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How Can I Protect My Credit Score During My Illinois Divorce?

Wheaton divorce attorney for debt issuesGoing through a divorce can be stressful, and it can have a significant emotional and financial toll on your life. You may not necessarily consider how ending your marriage can affect your credit score until you see the effects of a decrease when applying for a loan or credit card.

Your credit score refers to a number that is based on an analysis of your credit information, and this number represents your creditworthiness. That is, your credit score reflects the probability that you will repay a debt or loan, such as a mortgage. According to FICO, which calculates credit scores in the United States, the amount of debt you have makes up 30 percent of your credit score. Therefore, the lower your debt, the higher your credit score. Protecting your credit during your divorce is essential for maintaining a secure financial future.

Tips For Protecting Your Credit

During your divorce, it is important to consider all the ways your finances may be affected. For example, if a joint account from your marriage is left open, your ex-spouse may miss a payment, default on the loan, or add to the balance owed. If both of your names are still on the account, you will be held responsible for the debt, even if you did not use this credit card or bank account.

If you are unable to pay a credit card balance in full, you should pay the minimum amount required, and make sure to do so on time. Try to avoid maxing out your credit cards, as that will put an additional burden on you to pay them off.

In some cases, people who are in the midst of divorce may want to spend money in an attempt to cheer themselves up, or it may be necessary to purchase new items such as furniture for a new home. Even though you might feel like treating yourself, you should rethink the temptation to splurge. You will not want to incur a large amount of debt that you may not be able to afford on one income.

Here are some other helpful tips for safeguarding your credit score during your divorce:

  • Close any joint bank or credit card accounts.

  • Refinance your mortgage or sell your home and divide the proceeds.

  • Keep paying bills on time.

  • Notify creditors/lenders about the divorce.

  • Get monthly statements on any outstanding accounts.

  • Avoid extravagant spending.

  • Use credit cards wisely.

  • Check your credit report regularly.

  • Place a “freeze” on your credit.

If your ex-spouse was ordered to pay certain joint debts in the divorce agreement, and he or she did not meet those obligations, you may want to pay those debts yourself in order to maintain a good credit rating. If necessary, you can go back to court to secure a judgment against your ex for not following the court’s orders.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can significantly impact your financial status. Whether it is due to losing the other spouse’s income or having to pay the expenses involved in moving to a new home, you may rack up a lot of debt. The Andrew Cores Family Law Group has handled many types of divorces, including high-asset or complex cases. If you are concerned about how your divorce will affect your credit score, our tenacious DuPage County divorce attorneys will work with you to determine the best way to keep your credit score intact. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at 630-871-1002 today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

https://www.aarp.org/money/credit-loans-debt/info-12-2012/protect-your-credit-in-divorce.html

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/FICO-score.html

 

How Can a Child Support Order Be Modified in Illinois?

DuPage County child support modification attorneyAfter you have gone through divorce and are paying or receiving child support, there may come a time when you believe the amount you pay or the child receives should be adjusted. In Illinois, this may be done through a modification review process.

When Can I Have My Child Support Order Modified?

Under Illinois family law, an order for child support is eligible for modification review every three years, or when there is a significant change in either parent’s income or in the needs of the child. In the case of a three-year review, a parent will receive a letter from the agency in charge, informing them of the right to request a review.

Who Conducts the Modification Review?

Modification reviews of child support orders in Illinois are done by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). The agency is tasked with the responsibility to make sure child support orders are consistent with applicable Illinois law and changed circumstances involving all concerned.

What Are the Requirements for Child Support Modification Review?

To qualify for a modification, one of the following conditions must be met:

  • At least three years must have passed since the date child support order was issued or since the date of the decision from the last modification review.

  • There is a substantial change in the non-custodial parent’s income.

  • There is nothing in the order that addresses the child’s healthcare coverage.

  • There is a written communication received by DCSS from the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent, or an agency in another state requesting a review.

If you have requested the modification review, both you and your ex-spouse will receive a letter from DCSS stating whether the order qualifies for modification review or not. You should expect this letter in 30 days or less from when DCSS receives your request. If the order qualifies for modification, both you and your ex-spouse will be asked to provide information to be evaluated in determining whether your request should be granted.

What Happens After a Child Support Modification Review?

DCSS will analyze the information you and your ex-spouse provide to recalculate the amount of child support your child should receive. The results of the analysis will be sent to you by mail. This notice may state that the amount of child support payments will increase, decrease, or remain unchanged. If you disagree with the decision, the law allows you various ways you can have this decision itself reviewed.

An Experienced DuPage County Child Support Lawyer Can Help

Requesting and obtaining a child support modification can be a complicated process, especially when there are other issues that cannot be resolved by DCSS. To ensure that the decisions made will meet your family’s needs while protecting your financial resources, you should work with an attorney who is experienced in family law and understands how the child support modification review process works. If you believe there are good reasons why child support ordered in your case should be modified, our knowledgeable Wheaton, IL family law attorneys are ready to help you get the modifications you need. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-871-1002 today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k510.htm

https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/FormsBrochures/Pages/hfs3588.aspx

 

What You Need to Know About Prenuptial Agreements in Illinois

DuPage County family law attorney for prenupsPrenuptial agreements are often associated with very wealthy individuals, and people who seek a prenup may be seen as believing that their marriage will not last. Because of this, a stigma was attached to these agreements, but this has changed over time, and prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common.

When Is a Prenuptial Agreement Appropriate?

Nowadays, it is routine for marrying couples to discuss, agree to, and sign a prenuptial agreement before they exchange marriage vows and seal their marriage. A prenuptial agreement may be appropriate in a variety of situations, including:

  • One spouse has significantly more assets than the other spouse. In this case, it behooves the spouse with significantly more assets to have a prenuptial agreement in place to protect against the incidental or deliberate inclusion of their assets as marital property in a potential divorce. Ordinarily, assets obtained before a couple’s marriage are considered non-marital property and therefore not subject to division or sharing after divorce.

  • One spouse has children from a previous marriage. It would be prudent for the spouse with children from a previous relationship to ensure assets they owned prior to the marriage are preserved for those children in the event the second or subsequent marriage does not last.

  • Either or both spouses wish to preserve their sanity and civility in the event of divorce. The disputes involved in the end of a marriage can become expensive and litigious, especially in high asset and complex divorce cases. One way to minimize these expenses and keep things simple is to have a prenuptial agreement. This can allow a couple to resolve issues ahead of time and avoid the need for litigation in court, saving both parties time and money. This can also provide a couple with peace of mind that they can amicably address these financial and economic issues in a potential divorce.

Is a Prenuptial Agreement Enforceable in Illinois?

Generally, yes, so long as the agreement is signed by both parties. The only exception would be terms related to child support, parenting time, and parental responsibilities. In those situations, the judge will decide the issues based on what is in the best interests of the child, not the parents.

A prenuptial agreement, however, cannot be enforced in Illinois if it is determined that the agreement was obtained by fraud or duress, or if it is unconscionable. Fraud is established if one spouse lied or concealed his or her assets at the time the prenuptial agreement is signed. Duress is established if it is shown that one of the spouses was induced by a wrongful act of the other to sign the prenuptial agreement. Such wrongful act can be found to be something as subtle as the other spouse not having the opportunity to consult with an attorney prior to signing the agreement. Unconscionability is established when the prenuptial agreement is oppressively and unreasonably one-sided.

Contact a DuPage County Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

It can be difficult for a person to ensure that a prenup is legal and valid without the assistance of an attorney who understands the relevant Illinois laws. If you are planning to create a prenuptial agreement before getting married, our knowledgeable Wheaton, IL family law attorneys are ready to give you legal advice and help you create an agreement that follows Illinois laws and provides you with the protection you need. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-871-1002 today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2087&ChapterID=59