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Bolingbrook divorce attorney asset division

One of the most difficult decisions you may ever be faced with is determining when the time is right for a divorce. All couples go through periods of being unhappy, but when it becomes a frequent occurrence, you may begin to wonder whether or not you would be happier alone.  In most cases, there is some form of resentment during the divorce, whether it is about a specific issue, or the divorce itself. In many cases, this can lead to mistrust. Even though you are ending your relationship, there are many things that require a level of trust during a divorce, with the most important of them being the financial side of things. Is your spouse being honest and open about his or her assets? If you feel they are not being honest and you are worried about not receiving your fair share of the marital estate, the discovery process can be used to ensure that property issues are settled fairly.

Tools You Can Utilize During Discovery

When you begin the divorce process your first step is to try and come to an agreement on

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Naperville divorce and family law attorneyMany divorced individuals reported the conversation of asking for divorce as one of the most stressful conversations they have ever had. When you ask your spouse for a divorce, you are essentially telling your spouse that you are no longer in love with them, which can be hard for anyone to hear. Breaking the news of divorce can become even more difficult if you have children. Even though a divorce is an adult problem, children are often caught in the middle of the turmoil. The initial conversation you have with your child about your divorce can set the stage for how they will cope with the divorce throughout the process. When you go to have that conversation with your child, here are a few tips to use:

Act as a United Front With Your Spouse 

Even though it may be the last thing you want to do, you and your spouse should act as a team when you have this conversation with your children. You should break the news of your divorce when both of you are together and all of your children are present. Work out and agree on what you will say beforehand so you can avoid any emotionally fueled or impulsive remarks.

Explain the Situation to Your Children in Words They Understand

Your child will want to know why you are getting a divorce, and it is your job as a parent to explain it to them in a way that they will comprehend. As an adult, you understand the complexities surrounding the divorce, but your child(ren) will not and will question why mom and dad do not love each other anymore. The information that you tell your child will depend on their age and ability to understand. Obviously, younger children will suffice with simpler information, while older children will naturally want to know more.

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DuPage County divorce attorney child support

Most people in today’s world would agree that raising a child is the job of both parents, rather than just one. However, when the parents are not together because of divorce or another reason, raising a child can become complicated, especially as it relates to the financial side of things. Raising a child is not cheap. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), parents spend, on average, approximately $233,610 to raise each child through age 17. Even though the living arrangements likely place the child with one parent for the majority of the time, the other parent will still be required to financially contribute to the child’s upbringing through child support payments.

Child Expenses That Should Be Included

The monthly child support payments are calculated in the same way for everyone, by using a standardized formula set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The formula takes into account certain factors from both parents, such as income and the amount of parenting time each parent has and produces an amount that is usually paid by the parent with the least amount of parenting time to the parent with the most parenting time. Child support is intended to be used for the majority of the child’s needs, such as food and clothing, but there are other expenses that come up that your child’s other parent is also responsible for helping with, such as the following:

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Naperville divorce attorney spousal support

There are dozens of things that you and your spouse will have to agree upon before you can finalize your divorce agreement. Some of the most contentious issues throughout many divorces are those dealing with two notorious topics -- finances and children. Things such as property division and child custody have the potential to turn a mildly agreeable divorce into one that is fueled by strong emotions, rather than reason. Even after you have come to a consensus, nothing is set in stone. Under certain circumstances, you may need to petition the court to modify your divorce agreement. One of the most common reasons for doing this is a remarriage by either spouse.

Remarriage and Child Custody

When it comes to child custody issues, such as parenting time and parental responsibilities, the remarriage of either parent can create the potential need to change the parenting time order or child support order. In nearly all cases, the child support order will likely never be terminated, but there is a possibility that the monthly amount could change. In Illinois, all child-related decisions are made using the child’s best interests. This means in a remarriage scenario, the actions taken are very situational depending on the family’s circumstances.

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DuPage County divorce attorney

When it comes to choosing a process for getting a divorce, there is no one right or wrong answer for everyone. Some couples disagree on major issues such as property division and child custody so harshly that they end up stuck in hostile litigation, putting unnecessary stress on the whole family. Alternative dispute resolutions, such as mediation and collaborative law, can both provide a solution to divorce litigation and allow couples to settle their divorce outside of the courtroom. However, there are differences between the two methods. Choosing a process for getting a divorce is a very situational and personal decision that can be affected by many factors. Choosing a method that fits your family’s situation can save you a lot of stress in the long run.

Understanding Divorce Mediation

During divorce mediation, the couple works with a neutral, third-party mediator who helps them come to agreements on important topics that they disagree on. The mediator does not take the side of one spouse and does not try to influence either spouse’s decision in any way. The mediator may offer opinions and suggestions during the negotiations, but his or her main job is to act as an intermediary for the couple.

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Naperville child support attorney

In divorce cases that involve children in Illinois, one of the issues that must be addressed is child support. In Illinois, the financial duty of raising a child is not the responsibility of solely the custodial parent -- both parents have a legal obligation to financially provide for their children. Typically, the parent with the least amount of parenting time will pay the other parent support each month until the child’s 18th birthday or until they graduate from high school, whichever comes later. The amount of child support that each parent is responsible for is determined by using a formula that takes into account both parents’ incomes and parenting time shares. Over time, the factors used in that equation or your life circumstances may change and the amount of child support currently being paid may no longer be sufficient. Fortunately, it is possible to modify your support order in Illinois.

Common Significant Changes in Circumstances

There are only three reasons why a child support order is permitted to be modified: Either parent can demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances, the support order has been found to deviate from the support guidelines, or the child’s healthcare needs have changed. The most common reason, however, for child support modifications tends to be significant changes in circumstances. Some of the most common changes can include:

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Will County divorce attorney

Divorce is a difficult topic for everyone to stomach. For adults, divorce can be unpleasant to talk about and distressing for the couple who is actually going through the divorce. When you add children into the picture, it can become a much more delicate situation to handle. For children, being in the middle of their parents going through a divorce can be scary and unnerving. Many parents worry about how their kids will cope with their divorce, but children tend to be more resilient than we give them credit for. Studies have shown that children tend to grow up to lead happy and healthy lives as long as their parents did not subject them to regular conflict. There are many things that you can do as a parent to help your children through this difficult time in both of your lives. 

Tips for Easing the Transition

Here are a few things you can do to help your child cope with the difficulties that can come with your divorce:

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Naperville divorce attorney

Divorce is one of the hardest things a person will ever go through. While it presents personal challenges, divorce is a legal process and is governed by many different laws. When getting a divorce, not everyone understands these laws and therefore, they make mistakes that greatly affect their case. An experienced divorce attorney can help people avoid these mistakes, and provide sound legal advice for anyone who is ending their marriage.

Choosing the Wrong Type of Divorce

People going through a divorce often envision a costly and lengthy battle that takes place in a courtroom. However, that is not the only way to get a divorce today. In Illinois, couples can enter mediation or the collaborative process, both of which can greatly reduce the conflict of divorce and give you more control over the process.

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DuPage County divorce attorney

In Illinois, there is such a thing as the simplified joint marriage resolution procedure, or simple divorce, commonly referred to as an uncontested divorce. However, many couples opt to litigate their divorces since there are usually some or many things that require negotiations, including property and debt. When these contested divorces include added complications, such as major concerns about children, high-value assets, and business ownership, they are considered complex divorces. In general, the following five concerns could make your divorce far more of a complex divorce compared to a simple divorce or typical divorce.

5 Issues That Can Complicate Your Divorce and Make it Complex

  1. Valuable AssetsHigh-asset divorces might include high-value property, collector’s items, or accounts, among other things. In those cases, dividing the property takes on a heightened sense of financial substance by its sheer volume. Big-ticket items can include boats and million-dollar houses to heirlooms and other valuable items. In addition, retirement accounts and pensions as well as major investments and banking accounts may all require forensic accounting to get to the fairest and equitable decision during such a complex divorce.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting plan

When it comes to divorce, there are many issues that have the potential to cause quite a bit of conflict between the two individuals involved in this divorce. From property division to child support, these issues appear in nearly every Illinois divorce case. However, the issues that have the most potential to cause an argument for many couples are those that have to deal with the children. Creating a parenting plan can be a long and daunting process for parents who do not get along, but parents are typically much happier and have a better chance of sticking to the parenting plan when they are able to negotiate the terms of said agreement amongst themselves. Although this is easier said than done, there are ways to achieve a positive outcome for everyone involved.

Flexibility Is Key

For some couples, getting along long enough to negotiate a parenting plan is a tall order. Here are a few tips that can help you negotiate a parenting plan agreement with your ex:

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DuPage County divorce attorney joint simplified dissolution

Much like our views about many other things in society, our opinions of the divorce process can look different to everyone depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. There are many ways you could go about getting a divorce in Illinois -- the traditional litigated way, in which you may end up in front of a judge in a courtroom and through the collaborative method, which requires cooperation between spouses, among others. In particularly contentious divorces that are relatively “simple” in nature, the spouses may decide to agree on the divorce settlement because they just want the process to be over. For some couples, Illinois’ joint simplified dissolution procedure could be the answer to a quick, relatively simple, and low-stress solution.

Understanding Illinois’ Joint Simplified Dissolution

If you are asking the judge to grant you and your spouse a joint simplified dissolution of marriage, you are basically asking for an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses must agree on all major issues in the divorce, including property division, spousal maintenance, and determining who is responsible for which debts, among others. However, when it comes to a joint simplified dissolution specifically, there are certain requirements you must meet before you can file.

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Will County divorce attorney property division

If you are like the majority of people, divorce is the absolute last thing on your mind when you are standing at the altar, ready to say, “I do.” Unfortunately, statistics show that a fair amount of marriages still do end in divorces. According to data from the National Survey of Family Growth, an estimated 22 percent of first marriages will experience divorce or separation within the first five years of the marriage. That chance increases the longer you are married, with an estimated 53 percent of first marriages ending in divorce or separation within 20 years of marriage. A divorce involves many areas of your life, with one of the biggest aspects being finances. Often, an area of contention between spouses is how property will be divided, which is why it is recommended that you consult with an Illinois property division attorney to ensure you know your rights.

Marital and Nonmarital Property

Before anything is determined or allocated, the first distinction that will be made about your property is which of it is actually subject to division. Unlike other states, Illinois is not a community property state, but rather functions on the idea of an equitable division of assets when it comes time to divorce. As such, the state makes a distinction between nonmarital property, which is not subject to division, and marital property, which is subject to division.

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Will County divorce attorney child support

A common concern that parents have when they get divorced (or separate from one another if they were never married) is whether or not they will each be able to financially support their child, now that the other’s finances are no longer in the picture. Both parents are obligated to provide financial support for their child, even if they share custody of the child, which is where child support comes into play. A child support amount can be agreed upon by the parents, but the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) puts forth guidelines as to the minimum calculations for the support that each child is entitled to. It is important for you to understand how these calculations work, especially if you are getting a divorce in Illinois and you and your spouse have children together.

Finding Your Basic Support Obligation

First, your attorney will perform the calculations necessary to figure out how much the basic support obligation is for your child every month. The IMDMA states that this is determined by taking both you and the other parent’s monthly net income and adding them together. Once you have the sum of both of your monthly net incomes, you can then find the corresponding row with your income and the corresponding column with the number of children you have on the income shares schedule provided by Illinois Child Support Services. For example, two parents who have a monthly net income of $8,400 with two children would have a monthly support obligation of $1,950. 

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DuPage County divorce attorney asset division

When you own your own business, that business is your livelihood. For many small business owners, their business is like a baby they take great pride in producing, nurturing, and growing. However, all of that growth and success is jeopardized if you or your spouse seeks a divorce. Even if your spouse was never necessarily involved in the functions of the business, there is a possibility that he or she is entitled to a portion of the business’s value simply because of your marital status. Financial decisions made during your divorce can affect you for the rest of your life, so you should consult with a lawyer before you do anything. A skilled Illinois asset division and business valuation attorney can help you determine how you should handle your business when you are going through a divorce.

What to Do With Your Business

One of the most difficult decisions you will face during your divorce is determining what to do with your business. Typically, there are three options that are available to you: You can buy out your spouse’s share of the business and retain full ownership, sell the business and split the profits as is seen fit, or you can continue to co-own the business. There is no one right answer to what you should do; each family’s situation is different, so each solution will also be different. 

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DuPage County collaborative divorce attorney

Over the years, the trends and typical practices in family law have changed and evolved as society has. Decades ago, it was common for a couple to take their divorce to a judge to have him or her sort the issues out, rather than resolving the issues out themselves. Now, most divorce court systems across the country encourage couples to work with one another as much as possible to create a divorce settlement that is mutually agreeable. One such practice that has been shown to greatly increase the success rate of uncontentious divorces is utilizing the collaborative divorce process

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

While some couples may be on the same page when it comes to getting a divorce, the unfortunate truth is that most couples will not be. Most of the time, one partner (typically the one who did not initiate the divorce) is much more hesitant and can even be more adversarial than the other partner, making the divorce process that much more difficult. The collaborative divorce process offers a way for both spouses to work together with their attorneys and a team of supporting professionals in a cooperative manner to produce a divorce agreement. For many couples, the collaborative divorce process carries many benefits that can greatly enhance and improve their divorce experience. These benefits include:

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DuPage County criminal defense attorney spousal maintenance

One of the most stressful and frustrating aspects of divorcing your spouse is the financial aspect of the situation. For some couples, the money side of the divorce may not be of much concern, but for most couples, getting a divorce puts a real financial strain on both parties. According to Bankrate, the average cost of a divorce is around $15,000, but the final price tag could be upward of $100,000 in extremely contentious divorces. That is a hefty bill for anyone to foot, especially for those who are disabled or who have been homemakers and who have not held a career. In some situations, spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, can be paid by one spouse to another to help with living expenses. However, spousal maintenance is not awarded in all divorce cases.

Determining a Need for Spousal Maintenance

In some cases, a couple may have an existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that dictates the terms of spousal support. If the agreement is determined to be valid and upheld, the guidelines contained in the agreement can be used to determine spousal maintenance.

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Will County divorce attorney parenting plan

In many ways, divorcing when you and your ex have children together is much different than divorcing and just worrying about yourself throughout the process. When you get a divorce and you have children, there are various elements of your divorce that differ, or that are now required during your divorce process. One of the most important elements of any divorce that involves children is the parenting plan, which must be submitted to the court and approved before the divorce can become final in Illinois. The parenting plan is an important element in setting forth rules for co-parenting, parenting time schedules, significant decision-making responsibilities, how child-related expenses will be shared, among others.

Basic Requirements for Your Parenting Plan

Parenting plans are a requirement that the state of Illinois has set forth for all divorcing couples who have children, but they can actually be a helpful tool when transitioning to a co-parenting relationship. Your parenting plan will serve as the blueprints for how you and your ex should approach co-parenting after your divorce is finalized. The state has a list of elements that all parenting plans must contain at a minimum, but you have the ability to add as much detail as you would like to your parenting plan. 

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Bolingbrook divorce attorney asset division

If you have ever seen any television show or movie about a couple involved in a divorce, you have probably seen the typical depiction of the pair arguing over who gets things like the home, the cars, certain household items, or even custody of the children. Many people going through a divorce, even in real life, forget about what is often one of their most valuable and important assets -- their retirement fund. In Illinois, you and your spouse are required to divide the value of any asset that is considered to be a marital asset, which could include a portion of both you and your spouse’s retirement fund. An Illinois divorce lawyer can help you understand your rights to any retirement funds that you or your spouse may own and how to establish ownership to those funds.

Determining if the Plan Is Marital Property

In Illinois, marital property is defined as any property that is acquired by either spouse during the time of the marriage, with a few exceptions. Retirement funds can be all marital property, all non-marital property, or a combination of both. If a spouse began a retirement fund and made contributions to that fund before the marriage, that portion of the contributions would not be subject to division, while the rest would be. However, if the retirement fund was excluded by a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, then the entire retirement fund would be considered non-marital property.

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Naperville uncontested divorce attorney

When you tell someone that you are getting a divorce, their first question is often, “Why?” There are a million reasons why couples get divorced, ranging from infidelity to dissatisfaction, to domestic abuse. Prior to 2016, the state of Illinois allowed couples to choose between filing a “no-fault” or “fault” divorce, in which reasons such as adultery and alcohol or drug abuse could be used to place blame for the divorce on one of the spouses. Now, only “irreconcilable differences” are cited as being the reason for a divorce, so as not to assign blame to either spouse. However, couples can still be considered to have a contested or uncontested divorce, depending on the level of cooperation between the individuals. Filing an uncontested divorce has many benefits, like saving time and money, but it is not always feasible for everyone.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

Every divorce has a myriad of issues that need to be settled and agreed upon before the divorce can be finalized. Although the issues will vary slightly by the couple, they are the same for most and require couples to make decisions regarding:

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DuPage County divorce lawyerEach year, there are millions of divorces that take place across the country. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the latest data shows that there were an estimated 2.9 divorces for every 1,000 people in the United States in 2018. While that number has decreased somewhat since 2000—when the rate was an estimated 4.0 divorces for every 1,000 people—divorce still remains a common occurrence in our country. Many of these divorces involve children and bring along a litany of issues that must be settled because of it. Parents often wonder how their divorce will affect their children and what they can do to prevent any effects from taking hold. If you are going through an Illinois divorce with your children, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Avoid fighting in front of your children at all costs. It is not the divorce itself that is the cause of the stress and other long-term effects in children, such as anger, depression, and school/social difficulties. Multiple studies have shown that it may actually be exposure to conflict and arguments that cause these negative consequences to take root. You should try to avoid arguments or other fights until you and your spouse are away from your children or alone.

  • Do not speak negatively about your spouse to your child. Your child does not care what happened during your marriage. All your child knows is that you and your spouse are mom and dad and that you are loved very much. Your child deserves to maintain a positive image of both parents without the other parent attempting to spoil that.

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