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Wheaton divorce lawyersWhile most divorcing couples choose a collaborative divorce path (i.e. mediation), there are still situations in which litigation is either necessary or more appropriate. In fact, some divorcing parties may fare better during a litigated divorce. For others, it may be the only way to ensure a fair ruling. How do you determine if this path is right for your Illinois divorce case? The following information on the pros and cons of a litigated divorce can help you decide. 

Potential Disadvantages of a Litigated Divorce 

Since the risks of a litigated divorce can sometimes outweigh any potential benefits of litigation, divorcing parties are highly encouraged to consider the disadvantages before examining any possible benefits of this divorce path. In particular, parties should know that: 

  • Litigated divorces are usually more costly. Not only do you have to cover the court costs, but your legal fees will probably increase as well. The more contentious the proceedings become, the more your divorce is likely to cost. If money is a factor in your case (either because you have a high net worth and at are a risk for extreme financial loss or are simply concerned about your financial future), you may want to consider a collaborative divorce over litigation;
  • Litigation is an inherently adverse path to divorce. It puts you and your spouse at opposing sides, so arguments and contention are far more likely to occur, and as mentioned previously, this is likely to cost you more money;
  • There is always the risk that you will not agree with the ruling. While judges try to be fair and follow the law, they do not have the time or ability to fully understand your situation; and
  • Litigated divorces are less customized, which can be especially problematic if there are children or pets involved. In contrast, collaborative divorce can offer parents and pet owners more options when it comes to custody and visitation. 

Potential Advantages of a Litigated Divorce 

Although there are many potential disadvantages to a litigated divorce, there are also some distinct advantages that parties should know, such as:

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Illinois divorce lawyersDivorce, like many things in today's do-it-yourself society, has become something that people try to handle on their own. Unfortunately, a DIY divorce approach can result in numerous consequences for both parties. Learn more about them in the following sections, and discover where you can find seasoned, competent legal representation in your Illinois divorce case. 

Incorrect Valuation of the Marital Estate

One of the first steps in divorce is to determine the worth of a couple’s marital estate, which is typically done through a complex process known as a valuation. Sadly, there are many things can impede the valuation, such as a spouse trying to hide or dissipate their marital assets to keep money away from their spouse. Parties may also make mistakes when trying to handle the matter on their own, which can dramatically impact one’s settlement amount. In extreme cases, improper valuation may even result in an extreme financial loss, which could result in financial strain after the divorce or even divorce-induced poverty. 

Improper Division of a Retirement Account or Pension Plan

Retirement accounts and pension plans can be exceptionally difficult to divide in divorce - and most just because they are subject to improper valuation (a problem that is highly common with pension plans since they can change value several times over the course of the divorce). The rules of division vary from one type of pension plan to the next. For example, a 401K needs a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), and the document must match the information found in the divorce decree, but other retirement plans may not require this same document. Since retirement accounts are often one of the more valuable assets that a couple owns, any mistakes can be costly for the involved parties - and not just immediately, but far into the future.  

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Wheaton divorce attorneysOf all the issues that a couple faces in divorce, matters that pertain to the division of marital assets can be some of the most complex, confusing, and contentious. This area is also where couples tend to make the most critical mistakes. Avoid such issues during your Illinois divorce with help from the following information and assistance from a competent divorce lawyer. 

How Assets Are Handled in an Illinois Divorce

Unless the divorcing parties signed a prenuptial agreement before the beginning of their marriage, the assets that were obtained over the duration of their union are typically considered “joint” or “marital assets.” Such assets are usually subject to the division of assets process that takes place during a divorce. Parties can negotiate how they will be divided, but it is highly recommended that spouses each obtain their own legal counsel before signing a settlement agreement, as there may be factors that dramatically change one’s entitlement to the marital estate. For example, a stay-at-home mother may not think she is entitled to much of the marital estate since she did not really earn any income over the course of the marriage, but the courts would consider her contribution to the family (sacrificing her career or earning ability to care for the couple’s children) as one that increases her overall stake in the marital estate.

When to Split the Debts and Assets in Your Marital Estate

When it comes to dividing your debts and assets in a divorce, timing is everything. Some items should not be divided until the entire divorce process is complete (i.e. a retirement pension plan or a child’s college savings fund). Others, like credit card debt and student loan debt, can be separated before you officially file for a divorce, so long as you both agree to the terms. How you handle the latter is entirely up to you, but do not enter an agreement or make changes to your marital estate without first consulting your attorney. They can guide you in how to ensure that any agreements made before the start of proceedings are honored at the end of them. 

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Wheaton family law attorneysWhile some couples are able to completely end their relationship with a divorce, others must continue to interact with one another because of the children they share. This new relationship, a process that is more commonly referred to as co-parenting, continues (at least) until the child turns of age. How you navigate it - not just during the divorce, but long after - can make a massive difference in how your child adjusts to the new structure of their family. Increase your chances of success by using these five tips for successful co-parenting, and discover how a seasoned divorce lawyer can help improve the outcome in your Illinois divorce. 

1. Keep Your Child Out of the Divorce 

Though children are inevitably affected by the divorce of their parents, they should not be privy to all the details of the case. It is a personal and financial matter between adults who wish to end their relationship. The child’s relationship with each parent usually continues, however, so long as it is in their best interest (which it usually is). Allowing them to overhear details could taint the child's perception of the other parent, and that could ultimately create maladjustment issues for them. Alternatively, if you lean on your child and overshare details with them, you could potentially harm your child’s relationship with not just the other parent, but yourself as well. Avoid such issues by ensuring you keep your child out of the divorce as much as possible. 

Do not argue with your spouse when your child is nearby, avoid phone conversations when your child is around, and be sure to make sure your child is not within earshot when speaking to friends and family about the divorce. If asked directly about the divorce, be honest with your child but only share as much information as necessary. 

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Illinois divorce attorneysDivorce can be a costly endeavor - especially for the wealthy. In fact, the moderately wealthy tend to argue more than any other demographic group during divorce. Yet, interestingly enough, the extremely wealthy tend to divorce more amicably. Why is this and how can you protect your wealth, regardless of your marriage’s net worth? The following information explains. 

Moderate Wealth vs. Extreme Wealth - What is the Difference?

Although contention over money is common across all income groups, those that are worth one million to five million tend to fight longer and far more frequently than any other group of divorcees. Interestingly enough, couples worth over five million tend to divorce more amicably. Relationship experts believe there is a reason for this. They say that, when you are only moderately wealthy, you are not set for life, and that lack of financial security can cause some to become hostile in divorce. Unfortunately, the desire to protect one’s wealth (and the social status that comes with it) can sometimes be the very thing that threatens their financial future. 

Long, contentious divorces usually cost more money - and not just because attorney fees are higher. There may be costs associated with forensic accountants, which are often to track. down hidden assets in high net worth divorces. Parties may also need a valuation of a business, and each party may choose to hire their own evaluator in addition to the one appointed by the courts. High net worth couples with children may also squabble over the amount of child support and other child-related matters, which can further drive up the cost of a high asset divorce. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid such pitfalls in your own divorce case. 

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Abraham Lincoln A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock and trade. -Abraham Lincoln
Davi Law Group, LLC handles family law, estate planning and real estate matters for clients in Chicago and throughout the western suburbs including DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, Kendall County and Cook County and the cities of Aurora, Bloomingdale, Bolingbrook, Carol Stream, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Joliet, Kendall County, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Park, Oak Brook, Oswego, Park Ridge, Roselle, St. Charles, Villa Park, Warrenville, Wheaton, Winfield, Woodridge and Yorkville, Illinois.
Warrenville Office
Address28371 Davis Parkway, Suite 103, Warrenville, IL 60555
Phone(630) 657-5052
Fax(888) 350-9195
Wheaton Office
Address1776 S. Naperville Road, Building A, Suite 105, Wheaton, IL 60189
Fax(888) 350-9195
Chicago Office
Address321 N. Clark Street, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone(312) 985-5676
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Address58 N. Chicago Street, 7th Floor,
Joliet, IL 60432
Phone(815) 582-4901
Fax(888) 350-9195
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