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Rockford IL Family Law Blog

Fathers and child support

Noncustodial fathers in Illinois and around the country who fail to pay to child support regularly tend to spend less time with their children, have a higher likelihood of having offspring with multiple partners and may work fewer weeks per year. This is according to a study that evaluated the link between paternal participation and child support debt.

Noncustodial parents in the U.S. paid $32.4 billion in child support through the Office of Child Support Enforcement to aid in the upbringing and care of their children in 2015. Typically, the parents who do not reside with their children are required to make payments to the parents who do. There are criminal and civil penalties that parents can incur if they fail to make their child support payments on time. This can include the suspension, restriction or revocation of their driver's license or passports, tax return interceptions and wage garnishments. Toward the end of 2016, the attorney general's office in Texas began preventing the renewal of vehicle registrations for delinquent parents.

How to divide a shared business in divorce

Illinois couples who own a business together may not think about their marriages coming to an end, but a prenuptial agreement or a buy-sell agreement might protect that business in such an instance. However, since some people may want to avoid discussing the possibility of divorce, couples may have no plan in place about how they will divide their business.

One option may be for one to buy out the other. People who lack the liquid assets for doing this might be able to get a bank loan. A property settlement note is another type of loan that is for the long term and includes interest. One potential hurdle may be getting a valuation for the business because this can be expensive and time-consuming. A couple could also continue to run the business together. If the divorce is amicable, this could work as a solution. However, spouses should create a shareholder agreement that allows one to buy out the other.

President Trump keeps Obama's child support rule intact

Illinois child support orders issued during divorce proceedings provide the custodial parent with monthly payments to cover a minor's everyday expenses. However, there are times when the non-custodial parent does not keep up with the terms of the order. In some cases, this is because the parent has been incarcerated.

President Barack Obama addressed the problem by issuing a rule towards the end of his second term requiring each state to revisit its child support formula with an eye on reasonableness. In particular, the rule ordered states to no longer treat a stay in jail as voluntary unemployment. Instead, state agencies were to inform both parents proactively that an incarceration of more than six months could be grounds for a child support modification filing. The rule, which took effect on Jan. 19, 2017, was among the set of last-minute regulations the Obama administration issued. Although when Trump took office he indicated that he was going to be rolling back some of these rules, the child support one has not yet been revisited.

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. files for divorce

Illinois couples who are considering a divorce after a long-term marriage may be interested to learn that Cuba Gooding Jr. filed for divorce from his wife following 20 years of marriage on Jan. 20. The former couple were married in 1994 and have three children together.

Gooding filed for divorce three years after his wife filed for separation in 2014. According to sources, he was seeking joint legal and physical custody of his 10-year-old daughter. His other two children are adults, so custody is not an issue. Additionally, he stated that he would willingly pay spousal support to his former wife. He also asked that income that he earned from the date of the separation be treated as his separately-owned property.

Dividing large assets in Illinois

Unlike several other states, Illinois divorce law does not start out by assuming that everything needs to be divided 50/50 during a divorce. Illinois courts aim to ensure that property is divided in just proportion. While fairness can be a fairly subjective concept, there are several factors that courts typically consider when arriving at a decision.

In many cases, property division does not reach the courts if the parties are able to reach an agreement. However, a judge may refuse to approve or require the modification of provisions that are clearly unfair.

Understanding the role of a parenting agreement

Most Illinois parents who have young children and who are ending their marriage are able to resolve child custody matters on their own. A parenting agreement may be created through informal talks between the parents themselves or with the assistance of their attorneys. Mediation sessions may also be valuable in helping parents resolve child custody matters without going to court.

Such an agreement is put into writing and submitted to a judge for approval. Most judges will approve any agreement parents create on their own assuming that it was negotiated in good faith and both parties fully understand what they agreed to. Once the parenting agreement is entered into the public record, it is binding on both parties. A parent who violates the agreement could face serious consequences.

Protecting unmarried parents' custody rights

When it comes to deciding who an Illinois child should reside with and how long a child visits a non-custodial parent, the determination is made by the court if the parents are unable to agree. The terms are typically based upon the likelihood of the child being able to thrive better with one parent vs the other.

When parents are not married and mothers have physical custody of their children, fathers can request parenting time when both parents agree upon paternity. A father can also have a DNA test done to confirm the biological relationship. After paternity has been established, both parents can request establishment of custody terms. This includes each parent's responsibility regarding visitation rights, health insurance, financial support, and education.

Successful co-parenting after a divorce

Illinois parents whose marriages are ending may not have the greatest trust in each other to begin with, and the divorce process can further exacerbate these issues. However, people who are planning to co-parent will have to work on trusting each other again, to an extent. For the sake of the children, people should try not to assume that their ex-spouse is always acting with bad intentions.

Children of divorced parents can adapt to their new circumstances and grow to be well-adjusted adults as long as their parents put in the effort to create a healthy environment. Despite the bad feelings that parents may have for each other, it is in the child's best interest for them to put these feelings aside when the child is present. Parents who vent to their child about their ex-spouse or uses their child to deliver negative messages to their ex-spouse is hurting their child's emotional well-being.

Illinois divorcees need to think about digital data

Although many people believe that their digital lives are private, couples who separate should be aware of the possibility that their divorces may involve a thorough examination of the data they generate. Things like text messages, social media interactions and emails can all be used as evidence in family law proceedings. Some couples have even gone as far as to include stipulations in their marriage contracts that prohibit certain uses of social media data in divorce cases.

Experts say that data protection clauses in postnuptial and prenuptial agreements might not always withstand the test of court. As such, individuals who plan on getting divorced from their spouses may find it helpful to be careful about how they use technology. Because deleting posts or communications en masse might be regarded as implicit evidence of bad intentions, it's wise for people to minimize their online activity or at least restrict the way they use platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Getting a divorce in Illinois after the age of 50

Gray divorces, a term that refers to those that take place after the couple is 50 years or older, have risen sharply in the last few decades. According to researchers from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, the number of gray divorces doubled between 1990 and 2014. For those who were over 65, the rate of divorce rose even more sharply.

Divorcing late in life has some financial consequences that aren't normally felt when someone is younger. While child support isn't likely to be a major issue, retirement and alimony can be very contentious topics. Individuals who are fairly close to retirement will have a limited amount of time to replenish retirement accounts.

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