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Wheaton divorce attorneysIf you are getting a divorce, especially in your later years, one of your biggest concerns is likely how it will affect your financial situation. Specifically, you may wonder what will happen to your retirement savings and whether you will still be able to retire as planned. In order to prepare for the impact of your divorce on your retirement, it is important to understand both Illinois property division law and the tax implications of different retirement accounts.

How Are Assets Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

Under Illinois law, all marital property is to be divided equitably between spouses as part of a divorce resolution. This does not mean that the division has to be exactly equal, but it should be fair to both parties and prevent either from facing undue hardship. In some cases, the details of the division of property are left to the court’s decision, but divorcing couples also have the opportunity to reach an agreement of their own and submit it to the court for approval. 

With this in mind, the answers to two questions can help you determine whether your retirement assets will be divided:

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Wheaton divorce attorneysEffectively managing conflict is an important skill in many areas of your life, but it is especially important throughout the divorce process. You may find that emotions are running high between you and your spouse, and chances are that the two of you will not agree on every aspect of your divorce resolution, even if you are attempting to divorce amicably. With these things in mind, you should aim for an approach that helps you resolve conflicts, or at least keep them under control.

Effective Conflict Resolution Strategies

When you and your spouse seem to be at an impasse, here are some suggestions to handle the conflict and keep your divorce negotiations on track.

  • Remain calm and rational. It is understandable that you would feel strong emotions during the divorce process, but try to keep those emotions below the surface when negotiating with your spouse. Instead, express your perspective clearly and with a focus on the facts of the situation at hand.
  • Balance assertiveness and empathy. In order to arrive at a resolution that protects your interests, it is important to make your needs known to your spouse. However, it can be just as important to listen to your spouse’s needs, and make an effort to understand his or her perspective, so that you can move forward cooperatively.
  • Find ways to compromise. Ideally, you and your spouse would both end the divorce process with everything that you want, but this is rarely possible. A more realistic goal is to focus on achieving your top priorities, and be open to giving ground on matters that are not as important to you.
  • Seek assistance. An attorney is important to advise and represent you throughout negotiations, and you may also decide to hire a neutral mediator that can guide discussions between you and your spouse in a way that minimizes conflict.
  • Know your limits. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a cooperative approach to divorce is not possible. If you are making no headway in negotiations, you may have to make the decision to take your high-conflict divorce to trial, where your attorney can aggressively represent your interests.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

At Davi Law Group, we can advise you on an approach to your divorce that keeps conflict to a minimum, and help you determine when it is necessary to take a more aggressive approach. In any case, we will do everything in our power to help you achieve an outcome that meets your needs. Contact an experienced Wheaton divorce lawyer today at 630-504-0176 for a free initial consultation.

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Wheaton adoption attorneysMany children benefit from the love and support of relatives outside of their immediate family, and this can be especially important for children whose parents are no longer living or are unable to care for them. In these cases, a relative will often step up to formally adopt the child, solidifying a legal relationship in addition to the personal relationship. If you are considering a related adoption, a family law attorney can help you with the process.

Who Can Adopt a Related Child?

In Illinois, a person is eligible to be an adoptive parent in a related adoption if they are related to the child in one of the following ways, either by blood, marriage, or adoption:

  • Parent or step-parent
  • Grandparent, step-grandparent, or great-grandparent
  • Sibling or step-sibling
  • Aunt, uncle, great-aunt, or great-uncle
  • First or second cousin

Unlike some other types of adoption in Illinois, the adoptive parents in a related adoption do not need to have lived in Illinois for at least six months. Usually, a married person must adopt a child with his or her spouse. Adoptive parents are also usually required to be legal adults, but the court may allow a minor to adopt if there is good cause, which may be the case when a child is adopted by his or her sibling.

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DuPage County family law attorneysUnless you are granted your marital home as part of the division of property, you will likely need to find a new place to live either during the divorce process or after your divorce is finalized. Moving to a new home is stressful at any point in your life, but along with all the other stress of a divorce, it can be even more overwhelming. However, you can make the transition easier by taking the time to prepare.

Considerations When Moving After Divorce 

Thinking carefully about where you will move and how you will handle the moving process can lead to greater satisfaction with your decision and less stress for you and your family in the future. Some important things to consider include:

  • How much you can afford. If you are moving during the divorce process, it may be best to explore temporary options until you have a better idea of the likely outcome. Once your divorce is finalized, you should determine where your assets, income, and expenses stand to decide how much you can afford to buy or rent, and whether you need to make a plan to save for a home that meets your needs.
  • How the move will affect your children. If you expect to have a significant share of parenting time after your divorce, you should also consider how a new home will meet your children’s needs. Think about the location in relation to their school and their other parent’s home, as well as the space they will need to feel comfortable.
  • Whether you need legal permission. A move within a short distance is usually acceptable from a legal perspective, but if you are allocated parenting time and you plan to relocate a longer distance away from your children’s current home, you will need to obtain permission from the other parent and/or the court. Under Illinois law, this distance is more than 25 miles from a home in Cook, DuPage, and some surrounding counties, more than 50 miles from a home in other Illinois counties, and more than 25 miles to a location outside of Illinois.

A major relocation will also likely require special considerations in your parenting plan to account for transportation between homes and an alternative parenting time schedule. It can also make it more difficult for your children to adjust, so you should be prepared to talk to them about the move, listen to their concerns, and make every effort to maintain a close relationship despite the increased distance.

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Wheaton family law attorneysIf you have been through a divorce, it is understandable that you may want a break from the legal process after working tirelessly to reach a resolution on important decisions including your parenting agreement. However, it is important to realize that circumstances change over time, and what worked for you, your children, and your former spouse at the time of the divorce may not be as effective a few years later. If you find that your situation has changed substantially, it may be best to petition for a modification of your parenting plan.

Modifying Parenting Time in Illinois

Perhaps the most likely element of your parenting plan that may require modification is your parenting time arrangement. As circumstances and preferences change, it may be best to adjust either the distribution of time spent with each parent, the specific schedule of days, or both. You can modify parenting time at any point after your divorce as long as it is in your children’s best interests and you can demonstrate that one or more of the following is true:

  • The circumstances of you, your ex, or your children have changed. Possible examples include a change in your work schedule or your children’s school schedule, a relocation of one or both parents, or a change in your children’s preferences as they get older.
  • The requested modification is consistent with the actual care arrangement for the past six months. This means that in practice, you and your ex have begun to deviate from the original schedule with neither of you objecting.
  • The modification is minor, perhaps involving a simple schedule change or an update to holiday agreements.
  • The modification is necessary based on something that the court was not aware of at the time of the original agreement.
  • Both parents are in agreement on the modification.

Modifying Parental Decision-Making Responsibilities

On the other hand, decision-making responsibilities related to your children’s education, religion, health, and extracurricular activities can usually not be modified for the first two years after your original agreement, unless the modification is necessary to protect the children from harm or dangerous influences. After two years, decision-making responsibilities can be modified for the same reasons as parenting time.

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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce attorneysIf you are having problems in your marriage, chances are that the thought of divorce has crossed your mind at some point, and you may have even thought about bringing it up with your spouse. However, saying something out loud can often lead to a situation in which it is impossible to turn back, so you should think carefully about how and when you raise the subject if you choose to do so at all. When it comes to such a sensitive conversation, some times are certainly better than others.

The Wrong Time

If you have any hope for the survival of your marriage, one of the worst things you can do is to threaten divorce during a heated argument with your spouse. As much as you may be feeling it in the moment, a divorce may not be what you truly want. However, making your partner think it is a possibility can lead to feelings of insecurity. It also has the potential to exacerbate the argument or shut down future attempts at conversation that could help you resolve your issues together.

Even if you are certain that you want a divorce, an argument is not the best time to bring it up. Doing so can make the divorce seem like a punishment to your spouse, rather than a rational decision based on your feelings about the state of your marriage. It also may set the tone for all divorce discussions to devolve into conflict, which can make the process much longer and more stressful.

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Wheaton family law attorneysDivorced and unmarried parents alike will almost certainly encounter the legal matter of child support as the court determines a fair arrangement that financially provides for their children’s needs. In Illinois, the basic child support obligation is meant to provide for costs related to a child’s food, clothing, shelter, and ordinary medical expenses, but in many cases, this does not truly account for everything that a child needs to maintain his or her quality of life. For this reason, the court may consider additional expenses when determining the amount that each parent will be required to contribute.

Additional Expenses Can Be Included 

Depending on factors including the child’s needs, the standard of living he or she could expect in a two-parent household, and each parent’s financial ability to contribute, the court may order that the following expenses be included beyond the basic child support obligation:

  • Educational expenses: Reasonable expenses related to a child’s education can be included in a support order. Depending on the situation, this may include private school tuition, and it can also include college and university expenses for children over the age of 18.
  • Extracurricular activities: The court may hold both parents responsible for expenses associated with activities that enhance a child’s social, cultural, or athletic development, including sports, art classes, music lessons, camps, and more.
  • Child care: The court may include expenses for an in-home or out-of-home child care provider in cases in which child care is necessary for a parent to be able to seek or hold employment or further his or her education.
  • Special needs: A child who has special needs related to his or her physical or mental development may be entitled to support from both parents for additional expenses related to care, treatment, and education.
  • Extraordinary healthcare expenses: The court may order parents to provide for expenses related to health insurance and medical expenses beyond the ordinary, including emergency and life-saving measures as well as ongoing expenses.

In order to determine the full amount of a parent’s child support obligations, the court will often start with the baseline calculation that Illinois uses to determine the basic support obligation, which relies significantly on the combined income of both parents. From there, it may consider the actual or estimated costs of additional expenses and issue an order that justly and equitably distributes obligations between the two parents.

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DuPage County family law attorneysDaytime television has popularized the idea of a DNA test to establish paternity to the point where you might think it is a necessary part of any legal paternity case. It is true that in Illinois, genetic testing is often used in cases involving uncertain or contested paternity, but there are other ways of establishing paternity that do not require testing at all. As either a father seeking to establish paternity or a mother who wants to ensure child support, you should be aware of when a DNA test is or is not required and what you can expect if a genetic test is part of your case.

Establishing Legal Paternity Without a DNA Test

In Illinois, there are a few situations in which legal paternity for an unmarried father can be established without the need for a DNA test. These include cases in which the father:

  • Was previously married to or in a civil union with the child’s mother within 300 days before the child’s birth. In this case, no further legal action is required to establish paternity.
  • Marries or enters into a civil union with the child’s mother after the child’s birth, if he has consented to being named as the father on the child’s birth certificate.
  • Completes and signs a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP), regardless of his current or prior relationship with the child’s mother. A VAP can be completed at the hospital upon the child’s birth or at any point after. The mother must also sign the VAP as well.

When is a DNA Test Used?

If you believe you may be the father of a child and are interested in being a part of the child’s life, you can request a DNA test to confirm your paternity. This may be important in cases where you or the mother simply have questions or when the mother is trying to contest your paternity.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysOut of all of the marital properties that must be divided in a divorce, perhaps none carries a greater emotional weight than the family home. It may be the place where you and your spouse began your life together, or where you have raised your children and made lasting memories. However, as you consider what will happen to your home during the divorce, it is best to try to set aside emotions and make a rational plan for achieving your desired outcome.

Options for the Marital Home When Dividing Assets

Because Illinois requires an equitable distribution of marital assets rather than a 50/50 split, getting a divorce does not mean that you and your spouse will have to divide the value of the house down the middle. Rather, you have a wide range of options, especially if you are willing to work together to negotiate a solution. Some of the possibilities include:

  • Following the terms of your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement: It is worth noting that if you and your spouse created a legally valid agreement, either before or during your marriage, that specifies what becomes of the marital home in a divorce, the court will usually honor it. This can save you time and stress during the divorce process.
  • Granting ownership to the spouse with greater parenting time: You and your spouse may decide it is best for your children to continue spending most of their time in the home they are used to, and this is also a factor the court may consider even if you cannot reach an agreement on your own. With this option, the spouse who keeps the home should be sure that he or she can manage any accompanying expenses, and should be aware that it may mean giving up a greater share of other properties.
  • Maintaining joint ownership temporarily: If the primary custodial parent cannot afford to keep the house alone, you may be able to reach an agreement in which you and your spouse continue to own the home together until your children are grown. Maintaining joint ownership for a time may also be a good idea if the housing market is not currently favorable to sellers.
  • Selling the home: If neither spouse has a strong attachment to the home, or if neither would be able to afford to keep it on his or her own, the best option may be to sell it and divide the proceeds after paying off any outstanding debt. This may also be the outcome if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement and the decision is left in the court’s hands.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer Today

At Davi Law Group, we understand how important your home may be to you, and we will help you explore all possible options for it during your divorce. We can advise you through cooperative negotiations with your spouse or represent your interests in a divorce trial if necessary. Contact a compassionate Wheaton, IL family law attorney at 630-504-0176 to schedule a free consultation.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysOne of the hardest parts of getting a divorce is seeing the effects on your children, and even parents with the best of intentions can struggle to establish and maintain a post-divorce environment that serves the children’s best interests. One specific challenge that parents may face is maintaining consistent rules, expectations, and discipline when the children are dividing time between two households. Here, we offer suggestions that can help you avoid parenting mistakes and work on an arrangement that helps your children adjust and thrive.

Common Mistakes for Divorced Parents

As you adjust to your new co-parenting routine after your divorce, here are some unproductive approaches you may find yourself taking:

  • Avoiding discipline: You may find yourself tolerating poor behavior from your children because you do not want to come across as the mean parent, because you feel that you deserve it after putting them through the divorce, or simply because you lack the energy to provide discipline. However, this can teach your children that the behavior is acceptable and lead to worse behavior in the future.
  • Being overly strict: On the other hand, you may find yourself lashing out at your children or trying to enforce more strict discipline than you did before the divorce, especially if you feel your ex is not providing the necessary discipline. However, this can damage your relationship with your children and lead to a situation in which they do not enjoy the time spent with you.
  • Enforcing expectations inconsistently: It can be hard for divorced co-parents to uphold the same set of rules and expectations for their children, especially if they are not communicating regularly, and this can lead to confusion and instability for everyone involved.

Constructive Suggestions for Divorced Parents

If you find that any of these things are happening in your family, you can take action to improve the situation. One of the most important things you can do is to ensure that you and your ex have a shared understanding of your parenting plan, including the allocation of parental responsibilities, and that you communicate as much as possible about your children’s behavior. This can help you be more consistent in your approaches and avoid creating a situation in which your children resent one or both of you. It is also important that when you do discipline your children, you also make an effort to talk to them and listen to the feelings and concerns that may be driving their behavior. It is common for children to act out after a divorce, and while this does not mean their behavior is okay, it does mean that they might require extra care and attention.

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Wheaton prenuptial agreement lawyersAs societal trends evolve, each new generation has its own views and priorities regarding marriage. Millennials, who currently range in age from their mid-twenties to late-thirties, are at a point in their lives when marriage is common, but their approaches to marriage, and often, their approaches to prenuptial agreements, reveal different needs from the generations that came before them.

What Should Millennial Couples Include in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Not every marriage requires a prenuptial agreement, but if you are a Millennial preparing for marriage, you may want to consider an agreement that addresses the following issues:

  • Protection of assets: According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials on average marry for the first time three years later than Generation X and four years later than Baby Boomers. By the time you get married, you may already be established in your career and have significant assets in your name, and a prenuptial agreement can help you define and protect those assets in the event of a divorce in the future.
  • Student loan debt: Many Millennials have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, which may be a major factor in their financial situation when they prepare to enter a marriage. If one or both partners have significant debt, you may wish to account for it in your prenuptial agreement to ensure that you will not be responsible for your partner’s debt during your marriage or after a potential divorce.
  • Pet custody: Millennials currently comprise the largest share of pet owners in the United States, and many consider pets to be a member of the family. You may be entering your marriage with a pet of your own, or you may have adopted a pet with your partner before your marriage. In either case, your prenuptial agreement can address who has rights to your pet if you get a divorce.

Many Millennials also choose to cohabit with a romantic partner before getting married, which sometimes involves the sharing of assets and financial responsibilities. You may find it beneficial to establish a cohabitation agreement that addresses what happens if the relationship ends.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersFor many divorcing couples, mediation can be a great option to keep conflict to a minimum and avoid an expensive, public trial. However, what works for one couple does not always work for another, and in fact, there are some circumstances in which attempting mediation can be counterproductive or even dangerous. As you work toward a divorce, you should be aware of the signs that mediation may be wrong for you.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a cooperative approach to divorce resolution in which both spouses meet with a neutral third-party mediator who is professionally trained to guide negotiations. A mediator will not recommend or enforce solutions, but he or she will attempt to ensure that each spouse has the opportunity to voice his or her perspective and help the two parties recognize opportunities for compromise. When spouses have the right mindset, mediation can help them resolve their divorce more efficiently and amicably.

Divorce Mediation Does Not Always Work

That said, there are some high-conflict situations in which mediation is unlikely to succeed, undesirable, or even impossible. You may be better off avoiding mediation and resorting to litigation to achieve your desired outcome If any of the following are true of your marriage and divorce:

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Naperville divorce attorneysA divorce can impact children at least as much as, if not more than, their parents. The emotional distress of the breakdown of the family is often difficult for children to cope with, and many of the decisions made in the divorce will have a direct effect on the children’s lives. With so much at stake, it is reasonable to wonder whether children have a say in what happens during the divorce process, or whether they are at the mercy of their parents and the court.

Including the Child’s Perspective in the Divorce Process

Fortunately, there are ways to ensure the child’s needs and preferences are considered in any decisions that affect them. Particularly regarding parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities, an Illinois court will:

  • Focus on the child’s best interests. To determine whether a decision is in the child’s best interests, the court will consider many factors including the child’s needs, physical and mental health, relationships with both parents and any siblings, connection to their home, school, and community, and any history of violence or abuse in the family. While the child’s parents may already have their best interests in mind, the court will not make a decision solely based on the parents’ preferences.
  • Consider the child’s wishes. The court will often hear directly from a child regarding his or her preferences about parenting time and parental decision-making. If the child has reached an appropriate maturity level and is capable of expressing independent wants and needs, this input can factor significantly into the court’s decision.
  • Determine the necessity of representation for the child. While it is not necessary in every divorce case, the court may appoint a representative for the child if there are questions regarding the child’s best interests. This representative can be a guardian ad litem, who serves as a witness after investigating the case and interviewing the child and both parents. Alternatively, it can be a child representative who advocates for the child’s best interests using evidence-based arguments, or an attorney for the child who specifically represents the child’s perspective with a duty of loyalty and confidentiality.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

The attorneys at Davi Law Group have the knowledge and experience necessary to answer any questions you may have about the effects of divorce on children and the legal rights they have throughout the divorce process. When we take your case, we strive to ensure that the children’s best interests are at the forefront of any decisions in which they have a stake. Contact a Naperville family law attorney today at 630-948-8926 to schedule a free consultation.

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Naperville divorce lawyersFinancial issues can be not only a major point of contention during the divorce process, they can also be a reason for the marriage failing in the first place. In fact, the American Psychological Association reports that 31 percent of people in a marriage or romantic relationship claim that finances are a significant source of conflict. However, it is possible for a married couple to healthily address finances and work through challenges that arise, which may save your marriage and help you avoid resorting to divorce.

Tips for Addressing Finances With Your Spouse

The following suggestions can help you and your spouse prevent destructive conflict over finances both before and during your marriage:

  • Be honest with each other. Before getting married, you and your partner should have an open conversation about your financial situation, including your existing assets and debts, so that there are no surprises later on. During your marriage, avoid hiding purchases from your spouse that can damage trust and your family’s financial situation.
  • Create a budget together. A thorough conversation about your income, expenses, and spending goals can be helpful early in your marriage to ensure that both partners have input in decisions and a shared understanding of how you will manage your finances.
  • Try to avoid excessive debts. Each partner may enter the marriage with existing debts, and you may acquire more as a couple, from mortgages, to vehicle loans, to credit cards. Excessive debt can create immense stress on a relationship, so you should make a plan to avoid incurring debt that you cannot handle, and to pay down debts that are creating a burden.
  • Discuss your plan for your kids. If you and your spouse plan to have kids together, you should be aware of the financial cost and plan accordingly. You will need to ensure that you can provide for their basic needs and interests at least until they reach the age of 18, and you may want to plan for higher education expenses as well.
  • Consider a prenuptial agreement. You may find it helpful to legally formalize your agreement over finances in the form of a prenuptial agreement that clarifies each partner's ownership of assets and plans for the division of property and spousal support in the event of a divorce. 

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

At Davi Law Group, we provide advice and representation for any legal matters affecting finances in your marriage. We can help you draft a valid prenuptial agreement, and we are always available if you do decide to pursue a divorce. Contact a Naperville family law attorney today to schedule a free consultation at 630-824-3474.

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Wheaton child custody attorneysDuring the divorce process, one of the most important items for both parents to agree to is a parenting plan that addresses parenting time and parental responsibilities. This agreement may come about through negotiation, mediation, or other collaborative methods between you and your spouse, or it may come in the form of a court ruling issued by a judge, but in either case the terms are legally binding. In the months and years following your divorce, if you find that your ex is failing or refusing to honor the agreement, you may need to pursue the legal enforcement of your divorce order.

Common Parenting Plan Violations in Illinois

Parenting plan breaches may arise out of carelessness, hostility, a change in the relationship between you and your ex, or resentment surrounding the initial terms of the agreement. Some of the most common violations include:

  • Refusing to allow the children to spend their allocated time with the other parent
  • Frequent lateness when transporting the children to the other parent
  • Attempted interruptions of the other parent’s allocated time
  • Refusing to care for the children during one’s allocated time
  • Relocating with the child without obtaining necessary permission under Illinois law

If your ex is engaging in any of these behaviors, you should first attempt to resolve the dispute on your own, provided that doing so does not put you or your children in danger. If the behavior continues, your next step is to file a petition for enforcement with the court.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysWhen you get a divorce in Illinois, you can expect the court to ensure a fair distribution of marital property. However, you may have additional concerns about your ability to support yourself financially after your divorce, in which case you should explore the possible option of spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony. Spousal maintenance is not a required part of every Illinois divorce resolution, but it may be awarded in cases of need.

Am I Entitled to Spousal Support in Illinois?

If you and your spouse are willing to cooperate throughout the divorce process, you may be able to negotiate for the spousal support that you need as one piece of a larger divorce agreement. For example, your spouse may be more open to paying spousal support if he or she is able to retain important property as part of the division of assets. If negotiation is not possible, you can also pursue spousal maintenance by demonstrating your need to the court.

Illinois courts consider a variety of factors when determining whether spousal maintenance should be awarded. Some situations in which you may have a case for support include:

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Naperville divorce attorneysGetting a divorce can create financial strain for both spouses because of the required division of assets and the potential for child and spousal support obligations. This may be especially difficult if you have significant debt at the time of your divorce. If you are not careful, debt problems can become increasingly complicated after your divorce, so it is important to consider options that can alleviate your debt burden during the divorce process.

When is Debt Considered Marital Property in Illinois?

You may be aware that marital property will be divided in your divorce, but it can come as a surprise that debts accumulated during your marriage are considered part of that property. This may be true whether the debt was incurred by one spouse or both together. Marital debt can come from many sources, including mortgages, car loans, student loans, business loans, and credit card debt. Any remaining marital debt at the time of your divorce must be distributed fairly between you and your spouse.

Strategies for Avoiding Debt Complications in Your Divorce

As your divorce approaches, you may be able to reduce your debt obligations or prevent future complications with creditors by being proactive, especially if you and your spouse are willing to cooperate and negotiate. Some strategies for mitigating the effects of marital debt include:

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DuPage County domestic violence attorneysDomestic violence is, unfortunately, a widespread problem in the United States. Each year, more than 12 million people are victims of physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner, and this abuse often extends to children in the household as well. If you or a family member is suffering from domestic abuse in Illinois, an order of protection can help keep you safe from the perpetrator. An experienced attorney can help you understand how an order of protection works and which type of order is best for your situation.

What is an Order of Protection?

In Illinois, an order or protection can prevent an alleged abuser from continued abuse, physical contact, proximity, and communication with the person who has been abused, as well as that person’s children, dependents, or legal guardians. Orders of protection are enforced by local law enforcement officers, and they can be filed independently or together with a petition related to divorce, parental responsibilities, guardianship, or adoption

Depending on the nature and severity of your situation, you may be able to pursue one of three types of protective orders:

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Naperville family law attorneysCo-parenting after a divorce can be challenging, both because of the need for coordination between two households and the possibility of lingering disagreement or resentment between you and your ex. However, successful co-parenting is often crucial for your children’s happiness and well-being, and if you can work on effective communication with your ex, you can avoid some of the stresses of co-parenting and establish a system that works for the good of everyone involved.

Illinois Co-Parenting Communication Tips

Whether you and your ex get along fairly well, or you tend to butt heads on a regular basis, communication is key to successful co-parenting. Here are some strategies to improve your communication:

  • Stay calm and professional. Make sure you are in the right mindset to approach communication with your ex so that you can remain calm and manage your emotions. It may help to think of your communication with your ex as similar to communication with a work colleague, since you essentially share the job of effectively raising your children.
  • Practice active listening. It is important to express your needs in communication with your ex, but make sure that you also make an effort to listen to his or her perspective. This opens the door for compromise and collaborative solutions in which both parents and children are able to achieve what is best for them.
  • Keep your focus on the task at hand. When you communicate with your ex, try to keep the conversation on the topic of your children and what each of you needs in order to co-parent effectively. If the conversation begins to stray toward your personal disagreements, this can lead to a communication breakdown.
  • Plan regular check-ins. You may need to establish a regular time to check in with your ex and make sure you are keeping each other informed. This could be a weekly phone call or a short conversation when you drop your kids off at the other parent’s home.
  • Be proactive. If you have a concern or a request related to something coming up in the future, try to be proactive and address it early rather than waiting until the last minute when it may be difficult for the other parent to adapt.
  • Consider alternative channels. Face-to-face communication may not be the best option for you and your ex. If you find it difficult emotionally or logistically to converse in person, it may be best to explore other options like phone calls, texting, or email.

Along with all of these tips, you should ensure that all communication between you and your ex in front of your children is civil. If your kids see their parents fighting, this can put a strain on their relationships with each of you and put them in a difficult situation in which they may feel forced to pick sides.

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How Mediation Helps You Make Important Decisions in Your DivorceFor many couples who are preparing to divorce, one of the biggest concerns is the stress and conflict that can arise throughout the divorce process. It is true that almost no divorce is easy, but you may be able to avoid much of the hardship by pursuing the option of divorce mediation, which allows you and your spouse to work together to make important decisions on a number of issues.

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

For a mediated divorce process to work, you and your spouse must be willing to cooperate and communicate with each other, whether that is face-to-face or through some other means. The two of you maintain control over all of your final decisions, and each of you will have the opportunity to express your perspectives throughout the deliberation process. A trained mediator, who is often an attorney, will be present as a third party to guide the process and ensure it proceeds smoothly without taking a side or attempting to influence the outcome. When mediation is successful, a couple may be able to avoid a trial entirely, which can save time and money and allow them to maintain greater privacy.

Decisions to Address During Mediation

Unlike a trial in which the judge issues a final ruling, mediation allows couples to reach an agreement tailored to their specific needs and preferences. Mediation can assist with all elements of your divorce agreement, including:

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