Archive for the ‘Coparenting’ Category

Is a Cohabitation Agreement Right for You?

February 12th, 2015 at 9:44 am

cohabitation agreements in Illinois, Chicago family lawyerThere are over 7.5 million unmarried couples cohabiting in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For some people, marriage is not what they want, and for others, they have already been married and do not want to marry again. No matter what the reason, cohabiting couples in Illinois who decide to separate do not automatically have rights in court like married couples do under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. A cohabitation agreement can help you and your partner state what will happen while you are living together or after your relationship ends.

Illinois does not recognize rights for cohabitating couples, or common law marriages, as Costa v. Oliven demonstrates. In that case, the couple cohabitated for 24 years, building a family and business together, without getting married. They shared property, bank accounts, assets, and had a daughter. Oliven worked while her partner, Costa, stayed home to raise their daughter. When Oliven told Costa to move out of the home they shared, Costa filed a complaint with the court. His complaint and appeal were dismissed because the parties were not married and there was no cohabitation agreement in place.

While the idea of separation is not at the forefront of anyone’s mind when they move in together, you may still want to protect your assets or establish safeguards should anything happen to you or your partner. Without a cohabitation agreement or estate planning documents in place, you likely would not have any legal rights to the assets you have shared or to make decisions on behalf of the other.

You and your partner may want to consider a cohabitation agreement if you:

  • Own property before you start cohabiting;
  • Have children and want or need to define parenting roles;
  • Are considering co-mingling your accounts;
  • Want to name each other as guardian should something happen;
  • Want to clarify what happens to property and assets if you separate or one partner passes away; or
  • Want to state how expenses will be paid.

An experienced family law attorney can help you and your partner state exactly what you want to happen during and after your cohabitation. Should something happen to one of you, you want to ensure your wishes are carried out. They can help you understand what rights you have and how to protect yourself, your partner, and your assets in case of separation, incapacitation or death.

If you have taken the next step in your relationship with your partner and are cohabiting or you are not considering marriage but would like to commit to your partner by other means, contact one of our Chicago cohabitation agreement lawyers today. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from any of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.

Making a Coparenting Plan Works for Post-Divorce Families

January 21st, 2015 at 11:26 am

coparenting plans in Illinois, Chicago family law attorneyOnce the legal process of a divorce is complete, it can be a challenge for many families to figure out how to move forward. Shared custody arrangements may seem simple enough in theory, but making them work for you, your child, and yes, even your ex, can seem overwhelming at times. You obviously want what is best for your children and, most likely, your ex-spouse does too. A well-considered coparenting plan can be a very useful tool for both of you to ensure your child’s needs are met for years to come.

In its simplest form, a coparenting plan is an agreement between you and your child’s other parent that covers parental expectations, rules, schedules, and other details necessary for raising a child together after a divorce or breakup. Through communication and cooperation, not only are the child’s needs more easily addressed, but both parents are able to have a better understanding of their role in the child’s life.

A typical coparenting plan may include:

1. Schedules

It is important for a child to know who to expect to be picking her up after school or how he will see both of his parents on Christmas Day. Having a regular schedule for shared parenting also helps the child adjust to living in two homes. If Monday through Wednesday are “mom days” and Thursday through Saturday are “dad days” with alternating Sundays, and that is an arrangement which works for your family, make it a permanent part of the plan.

2. Daily Responsibilities and Rules

Your child needs to know that expectations regarding homework, hygiene, and bedtimes, for example, will remain consistent. Having similar rules, such as completing homework before video games or no snacks after 8 p.m. helps not only prevent confusion for your child, but it can also help avoid arguments over what the other parent may or may not allow.

3. Child Care and Medical Care

If both parents work, agreeing upon child care arrangements for your child is absolutely vital. You need to be able to trust that your child is in a safe, caring environment while you are at work, whether it is a child care center or the home of a family member. It is also helpful to plan for an inevitable sick day. You and your ex should have an understanding of who may need to stay home with an ill child, and which of you will take responsibility for doctor visits.

4. Relationships

As you move on with your life after divorce, you will likely encounter someone you would like to introduce to your child. In all likelihood, your ex-spouse will too. Establishing boundaries regarding new relationships is extremely important to ensure your child will be ready and able to accept the new relationship at his or her own pace.

Keeping Your Coparenting Plan Up-to-Date

It can be very easy to get caught up in the specific details of your coparenting plan, but as long as you and your ex-spouse strive to keep the child as your highest priority, the plan will likely help. What works for one family’s situation may not work for another, so keep in mind that the right plan is the one that works for the needs of you and your family. Updating the plan as your child grows and family dynamics change will also help it remain a viable tool for your family’s well-being for many years.

If you have shared custody of your child or you would like to pursue shared custody, an experienced Chicago divorce and family law attorney can help. Call Anderson & Associates P.C. at (312) 345-9999 today for a free initial consultation. We offer five convenient office locations throughout the greater Chicago area to provide you with convenient, qualified representation.