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Posted on in Divorce

Four Alternatives to Traditional DivorceTo most people, divorce means using negotiations or litigation to settle disputes about the division of marital property and allocation of parental responsibilities. This process describes one form of divorce called a contested divorce. Though contested divorce is the most common form of divorce, it is also the most time-consuming and costly process. Most divorcees use contested divorce because they cannot agree on their divorce terms. However, some divorcees are unaware that there are simpler and more amicable divorce options available to them:

  1. Uncontested Divorce: In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on the decision to divorce and the terms of their agreement, without the need for litigation or extensive negotiations. The dissolution of the marriage and approval of the divorce agreement can occur in one court hearing. This is a rare form of divorce because two people who have decided to end their marriage often disagree with each other in some aspect of the divorce.
  2. Joint Simplified Divorce: A joint simplified divorce is similar to an uncontested divorce but more restrictive in what it can cover. A simplified divorce agreement in Illinois cannot include child issues, spousal maintenance, or a total marital property value of more than $50,000. There are also limits on the duration of the marriage and each spouse's annual income.
  3. Mediation: Spouses who are still amicable in talking to each other can use mediation as an alternative to traditional negotiations. The spouses will negotiate directly with each other, while a third-party mediator guides the process. The mediator encourages cooperation between the spouses and answers questions about divorce law. A successful mediation can be quicker and less expensive than a contested divorce.
  4. Collaborative Divorce:  Collaborative law differs from mediation because each party brings his or her own lawyer to the meetings. Unlike traditional divorce negotiations, the spouses and lawyers agree to cordial negotiations. If the collaborative negotiations break down, the lawyers must remove themselves from the case.

Choosing Your Type of Divorce

All four of the listed forms of divorce can be cheaper than a contested divorce but may not be right for your divorce. With an uncontested divorce, you risk overlooking your parental and property rights for the sake of a speedy resolution. Mediation or collaborative law can be a waste of your money if the process fails and you are forced to use litigation. A Barrington, Illinois, divorce attorney at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, can help you choose the most effective form of divorce for your case. To schedule a consultation, call 847-381-8700.

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When Pet Owners Are Liable for Animal AttacksDomesticated animals can behave in unpredictable ways that may cause injuries. A malicious attack, such as a dog bite, can leave lasting physical and emotional damage. More benign actions can also result in injuries, such as an excited dog jumping on someone and knocking him or her over. Guests who are hurt because of the actions of someone’s pet can seek personal injury compensation from the pet owner. Illinois law holds a pet owner strictly liable for injuries unless the victim is at fault for the animal's reaction.

Strict Liability

According to Illinois law, an animal owner is liable for injuries that the animal causes to others as long as:

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Collecting Your Spouse's Social Security After DivorceRetirement benefits are marital assets that can be divided during a divorce. Negotiating the division of these benefits can be contentious because of their high value and the significance they serve later in your life. Obtaining a share of your spouse’s retirement benefits may mean sacrificing other marital properties as equal compensation. However, Social Security benefits work differently than other retirement benefits. You can collect a portion of your former spouse’s Social Security benefits without it affecting the benefits that he or she receives.

How It Works

You can receive as much as half of the value of your former spouse’s Social Security payments, depending on how close you are to the full retirement age. In order to qualify:

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Trucks Backing Up Can Cause Serious Construction Site InjuriesA large truck is one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment that you will commonly find at a construction site. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 962 fatalities at road construction sites from 2003 to 2010. Among those:

  • 443 were caused by a worker being struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment;
  • 143 were caused by a vehicle backing up; and
  • 84 were caused by a dump truck backing up.

In many cases, workers who are injured by a vehicle that is backing up can petition for workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are scenarios where a third party may be responsible for the incident, which allows the victim to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The Danger of Trucks in Reverse

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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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