At Split Simple, we recognize one core truth about divorce involving families: the welfare of your children comes first. We know that you want what's best for your children above and beyond anything else.
The problem is that what's best for the children can become murky in a divorce. With the hostility that often results from the decision to undergo a divorce, it becomes easy to convince yourself that the best interests of your child involve doing as much damage as possible to your spouse.
Our uncontested divorce process is designed to avoid this. We keep things calm and rational, and we ensure our mediation sessions stay focused on productive solutions, not recrimination. Your children deserve nothing less.
If you're considering divorce in Chicago, Illinois, but you want to ensure your children are protected, please call Split Simple today at 855-665-9920.
Under Illinois law, your divorce settlement must contain a parenting plan. This is undoubtedly the most important provision couples must work out during their divorce process.
A parenting plan is exactly what it sounds like: a comprehensive plan that establishes guidelines for making the major decisions in a child's life. While a parenting plan can be modified after a divorce, it's important to get the plan right the first time.
Our mediation sessions will focus on this plan and will work to craft a parenting plan that meets your child's needs and serves his or her best interests. That is our promise to you and your family.
A parenting plan must contain provisions concerning:
- Child custody, now referred to as "allocation of parental responsibilities" under Illinois law
- Visitation rights for the non-custodial parent
- Decisions related to education, medical issues, religion and other concerns
- How future disputes will be resolved
There are a number of technical and logistical issues that must be addressed in a parenting plan, such as access to medical and education records and addresses and phone numbers for both parents. Our attorney-mediators know exactly what is required under Illinois law and will ensure your parenting plan wins a judge's approval.
Changes to Illinois' law that took effect in early 2016 have officially eliminated the legal terms "child custody" and "visitation." Instead, the state now refers to "parental responsibilities" and "parenting time."
For convenience and simplicity, we will occasionally refer to "child custody," as it is the term with which most people are familiar. But you can rest assured that Split Simple's attorney-mediators possess a comprehensive understanding of new developments in this field and know how to ensure your parenting arrangement fully satisfies Illinois law, as well as appropriate child development guidelines.
When considering the assignment of parental responsibilities, the state directs judges (and, in our case, attorney-mediators trying to forge an agreement between the parties) to make decisions based on the best interests of the child. But what does that mean?
The factors that go into the child's best interests include:
- The child's wishes, with allowances made for the child's maturity and independence
- The amount of time each parent has invested in childcare responsibilities in the last two years
- The nature of the relationship between the child and each parent
- The distance between the parents' houses and how convenient these locations are for the child's needs
- The willingness of both parents to set aside their own interests and advocate for their child's
We understand that child custody is an exceptionally difficult, emotionally wrenching issue. No one wants to feel that their child is being taken away from them or that they are being barred from seeing their child.
Split Simple's attorney-mediators will work with both parties to find the right solution. We will do so with sensitivity and understanding, and we will ensure that the solution we work out will protect your child during these difficult times.
One of the most important and contentious issues in any divorce case involving a family is child support. Under Illinois law, a child is entitled to financial support from both parents. The financial support from the non-custodial parent is what is referred to as "child support."
It's important to consider child support as part of a broader parenting strategy worked out during your divorce mediation sessions. No one is trying to punish the non-custodial parent or make it difficult for him or her to remain financially stable.
Instead, child support is predicated on the understanding that raising a child is both difficult and expensive. All the love and understanding a parent can provide isn't enough if there isn't enough money to meet the child's needs.
Illinois provides guidelines for determining how much a non-custodial parent should pay in child support. These are guidelines and not hard and fast rules, and judges occasionally go outside them if doing so is in the best interest of the child. But that's relatively rare.
The Illinois Child Support Guidelines determine child support as the following associated percentages of the non-custodial parent’s net income:
- 1 child: 20 percent
- 2 children: 28 percent
- 3 children: 32 percent
- 4 children: 40 percent
- 5 children: 45 percent
- 6 or more: 50 percent
Child support usually ends when the child turns 18. However, if a child become emancipated, gets married, joins the military or gets a job and can support him or herself, child support might end early.
The important thing to remember is that all of this is done in the best interests of your child. Child support is designed to help the custodial parent meet the financial needs of the child or children.
Split Simple's attorney-mediators will consider all relevant factors and work with both parties to ensure that your child support agreement is fair, equitable and right for everyone involved.
Statistics show that children of parents who go through divorce mediation have better outcomes than children of parents who move through the traditional litigated divorce process. If this sounds appealing to you and you live in the Chicago, Illinois area, please call Split Simple today at 855-665-9920.