Since divorces are “no-fault” in Illinois, a person can end their marriage for any reason they choose. There is no legal obligation for a spouse to justify this decision, as there had been in the past. However, couples may still need to recognize when certain issues or concerns may lead to divorce, including common major life events. When a couple is faced with major changes in their lives, it can be difficult to adapt to this new reality, causing stress on the relationship or exacerbating the problems that were already there, which could lead to divorce.
8 Major Life Events That Can Contribute to Divorce
Excluding any of the typical reasons for a divorce that have more to do with the relationship itself, such as infidelity, here are some common major life events that may lead to divorce:
End of Earlier Parenting Years—A common life change that people do not realize has a major effect on a marriage is that time period when the couple transitions from constant parenting (from babyhood through kindergarten) to less and less parenting (from elementary school through college). As the chaos of a child’s early developmental years subsides, and parental responsibilities become less time-consuming, spouses will have more time to address relationship issues that may have existed prior to the child’s birth, or they may reflect on their relationship in ways they were too busy to do before. If issues that exist in the relationship cannot be resolved, divorce may be necessary.
Becoming Empty-Nesters—As children leave home for good, this could help rekindle the spark in a couple’s relationship, or it could lead to spouses realizing that they are not compatible with each other anymore.
Retirement—While it is nice to think that upon retirement, spouses will be sitting on the beach together, holding hands and sipping cocktails, the truth is that each spouse might have an entirely different vision of retirement. One person might want to relocate, while the other might want to continue working or volunteering. These disagreements can create conflict, which may lead spouses to decide they no longer wish to stay married after retirement.
Unemployment or Other Major Job Changes—If a family experiences a loss of income, due to unemployment, pay reductions, demotions, or any other reasons, the stress of financial difficulties will come to bear, and this is one of the most common factors that can contribute to divorce.
Childbirth—The daily stress of sharing in the care for a new baby can put just about any relationship to the test, especially if the lines of communication are already a bit weak. In some cases, these stresses can lead to the breakdown of a relationship and a subsequent divorce.
Illness or Death in the Family—If one spouse or another family member gets sick with a chronic illness, then the entire dynamic of the relationship can change. One spouse might have more responsibilities than the other during this time, and a sick spouse may become more dependent than he/she ever wanted to be. The stress that an illness can put on a relationship may make divorce unavoidable.
Living Apart for an Extended Period of Time—As is often the case with soldiers who get deployed to war, any couple that needs to be separated for a long time may struggle to maintain their relationship.
Major Trauma—From car accidents to wartime scars, witnessing a violent crime, or experiencing a natural disaster, there are many major traumas that spouses may experience. If one or both spouses have problems coping with the trauma, this can take a toll on their relationship.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer
Major life events have the potential to incite massive changes in your life and your marriage. If you and your spouse are not prepared or able to adapt to such changes together, you might be thinking about getting a divorce. If that is the case, then reach out to a DuPage County divorce attorney at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. The compassionate professionals at Andrew Cores Family Law Group will help you understand your options and provide the representation you need throughout the divorce process.
A divorce often results in a host of financial challenges. This is especially true when it comes to gray divorces. If you are getting a divorce while over the age of 50 or after retirement, you may experience significant difficulties due to the need to live on a fixed income with very little opportunity for income growth. However, there are some things you can do to live comfortably enough after your divorce, despite major changes to your finances.
What Should I Do if My Divorce Settlement Is Not Enough?
In many cases, a divorce settlement might not be enough to allow you to meet your living expenses after the divorce, or the resulting financial issues may not allow you to truly enjoy your retirement. In times like these, you might want to consider the following ways to increase your income:
Increase your Social Security benefit—What you may not realize after divorce is that your Social Security benefits do not have to only be based on your own earnings record. If your ex-spouse has a much higher earnings record than you do, then you can increase your monthly Social Security benefits. As a divorcee, you can receive up to half of your ex-spouse’s monthly Social Security benefit. This means that even if you were a lifelong stay-at-home parent without a qualifying earnings record for Social Security benefits, you could still receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s benefit. Even if you did have an earnings record, if half of your ex-spouse’s benefit amount is higher than your own benefit, Social Security will make up the difference and increase your total Social Security benefit.
Get back in the workforce—Although it is difficult to envision working at the ages of 60, 70, or older, it is increasingly common for gray divorcees to find a part-time job to supplement their income. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before working during retirement:
If you start working any job after your full retirement age (age 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954 or age 67 for those born after 1960), you have no income limits that would impact your Social Security benefit.
If you start receiving Social Security benefits before your full retirement age, then your monthly income limit is $1,520. If you earn more than that amount in a month, your Social Security benefit amount will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn above the income limit.
Invest—When dividing investment and retirement accounts during the divorce process, be sure to use a QDRO, or qualified domestic relations order. This will ensure that any funds distributed to you will be placed in your own investment or retirement account. You can then seek the help of a financial advisor to see how you can invest what is left from the divorce in a way that will optimize your gains and reduce your risks as you enter retirement. With the proper investments, you might be able to ride stock market gains into a very comfortable retirement.
Contact a Wheaton IL Gray Divorce Attorney
If you are getting a gray divorce, remember that a “fixed income” is not the same as “no income.” You can figure out ways to live comfortably even if you do not have the financial resources that you did while married or before your retirement. If you need help with a complex divorce, including dividing investments and retirement accounts, reach out to a DuPage County divorce lawyer at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. Andrew Cores Family Law Group will comprehensively review your situation with care and make sure you make the best decisions as you approach retirement after your divorce.
In a previous blog post, we discussed some reasons that you may want to sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married. But what if you are already married? In these cases, you may consider a postnuptial agreement. However, you may be unsure of when this type of agreement is appropriate. There are some reasons that you may want to consider discussing this type of agreement with your spouse.
Why Should You Sign a Postnuptial Agreement?
Most everyone has heard of a prenup, and these types of agreements have become increasingly more common. However, as their name implies, prenuptial agreements can only be signed before getting married. For those who are already married, a postnuptial agreement can function in a similar fashion, and it can include decisions about a couple’s marriage and their potential divorce. A postnup can address the division of property and debt and the allocation of investments and retirement funds, and it can modify or eliminate a spouse’s right to receive alimony/spousal support.
There are many reasons to sign a postnuptial agreement, and some of them are actually quite surprising. Here is a look at why you might want to sign a postnup:
You Do Not Want Another Stressor Before Marriage—From sending out invitations to arranging the ceremony and reception, there is a lot to do in the days leading up to marriage. While a wedding is a joyous occasion, it can also be one of the most stressful times in someone’s life. Working with your partner and a lawyer to develop plans for a potential divorce through a prenuptial agreement seems like a counterintuitive, unhappy area of focus during this time. Many people avoid prenuptial agreements altogether simply because they are too busy or too stressed out already. A postnuptial agreement can give you time to recuperate from the stress of the wedding itself before discussing the possibility of divorce.
You and Your Spouse Will Have a Better Idea of What to Expect—If you wait until you have spent some time together as husband and wife, the two of you may have a better understanding of your expectations for the rest of your life. You may also have a better understanding of each other, including how you two will work together as a couple, what areas are more important to each of you, and whether you are willing to make certain concessions in specific areas if you get divorced.
Your Financial Situation Has Changed Significantly—Maybe you have started a new business, and your profits are set to exceed expectations, or perhaps a recent investment has shown vast improvement. In the years since you got married, you may now own significant property, such as a house, cars, or a yacht, or you may have received a sizeable inheritance, and you are particularly worried about keeping it. Also, either spouse may have incurred debt or student loans during your marriage that the other spouse does not want to be responsible for. Any number of things could have changed with your finances after marriage, and a postnuptial agreement can address these issues.
You Never Planned on Having Children Together, But Now You Do—When you first got married, you may have both assumed kids were out of the question. You may have felt that a prenup was unnecessary because a divorce would be relatively uncomplicated. However, things can change as time goes by, and you may be planning to have children or have had them already. With kids in the picture, your priorities have likely changed, and a postnuptial agreement may allow you to address some of the financial issues that you are now worried about in the event of a possible divorce.
It Could Save Your Marriage—Probably the most surprising—and increasingly popular—reason to get a postnuptial agreement is that it could help improve a relationship. If both spouses are keenly aware of what they stand to lose if they cannot get their marriage to work, then they will be more motivated to stay together. In fact, some spouses have used a postnuptial agreement as a tool to keep each other dedicated to the fidelity of their marriage.
Contact a Wheaton Postnuptial Agreement Attorney
If you and your spouse did not sign a prenuptial agreement, it is not too late to address your concerns and make decisions about how things would be handled in the case of divorce. To learn more about how a postnuptial agreement can meet your needs, contact a DuPage County family law attorney who can help you two get organized and develop a detailed and comprehensive agreement that will stand up in court and withstand the test of time. Reach out to Andrew Cores Family Law Group at 630-871-1002 today for your complimentary consultation.