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Wheaton family law attorneysSharing parental responsibilities and parenting time of a child with another parent can be full of challenges and disagreements. One issue that many parents struggle with is parental relocation. When one parent wants to move a significant distance away, the other parent may be concerned about how this will affect the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. If you or your child’s other parent are planning to move, make sure to familiarize yourself with the laws regulating parental relocations in shared parenting situations. Depending on the distance between the parent’s current residence and the new residence, the relocating parent will likely be required to petition the court for a modification to their divorce decree.

What Counts as a Parental Relocation?

If a parent is moving only a short distance away, the move may not need to be approved by the court. According to Illinois law, a parental relocation is one in which a parent with a greater or equal share of parenting time moves to a new residence and one of the following is true:

  • The child’s current residence is in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Will County, Kane County, or McHenry County and the new residence is further than 25 miles away.
  • The child’s current residence is in any other Illinois County and the new residence is further than 50 miles away.
  • The child’s current residence is in any Illinois County and the new residence is further than 25 miles away and is outside of the State of Illinois.

Requirements When a Parent Moves a Significant Distance Away

If the move meets the criteria for a parental relocation, the parent who is intending to move must give the other parent written notice of the move at least 60 days in advance. He or she must inform the other parent of the address of the new residence, the intended moving date, and how long the he or she plans to live at the new residence. If the other parent agrees to the move and the court finds that the move is in the child’s best interests, the court will allow the parents to make the necessary modifications to the divorce decree.

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Wheaton family law attorneysAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 50 percent of all American families are remarried or re-coupled, and over 1,000 new stepfamilies are formed every day. Being a stepparent can be a challenging role to fill. The stepparent is an adult authority figure in a child’s life but he or she may not have all of the same responsibilities as a biological parent. The path of a stepparent will undoubtedly be filled with obstacles; however, a happy, healthy stepparent-stepchild relationship is possible. If you are a stepparent hoping to have a strong relationship with your new stepchild, read on to learn tips experts say can help.

Develop Healthy Boundaries

It is important to realize that stepparents typically do not fulfill the same role in a child’s life as the biological parent does. The younger stepchildren were when their biological parent married the stepparent, the more likely the children are to view the stepparent the same as their biological parent. When stepparents enter an older child or teenager’s life, it can be harder for the stepparent to figure out where he or she fits in. Experts say that one of the best ways to avoid conflict and develop a close relationship with your stepchild is to develop healthy boundaries. Do not attempt to take the place of the child’s biological parent or immediately become the main disciplinarian in the child’s life. With time, you may choose to take on more of an authoritative role in the family, but doing so too soon can backfire.

Participate in Your Stepchild’s Interests and Avoid Rushing a Close Relationship

One of the best ways you can develop a close relationship with your stepchild is to take an interest in what he or she is interested in. Spending hours building a complicated Lego set may not be your idea of a fun afternoon, but if your child enjoys it, give it a try. The more experiences you spend with your stepchild, the greater your chances are of developing a loving relationship with him or her. However, it is also important not to set your expectations too high. Your stepchild may not be ready to spend a great deal of one-on-one time with you for months or even years after your marriage to his or her parent. Avoid rushing a relationship and give your new family dynamic time to develop naturally.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysWe all know at least a few people who spend a great deal of time posting pictures and details of their lives to Facebook or Instagram. Sometimes, the appeal of posting on social media is so strong that it can cause a person to lose focus on the events happening in real life around him or her. Most people, of course, are able to use social networking sites reasonably to share photos and updates with distant friends and family, allowing them to stay in touch more quickly and directly than ever before. There are, however, some dangers associated with the use of social media, particularly for those who are in the midst of a divorce or other legal action. It is important to remember that anything you post could end up presented as evidence in court.

Conflicting Messages

While the use of social networking sites does not require ink and paper, posts and shared information are often treated as written documents. Emails and text messages, as you may be aware, can be subpoenaed to refute claims that you have made in your divorce filings. Similarly, screenshots of information that you have posted could also be used in an effort to discredit your testimony. For example, if you have told the court that you are not currently employed, but your LinkedIn profile says that you have been working for a friend’s company—possibly off the books—there are going to be questions raised.

Such questions could also be the result of photos and experiences that you share on Facebook. You may think that the pictures of your trip to the Bahamas were hidden from your soon-to-be ex because of your privacy settings, but a mutual friend could have shown them to your spouse. If you have been claiming that you have no money for basic expenses, alleged evidence of an expensive vacation could be difficult for you to explain, even if someone else paid for it.

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DuPage County family law attorneysIf you are thinking about filing for divorce, you may be concerned about the financial implications of such a decision. The process itself can be very expensive is some situations, but you could also be worried about making it on your own, especially if your spouse was the primary wage-earner in your family. To address this concern, you may consider including a request for maintenance with your divorce filing. Maintenance payments, sometimes known as alimony, may be ordered to help offset some of the economic challenges that can be created by your divorce. Such payments are not guaranteed, however, and the court must identify a spouse’s need before ordering it.

Need-Based Considerations

There are many factors that the court will take into account when deciding on the appropriateness of a maintenance order, including the lifestyle that the couple established in their marriage and how the marital property will be or has been divided in the divorce. As you might expect, each spouse’s income must also be considered, but the court will look at more than just how much you and your spouse actually earn. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that the court must also take into account “the realistic present and future earning capacity of each party.”

What Is Earning Capacity and Why Does It Matter?

A person’s earning capacity is the amount of income that he or she has the ability, training, certification, and qualifications to make, regardless of his or her current income. For example, a 19-year-old high school dropout who has been working in fast food restaurants has a much lower earning capacity than a 40-year-old business executive with a master’s degree. Earning capacity may become an issue in a maintenance proceeding, however, when one or both spouses are currently earning significantly more or less than their earning capacity would suggest.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersAs more and more couples wait longer to enter into marriage for the first time, along with the rising prevalence of remarriage, individuals have more time than ever to accumulate wealth and property on their own. Extensive personal assets, of course, can make a subsequent divorce much more complicated, as it becomes difficult to differentiate between marital and non-marital property. For just reason, those who have started a business or obtained ownership of a company prior to marriage are encouraged to consider a prenuptial agreement to protect their interests.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

While the law in Illinois already provides that property or assets acquired prior to a marriage are not considered marital property, complications can still arise. For example, if your spouse owned a company before you got married, the company itself may not be part of the marital estate, but income generated by your spouse’s efforts after the marriage are usually considered to be marital. Similarly, any marital property invested into the company during your marriage may need to be reimbursed to the marital estate in the event of divorce, even as the company ownership remains non-marital.

How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Help?

Many of the financial concerns related to your company can be addressed long before they ever become a big problem, through the use of a prenuptial agreement. You and your soon-to-be spouse can negotiate an agreement to keep the business ownership and operation completely separate from the marital estate. You can also plan in advance on how invested marital property is to be handled.

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree