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Kane County divorce attorney property division

Illinois requires an equitable distribution of property during the divorce process, but this does not necessarily mean that every last asset owned by either spouse must be divided. Rather, properties that are considered non-marital are excluded from the process of property division, and one of the best ways to protect your assets and financial interests in your divorce is to ensure that you have a strong understanding as to which of your personal assets are considered non-marital. However, this is often complicated, and it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can provide qualified advice and assistance.

How to Identify Non-Marital Property in Illinois

As you prepare your financial records for your divorce conference or trial, you should pay special attention to the following forms of non-marital property as defined by Illinois law:

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In many ways, divorce mediation offers advantages over trial litigation, including greater control over the outcome, increased privacy, and often lower costs and a shorter time frame. However, it is a mistake to assume that mediation is “easy” and therefore requires less preparation. Even if you and your spouse get along exceptionally well and are committed to a mutually beneficial resolution, you will still have to make many important decisions that can affect the rest of your lives. With so much on the line, it is best to go into your mediation sessions fully prepared.

Tips for Preparing for Divorce Mediation

If you have decided to try to resolve your divorce through mediation, here are some things you can do to prepare before the process officially begins:

  1. Gather your documents. Primarily, this includes documentation of your financial assets and debts, including both marital property and your own personal, non-marital property. Bringing your own documents can help you protect your interests as you negotiate a fair division of property. If you and your spouse have previously created a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, this is also an important document to bring with you to mediation, as it can significantly expedite the process.

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Kane County divorce attorney debt division

A divorce often involves conflict, or at least extensive discussions, regarding the equitable division of marital property. It is understandable that you and your spouse will both have strong feelings about the assets that you want to retain, for both personal and financial reasons. However, as you engage in these conversations, it is important not to forget about the impact of marital debt on the proceedings. You will want to be sure that you are not left with more debt than you can handle, and that any debts remaining in your name are appropriately managed.

What Is Considered Marital Debt?

In Illinois, debts are treated much the same as assets when it comes to determining which are considered marital and non-marital. This means that a debt incurred by one of the parties before the marriage will likely remain separate, or the sole responsibility of that person, but a debt incurred by either or both parties during the marriage may be considered the joint responsibility of both partners. Along with marital property, these marital debts must be distributed equitably when the partners decide to get a divorce.

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Kane County divorce attorney parenting time

After a divorce, sharing parenting time with your former spouse throughout the year can be difficult, and sharing time on the holidays can be even harder. It is not easy to get used to the idea that you may be apart from your children at such a meaningful time, but it is important to recognize that your children need to be able to spend time with both parents. While you and your ex may not agree on every detail regarding holiday parenting time, you should try to practice healthy ways of managing this disagreement.

Co-Parenting Suggestions for Important Holidays

Whether this is the first holiday season after your divorce or you have been trying to successfully co-parent for years, these tips may help you manage conflict with the other parent more effectively:

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Kane County divorce attorney child support

Couples who decide to end their marriage have several decisions to make, including how to divide their assets and property. When children are involved, there are additional factors to consider. Parents who get a divorce while their children are under the age of 18, one of the court’s top priorities is ensuring that the children will still have access to the same level of financial support from both parents that they had during the marriage. In most cases, this means that one parent will be ordered to pay child support to the other for the purposes of providing for the children’s basic needs. As you prepare for your Illinois divorce, it is important to know whether you are likely to be the paying parent.

What Factors Influence Child Support Payments?

Based on the way that child support is calculated in Illinois, the answers to two basic questions can help you determine whether you will be expected to make support payments to the other parent:

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Kane County divorce attorney parenting plan

Divorce can be especially difficult for children. It can be hard for them to understand the reason why their parents’ marriage is ending, and they are certainly not the ones responsible for the final decision, but their lives will nevertheless be turned upside down as a result of the separation. As a parent, it is important for you to understand how a divorce can affect your children so that you can provide the best possible support for them now and in the future.

Common Effects of Divorce on Children

On a surface level, the most notable effect of a divorce on children is the major change to their routine, as they will likely be dividing their time between both parents’ homes. Working with your spouse to develop a thoughtful parenting plan that addresses parenting time and decision-making responsibilities can go a long way toward helping your children adjust to this transition and ensuring that their best interests are protected.

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Kane County divorce attorney asset division

Getting a divorce can have significant financial implications not only for your immediate future but also in the long term. In particular, it may have an impact on your retirement plans, especially if you are divorcing later in life. Statistics show that more and more older couples are getting divorced these days, referred to as “gray divorces.” It is important to be aware of the potential effects of ending your marriage at this stage and to consider options that allow you to keep your retirement goals within reach as much as possible.

Divorce and Your Golden Years

Often called the “Golden Years,” retirement can be an enjoyable time for active adults who are done working. However, divorce brings a number of changes that can affect your retirement plans, including:

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Kane County divorce attorney spousal maintenance

The words “alimony” and “spousal support” may conjure visions of ugly court battles in which each spouse tries to get the better of the other, but in reality, this often does not have to be the case. If you and your spouse are willing to cooperate, it is possible to reach a mutual agreement on spousal support without requiring a trial at all. If you are concerned about your ability to support yourself financially after your divorce, it may be in your best interest to negotiate with your spouse to establish a maintenance arrangement that meets your needs.

Suggestions for Successful Spousal Maintenance Negotiations

As you prepare to approach a negotiation with your spouse on the subject of spousal support, here are some tips that may help you succeed:

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Algonquin family law attorney legal separation

If you are confident that staying married is no longer in your best interest, the finality of a divorce may be what you need to move forward with your life. On the other hand, if you have doubts or reservations, divorce may feel like too permanent of a decision for your current situation. In this case, a legal separation may be a good option, but you should be aware of the potential benefits and drawbacks before you begin the process.

Advantages of a Legally Separating

During a legal separation, you and your spouse will live separately while remaining legally married. One spouse’s move to a new residence does not automatically initiate a legal separation, however. Rather, you will need to bring the action before your county court.

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Kane County divorce attorney property division

A couple may choose to get a divorce for a wide variety of reasons, and chances are, there is more than one contributing factor in any divorce situation. A recent study in the Couple and Family Psychology journal sought to identify some of the common causes by interviewing divorced people about their reasons, and you may find your own situation reflected in the results. It is important to note that depending on the reasons for your divorce, you may be in for a very different divorce process.

Why Do Couples Get Divorced?

Some of the most common reasons for divorce reported in the study include:

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Algonquin divorce attorney order modification

Once your divorce is finalized, it is important to recognize that the terms ordered or approved in court are legally binding and that there can be significant consequences if you fail to follow them. However, this does not necessarily mean that you are forever trapped by an agreement that puts you at a disadvantage, especially if your situation has changed significantly since your divorce. When circumstances call for it, you can pursue a legal modification to your divorce decree that considers your current state of affairs.

Reasons for a Divorce Decree Modification

The most common elements of a divorce decree that can be modified are spousal support, child support, and the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities. There are a number of possible situations in which a modification may be necessary or beneficial, including:

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Algonquin uncontested divorce attorney

If you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, your top priority may be getting it over with as quickly as possible and with as little stress as is necessary. You may feel that the best way to do this is to handle everything on your own in an uncontested divorce, in which you and your spouse reach an agreement on all important decisions before submitting it for court approval. However, even in an uncontested divorce, an attorney can be a valuable resource, and you should give serious consideration to hiring one to ensure your rights are protected.

Benefits of an Attorney for Uncontested Divorce in Illinois

Divorce attorneys are not just for divorces that have to go to trial. Some divorce attorneys are understanding of your desire to maintain civility and avoid excessive conflict in your divorce, and they can provide their services in a way that allows you and your spouse to continue to handle the process amicably. Some ways that an attorney can assist with an uncontested divorce include:

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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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