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Your level of parental responsibilities can change after divorce

The terminology commonly associated with divorce decrees can leave people feeling confused and disempowered. Many people will refer to the documents approved in the last hearings of your divorce as the final orders or decree in the divorce.

When it comes to asset division, it is true that the process is generally concluded with the final hearings, barring one spouse's discovery of illegally hidden assets or similar issues later. However, when it comes to your parental responsibilities and rights, the potential always exists for you to make changes to the specific tone in the final orders.

3 common strategies for filing an uncontested divorce

An uncontested divorce is arguably the ideal divorce in the perception of most people. Being able to quickly and cleanly sever your legal ties to your spouse without an embarrassing airing of your dirty laundry in court is certainly more private and less expensive than the litigated alternative.

To many people, an uncontested divorce may seem like an unachievable ideal. Perhaps both you and your spouse are passionate individuals who simply can't agree on anything right now. Maybe you're highly emotional because your marriage is at an end. These temporary issues don't mean you have to deal with a long court battle.

Preparing for divorce as a father

If you are currently struggling in your marriage and you suspect that divorce is on the horizon, your first priority is likely to be your children. As a father, you will never want to lose the strong bond you have with your kids because of divorce proceedings. But the reality is that your children will probably be spending some of their time living with the other parent once parental responsibilities have been allocated.

While you will never be able to predict the challenges that divorce will bring, you can work on preparing yourself for the hurdles that you will likely face. The following are some tips for fathers who are navigating parental responsibility and divorce.

What parental responsibilities come with establishing paternity?

It is far more common than it once was for couples in Illinois to choose to have children without marrying first. There can be personal, professional or even financial benefits to choosing not to marry the mother of your child. However, if the relationship fails, not being married can also cause some potentially serious issues for your family.

For example, your ex could attempt to claim that you do not have a biological link to the children or may simply start denying you access to or time with your children. If your ex won't work with you, you will need to take steps to establish yourself legally as the father of your children.

How to prepare for the Illinois courts to split up your assets

Considering divorce can lead to great uncertainty and feelings of instability. Not only will you wonder about your social future as you leave your marriage behind you, but you will likely also wonder about the financial implications of a divorce.

Divorce is expensive. Even if you negotiate an uncontested divorce, you can anticipate splitting most of everything you acquired during your marriage with your ex. If you have a prenuptial agreement on record, you probably already know how the courts will divide your assets because you set those terms before you even got married.

If you did not establish paternity at your child's birth

When you establish paternity for your child, the father receives the legal right to visitation with his child as well as the legal responsibility to provide financial support. When the child is born, you can establish paternity by signing the state's Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form.

Sometimes, paternity is more complicated. Take these steps to establish legal paternity in Illinois when one or both parents has not signed the acknowledgement form in the hospital.

Steps you can take to make an Illinois divorce easier on the kids

Divorce is hard for everyone in the family, but it can be particularly devastating for young children. Kids may not understand why their parents' relationship no longer works. They may feel intense sorrow or guilt, as children tend to view the world in a very egocentric manner. In other words, they will possibly conclude that the end of your marriage is somehow their fault.

That presumption can lead to a lot of emotional conflict and even serious issues with problems like mental health conditions or addiction. Thankfully, divorce is not inherently damaging, provided you and your ex approach it in a pragmatic and thoughtful manner.

Could you go to rehab instead of jail via Illinois drug court?

An addiction can impact every area of your life, even before you find yourself dealing with legal consequences. Once law enforcement officers get involved and you wind up charged with a crime, your addiction could very well completely derail your future.

A conviction related to addiction, even if you are only accused of possession, could impact your ability to obtain student aid if you want to go back to school and keep you out of a good job. It could even prevent you from volunteering at your child's school as a chaperone for a field trip.

What are your parental rights and responsibilities in Illinois?

Not so long ago, the Illinois family courts referred to determinations about the future of children as custody decisions. However, the term custody implies ownership of an item and does not honor the true nature of relationships between parents and children.

As a result, Illinois lawmakers have adjusted the language of the state's family code to refer to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities instead of custody. Many divorcing couples find this terminology confusing. That confusion can lead to mistakes in strategy when planning for divorce. After all, how do you learn what your rights and responsibilities as a parent really are?

Mediation can help you file an uncontested Illinois divorce

You know that your marriage is over, but you don't exactly relish the idea of battling it out with your ex in court. If the thought of a public divorce leaves you anxious or if you can't imagine spending the time and money necessary to litigate your divorce, uncontested divorce filings are probably the best option.

Unfortunately, filing an uncontested divorce requires that you and your ex agree on all the terms for your divorce. It is relatively unusual for couples separating to remain in perfect agreement about what is fair and reasonable for their relationship, children and possessions.

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