child custody

Mar 13

Ways to Save Money During a Divorce

saving moneyIf you have decided that it is time for you and your spouse to part ways, there must be some underlying reasons.  That being said, if you are able to work with your soon-to-be-ex through the divorce process, it may end up saving you money, time and aggravation.  There are other ways to avoid high costs for getting divorced.

A good first step when contemplating divorce is by considering the lawyer you need.  There are lawyers with backgrounds in mediation who can work towards a cost effective and timely divorce.  They act as a neutral third party to guide you and your spouse trough the divorce process to a mutually beneficial agreement.

This has the additional benefit of avoiding a litigated divorce where a judge rules over the division of property, custody and support payments.  Coming to an understanding with your ex might be more beneficial because you both know what is necessary to accomplish.  Also, divorces that play out in court can last a long time, be very expensive and tie up your schedule with court appearances.

It will also be important to carefully report your assets and review your exes’ financials.  Honestly reporting your income will eliminate the possibility of being penalized by paying your exes’ attorney fees, fines from the court or even jail time.  An accurate statement of assets will also ensure that you either receive the most amount of support or pay the least.

Closing joint accounts is integral to separate your exes’ purchases from your own.  Otherwise, you could be held responsible for purchases even after the divorce is finalized.  Make sure to remove your spouse as an authorized user on any credit cards you have from your marriage and change any important passwords they might know.

Now that you are making a transition from a combined income to possibly only support payments, create a budget for yourself.  By learning to allocate for your expenses, you will be more financially able to live your new life.  This is a time to get help from family and friends who can ease this transition and think of other cost saving ideas.  Divorce isn’t an easy step in your life but do what you can to limit the stress on yourself.  Contacting a knowledgeable divorce attorney in DuPage County will also ease this burden.

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Feb 13

Theories behind Increased Divorce Rate in 2nd and 3rd Marriages

divorceDivorces are very common in first marriages as statistics show that 1 of 2 marriages while end in divorce.  Yet the rates are even higher for second and third marriages, 67% and 73% respectively.

There are a multitude of reasons why those who get divorced have a higher chance of divorcing again.  There are emotional explanations such as baggage and commitment fears from previous marriages.  It is hard to stick with a marriage if you have experiences from a failed marriage.  Every slight issue becomes a sign that points to an inevitable divorce.  Rushing from marriage to marriage can exacerbate these fears by not allowing people to grow from their experiences.

Another motive behind increasing divorces is increased self-sufficiency for each gender.  Women have become more financially independent and men are more capable domestically.  When gender roles blend together, people may not feel the need to stay in bad marriages.  They may crave independence that is new to both genders.

The most interesting theory is that the bonds of family are not as present in second and third marriages.  First marriages are when most people have children.  There is less of an obligation to stay together for the children if they are step children.  It can also be said that the presence of stepchildren can undermine a second or third marriage.  Trust is not so easy to cultivate as a stepparent and most relationships remain strained in blended families.

If you are considering a divorce for the first, second, or third time, think about what could be different the next time around.  A divorce allows you the time to think about your relationships and make the changes that you want.  Contact an experienced divorce attorney in Oak Brook to discuss the first steps in the divorce process.

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Jan 13

The basics of divorce

An Illinois divorce can range from very simple to very complicated, based on whether or not children are involved and the amount and type of assets the couple has.

For example, a Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage may be filed when:

  1. There are no children between the husband and wife
  2. The marriage lasted less than eight years
  3. The value of the marital property is under $10,000
  4. There is no real estate owned
  5. Neither party earns more than $20,000 in gross income or together they earn under $35,000
  6. There is no claim for maintenance (alimony)
  7. The couple has been separated for at least six months

If the couple meets all of these requirements, they can appear before the judge who will consider the petition “expeditiously.”

If this is not the case, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must be filed and served on the other party. If the divorce is not simple and issue free, it is recommended to consult a lawyer.

Many legal grounds for divorce in Illinois still exist like mental cruelty, physical cruelty, and desertion. Most divorces, however, involve a no-fault ground for divorce, in which the couple files “irreconcilable differences.” That means that the marriage is broken and efforts at a resolution are unlikely. To file irreconcilable differences, law requires that the couple must be separated for two years, however, they may agree to waive that time period if they have been separated for at least six months.

To promote peaceful divorces in Illinois, the parties can enter into a marital settlement agreement regarding the nature of their property, their debts and maintenance. The terms of the marital settlement agreement are binding on the court, unless the judge finds that the agreement is unfair, after consideration of all economic circumstances of the parties.

Couples divorcing that have minor children may also enter into an agreement regarding custody of the children and a schedule for the non-custodial parent’s visitation. The parties most often agree that it is in the best interest of the children for one parent to have sole custody or for both parents to share custody evenly. Sole custody is when one parent handles most or all of the decision making responsibilities and the children lives with that parent. In joint custody, however, means that major decisions such as schooling, medical care, and religion are discussed and decided upon by both parents.

If the parties are not able to work out an agreement on child custody or division of property, debts, and maintenance, the judge will conduct trials to decide the issues. Jury trials are not permitted.

If you are going through a separation or divorce, contact an Illinois divorce attorney for assistance. Located in Oakbrook and Naperville, Kathryn L. Harry & Associates can help you through your divorce today.

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Jan 13

Sesame Workshop Launches Divorce Kit for Kids

The divorce rate in the U.S. hovers just about 40 percent (or 50 percent, depending on the source), and about half of children in the nation are being raised in two different households or by single parents. Divorce is a challenge for the adults in the relationship, to be sure, but oftentimes the children who belong to the divorce get lost in the shuffle. While there are plenty of sources to help parents cope with children during a divorce, Sesame Workshop, the entity behind the hit kids’ show Sesame Street, has launched a new online tool kit to help kids understand and come to terms with their parents’ split. According to the Chicago Tribune, the kit, “under the educational organization’s “Little Children, Big Challenges” initative, offers tips and age-appropriate resources for parents guiding their 2- to 8-year-old children through complicated terrain.”

The kit includes an online storybook, songs that help children understand and identify their feelings, webinars, a guide for the other important adults in the kid’s life, and a divorce app. Jeanette Beancourt, senior vice president for outreach and educational practices at Sesame Workshop, told the Tribune that “few resources existed to help children cope with divorce, as common and long-standing as the topic is.”

In addition to sharing platforms like this with your kids if you’re going through a divorce, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry recommends the following tips to help both the child and parents cope with the challenge and stress of the conversation:

  • do not keep it a secret
  • tell your child together with your spouse
  • tell them the divorce is not their fault
  • admit that this is sad and upsetting for everyone
  • do not trash talk your spouse to your child

If you or someone you know is considering divorce, the most important first step is to contact a dedicated Illinois divorce attorney today.

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Jan 13

Common Concerns about Child Custody

Divorce is a very difficult process to go through even when it is the best option for your family.  Tough decisions have to be made since no one would want to make children suffer through fighting parents for their entire childhood.  In order to have the best and easiest co-parenting arrangement possible, it is necessary to review the common aspects of child custody.

The first concerns with children are physical in nature.  During the school year, a schedule will need to be maintained which makes it easier for the children to lead a normal life.  During summer break, it is a great opportunity for the parent with less custody to spend time with their children.  Summer months and holidays are prime times for vacations, which can also be scheduled in child custody agreements.

The secondary concerns are more logistical issues.  When children are making their way between the residences of two parents, it is important to consider the time and expenses of these trips.  If one parent does not have a reliable mode of transportation, then the custody order should address the financial expenditures of the other party.  Child care can also be addressed during the divorce proceedings.  If one spouse needs a babysitter, they might lean on the other spouse, but this can strain the relationship if it becomes too commonplace.

As one can imagine, settling a child custody agreement is much larger than it seems on the outset.  If divorce is the only option for your family, then you will certainly need the help of an experienced legal professional.  It would be time consuming and expensing to make a modification after the divorce decree has been finalized.  Contact a skilled divorce attorney in DuPage County who can assist you during your divorce.

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Jan 13

Divorce can Happen to Anyone

According to the Chicago Tribune, “ Big Bang Theory” actress Mayim Bialik is divorcing her husband of nine years. She claims the divorce is not something they thought about lightly. She claims it can cause problems for children and she was not interested in doing that herself. However, she has filed for divorce and is trying to make a transition to a two home living situation as best as possible.

Bialik has long been an advocate for attached parenting and claims that this was not part of the reason for the divorce. This kind of parenting is about a close relationship between the parent and the child and often suggests children sleeping with their parents until up to the age of seven.

While divorce is nothing new in the celebrity world, it is something that most people face and have to do in a manner that is going to be best for everyone involved. Sometimes a divorce between two people can be difficult because one or the other wants things that the other one may not want to give up. These may include children or valued personal items. Sometimes judges will allow children to live in both homes in a split custody arrangement.

If you find yourself going through a divorce, you will want to find a good lawyer to help you out. In the Chicago Illinois area there are good lawyers that will help you to negotiate a divorce in a way that won’t hurt either party or children that may be involved. If you find yourself being served with divorce papers, you can still get a lawyer to handle your side of the divorce. Don’t wait. Get a lawyer that will help you with all of your divorce needs before it’s too late.

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Dec 12

Parenting arrangements after divorce more diverse

 There has been a new study about the amount of time children spend with their father after a divorce and it has revealed a shift away from only seeing their father every other weekend.

Based on a random sample of 408 separated parents registered with the Australian Child Support Agency, the study has found that children move between parents’ homes two to four times within a two week time span.

Dr. Bruce Smyth, from the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, led the study and found that modern parenting schedules show greater sharing of parental responsibility and a more significant involvement of fathers than has been previously the case.

This greater responsibility of the father is also evident in equally shared time arrangements, the most common being weekly arrangements starting on Monday.

Dr. Smyth says that equally shared time arrangements are not the norm, however, new finding have also shown that fewer swaps between parents are better for the children. Fewer swaps help to limit the amount of parental hostility the children witness and create a sense of predictability to them as well.

Any type of parenting arrangement needs compromise; children should have longer blocks of time with each of their parents, but that will also mean a longer block of absence from the other parent. On the other hand, schedules that are more fragmented require more child-swapping between the parents, but it will minimize the children’s time away from each parent.

The study has found that parents are working harder to create a more equal sharing of their children to spend as much time with their children as possible, which has not always been the case.

Ideally, the children’s activities and needs would be the anchor of the parenting schedule, unfortunately, the trade-offs that must be made by parents to balance the needs of  their children and the children to not always win out, according to Dr. Smyth.

The easiest way for a parenting arrangement to work is for the parents get along well, are flexible, and the arrangements are focused around the children.

Parents should be the deciders of what happens with their children after a divorce, don’t let the judge decide. Let Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. help you in your divorce. Contact the our firm in Naperville, Illinois for your divorce to go smoothly.

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Nov 12

New Trend from Tom/Kat Divorce

When Katie Holmes filed for divorce this June from Tom Cruise, people were genuinely shocked.  Celebrity divorces usually draw a lot of attention from the public eye, which is no surprise.  But, when the divorce was settled in two weeks, many people were convinced that divorce trends were shifting.  If Tom/Kat could split amicably, maybe more people would seek similar kinds of divorce.

There is another trend that the Tom/Kat split might start.  It is forum shopping in divorce.  Katie lived with Tom in California with their daughter Suri.  Yet, Katie decided to file for divorce in New York.  The reason for this tactical choice is that New York State is historically reluctant to award joint custody to couples who don’t get along.

Generally, this is a difficult move to pull off in divorce cases.  Most states require at least three months of residency in order to file for divorce.  The residency requirement is a matter of jurisdiction.  Jurisdiction is most notable an issue in international family law issues, especially concerning child custody, but it also has a place in divorce.  In some cases two parties maintain different households and it only takes one party to file to get the divorce process going.  This can allow one party to be able to decide what the benefits are of different jurisdictions.

An example of some that varies based on jurisdiction is that Illinois is an equitable division state.  Equitable division means that property is divided not in half but according to factors like future financial security in an effort to make the division as fair as possible.  While not everyone has the ability to pick and choose the forum of their divorce, you should seek the advice of a legal professional who knows the best options for you.  If you have decided that divorce is your best option, contact an experienced divorce lawyer in DuPage County today.

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Oct 12

American Psychiatric Association Rejects Parental Alienation as Mental Disorder

Despite recent pressure from various lobbying groups to formally classify parental alienation as a bona fide mental condition, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has resisted from officially recognizing this hotly disputed concept by listing it as an official disease or syndrome in its updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). According to the Huffington Post, a spokesperson for the APA committee has commented that parental alienation is not a disorder that is within one individual, but, rather, a relationship problem between parents and children.

Parental alienation is a term often used by psychologists, consultants, and other professionals in divorce and child custody disputes to refer to how one parent acts in a manner so as to poison a child against the other parent, thus causing estrangement between the child and parent. This concept is not without controversy, however. Some advocates of the idea believe that it is a serious mental disorder that necessitates counseling and psychological treatment in both parents and children. On the other hand, opponents of the idea often dismiss it as a strategic concept used by men who are trying to deflect attention from their own abusive or otherwise inappropriate actions in an attempt to gain the upper hand in hotly contested custody proceedings.

Many believe that the term “parental alienation syndrome” came into use several years ago as a result of the bitter divorce and child custody fight between actors Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. Since that time, the concept has repeatedly arisen in the context of child custody battles, often when professionals and other experts become involved. Dr. William Bernet, a professor emeritus of psychiatry at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, has even published a book in which he estimates that about 200,000 children in the United States suffer from parental alienation syndrome, and argues that the syndrome should be recognized as an official mental disorder in the DSM-5.

It is no secret that child custody cases can result in difficult conditions for all parties involved, including both parents and children. Sometimes, estrangement and alienation does occur between one parent and a child, for a variety of reasons, particularly in the context of high conflict court proceedings. Fortunately, your experienced DuPage County divorce attorney can help. Contact our office today for individualized advice and counsel about your child custody situation.

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Sep 12

Technology and Divorce

A recent study at the University of Missouri examined the increasing trend of divorcing couples of using texting, emails and social media as a way of communicating with each other about their children. Not surprisingly, the results show that when couples use this technology in a negative way, it’s the children who suffer emotionally.


Lawrence Ganong, a professor of human development and family studies at MU, and his team interviewed 49 divorced couples, who were parents together, about their relationships with their former partner. For couples who had a cooperative relationship, the use of technology proved to be a benefit for communication and co-parenting. According to a report in the Daily News, some parents even came up with some unique and productive ideas, such as utilizing online calendars to share the children’s schedule and activities. This proved to be a good way in ensuring that both parents were aware of events in the child’s life such as parent-teacher conferences, sporting events, play dates etc.


But for parents who were embroiled in hostile co-parenting relationships, communicating through technology can also be used to manipulate and withhold access to the children. Some parents admitted pretending they never received emails from the other parent. When used correctly, Email can actually benefit parents who have a hard time dealing with each other face to face. Electronic communication allows each party to communicate important information with each other without the need to confront. It also serves as a record of the exchange, however both parties need to be honest and communicate.


Even if you and your soon to be ex-spouse communicate effectively with each other, it’s important to retain an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney to represent you during divorce and custody proceedings. If you and your former spouse share children and are having trouble with communication, our family law attorneys in DuPage  County can help you draw up legal documents regarding rights concerning child custody and visitation, child support, religious upbringing, location, etc. We will listen to your concerns and help you to come to the best arrangement for your family.

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