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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerPeople often throw the statistic around that half of all marriages end in divorce. This statement is a holdover from years ago, and the times have changed.

No longer are people pressured to get married at a young age. Instead, people are getting married later in life, if at all. However, divorces are still fairly commonplace, although the divorce rate is not as high as 50 percent.

Illinois Divorce Statistics

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Posted by on in Family Law

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerAny time parents have a child and are not legally married or joined together in civil union, they have a number of issues to address when it comes to the child’s rights and future. Establishing legal paternity in the state of Illinois is one of the first steps and is important for a number of reasons, particularly because it is a tool that allows parents to protect their children, and the power to protect their own rights as a parent. Without legal paternity, a father’s rights are especially at risk.

How Legal Paternity Can Benefit You and Your Child

One of the first parts of the paternity process is to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, also called a VAP. This is typically done right at the hospital, as soon as the child is born. If both parents are unavailable at the time of birth to sign the form, however, the VAP can be completed and submitted on a later date. Generally speaking, there are three ways to establish paternity for a child born out of wedlock: a VAP form, an Administrative Paternity Order (submitted by the State of Illinois' Department of Healthcare and Family Services), or an Order of Paternity via court, by a judge.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerWading through the divorce process is an emotionally taxing experience for anyone. Depending on the circumstances, however, ending a marriage can be especially mentally grueling when one party is refusing to cooperate or is communicating in a way that adds unnecessary tension to an already stressful situation. This tends to happen when there is a breakdown in overall communication, or when discussion between parties turns toxic, which is a common occurrence for couples who had communication problems to begin with, long before the separation.

Common Communication Problems Throughout the Divorce Process

Psychology experts tell us that there are specific behaviors that many individuals exhibit while interacting with their spouse during the divorce that are often responsible for unproductive - and sometimes hostile - communication. These problematic communication patterns can quickly sabotage even the simplest of discussions, making the divorce process that much harder for both parties.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerAmong the many challenges we face when going through a divorce, being aware of the grief process in the midst of the transition can be difficult, especially when so much is vying for our attention. Distractions abound during the split and the demands can easily pull our focus from taking time to recognize the stages of grief as they surface. Our fluctuating emotions and high levels of anxiety during the divorce process can only be ignored so long, however, before our minds and bodies force us to deal with the inevitable mental toll.

The Signs of Grief

Many of us are familiar with the five stages of grief. If you ever studied psychology in college, you were likely exposed to this teaching when learning about Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. The five stages include denial, anger, bBargaining, depression, and acceptance. Like any other loss in life, the loss of a love and a marriage triggers the grieving process, although everyone experiences it differently, and at different intervals. For example, it is common to experience the stages in various orders, such as jumping from anger to depression, then back to anger again. Some signs you are experiencing the effects of grief include:

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Posted by on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois child support attorneyWhether you have seen your divorce coming for some time or the news of your unraveling marriage has taken even you by surprise, telling your children, extended family, and acquaintances that your marriage is over is never a pleasant experience. It is not uncommon for friends and family to feel a similar loss, as they too grew familiar and comfortable seeing you and your spouse together, often over a period of many months or years. Children in the family can take divorce especially hard, making the duty of breaking the news to the kids infinitely more difficult for parents.

Communication Is Key

Some divorcing couples make a mutual agreement to tell the children together, while others make arrangements to delegate the “talk” to one parent. Some couples never even have the chance to discuss who will speak to the children about the split, because of the conflict and tension surrounding the end of the relationship. Whatever your personal circumstances, consider the following as you tell your kids, friends, and family that you and your spouse are going your separate ways:

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Posted by on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois child support attorneyApart from acknowledging how much will be needed for rent and basic monthly expenses after a divorce, it is all too easy - and common - for divorcing couples to find themselves shelving the financial aspect of the split until after the process is finalized. When the emotional toll the end of a marriage entails is taken into consideration and added stressors are factored in, such as parenting plan arrangements, potential relocation, and maybe even a new partner for one or both parties, money is often one of the last things couples wish to think about. This is especially true for those who have very limited funds to begin with, or for those who have little to no employment options when the marriage unravels.

The Importance of a Financial Game Plan

No matter how much - or how little - money you have to work with, however, having a financial game plan in place sooner, rather than later, wields the power to sway your divorce experience from good to really bad, depending on the circumstances. For example, if you and your spouse were already in serious debt prior to the separation, those debts may only get worse and become more unmanageable when ignored. As overwhelmed as you may already be, avoidance is never the answer where your financial well-being is concerned, especially when you are about to experience a significant shift in income and overall lifestyle due to the split..

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Posted by on in Child Support

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois child support attorneyOut of about 2.2 million Americans incarcerated in the United States, approximately half of them are parents. Furthermore, one in five has a monthly child support payment. The bills just keep arriving, remaining unpaid, because for many, the 0.20 cents per hour that is possible for working within the state prison will not cover the costs. If the individual is serving an extended period, the costs accumulate to insurmountable debt. The children still need financial support from two parents, despite living arrangements. What are the options for child support if one parent is incarcerated?

Support Options for the Custodial Parent

If you are the custodial parent who has a child support request and the non-custodial parent currently serves a lengthy prison stay, the sentence does not automatically mean you are not eligible for payment. First, a child support payment order does not automatically stop due to incarceration. The only person who may modify a child support order is a judge through a modification hearing which may be requested by either parent. Also, it is possible for inmates to make a payment due to having other income and assets available. Possibilities for payment include:

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThe emotional toll brought on by divorce is not something that can be prepared for, especially when the news of the split is sudden. While some couples experience a gradual, slow decline in the quality of their marriage, others are thrust into the turmoil with little warning, which can make it difficult to remain calm and focus on healing and moving forward. Divorce, like many other losses in life, prompts a grieving process that requires time, patience, and ample support both financially and emotionally to promote a healthy quality of life after the split.

Knowing When to Reach Out

Everyone has their limit when it comes to the amount of emotional distress they can handle, but studies show that a majority of individuals - adults and children alike - tend to experience a host of common behavioral changes when having difficulty coping with divorce. Any noticeable changes in eating and sleeping patterns, as well as mood fluctuations, including increased agitation, aggression, or sudden isolation, all indicate trouble adjusting to transition stressors. If you or your children are restless, sleeping too much, experiencing loss of appetite, or are beginning to withdraw from friends and family, it may be time to turn to those you trust for help and consider meeting with a therapist who is knowledgeable in the areas you are struggling with.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThe debate over whether or not parents should stay together for the kids has been a controversial one for decades now, continually raising the big question: Is divorce really the answer? While most couples contemplate divorce as a means to end a relationship that is no longer working for either party, the concept of a parenting marriage stems from an entirely different motivator all together, aimed at serving a very unique purpose.

The Idea behind the Parenting Marriage Model

Just as couples who decide to divorce based on the realization that their marriage is no longer a healthy option, couples who choose a parenting marriage also recognize that their relationship has changed and is no longer the romantic partnership it once was. Under this marriage model, they choose to remain in the marriage for the sole purpose of continuing to raise the children together.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThe amount of mental energy couples must expend on the divorce process is overwhelming, no matter how smoothly the transition unfolds. Divorce scenarios are, in most cases, a mixed bag of events. Some couples sail through the process with mutual respect and civilized interaction, only to discover emotional landmines when they reach the finish line, while other couples struggle with the split from the get-go. Matters can be especially bumpy when one spouse refuses to cooperate all together, leaving the other spouse with all the work, along with twice the weight in emotional stress.

What Can You Do When Your Spouse Just Will Not Work with You?

There are a number of ways someone’s behavior can change throughout a divorce. Sometimes, the change is so drastic, the person becomes nearly unrecognizable to their partner. Psychology Today reports that some individuals regress and that their behavior can turn so ugly that the divorce turns flat-out toxic. Even if your divorce has not evolved quite as extremely, you may see a side of your spouse you never knew existed. Experts tell us that people commonly react differently under severe divorce stress, typically out of self-preservation, which can manifest in many ways, including anger or isolation.

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Illinois custody lawyer, Illinois divorce attorneyJust because divorce shakes up a home life does not necessarily mean that it will continue to do so over time. It is important to create an agreement that is long-lasting, rather than temporary, especially in situations where children are involved. Everyone needs some sense of stability and routine to their day-to-day activities, even those who thrive under spontaneity. For those who enjoy the unexpected and the ability to create each day to their liking, the randomness is a sort of routine. We decide which works best for us as adults, but as parents, we must do what is best for our children. Psychologists believe having a stable routine offers many benefits. Parents should consider creating a stable environment when creating a child custody arrangement after a divorce ends.

Steady Routines Bolster Future Success

Routine is not just about going to bed at the same time every day or eating dinner together as a family every night. The most important thing you can do for your child is to provide as much routine as possible throughout the day. Psychologists believe when a schedule is predictable, children can relax and trust in their environment. Even in a situation where a child visits two homes regularly, the daily routine should not waver significantly, but if necessary, keep each routine consistent within each environment. Routine also includes which days and holidays a child may expect to see each parent. A few benefits of having a routine include:

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Posted by on in Domestic Violence

Illinois domestic violence attorney, Illinois family law attorneySadly, domestic violence is a topic which never really disappears from the headlines nor within the community. Incidents of abuse and harm continue amidst apologies and promises to never let it happen again. Just like the vicious cycle, the violence continues over and again. If you find yourself in a situation that sees no end to the hurt and pain, take the leap and put in place protections for yourself and other loved ones in harm's way. A domestic violence attorney can help you navigate the procedures to shield yourself from future suffering.

Forms of Abuse

Abuse can take many forms. Although the initial reaction is to associate it with physical violence, mental torture can also wear a person down. Control through fear and intimidation is what the perpetrating partner is vying for.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois child custody lawyerThe allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as custody) can greatly impact the life of a child. Further, it can determine just how involved you are in the decision-making process of your child’s life. Whether you are an unmarried father who has recently established paternity or a couple going through a divorce, the following information can help you better understand the allocation of parental responsibilities, including who may be eligible to pursue it and when. You will also learn more about what it is and why it is important.

What Is the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities?

Child-related matters typically involve two aspects: parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities. Parenting time is the time that a parent spends with their child. The allocation of parental responsibilities pertains to the decision-making privileges of a parent. For example, a parent with greater allocation may have the final say in where the child goes to school, or whether they attend church or not.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyFor many couples, the advice given as they experience divorce can often translate as repetitive, and at times even useless. Hearing the same suggestions for a successful, happy post-divorce life over and over again can be discouraging, especially when those suggestions seem downright unrealistic. We all know the standard recipe for a healthy lifestyle: Eat well, exercise, and make time to do things we enjoy. On the surface, this formula for well-being appears practical, but when your marriage is in the midst of ending, it is not always so easy to strike that balance.

Finding Your Balance

Divorce adjustment experiences differ significantly from one person to the next, depending on the circumstances that led up to the split. It is helpful to recognize that there is no need to rush through grief, as it is a natural process that needs to take place. However, it is also a good idea to set yourself goals and to be aware of signs that indicate you are in a rut and are having trouble with the transition.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyStudies tell us that divorce is one of the most difficult life events for children and adults alike. Even under the very best of circumstances, research shows it takes a significant emotional toll on everyone involved, often prompting long-term psychological effects that require a healthy support system to successfully manage effective coping skills.

Out of the countless stressors we deal with throughout the course of a divorce, experts tells us there are certain aspects of the experience that have a particularly strong impact on us. This applies greatly to children in the family, who experience the same painful challenges adults do, with especially heightened emotional challenges.

Here are some of the biggest stressors of divorce and why they are such a struggle for children and their parents:

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Posted by on in Alimony & Maintenance

b2ap3_thumbnail_alimony.jpgCouples generally enter a marriage in good faith and with the best of intentions. Sadly, even the most dedicated spouses can grow apart, suffer experiences and life situations that were not predicted, all of which, put a strain on the relationship and lead to the decision that they are simply fundamentally different people. Whatever the reason, when divorce proceedings begin, the issue of spousal support also known as “alimony” or “maintenance” will be considered. Spousal support allows one former spouse to receive financial support from the other if, after the marriage ends, that receiving spouse may not have the resources, circumstances or background to function as before.

To ensure you have an effective, thorough, and enforceable agreement, retaining a family law attorney is advisable. An attorney will assist you in formulating an agreement or crafting a case before the court, that is both fair and sensible given the circumstances.

Financial Help

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyOut of the countless concerns couples have as they go through the divorce process, worry over finances is often at the top of the list. This is understandable, considering divorce has the potential to significantly alter your financial standing, which can, in turn, impact your overall lifestyle following the separation. Worry over money extends even further when children are involved, adding more pressure to each party to ensure financial affairs are in order and that they provide the necessary means to stay afloat.

Taxes and Post-Divorce Life

Between maintenance matters, child support, and the division of property and assets, the last thing couples often have the energy to address is the issue of taxes. There are many ways taxes can affect your wallet after your divorce, however, so it important to lump them in with the other financial matters that must be tackled on the divorce to-do list. Whether you have already considered the tax implications of your separation or the issue is just now being brought to your attention, keep the following in mind as you address the state of your finances throughout the divorce process:

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois child support attorneyBeginning July 1, 2017, Illinois will change the way child support is calculated. How will this affect your current support order? How will this affect parties who get child support order after July 1? Read on to find out.

There are three key features about the new calculation model that parents who have a support order or will have support order should understand.

Both parents’ income will be used in the calculation. This is the main difference between the new model and the old model. Under the old model, only the non-custodial parent’s income was used in calculating child support. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the children reside with a majority of the time.

Under the new model, both parents’ income is used to determine child support. This model is meant to mimic what a child would enjoy if the parents were married. This type of calculation is used in 39 other states.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois child custody lawyerNo matter how smoothly you and your spouse feel your divorce may be panning out, it is only natural to experience some bumps in the road somewhere along the separation journey. Even the most civil, peaceful partings can stir up feelings of hurt, anger, disappointment, and resentment. This is especially true for the children in the family, who may understandably feel confused or threatened by the sudden changes in the household.

Studies show that children of all ages tend to struggle with changes in routine and that they typically do best emotionally and mentally when they know what to expect on a day-to-day basis. Young adults in particular struggle with the transition, but even younger children can experience significant anxiety when their parents’ marriage ends.

Recognizing When Your Child Needs Help Coping

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Posted by on in Child Custody

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyThe year 2016 brought about a plethora of family law changes in the state of Illinois, all of which significantly impacted the divorce experience. One such change included an amendment that allows parents to move with their children following the divorce, as long as the new residence is within 25 miles of the current or previous residence.

Parental Relocation Permissions and Restrictions in Illinois

Many have remained skeptical of the new law, as the 25-mile rule can technically mean a move to a different state, particularly for counties that sit along the Wisconsin state line. Where a court order was once required to move children out of state after divorce, permission now exists to remove children from Illinois state, which can further add to already existing tensions surrounding the decision to relocate following the split.

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  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
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  • BV Distinguished Rating by Martindale Hubbell
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
  • Top 40 Under 40
  • DCBA Law Firm of the Year
    DCBA Law Firm of the Year 2011, 2013
  • Outstanding Service to the Office of the State’s Attorney 2006-2007
    Outstanding Service to the Office of the State’s Attorney 2006-2007
  • Outstanding Misdemeanor Prosecutor 2012
    Outstanding Misdemeanor Prosecutor 2012
  • Client's Choice Award AVVO
    Clients' Choice
  • Thank you for helping me realize how good things really are in my life. I now focus on creating happiness each and every day for me & my girls. Things are definitely looking up!

  • If you are in need of a true advocate, and you are stuck in the family law court system in DuPage then William Stogsdill should be your choice. I feel strongly about his ability and I can't say enough.

  • I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your professional assistance and advice on my recently dismissed case. I can again look forward to being together with my wife for many more years.

  • Mr. Smit has demonstrated a high degree of loyalty and trust worthiness to his work and to his associates. Justin certainly is an asset to your Law Firm, his organization skills are second to none. I have and will continue to recommend Justin ...

  • You've clearly established a client-focus in your office -- providing your clients with the warmth and understanding they need as they go through a very difficult time. Thank you, again, for all your help.

  • Taking that step to file for divorce was probably one of the most life changing decisions I have ever made. The process is very painful and emotionally draining. I retained Robert Boyd and Justin Smit of The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C...

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