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Rockford IL Family Law Blog

The best interest of a child in divorce

Whether a child lives in Illinois or any other state, he or she may feel the impact of a divorce. Therefore, parents may need to consider whether ending their marriage is still the right decision despite what it may do to their sons and daughters. As a general rule, parents should end their marriage if they are the victims of physical, emotional or any other type of abuse.

They should also consider ending the marriage if they are simply happier apart from their current spouse. In some cases, there is just no hope for parents to get along, which is a sign to end the marriage despite the potential costs. However, it may be best to stay in a marriage if the issues within the relationship can be identified and solved over time. In that scenario, it may be possible for a marriage to grow stronger than it may have been in the past.

How violence affects co-parenting in the first year of separation

University of Illinois researchers conducted a study to determine how different types of violence experienced by women during marriage affected their ability to co-parent during the first year they were separated from their spouse. Studies have shown that the first year of separation is particularly dangerous for women who were in abusive relationships. During this time, many important child custody decisions are made, including how the children will be managed.

Researchers determined that the type of violence women experienced during the marriage directly correlated to the circumstances they would find themselves in after the separation. Situational violence is described as an episode where arguments intensify into violence. Coercive controlling violence describes behavior in which the abuser constantly uses tactics such as isolation from family and friends or controlling finances to dominate their spouse.

Issues couples may not be able to overcome

Infidelity, money issues and dislike for each other are a few reasons why Illinois couples decide to end their marriages. When a person cheats on either a physical or emotional level, it can result in a significant loss of trust that may not be able to be rebuilt. In some cases, it only takes one incident to potentially put an end to a marriage.

If one or both parties in a marriage are having issues with addiction, that too could put strain on a relationship. This may be especially true if money is being spent to further the addiction at the expense of the household. Addictions could range from substance abuse problems to spending too many hours at work. At some point, that person's partner may say that the problem is too far gone to solve and decide to leave the relationship.

Studies examine possible causes of divorce

Illinois couples who are only moderately affectionate as newlyweds may have a better chance at a longer-lasting marriage than the most affectionate couples, according to a study that was published in 2001. This might be because these couples are unable to keep up a high degree of intensity over a long period of time. Various studies have looked at how issues such as this one can lead to divorce.

People who dropped out of high school have a higher chance of getting a divorce than those with more education. While this might be related to the strain that a lower income can put on a relationship, income does not appear to be a factor in the higher separation rate among spouses in which the husband works only part time. This might be because many men feel that they should be the breadwinner. Couples who marry in their teens or after the age of 32 have a higher divorce rate than those who marry in their late 20s. Furthermore, the larger the age gap between a couple, the higher the likelihood of divorce.

Divorce rates vary throughout the U.S.

Illinois residents might find it educational to learn that, similar to many other aspects of life, the divorce rate varies from state to state in the U.S. There are many factors that affect a person's reasons for getting a divorce, including infidelity, growing apart and even addiction, but it is interesting to note that certain regions in the country have much higher divorce rates than in others. Illinois, for example, hovers towards the lower end, with a divorce rate of 7 percent.

Of the five states with the highest rates of divorce, Arkansas led the list with 20 percent, followed by Idaho with 17.6 percent, Oklahoma with 17.21 percent, Alabama with 15.52 percent and West Virginia with 15.38 percent. Overall, the deep southern states seemed to have higher rates of divorce during this period. Northeastern states dominated the list with the lowest rates, with New York having a 4.97 percent divorce rate, New Jersey slightly higher at 5.34 percent, with Massachusetts at 5.5 percent, Connecticut at 6.27 percent and Pennsylvania at 6.59 percent rounding up the list.

How to remain in a child's life after divorce

In many cases, both parents want to be involved with their children after a divorce. By being prepared, parents in Illinois and throughout the country may be able to gain maximum rights to their children even after their marriages end. Parents should be able to articulate the reasons behind any custody or visitation proposal that they submit to their former spouse. This may increase the odds that they get what they want.

Furthermore, any proposal should take the best interests of the child into consideration. Parents should make an effort to create a parenting plan that emphasizes good communication for the benefit of the child. Good communication may be helpful if something happens at school or if the child has a medical issue. It may also make it easier to determine who spends a birthday, holiday or other special occasion with that child.

Risk factors for divorce

Illinois couples end their marriages for many different reasons. However, there are some factors that make it likelier that people's marriages will end in divorce, and not all of them are ones that they can control.

People whose parents divorced are likelier to also get divorced when they are adults. While seeing parents go through divorces may factor in, studies of adopted children whose biological parents divorced show that they are also likelier to divorce as adults, meaning that there may be genetic factors at play as well. People who are more attractive are also likelier to get divorced, which is another risk factor that is beyond their control.

Divorce rates and relationships that begin online

Illinois couples who meet online may have more stable relationships that people who meet offline. Studies have shown that despite perceptions of dating sites as fostering casual relationships, people who meet online might be less likely to break up or get a divorce.

Two economics professors from the University of Vienna and the University of Essex used modeling to predict how relationships that grew from meeting online would differ from those that arose from meeting offline. The model predicted that the marriages of people who met online would be longer lasting.

What to do if one spouse makes unusual financial decisions

For some people in Illinois, a spouse's unusual financial activity might suggest that he or she is considering divorce. One man's wife took $40,000 she received after being let go from a job and $90,000 that the couple received after selling their home and put it in an account in her name only. She ignored her husband's request that the account be retitled in both their names or that the money be moved back into their joint account. While her husband had his pay deposited into the couple's joint account, she transferred money in to pay bills.

Someone might do this if his or her spouse is irresponsible with money. However, it might also be a sign that he or she is preparing to file for divorce.

Hidden assets and other divorce complications

An Illinois divorce may become contentious if spouses disagree on how assets should be divided. For example, the husband of a 61-year-old woman in California said he wanted half of her 401(k) and the home they shared. They had been married for 25 years, and the woman had been the main breadwinner for the past 10 years. Unlike Illinois, California is a community property state, but this means that while her husband would be probably be able to claim half of the retirement account, he would not be awarded the entire house.

The woman was also concerned that her husband was sharing information about their finances with his sister and that he was hiding assets. Neither of these are permitted. A letter from an attorney might be sufficient to stop the information sharing. A forensic accountant might be able to locate hidden assets. A person may note the names of financial institutions that are sending mail to the home even if the mail cannot be opened. Documenting all communications may also be a good idea in these circumstances.

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