Wheaton, IL divorce lawyerNot many spouses who are going through a divorce look forward to co-parenting with their ex-spouse. Odds are, you wanted to get divorced because you did not see eye to eye on many topics, parenting included. There is a reason it is so common for parents who are separating or getting divorced to want sole custody, known as sole parental responsibilities in Illinois. 

It can be challenging to collaborate with your former spouse. However, in most cases, children benefit from a relationship with both of their parents. This more than likely means that you and your former spouse will need to work together for the good of your children. One way to set yourself up for success as co-parents is to develop a strong parenting plan

A parenting plan can address a wide variety of topics related to your child’s upbringing, from which parent they will spend time with and when, to who should be in charge of making important healthcare decisions for the child. An attorney can help you develop a more complete understanding of what type of agreements should be included in your parenting plan. 


Wheaton, IL divorce attorneyIn many ways, divorce is your opportunity to begin anew. You may not want to wait until your divorce is completely final before you jump back into the dating world. Many people wonder whether dating during a divorce will complicate their legal process. Dating during the divorce may not have legal consequences, but it could have practical implications.

Illinois Law Does Not Punish a Spouse for Marital Misconduct

Dating during a divorce could be considered “marital misconduct,” even though you may think that it is innocuous. Technically, you are still legally married until the divorce is final. Even if a court were to view dating during a divorce as if it were infidelity, however, it would not affect the key issues of the marriage. Marital misconduct does not impact how property is divided, nor does it affect child support. From a legal standpoint, there would be no consequences for dating before your divorce is finalized unless you were spending large sums of marital assets on the person who you were dating. 

Your Spouse May Take Issue with You Dating

While your soon-to-be ex-spouse does not have control over your life, you need their signature on the divorce settlement agreement to end your marriage. Otherwise, a judge would need to decide disputed matters in a contested divorce. If your spouse sees that you are dating, they may get upset. They may have difficulty processing the thought of you trying to start your life again. Your spouse may think that they need to get revenge, and they may try to do it through the divorce process. They could decide to seek more money or seek additional custody of any children. 


Wheaton, IL divorce attorneyWhen you sign a divorce agreement, you are determining now how future child-related expenses will be allocated between the parents. One large future expense that can be an issue in divorce proceedings is college tuition. Divorced parents may be required to pay for college tuition, even if that child does not live at home and even if the parent does not agree that the child should attend college. This may seem unfair, but you should account for this during the divorce negotiations in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Illinois Law on Educational Expenses

If you do not agree to pay your share of college expenses (or professional education) now, the court may consider it as a factor in the equitable distribution of the marital property. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a court may award money from the assets or income of a parent to pay for educational expenses for the child through the age of 23 (and, in some unusual cases, through age 25). This would obviously include college tuition expenses. 

However, it is not easy for parents of even high-school aged children to anticipate the future cost of their child’s education or even whether the child will eventually attend college at all. Parents can include a clause in their divorce decree concerning how a child’s educational expenses will be handled, but they may later petition the court to  modify it if either parent’s financial circumstances have changed.


Wheaton, IL grandparents custody attorneyGrandparents’ visitation rights have been an issue since the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Troxel v. Granville in 2000. Since then, grandparents have had to petition the court for visitation rights. Courts will only grant them these rights if very specific conditions are met. In short, unless there are extreme mitigating circumstances like abuse or neglect, the parents always are the ones who can determine the best interests of the children. Sometimes, however, grandparents can successfully fight for visitation rights

The Supreme Court’s Holding in Troxel 

In Troxel, the Court overturned a Washington statute that granted “any person” the right to petition for visitation at any time. Under the Washington law, grandparents could petition the court for visitation, and a judge would determine whether it was in the best interests of the children. The Court held that the state law violated a parent’s due process rights to determine what was in the best interests of their children. The end result was that the case reaffirmed parental rights at the potential expense of grandparents’ rights. 

The Illinois Law Regarding Grandparents’ Rights

In the wake of Troxel, Illinois enacted a law that set forth the conditions under which grandparents can obtain visitation. The grandparent must prove one of the following:


b2ap3_thumbnail_Shutterstock_757083730-1.jpgA spouse may try to avoid disclosing assets during a divorce when it comes time to exchange financial information, thinking that it will help them retain more of the marital estate. There are consequences for trying to hide assets, however. A spouse may face punishment from the court and end up with fewer assets than they otherwise would have if they had been straightforward from the beginning. If you are concerned your spouse may try to hide assets, a divorce lawyer can help you trace your spouse’s hidden assets.

A Spouse Hiding Assets May Face Sanctions

When one spouse hides assets, the other spouse may need to hire a forensic accountant and go to great lengths to track down the hidden assets. In doing so, they may incur considerable expenses. If the court discovers that one spouse has indeed concealed assets, a judge may order that spouse to not only split the assets fairly, but pay for the costs incurred in finding them.  

Contempt of Court

In extreme cases, a spouse hiding assets may face criminal penalties for how they behave during the court process. Both parties have the obligation to provide a full financial disclosure of all the assets they own, both to each other and to the court. If a spouse is hiding assets, it means that they have lied to the court. A judge can house that spouse in contempt of court and sanction them with penalties, which could include fines and jail time of up to six months. 


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