March 6th, 2014 at 12:39 pm
People often view their divorce in a negative light, and that reflex makes a lot of sense. Divorce is, after all, an ending, and the process can be painful at times. But, divorces also have many positive aspects for which you can be thankful.
A divorce can be a freeing experience, it can decrease your stress level, and it can help you get a fresh financial start. While it is impossible to control the varying emotions that you may experience during the divorce process, it may be helpful to at least consider the positive aspects. Mentally reviewing some of the possible benefits of divorce can be helpful, especially during more stressful and contentious separations.
One of the biggest benefits to flow from a divorce is the freedom that comes with it. Relationships, even healthy ones, are built on compromises. Everything from which house you live in to what takeout place you order from becomes a two person decision. While such compromises are an important part of relationships, many people enjoy the freedom of no longer having to make them. After a divorce, people can find themselves redecorating rooms, reconnecting with old friends, and rediscovering hobbies that had fallen by the wayside during the marriage.
The end of a marriage can also bring about a reduction in stress. Bad relationships can weigh heavily on daily life since they often involve constant fighting or bickering. Those disagreements increase stress, and simply make life harder day in and day out. A divorce can help eliminate the pervasive stress of a bad relationship and allow you to move on with your life. In fact, a study done at Kingston University in London showed that women were happier after their marriages ended. And, that was true even if the divorce placed more of financial strain on the women.
Of course, there can be financial upsides to divorce too because it helps give people a fresh start. If you had a spouse who ran up credit card debts during the marriage, that will still have to be dealt with in the divorce process, but divorcing makes their future debts much less likely to apply to you. Furthermore, divorcing can actually come with other financial advantages. For instance, a divorce makes it easier to avoid the Alternative Minimum Tax, a tax rule that often increases the burden of middle-income, married couples. And, according to data from the National Institute of Aging, divorced women who never remarry end up financially better off than their married counterparts later in life.
If you are thinking about getting a divorce you can be thankful for later, contact an Illinois divorce attorney today. Their knowledge and experience can help ensure that you and your interests are fully represented in court.
March 4th, 2014 at 12:36 pm
One question that weighs heavily on most people’s minds during the divorce process is, “how much is this going to cost me?” Unfortunately, that question does not have an easy answer. Divorces can be unpredictable, and their cost depends upon a variety of elements. But, just because a bottom-line figure can be difficult to reach, does not mean that you need to stay completely in the dark on costs. There are many common factors that affect divorce costs, and keeping them in mind can help you stay in control of your legal bills.
Legal fees often form the core of a divorce’s cost, but they can vary quite widely from lawyer to lawyer. The first issue to understand is the structure of attorney’s fees. Often attorneys break their fees down into two sections, the retainer and the hourly fee. The retainer is an up-front fee that some attorneys charge. They can vary widely depending on the attorney’s discretion and area, and range from around $2,000 to $10,000 or higher. Additionally, some attorneys make their retainers refundable under certain circumstances, while others choose not to.
Divorce attorneys can also charge by the hour. Some choose to do this instead of charging a retainer, while many charge a combination of a retainer and an hourly fee. These fees are often on the order of a few hundred dollars per hour, but may range higher or lower. The lawyer’s style can also have a large impact on how expensive hourly fees end up being to the client. A divorce lawyer who seeks out speedy settlements and compromise will probably expend fewer hours than an aggressive lawyer who consistently brings matter to trial, and few hours equates to fewer hourly fees.
Ultimately, the attorney does not control the costs, however. Much depends on the contentiousness of the split. If there is dispute on every issue, like division of assets, custody, and child support, then more legal work will be necessary and the fees will increase.
In addition to legal fees, some divorce lawyers charge for a variety of other costs, such as the mileage they expend driving around, or the cost of office supplies and equipment they use in their work for you. Asking exactly what the lawyer charges for can help you get a handle on the bill. Furthermore, some divorces also require expert testimony. Often courts use this testimony to determine the value of unique or unusual items like homes, businesses, or antiques. Such experts do not work for free, and their testimony can make divorces more expensive. The courts themselves may also charge fees and costs, which can vary from location to location.
If you would like to file for divorce or are just curious about your options, contact a DuPage county divorce attorney today. Their experience can help guide you through the divorce process.
February 28th, 2014 at 12:22 pm
When getting divorced, people often have a difficult time making it public. Deciding whom to tell, what to tell them, and how to go about it can be a complicated process. Everyone in this situation has individual relationships and issues with which to deal, but there are some strategies and tactics that can apply to a wide variety of scenario.
Telling Friends and Family
One of the first things to do when telling friends and family about your divorce is to figure out how close you are to them and how much they need to know. What you should tell a sibling or close friend about your divorce is probably quite different from what you should tell your boss. Once you know what you want to say, sit them down and tell them directly. A long lead-in to a conversation only serves to make people nervous.
You should also consider the order in which you want to tell people. You likely have very different relationships with different people, even among your friends and family. Decide who may be the easiest or most supportive people to tell, and talk to them first. Following this, you can take advantage of that support network, if later conversations with other people do not go as smoothly.
Telling Your Children
Telling your children will be a very different experience than telling the rest of your family, and will probably depend largely on their age and maturity level. One of the biggest differences is that children, especially younger children, will be more primed to think in terms of how the divorce impacts them on a practical level. They may wonder where they will live and whether they will need to change schools, or even who will get the family pet. While you may not have all the answers to these sorts of questions yet, you can definitely benefit from preparing beforehand so that you can tell them what you do know.
Many experts also recommend working with your spouse to tell the children about the divorce together. While some spousal relationships may make it impossible to calmly have such a joint conversation, the stability that it provides may benefit some children. Some experts believe that children can also benefit from having the conversation on a Friday or early in the weekend. This will give you a large window to have the conversation with them, and it will also give them time to process the information. It can also help to prevent the issue from becoming a distraction at school.
If you think now is the right time to file for divorce, contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer today. They can explain the process to you and make sure that you understand all of your options.
February 27th, 2014 at 12:41 pm
Divorce can be a complex process, and, now that it is becoming increasingly commonplace, rumors and misinformation can confuse people as they consider filing. Of course, every individual’s situation is unique, and many specific questions should be cleared up in consultation with a lawyer. But, some more general questions, such as “what gets divided in the divorce process?”, or “what are the differences between fault and no-fault divorce?”, have common answers.
What Gets Decided in the Divorce Process?
While each divorce can present a variety of issues, some decisions the court will eventually make probably include child custody, visitation rights, child support, spousal support (alimony), and property division. However, the court may not need to decide all of these issues, especially if the spouses can come to agreements out of court beforehand.
What Does “No-Fault” Divorce Mean?
As its name suggests, a “no-fault” divorce means that neither spouse was at fault for the failure of the marriage. This means that neither you nor your spouse will need to prove or admit any sort of marital misconduct. In order to file a no fault divorce the couple must meet four qualifications
- The spouses must have lived separate and apart for two years. That does not necessarily mean physically apart. Instead, the spouses must show that they have functioned as two independent people living in the same place.
- The spouses must have irreconcilable differences that caused the marriage to fail.
- Efforts at healing the marriage must have failed.
- Further efforts at healing the marriage would not be in the family’s best interests.
Additionally, the two year requirement may not apply in all cases. If both spouses are willing to waive it in writing, then they may be able to get the waiting period reduced to six months.
What about Fault Divorces?
While Illinois does still have fault divorces, the law has eliminated many of the practical benefits of taking the fault option. Illinois still recognizes many different grounds for fault divorce including:
- A one-year period of abandonment;
- A two-year period of drug or alcohol abuse;
- Repeated instances of extreme physical and mental cruelty, or an attempt on the spouse’s life.
Although Illinois law still lists these as ground for fault divorce, the law also limits their impact on the process. The law prevents judges from considering fault for the purposes of property division and spousal support. However, depending on the type of fault at issue judges could consider them during the child custody process.
If you have more questions about the divorce process, contact an Illinois divorce lawyer today. Their knowledge and understanding of the system can clarify things during this uncertain time.
February 25th, 2014 at 12:43 pm
Individuals thinking about filing for divorce may find the whole process intimidating. Fortunately, no one has to go through it on their own. A Wheaton divorce attorney can guide you through the complicated divorce process. This makes choosing the right divorce attorney for you an important decision, as the correct choice can make all the difference between a relatively painless process and a drawn-out battle.
If you invest time in the beginning, it can come back with interest in the future in the form of an easier separation. Make sure you do your research, conduct interviews with potential attorneys, and watch out for warning signs.
Do Your Research
Doing the research now can save you major headaches later, and there are several things you should look into. One of the first steps is for you to look into how to hire a lawyer in general, and what you should focus on when making the decision. You may want to pay attention to how legal licensing works, or the different types of fee structures that attorneys might charge, both of which can be researched by contacting the Illinois State Bar Association.
Once you have looked into legal licensing and fee structures, continue by looking into divorce attorneys in your area. Gathering recommendations from friends and browsing attorney websites online can yield you great results.
Once you find promising candidates, pick up the phone and call. Explain your situation to the attorney with whom you speak, and ask some preliminary questions. If you like the answers you receive, you can set up an in-person meeting. A face-to-face meeting can help you give them a more thorough explanation of your case, and give you a sense of how they will handle it.
Try to find a lawyer whose demeanor you respect and appreciate. In the event that you are at a firm with multiple attorneys, ask to meet the one who will handle your case, even if they are not the one with whom you meet in the beginning.
Look Out for Warning Signs
The attorney interview can also provide a great opportunity to watch for warning signs to look out for in divorce attorneys. For instance, if they constantly get distracted by their phone or email during the interview, that will most likely not change after you hire them. If they promise you the moon in the interview, that can also be a bad sign, since law can be unpredictable at the best of times. You should also pay attention if the lawyer reveals confidential details of another case. If they do it to someone else, they might do it to you.
If you are currently considering a divorce, contact an Illinois divorce attorney today. They can explain your options and help you through this difficult time.
February 23rd, 2014 at 12:17 pm
Considering a divorce can be a stressful experience, and it is natural to feel a little nervous before your first meeting with your divorce attorney. But, you are not alone, as every year, thousands of people in Illinois find themselves in the same situation. And, as with many things in life, preparation can make all the difference.
If you prepare well for your first meeting with a divorce attorney, you can walk confidently into their office and move forward with everything as smoothly and painlessly as possible. Proper preparation involves gathering paperwork together, and these are a few things to bring that may help you with your first meeting: a list of questions and concerns for the attorney, financial documents to help the attorney understand your assets, and a brief story of your marriage.
A List of Questions
Divorce can be a complex process, and no one likes to have uncertainty surround such an important decision. A divorce attorney can help answer your questions and clarify the likely realities of divorce for you. Coming in with a ready list of questions makes that process even easier. With this, sitting down and writing the list can help focus your thinking and make the whole process seem more manageable.
Financial documents can help your divorce attorney get a clearer picture of exactly where you and your spouse stand financially. This can have a major impact on the divorce, as much of that proceeding focuses on determining how to divide up property. Many different types of financial documents can help your attorney.
- Tax returns provide an overview of the direction of your marriage’s money;
- Banks statements can give your attorney a fuller understanding of where you and your spouse keep your assets;
- Even pay stubs can provide valuable information about the particulars of you and your spouse’s salary.
The Story of Your Marriage
Your attorney can also benefit from a short overview of your marriage. This story can include things like basic descriptions of you and your spouse, as well as things such as assets and debts that you have. It certainly does not need to be a life story, but rather something short that can help orient your attorney and give them a general idea of your situation
If you are considering filing for divorce or have recently had divorce papers served on you, reach out to a DuPage county divorce lawyer today. Their knowledge and experience can help guide you through this complex process.
February 20th, 2014 at 12:12 pm
The state of Illinois has a new tool for collecting delinquent child support. A new law requires casinos and racetracks to withhold the winnings of gamblers found to owe child support in the state of Illinois. The law is part of a growing trend across the country, with multiple states, including Indiana and Colorado, already having such laws in place. The legislature passed the law in the hopes that it would bring down the nearly $3 billion in unpaid child support that Illinois currently has on the books. Legislators expect the law to generate up to $1 million in its first year alone.
The law puts in place a system by which certain wins at the casino or racetrack can be analyzed for collection purposes. If a person wins more than $1200 dollars at a casino, or more than $600 on a two dollar bet at a racetrack, then the winnings become eligible for collection. The legislature chose these amounts as the baseline, as they also act as the threshold for declaring gambling winnings on a tax form in order to collect them. If the gambler’s winnings qualify, then the casino will enter the winner’s information into a computer system, which will check it against the state’s delinquent child support rolls. If the computer notifies the casino or racetrack that the winner owes back child support payments, then the law requires the casino to seize the winnings.
Casinos and racetracks may seize the winnings in any form, including chips, cash, and vouchers, and they will take as much as is needed to pay off the debt, up to the full amount of the winnings. The law also allows the casino to take a 5 percent administrative fee for their diligence, but the law caps that fee at $250. Once the casino collects the money, they turn it over to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which then distributes the money to the family whom the winner owes.
The law also places requirements on casinos and racetracks to provide notice to all gamblers about the possibility of the establishment seizing their winnings. The law requires the casino to post signs at each entrance or exit, as well as at any credit location in the establishment.
If you are currently involved in a child support or child custody dispute, contact a Naperville family law attorney today. Their knowledge and experience can ensure that your rights are adequately protected in court.
February 17th, 2014 at 12:03 pm
While a parental divorce can be a struggle for most children, a study from the University of California at Berkeley identified that in our culture, daughters tend to suffer disproportionately. This happens because, according to the study, marriages with firstborn daughters tend to end in divorce more often than marriages with firstborn sons, all else holding equal.
The paper reports that the chances of a firstborn girl living without a father are 3.1 percent higher than a firstborn boy, which, they say, is a difference of approximately 5,000 girls a year. This increase in divorce among the parents of daughters can cause long term problems if both parents do not take steps to avoid them.
Why the Difference?
While the study did not delve deeply into the causes of the gender difference, the study’s authors put forward three possible theories to explain the gender gap. The first theory is a simple preference of parents towards sons. If parents or even just fathers prefer having male children, then it would keep the family happier, and consequently reduce incidences of divorce. But, the authors also provided two alternative, non-gender-biased explanations for the difference.
First, fathers may believe that the lack of a male role model in the home affects boys more severely, which would make them more likely to stay for the benefit of the children. Finally, fathers may believe that girls cost more to raise than boys. Although economic data does not support that belief, it is a commonly held perception. That extra cost could drive some fathers away from raising girls as opposed to boys.
What Can Be Done?
The study’s authors were unable to offer any concrete solutions to the problem. However, they do make the point that attempting to prevent the family’s breakup is probably not the right tactic. The reasons for such familial dissolution are complicated, and cannot be boiled down to a single factor. Instead, parents should focus on mitigating the economic costs of the divorce on the children, and having both parents play an active, healthy role in their daughters’ lives. This will provide the best resolution for a difficult family situation, while preventing negative long-term impacts.
If you have found yourself in the middle of a divorce or are considering seeking one yourself, contact an Illinois divorce attorney today. Their knowledge and experience can ensure that your interests are fairly represented in court.
February 14th, 2014 at 4:52 pm
People often look at the New Year as a chance for a fresh start. This viewpoint manifests itself in many ways, from new diets to renewed job hunts, and by even affecting divorce rates. While sources disagree over the exact numbers, January and February see the most divorce filings in the United States, as people start to put their plans in motion. Interestingly, no one is quite sure exactly what causes people to hold off until the start of the year to file for divorce, but, anecdotally, it may be a combination of several factors.
One factor that people commonly mention is that New Year’s often provokes self reflection. At the end of a year, people naturally look back on it to evaluate how it went and what they would improve. The same impetus that drives people to craft New Year’s resolutions drives them to evaluate their relationships, and in the process many decide that divorce is the right answer.
The holidays also stand out as one of the greatest reasons for the flood of divorces at the start of the year. Some people say that they make the decision to divorce prior to the holidays, but choose to hold off in order to preserve the sense of normality through that time of year, a thought process that is especially common in families with children still at home. Alternatively, the holidays can also act as the final straw that causes a divorce. Many people experience an increase in stress during that time of year resulting from added financial pressure and other demands of the season. That extra stress can combine with the prolonged proximity to one’s family to act as a catalyst for a divorce that may have been building for some time.
Additionally, several practical factors converge at the start of a year to promote divorces. The period right after the holidays tends to come with a lull in activity that can allow people to focus on what must happen for a divorce. Furthermore, the end of the year acts as a convenient fiscal delineation, so that people can mark their salaries and bonuses for the year, as well as plan for the next year’s taxes.
If the New Year’s start has caused you to start considering divorce, contact an experienced Wheaton divorce attorney today. They can help you work through the divorce process to ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible.
February 12th, 2014 at 10:12 am
More and more divorcees find themselves moving across state lines. Often times they want to move to make a fresh start, and many need to find new jobs to support themselves, which can send to locations across the country. With children in the picture though, the situation becomes more complicated, with the relocation implicating issues of child custody and the other parent’s visitation rights. Courts often hope for children to have a relationship with both of their parents, regardless of who has custody, so Illinois law requires a judge to approve moves across state lines.
Courts understand that sometimes parents need to move, and that those moves can be in the child’s best interest. Consequently, courts devised a set of factors to which they look in order to decide whether to approve a relocation. The court will examine the child’s needs, where the child’s needs can best be met, whether the child’s situation can be improved by the move, and whether there is an important reason motivating the move. While each person’s situation is unique, some important reasons for which the court may approve a move include a danger to the child, a severe medical issue that requires relocation for treatment, or a new job for the custodial parent.
The law also specifically mentions the concept of electronic communication, methods like Skype or other teleconference software that would allow face to face meetings at a distance. While Illinois does recognize the benefit of virtual visitation in general, and permits courts to use it to supplement in person visitation in some circumstances, the law specifically forbids courts from considering it as a factor in favor of allowing out of state relocations.
Moving within the State
Unlike moving out of state, the law does not regulate moving within Illinois. But, there may still be restrictions on those moves as well. Some custody agreements limit the distance that a former spouse can move a child. That restriction is binding and courts will enforce it. Additionally, courts will review the other parent’s visitation schedule prior to the move and they may adjust a it if they believe the move will seriously affect it.
If you or your ex-spouse is planning on relocating with your children, contact a DuPage County child custody lawyer today. They can help advise you on what rights you have in your unique situation.