Children Need Parental Attention During DivorceParenting time is one of the primary ways you can address your children’s needs after a divorce. You and your spouse may disagree about how the parenting time should be divided because you each believe that your children will be best off by spending as much time with you as possible. However, concerns about the quantity of parenting time can sometimes overshadow the importance of the quality of parenting time. Whether you have a majority or a minority of parenting time, it is important that you use that time effectively to address your children’s emotional needs and help them through the difficult adjustment.

Silent Struggles

Children of divorce need acute attention from their parents because the process has left them with many questions and doubts about their lives. Unfortunately, parents who are caught up in a divorce may not notice their children’s struggles and assume that their children will tell them if something is wrong. Your children notice how the divorce upsets you and may be afraid that asking questions will draw your ire. They are waiting for you to notice that they are upset and to talk to them. When you fail to do so, they may conclude that you do not care, which can cause depression and resentment.


You must approach your time with your children as an opportunity for them to talk to you about their thoughts related to the divorce. To allow them to feel comfortable, you should:

  • Directly ask them how they feel;
  • Attentively listen to what they say;
  • Reassure them about their doubts without rejecting their feelings; and
  • Tell them that you are not upset or angry with them.

As much as you want your parenting time to be happy, it is healthy to allow your children to be sad if that is how they feel. Your children need to express what makes them sad and angry about the divorce and feel that you acknowledge those emotions.

Parenting with Purpose

When arguing with your spouse about the allocation of parental responsibilities, you should ask yourself whether what you want is best for yourself or best for your children. Your children are not a property to be divided but a responsibility to be shared. Both of you have an individual, irreplaceable role in helping your children through what is likely the most traumatic experience in their lives. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you create a parenting agreement that is in the best interest of your children. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.


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

Answering Your Doubts After Grey DivorceSpouses age 55 and older are the only age demographic in the U.S. that have seen an increase in their divorce rate in recent years. Known as grey divorce, divorce at an older age and after years of marriage can happen for many reasons:

  • Spouses no longer have the children at home as a reason to stay together;
  • Spending more time together after retirement may emphasize their differences;
  • There is a sense of urgency to start over while still young enough to do so; and
  • People and relationships change from when they first married.

Though friends and family often do not understand the reason for the divorce, the couple will know they are making the right decision. However, people dealing with the aftermath of their grey divorce still face feelings of doubt about their futures.

“Who Am I Now That I Am Divorced?”

A person’s role as a spouse and parent is often his or her most important identity. After a grey divorce, a person is often living alone without a significant other or children to care for. The situation could become an identity crisis if the person is also retired. Being single at an older age is an opportunity for someone to discover an identity that is separate from his or her relationship to others by:

  • Focusing on hobbies or activities that he or she enjoys;
  • Traveling to new places; or
  • Becoming active with local clubs and groups.

“Is It Too Late to Find Love Again?”

The thought of spending the rest of their lives alone can be frightening to divorcees. Older divorcees may think they have a limited amount of time to find a new partner. A relationship started because someone is afraid to be alone is unlikely to last. There is no set age limit for falling in love. Divorcees should take their time in starting a new relationship to make sure they are emotionally ready for the experience. They may also need to change their expectations for what the relationship should be. Companionship and friendship may be more of a priority for older couples than the physical love they sought when they were younger.

Divorce for Seniors

Grey divorce cases can be more complicated than cases involving younger spouses because of the numerous marital assets that the spouses must divide, including retirement benefits. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can guide you through all the financial decisions you must make as part of your divorce. To schedule a consultation, call 630-879-9090.


Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Divorce, Divorce Advice, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney | Tagged , , |

Factors That Can Invalidate a Premarital AgreementPremarital agreements are vitally helpful documents to have in case of divorce. The agreement can settle some of the more contentious aspects of a divorce negotiation, such as the division of property and spousal maintenance payments. However, the document does no good if the divorce court determines that it is invalid. Problems with premarital agreements often originate from mistakes made during their creation. Illinois law states that a premarital agreement is unenforceable in the following instances:

  1. Unofficial Agreement: Both parties must read and sign the premarital agreement in order for it to become official. The parties are not required to have witnesses to the signing or to file the agreement with a government agency. However, there does need to be a formal document outlining the agreement, with proof that both parties understood and agreed to the terms.
  2. Signed Under Duress: One party cannot force or coerce the other into signing an agreement. This includes presenting the agreement shortly before the marriage. One party may feel pressured to sign the agreement without having the chance to properly review the document with his or her own attorney.
  3. Invalid Provisions: A premarital agreement is not allowed to make decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities or child support. Those issues must be settled during the divorce, adhering to state laws. The agreement also cannot include provisions that are blatantly in violation of state divorce laws.
  4. Deception: A court may invalidate a premarital agreement if it determines that one party was hiding valuable assets in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage in the agreement. There is some responsibility for each party to not overlook premarital assets that they can easily discover. However, a party may be liable when failing to disclose an asset that the other party had no reasonable way of knowing about.
  5. Unconscionability: Even if both parties approved of a premarital agreement, a divorce court may not enforce an agreement that is blatantly unfair to one party. The court may also alter the terms of spousal maintenance if it believes the payment agreement would put undue hardship on one party for reasons that could not have been foreseen when the agreement was created.

Valid Agreements

When creating a premarital agreement, it is important that you and your future spouse each have your own legal representation to review the agreement. An attorney can also look over the agreement at the time of your divorce to determine whether it is valid. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you with the creation and enforcement of premarital agreements. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.


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

Five Ways You Can Help Your Divorce AttorneyYou hire an attorney during your divorce in order to handle much of the busy work that comes with the process. An experienced divorce attorney can complete the work in a quicker and more comprehensive manner than you could on your own. However, your attorney still benefits from your help and cooperation during the process. Clients and attorneys are most successful in their divorce cases when they are able to work together. Here are five ways that you can help your divorce attorney obtain the best result for you:

  1. Have a Clear Goal: From the first meeting, you should have a basic idea of what you need from your divorce agreement. Most clients want financial stability and parenting time with their children. However, it helps to determine what your specific priorities are in the divorce so you can focus on those issues. Which properties are most important for you to keep? Are there properties you are willing to give up in exchange? Do you want a majority of the parenting time? These are just a couple of the questions you need to answer before starting negotiations.
  2. Disclose Prior Agreements: You should immediately tell your attorney if you have a pre- or postnuptial agreement with your spouse. The agreement may already determine how your property will be divided and whether one of you will pay spousal maintenance. Your attorney can examine the document to determine whether its terms adhere to Illinois divorce laws.
  3. Share Information: Your attorney can do a lot of the investigative work for your divorce on his or her own. However, you can save your attorney time and yourself money by collecting important information in advance. You can assume that your attorney will need to know your current income, financial savings, and properties, as well as the same information for your spouse.
  4. Be Candid: Your working relationship with your attorney should be based on honest and open communication. Do not hide embarrassing information that your spouse may try to use against you during the divorce. Letting your attorney know in advance will allow him or her to prepare a counterargument.
  5. Ask Before Acting: You should immediately talk to your attorney if you have any questions or doubts during your divorce. Do not make any important legal decisions without consulting your attorney first. Your attorney has a strategy for your divorce, and acting on your own may undermine it.

Working Together

A successful divorce settlement relies on both attorney and client being on the same page with each other. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., will work with you to achieve your divorce goals. To schedule a consultation, call 630-789-9090.


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

Alternatives to Traditional Parenting Time ArrangementsIllinois replaced the term “child custody” with “allocation of parental responsibilities” because parenting after a divorce involves more than who has custody of the children. Each parent has a role in raising and making decisions for their children. Parents must form a parenting plan that defines their individual responsibilities to their children. The parenting schedule is only one part of the plan, but it is probably the most important part. Nothing replaces the value of time spent with a child. Most parents use a traditional schedule that splits parenting time between weekdays and weekends. This is often the most practical and least disruptive schedule for both parents and children. With the more flexible definition of the allocation of parental responsibilities, some parents have created alternative schedules that work best for them. While these alternatives may not be your best options, it is worth knowing that these options exist.

Alternatives to Weekends

Weekends are usually the best time to exchange children because it is when children and parents are most likely to have free time. If parents do not live near each other, weekends may be the only practical time. However, weekday or evening visits may work if:

  • A parent usually works weekends;
  • A child is not at school age;
  • The parents live near each other; or
  • The children are on summer break from school.

Even Division of Parenting Time

Illinois courts prefer that one parent has a majority of the parenting time because it is considered less disruptive to the children. Parenting plans often involve one parent having 70 or 80 percent of the time with the children. Some parents instead split their time in a 60-40 ratio or divide it nearly evenly between them. A court will likely reject a 50-50 parenting plan unless the parents can prove that the plan is in the best interest of the children and will cause minimal disruption.

Nesting Agreement

For children, the most disruptive part of parenting schedules is being transported between their parents’ homes. Nesting plans negate that disruption by keeping the children in one home and scheduling the parents to stay with the children at different times. However, a nesting agreement is impractical for many parents because:

  • They must cooperate in continuing to own and live in the same home;
  • Each of them will be paying for a second residence for when they are not in the home; and
  • Their work schedules may not give them time to travel between two residences.

Your Parenting Plan

The best alternative to a traditional parenting schedule may be allowing flexibility so that you are not locked into specific days of the week. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you create a parenting plan that works for your needs. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.


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