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Illinois divorce attorneysPreparation is the key to a smoother, less tumultuous divorce. How you go about it—the steps you take and the methods you use to prepare—is important as well. Give yourself the best possible chance at a positive outcome by preparing for your Illinois divorce in the following five ways. 

1. Focus on Your Finances

In a divorce, spouses must value and then divide their marital estate in an equitable manner. For most, this means a significant reduction in assets, which may be combined with an overall decrease in each household’s income (i.e. one income instead of two). Parties are strongly encouraged to create a budget and a financial plan to help them prepare for this shift. It is also advised that parties gather any and all documentation on marital assets to increase their chances of receiving a fair settlement in the divorce.

2. Protect the Children

How you protect your children in a divorce will depend greatly on the situation. Some may need to seek orders of protection and specialized help (i.e. a Guardian Ad Litem) to ensure the safety of their children. However, most children simply need support as their parents separate. They may need room to express their feelings, a chance to ask questions, and perhaps a little extra love and attention as they come to terms with the divorce. Therapy and support groups may also be necessary to help a child through the process.

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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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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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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 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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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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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 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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Posted on in Divorce

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

Your Response Must Be Submitted Within the Allotted Timeframe 

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

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

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

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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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Illinois divorce lawyersWhile any divorce can be complex, emotional, and acrimonious, few cases escalate quite as severely or quickly as those that involve the narcissist. Manipulative, charismatic, and calculating, they will do almost anything to “get even” with the spouse that wants to divorce them. Learn how to manage such a situation, and discover how our seasoned lawyers can help protect both you and your children during your Illinois divorce

1. Start an “Armageddon” Fund Now

Any divorce can become costly, especially when the divorcing parties struggle to find common ground. When it comes to the narcissist, there is no common ground; there is only retaliation and manipulation. As such, anyone divorcing a narcissist should plan for a costly and lengthy divorce. The narcissist spouse may also attempt to freeze or stop all funds. 

Start saving for armageddon now and you can avoid a lot of financial stress once you do start the divorce process. Just be certain to divulge to your attorney that you have stored money away for your own protection. Armed with that knowledge, they can add those funds to the pool of assets to be divided in the divorce without you being at risk for “stealing” assets. 

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Illinois divorce attorneysDivorce requires you to make multiple life-changing decisions. One of the first determinations is deciding when to tell your spouse that you wish to end the marriage. Time it poorly and you could compromise the outcome of your case. Wait too long and your spouse may become resentful, which can make negotiations more difficult. Time it just right using these guidelines. 

When You Anticipate a Simple Divorce 

In a simple divorce, there are very few issues to argue about during proceedings. Marital assets are either clearly defined or minimal. There are no involved children. Issues that cause distrust, such as asset hiding are non-existent. Timing in these divorce cases are less critical than in other situations, but you should still wait to tell your spouse about the divorce until speaking with an attorney. Even the simplest of divorces can become contentious under the right circumstances. Your attorney can help you avoid some of those potential pitfalls before they ever occur, increasing the chances that your case will remain simple. 

When You Feel Distrust Toward Your Spouse 

Asset hiding, lying, and infidelity can erode trust in a marriage. In a divorce, they can become catalysts for highly toxic situations. As such, it is highly recommended that you do not tell your spouse about the divorce until instructed to do so by your lawyer. That may even mean waiting until you have moved out and the paperwork has been filed. 

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Illinois divorce attorneysDivorce can be a tumultuous process, full of pain, grief, and anger. When paired with the sensitive topic matters often seen in a divorce (i.e. the division of assets and parenting plans), proceedings can become explosive. Yet, in many cases, communication with your spouse is necessary (particularly when there are children involved). The following tips, along with assistance from a seasoned divorce attorney, can help to improve the situation. 

Use Technology to Communicate with Your Spouse

Communication may be necessary during a divorce, but you do not have to speak with your spouse face-to-face. You can opt to use technology instead. Email, text, and even phone applications allow you to discuss pertinent matters, such as child pick-up and drop-off schedules with little to no contact. These measures can do more than just reduce stress; they can give you the chance to carefully examine your statements before sending them. Read over everything, or ask someone that you trust to examine your text or email to reduce the chance of a miscommunication, and always stick to the matter at hand. 

Practice Self-Care and Seek Professional Help When Necessary

Self-care may not seem like an aspect of communication, but when you are stressed or hurt, your emotions can bubble to the surface, even when you do not intend for them to do so. Self-care and skilled assistance from a therapist, support group, or psychologist can help you keep your feelings under wraps so that they do not further complicate your divorce. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysDivorce is a highly complex process with several moving parts, and the cost of a mistake can be devastating. Because of this, it is highly recommended that all parties seek the guidance and assistance of a seasoned legal attorney during their divorce case. 

Having legal assistance during divorce does not eliminate the need to understand the steps of divorce, however. In fact, those who are informed about the process tend to fare better in their cases. This is partly due to their ability to make sound decisions throughout the process. Learn more in the following sections, and discover how our skilled attorneys can help.

Preparation and Determining if You Qualify 

One of the most critical steps in an Illinois divorce is preparation - and determining if you even qualify. In these moments, you will find an attorney to represent you, gather financial documents, and perhaps even create a post-divorce budget to help you achieve your financial goals. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysA divorce significantly impacts your relationship, but it will equally affect your financial status. Before delving into the dissolution of marriage, get your finances in order. While it is wise and efficient to do this together, it is not always possible. Regardless, it is essential that your financial status is preserved.

Understanding Uncontested and Contested Divorce

First, it is imperative that you understand the difference between an uncontested and contested divorce.

  • Uncontested: The uncontested divorce is where each party is in mutual agreement of the terms of the divorce. 
  • Contested: When the two parties cannot agree on the terms, the divorce is contested.

You probably have a good idea of whether your divorce will be uncontested or contested. Now that you understand contested and uncontested divorce, you can start compiling documents and get your finances in order through the following steps.

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DuPage County divorce lawyersDivorce is not a decision that comes easily. In fact, most people spend months, sometimes even years contemplating whether divorce is the next best step in their life. Regardless of where they are in the decision-making process, it is important that parties take immediate steps to protect their wealth and future well-being. At worst, the divorce never happens and they gain a better understanding of their finances and emotional health. At best, they are prepared and well-situated for the road ahead, which can increase the chances of a favorable outcome in their Illinois divorce. 

Start Paying Attention to Your Finances 

Although many couples share a bank account, credit card, and other debts, not everyone is aware of their family’s finances. For example, you may know about how much you and your spouse earn each month, but are you up-to-date on the amount in your spouse’s retirement account? Are there any undisclosed debts that your spouse may not have discussed with you? Do you know what monthly bills are associated with the home, and which are personal expenditures? What is the worth of any businesses, stocks, bonds, or real estate held in either your name or your spouse’s? 

These details, and many others, are necessary to know - not just during the divorce process, but also as you plan and prepare for your life after a divorce. Monitor this information. Track expenses and obtain copies of any financial documents you can find. Store them in a safe and secure place until you meet with an attorney, and above all else, do not let your spouse know you are preparing for the divorce process. Otherwise, money or important financial information could start to disappear. Should this occur, the overall cost of your divorce could significantly increase. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersIf you have a friend going through a divorce, science says you could be next. Why is this, and what do you need to know before moving forward? The following information explains, and it provides you with some important details on how a seasoned divorce lawyer can help improve the overall outcome in your Illinois divorce case. 

Is Divorce “Contagious?”

Although divorce shares very little with the common cold, scientists say it could be just as “contagious.” Researchers from Harvard University, Brown University, and the University of California at San Diego conducted the largest study on the subject to date, and they found that having a divorced friend increases your chances of pursuing a divorce by 75 percent. Your risk also increases if a friend of a friend goes through a divorce - by about 33 percent.

Relationship experts say this phenomenon can be easily explained; misery loves company, so if a friend is complaining about their spouse, you are more likely to chime in and discuss your own issues. Then, if that friend divorces, you may witness them going through temporary relief, and potentially even a little bit of a high when they pursue new relationships. That can look pretty appealing when your own marriage feels stale. Conversely, if your marriage has been rocky for a while, you may envy your friend’s newfound freedom and want to seek it out yourself.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyersDeciding to file for divorce is not an easy decision, and the common myths about divorce rarely make it any easier. For example, a couple that still cares for one another may fear divorce because they believe it will ruin the friendship they still have. Alternatively, fathers may be afraid to file for divorce because they think they will not receive a fair amount of time with their children. Thankfully, these common divorce myths could not be further from the truth.

Illinois is Not a 50-50 State

Perhaps one of the most common divorce myths in Illinois is that assets are divided equally, right down the middle. While this may be the case in other states, Illinois is an equitable distribution state – not an equal one. Essentially, this means that assets are divided “fairly.” What is fair, exactly? That is typically determined by looking at some specific guidelines, such as the duration of the marriage and the contributions of each spouse. From there, couples can either agree upon a “fair” distribution in negotiation, or they can take the matter to court.

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DuPage County divorce attorney, children and divorce, adjusting to divorce, divorce process, divorce isolationPsychology experts tell us a variety of studies have shown that children of all ages tend to struggle with change, especially where routine is concerned. Divorce is easily one of the biggest threats to a child in terms of disruption of an established routine. This is particularly the case for young adults, due to age-related brain developments. Younger children have been shown to adapt with more ease when they feel safe, and when parents communicate with them about the changes happening in the household. Still, even younger children thrive on routine and rely on it to feel secure.

How Do You Know if Your Child is Struggling to Cope?

As a parent going through divorce, you have a whole range of challenges to deal with on your own. You experience many of the same emotions your child does, with the added pressure to care for him or her as well as yourself. In the midst of such big lifestyle changes, it is easy to miss signs that your child is having trouble adjusting to the divorce.

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DuPage County family law attorney, mediation, Illinois divorce caseWhen you think about divorce in Illinois, you may see images of drawn-out, antagonistic legal battles involving repeated court hearings where spouses fight over children, the division of property, and spousal support. However, not all cases are so adversarial and can actually be resolved through mediation under appropriate circumstances.

Many spouses are able to agree on some issues or are close to compromise on disputed matters, making mediation an ideal solution to protracted, expensive litigation. Talk to an Illinois mediation professional about your situation after getting some basic information about the process.

How Mediation Works in Divorce Cases

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