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DuPage County Attorneys

Family Law

birdnesting, divorce, Illinois, DuPage County family lawyerThere is a growing custody trend in divorce – one that places children at the very forefront in a new and unconventional way. Known as “birdnesting,” it is receiving attention from celebrities, television shows, and everyday divorcees alike. The big appeal is that children are not uprooted or split between two homes during and after a divorce, and many swear it has helped their children with adjustment during and after the divorce. But is this custody arrangement right for your family? The answer may rest in why you are getting a divorce in the first place.

How Birdnesting Works

In a “conventional” divorce, parents share what is known as parenting time and the child may have two separate homes – one with each parent. Birdnesting is exactly the opposite – parents are the ones who alternate living space, and in some circumstances, they may even be under the same roof for a decent amount of time. And, typically, it is the same house they owned prior to the divorce.

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grandparents rights in Illinois, DuPage County famil ylawyersIn the state of Washington, grandparents are banding together to obtain legal rights to their grandchildren. But what does this mean, exactly? And how – if at all – does the law protect the rights of grandparents in Illinois? If you are a grandparent and are being denied visitation to your grandchild, the following will help you understand if and how Illinois’ grandparents’ rights statute applies to you.

How the Law Defines Grandparents’ Rights

Grandparents’ rights are not like parenting rights, nor do they overrule them. Instead, the Illinois statute 750 ILCS 5-602.9 simply acknowledges that you have the right to ask the court for legal permission to see your grandchildren. Depending on the situation, this request may or may not be granted, and it may or may not be considered “valid” by the courts. In fact, there are only a handful of situations in which you may legally pursue grandparents’ rights.

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gray divorce in Illinois, DuPage divorce lawyersDivorce in the later years of life – often referred to as "gray divorce" – is becoming more common, especially now that people are living longer, working longer, and physically active longer. In fact, one in four Americans over the age of 50 are going through a divorce, which is double the rate from 1990. Unfortunately, this also comes with some drawbacks, particularly in the financial area. Know what your risks are and how you may be able to prepare effectively before filing.

Marital Assets in Gray Divorce

Just like in all divorces, marital assets are divided among those divorcing later in life. For example, pension money, such as IRAs and 401Ks earned during a divorce, are usually split. This can ultimately delay retirement, especially if alimony is an issue. In contrast, if the divorcing couple has already retired, this can create a massive shift, possibly to the point of completely altering the lifestyle of one or both parties.

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DuPage County domestic violence lawyerLeaving a violent relationship is extremely difficult and divorcing an abuser can be a constant uphill battle that feels nearly impossible to win. This is especially true if the children were also abused during the relationship, or if the parent victim believes the abuser may lash out at the children. As such, it is critical that victims understand the potential hurdles they may face during a divorce and how they may best be able to ensure safety throughout the process and beyond.

Safety First

The absolute most important thing anyone divorcing an abuser can do is develop a safety plan. This requires the victim to utilize all the skills and knowledge they have acquired up to the point of separation and to acquire some new ones. For example, a victim likely already knows when to disengage from a conversation or an argument because they know their abuser’s trigger points and behaviors. However, more resources, such as coworkers, family, and friends may need to be notified of the current situation so they can help spot the abuser and notify the victim.

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co-parenting in illinois, DuPage County divorce lawyerUnless you have extenuating circumstances, odds are that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will share parental responsibilities of your children. In an amicable divorce, this might not be a problem. But how does that work when you can barely stand to be in the same room together? When there are so many hurt and angry feelings? The trick is to know where the focus should be.

Stay Child-Focused

No matter what happened in your marriage, no matter how poor of a spouse your ex is, it is important to remember that the time after the divorce is no longer about you as a couple; it is now about your child and what your child needs from each of you. That means that, whenever you are tempted to lash out at your ex, you leave your child out of it. When you are struggling to reach an agreement about who will take your child next holiday or over the summer, you try to think of what is best for your child. And, when you speak about your ex and your child is around, keep in mind that you are talking about their other parent and the words that you say can hurt.

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