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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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DuPage County divorce attorney asset division

For many couples, the asset division process is one of the most contentious issues that they must face when they get divorced. Although the asset division process is not as emotionally charged as proceedings involving child custody or parental decision-making, the decisions made during the asset division process can be significant. The decisions you make when determining how you will split up your property and divide your debt have the potential to impact your life for years to come. If you are going through a divorce in Illinois, it is important that you understand how the asset division process works.

Illinois Is an Equitable Distribution State

Each state across the country has different divorce laws. Some states are considered to be “community property” states, which means they generally split all assets in an equal, 50/50 split. Illinois is not one of those states and is instead considered to be an equitable distribution state. This means that marital assets will not always be split in an “equal” manner, but they will always be distributed fairly and equitably. 

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DuPage County divorce attorney spousal maintenance

When you are in the midst of a divorce, it can start to feel overwhelming, like there is no end in sight. Divorce negotiations can be unpredictable, leaving you with much to wonder about, including what your life will be like after your divorce is over. There are so many questions that you likely have on your mind -- where you will be living, if you have to sell your home, and whether or not you will have enough income to support yourself and your children if you are a parent. Regardless if you are a stay-at-home parent or you work outside of the home, many people have financial worries when they go to get a divorce. 

Financial Considerations

The best way to ensure you are in good financial standing after your divorce is to take the proper steps to protect your financial health during your divorce. Here are a few ways you can be proactive in preparing your finances for post-divorce life:

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Will County divorce attorney parenting time

For many people, most of their knowledge about divorce is simply what they have seen played out in movies or TV or from stories they have heard from their family and friends who have gone through a divorce. No two divorces are the same, so there are many things that may come as a shock to couples who end up going through the process. This can be especially true when it comes to couples who have children. Parents getting a divorce have many additional issues to worry about, including allocating parenting time and parental responsibilities. For many parents, one of the biggest shocks can be realizing just how much less time they will be spending with their children.

Examining the Determining Factors

Nearly all family law practitioners and the court system encourages you to work together with your spouse to work out a parenting time agreement, but when a couple becomes contentious with one another, the court must sometimes intervene. If the court has to step in to make decisions about issues such as allocating parenting time, the decision will be made based on what is determined to be in the child’s best interests. To do this, the court looks at a variety of factors involving your situation, including:

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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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Will County divorce lawyer child support

When you and your spouse get a divorce, there are many issues that must be covered before the case can be finalized and closed. When you have children, that list grows even longer and includes matters such as determining a parenting time schedule, allocating decision-making responsibilities, and determining child support payments. Raising a child is expensive and both parents have an obligation to financially provide for their child, which is where child support comes in. Child support is typically paid by the parent with the minority of parenting time to the parent with the majority of parenting time until the child has turned 18 or until the child has graduated from high school, whichever comes later.

Reasons for Modification

The basic child support obligation, or minimum required amount to be paid each month, is calculated using a formula that takes into consideration the incomes of both parents at the time of the divorce, in addition to the amount of parenting time they have and several other factors. This support obligation is used to help cover basic living costs for the child, such as food, clothing, and housing. However, the variables that were present at the time the child support order was put into place are not constant and will typically change over the years. To accommodate these changes, the state of Illinois allows parents to request modifications to the support order if a “substantial change in circumstances” has occurred, which could include any of the following conditions:

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Naperville high-conflict-divorce attorney

Even in the simplest of cases, divorce is an extremely complex and demanding process, in both the legal and emotional sense. Though it is uncommon, it is not impossible for a couple to be in agreement when making the decision to get a divorce. In many circumstances, one spouse comes to that decision and must break the news to the other spouse, who may or may not react rationally. Sometimes, a spouse’s reaction to this type of news can be hypothesized, but other times the emotional distress causes the unknowing spouse to act in a manner that is completely out of character. When a spouse reacts negatively and severely to the news of the divorce, it can cause stress throughout the household, even for the children. High-conflict divorces can be chaotic and drawn out, which is why hiring an experienced divorce attorney is important.

Identifying a Contentious Spouse

If you have made the decision to get a divorce, you usually already have some sort of idea of whether or not your spouse is going to be combative throughout the process. This is because the people who usually put up the most fight during a divorce are also the people who usually exhibit traits of a high-conflict personality. Common personality traits and behaviors of high-conflict people include:

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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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Naperville collaborative divorce attorney

When you end a marriage, what you are literally ending is a legal relationship between you and your spouse. However, everyone knows that ending a marriage is much more than just getting a divorce and severing your legal ties. Getting a divorce affects nearly every aspect of your life and touches everyone in the family, especially if you have children. In today’s family courts, any type of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or a collaborative divorce is preferred over a litigated divorce. In a collaborative divorce, you agree to work together with your spouse, in an honest, open, and respectful manner, to find solutions to your divorce problems. To help you solve those issues and work through your divorce, a collaborative divorce allows you to assemble a team of professionals tailored to your family’s needs

Divorce Coach

A divorce coach is a person who has a background in mental health, often a therapist or counselor, although his or her role in your divorce is not to provide you with therapy, but rather with motivation. A divorce coach’s role in a typical divorce is to help you and your spouse stay focused on your goals and to keep your emotions in check and you thinking clearly. Rather than focusing on the past, as a therapist would, the divorce coach places emphasis on the future.

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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 gray divorce attorney

Divorce can be difficult for any couple, and it often becomes more complicated the longer a couple has been married. When couples over the age of 50 choose to get a divorce, they face not only the end of a relationship that has formed a large part of their lives but also the prospect of coping with the challenges of old age independently. For this reason, it is important to properly prepare for the divorce process to reduce the possibility of an emotionally and financially stressful outcome.

Important Considerations for Older Spouses in Illinois

If you are pursuing a divorce in your 50s or beyond, you can improve your readiness by taking the following actions:

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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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DuPage County divorce attorney mediation

The stereotypical depiction of divorce is often more fiction than fact. You have likely seen couples in movies screaming at each other from across an empty courtroom as a judge tries to get control over the proceedings. While this may be the case for divorcing couples who have a complex, contentious relationship, most spouses keep things out of the courtroom. Before making a decision on how you would like to pursue your divorce case, you should be aware of your legal options in Illinois. In order to appeal to the varying dynamics between divorcing couples, many law firms offer a variety of divorce resolutions.

Divorce Mediation

For couples who are splitting amicably and have productive communication skills, mediation is a good option. This form of alternative dispute resolution allows the spouses to work together to create their own, unique divorce agreement, without court intervention. A third-party mediator will be present throughout the process to keep things on track while remaining neutral to both spouses. They will not advocate on behalf of either party but will be well-versed in divorce law and the details of divorce agreements. Both spouses should show the agreement to their own individual attorneys before signing to ensure neither party is benefiting significantly from the agreement. 

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Naperville divorce attorney parenting plan

If you are considering divorce and have children with your spouse, you may be wondering how things will be handled if you do decide to split. Not all divorcing couples experience contention in their parental relationship; some simply lose their romantic connection after some time together. Regardless of how amicable your relationship is, you are required to create a parenting plan according to Illinois divorce laws. Co-parenting can be difficult, especially with someone who you have legally divorced. This parenting plan will help guide you and your spouse with your future parenting arrangements and decisions, especially if you do not stay on friendly terms forever.

Illinois Requirements

Parenting plans are fairly customizable to fit each family’s unique needs; however, there are a few issues that are required to be addressed in an Illinois plan. The first topic that must be outlined is parental responsibilities. Divorcing parents must designate a custodial parent, or primary caregiver, and non-custodial parent. You should also detail who will be doing what, including each parent’s ability to make education, healthcare, and extracurricular activity decisions. Parenting plans will also include a detailed schedule, known as parenting time, which notes who will be caring for the child each day of the week. Each family’s parenting time arrangement will differ, with some choosing a more equal division and others having one parent be the primary parent. You must also include information about how you will handle disagreements on your parenting plan. Most parents will turn to mediation to avoid spending time in court, but if a history of abuse is present, this may not be applicable. One of the last required areas in an Illinois parenting plan is how to handle the relocation. If one parent wishes to relocate with his or her child out of state, he or she will need permission from the other parent, or the court, to do so.

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Joliet Courthouse divorce attorney child support order

Divorce agreements are made with the intention that they will last forever. While this may be the case for those who get divorced and do not have any children or alimony requirements, divorce agreements rarely last the test of time. When children or monthly support payments are involved, things never remain the same over time. Luckily, the Illinois court system addresses this possibility within their divorce legislation. In order for modifications to be made to your agreement, you must meet the criteria outlined below.

Spousal Maintenance

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to even the financial divide between both spouses and provide the lower-earning spouse with financial assistance. The terms of these payments vary for each divorce agreement. Some may be expected to provide this support indefinitely while others have a specified timeline. Divorced couples always have the ability to revisit their agreement, especially if they feel that the spousal maintenance requirements are unnecessary or unfair. 

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