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Posted on in Child Custody

Wheaton IL family law attorneyPhysical discipline, including spanking, used to be a much more common punishment for children in the United States. Now, many parents view it as a thing of the past, but there are still those who believe it is sometimes an appropriate form of discipline. This can be a major source of conflict between divorced and unmarried parents who are in a custody dispute and are dissatisfied with each other’s parenting strategies. During these cases, questions may arise about whether physical discipline is ever appropriate, and how a history of physical punishment can affect the allocation of parental responsibilities.

Is Spanking Against the Law?

There is a law in Illinois that deals with spanking and other forms of corporal punishment, but the language is quite vague. Parents are not legally prohibited from spanking their children, but inflicting “excessive corporal punishment” is considered child abuse, and it can be grounds for action by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

But what constitutes “excessive”? This is subjective, not only in terms of what a parent believes, but in terms of what a judge might believe. The court is required to determine what is in the best interests of the child, but the result may seem subjective.

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Posted on in Child Custody

Wheaton IL family law attorneyDuring a contentious divorce or custody battle, parents may not be able to agree on what is best for their child. A judge, who is a third-party observer, will hear arguments from both parents’ lawyers but may still need to know more. One way courts in Illinois deal with situations like this is by appointing a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the child. This is especially true when there are allegations of abuse. But what exactly is a guardian ad litem, and what can you expect them to do in your case?

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

A guardian ad litem (GAL) in Illinois is a person who has undergone specific and ongoing training that qualifies them to act as an independent representative of a child in a divorce or custody case. They are also often a licensed attorney, but when acting as a GAL, they do not represent either of the parents, but rather function as a kind of special investigator whose role is to collect information and analyze the entire family situation of the child.

Even if a parent requests a guardian ad litem be appointed by the court, the GAL is concerned only with understanding a child’s best interests. They will meet with parents, teachers, and extended family members, assess each parent’s living situation, and investigate any allegations of domestic violence or abuse. They will then create a report to detail their findings.

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Wheaton IL child custody lawyerIn 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and changed the way marijuana is treated under Illinois state law. Although marijuana use and possession remain illegal under federal law, this follows a national trend of legalizing marijuana use on the state level.

Included in this new law are provisions which state that marijuana use in and of itself cannot be used as a factor in making decisions in child custody disputes. Judges, custody evaluators, and guardians ad litem are not allowed to discriminate against a custodial parent based on recreational or medicinal marijuana use.

However, this law has certain limitations. Like alcohol, marijuana usage can cross into unhealthy behaviors, particularly when children are in the picture. Keeping a few basic principles in mind will help you keep your children safe and ensure marijuana never becomes an issue in a child custody dispute.

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dupage county divorce laywerGetting a divorce does not always mean you will receive spousal support from your spouse afterward. If the couple does not have a valid prenuptial agreement dictating maintenance and cannot agree to a spousal maintenance arrangement, out of court, spousal maintenance decisions will be left up to a judge. The court uses a variety of factors to determine whether or not a maintenance award is appropriate. These factors include things such as each spouse’s age, health, occupation, income, earning potential, and any impairment to their employability or earning potential. Fighting for a maintenance payment can be a battle in itself. However, many divorcing spouses who depend on that support are also concerned with how long the payments will last.

Length of Spousal Maintenance

In many cases, spousal maintenance does not last forever. In fact, courts have moved away from spousal maintenance payments being the norm. In many cases these days, both spouses are employed and have income when they divorce, decreasing or eliminating the need for spousal support. However, if spousal support is deemed necessary and is awarded to the spouse, then the court will follow guidelines set out in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Illinois law states that the length of spousal maintenance payments is calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage in years by a specific factor. However, if the marriage lasted for 20 or more years, the court can decide to award maintenance indefinitely. For example, if a couple was married for 14 and a half years, the court would multiply 14.5 by .60 to come up with 8.7. This means that the couple in this example would be paying and receiving support for a little more than 8 and a half years. Maintenance automatically terminates when the recipient remarries. 

Discuss Your Case With a DuPage County Spousal Maintenance Attorney

For many couples, spousal maintenance can be a contested issue. If you and your spouse do not agree on the topic of spousal maintenance during your divorce, you should seek help from a skilled Wheaton, IL spousal maintenance lawyer to discuss your options. To schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney from the Andrew Cores Family Law Group, call our office today at 630-871-1002.

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dupage county divorce lawyerAn engagement ring is an important part of getting married for many people. Engagement rings have a long history, dating all the way back to ancient Roman times when they were made out of things like ivory or iron. Diamond engagement rings did not become popular until the late 1940s when De Beers, a British jeweler, launched one of the most successful ad campaigns in history. The world became convinced that indeed, “Diamonds are forever,” making diamond engagement rings the “standard.” Now, the average American spends around $7,750 on an engagement ring, making it a valuable piece of marital property. One of the questions that many divorcing couples have during the property division process is about the engagement ring. Who gets to keep it?

Property Division Laws

Illinois makes a distinction between marital and nonmarital property during divorce. Illinois law states that any and all marital property is subject to division. Marital property includes any property that either spouse acquired during the marriage or any debt that either of them might have taken on. Nonmarital property is anything that either spouse acquired prior to the marriage. However, there are exceptions to that rule. Property that was acquired through inheritance, property acquired in exchange for that property, property acquired as a gift, and property that is excluded by a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is not part of the marital estate.

Determining Who Gets the Ring 

Illinois law states that gifts are the property of the person who receives them, even in a divorce and even if the gift was exchanged between spouses. A gift that either spouse receives at any point is considered to be nonmarital property. It is customary to give an engagement ring before the marriage, with the intent that the recipient will go through with their promise of betrothal. As long as the marriage happens, the engagement ring is the irrevocable property of the person who received it. 

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