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Peoria Family Law Blog

The many and complex factors that lead to divorce

For couples who choose to marry, some may wonder if their marriage will be one of the 50 percent that lasts. While, when it comes to predicting divorce, there's no crystal ball; there are definitely factors that increase the likelihood that a marriage will not endure until death do us part.

One law firm recently examined numerous studies and research to discover some of the less traditional factors that may lead a couple to divorce. Perhaps not surprisingly, the use and potential abuse of social media were among those reasons cited as contributing to divorce.

Joint or sole custody: what's better for a child?

In an ideal world, a child would live with both of his or her parents and a home would be dominated by love, stability and support. Unfortunately, in the real world, an analysis by the Pew Research Center revealed that only an estimated 43 percent of U.S. children today live in a home with both parents—many of which are likely unhappily married. Today, an estimated 41 percent of U.S. children are born to unwed parents and approximately 30 percent of U.S. children live in single-parent homes.

These dramatic shifts in familial composition mean that increasingly, U.S. parents are being forced to deal with child custody issues. While historically mothers have been favored in child custody cases, recent research suggests that a child benefits the most from the everyday involvement of both parents.

What happens if a parent fails to pay child support?

We've previously written on the topic of child support and the basics of how support is determined and awarded. Regardless of whether a child's parents were ever married or not, every child has the legal right to receive financial support from both parents. It's important, therefore, that custodial parents take steps to secure child support payments to aid in paying for expenses related to a child's daily needs, medical care and education.

In cases where a noncustodial parent is ordered to pay child support, he or she would be wise to abide by the court order. In Illinois, parents who fail to pay child support are subject to penalties including criminal charges, fines, the garnishment of wages and even imprisonment.

Life after divorce

We've previously discussed the many changes and challenges that frequently accompany the divorce process. Whether an individual wants to admit it or not, divorce impacts every facet of one’s life and it can be difficult to cope with and adapt to changes in living arrangements, personal finances and parenting schedules.

While all of these changes can be disorienting and even scary, they can also afford an individual the space and time needed to think about one's future. From a spouse’s departure from a previously-shared home to a child spending weekends at an ex’s home, for many divorcees time to oneself is a new luxury.

Is your spouse leaving clues of an impending divorce?

In many cases, when a spouse files for divorce, a couple has spent months or years embroiled in conflict and it's not a total surprise. There are, however, cases where a husband or wife claims to have been blindsided by a spouse’s decision to file for divorce. It often isn't until after the papers have been filed that an individual can look back and realize that a spouse was laying the groundwork for an impending divorce.

Barring extenuating circumstances, most spouses who plan to file for divorce take care to establish some type of financial safety net prior to doing so. This is why changes in a spouse's activities or attitude about finances are some of the most telltale signs that a spouse is preparing to file for divorce.

Can child custody agreements be modified?

We often discuss the many important matters that must be decided during a divorce. From dividing marital assets to deciding child custody and support issues, ideally the culmination of the divorce process means that both parties walk away with clear and established assets, custody rights and child support expectations. Except this isn't always the case.

For parents, concerns and fears related to child custody issues are often plentiful. While in theory, the signing of a divorce decree should bring an end to months of uncertainty and possible feuding, some divorced parents may be unhappy with the outcome of a child custody agreement. For parents who choose to take future legal action with regard to modifying or changing the terms of child custody and visitation, it’s important to seek legal advice and assistance.

We are here to guide and assist you and your family through the divorce process

Making the decision to file for divorce is one that is often preceded by months or even years of conflict and unhappiness. Individuals who are facing the end of a marriage may experience a range of emotions and feelings including confusion, relief, sadness, anxiety, hope and fear. While completely normal and healthy, these types of strong emotions and feelings can cloud one's ability to think rationally and make it difficult to plan for and make decisions that will ultimately benefit in the future.

The family law attorneys at Butler & Giraudo, P.C. help residents throughout Central Illinois successfully navigate the divorce process. We are compassionate and skilled family law professionals who advocate for our clients to ensure that both they and their families are poised for post-divorce success.

Do you and your spouse share the same financial goals?

There are many famous stories throughout history about individuals from different social classes falling in love. In nearly all of these types of stories, the so-called star-crossed lovers are often kept apart and forbid to marry or associate with those outside their social class.

Thankfully, a lot has changed with regard to views and lines about social classes. Today, in the U.S. people freely meet, fall in love with and marry individuals from very different backgrounds and socioeconomic circumstances. But, does this love last? Can individuals who grew up with very different life experiences, stresses and struggles relate to one another and overcome these differences?

Will your spouse be there in sickness and health?

When two people pledge to share their lives together and marry, many utter wedding vows promising to be together during good and bad times and in sickness and health. However, the results of a recent study indicate that married couples are more likely to divorce when the wife falls ill.

The results of the study are discussed in the most recent issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. For the study, researchers from Iowa State University tracked the marriages of more than 2,700 couples, where one spouse was at least 51 years old, for nearly 20 years. Findings indicate that instances of divorce did not increase in cases where a husband experienced serious health problems. However, in cases where a wife developed health problems, researchers noted that couples were six percent more likely to divorce.

Are you being short-sighted in your divorce?

Everyone makes mistakes and it's from these mistakes that we learn and grow. However, when it comes to the divorce process, mistakes can end up being costly and negatively impact an individual's future financial security.

We've previously discussed the negative aspects of allowing one's emotions to rule during the divorce settlement process. While most divorces are accompanied by strong emotions, individuals who allow emotions to influence their decision-making process are likely to favor short-term gains vs. those that reap long-term rewards. For example, is fighting over the antique car your ex loves really in one's financial best interests?