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Naperville Law Blog

Tips for balancing child custody arrangements with a demanding work life

As you navigate the divorce path, every issue you come across will have its challenges. No issue will weigh quite so heavily as those relating to your child. And when it comes time for the court to determine child custody arrangements, it is not uncommon for parents who labor long hours to feel like they have a disadvantage in obtaining significant parenting time.

What options does a non-working spouse have during a divorce?

It is still a common practice for high-asset families to sometimes have one spouse stay home or only work part-time as a way to provide domestic services for the household. Although commonly associated with the work of child care and child-rearing, a stay-at-home spouse can also be someone whose primary function includes cleaning, cooking or improving the home in which a couple lives without children.

While all of that unpaid labor can mean substantial economic benefit for the family of a whole, it can also put the spouse who isn't working in a difficult position if the marriage begins to falter. Knowing your rights as an unmarried spouse can help you feel safer and more confident as you consider the end of your marriage.

Some things to keep in mind that may make divorce more tolerable

All married couples believe in happily ever after. Sometimes, the burdens of life can get in the way and some Illinois couples find themselves on the other side of the fence and talking about divorce. It's never a piece of cake when a marriage comes to an end, but there are some things to keep in mind to make the divorce process less anxiety-ridden.

About half of all marriages in the country end in divorce. That statistic is even higher for those who have been married more than once. The end of a marriage means the end of a way of life -- a way of life that for some has been for many years. A financial divorce analyst says there are some tips that actually make divorce more tolerable and the one that leads the way is not going through the process alone, but with the support of family and friends and perhaps even a therapist. 

Safeguarding a business against the effects of divorce

When a marriage ends, many lives are affected in many ways. Divorce can also have an impact on Illinois residents who co-own or own businesses. There are several ways divorce can affect a business, so putting some protections in place as a precaution -- perhaps at the beginning of a marriage -- may minimize the impact divorce could have on an entrepreneurial level.

Divorce could be a distraction for the employees of a business as well as disrupt its day-to-day operations since the owner is likely spending time away dealing with issues pertaining to the divorce. If the business is co-owned by an individual going through a divorce, it could impact any partners if the business is on the table as an asset. If the spouses are equal owners of a business, they could also agree to dissolve the business, which would impact employees and/or shareholders. 

Getting together a strong divorce team helps the process

Couples who decide their marriages are over really should consider enlisting the help of some experts who might be able to help them through some challenging times. When each spouse in an Illinois couple has a solid divorce team on his or her side it may mean the difference between having a seamless divorce and one that is exasperating. Having legal and financial advice when going through a divorce is crucial.

Moving ahead in life as single individuals, those who are getting divorced should have a firm grasp of what it is they may be facing financially. Meeting with a financial planner or wealth advisor to come up with a financial game plan is wise. A financial planner will help a client to focus on the attainable at first, so everything else doesn't feel so overwhelming. 

Child custody: Kids need support as issues ironed out

There is no doubt that divorce has an impact on children. When Illinois couples make the decision to divorce, one of the issues on the table is child custody. With such a drastic change to their lives, children whose parents are divorcing might not only have a lot to say about their living situations, but they could be going through a whole range of emotions -- everything from anger and frustration to sadness and anxiety.

Teens seem to be especially susceptible to the stress divorce can cause. Studies have shown that teens have more physically and emotionally healthy when they're living with both parents. But many children do much better after a divorce situation, more so when they were living in a climate of high conflict. Staying in a difficult situation isn't good for anyone involved, including children.

Helping children deal with the reality of divorce

Telling children that their parents will no longer be together has to be one of the most difficult things a separating couple must do. There is no easy way to break divorce news to children, although Illinois couples might be interested to know that there are indeed ways to ease the stress divorce might play in their children's lives. When parents focus their attention on their children and making sure they are physically and emotionally well, the life changes divorce causes may be minimal.

Collaborative divorce or mediation might be a good way to move forward for some couples. These family law options may go a long way to protect children both during and after divorce. Both these modalities take a non-combative approach to divorce.

Gaining custody as an unmarried parent in Illinois

When going through a separation, many things will be simpler because you are unmarried. For example, as an unmarried couple, you'll likely avoid going through the courts when you divide assets. However, other things can become more complicated. Namely, child custody could become more difficult if you have never been married to the other parent.

If you are an unmarried father, it is of prime importance that you establish paternity. If you know that you are the father but you are not mentioned on the birth certificate, you should first ask the mother to voluntarily acknowledge that you are the father. If they refuse to voluntarily acknowledge this, you may need to go through the courts to request a DNA test so that you can prove that you are the father. This will be just the first step in gaining custody.

Child custody and what is best for the children

What about the children? Who will have child custody and where will the children live? These are often important questions that Illinois parents must consider when they decide to divorce. Parents want what is best for their children. Unfortunately, what is best in one situation is not what is best in all situations.

The traditional approach is for one parent to possess physical custody and provide the majority of care for the children. In this situation, the non-custodial parent typically has the children every other weekend and several weeks during the summer. In many cases, this format is what is best for the children.

Family law: Could a prenuptial agreement be right for you?

Couples in love usually end up wanting to share everything and if marriage is in the cards, that usually means the sharing of assets as well. Illinois family law has some tools in place for those individuals who don't foresee issues in their marriages, but who want to be prepared, just in case. That's where a prenuptial agreement comes in.

In many cases, a prenuptial agreement makes a lot of sense. It allows the couple to decide how assets and debts should be divided should the marriage end. It takes the matter out of the state's hands. More couples have been using prenups in the last few years -- especially those who have been married more than once and who are a part of blended families. Instead of seeing this type of agreement as being negative, couples might look at it as a way to open up communication and learn to compromise within the relationship.

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