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Articles Posted in Divorce Trends and Developments

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When parents come to court with a dispute over children, such as allocation of parenting time, most of the judges in northern Illinois counties will insist that the parties make an effort at resolution of their issues through mediation. In my experience with high conflict cases, mediation is usually not a useful approach at resolution of cases; the disordered or angry party will often refuse to participate in the mediation appropriately. However, in some cases where the parents are not in a high degree of conflict and are otherwise looking to reach a resolution, versus a court battle, mediation can be effective. So what kind of approach is best to bring to mediation?

1. First, communicate with your attorney beforehand. As a mediator myself, I spend time with my clients coaching them on the mediation process and how to best use mediation to work toward resolution. It’s important for me to hear my client’s concerns, so I can provide clarification, validation, and direction. It’s also important for me to develop an agenda with my client to make sure that mediation is effective, and that goals are set and fully in mind before the mediation begins.

2. Be effective. Only do or say those things which will be effective and help you move forward. Being effective means advancing toward goals which are consistent with your interests and principles.

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Thoughts from Law Offices of Michael F Roe as 2015 winds to a close:

2015 has been a year of successes for clients, and challenges in Illinois divorce practice, with some of the challenges including managing the maintenance statute (the statutory guideline formula) that caused a radical change in how support is calculated for incomes below a benchmark amount of $250,000.00

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2016 will bring us substantial changes to the practice of divorce and custody law. I use the term “custody” despite the fact that the new IMDMA has done away with the terms “custody” and “visitation” and now instructs the Court to determine “allocation of parental responsibilities,” along with allocations of parenting time for the parents and children. Other new rules affect relocation within the state of Illinois; previously, a residential parent could relocate anywhere within the state with the children after a divorce, sometimes wreaking havoc on the nonresidential parent’s access to the children.

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I spent some time yesterday in discussion with some other experienced divorce attorneys concerning the changes in the divorce laws in Illinois that become effective as of January 1, 2016. The consensus view is that there is no consensus about how these new provisions to the IMDMA will affect divorce and custody litigants with pending cases as of January 1, and with new cases filed in the new year. Some lawyers see the changes as needed change, and others see the changes as confusing and likely to increase litigation.

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Here are but a few of the key changes that shall become new law as of 2016:

– There will one ground for dissolution of marriage – irreconcilable differences. Gone is the requirement that fault (such as “mental cruelty”) be proved in contested cases.

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Illinois law is about to change with respect to divorce and custody. Put simply, SB57 is the Illinois legislature’s effort, effective January 1, 2016, to change the way that divorce and custody litigation is conducted in Illinois. But, as the old saying goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” and such may the case with this sweeping new law.

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As many other states have done for years, Illinois law now rejects determinations of fault (such as adultery or mental cruelty) in divorce. More importantly, SB57 does away with terms like “custody” and ‘visitation” and now requires the court to determine “parenting allocation,” though the court is still required to determine which parent will have the primary residence of the children, as well as assign the obligation for the payment of child support to one parent.

While other states have crafted more modern laws that allocate between parents both parenting time and financial responsibility, Illinois’ new law still has inappropriate vestiges of the old custody, visitation, and child support law. As the law changes, parents in divorce beginning in Fall of 2015 will need to be mindful of the new laws and their effects.

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Kelly O’Brien is a Wellness Expert at MindBodyGreen, Freelance Writer for multiple publications including Wellness Revolution, Cafe Truth and a host of wellness chronicles. She shares some compelling insights about unhealthy narcissism in the context of relationships:

” Most of us have been in a relationship with a narcissist. Perhaps you’ve been sucked in by a self-absorbed family member, a spouse, a boyfriend, a co-worker, or a friend.

Perhaps you thought it was your fault when the narcissist left you feeling diminished and full of despair.

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Law Office of Michael F. Roe’s Illinois Divorce Law Blog has once again, for 2014, been named a “Top 50 Divorce Law Blog” by Criminal Justice Degrees Schools, which annually analyzes and rates professional blogs.

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My approach to the blog is to inform my clients and readers of the blog, to educate other professionals in the field, and to illuminate important issues in divorce and custody. Some of these important issues include issues that arise in complex custody cases, cases with high conflict issues, and critical issues in some cases, like Parental Alienation or new legislation that affects financial issues in divorce.

The blog journals many compelling issues, but if you have questions or concerns about your impending divorce case, contact our office so that we can meet and discuss the details of your family concerns, and develop a strategy to manage these issues toward a positive outcome.

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From Michael Roe: every so often I will post an interesting commentary on divorce issues here at Illinois Divorce Lawyer Blog. I’m not convinced that men have a necessarily worse time adjusting to divorce; I see in my female clients high levels of stress, grieving, and anxiety. I feel the case can be made that the stressors imposed on men can be different in some ways than those imposed on women, generally. Certainly, men start out a child custody case with the unwritten presumptions in place that child residential custody usually goes to the mother, though the law requires that the Court determine best interests…one reason I’m a shared parenting advocate in many cases. As an aside, I see that both the men and women that I represent in my practice do benefit, along with my work on the legal side of the case, from having a competent therapist to help process issues that arise in divorce.

From the article:

It turns out that in the age-old comparison of the sexes, men seem to be having a more difficult time coping with the dissolution of a marriage. According to a recent study from the Journal of Men’s Health, divorced men are more susceptible to heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes than married men are – in addition to being 39 percent more likely to commit suicide and engage in risky behavior. Why does this finding exist?

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The cost of a divorce can be a deterrent to the process for many couples who are already struggling with the expense of maintaining two separate households. The amount of property one owns, child custody and support issues, and the extent to which a couple agrees or disagrees will determine attorney and other professional service fees (like custody evaluators) incurred during a divorce. Whether there is a large or small amount of property, issues with the children or not, or little to no agreement, there are things that you can do to reduce the cost of a divorce.

First off, take care when choosing your divorce attorney. The right attorney for your case is not always the most expensive attorney. Experience, unique technical skills, and positive relationships with the courts make for good lawyers. There are several things you should consider when choosing a lawyer and managing your case:

Attorneys’ fees are based on their experience, expertise, and special skills, but some very experienced lawyers charge reasonable fees, while others charge exorbitant fees. The hourly rates of lawyers should be competitive with their locale and market, but not excessive. A high hourly rate is not an indicator of special experience or skill.

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Family therapist Diane Shearer says we should look beyond the questions about divorce and get at what kids are really asking for. “When kids ask tough questions, they aren’t looking for complicated answers. They are looking for affirmation, not information.” This means they want to be assured that you love them no matter what. They want to know that you recognize their turbulent feelings. Here are some tips on three of the most common questions.

1. Why? From “why did you stop loving each other” to “why are you doing this,” kids want to know the big-picture reason behind your split. Shearer says the fear behind this question is that if mom and dad can stop loving each other, they might stop loving their kids, too. So you’ll need to assure your child that love between parents is very different from a parent’s love for their child. Your love for them is permanent and will never change. In most cases, it’s not appropriate to get into the details of why you’re divorcing. Instead, reassure your child that you are still a family, just a different kind of family.

2. Is this my fault? Young children, especially, are self-centered, so they can’t help wondering if they are somehow at fault for your split. Again, the most important thing here is to assure your child that your love for them is unconditional. They need to know their parents’ complicated relationship has nothing to do with them — they are NOT the cause of the divorce. They will always be loved. That will never change.

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byline: Dr. Jeff Gardere:


Divorce can be one of the most stressful events in life, second only to a spouse dying. In fact, a divorce can become such a complicated and nasty affair that many people have joked that a spouse dying is a less stressful event because at least you don’t have to fight the deceased in court!

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The point to be made here is that during this time of stress and duress we are no longer thinking with our brains, but instead with our hearts. Normally a pure heart will win the day, but a heart which is ruled by the pain, sadness and anger of a divorce will exhibit pure emotion — often in an illogical and dangerous fashion.

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