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Anderson and Associates, P.C.

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708-226-9904

Orland Park divorce lawyers

Divorce is stressful and it is rare that anyone walks away financially unscathed. Splitting up means leaving a combined household and having to set up two different homes and lives. It also means assets and debts will be divided, and despite the best efforts of the court, individuals often feel shortchanged. However, there are some steps a person can take in order to take less of a financial hit in a divorce. 

Know Your Assets and Debts (And Your Spouse’s)

Not every husband or wife is totally honest about what they own or what they owe. If you are faced with divorce, one of the first things to do is account for all bank accounts, investments, retirement plans, insurance policies, etc. that your spouse has. You also need to know where you stand on debt, like credit cards, taxes, and medical bills. One way to go about finding any hidden items is by getting a copy of your spouse’s credit report. If there is anything you do not recognize, you will need to dig deeper, perhaps with the help of a forensic accountant.

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Oak Forest family law attorney guardian ad litemA Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is a legally appointed attorney who is assigned by a judge in child custody cases at the request of one parent or the other (or their attorney). The GAL is supposed to act as the legal representative of the child or children. They are in a position to spend time interviewing the parents, children, and other parties involved in the case, and they will then report directly back to the judge.

Should I Request a GAL?

While you may feel that your children will be better off with a GAL involved in your case, you must understand that the GAL is not supposed to act as an advocate for either parent, and they will focus instead on the children’s needs. They are tasked with legally determining the best interests of the child. Even though you and the GAL both have your child’s best interests at heart, there may be many negatives to involving a GAL in your case.

If you are financially unstable, for example, a GAL may see that as a sign that you may have trouble providing for your children. If you report concerns to him or her that are unfounded, then the GAL may see you as overly emotional and/or acting out of anger rather than out of care for your children. The GAL may be focused on pursuing specific information that he or she knows the judge will want to know, rather than listening to the issues that you feel are important.

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Tinley Park divorce and pets lawyerIn the not-so-distant past, many people would have laughed at the idea of a pet’s custody being decided in court as part of a divorce settlement. However, last year, Illinois was the second state to pass a law stating that pet custody can indeed be determined in court, based on what the judge feels is best for the pet. Rather than still treating the pets as property, like an inanimate object or financial asset, your family pet may now be the subject of a custody case.

Proving You Are the Superior Pet Parent

Much like in a child custody agreement, judges will now have the authority and responsibility to consider the best living situation for the pets in a divorce case. If your soon-to-be-ex-spouse is ready to fight for custody, you will need to be prepared to prove your worth as a pet owner. Questions such as who took the animal to the vet, who typically cares for the pet, who has the better-suited home for the pet, and more may be considered. You will want to gather evidence, as you would with any other contested part of your divorce, to prove that you are the better pet parent or that the other party cannot give your animal friend the life that he or she deserves.

Coming to an Agreement

In some cases, divorced spouses may end up having to split custody, just like they would with children. In these cases, it is also a good idea to reach a legal agreement ahead of time about who will pay for vet bills and make decisions about veterinary care, where the pet will stay when either or both spouses will be traveling, etc.

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Orland Park Child Support Lawyer

Financial circumstances can change dramatically from the time a couple divorces through when their children turn 18 years old. One or both parents may get new jobs or become unemployed. Either parent may get a raise or take a pay cut. Any of these factors, along with numerous others, can affect the parents’ levels of responsibility for providing support for their children. 

In addition, something may happen that changes the needs of a child and leads to their care being either more or less expensive. Child support may be modified or even eliminated completely, depending on the circumstances.

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Posted on in Divorce

Orland Park divorce lawyersDivorce often brings intense conflict and emotional stress that most people have never experienced before in their life. When a marriage fails, the disappointment and strain that accompany the divorce process can be overwhelming. Spouses are left to ponder a future without one another amidst worries about child custody, child support, visitation, spousal maintenance, the division of marital property, and more.

This stress is compounded when spouses are unable to work together to craft a divorce agreement and instead fight over the related issues in a courtroom. While many people who go through divorce litigation have no other alternative, others – even on less than cordial terms – can avoid court through collaborative divorce.

What Does Collaborative Divorce Mean?

Similar to mediation, collaborative divorce is when spouses reach agreements on the elements that go into a divorce decree through joint cooperation. Unlike mediation, which utilizes a neutral party that works together with spouses, collaborative divorce involves the spouses and their respective attorneys. The most critical facets are addressed in four-way, face-to-face sessions, while lesser items can be negotiated through the parties via phone or email.

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