Tag Archives: preparing for divorce

5 Steps to Take Before Filing for Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorney credit scoreWhether you and your spouse have discussed the possible end of your marriage in detail or you are silently debating your options, once divorce becomes inevitable, there are several steps you need to take to protect your interests during the divorce process. Before filing, set yourself up for success with these tips:

1. Begin Building Your Credit

Spouses often discover post-divorce that they have built up their spouse’s credit while neglecting their own. Without a good credit score, down payments for utilities and housing are often significantly higher, if you are able to get approved in the first place. Open a credit card now and use it to make small purchases that you can pay off each month. The goal is not to create a pile of debt; it is to prepare yourself for future success.

2. Understand the Family Finances

For property division and support payments, it is imperative to understand what you own and what you owe. Gather important documents like your credit report, paycheck stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. This information will not only help a judge determine whether you are eligible for spousal maintenance to cover your family’s financial needs, but it will also assist you in creating a post-divorce budget.

3. Prevent Revenge Spending

If at all possible, pay off and close any joint credit card accounts and open separate bank accounts. Inform creditors of the divorce. If you cannot pay off a card or loan, negotiate a deal to reduce the amount owed while you work to close the account. If neither of these is an option, freeze all accounts to prevent further usage.

4. Remember: You are Not Single Yet

Avoid partying, dating, or staying up until the wee hours of the morning, especially if kids are involved. As always, your children should be your first priority. Remember that divorce is stressful for them, too. How you conduct yourself during your case can affect the decisions made about child custody. If you have a romantic interest, it is often best to wait to pursue that relationship until after the divorce is final.

5. Contact a Divorce Lawyer

Do-it-yourself divorces never end up as quick and easy as they may seem, nor do they save money in the long run. Many of these cases result in long courtroom battles and repeated post-divorce modifications. Our suggestion is to speak to a proven DuPage County divorce attorney. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we can help you understand whether you may be able to use methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) such as mediation. This may help you reach a shorter and more amicable solution than a divorce through litigation, and it can empower you and your spouse to create your own divorce agreement. However, this avenue sometimes fails, and litigation in court becomes necessary.

Since 1996, our attorneys have been helping clients reach the outcome they need in both ADR and divorce litigation. We can help you understand your rights and requirements during divorce and work with you to reach a positive resolution to your case. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.




Getting Yourself Ready for a Divorce

Wheaton divorce lawyersIf 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.

Taking Stock

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.

Saving Money

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.





The New Year Brings Divorce Month

divorce, Wheaton divorce attorneysJanuary has earned the nickname of “Divorce Month” because data shows that divorce filings begin to considerably increase in frequency during this time. During January, the number of divorce filings is one-third more than average. The rate of filings remains high through February and March as well.

Family and relationship experts offer a few possible reasons for this trend. One explanation is that couples considering divorcing wait until after the holidays to do so. It can be difficult to explain to friends and relatives why your significant other is not with you at the holiday party or family gathering. Splitting up during the holidays is even more challenging if a couple has children. Many parents do not want to spoil Christmas, Hanukkah, or other important holidays for their children with news of the impending divorce. If you have decided to divorce this January, there are a few steps you can take to protect your interests and make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Protect Your Finances

If you have decided to end your marriage, it is smart to close any joint bank accounts. Doing so does not mean that you believe your spouse will run off with all the marital savings, it just means you are taking the first step towards independence. During a divorce, neither spouse should be making large unexpected purchases or transfers, but separating finances will give both members of the couple protection against this and peace of mind. Make sure that you wait for all outstanding checks to clear and to change the bank account information for any reoccurring automatic payments. Many financial professionals also encourage divorcing couples to pay off and cancel joint credit cards.

Update Your Estate Plan

If you are planning to divorce your spouse, you do not want to continue to have him or her as an executor or power of attorney. Update any powers of attorney or health care directives that give your spouse the right to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated due to illness or injury. Beneficiaries on life insurance policies and retirement accounts should also be updated. You may want to wait until after the divorce is finalized to make these changes in certain circumstances. Some divorce agreements disallow individuals from changing beneficiaries if, for example, the court has ordered them to maintain life insurance as collateral for support obligations. Bring you homeowners, auto and health policies up to date so they reflect your new single status too.

Put Your Support Structure in Place

Divorce is said to be the second-most stressful life event a person can endure, as it can be devastating to end a marriage that you thought would last your whole life. Therefore, it is imperative that you do not try to get through this difficult time alone. Reach out to friends and family and consider employing the help of a therapist. If your divorce will be financially complicated, you may want to seek advice from a financial advisor as well. There is no shame in asking for help through your divorce.

Trustworthy, Experienced Legal Aide

If you are going through a divorce, you need legal counsel that will protect your rights and help you achieve the positive outcome you deserve. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney to discuss your options and to get the assistance you need. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation today.