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Plainfield divorce attorney

“We need to talk.” Those four words have so much power and weight to them, especially when you are in a romantic relationship with someone. The conversation that you must have when you tell your spouse that you want a divorce can be extremely difficult. It often requires you to face the conflict head-on and outwardly admit that you are unhappy in your marriage. Even though it is not a conversation you necessarily want to have, it is a conversation that you must have if you are thinking about ending your legal union with your spouse. Whether you and your spouse have tried to make the marriage work for years or the marriage is simply over, having this conversation is the first step in initiating the divorce process. 

Tips to Consider Before Discussing the Subject

Telling your partner that you want a divorce should not be done on a whim or out of anger. It should be approached after careful consideration and preparation. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when telling your spouse you want a divorce:

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Joliet Courthouse divorce attorney property division

Getting a divorce means you and your spouse will have to make quite a few decisions pertaining to you and your family’s finances and how you will separate them as you move through the divorce process. Many of these decisions will be difficult to make depending on what they are, but it is typically agreed that dealing with the marital home during your divorce is one of the hardest. Many people have an emotional attachment to their homes, especially if they have raised a family in the home. The property division process can be stressful and dealing with the family home can be especially daunting, but you can achieve a positive outcome with the assistance of a knowledgeable divorce attorney. 

Making the Decision About Your Home

During the property division process, you must determine how to untangle all of the finances you and your spouse have entangled throughout the years that you have been married. This includes determining what is and is not marital property, separating your joint bank accounts and credit card accounts, and splitting your retirement accounts. When it comes to dealing with a large asset such as the family home, there are three basic scenarios that make up the majority of situations involving this marital piece of property:

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DuPage County divorce attorney

It does not matter if you were married for two years or 20 years -- getting a divorce is a painful and demanding process no matter how long you were together. When you get married, you plan to spend the rest of your life with that person and perhaps raise a family together. A divorce causes you to undergo major life changes, losing your companion, lover, co-parent, and friend. A divorce can also cause you to undergo a great deal of stress, as divorce almost always causes a restructuring of the housing arrangements, household responsibilities, and finances. If you have recently begun the Illinois divorce process, you should speak with a knowledgeable Illinois divorce lawyer who can help alleviate some of that stress by taking care of the legal details. 

Coping Strategies

Dealing with a divorce can feel extremely draining, both emotionally and financially. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to help you cope with the stress of a divorce. These include:

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Bolingbrook divorce attorney

Nobody ever plans to get a divorce when they get married. Couples typically do not go through the trouble of planning a wedding and shelling out the big bucks just to get a divorce a few years later. For many people, getting a divorce would put a huge strain on their finances, so naturally, their first question is often, “How much will the divorce cost?” The answer to that question is almost impossible to obtain until you have almost completed or finalized the divorce process. There are various costs associated with getting a divorce and many of them are dependent on how things progress during the divorce process. An experienced Illinois divorce attorney would be able to explain your legal options to you.

Factors That Influence Divorce Expenses

Many things could affect the cost of a divorce. For the most part, however, the cost of getting a divorce typically ranges from thousands of dollars ($2,000-$3,000) to upward of tens of thousands of dollars ($20,000-$30,000). Some couples, however, can see their divorce price tag skyrocket to hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions if there are extensive assets.

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Bolingbrook divorce attorney co-parenting

When you have children, divorce usually does not mark the end of all interactions with your ex-spouse. In most cases, the two of you continue to bear an important responsibility to share in the raising of your children. While it can be nice to have the other parent’s support and assistance, co-parenting after divorce may also result in disagreements and conflict between you and your spouse, so you should know how to manage those conflicts to keep them from getting out of hand and hurting your children.

Tips for Successful Co-Parenting After an Illinois Divorce

It is not always easy to co-parent with your ex, but following these suggestions can help you reduce stress and maintain a better situation for yourself and your children:

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Bolingbrook divorce attorney legal separation

When a couple is having problems with their marriage, sometimes the decision to divorce is clear-cut. However, many couples are not ready to take the irreversible action of ending the marriage, and instead, wish to spend time apart while they contemplate their next step. For these couples, or for those spouses who wish to avoid divorce because of cultural beliefs or health insurance benefits, a legal separation may be a good option. If you do choose to pursue it, you should understand exactly what legal separation entails and how it differs from a complete dissolution of the marriage according to Illinois law.

What Happens in an Illinois Legal Separation?

For you and your spouse to be considered legally separated, you must be living in separate locations, and one of you must file a Petition for Legal Separation with your county’s Circuit Court. If your separation is approved, you should consider the following legal implications:

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Bolingbrook divorce attorney spousal support

A cheating or unfaithful spouse can put a huge strain on a marriage, and in many cases, one from which the marriage cannot recover. If your spouse has been unfaithful to you, you may understandably be angry and upset, and if you have cheated on your spouse, you may feel shame and regret. Beyond these emotional struggles, you and your spouse will likely face the difficult decision as to whether you should divorce in the aftermath of infidelity. If you do decide to proceed with legally ending your marriage, you should be aware of how the unfaithfulness can factor into the outcome.

Understanding the Impact of Adultery on a Divorce

Infidelity will almost certainly have some effect on the way you and your spouse go about the divorce proceedings, but it may not always have as much of an impact as you might expect. Some things to keep in mind about infidelity when going through your divorce include:

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Will County asset division attorney

Retirement accounts are frequently among the most important assets involved in an Illinois divorce case. If pension benefits are earned by either spouse during the course of a marriage, they are considered marital property. So in the event of a divorce, a judge may issue a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which enables the division and transfer of retirement funds without incurring any legal penalties.

Appeals Court: Divorce Settlement Did Not Refer to Former Husband’s Disability Pay

A recent decision from the Illinois First District Appellate Court raised an interesting question related to divorce and retirement benefits–namely, does a QDRO affecting a former spouse’s pension also apply to any pre-retirement disability benefits they receive?
The facts of this case, In re Marriage of Sullivan, are fairly straightforward. A husband and wife divorced after nearly 13 years of marriage. During the marriage, the husband acquired pension benefits through several plans. Based on a marital settlement agreement (MSA) negotiated between the parties, a Cook County judge entered a QDRO, giving the wife 50 percent of all listed pensions.
After the judge entered the order and the divorce was final, the now-former husband applied for Social Security Disability insurance benefits. This was necessary so that he could also receive long-term disability benefits under his pension plans. When the former wife learned of this, she went back to court, arguing that she was also entitled to 50 percent of the disability benefits. The former husband argued the MSA and QDRO only applied to retirement benefits, not disability.
The courts sided with the former husband. The First District, affirming a Cook County judge’s prior ruling, noted that the “absence of an express or even implied reference to disability or disability benefits” strongly suggested that the “parties did not contemplate benefits at the time of dissolution.” Indeed, the agreement and QDRO only intended for the former wife to share in the former husband’s “retirement benefits.
The way that disability works, the former husband will receive those disability benefits until he reaches his normal retirement age of 65, at which point those benefits convert into the pension. So as the appeals court explained, had the former husband “never become disabled, he would not be receiving any payments” from his disability plan.

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Bolingbrook child custody attorney parental relocation

It is not uncommon for one parent to move out of state following a divorce from the other parent. But when it comes to relocating with a minor child, an Illinois court must first determine if such a relocation is in the child’s best interests. Illinois law establishes a list of factors for the court to consider, including the circumstances and reasons for the relocation, the child’s educational opportunities at the new location, and whether the court can fashion a reasonable parenting plan if the move is allowed.

Illinois Court Reconsiders Earlier Decision to Deny Mother’s Request for Relocation

The parent seeking relocation bears the burden of proving that a proposed move will benefit the child. No parent should ever relocate under the assumption that the court will simply allow him or her to take the child along. In addition, should a court decide to reject a proposed relocation, the parent’s options for appeal can prove quite limited.

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Naperville child support attorney

Child support is considered a legal obligation. This type of financial support is used for a minor child’s basic needs, such as food and clothing. In some cases, it may also go toward housing, transportation, activities, and medical costs. When an Illinois court order requires a parent to pay child support, that order becomes an enforceable judgment in their divorce or child custody case. Like any civil judgment, failure to pay can lead to consequences, including an assessment of interest. According to the Appeals Court, interest is calculated based on when the parent stopped paying, not when the judge calculates how much money is owed. 

Calculating Interest 

A recent decision from the Illinois First District Appellate Court, In Re Marriage of Gloria Westlund, helps to illustrate how interest on unpaid child support works in this state. This case involved a couple that obtained a divorce in 2009. At the time, the parties had one minor child. The final divorce awarded the parents joint custody but named the mother as the custodial parent. The order also required the father, as the non-custodial parent, to pay child support.

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