Guardian Ad Litems: Who are They and What Role do They Serve in Your Divorce?

In any divorce case, the children’s interests are the most pressing concern to the Court. But with both parents hiring their own attorneys, the children often aren’t protected and their best interests may inadvertently fall to the wayside.

This is where a guardian ad litem steps in.

These professionals may be appointed at any time and serve an integral role when it comes to the children in any divorce proceeding. But, who are these professionals, when are they appointed, and what relationship will they have with you throughout the case?

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How To Get Divorced In Illinois: Understanding Your Role

Whether due to what you’ve seen on television or what you may have heard from a friend of a friend, many individuals believe they won’t serve an integral role in their own case. In fact, many believe that by hiring an attorney, most of the issues of their case will resolve themselves and they won’t need to spend much time involved in the proceedings.

However, this just isn’t the case.

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How Long Does The Divorce Process In Illinois Take?

What to Expect From The Illinois Divorce Process

Ending a marriage can be an intimidating process. It’s unfamiliar and a time in your life when it feels as if everything is falling apart. This can make the process even more difficult and, in some cases, stops many from filing, even if they want to.

At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., our goal as your family law attorney in Naperville is to keep you informed and comfortable throughout your entire proceeding. This means explaining what is happening in your case and what to expect next every step of the way.

Here, we’re going to discuss the basic steps present in any case so you know what to expect before you call us for your free, 30-minute consultation. We hope doing so puts you at ease and makes you more confident moving forward and starting anew.

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Mandatory vs. Optional Mediation: What’s the Difference?

Mediation in Illinois is a term that is foreign to most individuals, especially those who are anticipating a contentious separation. After all, to mediate means you must work together with your spouse. And, if you’re coming from a history of disagreements and fighting, this may not seem like a viable option for your situation.

However, this process is an excellent alternative to litigation that can save both you and your soon-to-be former spouse a significant amount of time and money. This means that if you believe you and your spouse can sit down with a mediator and work out some of the issues in your unique case, you should.

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Divorce After 50: What You Should Know

At one point in time, getting divorced after a certain age was viewed as odd, if not unacceptable. In fact, in 1990, only 1 in 10 people who sought out and received a divorce were age 50 or older. Just years ago, that number has grown to more than 1 in 4 people, making the concept much more common.

With this new trend comes something else that’s new: A new set of issues and concerns that are quite distinct from the problems younger couples face in divorce. After all, most people who are getting divorced at age 50 or older have adult children, meaning child custody and parenting schedules are not a concern. Instead, issues such as property division and maintenance are the most significant concerns.

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Who Pays For College And Handles Financial Aid After A Divorce?

College expenses are a major concern for any parent. However, parents who are getting divorced often have more to worry about, especially if a separation occurs well before a child is nearing the age at which they will attend college or pursue vocational school or any other professional training after high school.

After the age of 18, child support will end as this new financial need emerges. But, how much are you obligated to pay and what does the new Illinois law state regarding this issue?

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Post-Divorce Modifications: How Child Support and Maintenance Work

Post-decree modifications are confusing for many individuals. After all, the divorce Judgment and Marital Settlement Agreement are the final documents filed in your case, essentially “closing” it. As such, many are surprised to find that they can return to Court to modify issues once the divorce is over.

Of course, you can’t modify just any issue. In fact, two of the few issues that are modifiable after a divorce is over are child support and maintenance. Primarily, this is because both are paid for a long period of time and, over time, many different circumstances may change.

So, what is the legal basis for modifying issues such as these? We discuss this and more below!

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Creating Your Divorce Mediation Checklist: What You Should Know

When many people think about divorce, they think about months or years in court, endless arguments, and the high cost of litigation should a case go to trial. What many don’t realize, however, is that there is a better alternative: Mediation.

This option is great for couples who disagree over a few issues but don’t want to spend a significant amount of time or money litigating (i.e. going to Court for) a solution.

If you’ve never heard of mediation or simply want to find out more, we’ll provide all the information you should know below to determine whether it’s a good option for your case. It’s important to create a checklist so you make sure you don’t overlook any important elements of this process.

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Why You Should Consider a Collaborative Divorce

When you think of a divorce, a few common things likely to come to mind: Months or years of conflict, a significant amount of money spent, and a formal court setting that makes it difficult to resolve any issues. While all of this can be a reality for some couples, it doesn’t have to be the same for you.

Instead, you can consider a collaborative divorce.

The collaborative process is unknown to many but remains a great way to resolve conflict and come to an agreement regarding property and debt settlement, maintenance, child support, and all other issues without the need for extensive court time or litigation.

Does this sound appealing to you? Learn more about the entire process and how it works below!

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Child Visitation vs. Parenting Time: What to Expect from the New Laws

Before January 1, 2016, it was common for parents to seek “visitation” with their child(ren) as part of a divorce. But now, with the updated version of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Of Marriage Act covers parenting time (IMDMA) in effect since January 1, 2016, there is no such thing as visitation any longer.

Instead, parents are granted “parenting time” with their child(ren).

As you can imagine, there is a difference between the two and it isn’t just the change of the term. In this article, we’ll discuss what the old law was, how the new law works, and relevant information you should know as to how parenting time is determined by the court in your divorce proceeding.

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