If you and your spouse are at the point where divorce has transformed from a possibility to a near-certainty, it is time to start thinking about the road ahead. Obviously, it is important to consider your post-divorce life, including where you might live and restructuring your household budget to account for your changing financial circumstances. However, the divorce process itself requires a significant amount of planning and consideration, and being intentional about it can help reduce your stress and confusion.
Deciding to Work Together
A divorce does not need to be nasty and chaotic. In fact, Illinois law includes a number of provisions that encourage divorcing spouses to negotiate, cooperate, and develop workable agreements. If you hope to do so, you and your spouse will need to decide early on that this is what you want. By committing to cooperation, your informal conversations can start right away, and the conclusions that you reach can be later captured in your formal agreement. Of course, your initial commitment is just the first step. You might need to remind yourself repeatedly that cooperation is better than months of drawn-out bitterness.
As soon as you realize that a divorce is likely, you can begin taking notes about what your ideal divorce settlement might look like. Make a list of everything that you and your spouse own, including physical assets like your home, vehicles, or furniture, as well as your investments and any debts. It is also a good idea to think about possible parenting arrangements for your children if you have any. Even if your final agreement turns out to be much different than you expect, your initial notes can provide a starting point for negotiations.
There is no way around it: your divorce is going to cost you financially. While a negotiated divorce is usually much more affordable than one decided through litigation, there will still be necessary costs involved. In addition to filing fees and attorneys’ fees, you might need to put down a security deposit on a new place to live or to activate a cell phone plan separate from your spouse. It is a good idea to start putting money aside so that you are prepared for any unexpected challenges.
Getting Legal Help
Many divorcing spouses attempt to cut costs by skipping out on contacting an attorney. Unfortunately, this can backfire, as a small mistake during the process could cost you much more than you would have spent to hire a lawyer. If you are considering a divorce and would like to know how one of our Wheaton divorce attorneys can help with the process, contact our office today. Call 630-871-1002 for a free, no-obligation consultation.