A Father's Role After DivorceBetween the two parents, a father is generally in greater danger of seeing his relationship with his children diminish after a divorce. Mothers more often receive a majority of the parenting time during the allocation of parental responsibilities. Because mothers are more likely to be the caretakers during the marriage, courts often choose the mother as the primary parent. However, children’s relationships with their fathers are also important in their happiness and development. Fathers who see their children less often after a divorce must work to remain an active part of their lives:

  1. Advocating for Parenting Time: A father has an equal right to be the primary parent of his children after a divorce if he can prove that living with him is in their best interest. If a court grants the mother primary responsibility over the children, the father can still fight for a greater share of parenting time. A 60-40 division of parenting time would give him an additional day each week with his children as opposed to a 70-30 division.
  2. Taking on New Roles: The father no longer has the mother to rely on when he has his time alone with the children. He is both parents in one and has parental duties that he may be unfamiliar with performing, such as being a caretaker, nurturer, disciplinarian or playmate.
  3. Being a Father Figure: A father can teach his children lessons that the mother cannot. Most importantly, a father defines what a grown man is to his children. Sons learn what kind of man they should be when they grow up. Daughters learn what qualities they should look for in the men they allow into their lives as adults.
  4. Being Present and Available: Fathers should treat their time with their children as more than an obligation to look after them. They should find ways to interact with their children, such as planning fun activities. Fathers can extend their roles when they are not with their children by encouraging electronic communication.
  5. Staying Positive: A father’s time with his children should not involve complaining about the mother or trying to pump the child for information about the mother. The father should instead focus on his relationship with his children and only talk about their mother in as far as how it relates to what is happening in their lives.

Protecting Fatherhood

No one can replicate a biological father’s importance in his children’s lives. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can protect your rights as a father during your divorce. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.



Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Child Custody, Divorce, Family Law, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney | Tagged , , , |

Seeking a Mental Evaluation of Your SpouseQuestioning the mental health of your spouse is a serious accusation to make during your divorce. Mental fitness can help determine the allocation of parental responsibilities because a person with a mental illness may be erratic, irresponsible or abusive. Your spouse is certain to react negatively to a claim that he or she is not fit to care for your children. However, you need to pursue the issue if you believe your spouse’s mental state is a danger to your children. Illinois law gives the court discretion over whether a party in a divorce needs to receive a mental health evaluation.

Requesting an Evaluation

A court may on its own order your spouse to undergo a psychological evaluation, but it is more likely that you will need to request it. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 215 explains the process, which includes:

  • Filing a motion to order a mental health evaluation of a party in the case; and
  • Recommending an independent examiner to conduct the evaluation.

The court will decide whether to approve the evaluation and the suggested examiner. An evaluation may be both an inconvenience and embarrassment to your spouse. You must show that there is enough doubt about your spouse’s mental health that an evaluation is necessary.

Evaluation Results

Once the court has approved the psychological evaluation, you have 21 days to return with the examiner’s findings. The evaluation may or may not include a diagnosis of a mental illness, depending on the qualifications of the examiner. The most important information is whether the examiner believes your spouse’s mental state is a danger to your children. The court will take the examiner’s recommendation under advisement and may use it as evidence that your spouse should have limited interaction with your children.


Illinois courts try to discourage opposing parties from harassing each other by making baseless accusations of mental illness. If the court grants your request for a mental evaluation, you will be responsible for paying for the examination and any income your spouse loses because of having to attend the examination. Needlessly accusing your spouse of mental illness may reflect poorly on you. During the division of marital property, the court has the discretion to favor your spouse if it believes your were harassing in claiming he or she has a mental illness. If the court believes you made the accusation to prolong the case, it may order you to pay a portion of your spouse’s attorney fees as compensation.

Your Children’s Safety

You must carefully consider whether your spouse’s behavior is a threat to your children before you request an action that may take away his or her parental rights. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you decide whether requesting a mental evaluation of your spouse is necessary. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.



Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Child Custody, Divorce, Family Law, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney | Tagged , , |

Proving Your Former Spouse Has Violated Your Divorce OrderA well-crafted divorce settlement gets its teeth from your ability to enforce it. Even after all the hours of negotiation, your former spouse may decide he or she no longer agrees with the terms of the settlement. Instead of just asking you to renegotiate, he or she may refuse to complying with the agreed-upon divorce terms, such as:

A divorce agreement is a court order, and violating it may result in civil and criminal penalties. If your former spouse refuses to obey your divorce order, you can take him or her to court by filing a Petition for Rule to Show Cause. However, you must show that your spouse is willfully in contempt of the order. You can help your case by preparing supporting evidence for both your petition and your hearing.


The first step is to explain how your former spouse is not complying with the divorce order. You should have a detailed timeline of the violations. Documentation can include:

  • A copy of the divorce order to establish its requirements;
  • Dates and amounts of missed support payments;
  • Dates when the parenting time schedule was not followed;
  • Instances when your former spouse made a parenting decision without your required consent; and
  • Marital properties that you have been unable to procure.

Giving Notice

Filing a Petition for Rule to Show Cause should be your last resort, not your first reaction to a violation of your divorce order. The court will expect you to have made reasonable efforts to ask your former spouse to comply with the order. You can list when and how you contacted your former spouse about the violation. Include copies of any written communications that you sent, as well as replies.


The final step is to prove that your former spouse was “willful, contumacious and without just cause” in violating the divorce order. This means showing that your former spouse knew of the violation and was capable of complying but instead chose to violate the order. Proving that your former spouse knew about the violation should be simple if you were thorough in warning him or her. Your former spouse is more likely to argue that he or she was incapable of complying with the order. Financial hardship and concern for your children’s wellbeing are two of the most common defenses. The court’s duty is to determine whether your former spouse’s defense made it impossible or impractical to comply with the divorce order.


Even with a reasonable excuse, your former spouse may be liable for violating your divorce order. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you enforce the terms of your divorce order. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.



Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Divorce, Enforcing Agreements, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney |

Preparing for Financial Negotiations During Your DivorceThough divorce is often an emotional decision, financial considerations become equally important during the divorce process. Both sides need the settlement to establish their financial independence and security. A favorable divorce settlement can grant you valuable assets from your marriage and long-term relief in the form of spousal support. Before the financial negotiations start, there are actions you can take to prepare and protect yourself.

Separating Money

It is common for spouses to combine their incomes in a joint bank account. You will still have access to that account during your divorce, but your future income should go into a bank account that is solely in your name. There are several advantages to this:

  • The money you deposit in a joint bank account is marital property, which is subject to division during the divorce;
  • Having your own account allows you to make individual purchases that are not marital property; and
  • You need your own money to fall back on in case your spouse tries to withdraw money from the joint account.

Limiting Purchases

Getting a divorce is expensive, so you should be careful in budgeting your money while the process is ongoing. Unnecessary purchases can also reflect poorly on you during the divorce. It gives the appearance that you are financially irresponsible, which may negatively affect you during the division of marital property and determination of spousal support.

Identifying Property

Properties in a marriage are classified as either marital or individual. During your divorce, the marital properties are equitably divided between the spouses, while the individual properties remain with their owner. When the divorce begins, you can start identifying which properties are:

  • Marital;
  • Individual to yourself or your spouse; or
  • Likely to be disputed.

The value of the marital properties is not required to be divided exactly in half. If one spouse has significantly greater individual properties, the divorce court may compensate by giving the other spouse a larger share of the marital properties. Thus, it is to your advantage to know the value of your spouse’s individual assets.

Collecting Documents

Your spouse may understate his or her own worth in order to gain an advantage in the division of property and spousal support payments. While you still have easy access, you should make copies of key documents that show:

  • How much money you both have;
  • Your typical incomes;
  • Valuable assets you possess; and
  • Your benefits and retirement plans.

Planning for Success

Early action during your divorce can help secure your immediate and future financial status. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can provide you with the financial guidance you need during your divorce. To schedule an appointment, call 630-879-9090.



Posted in Divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney, Property Division, Spousal Maintenance | Tagged , , , |

Types of Orders of Protection and How to Modify ThemObtaining an order of protection is one of the most helpful actions that Illinois victims of domestic violence can take. An order of protection legally prohibits your abuser from having contact with you and other victims. Forms of domestic violence include:

  • Physical abuse;
  • Harassment;
  • Intimidation; and
  • Obstruction of personal liberties.

A domestic violence incident may be an emergency for the victim, but obtaining and keeping an order of protection requires following a legal process. The steps are meant to provide immediate and lasting protection for domestic violence victims, while also protecting the accused from false or unfair claims.

Types of Orders

An order of protection determines who the offender may have contact with and may require that support payments be made to the victim. However, a court will not impose any long-term conditions on the accused until it rules on the case in a hearing. At the same time, the law recognizes that victims need immediate relief from their suspected abusers. There are three types of orders of protection that are used at different stages of the legal process:

  • An emergency order lasting 14 to 21 days can be granted the same day it is filed without the accused needing to attend. The order is meant to protect the accuser until the initial court hearing;
  • A court may issue a 30-day interim order once the accused makes an initial court appearance or is given sufficient notice to attend a hearing; and
  • A plenary order is the final order that the court issues if it sides with the accuser in the case.

Renewal and Modification

A plenary order of protection only lasts two years in Illinois, but you can renew the order an unlimited number of times. The process may be straightforward if you are not seeking to modify the order and the other party does not contest the extension. If the extension is contested, you must show why the order is still necessary and that there has not been a change of circumstances. You can also request to modify the order at any time. Reasons for modification may include:

  • Additional abusive behavior that necessitates greater protective measures;
  • A change in living circumstances that also changes what you need from the order; and
  • A resolution in the criminal charges related to the domestic abuse.

Obtaining Protection

As a victim of domestic violence, you need help in filing for an order of protection against your abuser. A Kane County family law attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., will lead you through the process of obtaining the order. To schedule a consultation, call 630-879-9090.



Posted in Domestic Violence, Orders of Protection | Tagged , , |