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Columbia Divorce & Family Law Blog by Stange Law Firm, PC

Military retirement pay and divorce property division

When military members in Illinois decide to divorce, they may be concerned about some special issues due to their situation. Of course, under state law, members of the military are the same as everyone else, with equal rights to divorce, child custody and property division. However, the divorce process may take a longer period of time if one party is stationed overseas or has been deployed abroad, even though residency requirements are often relaxed for active duty military members.

When it comes to property division in a military divorce, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act may be relevant. It directs that state law should apply to child support, alimony and other provisions of the divorce but also indicates that military retirement pay could be viewed as property rather than income. If the couple was married for 10 years before their divorce through 10 years of military service, the non-military spouse may be entitled to receive a portion of direct retirement payments from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). The 10 years of military service must fully overlap with 10 years of marriage for the spouse to retain this eligibility.

Keeping a home after a marriage ends

45169186_s.jpgThose who are going through the divorce process in Illinois or anywhere else may want to keep the homes that they currently live in. The first step in securing sole ownership of a home is to determine its market value. This is important because it will determine how much the other spouse could be owed in a buyout. However, it is also important because the person who wants to keep the house must have the financial resources to do so.

A person who can't afford to purchase a home is unlikely to get permission to do so from the other spouse. A lack of financial resources may also be difficult to get a new mortgage or to refinance the current loan. In some cases, an individual might be able to pay off the other spouse by selling assets or raiding a savings account.

Officials launch plan to support domestic violence victims

91347574_s.jpgIllinois officials have raised concerns about domestic violence in the state, with Rockford police saying that they receive around 5,000 calls each year about incidents related to family violence. However, experts say that police calls do not capture the true scope of the problem, as many incidents go unreported and are handled outside the legal system. Advocates say that they are attempting to make the system easier to navigate and more palatable for survivors of domestic violence, launching a project called the Family Peace Center.

One spokesperson emphasized that domestic violence is a widespread problem with repercussions that cross socioeconomic lines. She noted that unemployment and drug abuse are other types of social problems but not the cause of domestic violence, as many people responsible for domestic abuse are gainfully employed but still engaging in violent behaviors inside the home. She also emphasized that the perpetrator is responsible for their actions, dismissing attempts to link violence to other issues that could provoke a previously unthinkable outburst. She also noted that domestic violence is often linked to other types of crimes and comprises 38% of the overall violent crime problem in the area.

Allegations of abuse are often ignored in custody disputes

27421952_s.jpgFamily law judges in Illinois and around the country tend to prefer joint child custody arrangements whenever possible because children tend to adjust to the realities of divorce better when they spend time with both their fathers and their mothers. Exceptions are made to prevent children being placed in dangerous situations, but the results of a study of 2,000 cases reveals that fathers are often favored in custody disputes even when there are credible allegations of abuse, parental alienation or domestic violence.

The National Institute of Justice study reveals that judges are often swayed when fathers accuse mothers of turning their children against them. The George Washington University professor behind the study found that mothers are about twice as likely to be denied physical custody when fathers accuse them of parental alienation. Judges also tend to pay scant attention to allegations of domestic abuse unless social workers uncover evidence that supports them.

How to help children after a divorce

31019968_s.jpgOne of the biggest concerns Illinois parents have after getting a divorce is making sure that their children will be all right. Some parents worry that their children will never recover and get bad grades in school, take drugs, go to jail, have mental health problems and so forth. However, the reality is that children with parents who went through a divorce can do just as well as children with parents who stay together.

Studies have revealed that the quality of the relationship of the divorced parents can be a big factor in how well the children will do after the divorce. It is best for parents to keep their relationship with each other civil. If they treat each other with respect, support each other in parenting and recognize the important role that each parent plays in the lives of their children, the children will have the best shot at success possible.

What parents should know about wage garnishment and child support

47191896_s.jpgParents who have gone through a divorce in Illinois may wonder how wage garnishment and child support work. A state child support agency and local courts usually initiate and coordinate with the employer of a parent who owes child support.

The law allows up to 50% of a parent's check to be garnished by employers in order to cover child support that is past due. In a case where a parent is not supporting other children or a spouse, up to 60% of their check could be garnished by their employer. If a parent has not paid for more than 12 weeks, the garnishment could be increased up to 65%.

Parental income plays a role in child support orders

Judges will typically account for any type of income that a parent receives when determining how much child support that person must provide. An Illinois judge may count wage income, dividends obtained from a stock portfolio or employer contributions to a retirement plan as income. Other sources of income may also be considered if it helps create a support order that preserves the best interest of a child.

A judge may look at a parent's tax return when determining what types of income he or she has. However, it may be possible for the person crafting a child support order to do more research into a parent's financial situation. This may occur if a judge suspects that a person is hiding or not reporting all of his or her income. Further research may also be conducted to determine if a parent is reaching his or her true earning potential.

What parents might consider when filing for child support

38127290_s.jpgSome parents in Illinois who are divorced or who were never married to the other parent might wonder whether they should file for child support. Some may hesitate to do so because this can mean that the other parent has the right to see the child. However, the other parent may eventually exercise this right whether or not the custodial parent asks for support.

Parents should make the decision that is in the best interests of the child. This can mean letting the child have a relationship with the other parent even if the parents' relationship with one another is not good. The child's relationship with each parent is often positive despite this.

Helping children to thrive after a divorce

100266737_s.jpgEvery parent in Illinois wants to raise well-balanced and emotionally stable children. For this to happen, it's often important that the kids have a relationship with both of their parents. If the parents are separated, however, relationships could suffer. That's why exes should take steps to co-parent effectively.

While there are likely serious issues that caused the parents to split up, they will need to come together and do what is best for their children. They should openly communicate about the parenting schedule. When the children see that each ex-spouse is working together for their well-being, they are likely to feel a sense of security.

Options when a parent has difficulty making a court date

86281621_S.jpgParents in Illinois dealing with child custody issues might encounter an inconvenient court hearing date and wish to change it. While it is not always possible to do so, there are options that might allow it or provide alternative ways for a parent to appear in court. The procedure for this varies from state to state, but there are general guidelines about what a parent can do.

In most cases, courts will not change a hearing date. There are exceptions to this, however. If a parent has moved to a different state and has difficulty physically getting around, a court might allow a date change. Another reason a court might consider changing a hearing date for child custody is if the date would negatively impact the parent's employment. Finally, a court might change the hearing date if a parent fears for their safety by attending the hearing. In those cases, the parent must show proof of the situation via a court order of protection or through other evidence. For the court to grant a change or postponement of a hearing date, the parent must provide documentation for the required change.

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