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Orland Park Legal Blog

Understanding whether I can keep the vacation home after divorce

If you are facing a divorce, you may be overwhelmed by the different decisions that you feel forced to make. The time preceding and during a divorce can feel stressful because of many reasons. You will want to make sure that your children are protected from the strains of the divorce, but you will also need to take time for yourself so that you can adjust to the changes.

Some stressors that you are experiencing will likely be related to your finances and the division of assets. If you have been married for many years and you have children with your spouse, your finances will probably be deeply intertwined, and it can be difficult to untangle yourself so that you are able to become financially independent once more.

Lack of commitment and fighting among common divorce reasons

The good news for couples in Illinois is that divorce rates are on the decline. Still, there are times when legally wed individuals decide that it's better to end a marriage. A group of researchers recently collaborated to poll individuals who had previously participated in a prevention and relationship enhancement program before marrying. The study focused on the participants who ended up divorcing in order to determine the factors involved with their splits.

Not surprisingly, too much conflict and arguing was identified as a leading cause of divorce just behind infidelity and a lack of commitment, which 75 percent of former spouses surveyed cited as a reason for the demise of their marital relationships. Just over 13 percent of the people polled felt little or no premarital education or religious differences played a role in their marriages ending. Even though everyone questioned had undergone premarital counseling, some respondents felt they weren't fully prepared to deal with the various phases of a marriage.

Distracted driving crashes often caused by simple daydreams

Many people in Illinois know the dangers of texting, surfing or otherwise using a mobile phone while behind the wheel. Legislative changes, public awareness campaigns and harsh enforcement programs have all been targeted to wipe out distracted driving linked to cell phone and tablet use while driving. However, distracted driving is not only a technological problem as most distractions that can affect drivers to the point of causing severe crashes are not linked to the use of mobile devices. Indeed, daydreaming, inattentiveness or other thoughts can be some of the most common causes of crashes involving a distracted driver.

One study examined data over five years stored in the national Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which includes information gathered by local police about the cause of the reported car accidents. Of the 172,000 fatalities linked to crashes analyzed by researchers, 1 in 10 was ascribed to distracted driving. While many people's minds may instantly turn to mobile phone use, cell phones were linked to only 14 percent of the distracted driving crashes. The top spot, involved in 61 percent of the accidents recorded, was held by general inattentiveness, including daydreaming or persistent distracting thoughts.

Seeking parental rights after a divorce

In Illinois and throughout the country, more courts are recognizing that fathers should play a role in their children's lives. However, it's still fairly common for mothers to win custody of a child after a divorce. Those who wish to have custody of their kids should be reasonable when creating a parenting plan. The plan should address any time or financial limitations that could make it harder to provide for a child.

Ideally, both parents will work to preserve the child's best interests. This means letting go of any emotional scars that were acquired during a marriage. It also means learning how to let go of trivial issues such as what type of clothes the child should wear. Ultimately, the parents should acknowledge that the child didn't choose to be placed in their current situation. Focusing on the child's best interests also helps to ensure that a child feels safe and loved.

Handling real estate during a divorce

When an Illinois couple decides to divorce, they may need to consider how to divide real estate, especially the family home. While assets like investment accounts or retirement funds can be divided more neatly, a home cannot be split in two. In many cases, divorcing couples still have a mortgage on the family home, and it is often one of the largest single assets involved in the property division process. In addition, it's possible that one or both partners have an emotional tie to the home, especially if children are involved and have grown up in the house.

Many couples simply decide to sell the home. The mortgage can be paid off from the proceeds, and the two spouses can separate the remaining funds as part of the overall divorce settlement. While this solution may seem easier, it does not necessarily respond to the emotional bonds that people may feel with the home. When one spouse wants to remain in the house, there are several issues to consider.

Components of a child custody case to consider

Parents must make decisions they feel are in the best interests of their children. When the parents aren't in a relationship any longer, they will have to outline a child custody agreement.

If you are facing a custody case in Illinois, there are some specific points that you should know. These can help you to make informed choices about your case as they come up.

Car makers working on external airbags

Thousands of passenger vehicle occupants in Illinois and around the country are killed or seriously injured each year in side-impact collisions. Auto manufacturers equip their vehicles with the latest safety features and autonomous or semiautonomous crash avoidance technology to mitigate this danger, and several companies are said to be working on external airbag systems that would provide even more protection. According to tests conducted by the German car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen AG, external airbags could reduce the severity of side-impact accident injuries by as much as 40 percent.

The external airbag being developed by ZF is 6.5 feet long and more than a foot thick, and it deploys in just 15 milliseconds to protect passengers with a pillow of air. Other features designed to provide protection in side-impact crashes include sturdy beams in car doors, side-curtain airbags and automatic seat belt pretensioners.

Dividing retirement accounts in divorce

During a divorce, retirement accounts are split according to the provisions of state law. Illinois is an equitable division state, which means that dividing property is based on principles of fairness rather than 50/50 splits.

The first step for a judge when dividing a retirement account such as a 401(k) is to decide whether the funds are marital or separate property. Marital property includes assets that were accumulated during the marriage. In the context of a retirement account, this means the contributions made by each spouse during the marriage. Next, the judge must decide how the marital assets in the account should be divided fairly.

Drowsy driving and crash risk the subjects of new study

Most drivers in Illinois know that there is a link between lack of sleep and an increased risk for auto accidents. Drowsy driving is a factor in about 7 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in the U.S., including 16 percent of all fatal crashes. It can lead to inattention to one's surroundings and the inability to judge gaps between vehicles and other traffic conditions.

While experts recommend that everyone get between seven and nine hours of sleep, one in three adult drivers in this nation fail to achieve this. A new study in the SLEEP journal provides some statistics showing what the results can be like.

What Illinois parents need to know about child support

Child support is one of many important decisions in divorce that can greatly affect both your and your child’s life and well-being. As a parent, you may have questions about how child support works in Illinois, so let’s look at some things you may need to know.

In July 2017, Illinois changed how the amount of child support a non-custodial parent should contribute to support his or her minor child is calculated. Prior to this, only the non-custodial parent’s income and the number of children were considered in decisions about child support, but the new law also takes in to account the custodial parent’s income.

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