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Lake County and Cook County Divorce Law Blog

Is a finalized divorce agreement really final?

You went through the divorce process in Illinois. When all was said and done, you were happy with how it worked out and were just ready to move on. Well, months or years down the line you have realized that your divorce agreement really is not working for you. Is there anything you can do about it? Is your final agreement really final?

Thankfully, you may be able to get your divorce agreement changed. Post-decree modifications are possible if the circumstances are just right.

What role should alimony play in a late-life divorce?

According to researchers, more and more older Americans are deciding to move beyond an unsatisfying marriage by filing for divorce. For those Illinois spouses who are considering such a move, it's important to make wise decisions that are in line with one's long-term financial goals. That includes alimony, which can be something of a risk in later life. 

Spouses who are at or beyond retirement age face a unique set of financial challenges. Many are living on a fixed income, with little room for financial change. Others are still taking care of children or even grandchildren. Older people also face uncertainty regarding their future health or care needs, and how to fund the accompanying expenses. 

Child support mix-up mars candidate's record

Illinois parents would probably agree that making sure the needs of their children are met is a top priority. While child support payments may seem like a simple thing, there is room for error. A simple mix-up can have lasting consequences for a parent, as one father recently learned the hard way. 

Many people choose to use an online portal to make paying child support a simple, private task. A parent need only log into the account and make a payment, and the system will take care of the rest. Unfortunately, if a parent is making payments on behalf of multiple children from separate families, it can leave room for human error. 

Managing a new school year after a child custody change

The first year or two after a divorce can be tricky for everyone involved, but kids are placed in an especially awkward position. For Illinois families struggling to settle into a new child custody routine, a new school year can be a challenge. These tips can help make this time of transition a bit easier for all parties. 

Whenever possible, parents should try to work together for the good of their shared child. That's sometimes easier said than done, especially when nerves are still raw after a custody dispute. But children thrive on structure, and when both parents continue to show up for school events and coordinate about after-school activities, things seem more normal to kids of all ages. 

Making back-to-school stress-free after divorce

Students across Illinois are either in their early days of school or their final days of summer vacation. You may be like many parents who are eager for school to start so you can get your kids back into a predictable routine. This may also be a year that holds exciting promise, such as a special field trip or beloved teacher. Still, if your family has recently gone through a divorce, you may have feelings of dread about how the school year will go.

Divorce is disruptive even for those couples who went through the process amicably. It is not always easy to stay on the same page and offer the consistency kids need. If your divorce or custody issues left some feelings of contention between you and your former spouse, you may anticipate even more difficulty providing that consistency.

Could high asset divorce be contagious among friends and family?

According to researchers from leading universities, spouses are 75 percent more likely to end their marriage if a close friend or family member does the same. That sobering statistic may give some Illinois spouses pause. It turns out that in some ways, high asset divorce might be contagious within familial or social circles. 

Researchers believe that when a person watches a friend or family member end a marriage, a very one-sided picture emerges. Because many people want to portray only the positive elements of their life, they might focus on all of the things they've gained by their divorce. Freedom to pursue personal interests, the excitement of dating, and in many cases, a solid financial foundation can seem very appealing to someone who is stuck in his or her own troubled marriage. 

Lisa Marie Presley fights to seal child custody records

Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley, has been embroiled in a bitter custody battle for some time now. In a recent development, Presley asked the court to seal all records in her child custody case. Her estranged husband, music manager Michael Lockwood, opposes that move. Illinois readers may be interested to learn that the court has sided with Presley, at least on a temporary basis, and the records will be sealed until a permanent decision is reached. 

Presley claims that she found disturbing images of children on her husband's computer. That's the basis of the request for privacy. She asserts that details will arise during the course of the child custody case that the media will share with the public, and she wants her daughters to be shielded from access to that information. 

Don't let emotion overrule reason in alimony decisions

For some Illinois spouses, a divorce marks the end of a very tumultuous and stressful time. It's easy to focus only on the finish line and make decisions that don't benefit from a long-term point of view. But when considering matters of alimony, rash decisions can have lasting financial ramifications and should be avoided at all costs. 

One of the most common alimony mistakes involves choosing a lump sum payment over smaller payments spread out over a long period of time. The motivation behind such a decision is often simply wanting to put the marriage in the past, even if that means taking a big financial hit up front. Some spouses believe they can "make up" the loss through earnings. But what if an unexpected job loss occurs or a business fails?

Considering identity during child custody negotiations

For many Illinois parents, a primary focus during a divorce is how to divide parenting rights and responsibilities. While moving through the child custody process, it's easy to overlook the role that identity will play in each parent's life after the divorce is made final. Failing to address the issue can lead to negative consequences for both parent and child. 

Each spouse takes on an identity within their marriage. Being a "husband" or "wife" relates not only to the marriage, but also to the role each party plays as a parent. Understanding those role and making adjustments is an important part of moving forward as single parents. 

New law could create new embryo child custody challenges

A Southwestern state has passed a law focused on how to resolve disputes regarding frozen embryos. The issue has become the subject of debate in recent years, and various child custody cases have centered on whether one party has the right to use frozen embryos to have a child against the wishes of the other party. Now, at least in one state, the party who wishes to use the genetic material to create a child will have the upper hand. That has many in Illinois concerned.

In most cases where two prospective parents create an embryo and then part ways, the courts side with the party who no longer wants that genetic material used to bring a child into the world. There are, of course, deviations from that approach. In general, however, the courts look down on forcing parenthood on an unwilling party.