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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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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 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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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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DuPage County divorce attorneysDivorce can be a financially devastating process, especially if you are not adequately prepared. Thankfully, there are ways to protect your financial interests, even in the messiest divorce. Learn more by checking out these five financial tips for surviving your Illinois divorce. 

1. Start Saving and Financially Preparing Before You File

One of the biggest mistakes that parties can make in their divorce is failing to financially prepare for it. Most consider the cost of the proceedings, and many recognize that they will have to divide their assets. However, few recognize just how long it can take to financially recover from their divorce. Some may even be obligated to pay child support or spousal support; not preparing for this ahead of time can have serious, long-lasting consequences for the payor. 

2. Eliminate as Much Debt as Possible 

Assets are not the only thing that gets divided in divorce; parties must also divide their debt. Those with limited incomes or who assume the bulk of the debt may find it difficult to maintain their lifestyle. Furthermore, if your spouse fails to cover a joint debt, you may be held responsible for the balance - perhaps to the tune of wage garnishments. Avoid such issues entirely by eliminating as much debt as possible before you file. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersFor the past three decades, divorce rates have been on the decline for nearly every group of Americans. However, senior citizens, or those over the age of 65, are now twice as likely to divorce today than they were 30 years ago. The reasons for this phenomenon are varied, but the potential consequences can be dire. Thankfully, you can still protect yourself in a later-life divorce (dubbed the grey divorce). Learn more in the following sections. 

Later Life Divorce Can Increase Your Risk of Financial Issues in Retirement

When couples save for their retirement, they are planning on having one set of bills and living expenses. Divorce requires the parties to divide whatever assets they may have; this includes any retirement accounts and the family home. With less money to go around and two separate sets of expenses, both parties may be at an increased risk for financial issues as they head into their retirement, and with little to no working years left, they may be unable to recover.

Adult Children May Not Respond the Way You Expect

Senior citizens may assume that adult children are mature enough to handle their divorce, but they do not always respond as one might expect. Even as adults, they may experience grief over the separation of their parents. Some may even question whether their own marriage can stand the test of time. Grandchildren may also be negatively impacted - perhaps even confused by the entire situation. You may also find it difficult to separate yourself from your spouse during major holidays and family events.  

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Illinois divorce attorneysDivorce can be a financially and emotionally trying process, even in the best of circumstances. What is more, if you are unprepared for the process, divorce could have a lasting effect on your health, sanity, and financial stability. Take proactive steps and these practical tips that can make your Illinois divorce more bearable. 

1. Find a Way to Compartmentalize Your Divorce

While the emotional aspects of divorce cannot be overlooked or ignored, they can get in the way when dealing with matters related to your children and finances. Anger and resentment can cause you to decline fair offers, and you may even find yourself using your child as a bargaining chip, despite your best efforts. Avoid such issues through compartmentalization. Handle emotions in a healthy way, outside of negotiations. Journal, find a support system, and if necessary, attend therapy or counseling. When it comes time to negotiate, focus on what is best for you, your child, and your future, rather than how you feel. 

2. Track Your Spouse’s Earning and Expenses Before Filing for Divorce 

Spouses tend to become protective of their personal and financial information once they learn of a divorce, and if they hire an attorney, they are likely to change the passwords on their computer, phone, and financial accounts. As a result, you may be unable to gather the financial information you need for your case, which can ultimately impact the amount of your settlement. Avoid this consequence by tracking and gathering documentation on all of your spouse’s income and expenses, prior to filing for your divorce. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersCouples spend months or years dating before they decide to marry. Yet, when it comes to divorce, parties sometimes make rash decisions, opting to end their marriage before fully thinking it through. It is only when they are buried by the grief and cost that regret starts to surface. By then, it may be too late to undo the damage. Do not let this happen to you. Stop and answer these five questions before you file the paperwork for your Illinois divorce. 

1. How Would Life Improve if You Divorced? 

Divorce is not the answer to every solution. Sometimes, couples simply need to reconnect, forgive, or make wants and needs clear to one another. Money issues, which can escalate stress levels and cause couples to argue more often, may simply need to be weathered until they pass. 

In contrast, there are things that cannot be fixed with time, empathy, or patience. Abuse, infidelity, contempt, and irreconcilable differences (i.e. varying views on religion or parenting techniques) are just a few examples. Determine where you fall on the spectrum by considering if life would improve if you divorced, and clarify in what ways it would improve. Making your decision in this way reduces the risk of regret as you move forward with the process. 

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Wheaton custody lawyersWhen a child's parents decide to divorce, they must determine who will have decision-making power over certain aspects of their child’s life, such as where they will go to school or church. This component of a parenting plan, now known as the allocation of parental rights (formerly known as custody) is made based on the best interests of the child. Learn more about this phrase and its meaning in the following sections, and discover how a seasoned family law attorney can help you with developing a sound and comprehensive parenting plan to fit your family’s needs.

Best Interest of a Child - The Basics 

In the simplest of terms, the best interest of a child is the standard that the courts used to make parenting plan determinations. It assesses what might be “best” for the child, based on their needs. Studies have consistently shown that children tend to fare best after a divorce when they have the continued support and connection with both parents, so several states have made a 50-50 parenting plan the default. In all other states, a variety of factors are used to determine how parental responsibilities should be allocated between the divorcing parties. 

Factors Used to Determine a Child’s Best Interests 

Because the best interest of a child is based on their specific needs and situation, numerous factors may be used to make determinations regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities, including: 

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Illinois family law attorneysIn a divorce, the safety and well-being of children are prioritized by the courts. As such, accusations of abuse and parental alienation are treated as serious matters. Learn how abuse and alienation claims are handled by the family courts, how it may impact your parental rights, and what you can do to improve your chances of a positive outcome in your Illinois divorce

Immediate Effects of Abuse and Alienation Claims 

Once a claim of abuse or alienation is made, your rights may be immediately impacted. You could be subject to supervised visitation, meaning you cannot see or spend time with your children unless another adult or court-appointed supervisor is present. Depending on the situation, you may even be restricted from speaking with your child over the phone. 

Though claims may be unfounded, the courts require that an investigation take place before your rights can be fully returned to you. Typically, this means you will need to speak with a social worker or your child’s Guardian Ad Litem. They may also speak to your child’s friends, neighbors, teachers, and other persons of interest in your child’s life. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysCouples nearing retirement often assume that they will stay together for the rest of their natural lives. Yet, with people living longer and healthier lives, many stop and evaluate their current situation as they move into their golden years. What some find is that they and their spouse have changed so much over the years that staying married no longer makes sense. 

How do you navigate such a massive financial and lifestyle change like a divorce without compromising your future? The following tips on navigating divorce during your retirement can help. 

Know How Divorce Will Affect Your Finances 

Divorce may be an emotional process, but it is the financial implications that tend to have the longest-lasting effect on one’s life. This statement is especially true for those heading into their retirement years. The following are just a few ways that divorce can affect your finances: 

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