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DuPage County divorce attorneysIn the midst of the breakdown of a marriage, many people turn to dating or a new romantic partner as a coping mechanism or source of comfort. Starting a new relationship after a divorce is perfectly normal, but attempting to move on too quickly can lead to personal and legal challenges, especially if the divorce is still pending. Nevertheless, if you do find yourself dating during or soon after your divorce, you should be aware of the potential outcomes from a legal standpoint.

Avoid Dissipating Marital Assets

Dating and more serious romantic relationships almost always involve spending money on your date or partner, and this can have a substantial impact on your divorce resolution if you are not careful. Before the divorce is finalized, any marital assets that you use for your own personal purposes, including dating or supporting a new partner, can be considered to have been dissipated. If your spouse becomes aware of this spending behavior, they can file a claim against you, and you may be required to reimburse them as part of the equitable distribution of marital property. Waiting to date until the divorce is finalized can help you avoid this issue.

Protect Your Children’s Interests

Dating or finding a new romantic partner will not necessarily adversely impact decisions regarding the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities. However, if your romantic life interferes with your children’s best interests, and especially if a new partner poses a danger to your children’s physical, mental, or emotional health, you could find your parenting time limited or restricted. Make sure you know someone well before bringing them into your children’s lives, not only to ensure their safety but also to allow them time to adjust before introducing another major change.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersAlthough it is possible to take steps to protect your financial interests during the divorce process, almost everyone comes out of a divorce in a worse financial situation than when they entered it. Between the division of marital assets, the loss of a spouse’s income and benefits, post-divorce support obligations, and the cost of the divorce process itself, it is not uncommon for the recently divorced to face financial stress. However, many people are able to recover over time after taking stock of their new financial reality.

Common Financial Impacts of Divorce

Being well-informed about your finances during the divorce process helps you to make a plan for achieving your goals in the divorce resolution. After the divorce is finalized, though, you should regroup and take the time to consider all of the following ways that your finances may have changed, including:

  • Reduction in income - If you and your spouse both work, the end of a marriage means that you will transition from a dual-income to a single-income household. If you were a stay-at-home spouse, you may find it particularly hard to adjust without your spouse’s income to support you. Additionally, the division of certain assets like investments and income properties can reduce each spouse’s earnings.
  • Remaining debts - Marital debts are divided in a divorce along with assets, and for any debts that you are left with, you will need to make a plan to stay current on payments. Being granted full possession of the marital home can impose a significant debt burden if the mortgage has not been fully paid.
  • Child support and spousal support - As a paying spouse, you will need to account for support obligations in your post-divorce budget. As a receiving spouse, you can factor support into your regular income, but you may need to keep in mind that support is temporary and start exploring other sources of income.
  • Changes in tax filing status - If you and your spouse filed taxes jointly, you will need to adjust your status to single, or possibly head of household, which will likely impact the amount you owe and your approach to withholding.
  • Effects on retirement savings - If your retirement savings were divided in the divorce, you  may need to adjust your saving strategy to build back up to the amount you need to retire comfortably.

After reflecting on all of these changes, it is a good idea to create a budget and set achievable goals for yourself. Decreasing your spending, increasing your income, and making smart decisions in the short term can help you establish financial stability in the long run.

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DuPage County divorce attorneyA contentious divorce can be incredibly difficult when you have been accustomed to relying on your spouse for financial support, and this is especially true if your spouse has cut off your support in the time leading up to the divorce. Illinois divorce and family law statutes include provisions to protect financially disadvantaged spouses when it comes to the division of marital property and the allocation of spousal maintenance and child support in the final divorce decree, but a spouse with few resources of their own may find it difficult to support themselves and secure quality legal representation before the divorce is finalized. In such cases, it may be necessary to pursue temporary relief.

Temporary Relief Options During the Divorce Process

As your divorce approaches, there are a few legal options to protect your finances if you fear that your spouse might cut you off or if your spouse has already done so. These options include:

  • Petitioning for a temporary financial restraining order: A restraining order can prevent a spouse from transferring, hiding, or blocking the other spouse’s access to assets, except for the purposes of providing for their own necessary living expenses or regular business costs.
  • Petitioning for temporary spousal maintenance or child support: When a spouse has limited assets during the divorce process, a court may order the other spouse to make temporary payments to assist with living expenses for the spouse in need and the children of the marriage.
  • Petitioning for interim attorney’s fees: In some cases, the court may order a spouse with financial resources to pay the other spouse’s attorney fees to allow them to fairly participate in the litigation process.

It may be a good idea to focus on these petitions for relief early in the process while you have some resources available to hire an attorney. You will also need to prepare to support your petitions with financial affidavits demonstrating that you have a need for relief.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersWhen your marriage has devolved into destructive conflict, divorce is often the best option for you to remove yourself from a bad situation and start working toward a better and healthier future. However, before you can get to that point, you will need to make it through the divorce process, which can often be incredibly difficult in a high-conflict situation. As you prepare for your divorce, it is important to know how you can protect your rights and avoid a divorce resolution that leaves you at a disadvantage.

Taking Action to Protect Your Interests

If you are concerned about the damaging effects of conflict with your spouse during the divorce process, there are several important steps that you can take to create a more favorable situation for yourself:

  • Hire an attorney. It is rarely a good idea to attempt even an uncontested divorce without the assistance of an experienced attorney. In a high-conflict divorce, an attorney is especially important to help you stand your ground and prepare to make your case for your desired outcome in court.
  • Gather and maintain evidence. With your attorney’s assistance, you should start gathering all relevant financial records and documents to help you prepare for the division of property. If financial disagreements or dishonesty were a primary source of conflict in your marriage, it may be a good idea to hire a forensic accountant to help you find evidence of hidden or dissipated assets. It also may be important to keep records of your spouse’s communication or behavior that may be abusive, manipulative, threatening, or dangerous to you or your children.
  • Minimize communication with your spouse. Attempting to communicate with your spouse or responding to their communication can expose you to possible manipulation or a conversation that could trigger an unhealthy emotional reaction. It is often best to establish a buffer between yourself and your spouse, such as by communicating only in writing or through your respective attorneys.
  • Consider an order of protection. If you have suffered domestic abuse from your spouse or you believe you are at risk, petitioning the court for an order of protection can help you protect yourself from physical harm, as well as other unwanted behaviors like stalking or harassment. An order of protection may also grant you exclusive possession of your residence, ensuring that you have a safe place to live while your divorce is in progress.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

If you are anticipating excessive conflict in your divorce, the Davi Law Group can help. Our Wheaton, IL family lawyers will do everything in their power to ensure that you are protected and work with you to reach a resolution that allows you to end your marriage safely while securing your needs. Do not hesitate to contact us at 630-580-6373 to schedule a free consultation.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysNot all Illinois couples who are getting a divorce will have to resort to litigation to reach a resolution, but those who do will need to prepare for an often lengthy process with multiple steps. One of the most important steps that takes place before a divorce trial is the discovery period. As you prepare for your divorce, you may have questions about what discovery entails, especially if you have not been involved in any civil court proceedings in the past.

A Structured Exchange of Information

The purpose of the discovery period is to allow both spouses, along with their legal representatives, to obtain important, relevant information before the trial begins. Usually, this information pertains to each party’s finances and helps to provide a more complete picture to inform decisions regarding the division of marital assets, spousal support, and child support. There are a several ways in which information may be acquired during discovery, including:

  • Exchange of documents - Each party may ask that the other provide documents including income and tax statements, pay stubs, bank statements, and other financial documentation. In some cases, a subpoena can be requested to compel the other party to produce evidence that they do not willingly provide.
  • Interrogatories - These take the form of questions submitted by one party to the other, with written answers provided under oath, typically after consulting with an attorney.
  • Depositions - Each party may ask for oral testimony, given under oath, from the other party and other witnesses. Testimony provided in a deposition can later be presented as evidence in the trial.

The guidance of an experienced attorney is crucial during the discovery period, both to carry out a strategy for obtaining as much useful information as possible, and to advise you on how best to respond to the other party’s requests. The assistance of financial experts can also be important to help you interpret the information you and your attorney obtain.

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