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Rockford, Illinois Family Law Blog

Can you make custody transitions less stressful?

For some people, getting a divorce wasn't the hard part. The real trouble comes every time they have to transition their child to the other parent's house for visitation.

Well, the good news is that you can make it easier -- on you, on your ex-spouse and (most importantly) on your child. Here are some things to try:

How to approach your life after a divorce

Making the decision to seek a divorce was hard -- but figuring out how to reinvent yourself as a newly single person may be harder. The fear of having to "start over" can be one of the major reasons people delay divorce as long as they do.

Rest easy. There are plenty of people who have gone down this road before, and you can learn from what they've discovered. Here's how to approach life after your separation and divorce:

  • Go ahead and grieve. No rule book says you have to celebrate your divorce. Even if you were the one who sought the divorce, the end of your marriage is also the end of a life that you once happily embraced and looked forward to having.
  • Put off dating until you've handled your feelings. Rushing headlong into the dating scene can be a disaster if you haven't processed all of the emotional baggage from your failed relationship. You may end up making the same mistakes (or a bunch of new ones) when you choose your next partner.
  • Find your past self. While you were married, you may have abandoned hobbies you loved or the habits you enjoyed. Do you like who you are now? If not, it may be time to start painting, writing, dancing or reading again. Spend some time focusing solely on the things that you enjoy until you're very clear on what makes you happy. Knowing who you are makes it easier to find the right circle of friends and a potential new mate that fits with your goals and lifestyle.
  • Go ahead and try something new. Something as simple as a new haircut or color, a delicate tattoo or a change in your wardrobe can help you mark the transition between "married you" and "single you" and make you feel like a new person.

Does my spouse have a right to my pension when we divorce?

Even though the overall rate of divorce decreased over the years, divorce among people over 50 increased significantly. Bloomberg, the U.S. News & World Report and many other sources report that elder divorce can significantly impact your finances - especially your retirement savings.

However, no matter your age, your retirement is important. You save up for your retirement throughout your entire career, which makes it a significant asset for your future. In fact, it is one of the most valuable assets we own, but individuals often overlook it when it comes to a divorce.

You might wonder: does your spouse have a right to your retirement when you divide property?

How to negotiate your divorce when your spouse is a bully

Bullies don't just populate schoolyards and high school hallways. They're everywhere. You may even be married to one.

If so, that makes negotiating your divorce particularly tricky. According to psychologists, however, there are some specific things you need to keep in mind when you're dealing with a bully:

How can you stay safe during a custody exchange?

Custody of the children is one of the most hard-fought areas in family law. Quite understandably, emotions can run very strong whenever there's a dispute over custody and visitation rights. That can make for a volatile encounter between the parents whenever it comes time to exchange the kids for their visitation time.

What can you do to make sure that you -- and your children -- are safe during a custody exchange? Here are some suggestions:

How to handle a DCFS investigation

A Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigation can be terrifying for both you and your children. Even if you haven't done anything wrong, the intrusion on your life can feel overwhelming. Plus, there's always the worry that your children are going to be torn away from their home and thrown into foster care until the investigation is over.

If you're uncertain what to do, here are some suggestions:

3 signs your spouse may be hiding assets

One good thing about divorce is that it does not last forever. Eventually, you will have the opportunity to begin a new life free from whatever hardship caused you to choose to end your marriage. Still, you want to have a solid financial foundation upon which to build. 

Illinois law determines which percentage of marital assets each spouse receives after divorce. Pursuant to state law, you should receive an equitable share. Unfortunately, though, to try to keep more than his or her fair share, your soon-to-be ex-spouse may try to hide assets from you. Here are three signs that your partner may be engaging in this type of deception: 

Special concerns when divorcing an addict

Loving an addict is hard. Sometimes, you have to step back and realize that you need to preserve yourself and protect your children from the constant drama, the potential for legal action and more.

But divorcing an addict comes with another worry: How do you continue to protect the kids if you aren't with them at all times? You may decide that it's in the best interests of your children to ask the court for sole custody.

Divorce tends to rise at the start of a new year

For Illinois residents who are confronted by the emotional upheaval of a potential divorce, it might seem counterintuitive for there to be certain times of the year when more people decide to move forward with the end of a marriage. However, it is statistically true that divorce happens more frequently at the start of a new year. There are many theories as to why this is the case. Regardless of why a person decides that their family dispute has reached a point of no return and they want to divorce, having legal assistance could be one of the most important factors in achieving a satisfactory resolution.

January has become known as "Divorce Month" in legal circles. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, divorces increase by one-third in January when compared to the average number of filings. This perception is bolstered by the numbers and anecdotal evidence. Google searches indicate that, in 2019, January 6 to 12 saw a peak in people who wanted information on divorce. There are three basic reasons why divorce is so common in the first month of the new year. These include making a fresh start, thinking about children and financial considerations.

How a request for spousal support is handled during divorce

Alimony can be one of the most important topics a divorcing couple must address during their divorce. As a result, it pays to know as much as possible about what alimony is and how it is awarded during the divorce process.

Alimony may also be referred to as "spousal support" or "spousal maintenance," but generally refers to a payment made by one of the former spouses to the other former spouse following the divorce. Because of the nature of spousal support, and what it is designed to do, it can sometimes lead to acrimony and disputes during the divorce process. Spousal support is generally designed to help a lower-earning or non-earning spouse with the adjustments needed to transition to financial self-sufficiency following divorce.

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