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Family law: What you should do before deciding to divorce

Making the decision to separate or divorce should never be one that is made lightly. Illinois residents have a number of family law tools available to them when divorce is on the radar. Instead of making an impulsive decision, it might be best to take stock of a few things before making any final decisions on whether to stay in a marriage or to leave.

Having some sort of guide might be helpful; if the decision has been made to leave each person should know where he or she is going, especially if children are a part of the situation. Answering the why question is also important for each individual -- why is the marriage over? The answer to that question may make it easier to figure out the steps it will take to leave the relationship.

Divorce is especially complicated when a spouse is pregnant

The end of a marriage is a complex time for every member of the family, but it can be especially difficult when one spouse is pregnant. Custody is one of the most difficult issues to resolve in an Illinois divorce, and there are many factors to consider when there is the custody of an unborn child to discuss and settle. If a couple wants to settle this matter before the birth of the child, it can help for the mother to think long-term and what will work best in the future.

The ultimate goal of any custody order is to preserve and protect the best interests of the child above all else. Since the mother is carrying the child, she will also find it helpful to think of ways to make this process easier on herself and reduce stress in any way possible. One way to do this is by securing appropriate help as early as possible in the divorce process.

Set standards for parental communication in divorce

People who are going through a divorce often don't want to have to communicate with each other. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it can make the situation much more difficult if they have to talk about child custody matters.

When parents divorce, they should never try to use the children as messengers. While this does include having them relay messages between parents, there are other ways that parents might use the children. It doesn't matter which messaging method is being used -- they can all damage the children.

Helpful advice for those who are going through divorce

Ending a marriage is undoubtedly one of the most difficult life events that an individual can go through. Divorce is not only troubling and unsettling, it is also something that many thousands of people will experience. According to statistics, about half of all marriages in Illinois and across the United States eventually end in divorce. Here are a few tips to help adjust to life after a separation.

Those who go through a divorce often find that their entire way of life changes. It is easy to get run-down and fatigued during this stressful and emotional time. Now, more than ever, is the time to practice self-care. Getting proper nutrition and enough sleep are helpful ways to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Mediation may be a viable alternative to court for divorce

There are ways for couples to end their marriages relatively amicably. Couples in Illinois who divorce don't always have to do so in an atmosphere of abject negativity, anger and animosity. There are family law tools available to help each person through this life-changing process and one of those is mediation. With an experienced mediator -- often an attorney -- a couple has more control over their own divorce.

First off, a mediator takes a neutral position to help the couple to reach a mutually agreeable divorce settlement. He or she drafts the settlement which a judge signs and if mediation is successful, the couple doesn't need to go to court. Since the courts aren't involved, mediation can also be much more financially friendly. For mediation to be successful, each party should be completely honest which means no hiding assets and the desire to treat each other fairly.

What Illinois family law says about leaving a minor child alone

Most people are familiar with the Christmas film "Home Alone." In this case, parents inadvertently leave their son home while jetting off to Paris for the holidays. However, what does family law in Illinois say about leaving a child home alone? Legally, in Illinois, a child can be left home alone when he or she is 14 years of age or older. 

Specifically, the law in Illinois states that any minor under the age of 14 years may remain at home without supervision for a reasonable period of time provided his or her mental or physical health, safety, or welfare is not at risk. Still, at this age, a minor cannot be left alone overnight. Since no two children are alike, it's imperative a parent or guardian makes this decision based on more than just the child's age.

Ironing out the do's and don'ts of divorce in Illinois

When a couple's marriage ends, there may be some fear on both sides as to what happens moving forward. Illinois couples who are homeowners and who have made the decision to divorce might be wondering what will happen to their family home and what to do and what not to do regarding divorce. Making a decision about the home is never an easy one seeing that it is likely the place where many happy family memories were made, but there are options guided by the state's family law rules.

When dividing assets and debts in a divorce situation, the best rule of thumb is for partners to agree on equal sharing. Taking inventory of everything that is jointly owned is a good place to start. Once this process is complete, if spouses don't agree on everything, chances are they may need court intervention. There may be instances when individuals don't understand various terms when it comes to the division of assets -- such as commingling and transmutation, and seeking independent legal counsel can be very helpful in explaining what these mean.

Tips to prepare your finances for the divorce process

You've decided to divorce and have come to realize that it will impact your finances in a variety of ways. While you could sit back and hope for the best, doing so could lead you down the wrong path.

Your best strategy is preparing your finances for the divorce process as far in advance as possible. By doing so, you'll never be caught off guard or find yourself making a rash decision without the proper knowledge guiding it.

Family law: Helping children with stepparent relationships

The structure of the family has taken on new forms over the past couple decades. With divorce becoming more socially acceptable, there are more blended families in Illinois today than ever before. The legal issues concerning families are governed by family law and that includes issues surrounding stepparents who may find parenting in blended families a bit challenging, but it needn't be.

Blended families can be perfectly healthy situations for children, especially when both their parents are happy with their new partners. When all involved are cordially with each other and put the children's interests first, children can thrive with stepparents in their lives. But children are known to grasp changes slowly, so patience is important. Children need to feel safe and secure above all else. 

For baseball star accused of having an affair with nanny

Given the emotion that is often involved in divorce cases in Crystal Lake, it is not uncommon to see both sides dig their proverbial heels in and fight for what they believe to be the outcome most advantageous for them. When proceedings devolve to this point, accusations may start to fly back and forth, each with the intent of damaging the other's case. The bitterness behind such allegations can often make it difficult for people to not view them with a certain degree of skepticism, especially when those they aimed at deny them. 

That is exactly what former baseball star Jim Edmonds is doing after his soon-to-be ex-wife accused him of having an affair with their children's nanny. Edmonds (who has admitted to infidelity in the past) vehemently denies the allegations, saying that he views the girl as being like one of his children and that as such, he would not even consider engaging in a relationship with her. The accusation apparently came following a dispute between Edmonds and his wife, during which she called the police. Authorities responded, yet hee was not arrested and it was reported that no assault took place. 

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