples with families to create new traditions in the next chapter of their lives and the lives of their kids.

  • Plan Your Getaway: Starting a yearly vacation tradition with your family can be incredibly rewarding. You might opt to revisit a beloved destination annually, or perhaps you’ll gather everyone’s input to decide on a new adventure each year. This special time away gives everyone something to eagerly anticipate and offers a valuable opportunity to reconnect amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life.
  • Acknowledging Change: It’s unrealistic to expect life to remain unchanged post-divorce. Significant adjustments lie ahead, and it’s essential for everyone involved to recognize and accept this reality. However, this transition also presents an opportunity to establish new plans and traditions for the future. Clear communication about custody arrangements and upcoming events helps set expectations and fosters a sense of stability for all.
  • Embrace Flexibility: Flexibility can be a cornerstone of amicable divorces, though it can be challenging when tensions run high. Yet, being open to compromise can benefit everyone involved. For instance, offering to adjust your schedule to accommodate your ex-spouse’s plans for a special event demonstrates goodwill and may pave the way for reciprocal flexibility down the line.

Focus on What You Can Control This Mother’s Day

Finally, in navigating Mother’s Day after a divorce, it’s important to focus on what you can control and let go of what you cannot. While you may not be able to control your ex-partner’s actions or attitudes, you can control your response and behavior. Here’s how to focus on what you can control:

  • Practice Self-Care: Take care of yourself emotionally and physically before Mother’s Day. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether spending time with friends, practicing mindfulness, or pursuing a hobby.
  • Stay Present: Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, focus on being present and enjoying your time with your children.
  • Seek Support: If you feel overwhelmed or emotional, lean on friends or family. Surround yourself with positive influences who can offer encouragement and perspective.

A family law attorney can offer guidance and legal advice to help you develop a plan that provides clarity and structure throughout the planning process. With a clear plan, you can aim for special celebrations filled with warmth and understanding.

How Masters Law Group Can Help

Navigating Mother’s Day after a divorce requires patience and a willingness to prioritize the well-being of your children above all else. At Masters Law Group, our family law attorneys focus on helping clients assert their rights to further the best interests of their children.

As a mom herself, Partner Erin E. Masters can empathize the pain moms must go through when navigating divorce proceedings, especially over Mother’s Day. To help mother’s across Illinois, Erin is also a court-appointed Child Representative with experience advocating for children in these high-conflict matters. Furthermore, Partner Anthony G. Joseph is an approved Guardian Ad Litem/Child Representatives list for the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

With a strong focus on assisting clients in Chicago and Chicago’s Western Suburbs (Elmhurst, Hinsdale, DuPage, Oakbrook), we offer various services to help parents, children, and families through difficult times like divorce and allocation of parental responsibilities. If you face challenges navigating Mother’s Day after or during divorce and want to know your rights, don’t hesitate to reach out. Set up a complimentary consultation today.

DuPage Divorce Attorney: The Valentine’s Day Effect

Flowers, romantic cards, and proclamations of undying love for one another; Valentine’s Day is known as the day of love for a reason. Unfortunately, for many people, Valentine’s Day is a day for ending relationships and obtaining divorces, too.

In the weeks leading up to and after Valentine’s Day, requests for information about divorce experienced a surge of 40 percent (law.com). For individuals in DuPage County, Illinois, and across Chicagoland, Valentine’s Day may shed light on the complexities within their marriages.

Valentine’s Day is a day that celebrates love and affection, but for some couples, it’s not such a happy holiday as divorce rates surge. During challenging times, a DuPage divorce attorney can be a crucial ally, providing guidance and support through the emotional and legal aspects of ending a marriage. Here’s what you need to know.

UNDERSTANDING THE VALENTINE’S DAY EFFECT

While Valentine’s Day is meant to celebrate love and connection, for certain couples, it can evolve into a stark reminder of the underlying issues in their relationships. Yet, when we delve deeper into the broader context of Valentine’s Day, it becomes clear why this time of year can be particularly revealing.

Unmet expectations, unresolved conflicts, and a pervasive sense of dissatisfaction may all surface leading up to and on this day. These negative emotions may prompt individuals to reassess the foundations of their marriages. This phenomenon, commonly referred to as the “Valentine’s Day Effect,” has the potential to lead some couples to the difficult decision of pursuing a divorce. 

Why Couples Seek Divorce

On top of dealing with the “Valentine’s Day Effect,” various other factors can lead to divorce. This study found that the following factors can increase a couple’s risk of divorce:

  • A lack of communication
  • Infidelity
  • Conflict and arguing
  • Marrying too young
  • Financial issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Health issues
  • Lack of family support
  • Religious differences
  • Lack of premarital education

It’s important to note that Illinois operates as a no-fault divorce state, requiring only irreconcilable differences as grounds, eliminating the need to prove fault for divorce.

MEDIATION AND ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

A seasoned DuPage divorce attorney possesses the legal experience necessary to navigate the complex terrain of divorce proceedings. Emotions can run high during a divorce, and decisions made in the heat of the moment may have long-lasting consequences. A divorce attorney acts as a level-headed and objective advisor, helping clients make informed decisions based on their best interests rather than emotions.

It’s important to note that not all divorces need to be contentious courtroom battles. A skilled divorce attorney can help you explore alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, to facilitate open communication and negotiation between the parties involved. These lower-conflict avenues often result in a more amicable resolution.

Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged journey that often requires the guidance of seasoned family law professionals. At Masters Law Group, our experienced family law attorneys provide valuable assistance, helping to ensure that your rights and the best interests of you and your children remain at the forefront of every decision.

ILLINOIS ASSET DIVISION

If you file for divorce, you may be wondering what will happen to the financial house you built together. Division of assets is a significant aspect of divorce proceedings. When couples get a divorce in Illinois, the courts don’t split everything down the middle like in certain other states. Instead, Illinois follows a more intricate approach called “equitable distribution.” Here’s how it works:

  1. Contribution to the Marriage: The court looks at what each spouse brought to the marriage regarding money and non-money contributions like caring for the home or children.
  2. Duration of the Marriage: How long the marriage lasted matters, as it can affect how assets are divided.
  3. Economic Circumstances: Each spouse’s financial situation, including income and needs, is considered.
  4. Non-Marital Property: Things owned before marriage or received as gifts or inheritance during marriage may not be split.
  5. Custodial Arrangements: If there are kids, the court looks at custody and how it impacts finances.
  6. Spousal Support (Alimony): Whether one spouse needs support payments is factored in.
  7. Tax Consequences: Taxes resulting from asset division are also considered to make things fair.
  8. Wasteful Dissipation: If one spouse recklessly spends or wastes money, it can affect the division.
  9. Agreements: Any agreements made before or during the marriage, like prenups, are considered if they meet legal standards.

Remember, “equitable distribution” doesn’t always mean a perfect 50/50 split. It’s about creating a fair and just arrangement based on each family’s unique situation. This process can be tricky, so it’s a good idea to work with a skilled family law attorney to help ensure your rights are protected during asset division in Illinois.

HOW A DUPAGE DIVORCE ATTORNEY CAN HELP

If you’re looking for a top lawyer in Illinois, consider working with the DuPage divorce attorneys at Masters Law Group. Our firm has earned a top spot on the Best Law Firms 2023 list by Best Lawyers® and U.S. News & World Report, and we are highly esteemed and respected by leading peer review publications such as Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and Leading Lawyers. 

Furthermore, our senior attorneys, Erin E. Masters, and Anthony G. Joseph, have been recognized by these prestigious publications year after year, showcasing their strong work ethic, character, and skill in family law, so you can rest assured you have someone you can trust throughout your divorce proceedings.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Valentine’s Day isn’t all about love and romance. For some, it could be a wake-up call or the final straw when it comes to divorce. 

If you are experiencing “The Valentine’s Day Effect” or simply want to learn more about initiating the divorce process, we can help. For questions regarding divorce and other family law matters in DuPage County, contact Chicagoland’s premier family law group here today to schedule a consultation.

This National Spouse’s Day: Exploring Legal Separation

Although divorce doesn’t come to mind when celebrating National Spouse’s Day today, many Americans are now looking for ways to help fix their relationship without ending their marriage legally; including legal separation.

National Spouse’s Day is a chance to celebrate your spouse and show your better half that they are appreciated. Let’s admit it, sometimes married couples need reminders to leave the hamster wheel that is everyday life. January 26, however, can either be the remedy to all couples’ woes, or a sign to explore legal separation.

Here’s a look at legal separation and what it could mean for you depending on your personal situation.

What Is Legal Separation?

A divorce means the marriage is legally over. A legal separation is a court-ordered arrangement where a married couple lives apart, leading separate lives. A legal separation is a popular alternative to a divorce when the parties are unsure of the state of their marriage but want to establish boundaries on finances and responsibilities. Oftentimes this includes separation of assets, custody of dependents, and child support.

Although the reasons for seeking a legal separation vary, there are some common ones worth noting. Some religions prohibit married couples from divorcing and a legal separation grants most of the benefits of a divorce without compromising religious tenets. Also, those unsure of their marital future may opt for a legal separation, hoping for a reconciliation. 

When crafting a legal separation, both spouses should thoroughly address any issues about responsibilities, shared assets, or any other situation specific to the marriage that needs to be addressed. If the terms of the agreement are not clearly defined in the petition, the judge won’t be able to help you. Every petition for legal separation must include the following information:

  • The legal names of both spouses
  • The date and location of the marriage
  • The names of any children or dependents of the marriage
  • The proposed custody arrangement of the children
  • The dates and addresses where the couple began living apart
  • Any child support arrangement, as well as any other financial responsibilities to which both parties have agreed

Separation vs. Divorce vs. Annulment

Though a divorce marks the official end of a valid marriage, an annulment treats the marriage as if it had never happened. In other words, a judge grants an annulment indicating that the court does not recognize the arrangement as having been a legally valid marriage. There are a number of scenarios in which a person can request an annulment:

  • The marriage was a result of force, fraud, or physical or mental incapacity.
  • The marriage took place when one or both spouses were under the influence.
  • The marriage took place when one or both spouses were already married.

In most cases, the legal termination of a marriage will result in a divorce. Unlike a separation, a divorce is permanent. This means both spouses are free to remarry. However, depending on the state where the couple lived and how long the marriage lasted a divorce also means the termination of economic benefits such as shared insurance and assets. Ultimately, electing for a divorce over a legal separation is a personal choice.

Pros and Cons of a Legal Separation


Couples may choose to be legally separated rather than getting a divorce for various reasons. But before they make a decision, one must consider the pros and cons associated with separating legally and if it would be a better option than a trial separation or divorce.

Pros:

  • Divorce is a very final process. Even though a couple has determined that they can no longer live together as a couple, they may not be ready to go through a full divorce. They may wish to legally separate and get the distance they need to make the ultimate decision about divorcing with a clear head.
  • People elect to legally separate when they have religious or social objections to divorce. In such a scenario, separating legally allows the couple to not violate the religious beliefs and live separately.
  • Another reason people elect to legally separate is when they have religious or social objections to divorce. A legal separation allows the couple to live independently of each other without officially divorcing.
  • A few people might have the option to remain on their partner’s medical coverage plan in the event that they are legally separated rather than being divorced. There likewise might be other monetary advantages to separating legally over divorce.

Cons:

  • One of the biggest disadvantages to a legal separation is that you and your spouse remain married. If you want to remarry, you will not be able to do so unless you obtain a full divorce. However, if you decide to divorce, having a legal separation already in place can make the divorce process more efficient as you have already agreed on terms.
  • With similar legal requirements as a divorce, paperwork, litigation, and trial proceedings, separating legally can be as much taxing as a divorce.
  • If you ultimately do decide to divorce, getting a legal separation first can end up costing you more money. Because you must get a court order recognizing your legal separation, you will be subject to court fees. Before going through a legal separation, you should consider the likelihood of divorcing down the road and whether or not a legal separation is more beneficial to you than a full divorce.

Final Thoughts

Like Illinois, most states allow legal separations—the exceptions are Florida, Delaware, Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The length of the separation process can vary depending on the state and the complexity of the agreement, but the process typically takes around six months to a year. You can begin a legal separation by contacting your family law attorneys at Masters Law Group, or by filing a petition with the Circuit Court Clerk of the appropriate county. For a list of circuit courts, view the Illinois Courts website.

If you are considering a legal separation, you should consult with your lawyer to make sure it is the best decision for you. Every case is different, and your attorney can use their experience to help guide you in making this important decision. At Masters Law Group, our team of attorneys are experienced in handling Legal Separation, and Divorce Cases.

Overall, if you’re exploring legal separation it’s always best to consult an established family law attorney for a clear understanding of what your options are. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.