Handling Disparities in Grief and Anger During a Divorce

Mchenry Family LawyerA Mchenry family lawyer can assist clients with understanding and handling feelings of anger and grief in a divorce.

A Mchenry Family Lawyer Often Sees Disparities in Grief in a Divorce

When a divorce is occurring, there are sometimes various rates of grieving between the spouses. Many times, if there is a difference between how spouses are handling the divorce, it can impact its negotiation and settlement. If one is more grief-stricken than the other, it can lead to delays in concluding the process. Time is commonly the best healer when it comes to a disparity in grief.

The husband might be depressed and won’t be able to move forward until he believes the wife is grieving about the divorce as well.

How a Mchenry Family Law Attorney Will Help With Handling Anger

Anger is commonplace in a divorce. This is because:

  1. Anger is generally what spurred the divorce to begin with, and those feelings don’t simply go away. People are usually quick to respond to anger with anger;
  2. Being angry is contagious. When attacked in anger, the subject of the attack will respond in kind; and
  3. If the situation is chaotic, uncertain or frustrating, the only way some people have to deal with it is to become angry.

Methods to Deal With Anger

If there is anger, your lawyer will tell you not to respond angrily. It is a waste of energy to do so. The angry spouse must receive an acknowledgement of the anger, but responding with more anger can lead to the situation escalating. Maintaining calm is preferable than the natural reaction of fighting fire with fire.

Speak to an Experienced Mchenry Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about how to approach an angry spouse in a divorce proceeding, a lawyer can help. Call the Stetler Law Group at (815) 529-4554 today.

Long Distance Visitation in Illinois Divorces


As gas prices are again increasing, it is a reminder to divorced and separated parents as well as those who may be going through a divorce to pay attention to the details.  In this case, the detail I am referring to is what can be the rather substantial cost of transportation of children for activities and visitation.

In just about every case, the non-custodial parent will pay child support based on a statutory percentage to the custodial parent.  Those funds are meant to assist with the expenses of the child.  The statute does not require the funds to be used directly on the child nor is there any requirement for an accounting.  And, frankly, such an accounting would be near impossible.  However, in addition to child support, the courts in Illinois and in McHenry County often order the custodial and non-custodial parent to share extra-curricular activity expenses.  Usually, this is limited to fees and special clothing, but in some McHenry County cases, where the children’s activities involve significant travel and gas expenses, some judges will consider providing for the division of fuel expenses.  If you are in McHenry County and need a divorce lawyer to discuss setting or modifying child support, you can contact me for a free consultation.  My offices are conveniently located in Woodstock, Illinois — a short distance from the McHenry County Government Center.

In addition to gas and transportation for extracurricular activities, in some divorce and child support cases, the cost and time commitment for transportation for visitation or parenting time can also be contested.  Each judge and each county may be different.  Making these sorts of decisions is within the judge’s discretion.  I have found in McHenry County and in front of other judges, that there is a preference for sharing the burden of transportation, both as to time and cost.  However, when one party moves out of the area resulting in substantial increases to the cost for transportation, the divorce courts, both in McHenry County and other Illinois counties, seem inclined to apportion the additional costs and time to the parent who moved.  This can be a devastating additional cost if a custodial parent or non-custodial parent who was having a hard time obtaining employment finds they need to move 30, 60, 90 or even 150 or more miles away in order to find appropriate or better employment.  Given current fuel costs, a visiting parent responsible for all transportation living 100 miles from the child can expect to spend an additional $120 per month on fuel, or more than $1,400 per year.  Similarly, a custodial parent who takes a job elsewhere to make ends meet or obtain additional income, could find the benefit eaten away at by the higher costs for transportation if that burden falls on them.

Both sides in these cases have good points.  The party who did not move will certainly not want to pay anything more or spend any more time doing transportation because the other side moved.  The party moving, especially if they feel like they needed to to obtain or maintain employment, will not want to lose time with their children or have to pay the additional costs in money and time for transportation.  And both sides have valid arguments.

Hague Convention on International Child Abduction

In 1980 the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (for the remainder of this article “Hague Convention”) was concluded and adopted. As of 2012, there were 89 countries that had adopted the Convention. The intent of the Hague Convention is to quickly resolve cases where a child has been wrongfully removed from his or her country. While it is titled child abduction, it often is applied to cases where a parent wrongfully removes a child to another country to avoid custody or visitation laws.

The Hague Convention applies to all children under the age of 16. It requires contracting states to return children to the country of habitual residence (where the child usually lived) if the child was removed from the original country in violation of custody rights or rights of access. This usually happens where a custodial parent improperly moves to another country, violating the visiting parent’s visitation rights or when a visiting parent abducts the child and takes the child to another country to avoid the effect of a custody order.

The Hague Convention states that the responding country shall return the child if the application for return is made within one year of the wrongful removal and will also require the return of the child if the application is made more than one year after the removal unless the child is now settled in his or her new environment.

There are, however, exceptions. The Hague Convention does not require the child to be returned if the custodial parent was not actually exercising custodial rights, consented to the removal, or acquiesced in the removal. The court can also refuse to return the child if returning the child would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or place the child in an intolerable situation. These exceptions have been very narrowly construed fairly consistently.

In addition to requiring the return of the child to the country of habitual residence, the convention also allows for an award of costs and fees against the party who improperly removed the child. Fees include attorney fees, travel expenses, court costs, as well as expenses incurred in attempting to locate the child and the other party.

Hague Convention cases are rare, but can be complex and expensive. Having a basic understanding of your rights under the convention, though, is the first step in protecting yourself and your children.

New Maintenance Guidelines on Governor’s Desk

A new bill regarding guideline spousal support, or maintenance, is now on Governor Quinn’s desk awaiting his signature.  The bill makes substantial changes to spousal support in Illinois.

There is now a mandatory term of maintenance equal to 20% of the marriage in marriages of less than 5 years, 40% in marriages of less than 10 years, 60% for marriages of less than 15 years, 80% for marriages of less than 20 years and 100% for marriages of 20 years (or permanent as the court determines).  The statute is unclear regarding possible extensions of maintenance, but does state a court can “permanently terminate” maintenance in marriages of less than 10 years.  That indicates to me that all other maintenance awards are reviewable in nature.

The amount of maintenance is always set based on 30% of the obligor’s gross income less 20% of the obligee’s gross income.  So where the husband earns $100,000 and the wife earns $20,000, maintenance would be $26,000 per year.  The maintenance may not be more than an amount necessary to give the obligee more than 40% of the total gross income ($48,000 in my example above).

The amount paid for maintenance is now also a deduction in calculating net income for child support, meaning child support calculations will now likely result in significantly lower child support awards in medium or long term marriages.

For lawyers and judges, the new statute also requires the court to make specific findings in every judgment as to each maintenance factor.  It does not indicate that this is required only in disputed cases, but in all cases, even when there is no deviation from the statutory guidelines (divorce judgments are about to become significantly longer and likely a larger part of the litigation).

This is not law yet.  In McHenry County Illinois, this will likely significantly change the way maintenance is awarded in short term marriages (where maintenance is usually for a very short time or for a very small amount) and in long term marriages (equalization of incomes for retired couples would be a deviation from guidelines and require special findings, which judges seem hesitant to make).  For 10-20 year marriages, I believe the actual effective difference will be minimal on average, though the effect on each case will be unique.  If you are going through a divorce in McHenry County or Northern Illinois and need an experienced divorce lawyer, please contact me.

Collaborative Divorce

Going to court over a divorce is usually expensive, stressful and hurtful to the parties involved. It rarely results in either party feeling good about the process. An alternative is collaborative divorce, where both spouses try to work together amicably to mutually dissolve the partnership. It’s a good option for those trying to avoid the pain and frustration of going through the courts.


Parenting Plans for Kids 6 to 8

Mchenry family lawyerAs you discuss potential custody arrangements, your Mchenry family lawyer may explain that parenting plans can be different for each age group. Kids of this age cherish time with both parents and do not want to feel disloyal to their parents.

Developmental Needs

A Mchenry family lawyer can explain the developmental needs of children this age. Namely, children of this age are in tune with their feelings regarding the divorce. They may cry and mourn when time with a parent ends. Children of this age often hope that their parents get back together and sometimes are forced into the role of taking care of the emotional needs of their parents. However, a Mchenry family lawyer can explain that children are the ones who need protection during this age. They should not be privy to conflict between the spouses or negative information related to the divorce.

Potential Problems

A Mchenry family law attorney can warn against taking certain action that can adversely affect your child. For example, he or she may warn against trying to make your child feel ashamed to enjoy time with the other parent. Additionally, one parent can harm the child’s relationship with the other parent by speaking badly about him or her in front of the child. Instead, children should have freedom to contact and become emotionally attached to both parents.

Signs of Problems

Children may have certain behaviors if they are struggling with the divorce. For example, they may become inattentive or misbehave in school. Additionally, they may say that they do not like school because they feel that they are inadequate in dealing with the family problems. Children may also say things that they think their parent wants to hear instead of what the truth is.

Potential Parenting Plans

Kids this age are discovering themselves and transitioning by entering school. They are gaining an independent sense of self that is not connected to their identity at home. School provides a source for smooth transactions. Kids may spend four to five days away from a parent at a time. Parenting plans should provide consistency and predictability.

If you would like to devise a parenting plan for your young school-aged child, contact a Mchenry family law attorney from the Stetler Law Group at (815) 529-4554.

What Consequences Could I Face If I Don’t Pay Alimony?

A divorce can only be granted by the courts. Part of the final divorce decree can include alimony payments. That would make those payments an official ruling of the court. Failure to follow that ruling can have very serious consequences. If your spouse takes you back to court, you could end up with your paycheck being garnished or with a lien placed on your property.

15 Simple Techniques To Improve Communication With Your (Ex) Spouse

If you are going through a divorce, it’s not unusual for you to have a hard time getting along with your ex-spouse. To avoid any unnecessary drama with your spouse and ensure that your divorce process will be resolved amicably, be sure to check out these 15 helpful tips on improving communication with your spouse.

Mchenry Divorce Attorneys on using Property Liens for Unpaid Child Support

Couple fighting Mchenry Divorce AttorneysIn Illinois, a lien arises by operation of law against the real property of a non-custodial parent who falls behind on his or her child support obligations. However, whether the lien actually attaches to the property and what the child support payer can do about the lien depends on the facts and circumstances of the specific case.

Initiation of Complaint

The custodial parent must file a verified complaint with the Illinois State Attorney’s office. If the complaint is deemed valid, the office may institute an action for back child support payments.

Enforceable Upon Recording

The recording of a notice of a lien along with the support order must be filed in the recorder’s office of the county or counties where the real estate is located. The State of Illinois is the holder of the interest in the property in the amount of the past-due child support. As with other liens, the State may initiate a foreclosure proceeding to satisfy the amount owed, or may wait until the property is sold or refinanced and collect the money at that time.

Contesting the Lien

One method of opposing the lien is demonstrating the underlying support order relied on for establishing the lien is incorrect or invalid. Absent that possibility, the obligated payer may be able to contend that the existence of the lien impairs his or her ability to make current child support payments if, for instance, the lien makes it impossible to borrow money on the property that is intended for support payments.

Release of Lien

If the lien is invalid or if the payer has made all the payments owed, it is important to release the lien so the title to the property may be cleared. If the payments have been satisfied, an affidavit indicating that fact must be filed in the recorder’s office and notice served to the custodial parent. If a mistake was made in establishing the lien, it can be difficult to correct. Proper documentation must be provided to clearly show payments were actually made and in what amounts or why payments were not in fact owed.

Contact Mchenry Divorce Attorneys for Legal Advice

Child support issues can be ongoing long after the divorce is finalized. If you are owed child support or believe you are paying too much, it is important to learn the facts and explore your options. Begin with a call to the Stetler Law Group, Mchenry divorce attorneys, at (815) 529-4554.

Making Schedules and Helping Children Grow Accustomed to a Divorce

Woodstock family attorney

A Woodstock family attorney can provide advice for helping parents handle situating children with the new circumstances.

A Woodstock Family Attorney Will Stress the Importance of Setting a Schedule

If there is a set schedule for contact and interaction with children, your Woodstock family lawyer will tell you that a lot of trouble can be avoided. There are bound to be peaks and valleys in a post-divorce relationship, and with a schedule that doesn’t need to be negotiated, much aggravation and bickering can be averted.

A Woodstock Family Lawyer Will Tell Parents to Remember How Things Worked While They Were Married

A Woodstock family attorney will explain why it’s imperative to maintain a similar schedule after the marriage to what there was during the marriage. This can only benefit children and make the transition more easily. If there are changes necessary, everyone should be on the same page with the child involved.

Be Aware of the Interests of Younger Children

The parents’ desires should be secondary to what’s in the best interests of the children, especially younger children. A Woodstock family attorney often sees parents who put their own feelings ahead of the child. If the child doesn’t have contact with both parents on a regular basis, this can be negative. Any issues that might put the child in danger must be addressed with the court.

A Woodstock Family Attorney Will Point Out the Importance of Recreational and Everyday Involvement

Children need structure and parental encouragement. Homework, sporting activities, responsibilities around the house – all of these things can give the child organization and a feeling that both parents care enough to participate.

Contact an Experienced Woodstock Family Lawyer

If you have questions about how to handle scheduling and the care of children after a divorce, a Woodstock family attorney can help. Call the Stetler Law Group at (815) 529-4554 today.


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