DuPage County Family Law AttorneyMany divorcing parents find the prospect of splitting time with their children to be frustrating and difficult. Oftentimes, parents get a divorce in the first place because they differ so significantly on how they believe children should be raised. Even with the best intentions, sharing parenting time and parental responsibilities is a daunting task. 

When parents first begin the divorce process, they will likely encounter some terms that are unique to them - especially because Illinois no longer uses the term “custody,” but rather “parenting time” (formerly visitation) and “parental responsibilities” (formerly custody). While parenting time is fairly straightforward, the term parental responsibilities means significant decision-making responsibilities; but what exactly are those? To find out, read on. 

What are Significant Decisions? 

Illinois law defines “significant decisions” as those related to issues involving long-term importance to the life of the child. Although these can change slightly depending on the circumstances, the most common of these issues are: 


DuPage County Divorce LawyerFor most couples, determining which assets are marital property and which are individual property is fairly straightforward. Many couples own a house, a couple of cars, and shared bank accounts, all of which are probably marital property. However, for some couples–especially those with high net worth, family inheritance, or inadequate prenuptial agreements–questions about which assets are marital property can become very contentious. 

This process is complicated by the fact that some spouses will try to claim property they know is not theirs, or hide property that is technically marital property to try to enhance their financial position after a divorce. If you are in this situation and want to ensure you get a fair division of marital property, an experienced Illinois divorce attorney with the assistance of a professional forensic accountant may be able to help you. 

Asset Tracing

When a couple buys a home together, that asset’s history is usually very simple and there is a paper trail to prove it. Joint signatures on a loan agreement, payments recorded on bank statements, or a title in both spouses’ names makes it easy to track, or “trace,” the asset’s history. 


DuPage County Divorce LawyersAsk any parent and they will tell you that a convenient benefit of having children is being able to claim them as a deduction on a tax return. Married parents receive a significant financial break when they file jointly and claim their child as a dependent. But after divorce, only one parent can claim a child every year on their taxes. So how do parents know which parent can claim a child? And is this a big enough issue to include in financial negotiations? 

Deal with Exemptions in Your Divorce Decree

Parents often forget to deal with taxes during the divorce process. However, parents who do not establish who will be claiming the child as a dependent may be setting themselves up for an unpleasant surprise if they both file. Unless parents specify who will claim the child as a dependent, the IRS considers the parent with whom the child resides for the majority of the year to be the parent who can claim the child. This may not be ideal for one or both parents.

Fortunately, spouses who proactively deal with this issue in their divorce decree can create an arrangement that makes sense for them. Parents can decide to switch off. For example, during even years, the mother claims the child; during odd years, the father makes the claim. Or, parents who have more than one child can divide the dependents so each parent claims one or two children. Divorcing spouses can make this conversation part of a broader financial arrangement that includes an agreement about marital asset division, spousal support, and child support


DuPage County Divorce LawyerDivorce is always stressful, but it can be especially difficult when one spouse is deployed. Spouses of military members who wish to pursue divorce can still do so, but it is important to understand how military divorce is different. Here, we explore three things divorcing military members may want to consider before filing for divorce. 

Choosing a Venue

Usually, a person can only get divorced in the county where they live, but active service members often have several options when it comes to the location in which they get divorced. These may include: 

  • The state where the military member is stationed 


DuPage County Family Law AttorneysMany parents will go out of their way to avoid making child support payments. Sometimes, they will work even harder to avoid meeting their legal obligations than they would if they simply took a job and made the payments. Unfortunately, for the parent who needs the child support, this can mean many trips to see a judge to try to get the child support order enforced. Sometimes, judges can find the non-compliant spouse, hold them in contempt of court, and give them fines or jail time. 

However, in extreme cases, some parents will actually flee the country because they do not want to make child support payments. Leaving the United States does not relieve a parent of their child support obligations, but it can make recovering payments much more difficult. If you have a former partner who owes you child support and who may have fled the country, this blog may be helpful to you. 

Recovering Child Support From a Parent Who Has Left the Country

Before child support can be recovered from anyone, there must be a legally enforceable child support order from an Illinois family court. Usually, these are established during divorce proceedings, but they can also be made for unmarried parents once paternity has been established. Under certain circumstances, a person may be determined to be a child’s parent and ordered to pay child support by default - especially if he or she avoids location or fails to respond to court summons.


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