BLACK, HEDIN, BALLARD, McDONALD, P.C.

P.O. Box 4007, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864 Telephone: 618-242-3310 | Fax: 618-242-3735

Frequently Asked Questions

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.  I sometimes put it this way:  You want it done fast and cheap?  Give your ex everything they want.

 

 

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.  After the marriage ends, what else is left?

 

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

Of course they do — so do you.

 

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 www.ourchildinfo.com as a useful resource to communicate with your ex.

 

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

Child support is a defined percentage based upon net income. 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, extra payments in addition to child support  must be argued to the court.  The Illinois Child Support laws are changing as of July 2017 to be a more shared income approach.

 

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 an unfortunate but 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, and especially, jealously towards a new person to take over previous parental role. On the one hand, it does seem reasonable for the visiting parent which has much less time than the primary parent to use that time to play and enjoy the children and either consciously or subconsciously try to “win” at the parenting game simply by measuring the subjective preference of children. The wishes of the children are only one of several factors a court considers in deciding who should be the primary decision maker for the children. However, 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 is 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 becoming more popular, although not yet required 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. If it is your time, it is up to you to spend, or not spend, that time with your child. 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 makes sense or what is reasonable under your particular time and circumstances.

 

Can I get a girlfriend/boyfriend during this process?

Yes, you can date other people during the process of a divorce while you are still married. Marital property is divided without regard to marital misconduct and therefore 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. If you get a boyfriend or girlfriend, you have probably just cost yourself another $3,000.00 in attorney’s fees.  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. There is little to be done about it in Court.

 

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 get over it. 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 spouse’s significant other especially as it relates to what has now become their time with your child.