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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 attorneyDivorce can impact many areas of your life. Your marital finances, time with the children, and ownership of assets are really just the beginning. Parties can have their information highjacked, or even their reputations ruined by a vindictive spouse. Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to protect yourself and your children during the process. Start by ensuring you address these technology issues before you file or tell your spouse about your plan to divorce. 

Change Your Passwords 

In today’s digital age, nearly everyone stores and shares information online. Couples also tend to share devices, data, passwords, and even some of their accounts. Sadly, that unfettered access in a divorce can create all sorts of issues. Spouses can gain access to data and financial information that does not apply to the divorce (i.e. an inheritance that was gifted to you after the separation) to hike up your child support or spousal support obligations. A vindictive spouse could attempt to drain your bank account and transfer everything over into their name, or they may even go so far as to delete important information or mine your social media accounts and photos for details they can use against you in custody proceedings. 

The first step to preventing such an issue is to ensure that you change all of your passwords - including the one that you use to log into your devices. Avoid using generic passwords, or anything with significance to you or your spouse (i.e. names and birthdays of children). Instead, use a strong and random password generator and store your passwords on a secure digital keychain (specifically one that your spouse cannot access). 

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DuPage County divorce attorneysStatistics indicate that the divorce rate has been on the decline for nearly every age group - but for those nearing retirement age, the rate has nearly doubled in the past decade. This phenomenon, dubbed the “grey divorce” wave, is not specific to the United States either; the United Kingdom, Australia, and other developed nations are seeing rising rates of late-life divorces as well. 

Examining the Gray Divorce Trend 

Researchers and analysts say the rate of late-in-life divorce has started to climb over the last decade because many couples in the Baby Boomer generation had either put off or not previously considered divorce. Divorce was more than just socially discouraged back then; it was thought to be inherently bad for children. Of course, we now know that the impact of divorce may vary, based on a variety of factors (i.e. the amount of parental conflict and the level of involvement that each parent has in the life of the child after the divorce, etc.), but parents from the Baby Boomer generation did not have this same information. 

Now, with their children raised, many are realizing that they still have a life to live - and they no longer want to spend it with their spouse. Sadly, the decision to divorce so late in life is creating some unique challenges for this American demographic group. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysWhile few couples blame money for their divorce, studies show money troubles can significantly increase a couple’s risk of divorce. In fact, arguments about money were found to be the top predictor of divorce in one from Utah State University. Researchers also determined that frequent fighting increased a couple’s overall odds of divorce by 30 percent. 

Of course, not all debt is acquired during the marriage. 

In a Fidelity, Couples & Money study, almost half of all the couples surveyed indicated they had entered into their marriage with debt. Around 40 percent of them said that it had a negative effect on their marriage, and 49 percent said they disagreed about who was responsible for those debts. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysWhen it comes to money, some spouses will stop at nothing to keep more than their fair share in a divorce. Offshore accounts, cryptocurrencies, and foreign real estate are just some of the tools that sneaky spouses use to hide money.

Sadly, only so much can be done to track down the missing money in a divorce - and even a skilled team of professionals have their limits. The money does sometimes surface after the divorce has been finalized, however. Learn what options you may have in such a situation in the following sections, and discover what our seasoned divorce lawyers can do to assist you. 

Following the Money Trail - When Clues Resurface After the Divorce is Finalized 

Most deceptive spouses think only about the immediate situation; rarely do they consider what might happen if you discover the hidden assets once the divorce has been finalized. As such, they may begin to relax their spending habits once the proceedings are over, giving you the evidence you need to reopen your divorce case.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 20 percent of all businesses in the United States are now owned by women. While the 2.8 percent increase from the previous year might be considered a win for gender equality, female business owners still face serious risks if their marriage ends in a divorce. Learn how to protect your enterprise during an Illinois divorce in the following sections, and discover how a seasoned divorce lawyer can assist you with the process. 

Divorce Risks Often Higher for Female Business Owners

While any business-owning party can be at risk for extreme financial loss during a divorce, the overall risk for female entrepreneurs is significantly higher. Part of this could be because men are more likely to protect their companies, as they have been advised to do so for decades, but other factors play into this increased risk as well. For example, women are more likely to be the victims of domestic and financial abuse. They may also be less likely to envision their company as successful (until it actually is). Women are also less likely to initiate a prenuptial agreement, even when they have a substantial amount of wealth before their marriage. 

Protecting Your Business During an Illinois Divorce 

Ideally, female business owners would take proactive steps to protect their businesses, long before divorce ever becomes an issue (usually with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement). Unfortunately, such agreements are no longer an option once the proceedings start. Instead, female entrepreneurs must then rely on other measures to protect their business, such as:

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Illinois divorce lawyersDivorce can be financially devastating for women - especially if they are over the age of 50. Some say women can avoid such a catastrophe by fighting for their home during their divorce. Unfortunately, this may not be sound advice for everyone. Learn how you can determine which path might be most appropriate for your case and discover how a seasoned divorce lawyer can help protect your financial future during an Illinois divorce. 

Fighting for the Family Home - Understanding the Logic 

Women are often attached to the family home, and some say it is the key to protecting their financial future during a divorce. A study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College only seems to confirm that this is the best route for women. In its survey of formerly married women, it found that, in terms of assets, those who kept the house were “better off” than single, never-married women. Yet, it is important to note that the study did not examine the overall wealth of these women. Instead, it just looked at the assets they were holding at the time of the survey. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyersA college degree is almost critical to career success in today’s working world, and as the United States continues to move further away from manufacturing and more into a service-type economy, that need for higher education is expected to grow even further. Unfortunately, a recent study has found that children of divorce may be less likely to obtain this education. Learn more about why this might be, and discover how a seasoned divorce lawyer can help to improve the circumstances for your child during an Illinois divorce. 

Study Finds Children of Divorce Are Less Likely to Pursue a College Degree 

Most studies regarding divorce and children focus on the tender years - the way that a parental separation impacts the child’s immediate circumstances. Data from these suggest that children of divorce tend to have lower reading and math scores, are less engaged at school, and they tend to participate in fewer after-school activities than children whose parents stay married. Yet, until now, no one really knew how this translated into the lives of adult children of divorce.  

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Illinois divorce lawyersStudent loan debt is currently at an all-time high in the United States ($1.5 trillion), and it is creating excessive financial stress for married couples all over the country. In fact, a survey of divorced couples revealed that student loans were a factor in one-third of all failed marriages, and a total of 13 percent specifically blamed student loans for the end of their relationship. How are these debts divided when a couple pursues a divorce, and how can a seasoned divorce attorney help protect your financial well-being during the process? The following information explains. 

How Student Loan Debt is Divided in an Illinois Divorce

Debts, like assets, are divided equitably in an Illinois divorce. What this essentially means is that the assets, income, and future earning potential of each party is considered when determining how the debt should be split. The one exception that may apply is if the debt was incurred prior to the start of the marriage; in this instance, it is typically considered pre-marital debt, and the owner of the loan is usually responsible for repaying it on their own. 

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Wheaton alimony lawyersMoney is often one of the leading sources of contention during a divorce, and it is about to get worse, thanks to the new tax law regarding alimony payments. Set to take effect on January 1, 2019, this new law will eliminate the tax credit that paying parties used to receive at the end of the year. Learn what this could mean for your Illinois divorce, and discover how a seasoned divorce lawyer may be able to help you mitigate the potential risks and issues that could arise. 

A Closer Look at the New Alimony Tax Law

In previous divorces, and those completed before January 1, 2019, alimony payers receive a tax credit at the end of each tax year. The receiving party is also required to report their alimony payments as income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Both of these aspects of divorce will be changing at the beginning of next year. That means there will no longer be an incentive for paying alimony, and fewer parties will be willing to pay it. That can hinder the financial well-being of receiving parties, as well as the paying parties, perhaps even more so than many realize. It can also make for more contentious divorces, and that can increase the stress levels of all involved parties - especially any minor children that the couple may share. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersStudies have consistently shown that women are often the ones to initiate divorce, but what are their reasons? A recent survey, conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, asked 43,000 divorced and single parent women about the reasons they ended their marriage. The following covers their top three answers, and it provides you with some strategies that you can use if you suspect that your spouse may be about to file for an Illinois divorce. 

Top Three Reasons Women Seek Divorce

The path to divorce is highly personal, and every situation is unique. Yet, as the survey revealed, there are some commonalities that women share in divorce, at least in respect to the reasons why they file. The top reason was differing life goals between partners. For example, a woman nearing her retirement age may realize that she wants to travel, but her already retired husband may only want to stay home and relax all day. The second biggest reason that women file for divorce is infidelity, and the third biggest reason is constant arguing.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersA college degree is almost essential in today’s job market, which is why so many parents set up an educational savings account for their children. Unfortunately, that account may be subject to division if the parents end their marriage. Learn how you can protect your child’s savings account during your Illinois divorce, and discover how a seasoned divorce lawyer may be able to help improve the overall outcome of your case. 

How Divorce Can Endanger Your Child’s College Savings

Going from one household to two can have a significant impact on your family’s overall financial trajectory - and that includes your child’s college savings account. That is because the household, which used to share expenses, now has two sets of bills. Add in the possibility of child support and alimony, and there is even less money to go around. As such, it may be difficult for parents to continue contributing to their child’s college savings account. Another issue is that some savings accounts are considered marital assets, so they may be split like other assets. Yet, even if the account is not split (such as with a 529 plan), there is a risk that one parent may wrongfully spend the money that has been saved. 

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Illinois divorce attorneysDivorce can be a stressful and taxing process - so much so that it may impact your health, mental well-being, and relationships with friends and family. Thankfully, it is possible to reduce your stress levels during divorce. Learn more in the following sections, including how the assistance of a seasoned Illinois divorce attorney can improve the overall outcome of your case. 

Gearing Up for the Divorce

Odds are, you know about the divorce before the proceedings begin. Use this time wisely and you could improve your ability to cope once the real action starts. For example, you could seek out therapy and a support group so that you are emotionally prepared to navigate negotiations with your spouse. Making a budget and appropriately planning for your financial future can also help to ease money-related stress while you are preparing for the divorce process. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersInfertility can strain a marriage, sometimes to the point of divorce. So what happens when the parties go through fertility treatments, decide to call it quits, and still have embryos? In most cases, the embryos are either donated or destroyed. The Governor of Arizona is hoping to change that, at least in their own state, and that could set a trend for others. Learn more about the new fertility bill in Arizona, and discover more about what your rights are in an Illinois divorce where embryos are considered an asset, rather than a chance at parenthood. 

A New Ruling for Unused Embryos in a Divorce?

All across the country, couples are fighting for the right to use their embryos after a divorce. Sadly, most have been denied rights to them, and some have been ordered to have them destroyed. That is essentially what happened to an Arizonan woman. She and her spouse had created the embryos when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. When the cancer treatment ended, her spouse said he no longer wanted to have children with her and filed for divorce. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersWomen have long been disadvantaged in divorce - and usually because they have sacrificed their earning years to stay home and raise children. Even for younger women, this can be a challenge, but those who are nearing retirement run the risk of severe financial loss. Learn how to protect your financial future during a gray divorce, and discover how the assistance of a seasoned divorce lawyer can help you mitigate some of the most common pitfalls and challenges that you are likely to face during the process. 

Know Your Assets and Entitlements

Mature women may face many challenges in divorce, but the lack of knowledge is perhaps one of the most damaging. It also happens to be one of the most common issues that women over the age of 50 can face. Many stayed home to care for children during their childbearing years, so they had little to no earnings of their own. A lot of these same women were also left “in the dark” about their financial situation, which only complicates matters even further. Thankfully, women can take back the power and control in such situations.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersWhen one party is severely disadvantaged in a broken marriage, it can feel like an excuse to stay. Yet, unbeknownst to some, it is not necessary to do this. Instead, it may be possible for a party to obtain child support and/or alimony before a divorce has been completely finalized. Learn more in the following sections, including how to go about the process, and discover how a seasoned divorce attorney can assist and improve the outcome of your case. 

Are You Eligible for Alimony or Child Support?

Not all parties are eligible for alimony or child support in a divorce. In fact, alimony is becoming less common in divorce, and some recent changes to Illinois’ child support laws have created situations in which neither parent pays support (i.e. parents have near equal income and near equal parenting time). However, if you are disadvantaged in your marriage - perhaps because of a health condition or because you stayed home to raise your children - you may be eligible for alimony, child support, or perhaps even both.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersDuring an Illinois divorce, a couple’s marital estate is totaled and then divided according to the law. In that marital estate is not just a couple’s assets and income; debt is factored in as well. Unfortunately, this can be especially problematic in a divorce - and not just because it can affect the amount of one’s settlement. 

Couples might have different values when it comes to money and debt, and one party may have contributed more to the couple’s debt load than the other. Alternatively, one party may have less of an ability to repay the debts because they have a fixed or limited earning ability. Whatever the situation, parties are encouraged to educate themselves on dealing with debt in a divorce, and that includes learning how to go about deciding who should pay for the couple’s credit card debts. 

Making the Decision Through Negotiation 

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Illinois divorce planning lawyersDivorce can be a massive undertaking with numerous pitfalls, and many can cause extreme but unnecessary stress and financial loss. Thankfully, divorcing parties can mitigate against some of the issues using a strategy known as divorce planning. Learn more about this process in the following sections, including the role and importance of an attorney while navigating through it.

What is Divorce Planning? 

Although the emotional toll of divorce cannot be denied or ignored completely, parties are encouraged to see the legal process for what it really is: a detangling of assets. What that really means is that legally speaking, divorce is more like a business transaction. Certainly, your feelings are valid, and you have every right (and should expect) to be angry, confused, or hurt - but these emotions will not benefit you in the courtroom. In fact, if anything, they could cause you to make irrational or hasty decisions. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyersDivorce tends to go smoother when both parties are focused on ending things amicably. Unfortunately, the end of a marriage can stir up a number of strong, negative feelings (resentment, anger, rejection, etc.), which may cause some individuals to act out in ways that hurt the other party. What happens when they seem to be more focused on “getting even” than ending things in a peaceful manner, and how can you mitigate against the potential issues that may arise from their vengeful ways? The following information explains, and it provides details on how the assistance of a seasoned divorce attorney can help improve the final outcome of your Illinois divorce. 

Communicating with a Vengeful Spouse

One of the more difficult (but effective) ways that you can minimize conflict in a divorce is to change how you communicate with your spouse. Rather than engaging in conversations over the phone or in-person, consider switching to a written form of communication (text or email). Do not respond to baiting or hostile comments; they are nothing more than tactics to draw you in. Also, you should limit your responses to no more than one email or one set of text messages a day (even if your spouse sends you 20). Keep your language professional, and distance yourself from any conversation that is not directly related to your divorce or children. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersSince the recession, the number of female-run businesses in the United States has increased at a rate five times higher than all other corporations. Female-owned businesses have also seen the greatest revenue increase over that same time-period (35 percent increase in women-run businesses compared to 27 percent among all other U.S. businesses). Sadly, female entrepreneurs still have a major disadvantage in the business world: In divorce, female entrepreneurs typically assume far more risk than their male business-owning counterparts. Learn how you can protect your company and your financial future with the assistance of a seasoned, competent divorce lawyer. 

Is Your Spouse Entitled to a Portion of Your Company? 

Not all businesses may be divided in a divorce. Companies that are started prior to the marriage are not typically considered a marital asset, and they may not be divided in the divorce (unless marital money was co-mingled with company funds). However, the owner of the company may still owe their spouse a settlement or alimony if certain contributions were made (i.e. staying home with the children while the owner grew their business), even if the business is not to be split in the divorce. A seasoned attorney can help you determine if your business is a marital asset, and they can assist you in protecting it.

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