Creating a Reasonable Divorce Settlement

settlement, DuPage County divorce lawyersTelevision shows and movies tend to depict divorce as a contentious, messy affair where the spouses can barely stand to be in the same room together. Fortunately, this type of case represents a relatively small number of divorces in real like. For many couples, a divorce may be difficult, but it is not usually a contentious and bitter war of attrition. If you and your spouse agree that a divorce is the best option for you both, you may be able to work together to draft a divorce settlement agreement that largely keeps you out of court and focused on building your new, post-divorce life.

Understand the Context

Illinois law provides that every divorce issued in the state is now granted on the no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences. This has been the only possible grounds for divorce in Illinois since the beginning of 2016, but it has been the most commonly used grounds for much longer than that. The social acceptance of no-fault divorce has allowed unhappy couples to seek better lives outside of their marriage rather than waiting or looking for a serious issue on which to base their divorce.

For example, a couple whose relationship has simply broken down over the years has the option of ending their marriage amicably. That same couple may not have had that option 50 years ago. They would have been required to stay married until one of the spouses cheated, abandoned the family, or engaged in a pattern of mental or physical cruelty. A couple seeking a no-fault divorce is much more likely to consider negotiating and cooperating on the divorce agreement than a couple that has been driven apart by destructive behavior.

Focus on the Big Things

A divorce judgment can include a wide variety of topics, including many small details, but the biggest ones are most important. If you and your spouse can be reasonable and communicate, you may be able to reach suitable compromises on most of the larger issues. You will first need to review your situation. What types of property do you own? What do you each need or want? What type of parenting arrangement will work best? Is spousal support needed? By keeping your focus on the most important concerns, you will likely find that you also able to figure out the smaller details as well.

A Lawyer Can Review Your Agreement

Before your divorce judgment can be issued, the court must approve your proposed settlement agreement. It is a good idea to have your proposal reviewed by a qualified family law attorney prior to submitting it to the court. Your lawyer can help you identify any potential problems or loopholes and make sure that your settlement will hold up over time. He or she can also help ensure that the provisions are reasonable and likely to meet the court’s standards.

If you are thinking about a divorce but are interested in avoiding unnecessary stress and expense, contact an experienced DuPage County family lawyer. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we can help you find a solution that meets your needs and provides the security you deserve. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.



Why Was a Guardian ad Litem Appointed to My Case?

guardian ad litem, Wheaton family law attorneyWhen parents cannot agree on how to divide parental responsibilities, including decision-making authority and parenting time, the court is forced to make decisions for them. In doing so, the court will hear arguments and proposals from both parents, but with the understanding that it is nearly impossible for most parents to objectively consider the best interests of their children. Sometimes, the court may even suspect that it is not getting the full story from one or both parents. When this is the case, Illinois law allows a judge to appoint an independent attorney to serve as guardian ad litem (GAL) for the duration of the proceedings.

What Is a GAL?

A guardian ad litem is a licensed attorney who meets certain experience requirements and who has undergone select training related to resolving family law disputes. Each county maintains a list of qualified GALs who may be appointed in a given case. Either party in the case may ask for a GAL to be appointed or the court may make the appointment on its own.

Unlike a “regular” attorney who advocates on behalf of his or her client, the guardian ad litem is not considered to be counsel for any party in the case. Instead, the GAL serves as the eyes and ears of the court in investigative and advisory capacities. The GAL is tasked with gathering information about the case in question and providing a recommendation to the court regarding the outcome.

Cooperating With a GAL

When a guardian ad litem is appointed, it is important to cooperate with him or her during the investigation. The GAL will almost certainly interview you and your child, as well as the other parent, teachers, relatives, and anyone else whose input may be important. The guardian ad litem will probably also visit your home to ensure that you are providing a safe environment for your child. Additionally, the GAL may also ask for financial records, court documents, and other paperwork that support any statements or arguments you have made.

The purpose of the investigation is for the GAL to develop a clear picture of the situation surrounding the child. If you have been honest in your court filings and testimony, the GAL’s investigation will likely strengthen your case. If you have been deceptive, your deceptions will probably be exposed.

Based on the information collected, the guardian ad litem will prepare a recommended outcome for the court. The report is submitted to the court and treated as expert witness testimony, subject to cross-examination by both sides. While the court is not required to use the GAL’s recommendation, judges are usually inclined to give substantial weight to a GAL’s report due to the attorney’s experience, training, and access to information.

Contact Our Office

If a guardian ad litem has been appointed in your child-related case, our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys can help you cooperate with him or her. Contact Andrew Cores Family Law Group to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today. Call 630-871-1002 for an appointment.



Review Your Parenting Plan for Summer Vacation

summer, Wheaton family law attorneyIn just a matter of weeks, children throughout Northern Illinois will be done with school for the summertime. If you have children, you have probably seen signs of excitement. They may be ready to sleep in later than usual and to spend time outdoors with friends. You, the parent, may be eager for summer to arrive as well, but if you are divorced, the extended break may bring a few additional concerns. If you are currently subject to any type of shared parenting arrangement or custody order, it is time to begin making plans for the summer months ahead.

Know What Your Plan Says

The most important thing you need to do before summer break arrives is to review your existing parenting arrangements so that you are refreshed on your rights and responsibilities. Your parenting plan likely contains at least a bare-bones parenting time schedule. In some cases, the schedule may actually be quite detailed.

Many parenting plans offer the majority of the summer parenting time to the parent who gets less time with the children during the school year. This is especially common when that parent lives in another city or state. Other agreements maintain a schedule that is largely similar to the one used during the rest of the year with allowances for summer holidays, planned trips, or other special occasions.

Once you know what your parenting plan says, you can begin to make plans and to start negotiations with the other parent, if necessary. For example, if you want to take your children on a week-long vacation in July, doing so may require the other parent to give up a few days of scheduled parenting time. While this is not an unreasonable request, you should be prepared to give up some of your parenting time on another occasion to facilitate plans by the other parent.

Communication Is Key

If you and the other parent intentionally left your parenting arrangement rather vague regarding summer parenting time, you will need to communicate and work together. It is better to begin the planning process now rather than to wait until the last minute. Planning ahead allows you to know what will soon be happening, and it gives you the chance to keep your children informed as well. Your children cannot get excited about a planned event if they do not know about it.

Regardless of what has occurred between you and the other parent, do your best to remain flexible this summer—at least to a certain extent. Summer is the perfect setting for spontaneous day trips, baseball games, and picnics. Your children’s other parent may ask for an extra day to offer them an impromptu surprise, or you may have a similar idea of your own. Be willing to extend such a courtesy, as doing so can allow your children to get the most out of this summer’s break.

If you are struggling to come up with a summer parenting time schedule or your existing arrangement needs to be amended, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.