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Joliet divorce decree modification lawyersThe purpose of divorce is to separate two peoples’ lives that have been intertwined through marriage. When two people get married, they not only combine their personal lives but also their financial lives. In order to divide them again during a divorce, a judge will decide what is a reasonable amount of marital property, spousal support, and/or child support to assign each spouse. These decisions are made based on several factors such as each spouse’s income, their contributions during the marriage, and their respective parental responsibilities. But, what happens if these factors change after the divorce is finalized? In a case like this, a divorced individual may need to seek a divorce decree modification.

Verbal Agreements Are Not Enforceable

Circumstances which would necessitate a divorce modification include substantial changes in income, illnesses, relocation, or remarriage. Generally, courts do not make changes to the original property or debt division, but modifications of spousal support or alimony, child support, and parenting time are more common. Couples who wish to modify the terms of their divorce agreements by way of a verbal agreement should be warned that such verbal agreements are not enforceable by the court. Modifications must be in writing and approved by the court to be effective.  

Motion for Modification

If a former couple agrees to modify terms of the original decree, they should do so in writing and submit it to the court. Sometimes, a hearing is required to ensure that both parties consent to the new terms of the agreement. Once the court is satisfied, the agreement is signed off on by the judge and becomes a legally-binding court order. If one spouse wishes to change the terms of the divorce agreement, but the other does not, a motion for modification must be filed. The two former spouses will need to attend a hearing. The spouse asking for a modification must have evidence to show that the change in circumstances warrants the modification. In matters related to parental responsibilities and parenting time, the person seeking a modification will also need evidence to prove that the change will be in the children’s best interest.

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Joliet divorce attorneysSocial media apps like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and others are a ubiquitous part of everyday life. Status updates, pictures, and opinions are regularly shared, giving the world a cultivated view into people’s lives. However, during the divorce process, social media posts can receive greater scrutiny as your assets and your behavior could be factored into the final divorce settlement. It would be wise to limit or eliminate your social media presence if you are going through a divorce.

Ways Social Media Could Affect a Divorce

A preoccupation with social media can drive many couples apart. Many studies have shown a link between increased social media use and decreased marriage quality. It is even possible social media played a role in the end of your marriage, as has recently been cited in up to 20 percent of cases by divorce lawyers. You should not let a preoccupation with online posts continue into the divorce proceedings.

Here are some that the process could be impacted by social media posts:

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Joliet parenting time lawyerWhen parents divorce, children will likely share time between the two parents. To avoid having the important decisions related to your children decided by a judge, you and your spouse are encouraged to work together to negotiate a parenting plan, also known as the allocation of parental responsibilities. In addition to deciding how important decisions regarding the children will be made, the plan will also include a parenting time schedule. This schedule will allocate when each parent has physical care of the children, during which time they have the sole responsibility to make routine daily decisions as well as emergency decisions about the children’s health and safety.

Parenting Time Schedule Tips for Illinois Families

When negotiating the parenting time schedule with your spouse, it can be difficult to put the difficulties of the divorce behind you and cooperate. However, it is helpful to take a step back and remember that the schedule should be set up to help your children succeed in their new living environment.

Here are a few aspects to consider when planning a parenting schedule:

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Joliet spousal support lawyersDuring an Illinois divorce, the spouses may agree on, or the court may order the payment of spousal support payments, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, from one party to another. These payments are to ensure that the receiving party is financially secure after the divorce is finalized. The amount and length of the payments are based on several factors, including income, length of the marriage, the receiving spouse’s education and training, any impairment to their becoming self-sufficient, and other factors. However, future modifications to the payments are possible.

Changes in Income, Marital Status, and Health Could All Qualify

Once the payment amount and length are set, life goes on and changes can and will happen to both parties. There are several factors that can qualify for a modification to these payments. 

These include:

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Joliet child support lawyerAfter a divorce, it can be tough for a single parent to make ends meet. If you have the bulk of parental responsibilities, you could be depending on the money that your ex-spouse has been ordered to pay in child support to provide your family with food, clothing, and other necessities. If those payments suddenly stop, you could be faced with a real financial struggle. Fortunately, you do have different options to enforce the child support order and get the payments moving again.

Three Steps to Take to Get Your Child Support Payments

There are different steps to take, whether payments are coming in sporadically or not at all, to enforce your court-ordered child support. The most common and effective ways are:

  • Reach out to your ex-spouse directly – If you are still on relatively good terms, you can reach out directly to ask about the payments. While they may try to explain why they have been late, remember, the decision to excuse payments is not yours to make since the payments are through a court order. It is best to keep a record of all communications.
  • Contact DCSS – One of the missions of the Illinois Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is to help collect payments for child support orders and collect past due payments. However, given the number of cases and a relatively small staff, this route may take a significant amount of time.
  • Call a lawyer – Speaking with an experienced child support lawyer may be your best option to ensure payments start coming in again. We can help take legal action to ensure payments are restarted and any missing payments are repaid. Parents who are not keeping up with child support payments may be subject to wage garnishment, court-ordered payment plans, and liens against their property. Additional punishments against those who have the ability to pay but are still missing court-ordered payments include a suspended driver’s license, community service, fines, and even jail time.

If your ex-spouse’s financial circumstances have changed due to a lost job or drop in wages, they may try to file for a child support modification request to lower the payments they are responsible for. However, this is handled through a separate request and does not excuse any late or missed payments under the current court order.

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