How long will this take? How much will it cost?

A case is resolved by agreement or court order. If there is an agreement on all matters, then your case could be completed in 30 days and cost less than $1,500.  If there is a disagreement, then the court process must be followed. It will depend upon the issues, and how reasonable both parties (and the attorneys) are going to be.  To complete it quickly and economically, both need to be reasonable.

It’s all about the MONEY to him/her.

A Divorce is like the breakup of a business partnership. The law seeks equitable division of assets and debts.  Marital property is divided without regard to marital misconduct.  It is common for both to want and deserve an equitable share of the marital estate.

It’s all about CONTROL, he/she just wants to be in control.

This is normal. People want to be in control.

Does it matter who files for divorce first?

It usually makes no difference who files first.  A divorce or a parenting matter is to be filed (generally) in the county in which Husband or Wife reside. In a parentage circumstance, if mom and dad were never married, the one who files first can have a significant effect on the case, especially if they file in another state.  Be careful of relocation issues if you were never married.  Call me for a free phone consultation 618-242-3310.  Also see as a useful resource to communicate with your ex.

In addition to Child Support, what about daycare, extracurricular fees etc?

Child support is not intended to meet all of the child’s needs.  Both parties are tasked with the financial obligation to support the children. Extra support can be agreed upon, however, absent an agreement, payments above standard child support  must be presented to the court.  The Illinois Child Support laws are currently a shared income approach. See the forms section for the child support tables.

My child returns from visitation from other parent and is unruly/belligerent and it takes me hours/days to get them back to “normal”.

The child is testing boundaries and the interpretation or reconciliation of differing parenting styles. Each household has different methods to implement rules and discipline. As the child experiences these different parenting styles the child determines the boundaries of each. The child learns that there are degrees and levels of rules, implementation, and consequence.  It is not productive to address these differences in court unless the child manifests serious mental or physical problems, in which case counseling or hiring a Guardian Ad Litem or Custody Evaluator could be necessary.

Since the separation, the other party has become “DisneyDad” or “SuperMom”. When the children are visiting they do nothing but play video games, eat out, go to movies and play.

This is a common side effect of a divorce. One party realizes that either the time they had together was taken for granted, or now that the time physically apart results in separation anxiety,  loneliness, jealously.  It does seem reasonable for the parent with less time to use that time to play and enjoy the children and try to “win” at the parent. The wishes of the children are only one of several factors a court considers in determining a parenting time schedule.  The wishes of the children must be grounded in their own best interest. If the children speak with a Judge and express a desire to stay with one parent because they get to play games and run around with no rules, a Judge will unlikely be persuaded.

When I am away without my child, or need a sitter, do I have to leave my child with the other parent?

Maybe. The “Right of First Refusal” is optional in custody agreements.  It is a good idea to advise the other party and give them the opportunity to have periods of physical custody if you are away for an extended period of time. However, your time is your time and the other parent’s time is their time and either of you can choose to use it how you wish.  Often your time might be the only time that relatives get to see the child.  Neither can dictate what the other parent does with their time.  The answer continues to be what is reasonable under your particular time and circumstances. Use to advise the other parent as to availability.

Can I get a girlfriend/boyfriend during this process?

Yes. Marital property is divided without regard to marital misconduct and infidelity or adultery is meaningless with respect to the division of marital assets. However, spending money on a new girlfriend could be a “dissipation of marital assets” to be repaid to the marital estate.  I recommend not getting a boyfriend or girlfriend during the time of a dissolution. The goal is to resolve matters amicably and economically. If you get a boyfriend or girlfriend during the dissolution the feelings of your ex will likely be hurt, there will be jealously and anger issues and your hopes of an amicable settlement drop significantly. One party will often not like the other party’s new boyfriend or girlfriend and question how the child is treated when in that party’s care.  If you get a boyfriend or girlfriend, you have probably just cost yourself another $3,000.00 in attorney’s fees.

I have a problem with my ex’s new girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband.

If they have not been convicted of a felony involving a minor, then it does not matter unless objective, actual danger is proven. Even after the negative feelings towards your ex have subsided, it is an odd relationship to manage since you still have to send your child to your ex’s house and they may have a new person in their life.  Necessarily, they introduce that new person to your child and that can be a difficult feeling to manage.  It seems as though a new father or mother, if not actively trying to assume your roll, is certainly significantly present during custodial times.  It is common to dislike that new person and to place blame on them for any child care problems that might be experienced.  I often hear how much the other party’s new boyfriend or girlfriend is dangerous/unstable/invasive/drug problem/terrible driver/bad influence etc.  It is rarely successful and always expensive to try to dictate what your ex does with their time with the child and to try to dictate the involvement of your ex’s new significant other.  Try to separate, or objectively understand your negative feelings towards your ex’s significant other especially as it relates to what has now become their time with your child.

For more information, email me at [email protected]