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dupage county parenting time lawyerIn Illinois, parents have many important issues to resolve during the divorce process, not the least of which is creating a parenting time schedule. Decisions about parenting time will affect the daily lives of both parents and children, so it is important to reach an agreement that meets everyone’s needs and allows for positive parent-child relationships and effective co-parenting. 

Understanding some of the basics of parenting time can help you approach this issue in your divorce.

Parenting Time Replaced the Concept of Visitation

Before 2016, Illinois family courts would often grant one parent primary physical custody and the other parent visitation. However, the state legislature recognized that this language tended to favor one parent unnecessarily. It was not reflective of the degree of involvement that most parents have in raising their children during a marriage and after a divorce. As a result, the term “visitation” is no longer used, and both parents are instead allocated a share of parenting time.

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DuPage County Spousal Maintenance LawyerSpousal maintenance, commonly referred to as spousal support or alimony, is not a part of every divorce in Illinois. However, it may be awarded upon the court’s determination that it is warranted to provide for a spouse’s financial needs, or based on an agreement between spouses, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or a divorce settlement. Maintenance orders typically do not specify what the recipient must use the payments for, but if you are fortunate enough to be granted maintenance in your divorce, it is a good idea to think carefully about how best to use the funds.

How Can Spousal Support Help?

For budgeting purposes, you can think of spousal support similarly to any other source of income, with the added benefit that as of 2019, it is no longer taxable for the recipient. However, support payments usually come with a definitive end date, so it is important to use them to your advantage while they last. Here are some possible uses of maintenance that you may find beneficial:

  • Paying for basic living expenses. First and foremost, you should ensure that you have the resources available to provide for your own basic needs, including food, clothing, housing, transportation, and utilities. If you are staying in the marital home after your divorce, maintenance could also help you pay the mortgage and other house-related expenses.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysWhen a couple gets divorced in Illinois, all of their financial assets will need to be considered in order to determine a fair distribution of marital property. Many people are aware that this includes properties like the marital home, vehicles, and joint bank accounts, but it also includes some assets that you may not expect, like businesses and individual retirement accounts. One of the most complicated kinds of assets that may need to be divided in a divorce is a settlement or verdict from a civil lawsuit.

Dividing Personal Injury Settlements and Other Lawsuit Awards

Illinois law differentiates between non-marital property that belongs to one spouse alone and marital property to which both spouses have a right and which must be divided in a divorce. Assets acquired before the marriage or after a judgment of legal separation are typically considered to be non-marital property, while most assets acquired during the marriage are considered to be marital property. These criteria can apply to lawsuit awards in the same way that they do for many other types of assets.

One common example of a lawsuit award that can complicate the divorce process is a personal injury settlement or verdict. These cases often involve injuries to just one spouse, so the logical assumption may be that compensation for damages would belong solely to the person who was injured. However, a 1980 Illinois Supreme Court judgment clarified that an injury settlement or award granted during the marriage can be considered marital property because it compensates for medical expenses and lost wages that affect the whole family. That said, because Illinois requires an equitable distribution of marital assets rather than an equal split, a court may determine that the injured spouse should be granted a larger share of the award during the divorce.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysThe recent passing of the American Rescue Plan Act, including another round of COVID-19 economic impact stimulus payments, has been welcome news for many families who have struggled financially throughout the pandemic. However, if you have been through a divorce in the past year, especially if you have filed taxes jointly with your former spouse, obtaining your share of the stimulus may be more difficult than expected. Understanding your eligibility for the stimulus, as well as how it is distributed, can help you ensure that you receive the funds to which you are entitled.

Who is Eligible for the 2021 Stimulus Payments?

The most recent round of stimulus payments provides up to $1,400 for each U.S. citizen or lawful resident who qualifies based on their adjusted gross income. Individuals qualify for the full amount if their annual income is $75,000 or below, or $112,500 or below if they file as head of household. Married couples who file taxes jointly qualify for $2,800 ($1,400 per spouse) if their adjusted gross income is $150,000 or below. Eligible individuals and couples will also receive $1,400 for each qualified dependent. Individuals and married couples with annual incomes above these thresholds may qualify for reduced stimulus payments, though payments phase out completely at an individual income of $80,000, a head of household income of $120,000, and a married couple income of $160,000.

How Are Stimulus Payments Disbursed to Divorced Couples?

Most stimulus payments for this round are distributed using information provided when filing either a 2019 or 2020 tax return. If you are recently divorced and you filed your taxes individually for both of these years, your stimulus payment should be sent to you, likely as either a direct deposit to your bank account or a check sent in the mail. However, if you filed taxes jointly with your former spouse in 2019 and/or 2020, it is possible that the full amount of the stimulus will be delivered to the spouse who still has access to the bank account that is set up for direct deposit, or who still lives at the address on file with the IRS.

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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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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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Wheaton divorce attorneysAs a parent, one of your biggest concerns in the divorce process is likely how the divorce will affect your relationship with your children, especially if they will not be living with you full-time. Fortunately, in most cases the court will try to establish an arrangement that allocates substantial parenting time to both parents, provided that doing so is in the children’s best interests. However, there are circumstances in which parenting time can be restricted, and it is important to understand whether they may apply to your case. 

Reasons for Restricting Parenting Time

The primary reason an Illinois court will order restrictions on parenting time is a finding that time with a parent is likely to put the children’s physical, emotional, mental, or moral health in danger. The decision to restrict parenting time is not taken lightly and requires substantial evidence of dangerous behavior on the part of a parent. Possible behaviors that may be considered to endanger a child’s health include:

  • Abandonment or neglect of the child
  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of the child or another person in the household
  • Criminal acts including sex offenses and other violent crimes
  • Substance abuse that interferes with parenting abilities
  • Relationships with other people who pose a danger to the child
  • Attempts to interfere with the other parent’s access to the child

In some cases, restrictions are included in the initial allocation of parenting time established during the divorce process. In other cases, events after the divorce necessitate restrictions or conditions on parenting time. This could be the case if new evidence comes to light, new behavior surfaces, or a parent violates or abuses the parenting time order. 

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County family law attorneysIn Illinois, divorcing couples have a few options when it comes to how they reach a resolution on issues including property division, parenting time and responsibilities, and child and spousal support. Perhaps the first option that comes to mind is a court trial in which each party is represented by an attorney, but this is not actually the most common method for resolving a divorce. In fact, the large majority of couples are able to settle their divorce out of court. In many cases, it is a good idea to consider whether an uncontested divorce would work for you before exploring other alternatives.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

In an uncontested divorce, the two spouses agree not only on the decision to get a divorce, but also on all important matters that must be resolved for the divorce to be finalized. However, it is rare for a couple to reach this agreement without going through significant discussions and negotiations to figure out the details. Both parties can also choose to hire an attorney to advise them and help them protect their interests, but the right attorney can do so without escalating conflict in a way that may lead to litigation. After creating a written agreement, the couple can submit it to the court for approval so that the marriage is legally dissolved and the agreement becomes legally binding.

Is an Uncontested Divorce a Good Decision?

An uncontested divorce can be a good decision for many reasons. For one, it can help you and your spouse keep conflict to a minimum and avoid the public spectacle of a trial. You also have far greater control over the outcome in an uncontested divorce, as you and your spouse are able to agree on your own decisions rather than leaving them in the court’s hands. In many cases, an uncontested divorce can be resolved more quickly and with fewer expenses than a divorce trial.

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Wheaton family law attorneysIn an Illinois divorce, couples must divide all marital property equitably according to their personal situation. In order for a fair distribution to occur, it is important to ensure that neither spouse intentionally harms or selfishly uses property belonging to the marital estate in the time leading up to the divorce. If you believe that your spouse has been dissipating marital assets, it is important to work with an attorney to gather evidence and present your case to the court to make the situation right.

What is Considered Dissipation of Assets?

In order for a spouse’s spending or use of property to be considered dissipation of marital assets, Illinois law states that it must take place after the marriage has started to break down irretrievably. The behavior must also involve marital property, generally meaning assets acquired during the marriage that are considered to belong to both spouses. A spouse using his or her own non-marital assets during this time will likely not affect the divorce resolution.

The assets in question must also have been spent in a way that harms the marital estate or benefits only the spouse who does the spending. Possible examples include making an extravagant purchase or going on a solo trip, gambling excessively, destroying marital property, or spending money on an affair outside of the marriage.

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Wheaton domestic violence attorneysIn Illinois, many couples choose to get a divorce simply due to irreconcilable differences that prevent them from resolving the issues in their marriage. However, in some cases, a more serious problem is at the root of the decision to divorce. Domestic violence, including intimate partner abuse and child abuse, affects millions of American families, and many experts report that incidents of domestic abuse have increased during stay-at-home orders resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have decided that a divorce is the best option to protect yourself and your children from an abusive spouse, you should be aware of how the abuse may affect the process.

Divorce Litigation is Likely Necessary

Though an amicable divorce can often be resolved between the two parties with minimal involvement of the court, a divorce involving domestic violence is much more likely to go to trial. Attempting to negotiate with an abusive spouse is unlikely to be successful, and it may put you at risk of additional abuse or manipulation. Instead, you should work with an attorney who can help you prepare for your case and protect your interests, including by documenting your financial assets and evidence of your spouse’s abuse.

You may also wish to initiate legal action outside of the divorce process itself. For example, an order of protection may be necessary to prevent contact or communication with your partner that could lead to further harm. Some orders of protection also protect your personal property and may allow you to retain sole access to your home temporarily. You may also wish to pursue other civil actions against your spouse for damages you have suffered as a result of the abuse.

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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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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 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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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 divorce attorney parental relocation

After a divorce, it can be challenging to co-parent between two different households, and the challenge is bound to increase the farther apart the two parents live. Nevertheless, you may find yourself in a situation in which you need to move for career or personal reasons and want your children to come with you. Illinois law allows for a parent’s relocation under certain circumstances, but if you are planning to move more than 25 or 50 miles away from your children’s other parent, depending on the county where you currently live, you will be required to present your case to the court for approval.

Preparing for Questions in Your Relocation Hearing

As the court considers your relocation request, they will ask you a variety of questions to determine whether the move is in your children’s best interests. These questions may include:

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DuPage County divorce lawyersIn a divorce, parties may face numerous obstacles and challenges. If not handled thoughtfully, any one of them could result in negative consequences. There is one mistake that trumps all others, however. Learn what it is and how to avoid it in today’s post. 

The Biggest (and Most Common) Divorce Mistake

After months, perhaps even years of fighting and arguing, most divorcing parties want to quickly and peacefully end their marriage. Unfortunately, if you are too agreeable, you could place your own future at risk. As an example, consider this all too familiar scenario: 

Your spouse files paperwork. You look it over, but the jargon is confusing. Still, you trust that your ex has the same goal as you—to end things peaceably and get on with your lives. You sign the paperwork and discover, far too late, that your spouse has done something underhanded. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersA seasoned divorce attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. However, they may not be the only professionals you need on your side. Familiarize yourself with the various and additional key players that can aid you in protecting your children, assets, and sanity in a pending Illinois divorce

Start with Your Attorney

The first call a divorcing party should make is to a seasoned and competent divorce lawyer. They are the most qualified to examine your situation to determine which additional professionals may be needed for your case. Additionally, your lawyer can take legal action on your behalf, early on, affording you greater protection throughout the entire divorce process. 

Appraisers and Forensic Accountants

Besides divorce attorneys, forensic accountants and appraisers are among the most commonly hired professionals in divorce. They can aid in providing an accurate appraisal for common and uncommon assets, including your home, vehicles, collectibles, artwork, jewelry, businesses, and more. These financial experts can also help track down stolen or hidden assets, increasing your chances of receiving a full and fair settlement in your divorce. 

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneysBetween the pandemic, record job losses, riots, and economic downturn, the future of America might seem grim. Thankfully, the economy will eventually recover. What may not survive is your marriage. 

Some couples drew closer under the imposed stay-at-home orders, banding together to withstand and prevail in these uncertain times, but others came to realize that their marriage is unsalvageable. Too much time together agitated unresolved marital issues, bringing them to the surface. Financial problems, job losses, and illnesses only added further stress. 

If your marriage crumbled under the stress of recent events, rest assured that you can still move forward with the divorce process. More than that, you can (and are encouraged to) cope with the end of your relationship in a healthy and productive way, as doing so can improve the long-term outcome for yourself and any children. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersOnce divorce proceedings start, parties will sometimes change their spending habits. For some, it is an act of revenge. For others, it is a strategy they employ to increase their overall settlement amount. In either case, excessive spending habits could lead to serious financial consequences in the divorce. Learn what you can do to combat excessive spending in a pending divorce, and how a seasoned divorce lawyer may be able to help with the process. 

Defining Excessive Spending

For some, the phrase “excessive spending” applies to all frivolous or luxury purchases (i.e., going to the salon, wine subscriptions, etc.). However, in a legal setting, it is only applied when a party’s purchases go above and beyond their normal spending habits. 

As an example, consider the divorcing spouse who recently spent $400 at the hairdresser. While such expenditure may seem excessive, it would only be regarded as such by the courts if such appointments were not “typical” for the party. For the spouse who has routinely gone to the hairstylist throughout their marriage, this is considered a regular, reoccurring expense. Because of this, it would likely be factored into their cost of living. 

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DuPage County divorce attorneysNo two families are the same, so it stands to reason that no two breakups are exactly alike. As such, the attorney that worked for your sister, friend, or colleague may not be the most suitable for your situation. Increases the chances that you will find the right divorce lawyer for your case by checking out the following five tips.

1. Consider the Type of Divorce You Want

Divorces used to take place in a courtroom. Today, there are numerous options for those who want to end their marriage. Litigated divorces follow the traditional path, which involves hiring lawyers, discovery, and a court date. Collaborative divorce options include a myriad of methods, including mediation and arbitration. These allow parties to work toward an amicable ending in their marriage, which may be more suitable for couples with children or high net worth.

2. Determine What You Want Most

For some couples, the main priority is ending the marriage amicably. Others focus on the cost. Still, there are those who want specific items, such as a particular asset or equal parenting time. Whatever your goal, there is an attorney who specializes in it.

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