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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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Wheaton divorce lawyersWhen it comes to protecting wealth, affluent families typically focus on matters pertaining to tax and estate laws. Unfortunately, there is another major (but often overlooked) threat to any large estate: the divorce.

Almost half of all U.S. marriages end this way, yet only a fraction of the affluent have an existing prenuptial agreement in place. In lieu of one, the estate is valued and then divided equitably among the divorcing parties. 

Unfortunately, the untangling of a marital estate can be a complex and difficult process. Foreign held assets pose even bigger challenges and greater consequences. Learn how to overcome them, and how a seasoned Illinois divorce lawyer can improve the outcome in your case. 

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Wheaton orders of protection lawyersThe coronavirus shutdown may have been a reprieve for the overworked and disconnected. Still, for the victims of domestic violence, the entire experience may have more closely resembled an inescapable nightmare.

Trapped at home, nowhere go when arguments erupted. The potential loss of finances, elevating tensions within the home. The realization that you are no longer safe in your marriage.

If this was more along the lines of your experience during the quarantine period, it might be time for you to move forward with the divorce process. However, the next steps need to be cautionary and guided. Your safety—and perhaps even the safety of your children—are on the line.

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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce attorneyIn an ideal world, divorcing parties would have all the financial aspects of their lives in order before they file. Of course, few things in life go as planned. Such is often the case when an indebted business is a part of the marital estate. Learn how a seasoned divorce lawyer can help you protect your financial interests, even if your business is currently in debt. 

Understanding the Potential Challenges

Indebted businesses pose a number of challenges in divorce. First, if your spouse denies having any knowledge of your company’s debt, they could be excused from any financial consequences. As a result, you may be ordered to pay alimony or a larger settlement amount, which could compromise your ability to pay back the company’s debt. 

Using marital assets to keep an indebted business afloat could also make it more difficult to untangle assets. Hiring a forensic accountant can help, but even still, you could face challenges when trying to determine the value of both the business and your marital estate. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyersWith most of the country on lockdown, couples who are at odds in their marriage are feeling the pressure. Add in potential job losses, the possibility that parties have had to move back in together to save money, and the minimal court operations and you have the perfect formula for an all-out marital explosion. Thankfully, parties do not have to wait to proceed with the divorce process. In fact, it is recommended that you not wait and, instead, start moving forward. 

Divorce Takes Time

Divorcing parties often underestimate just how much time it takes to complete the divorce process. At a minimum, most go through at least 60 days of preparation and paperwork before seeing a judge. Complex cases and high conflict situations can take much longer to resolve. 

While no one can say for certain how long the stay-at-home orders will last, parties do not have to delay the process. Instead, start the process now and you can expedite the court process and complete your case sooner once the orders have been lifted. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersIf you are considering divorce, odds are that you have already started exploring your options. Two of the most commonly pursued paths are litigation and mediation. Gain a better understanding of the differences between these two divorce methods, and discover what our seasoned divorce attorneys can do to improve the outcome in your case. 

Mediation vs. Litigation - Same Issues, Different Process

No matter which path you choose for divorce, you will likely face and deal with the same core issues: allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, child support, alimony, and the division of assets. How these matters are resolved - the approach and process - are greatly varied, depending on the path you choose, however.

Major Differences Between Litigation and Mediation 

In litigation, parties are placed at opposite ends, like warring sides. Each presents their case and evidence. The judge then makes a ruling, which is final (unless appealed). In contrast, Mediation encourages couples to work through their issues with an eye toward compromise and mutual respect. Upon further inspection, these core differences dramatically alter the divorce process. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysWhile every divorce is unique and specific to the parties and their situation, there are some common threads. Likewise, there are some commonly made mistakes in divorce. Fall victim to any one of them and you could jeopardize your settlement, your time or rights to your children, and even your financial well-being. Educate yourself on what these mistakes are, and discover how our seasoned Wheaton divorce lawyers can help you avoid them.

1. Failure to Gain Access to or Provide All Financial Information

Like it or not, divorce is mostly a financial transaction. It requires you to provide any and all financial information to your attorney or the courts so that the marital estate can be accurately valued and divided. Unfortunately, if you miss something, it can have a negative impact on your case. You could short-sell yourself in the settlement, or you could be accused of trying to hide assets from your spouse. In either case, this mistake should be carefully avoided.

2. Putting Too Much Focus on the Past

Couples do not typically seek a divorce because they are happy and fulfilled. Instead, there are usually moments and issues that have brought the couple to their decision. However, it is important to remember that these matters are now in the past. Lashing out at your spouse, trying to get even, or simply squabbling over issues that no longer hold relevance do not help your situation. Instead, they can jeopardize your ability to think rationally about the things that do matter, like the well-being of your children or your financial health.

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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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