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Illinois child support lawyersChild support is designed to ensure a child’s immediate financial needs are met, such as food and clothing for school. It can also go toward a child’s future, giving a parent the power to start up a college fund for the child. Sadly, statistics indicate that only 44 percent of all custodial parents receive the full amount of support that they are owed. 

One California woman had been just one of many who had not received child support after her divorce. Given custody of their daughter, the woman had been left to raise and financially support the child after her ex-husband skipped town and moved to Canada. From there, the man completely disappeared. Fifty years later, the courts awarded the woman a settlement of $150,000. That amount included the overdue support payments of $35,000, as well as penalty fees and interest for four decades of unpaid support. her experience proves it is never too late to pursue the overdue support you are owed. 

Pursuing Overdue Child Support in Illinois

Parents often feel as though they are alone in their pursuit of overdue child support. However, there are resources and services available to them. One of the most invaluable is the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). They have the power and ability to track down a delinquent parent. They can also impose penalties on the parent to encourage payment. Examples may include suspension of the delinquent parent’s driver’s license or professional license, imprisonment, or putting a “freeze” on the delinquent parent’s passport. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysCouples usually anticipate a division and distribution of their assets during the divorce process, but many are surprised to learn that their debts are also split during the proceedings. Unfortunately, when parties are not prepared for the allocation of their debts, it can create serious financial issues, both immediately and in the distant future. Learn how you can avoid such an issue during your Illinois divorce, and discover how our seasoned attorneys can help. 

Who Owns the Debt in an Illinois Divorce? 

In marriage, debts and assets can become intrinsically intertwined; untangling them can be difficult, to say the least. Yet, it is critical that divorcing parties have a clear understanding of their debts. Additionally, parties are encouraged to try and distinguish which debts were initiated by them or their spouse, and which were co-marital debts. 

Not sure how to decide? 

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Illinois divorce lawyersDivorce can be a costly endeavor, which is why parties are usually encouraged to plan and save for the process. Of course, if you are not the one who files, you may not have such a privilege. Instead, your spouse may catch you completely off-guard, with little to no resources at your disposal. What can you do to ensure you still have access to seasoned legal representation in such a situation? The following information explains. 

Avoid Discount and DIY Divorce Options

The internet is full of information on discount and do-it-yourself divorce options, but these methods can have a lasting and negative impact on the outcome of your case. It is also important to realize that everything from your financial well-being to the amount of time you receive with your children can be affected.

Begin Your Search for a Divorce Attorney

Since discount and DIY divorce methods are not viable options, there is only one option left to consider: hire an attorney. Just be sure to avoid the trap that many disadvantaged spouses fall into when they hire a lawyer; never hire based on cost alone. Instead, ask for referrals from friends and search for reviews online. Then, when you have narrowed your choices down, start scheduling consultations. Share the details of your case with them and listen carefully to their responses. Are they in-tune with your needs and concerns? Do they seem pre-occupied with winning the case, or are they supportive of your desires to negotiate or settle fairly? 

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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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Illinoia family law attorneysPeople do not typically marry with the intention of one day divorcing, but those who have already experienced a failed marriage may be even more adamant to grow old with their new partner. Sadly, the risk of divorce is significantly higher for subsequent marriages. As such, it is highly recommended that parties take proactive steps to protect their assets in a second marriage. Learn more about how a prenuptial agreement can help you do this, and discover how our seasoned family law attorneys can help. 

Know Your Wealth and Assets

Just as it is critical to know your wealth and assets in a divorce, you should know them going into a marriage. Not only does this give you a base to work from in the event of a divorce, but it also enables you to effectively and proactively protect your wealth, long before a divorce occurs. 

Never Enter a Second Marriage Without a Prenuptial Agreement

If you did not sign a prenuptial agreement before your first marriage, it is likely you know just how messy dividing assets in a divorce can be. When you add in the fact that may divorcees also have children from their previous marriage, perhaps even child support and spousal support obligations, the importance of protecting one’s assets in a second marriage becomes even more crucial. One of the most effective ways to do this is to ensure you have a sound and concise prenuptial agreement before you marry a second time. 

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Wheaton family law attorneysStudies have long shown that divorce can impact the academic performance of children, but a new research project provides even more insight into the types of families that are more likely to see such issues after a divorce. Learn more in the following sections, and discover how our seasoned attorneys may be able to help improve the outcome for your children. 

Study Examines Academic Issues in Children After Parental Divorce

The study, which was published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, examined the families and socioeconomic demographics of 11,512 children and 4,931 children to determine their risk of divorce. Researchers then cross-referenced the data and compared it to the educational outcomes of the children who ultimately experienced a divorce, as well as those who did not. Children from families that had a low risk of divorce saw a greater risk of poor academic performance and an increased risk of not completing their education. 

Specifically, the children from families with a low divorce risk were 6 percent less likely to graduate from high school, and approximately 15 percent less likely to graduate from college. In contrast, children who came from families with a high risk of divorce suffered almost no academic deficit after the separation of their parents. 

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Illinois parenting time attorneysWith more parents speaking out about the benefits of 50-50 shared parenting, and more studies indicating their benefits, the popularity of such plans are increasing. Of course, like most things, there are some challenges to drafting such a parenting plan - especially if you are used to being around your child all of the time or have doubts about the other parent’s ability to handle the child. Discover how to overcome such challenges in your parenting time case, and how our seasoned family law attorneys can assist you with the process. 

Pursue an Amicable Divorce or Separation

Relationships that end in explosion might make for great fiction, but in real life, these endings have real consequences - especially when there are children involved. Studies have shown that it is not necessarily the end of the relationship that negatively influences children. Instead, they say it is the amount of conflict they experience between their parents on a daily basis. That means two very important things:

  • Staying in a toxic relationship is highly unlikely to benefit your child. Instead, it is far more likely to do them harm, and
  • An amicable split to your relationship is far less likely to have a negative impact on your child than a toxic one.

Focus on Your Child’s Needs and Best Interests

Parents are only human, and divorce and break-ups are often painful, which can cause emotions to run high. As a result, the parent may struggle to separate their own feelings about the end of the relationship from what the child truly needs - which is often a healthy, connected relationship with both of their parents. 

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DuPage County divorce lawyersDuring the Great Recession, many savvy investors jumped into the housing market - and a decent percentage of them hit it big. Their success, paired with popular house-flipping television shows, caused many “average” people, who had no real investment experience, to jump into the market as well. What happens to these investors when a divorce occurs? Learn more about how real estate is divided in an Illinois divorce, and discover what our seasoned Wheaton divorce lawyers can do to assist you with the process. 

Dividing Real Estate with a Prenuptial Agreement 

Ideally, investors would have a prenuptial agreement in place before a divorce, as this is the easiest way to ensure a straightforward division of the marital assets. Granted, there are situations in which a prenuptial agreement may not be honored (i.e. a prenuptial agreement signed under duress), but these are fairly rare. Just note that investors are highly encouraged to seek legal assistance when drafting their prenuptial agreements, as this decreases the risk of legal issues in the division of the marital estate. 

Dividing Real Estate Without a Prenuptial Agreement 

If the couple does not have a prenuptial agreement in place, the entire marital estate must be valued and equitably divided. Unfortunately, in high asset situations (which most divorces involving real estate are), the asset division process can be extremely complex. As such, it is highly critical that both parties have a seasoned attorney on their side, protecting their interests.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersMoney can cause numerous issues in a relationship. In fact, it is one of the biggest reasons that couples argue and divorce. It can also be an especially contentious matter in divorce. Thankfully, there are some steps that you can take to protect your financial future in an Illinois divorce case - and it starts with knowing which financial issues may impact your case. Learn more in the following sections, including how a seasoned divorce lawyer can assist with the process. 

Know the Value of Your Marital Estate

Every couple handles their money differently. Some couples share financial knowledge and information. Others have just one party managing marital finances. In either scenario, complications can arise. The biggest risk is hidden money or debts, which is far more common than most people think. In fact, one in five parties admits that they have undisclosed money or debts in their relationship. As such, it is critical that parties obtain the assistance of a seasoned lawyer to ensure they have a clear understanding of their marital finances. 

Examine Your Marital Debts

Divorcing couples are usually aware of just how important it is to take stock of their marital assets, but they often overlook the importance of taking stock of their marital debt. Unfortunately, such an oversight can dramatically impact the outcome of one’s divorce case. In contrast, parties that take stock of their marital debt and create a plan for dealing with it often experience better financial outcomes after their divorce. An attorney does not have to be your only resource for resolving marital debt either; you can also find assistance through an accountant, financial advisor, or credit counselor. 

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Illinois divorce attorneysJust as married people do not usually enter into marriage, one day planning to divorce, business owners do not typically start their companies, expecting to one day divide it with their ex-spouse. As a result, there are many business owners who do not have a prenuptial agreement in place to protect their company. 

Unfortunately, the lack of pre-planning can put the business and its owner at risk for significant financial loss - perhaps even to the point of closure. Thankfully, with some precautionary measures and the guidance of a seasoned divorce lawyer, business owners can still protect their companies in a divorce. Learn more with help from the following. 

1. Keep Your Plans for Divorce Under Wraps

If you own a business and are planning to initiate a divorce, hold off on telling your spouse until after you have had the chance to speak with a divorce lawyer. Divulging your plans to your spouse takes away your ability to prepare and plan ahead. 

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Illinois divorce attorneysClaiming dependents on your taxes is usually a pretty straightforward process, but if your family has recently been through a divorce, things can be a little more complex. Given the significant impact that dependents can have on one’s tax status, it probably comes as no surprise that the matter can cause a great deal of strife between recently divorced parents. 

Normally, a divorce decree dictates who claims the dependents on their taxes, but disagreements and discrepancies can and do sometimes occur. There are also situations in which one parent may attempt to deprive the other of their right to claim the dependents on their taxes. Learn what can happen in these scenarios, and discover how our seasoned DuPage County divorce lawyers can help to clear up confusing matters involving your divorce. 

What Happens When Two Parents Try to Claim a Dependent?

If a divorce decree dictates who is supposed to claim the children, and both parents attempt to claim them, the matter is usually resolved by supplying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with proper documentation. However, if a decree does not exist, then the IRS has a series of tie-breaker rules that they use to determine who gets the credit. In order, these rules are:

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

Understanding Uncontested and Contested Divorce

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

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

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

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DuPage County divorce attorneysGoing through a divorce will likely have a profound impact on nearly every aspect of your life. This is especially true when it comes to your finances. For most people, a divorce is not only going to take two combined incomes and split them up, but it will also change what financial responsibilities you have.

You may, for example, have to start paying child support or spousal support, which will obviously have to be added into your monthly budget. Even if you are receiving child support or spousal support payments, however, you will need to use that money to cover many new expenses caused by the divorce. The following four tips can help you to put yourself in as strong of a position as possible after your divorce is finalized. 

1. Start a Strict Budget Now

Living on a budget is always important, but during and just after a divorce, it is more critical than ever. Do everything you can to minimize your expenses now, and live well under your means. Once the divorce is finalized and you are able to accurately see all your new income and expenses, you can start transitioning into your ‘new normal’ for money. It is much easier to have a little extra money in your budget after a divorce than it would be to be short each month. 

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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 attorneysGoing through a divorce is widely considered to be one of the most painful and difficult experiences that one can go through. In fact, many psychologists and grief counselors have compared the trauma of divorce to that of suddenly losing a close loved one (in terms of the emotional pain that it can cause). With this in mind, a growing number of people are seeking help during and after a divorce to help them to adjust in a healthy way. 

Two of the most common options for coping with a divorce are support groups and professional therapy. Determining which one is right for you will help to ensure you are receiving the best possible assistance.

Are Support Groups Right for You?

Support groups are typically comprised of people who are all going through (or have gone through) a similarly difficult event, such as divorce. While there may be someone who is in charge of the group to help keep things progressing properly, the actual support and advice will come from everyone in the group. 

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DuPage County parenting time lawyersGoing through a divorce is hard on parents, but it can be especially difficult for children. They are experiencing a range of emotions, and they might not understand how to deal with those emotions effectively. Reading books to your young children can help them to see that they are not alone, and what they are feeling is normal. Books can also show children how to deal with and express complex emotions. The following books would be a great place to start: 

It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear, by Vicki Lansky

This sweet story tells of a young bear cub whose parents are getting divorced. Koko Bear goes through a range of emotions, including anger, guilt, sadness, and confusion. The best part of the book is that it offers advice to parents on how to help children with these emotions. 

My Family’s Changing, by Pat Thomas

A sweet little picture book that tells about how divorce affects families. It has a “What About You” section that gives parents a number of questions that parents can ask their children. Ultimately, answering these questions can help the child to better understand and express their feelings. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysAlthough the 2017 American Community Survey estimates the number of divorces is on the decline in Illinois, women still need to be aware of how to protect themselves financially, should divorce become inevitable.  There are two common financial mistakes shared by a number of divorcing women - not only in Illinois but throughout the United States.  By taking a proactive role and getting ahead of these common financial mistakes, women can save themselves a lot of frustration and be better prepared for their future.  

1. Not Knowing Your Marital Assets and Debts

In Illinois, there is a presumption that property acquired during the marriage is marital property, therefore it should be divided equitably. However, many women are unaware of the extent of their marital property, which may cause them to leave money on the table. Consider that marital property can include a variety of assets - from retirement accounts and offshore bank accounts to car collections and earnings on investments. It is important to immediately identify and determine the values of these items since knowing these values will allow for a more equitable share in the assets of the marriage.  

While it is crucial to know the marital assets, it is just as important to be fully informed of the marital debts. Where there is often a lack of knowledge of assets, the same is often true of marital debts. Debts can include car loans, home mortgages, credit cards, lines of credit, or any other debt. These will be factored into a property settlement along with any assets. If unaware and unprepared for them, you could be financially crippled in your new life, long before you even begin. Thankfully, with guidance and skilled legal counsel, you may be able to overcome such financial hurdles in your Illinois divorce. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysDivorce can be a painful, heart-wrenching experience - particularly for those that miss the signs and have no prior knowledge of their spouse’s desire to end the marriage. That was what happened to one Iowa woman. Rather than allow herself to fall into self-pity, she threw herself into a creative and healing project that eventually turned into a thriving business.

Woman Bakes Her Way to Happiness and Financial Stability After Divorce 

In a feature from the Des Moines Storytellers Project, an Iowan woman revealed how she had turned the devastating news of her divorce into a healing adventure and lucrative business. “Kindred spirits” from the start, the couple had married in a whirlwind, just one year after they met. Over the course of 13 years, they went on many adventures and raised three children together. Then, one day, the husband said he wanted to end the marriage. 

At the time, the middle-aged woman had no idea what to do with her life. Then she met another divorcing woman in her neighborhood who had been selling baked goods out of her house to make extra money. The two joined forces, and before they knew it, they were creating delicious pastries for some of the state’s most prestigious customers. Three years after starting their business, they took over a landmark building in Fort Madison and expanded the bake shop. A second location was opened in 2002, and the offers for cookbooks and book deals came pouring in. Eventually, the two women decided to sell off the original location, but they both continue to run the second one together. 

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