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Four Misconceptions About Divorce Parenting AgreementsEntering a divorce with misconceptions about how the allocation of parental responsibilities will be settled is doing a disservice to yourself. Some misconceptions are myths, while others are based on antiquated ideas about parenting after divorce. All of the misconceptions can potentially hurt you during your divorce negotiations because you have an assumption about how the parental responsibilities will be resolved that makes you resigned to defeat or recklessly overconfident. Here are four myths about parenting agreements during a divorce that are inaccurate:

  1. Mothers Are Assumed to Be the Primary Parent: This is probably the biggest parenting misconception in divorce. Mothers are more likely to receive a majority of parenting time but not because of their gender. The primary parent after divorce is the one who is most capable and willing to devote time to his or her parental responsibilities. Mothers traditionally but not exclusively fulfill this role in a marriage. A father who is the greater caregiver of the two parents may be better suited as the primary parent.
  2. A Working Parent Is Unlikely to Be a Primary Parent: When one parent stays at home instead of working, that parent normally takes on the primary parenting duties. After a divorce, the stay-at-home parent is often the most sensible choice as the primary parent. However, the stay-at-home parent will likely have to find his or her own job in order to fulfill child support obligations. The issue then becomes which parent is better capable of balancing his or her work and parental responsibilities.
  3. Teenagers Decide Which Parent They Live With: A court will consider a child’s preference for his or her living situation if the child is mature enough to give thoughtful reasons. However, child preference is one of a list of factors that courts use to determine which parent the children will primarily live with. A court will not adhere to a teenager’s choice if a majority of the evidence shows that it is not in his or her best interest.
  4. False Abuse Allegations Will Help Win Cases: Domestic violence charges and orders of protection will limit a parent’s contact with the children. If the parent is a danger to the children, he or she can be prevented from seeing the children or limited to supervised visits. However, a parent caught making false allegations will likely be the one who is punished. Besides the criminal consequences, the false accuser may lose parental responsibilities because he or she is considered untrustworthy.

Creating a Parenting Plan

The primary requirement for a parental agreement during divorce is that it serves the best interests of your children. A Barrington, Illinois, divorce attorney at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, can help you make a parenting plan that works well for all parties. To schedule a consultation, call 847-381-8700.

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Dram Shop Law Allows Drunk Driving Victims to Sue Alcohol ServersMotor vehicle accidents involving intoxicated drivers can cause serious injuries and death. The victim in a drunk driving crash can sue the driver for personal injury compensation and the loss of a loved one. There is a third-party liability in Illinois that can extend to businesses that serve alcohol to drunk drivers. Illinois’ dram shop law allows a victim to receive additional injury compensation by filing a lawsuit against an alcohol vendor that is deemed partially responsible for a drunk driving incident.

Proving Liability

Illinois’ dram shop law applies to restaurants, clubs, retailers, and hospitality businesses. In most cases, an individual serving alcohol at a social gathering is not liable. For a successful lawsuit against a third-party alcohol vendor, the victim must prove that:

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Consider Long-Term Investments in Divorce SettlementYou are likely to take an immediate financial hit after going through a high asset divorce. You are required to equitably divide your marital properties with your former spouse, leaving you with roughly half of the marital assets you previously possessed. If you have a greater income, you may be responsible for child support and spousal maintenance. Even if you are a shrewd negotiator, a divorce court may not approve a settlement that clearly takes advantage of your former spouse. You need foresight when creating your divorce settlement to prepare for financial recovery and ultimate stability.

Choosing Properties

Most marital properties are measured by their current value when determining an equitable division. For some properties, it is important to consider their future values. Examples include:

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Avoid Talking to Insurance Companies Before Your Personal Injury AttorneyThe initial conversations you have with an insurance company after an injury can determine how much the company will cover your health expenses. The goal of an insurance adjuster is to get you to admit fault or downplay your injuries so that the company can save money. That is why the insurance company may contact you immediately after a vehicle accident or other injury when you are least prepared to talk to them. There are several reasons why you should not conduct a recorded interview with an insurance adjuster without consulting your personal injury attorney:

  1. Delayed Symptoms: If an insurance adjuster calls you the day of your accident, you may honestly answer that you do not feel injured. However, you may not notice some of your injuries until a couple of days after the incident. Once the adjuster has your statement on record, the insurance company can use it against you when determining your claim.
  2. Lack of Information: Even when you know you have been hurt after an accident, you will not know the full extent of your injuries until seeing a medical professional. You should not speculate about your injuries because your statement may contradict your official diagnosis.
  3. No Condition to Talk: Insurance adjusters contact you as soon as they can after an accident because they know you are vulnerable. You have just been through a traumatic experience that may prevent you from thinking clearly. You do not want to be held accountable for statements you made when you were upset or exhausted.
  4. Letting Your Guard Down: Many insurance adjusters come off as being personable and sympathetic during conversations. Friendliness is a tactic to get you to feel comfortable talking to them. With your guard down, you may inadvertently admit to fault in the accident or inaccurately portray your physical health.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

An insurance adjuster may try to pressure you into giving an immediate statement, saying that it is needed to start your claim. However, it is more important for your claim to accurately cover your medical needs than be expedient. The insurance adjuster cannot force you to say anything or record you without your permission. You can respond to immediate phone calls by saying that you need time to consult with your attorney before making any official statements that may affect your claim. A Barrington, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, can advise you on what you should tell an insurance company to make sure you receive the coverage you need. Schedule an appointment by calling 847-381-8700.

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Posted on in Divorce

Understanding Trends in Divorce RatesIt is too early to have complete statistics related to marriage and divorce in the U.S. for 2017. Researchers have had enough time to compile their 2016 data and get a snapshot of what the 2017 data may be. For decades, people in the U.S. have shown increasing social acceptance of divorce. That change would suggest that the number of divorces is increasing, especially among younger people who have grown up in a time when divorce is normal. However, divorce statistics have shown an opposite reaction:

  • The divorce rate in 2016 was a relatively low 3.2 per every 1,000 people, as opposed to a peak of around 5 in the early 1980s; and
  • Divorce among couples age 55 and older, known as gray divorce, is the only age demographic that has increased, having doubled since 1990.

The statistics may initially seem counterintuitive, but additional context can help explain it:

  1. Younger Couples Are Waiting Longer to Marry: Marriages that begin when people are in their late teens or early 20s face obstacles against sustainability. Young couples are less mature and more likely to experience financial hardships that put a strain on their marriages. By waiting until their late 20s or 30s to marry, couples have more stability in their lives and a better understanding of what they want in a relationship.
  2. Marriage Rates Are Down: Many couples are foregoing marriage in favor of cohabitation, even when they have children. These couples do still separate, which may require them to go to court to determine parental responsibilities and child support. However, they will not count towards divorce statistics.
  3. Gender Equality Is on the Rise: Women from previous generations were more likely to marry because they were seeking men to provide for them. Instead, many of them have had profitable careers. Now approaching the age of retirement, these women feel more confident in their ability to support themselves after leaving their marriages.
  4. Generations May View Divorce Differently: The spouses involved in gray divorce today were also part of the married demographic when divorce reached its peak levels in the 1980s. They were the first generation in which divorce became more socially acceptable. Younger generations, who experienced their parents’ divorces during peak years, may be making a greater effort to avoid divorce.

Trends in Divorce

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