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Rolling Meadows divorce attorneyDivorce is a difficult experience for all children, but for children with special needs, it can be especially challenging to adjust to the major changes that a divorce brings. Parents of children with special needs also face many challenges during the divorce process, including figuring out how to ensure that the divorce resolution protects their child’s interests and provides for their needs. If you are going through a divorce, you should carefully consider all of the following with respect to your child.

Addressing a Child’s Special Needs in the Parenting Plan

Ideally, both parents would continue to be committed to supporting their child and addressing their special needs even after a divorce, but unfortunately this is not always the case. If you have taken on the primary responsibility of caring for your child, it may be important to petition for sole decision-making authority regarding their health and education, as well as a greater share of parenting time. Even if both parents are dedicated to doing what is best for the child, an arrangement involving frequent exchanges between homes may not be in the best interests of a child with special needs, both because of the difficulty in adjusting to changes in routine and the fact that one parent’s home may be better equipped to provide for the child’s needs.

Accounting for Special Needs in an Illinois Child Support Order

The calculation used in Illinois to determine a parent’s basic child support obligation is based on the typical amount that a family with a certain income would spend on raising a child. This usually means that it is not sufficient to provide for the additional costs associated with a child’s unique mental, physical, and developmental needs. Parents should be sure that the court is aware of these expenses and make the case for a deviation from the basic calculation. It may also be important to structure the child support order such that the child remains eligible for public assistance, such as Social Security disability benefits. Additionally, if the child will require care from the parents after reaching legal adulthood, it may be important to pursue a court order establishing each parent’s responsibility for providing for the needs of their non-minor child.

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Rolling Meadows prenuptial agreement lawyerDrafting a prenuptial agreement with your partner can not only be an important means of protecting both of your assets, but also an opportunity for you to get on the same page regarding your finances. However, there are many ways in which the process of creating a prenup can go wrong, especially without the guidance of an experienced attorney.

Be Aware of Common Mistakes

As you work on creating your agreement, these are some of the most common pitfalls that you should be sure to avoid:

  • Pressuring your spouse into the agreement. Raising the subject of a prenuptial agreement can be somewhat awkward under any circumstances, especially if your partner is not expecting it. Trying to force them into an agreement that they are not comfortable with only makes matters worse, and in fact, it will likely make your agreement invalid and unenforceable.

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Arlington Heights High Asset Divorce LawyerWhen spouses need to divide their marital property as part of the divorce process, certain types of assets are more difficult to distribute than others. Cash held in checking and savings accounts is usually the most simple, as it has a clear value and can be easily accessed. On the other hand, businesses, homes, and other real estate property can be some of the most difficult, due to the importance of determining fair market value and finding a buyer or somehow allocating the property between the two spouses. Investment accounts tend to lie somewhere in between, and there are important considerations that both spouses should keep in mind in order to minimize losses.

Considerations for Dividing Investment Accounts

Investments are an important means of wealth preservation and growth for many couples, and the division of these assets can have major implications for both spouses’ short-term and long-term financial goals. In order to protect your finances as much as possible in your divorce, you may need to consider all of the following:

  • Uncovering hidden investments - All investment accounts containing marital assets must be included in the division of marital property, but in some cases, one spouse may have made investments that the other is unaware of. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, hiring a forensic accountant and taking advantage of the discovery period in the divorce process can help you find them and prevent you from leaving the divorce at a disadvantage.

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Arlington Heights parenting time lawyerAfter a divorce, maintaining a consistent parenting time schedule is important both for the sake of the children’s routine and in order to be fair to both parents. However, as time goes on, the schedule established during the divorce process may become outdated and no longer serve your family’s needs. It is often a good idea to periodically reconsider the parenting time schedule and determine whether any modifications would be beneficial.

What is the Legal Process for Modifying Parenting Time?

Depending on the situation, parenting time can be one of the simpler elements of a divorce resolution to modify. Illinois courts will consider a petition from either parent for minor parenting time modifications at any time after the divorce, or more significant modifications after there has been a change of circumstances. If you and your former spouse agree to a modification, the process can be even more streamlined, as you can work together to create and file a petition. As long as the court finds that the modifications are in your children’s best interests, they will likely be approved.

Reasons to Make a Change

Although parenting time modifications may be possible at any time, it is still important to carefully consider whether it is the right time to make a change. Modifications may be sensible under a variety of circumstances, including:

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Rolling Meadows Divorce Mediation AttorneyMany divorcing couples are concerned about the stress, conflict, and costs that a divorce trial can bring, and in order to avoid it, they may attempt to handle the divorce on their own. However, this option can have just as many pitfalls, including possible misunderstandings of the legal process and a resolution that may not adequately protect each spouse’s rights and interests. Fortunately, there is another divorce resolution option known as mediation, and it is worth considering whether it may be the best approach in your case.

Why Pursue Divorce Mediation?

There are a number of reasons why mediation could be a good choice for a divorcing couple, some of which include:

  1. You want to have guidance when communicating with your spouse. A neutral third party can be beneficial even for couples who want to work together on a divorce resolution. The mediator can ensure that both spouses are heard, identify common ground, and help to prevent discussions from devolving into conflict or opening emotional wounds.

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