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DuPage County divorce attorneysOne of the hardest parts of getting a divorce is seeing the effects on your children, and even parents with the best of intentions can struggle to establish and maintain a post-divorce environment that serves the children’s best interests. One specific challenge that parents may face is maintaining consistent rules, expectations, and discipline when the children are dividing time between two households. Here, we offer suggestions that can help you avoid parenting mistakes and work on an arrangement that helps your children adjust and thrive.

Common Mistakes for Divorced Parents

As you adjust to your new co-parenting routine after your divorce, here are some unproductive approaches you may find yourself taking:

  • Avoiding discipline: You may find yourself tolerating poor behavior from your children because you do not want to come across as the mean parent, because you feel that you deserve it after putting them through the divorce, or simply because you lack the energy to provide discipline. However, this can teach your children that the behavior is acceptable and lead to worse behavior in the future.
  • Being overly strict: On the other hand, you may find yourself lashing out at your children or trying to enforce more strict discipline than you did before the divorce, especially if you feel your ex is not providing the necessary discipline. However, this can damage your relationship with your children and lead to a situation in which they do not enjoy the time spent with you.
  • Enforcing expectations inconsistently: It can be hard for divorced co-parents to uphold the same set of rules and expectations for their children, especially if they are not communicating regularly, and this can lead to confusion and instability for everyone involved.

Constructive Suggestions for Divorced Parents

If you find that any of these things are happening in your family, you can take action to improve the situation. One of the most important things you can do is to ensure that you and your ex have a shared understanding of your parenting plan, including the allocation of parental responsibilities, and that you communicate as much as possible about your children’s behavior. This can help you be more consistent in your approaches and avoid creating a situation in which your children resent one or both of you. It is also important that when you do discipline your children, you also make an effort to talk to them and listen to the feelings and concerns that may be driving their behavior. It is common for children to act out after a divorce, and while this does not mean their behavior is okay, it does mean that they might require extra care and attention.

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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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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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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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Wheaton alimony lawyersSpousal support may not be awarded as often as it once was, it is still a factor in some cases. Think you might be entitled? Check out these 14 factors the courts use to decide whether or not to award alimony to a disadvantaged party and learn more about what our divorce lawyers can do to improve the outcome in your Illinois divorce case. 

1. Income and Assets of Each Party


Each party's income and assets are one of the first and biggest factors used to determine whether spousal support should be awarded in a divorce case. The courts will consider both marital and non-marital assets, as well as each party’s financial obligations. 

2. Financial Needs of Each Party

Another important factor the courts use to determine whether alimony should be awarded is the financial needs of each party. Three key components are used in this determination: the financial needs of the recipient, whether there is a gap in the recipient’s ability to meet their needs, and whether the payor is capable of supplementing that gap. Note that these needs must be legitimate; wants and luxuries are not considered. 

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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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Wheaton divorce lawyersThe marital home is often one of the more valuable assets that couples must divide during a divorce. In addition, there may be other types of real estate involved (rental properties, vacation homes, commercial buildings, etc.). Learn how most types of real estate are handled and divided in divorce by reading the following sections. You will also discover how a seasoned lawyer can help to protect your interests along the way. 

Valuation of the Property 

Properties must be valued before they can be divided. There are three basic methods that parties may use: tax assessed value, market analysis, and appraisal. Know and understand the potential drawbacks and benefits of using each method and choose the one that best fits your situation. Also, since arguments and disagreements are common, consider hiring your own appraiser if you and your spouse settle on the third and final option. It is also important to remember that any real estate tied to a business may have a more complex valuation process. Discuss the matter with your attorney to learn more. 

Determine the Amount of Equity 

The equity of a property is the portion that you and your spouse “own.” It is configured by subtracting any liens or mortgages held against the property. If taking out an equity loan, this would be the amount that a lender would use. If selling the home, it is the amount that you and your spouse can expect to see once the sale is final (provided the home sells at value). This aspect of dividing real estate can make or break your settlement - especially if one party intends to retain the property once the divorce has been finalized. 

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Illinois divorce attorneysDivorce can be a financially and emotionally trying process, even in the best of circumstances. What is more, if you are unprepared for the process, divorce could have a lasting effect on your health, sanity, and financial stability. Take proactive steps and these practical tips that can make your Illinois divorce more bearable. 

1. Find a Way to Compartmentalize Your Divorce

While the emotional aspects of divorce cannot be overlooked or ignored, they can get in the way when dealing with matters related to your children and finances. Anger and resentment can cause you to decline fair offers, and you may even find yourself using your child as a bargaining chip, despite your best efforts. Avoid such issues through compartmentalization. Handle emotions in a healthy way, outside of negotiations. Journal, find a support system, and if necessary, attend therapy or counseling. When it comes time to negotiate, focus on what is best for you, your child, and your future, rather than how you feel. 

2. Track Your Spouse’s Earning and Expenses Before Filing for Divorce 

Spouses tend to become protective of their personal and financial information once they learn of a divorce, and if they hire an attorney, they are likely to change the passwords on their computer, phone, and financial accounts. As a result, you may be unable to gather the financial information you need for your case, which can ultimately impact the amount of your settlement. Avoid this consequence by tracking and gathering documentation on all of your spouse’s income and expenses, prior to filing for your divorce. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersOut of all the assets that a couple owns, the house tends to be the most valuable. It only makes sense for parties to struggle when deciding what to do with it while going through a divorce. Its ability to cause contention between the parties is also understandable, yet arguments can cloud judgment. Stop fighting and start considering the pros and cons of selling your home in a divorce, which are outlined in this post. 

Reasons to Sell Your Home in a Divorce (and the Potential Benefits)

A house is more than just a building. It is full of family memories. It is, perhaps, where you raised your children. It is your home, and possibly the only connection you have to a happier time. As such, discussions about selling it may be triggering for either you or your spouse, yet there are many situations in which this might be the most beneficial route. 

It may be the only asset of value in your marriage, which means it may be the only way to ensure you have the money to start over. The cost of maintaining it (mortgage, maintenance, HOA fees, etc.) may be too much of a burden for either you or your spouse to bear. Selling it could allow you to pay off the mortgage and still have a little bit of money left over. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyersThe division of assets can be one of the biggest sources of contention in an Illinois divorce. Part of the reasoning for this can be attributed to the term “equitable distribution,” which essentially means that each party is entitled to their “fair share” of the marital estate. What is your fair share, and how can you ensure you get it during your divorce? The following explains. 

Determining Your “Fair Share” in an Illinois Divorce 

Nothing in life is fair - especially not divorce. Yet, this is the terms that courts use when dividing assets in an Illinois divorce. What might your fair share look like? A few factors are used in reaching this determination, including: 

  • The overall value of your marital estate;
  • Your capacity to earn an income;
  • Your spouse’s capacity to earn an income;
  • Any involved children (and their needs);
  • Non-marital assets that may improve your living standard;
  • Which assets may be held by either party after the divorce; and
  • Any limitations that may hinder a party’s ability to earn a living. 

Essentially, the courts want to do what they can to ensure that you and your spouse are nearly equal in assets and income, once the divorce has ended. Achieving this lofty goal can be quite difficult, however, especially if there are hidden assets or deceptive practices involved. 

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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 lawyersBills and other financial obligations do not end just because you are filing for a divorce. In fact, money management is usually more difficult while trying to navigate the divorce process because there are more bills and less money to go around.

Thankfully, there are measures that one can take to improve their financial situation, even while pursuing a divorce. Learn more in the following sections, and discover how our seasoned divorce lawyers can assist. 

Track Your Finances and Develop a New Budget

The first step to improving your financial situation is to understand your finances. Start by tracking how and where you spend your money, then determine if any of your expenses can be eliminated or temporarily suspended. Doing this can give you more in the way of liquid assets. It also allows you to develop a new budget so that you can start saving for your new future. 

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DuPage County divorce attorneysLoving parents will do almost anything to ensure their children feel happy and safe. Sadly, not even the best efforts can save some marriages - and when a child’s parents go through a divorce, they are bound to be impacted. Thankfully, there are many strategies that a parent can employ to minimize the negative effects of a divorce. Next to pursuing an amicable separation, validating the child’s feelings is one of the most effective and critical. 

Why Validation Works

Everyone experiences feelings of anger, sadness, and grief; children are no exception. However, children do not always know how to verbalize their feelings. Because of this, their feelings may come out in the form of negative or undesirable behaviors. Examples can include meltdowns or temper tantrums, separation anxiety, withdrawal from family and friends, poor academic performance, and extreme sensitivity. 

Validation may not remedy all of these issues, but it can certainly go a long way to helping a child heal during and after a divorce. It allows them to feel as though they have a voice, and that their feelings are important. That can be critical for a child who feels like every decision is out of their control. Even better is when a parent can help their child identify their feelings and learn how to put them into words. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersDivorce can be a costly endeavor - especially for those in complex situations. There are ways to reduce the costs associated with an Illinois divorce, but be wary of the option you choose. Online divorce services, often used by divorcing parties who wish to cut costs and simplify the process, can actually cause more harm than good. Learn more about the risks of using an online divorce service, and discover how our seasoned divorce lawyers can improve the outcome in your case. 

Online Divorce Services - Not So Simple 

When performing an internet search for divorce services, parties are likely to come up with a wide array of options. Online services, where legal paperwork is completed and then returned to the paying client to file, are usually toward the top. They claim to offer a “simple” but “affordable” way to complete a divorce. For many, the price seems too good to pass up. 

Sadly, there are many who have pursued such options, only to find themselves in the midst of chaos. That “simple” service turns out to be frustrating, confusing, and in some cases, a complete scam. As an example, consider the recent news coverage of an online divorce service that took money from clients, promising to provide completed paperwork. Some never received their completed paperwork at all. Others say the documents were riddled with errors - to the point that they simply could not use them to file for their divorce. 

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DuPage County family law attorneysEach year, an estimated 1.5 million children in the United States experience the divorce of their parents. In less populated countries like Norway, the numbers may seem less impactful, but the rate of divorce is actually around the same - around 40 percent. That, along with their low immigration rate, made them the perfect location for a study on the use of antidepressants among the now adult children of divorce. 

Gen-X and Millennials Shape Our Understanding of Divorce's Impact on Kids

Divorce used to be a fairly rare occurrence - both around the world and in the United States. Rulings were also very different back then, with mothers often receiving sole custody of the children, along with alimony and child support. Social norms (fathers were usually the breadwinners and mothers typically stayed home to care for the children), paired with the perception that mothers had a superior role in the development of children were largely responsible, but science has since challenged our understanding of familial roles, child development, and the impact that divorce can have on kids. 

Generation-X and Millennials grew up during the divorce peak period, and now that they are children, there is a new pool of potential study participants. Divorce laws had already started to change, as more fathers were actively seeking a continued connection with their children, so the outdated social norms had less of an impact on their outcomes. As such, science has determined several interesting things about divorce and kids. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysOf all the issues that one may deal with during the divorce, those related to money tend to be the most sensitive and volatile. That is because, in this arena, mistakes can be costly, and they often have a lasting, negative impact. Thankfully, by avoiding these four commonly made money mistakes, parties can decrease their risk of experiencing significant financial loss in a divorce while also increasing their chances of receiving the divorce settlement to which they are entitled. 

Oversharing Details About Your Personal Life and Finances 

While the law does require you to provide financial disclosure to your spouse during the discovery process of your divorce, there is such a thing as oversharing. Examples of information that you may want to keep private include: 

  • An inheritance received after separating from your spouse;
  • Vacations or vacation plans that take place after the separation;
  • Information regarding spending habits or recent large purchases (even when done out of necessity);
  • Raises and promotions that are given to you after the separation; and
  • Any other windfall that occurs after you and your spouse have separated. 

Note that this information should not be shared anywhere - not even on social media, as even this information can be used as evidence in a divorce. Remember to still disclose this information to your attorney, as they can help you determine which assets may be excluded from the marital estate. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysWhile many marriages end amicably, there are some that end with bitter words and violence. In an alarming number of these cases, the abuse dates back to before the marriage's dissolution. Thankfully, victims of abuse can find at least some solace in the law; they are afforded many protections in the workplace, and they have the right to seek an order of protection to keep their abuser at bay. However, if there are children involved, their divorce case usually becomes far more complicated. 

Understanding How Illinois Views Parental Rights

Parental rights are not intended for the parent; the courts afford them to parents to protect a child’s right to receive financial and emotional support from both of its biological parents. Because of this, victims of abuse may need to face some scary possibilities during their divorce: 

  • Abusers may still be permitted access to the children. If the courts determine that the children have not been abused and are not at risk for abuse, they may be permitted both parenting time and a share of the allocation of parental responsibilities; 
  • Situations involving questionable or confirmed abuse can still allow for visitation, even if only under supervision; and
  • If child abuse or neglect significantly pre-dates the divorce, you can be implied in the case. The law uses this penalty to protect children from long-term abuse and to deter people from falsely reporting cases of long-term abuse. Unfortunately, it can negatively affect true victims who have struggled to safely leave the relationship. As such, any cases of long-term abuse should be handled carefully, and only with the skilled assistance of a divorce attorney. 

Child Endangerment Charges in an Illinois Divorce Case

The divorce process can become highly complex if child endangerment charges are brought against you or your spouse during the divorce process. You or your spouse may be questioned or interviewed by the police and Child Protective Services. The courts may also assign a Guardian Ad Litem to your child’s case. Your children may even be placed in protective custody and sent to live with a family member or in a foster home. Regardless of whether you are the accused or the victim, ensure you embark on such divorces with great care. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersWhile many studies have indicated that children can recover from the emotional turmoil of a divorce (and may, in some situations, fare better in divorce than if their parents stayed together), they are still vulnerable and innocent parties who can be significantly and negatively impacted by the process. As such, parents are encouraged to make every reasonable effort to mitigate the risk of divorce-related maladjustment in their child. One of the more effective ways to do this is through communication - and not just about the divorce itself, but also the feelings that children are likely to experience as they adjust to the changes of their new life. 

Grief, Loss, and Pain Impacts Children During Divorce

Divorcing parents were once led to believe that children were “resilient” enough to withstand the emotional turmoil of divorce without any long-term, negative effects, but more recent data disproves this outdated theory. Children can experience maladjustment issues from a divorce, even if they do not display any immediate signs or symptoms. That is because, like adults, children can experience the complexity of grief, loss, pain, stress, and even self-blame during the divorce process. If not addressed appropriately, those feelings can simmer below the surface, only to emerge at a later date - and often at a time when the parent least expects it. 

Protecting Your Child’s Mental and Emotional Well-Being During a Divorce

Children, though fairly resilient, need to be protected from the potential ill effects of divorce - particularly those that can negatively impact their mental or emotional well-being. Ensuring that the interactions between you and your spouse (including those that take place over the phone or through email) are amicable is a great way to start, but it may still be necessary to use other mitigating tactics as well. For example, you may want to attend a parenting course that is specifically designed for families impacted by divorce, or you may opt to enroll your child in a peer support group or therapy to ensure they have a private space to talk about their feelings. Just remember, even if you seek outside help for your child, it is still recommended that you address grief and pain with your child, directly, as they may need your support while trying to cope. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyerMost divorcing couples realize that compromise is the least difficult path in a divorce. Sadly, there are those who will stop at nothing to “get even” or get what they want. Take a divorcing Oklahoma woman’s situation for example. 

During a meeting with her husband to sign paperwork for their divorce, he allegedly handed her a drugged cup of coffee. While it took her a while to realize that something was “off,” she ultimately discovered that she had been drugged after taking an over-the-counter drug test.

At that time, she also realized that their 3-month-old baby had been breastfed three times since consuming the coffee. She voluntarily took the baby to the hospital to ensure its safety, and she reported the incident to the police. The woman then pressed criminal charges and sought a restraining order against her husband to ensure the future safety or herself and her child. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyersToday, the word “coach” extends far beyond the world of sports. In fact, you can find a coach for almost anything these days - life coaches, weight loss coaches, and even divorce coaches. What is a divorce coach, and do you really need one during your Illinois divorce. Moreover, how might these professionals fit into your divorce team and overall strategy? The following information can help you learn more. 

What is a Divorce Coach?

As the name implies, divorce coaches assist parties as they navigate through the complexities of their separation. The application of these services can be logistical, emotional or even just supportive. For example, your divorce coach might assist you with tasks like gathering paperwork or creating and maintaining a budget, or their work may entail connecting you with a support group or therapist while you work through the grieving process. Just remember that a divorce coach should never be thought of as a replacement for a seasoned divorce lawyer. Divorce coaches cannot provide you with detailed legal advice, nor can they handle the complex legal paperwork and process of a divorce. For this type of assistance, you still need an attorney. 

Can You Benefit from the Assistance of a Divorce Coach? 

While some parties need only an attorney for their divorce, others may need (or could greatly benefit) from an entire divorce team. For example, parties who have complex assets (i.e. businesses, artwork, real estate, etc.) can often benefit from the assistance of an appraiser. Parties engaged in a high net worth divorce can often benefit from the assistance of a financial planner and/or tax specialist. Likewise, there are divorcing parties who might benefit greatly from the assistance of a divorce coach. Examples might include:

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