DuPage County Family Law AttorneyDivorce is notorious for being difficult to afford, yet people on tight budgets finalize their Illinois divorces every day. While the services of a great attorney are rarely free, there is no reason that financial restraints should force anyone to stay in a terrible relationship. If you are considering divorce in Illinois and are wondering if you can afford it, here are five tips for making divorce more affordable. 

Use a Mediator

One of the things that can make divorce more expensive is a long, drawn-out negotiation period. When spouses cannot agree on important issues like parenting time and asset division, a trained mediator can help them meet, prioritize, and stay focused on problem-solving without letting personal issues get in the way. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, paying for a mediator early in your divorce can help you save a lot of money in the long run. 

Ask Your Spouse for Interim Spousal Maintenance

While your divorce is ongoing, you may be able to successfully petition the court for financial support during the divorce. Illinois judges will often grant interim spousal maintenance so stay-at-home parents without an income can still afford to get divorced. You may also be able to request that your spouse pay for your attorney fees, but you will have to prove that you cannot afford an attorney yourself and there is no guarantee that your request will be approved. 

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DuPage County Divorce LawyerNobody gets married planning to get divorced, yet the statistics on how many marriages ultimately end are widely known. The truth is, even with the best of hopes, people grow apart, life throws unexpected curveballs at all of us, and the things we want can change over time. 

Married couples tend to go through similar life stages, and certain major changes frequently trigger divorce. Difficulty adjusting to a new reality, a shift in perspective, or a realization that a couple no longer shares priorities or common goals can all put enormous stress on a marriage. Here are five significant life events that may lead to or contribute to divorce. 

Childbirth 

While most first-time parents look forward to the birth of their first child, infants bring with them many new stressors and a serious lack of sleep. As a result, relationship satisfaction tends to plummet with very young children. A couple’s difficulties tend to become exacerbated rather than healed. Sometimes, this can lead to a permanent breakdown in the relationship. 

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DuPage County Divorce LawyerFor most couples, determining which assets are marital property and which are individual property is fairly straightforward. Many couples own a house, a couple of cars, and shared bank accounts, all of which are probably marital property. However, for some couples–especially those with high net worth, family inheritance, or inadequate prenuptial agreements–questions about which assets are marital property can become very contentious. 

This process is complicated by the fact that some spouses will try to claim property they know is not theirs, or hide property that is technically marital property to try to enhance their financial position after a divorce. If you are in this situation and want to ensure you get a fair division of marital property, an experienced Illinois divorce attorney with the assistance of a professional forensic accountant may be able to help you. 

Asset Tracing

When a couple buys a home together, that asset’s history is usually very simple and there is a paper trail to prove it. Joint signatures on a loan agreement, payments recorded on bank statements, or a title in both spouses’ names makes it easy to track, or “trace,” the asset’s history. 

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DuPage County Divorce LawyersAsk any parent and they will tell you that a convenient benefit of having children is being able to claim them as a deduction on a tax return. Married parents receive a significant financial break when they file jointly and claim their child as a dependent. But after divorce, only one parent can claim a child every year on their taxes. So how do parents know which parent can claim a child? And is this a big enough issue to include in financial negotiations? 

Deal with Exemptions in Your Divorce Decree

Parents often forget to deal with taxes during the divorce process. However, parents who do not establish who will be claiming the child as a dependent may be setting themselves up for an unpleasant surprise if they both file. Unless parents specify who will claim the child as a dependent, the IRS considers the parent with whom the child resides for the majority of the year to be the parent who can claim the child. This may not be ideal for one or both parents.

Fortunately, spouses who proactively deal with this issue in their divorce decree can create an arrangement that makes sense for them. Parents can decide to switch off. For example, during even years, the mother claims the child; during odd years, the father makes the claim. Or, parents who have more than one child can divide the dependents so each parent claims one or two children. Divorcing spouses can make this conversation part of a broader financial arrangement that includes an agreement about marital asset division, spousal support, and child support

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DuPage County Divorce LawyerDivorce is always stressful, but it can be especially difficult when one spouse is deployed. Spouses of military members who wish to pursue divorce can still do so, but it is important to understand how military divorce is different. Here, we explore three things divorcing military members may want to consider before filing for divorce. 

Choosing a Venue

Usually, a person can only get divorced in the county where they live, but active service members often have several options when it comes to the location in which they get divorced. These may include: 

  • The state where the military member is stationed 

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