schedule, St. Charles family law attorneysWhether you are newly separated or you are facing your first holiday season as a divorced person, being a parent and sharing your children during the holiday season can be tricky. Oftentimes, both parents want to spend time with their children and extended family or family from out of town by vying for their attention as well. It can be overwhelming to figure out how parents will share responsibility of their children during the holidays, but with a little creativity and flexibility, it is still possible to have a memorable and meaningful holiday season.

When planning for the holiday season as a newly-divorced or separated parent, there are a few things to keep in mind. A little bit of holiday stress is to be expected but there are steps you can take to plan a holiday parenting time schedule that is fair to you, your spouse, and your children.

Be Flexible

The first bit of advice that experts agree on is that being vindictive or intentionally cruel to your ex-spouse is never helpful. Understandably, most people who get divorced have feelings of anger toward their ex—especially if the break up was not amiable. However, it is important to “be the bigger person” in this circumstance. Although your ex is no longer your romantic partner, he or she is still the parent of your children. As difficult as it may be, try to keep a positive attitude and be willing to work with your ex to figure out the holiday plan. If you are slow to anger and quick to accommodate, this will hopefully encourage your ex to do the same for you.

Communicate Clearly

Another word of advice is to keep the lines of communication open between you and your ex. It may be best to have either a face-to-face conversation about the holiday plans or a phone conversation. Sometimes it is hard to get details straight if you rely on text messages. You may even consider using a shared calendar to schedule holiday visits. Google Calendar, Cozi, and OurFamilyWizard have apps that allow multiple people to access and edit calendars. This way, parents can be totally sure of what the schedule is.

Experts also warn against using your children to communicate with your former partner. It is very stressful for a child to be in charge of delivering messages between parents, and it leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding. Intentional communication and planning is best.

Let Us Help

If you are in the midst of a divorce or are considering the process, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney to discuss your available options. Call 630-377-7770 for a free, no-obligation consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.



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prenuptial agreement, St. Charles family law attorneysA group of archaeologists has found what seems to be the world’s oldest known marriage contract. The clay tablet was discovered in Turkey and contains provisions that mention divorce, infertility, and other topics relevant to a marriage. Experts estimate the tablet to be about 4,000 years old, but the contract is remarkably similar to a present-day prenuptial agreement.

According to reports, the tablet lays out a marital contract between a man named Laqipum and his wife Hatala. Among the contract’s terms, there is a provision that delineates what would happen if Hatala could not have children—namely, that she would be required to buy a slave a woman with which her husband could have a child. The contract also specified the details of a possible divorce. If the man chose to divorce his wife, he would be required to pay her a certain sum of money. If a divorce was the wife’s decision, she would pay him the same amount.

The Benefits of Using a Prenuptial Agreement

In today’s world, prenuptial agreements are not unusual. Also called “prenups” or premarital agreements, prenuptial agreements can be used to establish the property rights and responsibilities of each spouse in the event of a divorce. Prenups may prevent one spouse from assuming the other’s debts, detail the fiscal obligations of each spouse, and generally simplify the asset division process if a divorce becomes unavoidable. It is important to note that such agreements, however, cannot address issues of child custody or support, as Illinois law requires those concerns to be addressed only when they become necessary.

Open Communication

While the idea of discussing a potential divorce before the associated divorce even gets started may seem negative and unromantic, the process of developing a prenuptial agreement may offer surprising benefits on its own. Many people are uncomfortable discussing money in general, but negotiating a prenup requires a full disclosure of each party’s financial situation. In doing so, a large number of couples find that they are able to address their concerns appropriately and with unexpected openness. Improved communication can provide a solid foundation on which the rest of the marriage may be based.

We Can Help

If you are considering marriage and have questions about prenuptial agreements, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. We can help you find the answers you need, and we will work with you in drafting a prenup that both meets your needs and protects your rights. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.



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daughter, Kane County divorce attorneyIt is estimated that about 42 percent of marriages end in divorce, and there are many factors that can lead a couple to call it quits. In some cases, spouses simply realize that they are or have become incompatible. Other couples struggle to work on their marital issues and challenges while trying to effectively parent their children.

Data About When Couples Divorce Shows Some Interesting Patterns

Many studies suggest that a couple’s risk of divorce increases with children’s ages. Dr. Jan Kabatek and Dr. David Ribar, Research Fellows at the University of Melbourne, have developed some ideas about what causes couples to divorce while researching this phenomenon. The researchers studied 2 million marriages in the Netherlands over a period of ten years in order to discover patterns in why and when people divorce. The team cited the completeness and detail of Dutch marital and family records as the primary reason for their choice of subjects.

Their data shows that the strain on a marriage increases as children grow up. Most parents, whether together or separated, have probably experienced challenges with pre-teen and teenaged children. After all, parenting is not an easy job. Data shows that those couples with teenage girls are statistically more likely to divorce than couples with teenage boys. Fascinatingly, the data also shows that this risk factor disappears in cases where the father grew up with sisters.

The order in which a couple has children may also influence whether the couple divorces. Further data shows that parents of first-born girls divorce more than parents of first-born boys. The odds of a couple with children aged 13 to 18 divorcing is 10.7 percent for parents of boys, and 11.3 percent for parents of girls. Put another way, parents with teenage daughters face a 6 percent cent higher risk of divorce than parents with teenage sons. The study did not look specifically at why parents of teenage girls are more likely to divorce, but experts have speculated that strained relationships between teenage girls and their parents may lead to more marital tension. Of course, having teenage daughters does not mean a marriage is destined for failure, but this tendency does shed light on some of the reasons couples with children split up.

Considering Divorce?

Although most people probably do not get married with the intention of getting divorced, the fact is that not all marriages work out. Oftentimes, the family is healthier and happier overall if the parents do not stay married or continue living together. If you are considering divorce, contact one of our experienced and knowledgeable St. Charles family law attorneys today. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation.



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holiday, Kane County divorce attorneyFor many people, the winter holidays are something they look forward to all year. The family gatherings, exchanging of gifts, elaborate meals, or religious events are special and heart-warming. Unfortunately, for those who are recently single, the holiday season may be a dreaded eventuality. If you have recently separated or divorced, you may be wondering how you will manage the holiday season without your significant other by your side. The good news is that you can make it through the holiday season in one piece. There is no perfect way to face the holidays alone, but there are some steps you can take to make the road a bit less bumpy.

Reach Out to Others

One thing you can do to help ease the pain of going through the holiday season after a break-up is to reach out to friends and family. Although the idea of staying in bed all day and turning off your phone is tempting, experts agree that complete isolation is not the healthiest choice. While you will need some alone time after a trauma like ending a relationship, try to push yourself to attend at least one or two holiday parties or gatherings. Now that you are single, you probably have more free time. This is a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends or see extended family members. If you are feeling especially festive, you could even consider hosting a holiday event for other single friends.

Do Good in Order to Feel Good

Another strategy for beating the holiday blues is to do something kind for others. There are many charitable organizations that need volunteers, especially during the holidays. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, retirement center, school or homeless shelter. If you are an animal lover, check out the local animal shelters and offer to walk a dog or play with a kitten. Helping others and doing selfless acts of service gives people a sense of purpose and community. You will also enjoy the pride of knowing that you did something meaningful for those who need help. Another benefit of volunteering is that you will probably make new friends as well!

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Many people facing the holiday season alone chastise themselves for feeling lonely and depressed. This is not necessary, as you have the right to feel whatever you need to feel during this difficult time in your life. There are times you might feel joyous, and other times you feel angry or hopeless. Your mood swings and changing emotions may make you feel like you are on a roller coaster ride—and not a fun one. Try to keep in mind that all these feelings are normal. An important relationship in your life has ended. You deserve some time and space to grieve.

Divorce Questions?

At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., our experienced Kane County divorce attorneys understand the challenges that come with ending a marriage, and we are here to help you. If you have questions about the process, contact our office for a free consultation today. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule an appointment.



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risk, Kane County divorce attorneysThere is not a 100% accurate way to predict if a couple will break up or grow old together. Some marriages appear perfect to family and friends when in reality the marriage is barely hanging on by a thread. Other couples seem doomed to failure because of difficult circumstances but they rise above and end up staying married regardless of the challenges. Although there is no foolproof method of guessing whether a marriage will end in divorce or not, there are some factors that scientists have found make a couple more likely to divorce.

Age Differences and the Age at Which You Marry

Statistically, those who couples who get married when the spouses are in their teens and those who marry beyond their mid-30s are at greater divorce risk than couples who marry between their late 20s and early 30s. Teen couples are at an especially high risk. Those couples who married in their late 20s are most likely to stay together. Another interesting trend is that couples with a large age difference are statistically more likely to divorce than couples who are closer in age. Research shows that a five-year difference makes couples 18 percent more likely to divorce, and a 10-year difference makes them nearly 40 percent more likely to split up.

Financial Status and Education

A recent study at Harvard led by Alexandra Killewald analyzed marriages over the last 40 years. She discovered that couples in which the husband did not have a full-time job were almost a third more likely to divorce than couples in which the husband worked full time. Interestingly, the wives’ employment status did not affect the couple’s chances of divorce.

The amount of education that a couple has had in the past can also affect how likely they are to divorce. The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found that over half of marriages of those who did not complete high school end in divorce compared with only about 30 percent of marriages involving college graduates. Experts believe that those with less formal education are more likely to experience stress due to financial difficulties—a huge risk factor for divorce.

Poor Communication Between Spouses

Another factor that increases the risk of divorce is poor communication or a lack of respect between partners. Research shows that spouses who consider their partner to be beneath them or less important than them are more likely to end up divorced. Couples who stonewall each other during arguments or withdraw during conflict are also more likely to divorce. Communication and cooperation are keys to a happy marriage, and without them, a relationship is not likely to survive.

Call Us for Help

If you are considering a divorce, it is important to work closely with an experienced Kane County family law attorney throughout the process. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today. We will review your situation and help you make the best decisions for yourself and your family.



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parenting time, St. Charles family law attorneysAs any parent can tell you, parents spend a lot of time worrying about their children. A parent may be concerned about bullies on the playground, if their child is zipping their coat up in the cold, or if he or she will be approached by strangers walking home from school. When a parent shares parenting responsibilities with a former partner, he or she usually assumes that the other parent is also looking out for the child’s best interest. Tragically, this is not always the case.

Some parents struggle to separate their own wants and needs from those of the child’s. This can often result in damage to the child’s quality of life. If you are concerned with how your former partner is parenting your child, there are steps you can take. Illinois law provides a court with the authority to limit a parent’s time with his or her child if he or she poses a serious danger to the child’s safety. This can include danger to the child’s physical, emotional, mental, or moral well-being. What is considered a “serious danger” is left to the interpretation of the court.

What to Do If You Wish to Restrict the Other Parent’s Parenting Time

If you believe that your child is in immediate danger, you may take steps to keep him or her safe, but you should notify the court of your actions as soon as possible. Do not attempt to resolve this issue on your own. Taking action without notifying the court can lead to allegations that you unduly denied the other parent access to the child. Doing so could affect your own access to parenting time.

You will need to notify the court as to the severity of the situation and request that the other parent’s parenting time be limited. The court takes such decisions very seriously, and simply claiming that you do not like what is happening will not be sufficient. You will need to provide evidence to support your claims about the other parent and demonstrate the danger he or she poses to your child.

While the court does have the power to deny the other parent’s access to the child altogether, such a response is typically reserved for the most extreme situations. The court is much more likely to place behavior limitations on the offending parent or to require supervised visits. For example, the court may order a parent with a drinking problem to refrain from consuming alcohol immediately prior to and during the time he or she spends with the child. If supervised visits are deemed appropriate, the offending parent may only exercise parenting time under your supervision or that of an appointed third party.

Contact an Attorney

If you believe that your child is in danger when he or she visits with the other parent, do not hesitate to act. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., and get the help you need. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at our St. Charles office today.



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adoption, Kane County adoption lawyersChoosing to adopt a child is a truly monumental  decision for all involved, and in order to ensure it goes successfully, it is important to have an attorney who understands the stakes. The process is very complex, even for legal professionals, and there are certain questions that should be asked so that you can be certain you are working with a knowledgeable attorney.

  • #1. What is your background in adoption law? This is perhaps the most important question that can be asked. The adoption process is quite complex for anyone, even those with experience, especially if you wish to adopt internationally. The most recent available data shows over 260,000 adoptions have been brokered internationally since 1999, with the majority being from countries where procedures were either not conducted in English, were prone to adjustment, or both. This can be a severe roadblock for an inexperienced attorney.
  • #2. Do you have preferences about adoption types, or is there a type of adoption you will not handle? There are multiple types of adoptions, including private, open, agency-assisted, and many others. Some attorneys refuse to work with adoption agencies, or may refuse to handle adoptions in specific countries. Such preferences are legal as long as this information is communicated up front, but it is not always presented openly.
  • #3. What do you charge, on average, to handle an adoption? While there is no specific fee that is appropriate or inappropriate, it is important to have a sense of what will the entire process will cost. A flat fee may be preferable for your situation, but it is possible for an ethical attorney to still charge an hourly rate. As long as your attorney is honest with you about fees, no red flags should be evident.
  • #4. Do you require a retainer fee? While there is some debate about the appropriateness of retainer fees, some adoption attorneys in Illinois do charge retainers while others do not. Many feel that paying a retainer is a gamble, especially since in Illinois, the birth mother is granted 72 hours after the birth of a child to decide whether she truly wishes to place that child up for adoption, leaving the adoptive parents with virtually nothing if she elects to keep the baby.
  • #5. Will I be kept informed? While this is hopefully a given for any competent attorney, it should still be asked. If your attorney is the only knowledgeable adoption practitioner in the firm, you may go weeks without contact while he or she is busy on other matters. It is important to get a clear picture of your potential attorney’s availability.

Contact a Knowledgeable Adoption Lawyer

Ensuring your adoption attorney is a good fit for you can be critical to the success of your adoption. If you are in need of experienced, compassionate Kane County adoption attorney, contact Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. for help. Call 630-377-7770 today to set up a free initial consultation.



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new law, St. Charles child support lawyersIn July of this year, a new law regarding the calculation of child support went into effect in Illinois. The measure was intended to update the state’s approach to child support and to bring Illinois more in line with most other states. The change was largely seen as an improvement over the previous law, as calculations must take into account the income of both parents instead of just the paying parent, as well as a number of other factors that were not considered in the past.

Those who already have a child support order in place may be curious about how—if at all—the new law will affect their current obligations. Most, however, will need to wait until there is a sufficient justification to amend their existing order before they will see any changes to their support payments.

Substantial Changes in Circumstances

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a child support order can be modified if and when either parent shows that there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of the family. A substantial change could be one that affects the income of either parent, either parent’s own needs, or the needs of the child. Common examples include the paying parent’s loss of employment and an illness or injury to either parent or the child. Upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances by either party, the court will recalculate the paying parent’s obligation by applying the existing calculation guidelines to the family’s new situation.

New Law Is Not a “Substantial Change”

When the Illinois legislature created the bill to amend the state’s child support law, the bill’s authors had the foresight to consider how the new law might affect existing child support orders. Therefore, they included language that specifically excluded the new law as an appropriate basis for modifying a support order. “The enactment of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly itself does not constitute a substantial change in change in circumstances warranting a modification,” the Act clearly states.

However, there is another provision in the law that could help parents seeking a support order modification. Absent a substantial change in circumstances, a parent may seek a modification if a recalculation under the current guidelines would create a difference of at least 20 percent from the existing support order. The 20 percent change must also equal at least $10 per month. The “20 percent rule” is frequently used in cases where neither party has had dramatic life changes but enough small changes have accumulated over a period of several years to justify a recalculation of child support obligations.

We Can Help

If you have questions about modifying a child support order in Illinois, the experienced Kane County child support lawyers at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. can provide the guidance you need. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.





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shared, Kane County family law attorneyThere is no question that divorce is already a difficult and painful process. Couples with children have an even more challenging road ahead of them. Parents must not only come to terms with the end of their marriage, but also need to figure out how to move forward as mothers and fathers. How will they raise their children now that they are no longer married?

Attitudes regarding the roles of parents after a divorce have changed dramatically in the last 50 years. There was a time when mothers were almost automatically considered a child’s main or only parent. Mothers were generally tasked with raising children both within a marriage and after a marriage ended in divorce. Eventually, society began to recognize the dramatically important role a father plays in a child’s life. However, today’s mothers are still more likely to be awarded custody of their children than fathers are. According to a new study, this maternal favoritism may not be in the best interest of children.

Children Do Better in Life When Both Parents Are Involved

Richard A. Warshak, PhD, clinical professor of psychiatry and author, has been studying the effects of divorce on children for decades. His most recent analysis supports the idea that children need both their mothers and fathers in their lives. According to the data gathered, children who spend at least 35 percent time with each parent, rather than live with one and visit the other, have better relationships with their fathers and mothers. Furthermore, these children tend to do better academically, socially, and even psychologically. Children who spend time with both parents get better grades, are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and are less susceptible to mental illnesses and stress.

Warshak—along with many other respected child psychologists—believes that shared parenting should be the norm for children whose parents do not live together just as it is for parents who do live together. Aside from instances when a parent has proven to be neglectful or abusive, children benefit from having two parents. Of course, shared parenting may not always be the best decision for every post-divorce situation. Each family is different and may have different needs.

Considering Divorce? Let Us Help

If you are considering divorce and are worried about how the divorce will affect your children, you do not have to face these concerns alone. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., and get the help you need. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at our St. Charles office today.



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genetic, Kane County divorce attorneysSociologists and relationship experts have long known that children whose parents are divorced are more likely to get divorced later in life compared to children from “intact” families. Many have speculated that this was due to such children spending their formative years in an environment that was accepting of divorce. A new study, however, suggests that there may be more than just environmental factors at work in most cases, as researchers have found that genetics may also play a role.

Nature vs. Nurture

The study was a collaborative effort between teams at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden. Together, the researchers looked at data involving 20,000 children who were adopted at a young age, as well as their biological and adoptive parents. The project was intended to examine the common belief that children of divorce are more likely to divorce themselves as adults because they are conditioned to see divorce as normal. The study’s subjects were adopted children so that the team could separate “nature” and “nurture” in its findings.

The research revealed that children who did not know their birth parents or biological siblings tended to have marriage and divorce patterns that matched that of their biological families more than of their adoptive parents. In other words, if a child’s birth parents were divorced, the child was more likely to also get divorced later in life, regardless of his or her adoptive parents’ marital status. The findings led the teams to conclude that genetic influences may have more impact on relationships than most people realize.

Could You Be Destined to Divorce?

Jessica Salvatore, an assistant psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth and one of the study’s authors, recognized that the findings are contradictory to what most people believe about children of divorce—namely, that children emulate their parents’ behavior in regard to relationships. She pointed out that much of the previous research on the matter did not separate the possible impact of genetic factors from environmental and social influences. While children may learn—or fail to learn—effective communication skills from their parents, for example, personality traits such as impulsiveness and neuroticism have been linked to genes.

Salvatore emphasized that the study does not mean that all children of divorced couples will eventually get divorced themselves. She observed that the elevated risk of divorce is similar to that of other genetic risks. “Just as if you had a parent with an alcohol-use disorder,” she said, “you’d also be at increased risk for developing one yourself.”

Charting Your Own Path

No matter what your family’s divorce history may be, you have the power to build and maintain healthy relationships in your own life and to find ways to address marital concerns. If such concerns cannot be resolved, a divorce may be unavoidable. Contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney to discuss your situation and your available options. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.



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