children, Kane County divorce attorneyIf you and your spouse are considering ending your marriage and you have children together, you probably have many concerns. Coming to terms with the marriage ending is already difficult, but adding the stress of how the divorce will affect your children can make things seem impossible. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information from child development experts and mental health specialists about how best to break the news of divorce to children.

Keep the Children’s Ages in Mind

The information you will give a five-year-old child about your divorce and what you will tell a fifteen-year-old should be different. Young children are not going to understand terms like “custody” or “separation.” Instead of getting into the details, experts suggest parents tell young children how the divorce will affect them and focus on reassuring the child. For example, parents can say something like, “Mommy and daddy are not going to live together anymore but you will still see both of us all the time.” Make sure to reassure the child that the divorce is not their fault and that you as parents still love the child and will continue to be their parents.

Rhonda Freeman of Toronto’s Family Services Association explains that sometimes children think they can influence the separation. They need to know that it is a decision which did not happen because of them. She says, “Children who think that they might be able to bring their parents back together, or that they somehow contributed to the divorce, will have trouble getting on with the healing process. So, they need to understand that those are adult decisions which they didn’t cause and can’t influence.”

Be Intentional About the Timing

Experts encourage parents to tell their children they are getting divorced together. While this is not always possible, both parents being present during the conversation shows a united front can help calm children’s initial fears about losing a parent. Parents should set a time to talk to the children which will not be interrupted. Plan for the children to have questions or need the information repeated. Children will react differently based on their age and personality. It is possible that your child or children will not be ready to immediately share their feelings about the news. Try to keep other routines consistent and make sure you are available for your children to come to you with questions and concerns in the future.

Call Us for Help

If you have questions about divorcing with children, an experienced Kane County family law attorney can provide the direction you need. Call 630-377-7770 for a free, confidential consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.



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contested divorce, Kane County divorce lawyerJust like there are a near-infinite variety of marriages, there are numerous different types of divorces. Some divorces are a result of one spouse having an affair while others end because the couple simply grows apart. The end of their marriage comes as a total shock to some spouses while others have known it was coming for years. If you are in a situation where you and your spouse are not on the same page about how you want to end your marriage and move on with your life, you may be facing a contested divorce. Contested divorces are much more complicated and time consuming than uncontested divorces and individuals undergoing this type of divorce are strongly encouraged to hire an attorney.

Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce

Couples who agree on issues such as property and debt division, the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, child support, and spousal maintenance generally do not have to go through numerous court hearings or extensive legal negotiations in order to end their marriage. The Court’s main purpose when it comes to divorce is to make rulings about issues on which couples disagree. There is usually no need for far-reaching court involvement when couples are willing to cooperate and compromise.

Contested Divorce

If one or both spouses dispute some aspect of their divorce and cannot come to a compromise or agreement, the couple will probably be facing a contested divorce. An individual who wishes to divorce his or her spouse will need to first prepare and file the divorce petition. This is the legal document which formerly requests the divorce. The person’s attorney then engages in the “discovery” portion of the divorce process which involves gathering information about each spouse’s financial situation. Then there are pre-trial legal motions and hearings. During this time, the attorneys will also attempt to negotiate a settlement.

In the large majority of divorces, couples are able to come to an agreement and avoid going to trial. However, there are some cases when even with the help of legal counsel, divorcing couples cannot agree on divorce issues. During a trial, each side will present arguments, evidence, and, if applicable, witnesses. Their attorneys will question and cross-examine these witnesses and then present closing arguments. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge will issue a final order including his or her decisions about the disputed issues.

Kane County Family Law Attorneys Ready to Help

If you suspect your divorce will be contested, you need an attorney who knows the law and is prepared to fight for your wishes. To speak with an experienced St. Charles divorce lawyer at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., call 630-377-7770 today.



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lawyer, Kane County divorce lawyerWhether or not to hire an attorney to help you end your marriage is always a complicated question. While many young couples without children or significant debt or assets can successfully file for divorce on their own, the majority of divorcing couples would be taking a major risk not hiring an attorney. Although many people are concerned that hiring an attorney will be too expensive, employing the help of an attorney actually increases the chances you will save money on child support, spousal maintenance, and other costs. Hiring an attorney to represent you during your divorce can benefit you in many ways.

Save Time and Frustration

The American legal system is one of the best in the world, but it can be tedious to navigate. Divorces, especially complicated or high net worth cases, can require seemingly endless amounts of paperwork, signatures, meetings, and legwork. Because divorce is often a deeply emotional process, some people find that they are simply unable to handle the added stress of managing the legal aspects of their divorce alone. An experienced family law attorney can help streamline the divorce process, saving you valuable time and resources.

Ensure Accuracy and Eliminate Mistakes

Illinois is different than many other states in that it is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that during property division in a divorce, the property and assets a couple has accumulated are not divided 50/50. Illinois courts look at many factors when dividing marital property and always attempt to do so in a way that is equitable and fair. However, without a thorough analysis of each spouse’s financial circumstances, it can be difficult for courts to make a completely informed decision. A family law attorney can help you value your assets and represent debt and income accurately. This helps ensure that you are not shortchanged due to miscalculation or oversight.

Courts also have wide discretion when it comes to assigning child support. Although the amount a spouse will have to pay in child support is calculated based on a set series of factors, the courts consider the income of each spouse as well. If you have misrepresented your financial standing to the court, the court may mistakenly order you to pay more child support than you should have to pay.

Experienced St. Charles, Illinois Lawyers

Television and movies have dramatically misled the average person regarding divorce. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of misinformation and bad advice circulating the internet. The only way to ensure you are receiving legally sound advice is to speak with a knowledgeable Kane County divorce attorney. If you are planning to get divorced, call Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. at (630) 377-7770 today.



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prenuptial agreement, St. Charles family law attorneyPrenuptial agreements are legal documents which couples can create and sign before getting married. Provisions in the document include directives regarding how property and assets will be divided in the event that the marriage ends in divorce as well as plans for how finances will be handled during the marriage. Prenuptial agreements are often misunderstood and there is quite a bit of misinformation circulating the internet regarding these helpful legal tools.

Myth 1: Getting a Prenup is Planning for Divorce

The most commonly held false belief when it comes to any premarital agreement is that only couples who plan to divorce create these arrangements. This is simply not true. Although short-lived celebrity weddings have given prenuptial agreements a bad reputation, many couples benefit from prenups and never end up divorced.

Myth 2: Asking your Fiancé for an Agreement Will Only Lead to a Fight

Because of the misconceptions regarding prenups, it can be difficult to bring up the subject to a soon-to-be-spouse. However, with the right perspective and approach, a discussion about the possibility of using a prenuptial agreement does not have to be stressful. Research the benefits of prenuptial agreements together or meet with a family law attorney who can explain the purposes of the document. The key is to keep your significant other “in the loop” so that it is a joint decision instead of trying to figure everything out on your own.

Myth 3: Prenuptial Agreements Can Include Child Custody or Support Provisions

Prenuptial agreements do have some limitations. One of these is that prenups cannot include provisions about child support or the allocation of parental responsibilities (previously called custody). A prenuptial agreement which includes provisions that dictate where a child will live or how much a parent must pay in child support will not be enforced by the courts. It should be noted that a prenuptial agreement can address pre-existing child support obligations and other considerations regarding a spouse’s child from a previous relationship. Such provisions may be included for budgeting, insurance, or inheritance purposes.

Myth 4: Prenuptial Agreements Are Rarely Enforceable

In order to be enforceable by the courts, prenuptial agreements must meet certain requirements. The document must be written and voluntarily signed by both parties, and its provisions must be reasonable.  A family law attorney can help couples create a valid prenuptial agreement which will be upheld by Illinois courts. Most prenups include severability clauses that allow a court to set aside only the parts that are found to be invalid while enforcing the remainder of the agreement.

Myth 5: Prenuptial Agreements Are Only Helpful If the Couple Gets Divorced

Admittedly, there are many ways a prenuptial agreement can help in the unfortunate case that a couple divorces, but this is far from the agreement’s only benefit. Many couples avoid discussions about finances or plans for the future because they are uncomfortable topics. This type of avoidance will only cause arguments or misunderstandings in the future. By taking the times to create a prenuptial agreement, the couple is ensuring that they are on the same page regarding their financial goals and responsibilities before a problem arises.

If you have further questions about how a prenuptial agreement can benefit you and your family, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. For a free, confidential consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. call 630-377-7770 today.



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co-parenting, St. Charles family lawyersIf you are considering divorcing your spouse and you are a parent, you are probably worried how you will raise your child after the divorce. If you and your spouse plan to share parental responsibilities, as is recommended by courts when it is in the best interest of the child, you will have to find a way to effective co-parent with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. This can be much more difficult than it looks. While it is up to you to find the specific co-parenting arrangement that works for your unique circumstances, there are some guidelines which can help you overcome some of the struggles of parenting your child with an ex-spouse.

Make a Specific Parenting Agreement

If you have a cooperative spouse, it is much better to make parenting decisions together rather than forcing the court to allocate parental responsibilities, previously called child custody. In the parenting agreement, or parenting plan, make sure to include joint decisions regarding:

  • Parenting time (physical custody of the child) schedule;
  • Special schedules for holidays, school vacation, and birthdays;
  • Transportation arrangements;
  • Religious or cultural influences in the child’s life;
  • Household rules and discipline;
  • When a parent can introduce a new romantic interest to the child;
  • Babysitting/childcare arrangements, including the right of first refusal;
  • Summer camp or other sleepover opportunities;
  • Healthcare/vaccinations; and
  • Academic expectations.

This list is by no means exhaustive and many parenting plans include considerations not listed here. Illinois courts require divorcing parents to submit a parenting plan. If the parents cannot agree on a plan, the court will make decisions regarding parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities for them. The purpose of a parenting agreement is not only to satisfy the court, but to get big decisions on paper so that parents have less to figure out after the divorce.

Minimizing Conflict

Co-parenting is especially difficult for parents who had a high-conflict divorce. However, even if the end of the marriage was amicable, there will probably be at least some conflict when figuring out how to co-parent. In order to minimize this conflict, experts have a few suggestions. First, parents should choose their battles. There may be times that you have to compromise with the other parent and other times that something just is not worth the fight. Another way to minimize conflict is to make a pact with the other parent not to speak negatively about each other to the child. It can be tempting to badmouth an ex, but doing so only serves to alienate the child from both parents.

If you plan to divorce, 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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women, Kane County divorce attorneyThere are countless different factors that can lead to a marriage ending. Sometimes a couple gets married too soon and later realizes that it was not the right decision for them. Other marriages end because of infidelity or abuse, while still other marriages end simply because the couple falls out of love. Researchers have known for some time that there are certain life circumstances which make a couple more likely to divorce. Of course, experiencing one of these circumstances does not mean a couple will certainly get divorced, it just makes them more statistically more likely to do so.

Women Who Initially Earn Less but Find Later Success More Likely to Divorce

A recent study conducted by Swedish researchers suggests that women’s professional success is related to their chances of divorce. Women who succeed professionally are more likely to get divorced. Specifically, women who started their marriage earning less than their spouse or not working but were promoted to higher-earning positions are more likely to divorce. Women in political office are especially affected by the career surge that comes with winning an election. Research shows that female political candidates who win elections are, on average, twice as likely to divorce their spouse than those who lose elections. Male candidates who win elections do not experience any increased risk of divorce.

Women in the private sector are not immune to this correlation either. Research shows that married women who reach the impressive status of CEO are twice as likely to divorce their spouse than male CEOs. This correlation between professional success and divorce seems to only affect marriages in which the wife started the marriage with a less prestigious or important career than her spouse.

In order to determine the meaning of “less important career” the researchers analyzed the amount of parental leave each parent took from work. The study was conducted in Sweden, a country where new parents have 480 days of parental leave that they may split between each other. Women who took 80 percent or more of the shared leave fell into the category of having a less important job than their spouse. It seems that the change in family roles is what puts couples most at-risk of divorce.

Considering Divorce?

When a marriage breaks down, there is rarely only one cause. Just as marriages are complicated, divorces can be complicated. If you are considering divorcing your spouse, the dedicated Kane County family law attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, LLP are here to help. To schedule an initial confidential consultation, call us today at (630) 377-7770.



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annulment, Kane County divorce attorneyAnnulments are a legal option for ending a marriage that many are confused about. An annulment is unlike a divorce in that it invalidates the marriage. Marriages which are successfully annulled are treated as though they never happened. There are differences between civil annulments and religious annulments. Many people who choose to end their marriage through an annulment do so because their church or religious organization does not allow divorce. However, in order to qualify for a civil annulment, the spouses must meet many requirements which are not required for religious annulments.

Requirements for Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage

In Illinois, annulments are referred to as “declarations of invalidity of marriage.” In order to qualify for a declaration of invalidity of marriage, the spouses must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • One or both spouses were underage at the time of their marriage: Illinois requires couples to be 18 years old in order to marry without parental consent, and 16 years old for those with consent.
  • One or both of the spouses were married to multiple people at the same time: Polygamy, or having more than one spouse, is against the law. If someone is already married and manages to marry a second person, that second marriage is invalid and will qualify for an annulment.
  • The marriage was conducted under false pretenses: This includes people who get married simply to get United State citizenship.
  • A spouse hid information such as previous felony convictions, children from a previous partner, or substance abuse problems.
  • One spouse is physically unable to consummate the marriage and did not reveal this information to their spouse before the marriage.
  • One of the spouses was not of sound mind when he or she was married or was forced into the marriage. If a person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when her or she was married, or has a mental condition which makes them unable to consent to marriage, the marriage is invalid.

It is important to note that there are certain time limits which apply to annulment. For example, if you wish to seek an annulment because of drug or alcohol impairment during the marriage process, you only have 90 days after the wedding to apply for a declaration of invalidity of marriage.

Family Law Attorneys You Can Trust

The team at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. has the experience and legal knowledge to help those who wish to end their marriage through annulment. We can help you determine if your marriage qualifies for annulment and then work with you to end the marriage. Contact our office today at 630-377-7770 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our dedicated Kane County family law attorneys.



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narcissist, St. Charles family lawyerNearly all of us have moments of selfishness that can affect the health of many of the personal relationships in our lives. It is particularly difficult to live with or be married to a person who is exceptionally self-centered and egotistical. Sometimes, however, an individual may have more going on than just a few unhealthy character traits—he or she may be a pathological narcissist. If you are in the process of getting divorced from a narcissistic spouse, there are some things for you to consider.

The Problem

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), approximately .5 to 1 percent of the adult population has been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD. Up to three-quarters of those are men. Experts believe that tens of thousands of additional cases of NPD go undiagnosed.

Narcissism is a personality disorder that is characterized by a pattern of behaviors that demonstrate an obsession with one’s self. Narcissists tend to focus almost exclusively on their own gratification and ambition. They are generally charming people, but their charm is typically a mechanism for getting what they want. Narcissists lack empathy and tend to take very little responsibility for their own actions, especially when they are hurtful.

Unfortunately, those who marry narcissists often become acclimatized to their reality and even become brainwashed in a way. They allow themselves to be convinced that they are the source of the problems—not their narcissistic spouse—and that if they could be “better” things would improve. Those who have shown the courage to divorce a narcissistic spouse must usually overcome a similar set of challenges during the divorce process.

What Can You Do?

Mental health and relationship experts say that narcissists tend to count on their spouses’ surrender in almost any situation, including a divorce. It is easier to give in than to fight. This can be very dangerous and costly in a divorce. If your spouse is a narcissist—diagnosed or not—be sure to:

  • Catch yourself reacting: There is a good chance that your spouse will try to manipulate the divorce proceedings to make you look bad, just as he or she probably did during your relationship. You may find yourself falling into old habits of reacting to your spouse’s demands, but you do not have to do so any longer. Before responding or taking any action, think rationally about the situation and your needs first;
  • Choose your battles: A narcissist is likely to feel powerful by forcing you to engage in a drawn-out proceeding. Your spouse may be unable to simply let go and allow the process to play out. He or she may need to “win,” but “winning” often means more than getting a favorable divorce settlement. Your spouse may feel vindicated if he or she sees you struggling along the way. By taking your time to focus on what is truly important, you can maintain control over yourself and your case.
  • Let your attorney know: Perhaps the most important thing you can do when divorcing a narcissist is to keep your lawyer fully informed of the situation. Sit down with your attorney and explain the history of your relationship. Your spouse may have exercised control over you for years, but your lawyer is an objective outsider with no loyalty to your narcissistic partner. If your attorney has not dealt with such a scenario before, you may consider hiring someone else.

Call Us for Help

If you are in the process of divorcing a narcissistic spouse, an experienced Kane County family law attorney can provide the guidance and support you need along the way. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.



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young, Kane County divorce lawyersWhile it might sound silly to say, there is no age requirement for getting a divorce—at least not for a legally valid marriage. Most people tend to think of divorce as something that relatively older couples have to contend with, but the possibility of divorce exists for any couple, regardless of age.

It is true that divorces among couples in their 40s, 50s, or beyond may be prompted by midlife crises or empty-nest syndrome, but these are far from the only reasons that a couple may seek a divorce. Younger couples, such as those in their early to mid-20s may pursue a divorce, for example, because they quickly realized that their relationship was not built to last. Instead of suffering through decades of unhappiness, a younger couple may end their marriage sooner than later, leaving the ex-spouses to face a variety of unique difficulties, especially if they have children.

Fitting In

After a divorce, it is unhealthy to completely cut yourself off from friends and social interactions. Some young divorcees find it fairly easy to get back into their old social scene while others may struggle. If you became completely wrapped up in your marriage at the expense of your friends and social relationships, you may find it challenging to rekindle those friendships. If you have children, things may be even more difficult.

Divorced and single parents often have precious little time to foster a social life. You may want to hang out with your old friends again, but unless they have children too, you may have trouble making schedules work. It can be equally difficult to remain friends with couples or families that you and your spouse befriended as a couple, as those friends may feel awkward about “choosing sides.”

The Post-Divorce Relationship

You and your ex got divorced for a reason—many reasons, most likely. This means you probably do not see eye to eye on many important issues. If you have children together, a divorce will not mark the end of your relationship. It may be the conclusion of a particular chapter in your lives, but you will need to work together in raising your children for the next 10 to 15 years or more. Even if you and your spouse parted amicably and remained friends, co-parenting will always present some measure of challenge to divorced parents.

As you put together your parenting plan, keep in mind that both you and your ex-spouse deserve the opportunity to pursue things that make you happy. This could be reflected in flexible parenting time schedules that allow each of you to be social and engage in new hobbies. Perhaps the most important element of your new relationship with your ex, however, is respect. You are no longer married to one another, but that does not mean you cannot support each other as you both look to build happier lives.

Seek Legal Guidance

At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., our experienced Kane County family law attorneys are dedicated to assisting families like yours create a better future. We provide quality legal representation while addressing your needs and goals. To learn more about our firm and how we can help you, contact a member of our team. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation today.



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modifying, Kane County divorce lawyerWhen your divorce has been finalized and the divorce decree has been entered by the court, it becomes a binding order, enforceable under the law. However, you should know that even if your divorce is finalized, you are allowed to file a petition to modify, or amend the decree. Before filing a petition to modify your divorce decree, make sure that you are within the bounds of when a divorce can be modified. There are certain circumstances which make a person eligible for a divorce decree modification. One cannot seek a modification just because they did not like the decisions made by the judge presiding over their divorce.

Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time

A person can file for a divorce decree modification if the circumstances of the family, including income or employment, change dramatically. Unless both parties agree to consider a change or there is a serious danger to the child, Illinois residents are not permitted to modify their parental responsibilities arrangements (not including parenting time concerns) until two years after the original decree or most recent approved modification. Illinois courts make their decisions regarding parental responsibilities based on what is in the best interest for the child. Having a two-year waiting period allows the child to settle into their new role as a child of divorce. Parenting time considerations may be modified at any time upon a showing of change in circumstances.

Change in Circumstances Can Require Modification

If you wish to modify your divorce decree through the court system, you will need to first ensure that you qualify for a modification. Circumstances which qualify for modification generally include:

  • Loss of income or unemployment;
  • Loss of medical benefits/health insurance;
  • Remarriage;
  • Moving to a new city or state (petition to relocate);
  • Presence of abuse or threat of abuse (domestic violence);
  • Decline in the physical or mental health of a child or parent;
  • Post-secondary education expenses for children; and
  • Loss of property or business interests.

After a petition to modify a divorce decree has been filed, the person seeking modification then must present sufficient evidence at a court hearing to prove that the modification is necessary.

Let Us Help

If you wish to modify your divorce decree, you need an experienced St. Charles family law attorney to guide you through the process. The divorce modification attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. can help you file a petition for modification that will fit the needs of your unique situation. To schedule a free consultation of your case, contact our office today at 630-377-7770.



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