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Wheaton property division lawyer for asset dissipationAccording to Illinois law, dissipation of marital assets is defined as the use of marital property or assets to solely benefit one spouse for a purpose unrelated to the marriage when the marriage is in the midst of an irreconcilable breakdown. As a marriage undergoes difficult times—and as divorce becomes more and more likely—one or both of the spouses might begin deviating from their usual spending patterns. They might spend marital funds irresponsibly, neglect to pay bills, or enter into major financial agreements, among other things, all without the other spouse’s consent. This could affect the fair and equitable division of marital property during the couple’s divorce.

Common Examples of Marital Asset Dissipation

In order to safeguard yourself against possible marital asset dissipation, it is important to know all the different ways your spouse might be dissipating assets so that you can more readily spot them when you suspect impropriety. There are many ways a spouse could improperly dissipate marital assets, including:

  • Gambling

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Wheaton divorce and bankruptcy lawyerA recent survey found that 39% of people state that debt and other financial issues were a major factor that contributed to their divorce. It is no wonder that bankruptcy and divorce are so closely linked—not only can divorce itself often cost more money than many people expect, but the financial ramifications of the divorce are felt long after the proceedings are complete. From the division of marital debt to simply adjusting to living on a single income, life after divorce can get expensive. But that does not mean you have to file for bankruptcy. Here are some tips for keeping your finances in order after your marriage has ended:

6 Ways to Prevent Bankruptcy Following Divorce

While there are some things you can do to avoid bankruptcy that are common to just about any person, divorced or not, there are also some special things that you can do to protect yourself against bankruptcy when you are divorced. Some examples include:

  1. Increase Your Income—This is probably one of the very first tips a financial advisor will tell you if you are considering bankruptcy. Are there any ways for you to increase the money you make? The more money you have coming in, the less likely it will be that you will drown in debt. You may want to take on extra jobs (part time or otherwise), seek a promotion or a raise at work, rent out your house, sell your valuables, or borrow from family and friends if necessary.

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Wheaton divorce attorney for bankruptcyIn many cases, finances can be a leading factor in the choice to get a divorce. Married couples might be faced with difficult financial challenges, such as the expenses related to serious health problems or the loss of income resulting from unemployment. If a marriage was already unsteady, or even if it was seemingly going well, disagreements over finances can often be the catalyst for the breakdown of the relationship. Depending on your financial situation as a married couple, you might be considering both divorce and bankruptcy. Since both of these are major life events and significant legal decisions, careful thought must be given to them, and the appropriate time must be chosen to proceed with each.

Reasons to File for Bankruptcy Before Divorce

If you and your spouse are on the same page about your finances, and you share the majority of the debt, filing a joint bankruptcy before beginning the divorce process might be the right move for you. Here are some reasons why you may choose this option:

  • Affordability—The cost of a joint bankruptcy filing and an individual bankruptcy filing are the same. If you two decide to file for bankruptcy separately when you are divorced, the process will be twice as expensive.

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Wheaton family law attorney for civil unionsIn 2011, Illinois passed into law the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. This law enabled both same-sex and opposite-sex couples the freedom to enter into a civil union that would give them the same legal rights in Illinois as those provided by marriage. With the new term “civil union” meant to be a substitute for “domestic partnership,” all prior domestic partnerships registered would be honored, but any future similar relationships would be referred to as civil unions.

While civil unions in Illinois were initially meant to help same-sex couples achieve similar legal rights to married couples, these legal partnerships may now be pursued for other reasons. After the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States in 2015, most states converted all domestic partnerships and civil unions to marriages; however, Illinois is one of the few states that kept civil unions despite this legalization. Now that all couples, regardless of sex, can get married, why would anyone choose a civil union instead of a marriage?

Benefits of Civil Unions

Since same-sex marriage is legal across the nation, fewer and fewer people are getting civil unions. However, since civil unions are open to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, some people are still choosing civil unions over marriages in order to demonstrate their commitment to their romantic partners. Among the benefits of civil unions are:

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Wheaton divorce attorney for temporary restraining ordersCentral to any divorce are concerns regarding finances. The property and assets owned by married spouses are considered throughout the divorce process. Both parties in a divorce want to protect their property and assets, and in some cases, a financial restraining order may be necessary. In some states, an automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO) will be included in every divorce. However, in Illinois, you need to request a temporary restraining order (TRO), and you may need to ask that it be extended during your divorce.

What Does a Financial Restraining Order Do?

A financial restraining order, also referred to as a temporary restraining order, is a way both parties in the divorce can protect their property. While it is particularly common in high-asset divorces, any spouse might want to consider pursuing one, especially if a person suspects their former partner will be irresponsible with their shared finances leading up to—and during—the divorce.

What Can a Financial Restraining Order Prevent?

There are many things that a financial restraining order can prevent. In particular, a TRO issued during divorce may prohibit:

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