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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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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 attorneysThough divorce may be the right choice for a marriage, it is far from the easy one. It can be mentally and emotionally draining. As a complex and nuanced legal process, it can also be financially draining if not approached in the right manner. Reduce the risk of significant financial issues during your Illinois divorce by taking these five steps during the preparation phase.

1. Track Your Income and Expenses

Start tracking your income and expenses, as soon as you realize that divorce is inevitable. The more financial information you have, the better. Check bank accounts, stocks and bonds, savings accounts, any investment interests, retirement accounts, and any educational savings accounts that you and your spouse may have set aside for your children. Also, ensure you know exactly how much income you and your spouse bring in each month. 

You’ll also want to take stock of any assets that you and your spouse may own. This can include: 

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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 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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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce attorneysAs the holidays come to an end and families move into the New Year, many are considering how they can make positive changes to improve their lives. For some, that may mean finally moving forward with a divorce. Perhaps you have been thinking about it for a while and were hoping things would get better, or maybe you wanted to wait until the stress of the holidays passed. Either way, you can now begin to prepare to move forward with this new phase of your life. Start by using the following tips and then contact an experienced attorney for assistance.

Forgo the Discussion for Now

While you may want to discuss the impending divorce with your spouse, now may not be the time. Spouses can sometimes become retaliatory immediately after learning that a divorce is on the horizon. Others can panic about their financial future, which may cause them to try and hide money from you. Either way, it is often best if you can gather the information you need before you disclose your plans to file for divorce.

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Illinois divorce lawyerWhen searching for an attorney to represent you in an Illinois divorce, it is crucial that you find one who can fit your needs. For example, an attorney who has limited litigation experience may not be the most suitable choice if you expect your divorce to be contentious. Take the guesswork out of the process. Ask each prospective attorney these three questions to determine if they may be a suitable fit for your case.

How Long Have You Been Practicing Divorce Law?

Although more experienced divorce attorneys will usually cost you more, the knowledge and connections they bring to the table are usually worth it. Of course, if you are trying to keep your divorce costs manageable, you could always turn to someone who has recently graduated law school. Usually zealous in their approach and eager to gain experience, they are often less expensive than more experienced attorneys, but you are taking a risk by hiring them.

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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce attorneysMarriages typically start out with careful planning but few end in the same way. Instead, parties often walk into the process either misinformed or unaware of the statutes within their state. They may be confused as to what steps to take next, or when. Some may also fear that it could damage their case or cost them a portion of their settlement if their spouse learns they are researching divorce. Thankfully, there is a way to address many of these issues, as well as several others, by learning how to effectively prepare for an Illinois divorce.

What is Divorce Planning?

Although there are circumstances in which a divorce should be carried out as quickly as possible (i.e. domestic violence), most parties stand to benefit greatly from divorce planning. It is a process in which divorcing parties consult with an attorney and, in many cases, a financial advisor to ensure they have all the information they need to move forward. A plan and course of action are made, goals are set, and strategy is discussed. When ready, the individual can take that next step in divorce with confidence and peace of mind.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce mistakesMost people are at risk of making at least a few mistakes throughout the process of divorce. Of course, having an experienced divorce attorney as legal representation goes a long way in avoiding such errors and ensuring a smooth process along the way. A Chicago Tribune article from a few years ago discusses the most common mistakes made by men in divorce cases, as witnessed by a divorce attorney. While the article is gender-specific, it is important to note that these mistakes can easily be equally attributable to men or women and should be avoided by any party in a divorce case.

Ten Mistakes

It is wise for members of both sexes involved in divorce proceedings to not only be aware of these commonly made mistakes, but to take steps to avoid them, ideally with the help if an attorney who is experienced in divorce cases.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce mythsSome divorce cases, such as those of the very wealthy or those of the celebrity variety, are much more common to be made into news stories and discussed in the media than divorces between regular folks. Interestingly enough, it is often the case that no matter who the parties to the divorce case are, some of the same issues are present in divorce cases across the board, albeit on a different scale. A recent article discussed the high profile divorce case of a super wealthy Chicago couple, busting some divorce case myths along the way. Although the article is written in the context of this specific couple’s divorce case, these myths are present in many divorces, regardless of the splitting couple’s financial status.

Myths Busted

Whether speaking about billionaires or the average middle class couple, divorce cases are often an emotional, stressful time for both parties and their families. Issues arise that may make one party think he or she has an advantage over the other, but in reality, one can never be sure how a divorce case will play out in court. In that same vein, many have preconceived notions of divorce cases and their likely outcome. Consider the following myths and the corresponding realities:

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce petitionMarried couples often know their relationship is ending before any formal steps are taken to obtain a divorce. Some may suspect their spouse is about to file for divorce, while others may be taken off guard when served with divorce papers. No matter the path taken, anyone who is served with a petition for divorce has important legal rights that need protection, as well as a responsibility to participate in the divorce process.

First Things First

It is highly advisable that anyone who is served with a petition for divorce contact an experienced family law attorney to represent them. Not only can a divorce case quickly become complicated and confusing for those not familiar with the process and the laws regarding divorce in Illinois, but hiring a capable attorney ensures a party’s rights will be protected and they will have the benefit of professional representation throughout their case.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, divorce finances, prepare for divorce, DuPage County divorce attorneyWhether you and your spouse have discussed the possibility of divorce, you know your marriage is in disarray, or you have simply made the decision to end your marriage on your own, there are certain steps you should take prior to filing for divorce. Heeding this advice may not only serve to protect your interests down the road, but may also make the divorce process much smoother and easier to endure. Read on for some important first steps to take before heading to the courthouse.

Things to Do Before You Divorce

  1. Do not discuss your intentions or the facts of your case with anyone, particularly if you believe your spouse will react badly to your request for divorce. This may require you to refrain from speaking to others in the presence of your spouse, and be more careful about sharing information over your phone or computer of he or she also has access to the device. If you are both in agreement about obtaining a divorce, this may be less important for you.
  2. Start your own savings account. This will enable you to afford living expenses and legal fees as they come up. Once your spouse learns of your plans for divorce, or if your divorce is contentious, he or she may begin closing joint accounts and canceling credit cards which will limit your access to funds.
  3. Begin collecting financial documents that will be relevant to your case. This may include tax returns for recent years, retirement and other account statements, bank accounts, and credit card statements. Look over the statements for unexplained or unexpected withdrawals.
  4. Obtain a copy of your latest credit report so you have a good idea of the joint debts and credit cards you hold with your spouse.
  5. Begin compiling information related to any children of the marriage, and how you fulfilled your role as a parent and a spouse. Make a list of all of the ways in which you cared for your child throughout his or her life, and ways in which you continue to do so.
  6. Compile information and documentation as to what your lifestyle was like during the marriage, including regular household expenses. This may be important if one spouse is claiming that the couple enjoyed a certain standard of living during the marriage and wishes to continue with it after divorce.
  7. Begin researching and looking for experienced divorce attorneys in your area who have had successful results for their clients. Schedule a time to meet with a qualified attorney to discuss the facts of your case.

Divorce Attorney

If you are considering divorce, contacting an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney is important. The attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC have successfully represented clients in divorce matters for many years. Contact us today to schedule a consultation regarding your matter. We have offices located in Chicago, Wheaton, and Warrenville.
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