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Wheaton divorce attorneyThe long-term financial effects of divorce can be expensive. If both spouses work, you will need to learn how to survive on just a single income. That one income has to cover utilities, food, and other expenses, as well as fund savings and retirement investments. However, planning ahead can help. If you are considering a divorce, financial advisors suggest taking the following steps so you are on firmer financial ground if and when you decide to file.

Know Your Current Financial Situation

To begin, it is important to know your current financial standing. First, acquire all copies of any bank accounts and investment statements for the past year. You should also make copies of any income tax returns filed for the past several years. Request your credit report so you can see exactly what debts you owe.

Next, consider consulting with an attorney to find out what the bigger picture would look like if you make the decision to end your marriage. Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, which means marital property will be divided fairly between you and your spouse, not necessarily equally. To ensure the equitable distribution of your property, the law requires full disclosure of all assets and obligations.

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Posted on in Divorce Finances

Wheaton division of debt lawyerIllinois couples who are considering a separation or divorce should also begin the process of evaluating their debts. When couples elect to divorce in Illinois, the partners are required to divide both their debts and assets. If the matter of debt and asset distribution is left up to the court, the state’s equitable distribution guidelines will be utilized. In most cases, these rules are not conducive to the wide variety of financial situations couples may be contending with. Also, it is important to understand that the state’s equitable distribution guidelines do not mean that all debts and assets will be divided equally. Instead, they will be divided in a manner that the court deems to be fair and just based on the circumstances.

Prenuptial Agreements Often Fail to Address Marital Debt

In many cases, even if the couple had executed a prenuptial agreement that outlines the distribution of separate and marital assets, the issue of debt accumulated during the marriage is not included in the agreement. Many couples find that the best solution to amicably resolve the issue of debt accumulated during marriage is to work together to pay it off before beginning the divorce process. If this is not possible, each partner must be proactive about making sure that they do not take on more than their fair share of the total debt load.  

Consumer Debt From the Marriage

Consumer debt such as credit cards can become a particularly contentious issue in a divorce. It is important to understand that, with regard to joint accounts, the credit card company is under no obligation to recognize your divorce agreement. This means that no matter how you and your partner divide the debt, both of you may still be liable if the other defaults on their payments, just as if you were still married.

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County asset division attorney for student loansIn the United States, the average outstanding student loan debt for people who attended college is over $30,000. For many, this makes student loans one of their largest sources of debt, perhaps second only to a home mortgage. In a divorce, if you, your spouse, or both of you have student loan debt, it may factor significantly into the settlement negotiations or litigation, since separating couples in Illinois are required to distribute both marital assets and debts. However, it may not always be obvious which spouse will be responsible for the ongoing repayment of these debts.

When Are Student Loans Considered Marital Property?

You might expect that after a divorce, student loan debt will stay with the person whose education the loan paid for, but this is not necessarily the case. If you or your spouse incurred student debt before your marriage, it will likely be considered non-marital property and thus not subject to division. On the other hand, if one or both of you took out a student loan to pursue education during your marriage, any debt remaining on that loan at the time of divorce will likely be deemed marital property, especially if the reason for pursuing higher education was to increase earning potential in a way that would benefit the marriage.

How Is Student Loan Debt Distributed?

Illinois law requires the equitable distribution of marital property in a divorce, meaning that student loan debt will not necessarily be divided in half, but will be distributed fairly according to factors that apply in a case. These may include:

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Wheaton divorce lawyerWith many provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed back in March expiring and the economy still suffering, Congress has started negotiations on additional legislation to relieve Americans facing financial burdens. While the Senate Republicans have the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act and the House Democrats have the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act—all differing vastly in how to provide aid—there are two things that almost every politician agrees on:

  • The country needs additional emergency assistance from the government to weather this storm and somehow stay afloat.

  • Direct payments in the form of stimulus payments, similar to those allocated in the CARES Act, might be the quickest, most efficient way to provide citizens with immediate relief.

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Wheaton family law attorney for legal separationIf you and your spouse are having relationship problems, but you are not ready to deal with the challenges and finality that come with a divorce, you might want to consider getting a legal separation. A legal separation can enable you to do many of the same things you can do through divorce, such as determining parental responsibilities, parenting time, temporary spousal support, and child support. However, you will remain legally married to your spouse, and this can provide a number of advantages.

6 Reasons to Get Separated Instead of Divorced

While divorce might seem like the most obvious option for a failing marriage, you may not wish to legally dissolve your marriage. You might choose to pursue a legal separation for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Financial Concerns—There are many financial benefits to getting a legal separation from your spouse, including:

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