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Illinois divorce attorneysIn a divorce, marital assets are valued and equitably divided between the parties. Businesses, owned jointly or independently, may also be considered a part of the marital estate. The determination of its value is called the business valuation process. Learn more about this process, and how it could impact the outcome of your Illinois divorce. 

What is Business Valuation?

Business valuations are used to determine the overall health and net worth of a company. Each facet of the company is objectively and independently evaluated, including the company’s assets, expenses, revenue, cash flow, debt levels, and projected future earnings. 

Business Valuation Methods

The process for determining a company’s value will vary, depending on the industry, business type, and customer base. One of four methods may be used. 

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Wheaton parenting time attorneysMatters pertaining to children tend to be some of the most sensitive issues in divorce - and rightfully so. The child’s mental and emotional state, academic performance, and future potential are all at risk. Thankfully, studies show that ample time and continued support from each parent can improve the outcome for children of divorce. 

Not sure how to determine how much time each of you should have? Afraid you may be selling yourself (or your child) short? Check out these eight factors and consider them when drafting your Illinois parenting plan for some guidance. Also, learn how a seasoned family law attorney can protect the best interests of both you and your child. 

1. Age and Temperament of the Child

While studies suggest that children of all ages can handle overnight stays away from home, infants and toddlers may struggle to adjust in the beginning. Younger, school-aged children may need a consistent and reliable schedule that minimizes stress and allows them to focus on their studies. Older children may have their own preferences regarding where they will live day-to-day, which should also be considered. However, they may not need the same regularity in their schedules as younger kids, so parents may be able to do more frequent exchanges.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersDivorce is chalked full of complex emotions. Unchecked, those feelings can send you into a downward spiral, causing you to lash out at your spouse or even your own children. Thankfully, there are some strategies that can use to help you process your feelings in a healthier way.

1. Approach the Process Slowly

While you may want to end things as quickly as possible, the divorce process should be considered a sprint, rather than a marathon. Give yourself time to prepare and gather your documents before you officially file. Talk to a lawyer about your options and consider your strategy carefully. Not only will these steps help reduce your stress levels, but it can also improve the final outcome in your case. 

2. Focus on the Concrete

Emotions can fluctuate from one moment to the next, which can make it difficult for one to stay grounded. Rather than attempt to tackle all of your feelings at once, take a step back and give yourself permission to set them aside for a while. Focus instead on the concrete aspects of your case - the legalities, dividing up property, and creating a parenting plan for your children.

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Wheaton alimony lawyersSpousal support may not be awarded as often as it once was, it is still a factor in some cases. Think you might be entitled? Check out these 14 factors the courts use to decide whether or not to award alimony to a disadvantaged party and learn more about what our divorce lawyers can do to improve the outcome in your Illinois divorce case. 

1. Income and Assets of Each Party


Each party's income and assets are one of the first and biggest factors used to determine whether spousal support should be awarded in a divorce case. The courts will consider both marital and non-marital assets, as well as each party’s financial obligations. 

2. Financial Needs of Each Party

Another important factor the courts use to determine whether alimony should be awarded is the financial needs of each party. Three key components are used in this determination: the financial needs of the recipient, whether there is a gap in the recipient’s ability to meet their needs, and whether the payor is capable of supplementing that gap. Note that these needs must be legitimate; wants and luxuries are not considered. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersAll across the country, people are staying indoors and away from others to minimize their exposure to coronavirus. Stay orders and full-on quarantines literally force couples into all-day one-on-one time. This constant, forced interaction can further inflame underlying issues for those who were already on the edge and barely holding onto the shreds of their marriage. 

Data suggests this issue is already causing a spike in divorce inquiries. Now the question becomes whether couples should move forward with their cases or wait it out to see if they can resolve matters once the quarantine is over.

Working Marital Issues Out While Under Quarantine

Marital issues can feel more pronounced when you are forced to interact with one another all day long. While couples under quarantine are unable to change their circumstances, there are some strategies that can be used to help your marriage - even in its current state. 

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Wheaton family law attorneysPrenuptial agreements are not just for the rich. Instead, there are several scenarios in which this legal document can protect the vested parties in a possible divorce. Learn more by checking out these six situations in which a prenuptial agreement may be in your best interest. 

1. When Either Party Has a Considerable Amount of Wealth

Possession of a considerable amount of wealth is one of the most common reasons that couples choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement before marriage. Entering into this legal agreement before marrying lets you clearly define the rules for how wealth will be distributed in the event of a divorce. This rule also applies if one party earns more than the other at their job. 

2. If Either Party Owns a Business

If either you or your spouse owns a business, you may want to consider a prenup before getting married. Not only can this legal document protect your business and allow for proper allocation of its assets in the event of a divorce, but it can also define parameters on business operations and liability during the course of your marriage. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyersDebt is a serious issue for most Americans. According to a recent study from Northwestern Mutual, the average U.S. citizen has about $38,000 in personal debt - and that excludes their mortgage. If one were to double that for a married couple (almost $80,000 in debt), the importance of understanding how debt is divided in a divorce becomes clear. 

Equitable Distribution of Debt in Divorce

In most cases, marital debt is divided in a divorce in the same way as assets: equitably. Essentially, this means debts are allocated according to the income and expense of each party. Keep in mind that this rule usually only applies to joint, marital debts that were acquired during the union. Separate debts that parties acquired prior to the marriage, as well as sole-owned debts, may not be divided in the same manner. 

Legal Liability for Debt in Divorce

Regardless of who the debt is assigned to in the divorce, parties can still be held legally responsible for a debt if their name is on the account. Keep this in mind when a portion of marital debt is assigned to your spouse, and have a plan in place for handling a default on the account, should your spouse forget or fail to pay. Otherwise, you may rack up late fees or interest on your account, leaving you with unnecessary added expenses. 

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Illinois parenting time lawyersThe entire country is being advised to practice social distancing and quarantine procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Parents who share children but live in separate households are both concerned and unnerved about what this could mean for their families. Check out these options for divorced, legally separated, and non-wed families parenting in separate households. 

Keeping Visitation Schedules the Same 

Many of the families that have not been affected by the virus are opting to keep their visitation schedule the same for now. Their children continue to transition between homes. As long as nothing changes, and each household practices social distancing or in-home quarantine, this should not be an issue, so long as no one becomes infected. Parents who continue visitation their schedules as they are may want to also develop a plan for handling a positive COVID-19 case within the family. Some things to consider include:

  • Where the child will stay if one or both parents become infected,
  • Who will care for the child if they end up contracting COVID-19, and
  • How the family can still bond if forced to quarantine in separate households. 

Changing Visitation Schedules Under Quarantine

Families under full quarantine (mostly in high-risk areas) may want to consider changing their visitation schedule to reduce the chances of sending the virus to both homes. Incubation for COVID-19 is anywhere from seven to 11 days, so the most prudent schedule would likely be a two-week exchange. Parents can verbally make such an agreement verbally, but it is better to have a legal document in place, just to be safe. Your family law attorney can help. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysMost parents are aware that divorce could negatively impact their child; it is why so many are hesitant to call it quits on their marriage. Still, studies show that a tumultuous home environment is more damaging to a child. As such, parents are encouraged to understand how and why a divorce might cause issues for their child. It also helps to have a plan in place.

Understanding the How and Why

Although divorce can negatively affect all children, the biggest risk seems to apply to those who are “well off” prior to the split. More specifically, adolescents whose mothers have a college education were found to be most impacted by parental divorce in a recent study conducted by Sondre Aasan Nilsen of the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE) and the University of Bergen, Norway, and colleagues. On average, their GPAs were 0.3 points lower than peers with intact families from the same socioeconomic class. Previous research has also indicated that well-off children are less likely to attend college after a parental divorce.

Perhaps children from lower socioeconomic classes show less impact, simply because they are already less likely to excel in school or attend college, or maybe well-off children are ill-prepared for divorce because they have not suffered as much disappointment and heartache as children from lower socioeconomic classes. Whatever the cause, it is middle-class parents (and above) who most need a plan for minimizing the risk of poor academic performance in their child.

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Illinois divorce attorneysDivorce is a complex, all-encompassing process that can impact your mental, emotional, and financial well-being. Thankfully, the effects and potential consequences can be mitigated. For example, parties can seek therapy to deal with the feelings of grief and loss that often accompany divorce. When attempting to diminish the potential financial consequences of divorce, there are three major considerations that one should use in their case.

The How: Litigated or Mediated Divorce

While money should not be the driving factor in the divorce path that you choose, a mediated divorce is likely to cost less than a litigated one. Part of this can be attributed to court costs, but attorney’s fees may be higher in a contentious divorce, as the lawyer must often spend more time working the case. So, if the cost of your divorce is a concern, it may be beneficial to at least consider whether a mediated divorce may be in your best interest. Talk to your lawyer for help.

The What: Marital Assets to Be Divided

Any assets acquired during the marriage will likely be counted as marital assets in your case. (Speak to your lawyer about any possible exclusions.) Divorce laws require all of these assets to be divided equitably between the parties. Unfortunately, this term can be inflammatory in a divorce case, as two opposing parties are unlikely to agree on what is “fair.”

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Wheaton divorce attorneysThe divorce rate for long-term marriages among senior citizens has nearly doubled over the last 20 years. The phenomenon has become so prevalent, in fact, that there are now societal terms for them, including “grey divorce” and “silver splitters.” 

Unfortunately, divorcing as you near retirement can have serious financial consequences - and for some, the result could be devastating. Thankfully, there are some strategies that can be used to offset at least some of the risk.

1. Postpone Retirement or Re-Enter the Workforce 

If you were planning on retiring - or have already entered into your retirement - and are planning to divorce, you may want to postpone or re-enter the workforce. One of the biggest reasons that later-life divorcees are at such great risk for loss is that they do not have as much time to recoup from the financial implications of divorce. Give yourself even just a few extra years and you reduce the amount of damage that a divorce could do to your financial standing over the next few years. 

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DuPage County divorce attorneysIt can be difficult to know when to call it quits on your marriage, especially when you have put a great deal of time and energy into saving it. Shared children can further complicate matters. Often, parties look for a tell-tale sign, an unmistakable moment that forces them to accept the truth that divorce is inevitable. Unfortunately, such scenarios are rare. 

Instead, parties may spend weeks, months, and even years pondering their next steps - often denying themselves happiness during this confusing phase of their lives. Thankfully, you do not have to walk this path. Look at your current situation and discern whether these seven signs are present to determine if your marriage may already be on the path to divorce. 

You No Longer Argue 

While not all arguments are productive, couples need to resolve their disagreements and find common ground. Unfortunately, when parties cannot work things out, they may stop caring about the outcome. Arguments and disagreements may no longer be an issue, but there is distance and detachment. If your marriage has reached this point and you feel like you are all out of fight, you may only have two choices left: stay in a loveless marriage or call it quits. 

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Illinois divorce attorneysDivorce can feel like the end, but in truth, it can be a new beginning. Maintain an optimistic outlook, focus on yourself, and you can thrive (not just survive) the grueling process. The following six tips, and the help of a competent divorce lawyer, can give you a running start. 

Let Go of the Guilt, Anger, and What-Ifs 

Guilt, regret, anger, and doubt can creep in shortly after you start the divorce process. You might wonder if things could have gone differently if only you or your spouse had made different choices. Unfortunately, actions cannot be undone and words cannot be unsaid. No one can go back, so rather than torment yourself over the past, work to let it all go and focus on your future.  

Focus on Your Strength and Magnificence 

In a relationship, people often tie their identity up in the other person. When the marriage fails, they may struggle to find their own selves again. Now is the time to focus on yourself. Find your strengths and marvel in them. See and celebrate your own magnificence - the things that make you unique. Learn to love who you are as an individual. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysFor some divorcing couples, the process is swift. Each moves into their own place and on with their own lives. For others, it is a slow, almost imperceptible change that gradually leads to a new and single life for each party. Such is the case with in-house separation. If this is the solution you are considering for your marriage, these tips can help you make it work. 

Step One: Announce Your Grievances and Establish a Truce

Whereas other separating parties may be able to work out their grievances over time, in separate houses, those who choose to have an in-house separation need to lay their issues out on the table so they can start to move forward. Otherwise, you and your spouse will simply continue to argue and repeat the same cycles. 

Once you have announced your grievances, it is time to establish a truce. Commit to not working on your marital issues and finding a new path forward for your own life instead. Approaching matters in this way can also work for those who hope to repair their marriage since most issues that lead to separation require you to find new and stable ground.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersDivorce can financially wipe you out if you are not careful. Worse yet, the effect can be long-lasting. Thankfully, by knowing the most common pitfalls (and having a plan for avoiding them), you can reduce your risk of financial devastation. Learn more in the following sections, including how an attorney can assist you with the process. 

Not Adequately Preparing for the Divorce Process

From saving money prior to the divorce to ensuring you have all the documentation you need for the process, divorce requires you to go through a great deal of preparation. Failure to follow through on any one aspect of your case can have dire consequences. Start smart by hiring a lawyer before you actually file. They can help you adequately plan for the future and prepare for every aspect of your case, increasing your chance of a favorable outcome. 

Letting Your Emotions Run the Show 

Divorce can unearth a lot of feelings - anger, guilt, resentment, sadness, and feelings of failure. While all of these emotions are completely normal, allowing them to run the show will only make things more difficult - for you and your spouse. 

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DuPage County divorce attorneysDespite common misconceptions, divorce does not have to be a contentious matter. In fact, it is entirely possible to effectively and amicably communicate with your spouse during your separation. Check out these tips, and discover how our seasoned divorce lawyers can assist you with the process, regardless of which divorce path you choose. 

1. Establish Boundaries and a Preferred Method of Communication

When it comes to communicating with your ex, you need boundaries and a plan. Set limits on topics (i.e. do not discuss why your marriage ended or your personal lives; focus instead on discussing the legal details of your separation and any child-related matters). Also, choose a method of communication that will allow you disengage, if necessary. Text, email, and phone calls are some of the most commonly used (and potentially the most effective). Avoid in-person conversations, if necessary. 

2. Focus on the Issues at Hand 

The need for avoiding unnecessary topics cannot be overstated; do not discuss matters related to your spouse’s personal life, the reasons for your divorce, or any other topic that is not pertinent to your divorce. To do so could jeopardize your goals of having an amicable, low-stress divorce. 

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Wheaton family law attorneysAlthough divorce can be difficult for all involved parties, children tend to suffer the most. Much of this is due to their position in the situation. They do not have any control or choice; they must simply deal with the fact that their family has fractured and try to adjust. Learn how you can help them through the process by reviewing these three things that your child wants you to know. 

They Need to Express Their Emotions in a Healthy Way 

Parents are often afraid to talk too much about their divorce. Some even go so far as to avoid the subject entirely, perhaps out of fear that their child may not be able to handle the difficult situation. Unfortunately, ignoring the problem does not help the child. If anything, it could cause them to bury their feelings. 

A lot of children also blame themselves for the divorce. As a result, the child may be at risk for depression, anxiety, behavioral problems, and other maladjustment issues. Thankfully, by giving your child a safe space to express and talk about their emotions, you can reduce their risk of such problems. 

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Wheaton family law lawyersWhen couples struggle with issues in their marriage, divorce may seem like the most appropriate choice. However, there is another viable, less permanent option available. Legal separation allows parties to collect child support or alimony while living apart. Other legal actions, such as the filing of a parenting plan, can also be implemented into a legal separation. 

Examining the Potential Benefits of Legal Separation 

Not every couple is ready to call it quits when they have problems, yet many cannot continue living together under the current circumstances. Legal separation allows them to remain married while living apart. If they work things out, they can come back together and dissolve the separation. In contrast, if the parties are unable to overcome their problems, they can move forward with a divorce. 

Legal separation also allows the parties certain liberties, such as the ability to file a parenting plan to ensure their time and rights to the child are preserved during the separation. Parties may also seek a division of assets, child support, and/or alimony. One of the big benefits to this is that, if the parties do ultimately divorce, most of the details will be ironed out. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyersDivorce can be painful and confusing for any child, but most of them do eventually adjust. In contrast, children with special needs sometimes struggle to comprehend the reason why their family is fracturing. Worse yet, all the changes in their lives may cause them to regress or suffer from mental, emotional, or behavioral problems. Thankfully, parents can help ease the transition for their special needs children by carefully protecting their interests. 

Start with Communication 

When divorcing with a special needs child, communication is critical - and not just with your child. You also need to communicate with your spouse in a healthy, non-combative way. It is also important for you to effectively communicate with your attorney so that they can help you in drafting a parenting plan to suit your child’s specific needs. 

Implement Change Slowly (and Change as Little as Possible) 

Change can be difficult for children with special needs, and depending on the situation, it can lead to regression and other issues. Slow and gradual change can reduce the risk. It may also be possible to eliminate some changes. For example, parents might want to consider bird nesting - or, at the very least, keeping the child in the same home - until they have adjusted to the first set of major changes in their lives. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyersBeing served with divorce papers can come as a shock, even when things are bad and you are expecting it. You may also find yourself at a loss on how to handle the situation at hand. Learn how to answer your divorce petition in the following sections, and discover what our seasoned divorce lawyers can do to help you with the next steps of the divorce process. 

Your Response Must Be Submitted Within the Allotted Timeframe 

Divorce petitions must be answered within the allotted timeframe to avoid default; since a default means that your spouse gets what they are asking for in the divorce, you will want to avoid this at all costs. As soon as you receive your petition, seek seasoned legal help. 

You Need to Dispute Any Points That You Do Not Agree With

Few divorcing spouses agree on every point; the same will likely be true for you and your spouse. Matters of dispute must be addressed in your response to the petition. Otherwise, your spouse gets what they are asking for in the divorce. Disputing points that you do not agree with allow you to protect your rights and your interests in the divorce, but since divorce papers are often filled with legal jargon, it is possible for you to miss critical issues. Seek legal help and reduce the risk of this happening in your Illinois divorce. 

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