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Kendall County family law attorney prenuptial agreement

After an emotionally challenging divorce, the idea of finding a new partner can give you hope for a happier future. However, entering into a new relationship, and especially getting remarried, is a major decision that you should not take lightly, as it will significantly impact you, your children, your ex-spouse, your new partner, and his or her family. With a thoughtful approach, you can put yourself in a better position for a happy and healthy second marriage.

Suggestions for a Successful Second Marriage

As you consider beginning a new romantic relationship after your divorce, here are some suggestions that can help you keep your priorities straight:

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Algonquin divorce attorney

The decision to get a divorce often comes with concerns over financial security, especially if you are a stay-at-home parent or homemaker who relied on your spouse’s employment for financial support. It may be intimidating to think about starting over on your own with little education or work experience, but a divorce can also be an opportunity for you to return to school and get an education that can help you support yourself while following your passions.

Tips for Pursuing Higher Education After Divorce

It is never too late to make a decision that can set you up for a better future. If you are interested in earning a higher education degree after your divorce, here are some suggestions to make the most of it:

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St. Charles divorce lawyer parenting plan

When you and your spouse have children together, one of the most important parts of your divorce agreement is a parenting plan that addresses how you will continue working together to raise and provide for your children after the divorce. A thoughtful parenting plan can help your children cope with the changes your divorce brings, and can also help prevent difficult arguments between you and your spouse for many years after the divorce. As you begin to formulate your parenting plan, you should be sure to consider all of the elements that you and your spouse will need to address.

Items to Address in Your Parenting Plan

A complete parenting plan addresses all important elements of your children’s lives with the goal of protecting their interests, needs, and family relationships. Some of the most important pieces of your parenting plan include:

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Posted on in Divorce

Algonquin divorce attorney mediation

When divorcing couples are able and willing to cooperate, the divorce process can move much more efficiently and with less stress and hardship for everyone involved. However, even when you and your spouse both have good intentions, it can sometimes be challenging to reach a resolution on all important issues without help from a professional. In these cases, the services of a trained divorce mediator can be beneficial for assistance with the legal proceedings and making a smooth transition.

Helpful Mediation Strategies in an Illinois Divorce

In divorce mediation, couples retain control over their own decisions regarding parenting agreements, spousal support, property division, and more, with the assistance of a neutral third-party mediator. Since mediators do not take sides or seek to influence or enforce decisions, you may wonder exactly what it is they do. When you hire the services of an experienced mediator, he or she can:

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Algonquin divorce attorney asset division

Under any circumstances, divorce can put a financial strain on couples as they prepare to divide their assets. This aspect of the divorce process may be even more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when property valuations can suffer due to the struggling economy and many people are concerned about job security. However, with the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney and the willingness to explore alternative solutions, you may be able to reach an agreement that protects both spouses from excessive financial hardship.

How Are Assets Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

Under Illinois law, most assets acquired by either spouse throughout the course of the marriage are usually considered marital property. During a divorce, marital property is to be distributed equitably, meaning that the division is usually not 50/50 but instead based on factors including the length of the marriage, the terms of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, child custody arrangements, and each spouse’s contributions to the acquisition of marital property. Each spouse’s health, financial situation, and earning potential are also considered, meaning that if one spouse has been impacted more severely by COVID-19, assets may be distributed accordingly.

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Algonquin divorce attorney litigation

For most divorces in Illinois, it is possible to reach a resolution through a settlement based on a cooperative agreement between the spouses, often with the assistance of attorneys or mediators. However, in some cases, a settlement is not possible, and the terms of the divorce will need to be determined through a trial and court ruling. A trial can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining, but it may be your only option. If you can recognize the signs that a trial may be necessary, you can better prepare yourself with the help of a skilled divorce attorney who can present a strong argument in your favor.

When Is a Divorce Trial Necessary?

A divorce may go to trial if the circumstances surrounding it are contentious. Some signs that you may need to resort to trial litigation include:

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St. Charles divorce attorney child support

In Illinois, both divorced and unmarried parents are obligated to contribute financially to child support for children under the age of 18, which covers their basic needs including food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and regular daily expenses. However, many parents consider it important to pay for their children’s college education even after they have turned 18, and it can be challenging to account for this significant expense after a divorce when the parents’ assets have been divided. If you are a divorcing parent with a child who is in college or planning to attend in the future, you may want to take advantage of Illinois laws that allow you to address college expenses in your divorce agreement.

What College Costs Can Be Covered in a Divorce Agreement?

If the court determines that the situation calls for it, it can order both parents to contribute to college or vocational training expenses for a child up to the age of 23, and in some cases until the child turns 25. The order may account for a wide range of educational costs, including:

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St. Charles high-conflict divorce attorney

The time period surrounding a divorce is often marked by heightened emotions for both spouses as they contemplate what went wrong in the marriage and the many ways in which their lives are about to change. It is only natural that these emotions would lead to conflict over the divorce proceedings and the terms of the settlement, but it is important not to let this contention get in the way of making the best decisions for your future. The more destructive conflict there is between you and your spouse, the more difficult it is to reach a settlement that is mutually agreeable to both parties. Excessive conflict may also mean that your divorce case will have to go to trial, which can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining.

Resolving Conflict Productively

  1. Understand your conflict style. Everyone approaches conflict differently and reflecting on your personal approach before you enter divorce negotiations can help you adapt your style to achieve your goals. For example, if you tend to accommodate the other person’s needs, you may need to make an effort to be more assertive. If you tend to approach conflict competitively, you may need to make a greater effort to listen to the other side.

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Algonquin family law attorney domestic violence

According to the Domestic Violence Intervention Hotline, domestic violence, which is also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse, or relationship abuse, is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Unfortunately, domestic violence is something that affects many married couples worldwide. Although many often correlate domestic violence with physical violence (hitting, punching, slapping, and more), it can take many other forms, such as psychological and emotional abuse. Both forms of abuse can impact the overall well-being of a partner, which can lead a spouse to file for divorce.  

Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse

Some partners might not even recognize that domestic abuse is occurring because there are no physical injuries present to make it apparent. However, the mental and emotional abuse can take a detrimental toll on the body, and feelings worthlessness and hopelessness can quickly arise. Repeated emotional blows, berating, humiliating, and controlling behavior are just a few examples of this abuse in play, as shown below: 

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Kane County divorce attorney division of marital debt

There is no doubt that student loan debt is on the rise in the United States, and something that is burdening the nation. According to America’s Debt Help Organization, the total of U.S. student debt loans is up to a shocking $1.4 trillion. The investment in college is a big decision, and this high price tag often comes with great rewards. Obtaining higher education is important to many, and can offer new career opportunities that can propel the future of families in a positive direction. However, this debt is increasingly becoming an issue of concern for couples who are considering getting a divorce. It is important to consider how the division of assets and debt during your Illinois divorce proceedings can impact you. 

Who Is Responsible for Student Loan Debt in a Divorce?

Typically, the debt that was acquired from student loans before the marriage is of the responsibility of the spouse who attended higher-ed schooling. However, if the student loan debt was obtained during the marriage, then it is likely that will be considered marital debt. Many factors are still taken into consideration, such as when the debt occurred in the marriage, who was the main benefactor, and the earning power of each partner. For example, if a partner acquired a medical degree to bring in a higher income for the family, it may be deemed marital debt since the increased income benefited the marriage as a whole entity. 

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Algonquin divorce attorney

Deciding to get a divorce is often a tedious process. Although most couples enter into marriage believing that they have found their forever partner, it is not always the case. This is a lot more common than you might think. It is estimated that 40–50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. The end of a marriage and a once-thriving partnership can cause a lot of physical and emotional stress on the body. It is important to hire an experienced divorce attorney who can help you with the legal aspects of ending your marriage, but it is also essential to learn how to cope emotionally. Below are a few ways to alleviate those anxious feelings as you navigate the divorce process.

Working Through Change and Learning to Adapt

This massive change in your life can bring about uncomfortable feelings, such as rejection, insecurity, and instability as if your world has flipped upside down. It is important now more than ever to make sure that you are taking care of yourself adequately. To ensure that you are keeping your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional self in check, here are some helpful tips:

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Kane County divorce attorney asset division

In this digital age, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects have skyrocketed. With the help of creative websites and television shows that teach viewers how to do their own projects, rather than hiring someone else, DIY has become a valid alternative in a number of areas. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our society and the way we do things has completely changed. The high number of cases and demands for social distancing have made many people wary of going out in public, even for things as important as legal advice. Those considering divorce during these unprecedented times may be researching ways to complete the process without the involvement of a legal professional. While do-it-yourself projects may be a good idea for some home improvement, it is not a smart option for legal proceedings.

How Does a DIY Divorce Work?

Every state has its own stipulations that go along with divorce, as is the case with all legal proceedings. However, if you simply type “divorce papers” into your favorite search engine, hundreds of options for DIY divorce papers will appear from which you can choose. They likely range in price, all of which promise lower rates than an attorney, yet the generic nature of these documents can lead you into dangerous territory. Simply requiring a signature and a few additional details, these documents may seem like a valid option to save you time and money, but armed with the following information, you should think twice about taking on this DIY project.

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Algonquin divorce attorney mediation

You probably have an idea in your mind about what divorce looks like. It may include discovering your spouse’s hidden assets, failing to come to an agreement on your children, and spending extensive amounts of time with your attorney in court. While contentious divorces can include all of these, many divorces are mutually agreed upon and do not involve drama. Not all marriages end in flames, some simply fizzle out and both parties decide that they are ready to move on. In cases such as these, divorce mediation may be a more productive way of creating your divorce agreement, avoiding time in court, or heated arguments with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Rarely are married couples, who have never been divorced, experts on the divorce process, and the options available to them. Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that may be used if you would prefer to stay away from the divorce litigation process. Mediation allows spouses to discuss how they would like things handled after their divorce with a certified mediator present to act as a neutral, guiding party. In most cases, these mediators are divorce attorneys who also work with individuals who prefer to handle things in court. Finding a mediator who doubles as an attorney is a benefit since they are familiar with the legal details and can help guide you with the various areas addressed in a divorce, including the asset division process, the creation of parenting plans, spousal maintenance payments, and more. Mediation allows you and your spouse to take control of your divorce agreement, rather than placing it into the hands of a judge. It can also help you maintain an amicable relationship with your spouse, which is especially important if you have children and will need to co-parent once the divorce is final.

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Algonquin divorce lawyersMost couples begin their married life together with good intentions that it will last forever. Many partners scoff at the idea that something or someone could come between them. That is, until they find themselves in a loveless marriage or confronted with the fact that their spouse cheated. Statistics show that between 40-50 percent of all U.S. marriages end in divorce

In some cases, the divorce may not be mutual, and one spouse can be blindsided by the news. The thought of being single after several years or even decades of being married is often overwhelming. That is why it is important to seek professional legal counsel to represent your best interests if you suddenly find yourself at a crossroads. In addition, below are a few practical ways to help you move on and find happiness again.  

Reinventing Yourself

Going through a divorce at any age can be daunting, filled with the fear of the unknown. Besides completing all of the legal aspects that go into finalizing your divorce, recognizing the emotional toll it can take on you and your children is also an essential part of the process. Once you realize and accept that your marriage is irretrievably broken, it is time to start thinking about what lies ahead. 

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Kane County family law attorneysThe global pandemic due to the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way we do things. The state of Illinois issued a stay-at-home order in an attempt to limit exposure to the virus. Many people have been working from home in an effort to stop the spread. Despite the restrictions, there may still be legal issues that need attention. For example, if a couple is considering a divorce, they may be wondering if that is still possible during coronavirus. In Illinois, it may be possible to obtain a divorce virtually with the help of a skilled family law attorney. 

Addressing Legal Matters Online

When spouses decide to divorce, there are many issues that need to be resolved, which the couple can do on their own if they agree to the terms. Some of these include the division of assets or property and spousal maintenance if applicable. If a couple has children together, the allocation of parental responsibilities will be allocated and child support may be awarded to one parent. If partners cannot reach an agreement, the court will intervene to help and base its decisions on the best interests of the involved parties. 

Since many courts are temporarily closed except for emergency orders, divorce proceedings are now going online. A virtual divorce allows couples to split up without leaving their houses, which can be a major convenience, saving time and money in traveling to and from court. Numerous people are embracing video conferencing as a new way of completing their divorce proceedings. The process may begin by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage online. In some cases, a judge may decide if depositions and court proceedings are needed to be completed virtually. 

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West Dundee divorce attorneysRegardless of whether you have been having problems for a long time or you were not expecting your spouse to file for divorce, the thought of ending your marriage can be daunting. It can be scary to think about how you will live apart, especially if one of you did not work or made significantly less than each other. Many issues will need to be resolved in a divorce, including the division of property or assets, to name a few. In some cases, your spouse may have been dissipating or  hiding assets in an attempt to receive more after the divorce. Therefore, it is important to have legal representation when making decisions regarding your divorce settlement. In addition to an  attorney’s help, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you are not being taken advantage of by your spouse.   

Keeping Information Private in the Digital Age

In today’s digital world where everything is put online, it can be hard to keep personal matters private. Using electronic devices to send and receive information leaves a digital footprint even if you delete messages. Sensitive information can often become public, and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may try to use that against you. For example, if you post pictures of a lavish vacation you took with your friends, you could find it harder to convince the court that you should be entitled to spousal support payments.
In addition, even if you block your spouse on certain social media sites, you may have mutual friends who take it upon themselves to pass along information they see as potentially damaging to you or your spouse. Basically, you will want to change any shared devices to have separate access so your spouse cannot track your every movement. Turning location sharing services off can prevent this, which can be helpful in divorces that involve stalking or harassment.

Here are a few more ways that you can protect yourself during the legal dissolution of your marriage:

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Kane County family law attorneysDivorce does not have to be the difficult process that you once thought it would be. You and your spouse can avoid costly battles in court and come to an amicable settlement through mediation. Negotiating with your soon-to-be ex-spouse can be challenging, especially if child-related issues are involved. It is important to arrive at your mediation meetings with the right frame of mind. Even with an experienced mediator, it is your responsibility to listen deeply, communicate your needs, and find a compromise. If you are feeling nervous at all, remember that the benefits of mediation go far beyond cost savings, and you have a better chance of maintaining a peaceful relationship with your ex-spouse once the divorce is final. A qualified divorce attorney can help you achieve this goal.

Listen Attentively and Be Courteous

Mediation is about compromise, so that means more than just stating your terms and hoping your spouse will agree to them. Depending on the circumstances, your spouse may attempt to push you to bend to his or her terms. You might also find yourself judging your spouse or focusing on your assumptions, but you will never be able to develop a solution that works for both of you if you do not stay present and respectful. Hopefully, your attentiveness will foster a comparable frame of mind in your spouse and that the mediation will go move forward smoothly.

Do Not Dwell on the Past; Build a Positive Future

Divorce and the painful experiences that lead to it are uncomfortable, but if you are trapped in those emotions, you might run into many pitfalls during your mediation. If this is the case, you will have a difficult time building a future that you can enjoy. Imagine the future that is best for you, your spouse, and your children, and cooperate with your spouse to determine the changes that will lead to that positive outcome.

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Barrington divorce attorney

Mental illness can manifest itself in many different forms, including depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia. Some of these conditions are recognizable while others are harder to detect. Studies show that nearly half of American adults will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. In many cases, these conditions can cause the breakdown of a marriage. The emotional upheaval that a divorce causes can be challenging for anyone to go through, but when one spouse has mental health issues, legally ending a marriage can be even more intimidating. Although Illinois courts do not consider fault in a divorce, it will weigh several factors when determining certain marital issues such as child custody or dividing assets and property. The mental well-being of one spouse may impact the outcomes since a judge will consider what is in the best interest of the children.   

Practical Steps to Protect Yourself

The stress of a divorce can escalate the symptoms of mental illness. For example, a person who suffers from depression may become suicidal at the news that his or her spouse has filed for divorce. In other situations, a mentally ill person can become violent toward his or her spouse or children in response to the marriage dissolving. In certain cases, Illinois courts may terminate parental rights when a parent is mentally ill is unable to perform basic parental duties. 

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Kane County dissipation attorneysAlthough it would be ideal, not every divorce is amicable. One spouse may have been planning to split for months, while the other spouse is blindsided by the news. In certain scenarios, one partner may have controlled all or most of the couple’s finances during the marriage. In these cases, one spouse is put at a disadvantage because he or she is financially vulnerable. 

Under Illinois law, the division of assets or property is subject to equitable distribution. This means any marital property that was acquired during the marriage will be divided in a fair manner. However, one spouse may be guilty of depleting and/or hiding assets in order to keep more for himself or herself after the marriage is legally terminated. Inappropriate spending in such a situation is called dissipation of assets, and a skilled attorney along with a forensic accountant can help in revealing this form of deception.         

How to Detect Wasteful Behavior

Dividing assets or property can be one of the most contested aspects of a divorce. The court considers several factors when determining who gets what. In some cases, the split could be 65/35 or 80/20, or all marital property could even be allocated to one spouse.  

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Kane County divorce lawyersA divorce can impact all areas of a person’s life, from physically separating to breaking apart emotionally and financially. Once the decision to divorce has been made, a couple may think the hard part is over. However, the legal process of ending a marriage raises many new queries that need to be resolved. For example, how will property and assets be divided? If children are involved, who will be awarded the allocation of parental responsibilities and who will pay child support? What are the tax implications, especially when it comes time to file your taxes? With tax season upon us, it is important to be prepared by considering the tax consequences when you get divorced in order to protect your financial future.   

Tax Implications of Divorce

Even if you or your spouse has filed the divorce petition, if you are still married as of December 31 of that given year, you have the option to file jointly for that year’s tax return. Until a divorce decree has officially been issued, you are married in the eyes of the law. However, once your divorce is final, each party has the option to claim as Single or Head of Household. The right choice for your situation will depend on your specific circumstances, and it is advisable that you speak with a tax professional.

If you have children together, the parent with the majority of the parental responsibility typically files as head of household, and the tax exemption or credit for the children usually goes to this parent. In some scenarios, parents can split tax exemptions using IRS form 8332, which means the custodial parent allows the other parent to claim a child on his or her taxes. Parents can also claim a tax credit for each dependent who is under the age of 17. There are also other credits for contributions to education and childcare.

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