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Kane County family law attorneyFacebook and other forms of social media have become incredibly popular outlets for expressing one’s daily thoughts and opinions in today’s society. In fact, Facebook recently announced that it now boasts more than two billion—yes, billion with a “b”—monthly users. Those going through a divorce, however, should exercise extreme caution when it comes to utilizing social media during divorce proceedings. While posting updates or pictures may seem innocent, almost any personal detail could be exploited by a former partner for his or her own advantage.

Courts Do Review Social Media Activity

During a divorce, all aspects of a couple’s life are subject to scrutiny by the court. Information posted on Facebook and other social sites, whether it be posted by an individual involved in a divorce or a third party, can cast a particular spouse in a negative light during divorce proceedings.

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Kane County family law attorneysA significant number of couples in this day and age execute premarital agreements—also called prenuptial agreements—to help settle any potentially thorny issues before their marriage. However, not every premarital agreement can be implemented as written. Some provisions are contrary to existing laws, and some are contrary to what is referred to as public policy. It can be more difficult to establish that something is against public policy, but it can be done, and if an agreement is found to violate public policy, it may be declared void.

Defining Public Policy

Public policy is defined as the principle or legal tenet that detracting from the “public good” is an event to be avoided. In other words, if an action shocks the conscience or the sensibilities of the general public, it is generally to be avoided because the public should be protected from injury if possible. This commonly comes up in issues of divorce and child custody, though public policy questions may appear in many different legal arenas. In Illinois, the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act governs such issues in regard to prenuptial contracts.

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Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County family lawyersIn the past, if a couple with children split up, the children almost always stayed with their mother. Fathers seldom saw their children and were often not very active or involved. Today, families exist in countless different arrangements and forms. Children splitting their time between two houses is now a new norm. How can a parent who shares their child with an ex make the most of the time he or she has? There is no magic way to be the perfect part-time parent but there are some things you can do to help you be the best mom or dad possible.

Think Quality Over Quantity

Many couples stay in an unhappy marriage because they are concerned about their children. It is extremely difficult for mothers and fathers who have been in their children’s’ lives since the beginning to imagine going a weekend without them. Some parents worry that their child will become distant or feel unloved. Co-parenting does not have to be a negative situation for anyone. One step you can take is to change your thinking. While it is true that you will see your child for a lesser amount of time, this does not mean your relationship with him or her needs to suffer. Use the time you have with your child to do something special and meaningful. Take this one-on-one time with your child to get to know them better. You may find that having less time with your child makes it easier to prioritize what really matters.

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Posted on in Divorce

Kane County family law attorneyWhile all romantic relationships can be complicated at times, nothing changes the dynamic of a relationship more than a pregnancy. Some couples find out they are expecting and it is a huge surprise. Other couples may plan for the pregnancy for years and are thrilled when it happens. Too often, however, couples think that a baby will make their marriage stronger, help ease their arguments, and make the atmosphere inside the relationship happier. While this may work in some cases, having a baby is not usually the solution for a struggling marriage. Having a child, while an exciting and wonderful experience, is not a fix-all to marital problems. What should you do when you realize you want to leave the relationship while your partner is pregnant?

Find the Path That Works for You

Some couples will choose to separate until after they baby is born and then file for divorce. Some states even require legal separation before a divorce filing can be made. Other couples wait until after the baby is born to make the final decision. The first step when considering leaving a spouse who is pregnant is to speak to a lawyer about the situation. He or she will be capable of guiding you to make the best decision for your particular circumstances. Keep in mind that laws regarding the divorce of a pregnant spouse vary from state to state.

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Kane County family law attorneyJesse Williams, star of the television show Grey’s Anatomy, has filed for joint custody of his two children after announcing his divorce from his wife Aryn Drake-Lee. Williams reports that he does not get to spend as much time with the children as he would like. The actor indicated in court documents that his estranged spouse “restricts my time with the children and decides when, and for how long I may have them.” He further claimed that he has requested additional time with his children, including overnights, but their mother “has insisted that my time with the children be limited during the week to approximately two and half hours per day.” Williams has requested a court order for joint physical custody of his children. 

Television stars are not the only ones who can find themselves in a complicated custodial situation. Many individuals find themselves spending less time with their children than they would like. Unfortunately, some ex-spouses withhold parenting time from the other parent as a way to stay in control of the situation. Studies regarding child development, however, have shown repeatedly that children are happier, healthier, and make better life choices when they have both parents involved in their lives. 

A Casual Custodial Agreement is Not Always the Best Choice

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Kane County family law attorneysYears ago, child custody arrangements following a divorce almost always defaulted to the mother being given full-time custody while the father was relegated to having a couple of weekend visitations each month. Under this arrangement, fathers may have been able to create some bonding moments, but overall the quality of parent-child bond was generally lacking.

Over the last several decades, however, research has increasingly shown that this “traditional” custody scenario is one of the least healthy arrangements for children. Instead, experts recommend that children spend at least 35 percent of the time with each parent instead of simply living with one and visiting the other on occasion.  

Benefits of Both Parents Having Significant Parenting Time

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Posted on in Divorce

Elgin family law attorneyThe term narcissist is used colloquially to refer to selfish or vain individuals. However, there is a medical condition known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder which can be very destructive both to sufferers and to those in relationships with them. The disorder can become so pervasive in some situations that it is practically impossible to maintain a healthy marriage, and divorce is not uncommon.

Published by the American Psychiatric Association, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is the most widely used diagnostic tool for diagnosing psychiatric and psychological conditions, including Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Those diagnosed with the disorder commonly display similar symptoms, including:

  • A pattern of grandiosity and the need for admiration: Narcissists tend to believe that they are better than others and need almost constant attention and admiration;
  • Lack of empathy toward others: Narcissists are unable to understand and respond to the feelings and needs of others. They may come off as cold and uncaring;
  • Sense of entitlement: Narcissists generally feel entitled to special treatment and sometimes think they are above usual rules and boundaries.
  • Problematic envy or jealousy: In many cases, narcissists do not want to share attention with others and will create reasons for them to be the center of attention. This could include “making a scene” in a restaurant or at a family function;
  • Unrealistic expectations of others: Many narcissists make those in a relationship with them—including spouses, children, parents, and other family members—feel like nothing they do is ever good enough;
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of success, beauty, approval, or achievement: Narcissists often struggle to see the world as it really is, instead viewing the world through a skewed lens of self-importance; and
  • Arrogant, egotistical behavior and attitudes: Narcissists typically refuse to take responsibility for their actions or to be accountable for their behavior. They tend to convince themselves that someone or something else causes every problem in their life. They often view themselves as perpetual victims.

Developing Problems

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Kane County divorce attorneysWhen you are going through a divorce, it can be tempting to vent on social media, especially if you believe it to be safe from public view. However, it is still possible in most cases for your spouse’s attorney to use any ill-timed or ill-conceived social media post against you. If you are not careful, poorly timed social media posts can cost you money or even parenting time with your children. It is imperative to understand your rights and responsibilities in this area.

What Constitutes Social Media?

There is a pervasive misconception that only networks like Facebook and Twitter count as social media during of divorce. In reality, the designation also includes text messages, e-mails and anything of that nature that is intended to be shared via technology with another person or people. Media sent from a cell phone counts just as much as that viewed or sent from a computer, and many are unaware that these types of communication fall under the umbrella of social media.

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Elgin family law attorneysIn this day and age, more and more couples are signing prenuptial agreements before they wed to safeguard their own interests if the marriage fails. The mere act of creating a document like a prenuptial agreement is not sufficient to ensure its validity, however; certain provisions in the document can actually render the entire agreement null and void. Doing some research can help ensure that yours remains valid.

A Change in Property Distribution Rules

While prenuptial agreements—also known as prenups—have become more popular in general, Illinois law has helped contribute to a specific uptick in their use. Before the substantial reforms to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) which took effect in January of last year, property purchased “in contemplation of marriage” was normally held to be marital property and, therefore, subject to the state’s equitable distribution laws. After modification, this was changed significantly, with the law holding that just because property was purchased or received in contemplation of marriage, it did not make that property marital. Thus, a private agreement is often necessary in order to equitably distribute such property.

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Kane County divorce attorneyMany married individuals have encountered a similar dilemma. They open their spouse’s laptop and see an extremely personal email to a person they do not know. Others read text messages on their partner’s cell phone and discover flirtatious texts to his or her ex-lover. Still others may notice that their spouse seems to spend a tremendous amount of time with a certain coworker and wonder if it might be related to the high credit card bills they have been receiving. Such couples may be seeing the first signs of an emotional affair, which—if left unchecked—could lead them down the path toward a divorce.

What Is an Emotional Affair?

Marriage therapist Sheri Meyers says, “An emotional affair is essentially an affair of the heart.” Emotional affairs can take many different forms but often include flirtatious or deeply personal conversations, sharing private details about marital problems, or complaining about a current spouse’s flaws. A person engaged in an emotional affair begins to see the other person as more important than their spouse. He or she might fantasize about this individual and become distant or withdrawn at home.

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