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Wheaton divorce lawyersEven in the simplest, most straightforward of divorces, the division of assets can lead to contention. In those with complex assets, the stakes are inevitably raised. Ensure you get your fair share during your Illinois divorce by understanding how complex assets are divided. 

What Are Complex Assets? 

For most assets, the value is straightforward. As an example, consider the balance of your bank account. Its value does not change, based on circumstance or the market. Instead, it is a real asset; its value is the displayed amount. Complex assets work differently. Their value may be difficult to determine because the value is constantly changing, based on market trends or future value (stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, real estate, etc.). Other assets are based on obscure factors, such as buyer interest or individual appraisers (artwork, jewelry, collectibles, etc.). Needless to say, dividing assets like these can be difficult and complex. 

Determining Your “Fair Share” in an Illinois Divorce 

Illinois is considered an equitable distribution state, meaning each party gets a “fair share” of the marital assets. In mediation and other alternative dispute resolution situations, the parties negotiate and agree upon their shares. In court, a judge makes the decision. There is no “right” or “wrong.” Instead, there are parameters used to determine what a spouse may be owed in divorce. Some of these factors include the: 

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DuPage County family law attorneysFor most divorcing parents, the primary concern is the safety and well-being of their child. The weight of that concern increases even further when there is a family history of domestic violence. Thankfully, there are preventative measures that parents can take to protect their child from abuse during and after a divorce. Learn how to utilize them through your Illinois parenting plan, and discover how our seasoned Wheaton divorce attorneys can assist with the process. 

Domestic Violence and the Propensity for Child Abuse 

Spousal abuse is not a definitive predictor for child abuse, as some abusers will harm their intimate partners but do not their children. Domestic violence within the home is considered a risk factor for child abuse, however, because it indicates that the abuser has a propensity for violence. Victims are encouraged to watch for potential signs of abuse in their child and to take preventative measures to protect their child from the possibility of violence or abuse. 

Recognizing the Signs of Child Abuse 

Victims of domestic violence tend to be astutely aware of the signs of physical abuse, such as unexplained (or poor explanations for the causes of) bruising, scrapes, and broken bones, they may be less likely to notice the subtler psychological signs. Often, this is because the victim is still healing and does not recognize the ways that abuse has changed their own personality. As a reference, consider these non-physical signs of abuse to determine if your child is being victimized by your spouse: 

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Illinois divorce attorneysMoney is one of the leading stressors in a marriage, which also makes it one of the leading causes of divorce in the United States. It is not necessarily a lack of money that leads to a divorce, however. In fact, statistics show that divorce rates actually rise during periods of economic growth instead of declining, which suggests that a couple’s relationship with money (and how it ultimately affects their relationship with each other), is more of an influential factor in their risk of divorce than the balance of their bank account. 

How Wealth Can Increase One’s Risk of a Divorce

Wealth is often seen as the answer to all money problems, but the upper-middle-class and barely wealthy can prove this simply is not the case. They can experience the same issues that lead to financial strain for lower-income families - the ever-increasing cost of living, child tuition costs, student loan debts, expected lifestyle, social pressures, etc. - and they can just as easily over-expend. If the financial strain becomes bad enough, the marriage may start to crumble. Fears over losing one’s status, feelings of guilt or remorse for the poor choices that one made during the couple’s downfall, and casting blame at the other party can further exacerbate matters. If left to fester, or if financial strain worsens, a divorce may ultimately ensue. 

Protecting Your Assets in a Failing Marriage 

When a marriage begins to fail, it is important that you take critical steps to protect any remaining assets from creditors, and even one’s own spouse. Asset hiding and dissipation are extremely common in divorces among the wealthy, and even more likely to occur in divorces that involve: 

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Illinois divorce attorneysDivorce is not something that couples typically think about on the day of their marriage. Yet, each year, thousands of couples decide to end their relationship. Many consider this process to be a painful one, full of grief and loss, but it is also the end of a legally binding contract. As such, the decisions that are made over the duration of a divorce can have a lasting impact on the lives of all involved parties, including any children they share. 

Thankfully, when divorcing parties choose to deal with the pain and stress of divorce in a healthy way, they tend to make more well-informed and carefully thought-out decisions. As a result, the long-term impact that divorce has on their lives, and the lives of their children is minimized. Learn how you can do this during your Illinois divorce, and discover the role that a seasoned divorce attorney plays in that process. 

Changing Your Perspective on the Process of Divorce

The feelings that tend to accompany divorce may be real and valid, but parties who can see them as a different element of the process tend to fare better than those who allow emotion to cloud their decisions. Divorce - the legal process of it - is more like a business transaction, and every decision that is made can significantly alter your life, your spouse’s life, and the lives of your children. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysAlthough the divorce rate has been steadily dropping over the last two decades, statistics indicate that about 43 percent of all married couples are still deciding to call it quits. Many factors can influence the chances that a couple will ultimately make this decision, including the education level and income of the parties and the number of children they have. Now a new cohort suggests that a person’s chosen career path may also increase their risk of a divorce. 

How Career Paths May Influence the Risk of a Divorce

Scientific studies have examined various factors that can increase a person’s risk of divorce, but until the recent study from Stockholm University, no one had really considered how work might impact marital relationships. Yet, this is where people tend to spend most of their time, which is exactly why the authors decided to fill this gap. They examined data on hundreds of thousands of Danes, looking for links between employment and divorce. Ultimately, they determined that more mates at work tended to increase the risk of divorce, but the complete data is actually a little more complex. 

Industries that are dominated by men (i.e. construction) had the lowest rate of divorce for men, but women in these same fields were more likely to end their marriage than those in female-dominated industries (such as nursing). Likewise, women had a lower rate of divorce in female-dominated industries than men. However, the increased risk of divorce in opposite-gender fields seemed to impact men more than women. The lowest risk of divorce for both genders seemed to be in industries where there were few co-workers to speak of (i.e. librarians, farmers, etc.), while the highest risk was associated with industries where there were not just multiple co-workers, but an intense need for social interaction and a high concentration of both males and females (i.e. hotels, restaurants, etc.). Scientists say that, based on these results, it is the exposure to potential mates in the workplace that is increasing the risk of divorce. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersWhile most spouses embark on their divorce with no malicious intent, there are others who attempt to “get even” before they have even told their spouse that they want to separate. Some do this by running up debt, taking out new lines of credit under their spouse’s name, and intentionally dissipating their marital assets. Still, there are some who cash out an investment account, such as their pension plan or retirement account, and then spend or hide it to keep it from being added to the marital estate. Learn how to deal with this challenge in your Illinois divorce, and discover how the assistance of a seasoned divorce attorney can improve the final outcome of your case. 

Tracking Down the Missing Money

Most partners who remove money from their pension or retirement account to avoid having it added in the divorce will allow a great deal of time to lapse before divulging their desire to divorce. The reason for this is simple: by waiting, they hinder your ability to track down the missing money. However, it may still be possible to determine whether they spent the money or are simply trying to hide it. In most cases, there is a paper trail or large and frivolous purchases. Financial experts and a seasoned attorney can help you in this step by providing you with support, assistance, and valuable knowledge and resources. 

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DuPage County divorce attorneyWhile divorce can be financially devastating at any stage of life, those who are nearing retirement are considered to be at the greatest risk for severe financial losses. Thankfully, it is possible to mitigate against this all-too-common gray divorce issue. Learn how in the following sections, including how a seasoned divorce attorney can help improve the outcome of your Illinois divorce case. 

Understanding the Risks of a Gray Divorce 

The risks associated with gray divorce are no different from those seen in other divorce cases. Instead, it is the age and stage of life of the divorcee that creates additional risks. Financial losses are more difficult to overcome because the individual is nearing the end of their income-earning years. That also means that the individual is nearly done contributing to the account. When one considers that retirement accounts are often one of the more valuable assets that a party owns, the risk of severe financial loss in a divorce becomes clear and extremely real. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersFor many couples going through the divorce process, the number of factors that must be discussed as the dissolution of the marriage is handled can be overwhelming. While some partners are able to separate with little to no legal roadblocks, a majority of people experience some challenges throughout the journey. This is certainly understandable, considering the many issues that can arise when a marriage ends. Couples are faced with having to pick apart the lifestyle they have been accustomed to, and must then decide how to divide finances, living arrangements, and standing obligations with their soon-to-be ex-partner.

Is Your Divorce Contested or Uncontested?

The primary difference between a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce is how the parties respond to the dissolution of the marriage. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree in all areas, including the division of marital property, the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, and any other non-parent issues that may apply to the couple’s situation. When a divorce is contested, this means the parties disagree on one or more of these areas. Under these circumstances, the dissolution of marriage must be negotiated or litigated through mediation or in court.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysWhen people talk to their friends about the possibility of divorce, they are often encouraged to be the first to file. The reason for this is the purported advantage that petitioners hold during the process – but is this advantage even real, and if so, do you necessarily lose it if you are not the first to file? Learn more about being the first to file for divorce, including when it may be appropriate and how an experienced attorney can guide you through the process.  

Is the Advantage Real?

Although there are some circumstances in which one should be the first to file, filing first does not necessarily give one an advantage in the divorce. Both parties are considered equal in the courtroom, and it is factors that dictate decisions made by a judge, not who filed first. For example, filing first may not gain you any extra time with your children in your parenting plan. However, as previously mentioned, there are certain situations in which one really should file first – or, at the very least, the moment they realize that divorce is imminent.

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Illinois divorce lawyersAlthough divorcing parties in Illinois are not required to obtain legal assistance, many find that their outcomes are improved with it. Of course, having an attorney during your divorce means you must first choose the one that most closely fits your wants and needs. Learn how to do this, and discover how the specific details of your divorce may impact your decision, with help from the following information.

Consider What Type of a Divorce You Want

Before you hire a divorce lawyer, it is important to know what type of divorce you would like to pursue. More specifically, would your case be better served through mediation, collaborative divorce, or litigation? Each works differently, and the role of your attorney will change, depending on which option seems most appropriate for your situation. Furthermore, the type of attorney you need may change, depending on the preferred divorce course. As an example, parties may want to search for a divorce lawyer with extensive litigation experience if the marriage has a history of domestic violence or asset hiding.

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DuPage County divorce lawyersDivorce, in and of itself, is a complex and difficult process. However, those that are incarcerated may find obtaining a divorce nearly (if not completely) impossible. They may lack money or resources to hire an attorney or file the paperwork. Transportation can also be difficult to come by, especially since these court proceedings are not related to their criminal case. Thankfully, it appears the Chicago courts may have a solution. Learn more with help from the following information, and discover what an experienced attorney may be able to do for you during your divorce – even if your spouse is currently incarcerated.

Disadvantages of Imprisonment Mostly Impact Women

Although men are certainly at a disadvantage in family courts while they are incarcerated, the biggest impact seems to be on women. They tend to have fewer visitors in court, so they may not have someone on the outside to help them navigate through the red tape of divorce. Also, they tend to have more complex issues when it comes to child-related matters. As such, the program is focusing mostly on incarcerated women wishing to seek a divorce.

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DuPage County divorce lawyersOf all the elements of divorce, few are quite as contentious as the division of marital assets. Illinois divorces can become especially heated since, unlike in other states, assets are divided “fairly,” rather than equally. Learn more about how assets are divided in an Illinois divorce, and how an experienced attorney can protect your financial future during the process.

Equitable Distribution versus Equal Distribution

While many states distribute property equally in divorce – meaning, the value of the estate is divided equally between both parties – Illinois uses an equitable distribution method. Essentially, this means that the estate is divided “fairly” between the divorcing parties. Unfortunately, everyone has a different perception on what, exactly, fair means.

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Illinois divorce lawyersThe division of assets in a divorce can be a contentious and complicated process. However, it carries out in a somewhat predictable manner. The value of each item is determined, the total value of the marital estate is determined, and then each party receives an equitable (fair) distribution of the estate. What happens, though, when the two sides do not see eye to eye on the term “fair?” Further, how are large value assets handled in an Illinois divorce? The following answers these questions, and provides some advice on how you can ensure your rights and best interests are protected throughout the entire process.

What Constitutes “Fair” in an Illinois Divorce?

The term “fair” is a subjective one, and it can quickly spark heated disagreements over who has contributed what to the marriage. However, the courts do have ways to determine what might be fair. For example, if a spouse does not work but has given up their education or career to advance their spouse’s education or career, they might be entitled to alimony or a larger portion of the marital estate than they might have otherwise received. Other factors that may be considered include the:

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non-physical abuse, DuPage County divorce attorneys,  emotional abuse, abuse victim, abusive spouseThere are many different ways one can be victimized by abuse in a relationship. For some, the evidence of the abuse is worn on their body. Unexplained bruises, broken bones, and marks on the skin can be a tell tale indicator that someone is physically abused. However, when the abuse is emotional, it does not leave the same kinds of evidence. Moreover, when emotional abuse is the reason for a divorce, providing evidence of that abuse can present unique legal challenges. 

Emotional abuse can affect your life in several different ways. Abuse can cause you to miss days at work or be less focused, which therefore results in the  minimization of your earning capability. It can cause you to be distracted at times when losing focus is dangerous—i.e. when you are driving. Emotional abuse is no small matter, even if it does not leave physical marks. 

Emotional Abuse and Child Custody

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DuPage County divorce attorneys, foreclosure during divorceAs if going through divorce proceedings is not stressful enough, you may also be receiving threats of foreclosure by a financial institution that holds the mortgage on your home. This type of “insult to injury” situation is actually relatively common, so you do have options to address foreclosure proceedings under state law.

The key is to join forces with your partner as much as possible, stay in close communication with the lender, and work with an Illinois divorce attorney to ensure protection of your interests—both in the divorce case and through the foreclosure process.

Temporary Injunction

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DuPage County divorce attorneys, unallocated child supportChild support and spousal maintenance are two of many considerations in an Illinois divorce, and the financial obligations included in a final decree will vary based upon the unique circumstances of the parties involved. When a divorcing couple can agree to certain support issues, there are tax benefits that the couple can take advantage of by structuring payments in a certain way. An arrangement termed “unallocated” child support is attractive to both parties. Speak with an Illinois divorce attorney with experience in tax matters to see if it is an option for you.

Default Rules on Spousal and Child Support

Spousal support, commonly termed alimony, is paid by the spouse in a higher income bracket to the individual with a lower income; the intent behind spousal support is to ensure that person enjoys a similar lifestyle after the divorce as compared to when the couple shared a household. Under federal law, the payor spouse can deduct alimony payments when filing individual income tax returns. However, child support falls under a different set of tax laws and is not deductible from the payor parent’s income taxes.

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DuPage County divorce attorneys, restraining ordersWhen you hear the term “restraining order,” you often think of a domestic situation where a victim goes to court to prevent an abuser from engaging in acts of violence. However, Illinois law also provides for restraining orders that relate to property in a divorce, which are used to safeguard assets during the proceedings. Without a valid order in place, one spouse may be tempted to empty bank accounts, transfer real estate, sell off certain personal items, or take other actions to impact an equitable distribution of property. An Illinois attorney can tell you more about restraining orders as they relate to property in a divorce, but some general information should be helpful.

Petition for Temporary Restraining Order

Either spouse may file a petition with the court to restrict the other from disposing of property, except where it is required in the usual course of business such as cost of living expenses. Prohibition on transferring, selling, concealing, and encumbering assets are included in this type of order. The petition must be supported by an affidavit, which is a sworn statement attesting to the facts contained in the document.

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DuPage County divorce attorneys, joint simplified dissolution of marriageIf you are like many other individuals seeking divorce in Illinois, you hope to complete the process with as little cost and hassle as possible. You may have already sought information on the state’s Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage option for divorcing couples, which is attractive because it keeps expenses low and reduces the amount of time for resolution of your case. However, the fact is that very few couples actually qualify for the process due to the strict legal requirements. The eligibility rules will help you understand why—in most cases—you need a skilled Illinois divorce attorney to handle your matter.

Eligibility for Joint Simplified Dissolution Procedure

As a party seeking to divorce through the simplified process, you both must certify that every one of the following conditions is true when initiating the proceeding:

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DuPage County divorce attorneys, non-marital property, marital homeAbsent an agreement of divorcing parties regarding their assets, a court will make an equitable distribution of property to each spouse as part of the dissolution of marriage process in Illinois. However, before dividing up the items, it is necessary to establish which assets are considered “marital” and “non-martial” under state law. While the distinction may be clear-cut for certain assets, the line between the two types of property may not be as obvious for others. There are rules that establish the difference between marital and non-marital property in Illinois, so discuss your specific circumstances with an attorney that has experience in property divisions in Illinois divorces.

Assets Included in Marital Property

The general rule is that all property acquired by spouses during their marriage is considered marital property. Hence, the property will be equitably divided throughout the divorce process. A court does not look to actual title and name associated with an asset in determining whether it qualifies as marital property. Typically, any item you come by during marriage will be included in marital property, including:

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DuPage County divorce attorneys, divorce expertsIf you are considering or are in the process of divorce, you may be overwhelmed with the actions you must perform. However, you do not need to do it all alone; there are professionals and experts who can help you throughout each step of the process. Moreover, a skilled divorce attorney can help you to identify the types of professionals that will be beneficial for your circumstances. 

Valuation Experts

Valuation experts can be some of the most important experts hired during a divorce. A large part of the divorce process is dividing assets between spouses. However, before you can divide assets you need to know how much they are worth.

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