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Peoria Family Law Blog

What happens when there's a failure to pay alimony?

When a couple's marriage comes to an end, the chances are high that one spouse will have to pay support to the other. In Illinois, the consequences for the failure to pay alimony can be severe if the payor is in default for several months or more. If payors know they're going to miss a payment, the best thing to do is to notify the payees as soon as possible to make alternate arrangements. Restitution should be made for any payments missed. 

There are times when alimony payments aren't made simply because the payor forgets. In these cases, the payor could voluntarily have his or her wages garnished, the sum of which would go to the payee. By the same token, either the payor or payee can ask the court to set up a garnishment schedule. 

Seeking a child custody modification after divorce

Children often feel the most overwhelmed when their parents marriages end. The law in Illinois says issues such as child custody and child support should always be considered in light of what is in the best interests of the children. Life changes and with those changes may come the need to modify child custody arrangements after a divorce. But a family court judge will want valid reasons before ordering to a custody modification.

Fathers can continue to be great parents after divorce

Most parents always want what's best for their children. That holds true even when parents' marriages don't work out. Divorced fathers in Illinois may find a new way of parenting challenging, but they can be successful in maintaining positive relationships with their kids when they keep a few key tips in mind. 

The first thing to remember is that children may have their own ways of processing that mom and dad no longer live in the same house. It's important to allow children to express what they're feeling and to help them to cope with a new reality. As well, fathers who stay in the same area -- or at least town -- with their children if they don't have primary custody may be able to help their children better. Those who have joint custody need to find a way to work with their former spouse or partner for the sake of the children.

High-profile couple: Judge to stay in Jolie, Pitt divorce

Angelina Jolie's bid to remove the judge from her and Brad Pitt's divorce case was unsuccessful. Most Illinois residents are likely familiar with the details of the divorce of this once high-profile celebrity couple. Jolie claimed the judge had professional and business ties with her former husband's legal team. Ironically, it was this judge who officiated at the couple's wedding in 2014.

The judge said he would maintain impartiality in the case, despite Jolie's claims of bias, which she failed to prove. Jolie, 45, and Pitt, 56, parted ways in 2016 and have been enmeshed in a heated battle over custody of their six children. Pitt is apparently seeking joint custody of his children with the provision that Jolie cannot take them out of the country with his say so. Jolie, on the other hand, apparently isn't happy with the prospect of having to get Pitt's permission every time she wants to travel with the children.

Child custody: What you wear to court matters

When you filed for divorce in an Illinois court, you may have simply wanted to sign whatever documents you needed to sign so that you could leave the past behind and move on in life. However, as a parent, you knew there would be child custody issues to resolve. If that situation has prompted a need for litigation, then there are a few other things you should know, such as how important what you wear to court might be toward the outcome of your case. 

Like most parents, you probably use common sayings when teaching your kids about life. Perhaps you've told them not to "judge a book by its cover," meaning "don't judge people because of their appearance." While this sage advice might help your children become empathetic, compassionate adults, it can backfire if you take it to mean that it doesn't matter how you dress when you go to a job interview or enter a courtroom for proceedings. In fact, first impressions are typically made within seven seconds of meeting someone. 

Science says joint custody after divorce makes men better fathers

Often, some positives can come out of difficult situations. Illinois fathers who face divorce should know that recent scientific data shows men tend to become better caregivers to their children after the ends of their marriages if they share joint custody with their former spouses. With marital conflict out of the way, research shows most fathers step up to the plate and become stellar co-parents. In fact, studies show both parents tend to become more focused on their children after divorce.

As with anything else, positive parenting skills come with time and effort. It's a learn-as-one-goes experience. When men find they have to do things on their own for their children, they become more emotionally involved with them. Professionals say that doesn't mean men weren't great dads before their divorces, but they tend to take on basic things with their children as divorced fathers -- such things as comforting children at night, singing lullabies and soothing scrapes. 

It's in the best interests of the child when dad's in the picture

Most professionals who have experience with children say kids do better physically and emotionally when both parents are in their lives. Illinois family law guidelines always speak to what is in the best interests of the child, so it's usually great for a child when dad plays an integral part in his or her life. The only exception to this is if there is or has been abuse at the hands of the father.

Statistics show that children do better in school and have better social skills when fathers are a part of their lives, and kids who are in their teens are less likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol. When both parents play a part in raising their child, the child also has a better chance of staying out of the cycle of poverty. Statistics also show that when a child has a positive male role model, that positivity carries on into adulthood. 

Many variables to consider when awarding spousal support

There are all kinds of variables that play into who gets what in a divorce situation. Those variables also exist when it comes to spousal support payments when Illinois couples divorce. Temporary spousal support is usually ordered prior to a divorce being complete, while payments become permanent or long-term after a divorce is final. A family court judge will decide which better suits the situation.

The spouse who is awarded permanent spousal support will be receiving it until he or she dies or gets remarried. The court will take into consideration several factors prior to making a decision on how long spousal support should be paid. Those can include the education and skills of both people, the type of lifestyle the couple was living prior to their separation, whether each person has a good job or the skills to obtain one, and how long the couple was married.

Divorce gets complicated if a spouse hides assets

If an Illinois spouse files for divorce, he or she must resolve numerous issues in order to achieve a fair settlement. If the couple in question has children, top priorities will no doubt include child custody issues, as well as child support. Property division is also an important matter, especially if one spouse suspects the other of trying to hide assets to gain the upper hand in proceedings. 

Illinois is an equitable property state, which means the court does not necessarily have to split marital property 50/50. In order to create a fair division of all assets, full disclosure is required on both sides. It is wise to investigate any matter of concern if a spouse believes his or her ex is not playing by the rules.

Things you don't want to do during or after a divorce

The dissolution of a marriage is an intensely personal, private event. If you have filed a petition for divorce in an Illinois court, your circumstances are no longer 100% private, but it's only natural that you don't want everyone knowing your business. Even so, it's helpful to build a strong network of support from the start, including trusted confidants who will provide emotional support as well as legal advocates who can help you overcome any obstacles that may delay or impede a fair settlement. 

There is no right or wrong way to feel in a divorce. No two cases are exactly the same. However, there are certain things you may want to avoid if your goal is to finalize all necessary documents and move on in life in as peaceful and healthy a manner as possible. 

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