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Why does your legal parental status matter in LGBTQ divorce?

Going through a divorce is never easy, but it’s additionally complicated if you were in a LGBTQ relationship. The Supreme Court ruling that lifted the ban on same-sex marriage in all states also opened the door for divorce.

In LGBTQ divorce, family courts struggle deciding child custody. The state of Illinois now calls child custody the “allocation of parenting time and responsibility.” Family courts look out for the child’s best interests. They also want to preserve parent-child relationships. However, this can be difficult and problematic if only you, or your ex-spouse, is the legal parent.

How can I escape an abusive marriage?

Domestic violence affects countless families in Illinois and across the country. Nobody deserves to live in constant fear for their safety, or the safety of their children and pets, in their own home. However, as you may know, leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult. Successfully escaping abuse requires careful planning, as well as assistance from trusted allies.

You may be aware that abusers use manipulation and fear tactics to keep their victims under their control. Regardless of whether your spouse has ever physically harmed you, you may feel threatened and unsafe at the thought of leaving. The National Domestic Violence Hotline suggests victims create an escape plan before leaving, such as the following:

  • Set aside emergency cash in a place your abuser does not know about, preferably outside the home.
  • Talk to a trusted family member or friend about the abuse and ask for their support and assistance.
  • Learn the addresses and phone numbers of nearby domestic violence shelters.
  • Gather items you plan to take with you, such as clothing, important paperwork and personal belongings, and put them in a safe place.
  • Document physical evidence of injuries and keep screenshots of abusive text messages.

Important aspects of property division

When you decide to get a divorce in Illinois, you realize you and your spouse will likely have to divide your belongings. However, this process can sometimes be more complicated than simply choosing what each of you wants. There are many factors that determine how you divide your marital property. At Lavin and Parisi, Attorneys at Law, we understand it is important for you to know as much as possible about this process.

You may think that when you divide your property, you will simply split everything in half. According to, you usually have to give a numerical value to all of your assets. This helps to ensure that you and your spouse receive an equal share of your marital property. Additionally, it is important to remember that your marital property means all of your assets, not just your physical belongings. You and your spouse will typically have to divide your joint finances, including your investments.

The benefits of joint custody

Illinois parents who are getting a divorce have to consider their options when it comes to custody matters. These days, most experts agree that the best option - if feasible - is to have joint or shared custody. It is said to benefit children in many ways.

As FindLaw shows, joint custody allows parents to equally share the responsibilities of raising a child. This does not necessarily mean joint physical custody. In fact, in many cases a child will continue spending most of their time with one parent and have a visitation schedule with the other. It does, however, mean parents have an equal say in how their child is raised. This includes important matters like medical decisions and where the child will attend school.

What should you change about your estate plan during a divorce?

Nothing is constant in life except for taxes and death, as the saying goes. Like many other Illinois residents, you may have already taken care of your tax and inheritance matters by creating an estate plan. However, what happens if you get a divorce?

As you may already know, it is important to update your will, trust and other estate planning elements if you have a significant life change, such as a marriage, the birth of a child or the wish to add or disinherit someone. A divorce can be especially challenging when it comes to changing your estate plan. Rather than waiting for your divorce to be final, there are numerous things you should do during the divorce process to protect your estate planning interests, explains Forbes. The following are some good examples:

  • Find out what the state requires you to leave your spouse and decide if you want to leave him or her the legal requirement or disinherit your spouse – which can result in an inheritance dispute.
  • You might not want your spouse to represent your health care needs if you are incapacitated, so update your health care proxy.
  • Remove your spouse as the executor of your will.
  • Change your power of attorney so in the event you are incapacitated, your spouse does not have access to assets that belong solely to you.
  • Name an alternate guardian for your children if both you and your spouse die before the divorce is final, since your guardianship choice may be different now.

Get the facts about foster parent adoption

As a foster parent in Illinois, you are likely a loving person willing to open your heart and home to children in need. We at Lavin & Parisi Attorneys at Law admire your generosity and self-sacrifice. There may come a time when you want to make a more permanent arrangement and adopt a foster child. 

If this is the case, you should know that there is a lot of confusion and misinformation out there regarding foster parent adoption. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, has gathered some facts that shed light on the issue. 

What types of marital property are considered in a divorce?

Going through a divorce can be extremely emotional and overwhelming. One of the most difficult issues to tackle is that of property division. Separating marital property may seem like a daunting task, as it can be hard to part with things that you have collected throughout your marriage. Yet, it is important to understand everything that constitutes marital property so that you can receive everything you are entitled to in the divorce settlement.

While you may think of marital property as the family home, vehicle, furniture and contents of your bank account, there are other items that may not be as apparent. These include the following:

Moving for work? Divorced parents need to jump extra hurdles

In the business world, your success may lead to promotions or new job offers. These opportunities can mean all kinds of exciting possibilities for your future, but if you need to relocate to pursue them, you might find yourself facing a whole mess of complications.

When you’re divorced, Illinois law can limit your ability to move your kids to a new home. If you plan to move to another city, you’ll likely need to file for a modification of your parenting plan. That means you’ll need to reach an agreement with the other parent, or if you can’t reach an agreement, you may find yourself going back to court.

What is the gray divorce phenomenon?

Whether you have just taken your marital vows, or you recited them decades ago, you probably did not anticipate filing for divorce later on down the road. Yet, divorce is rather common among married Americans, and affects more than 50% of marriages. The rise of divorce in people over the age of 50 is known as the gray divorce phenomenon and it is taking the nation by storm. According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 2.8% of people over the age of 50 filed for divorce a half-century ago, compared to 15.4% in 2011. While people may believe that a marriage that has lasted for decades may have avoided divorce altogether, that is simply not the case. Circumstances in life may change that cause people to terminate their marriage, even later in life.

There are several reasons why gray divorce may be on the rise. More women are in the workforce today when compared to half a century ago when many women were financially dependent on their spouses. If women are faced with an unhappy marriage, their financial independence puts them in a place where they can leave the marriage and survive. People are also living longer lives and may find that they do not wish to spend their remainder years stuck in an unhappy marriage.

How is child support calculated in Illinois?

Everyone goes into marriage with the best intentions. You’ve found someone you love and with whom you want to create a life. But in reality, 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorces, and that’s something for which you should be prepared.

Divorce gets even more complicated if children are involved. Not only will you have to work out financial arrangements with your former spouse, you also need to set up a custody schedule and determine how to support your kids monetarily.

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