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Wheaton filing for divorce attorneyThe divorce process is likely to be rife with challenging decisions and difficult considerations for you and your spouse to manage. The two of you will need to deal with both your current situations, as well as your expectations and plans for the future, especially if you have children together. Among the myriad concerns that most couples face is the decision regarding who should be the one to file the formal divorce petition and when the petition should be filed. Is there an advantage to filing before your spouse does, or does it really matter who files first? The answer, as with most divorce-related questions, is that it depends on your unique circumstances.

Are There Legal Advantages to Filing First?

For the majority of divorcing couples in Illinois, filing first does not offer any special advantage from a legal perspective. The titles that will be used in your proceedings will be different depending on who filed first. The filer is referred to as the “petitioner” or “plaintiff,” and the other spouse is known as the “respondent” or “defendant,” but both parties have equal rights and responsibilities during the proceedings. You will have opportunities to bring up issues and express your objections whether you are the petitioner or the respondent.

The ability to allege and prove a claim against your spouse is also not contingent on which party filed for divorce first. For example, you can raise a claim of dissipating assets, or be required to defend against one, regardless of who filed the initial petition for divorce.

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Wheaton IL collaborative divorce lawyerStudy after study over the past several decades has documented the effects that hostile divorces have not only on the couple who is breaking up, but also the children of those marriages. A contentious divorce can have an impact on both emotional and physical long-term health for all involved. With almost half of all first-time marriages ending in divorce, and even more second and subsequent marriages not working out, it is hard to avoid being affected by divorce one way or another, whether it is your own or that of your parents or your adult children.

However, not all divorces have to be quite so difficult. More and more law firms are offering clients the option of collaborative divorce, and many of those clients are choosing that option as the more peaceful way to end their marriages.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Unlike traditional, litigated divorce, where parental responsibilitiesdivision of assets and debts, and other marital issues are determined by a judge following a trial, collaborative divorce does not involve litigation. Instead, couples agree to work through these issues and come to an agreement on how they should be resolved. This is done with the help of attorneys representing each of the spouses. Many collaborative divorce teams also include a financial advisor, as well as mental health professionals and other experts whose input may be useful in the divorce process.

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Wheaton, IL divorce law firmOne of the most important decisions you will make when going through a divorce is choosing who you will retain to be your divorce attorney. Having the right attorney—one who is not only skilled at his or her craft but also one who you feel comfortable and confident with—is crucial to having a successful divorce.

When meeting with a divorce attorney for the first time, there are several areas that you should make sure you find out information about. These areas include:

Attorney and Legal Fees

The amount an attorney charges, including their hourly rate, any required retainer, and other possible attorney and legal fees, is something that every attorney should be forthcoming with. No one needs any surprise fees, especially while going through such a life-changing event. Although an attorney cannot predict the exact amount your divorce may cost, he or she should be able to explain the standard charges, as well as situations that could come up which could cause those costs to increase.

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Wheaton IL divorce attorneyThere is little question that a divorce can be a difficult and taxing experience. It can be especially tough when one or both spouses refuse to communicate or only communicate in ways that add to the tension of the split. When couples already had communication problems long before the separation, the potential for a breakdown in overall communication or a discussion that turns toxic may be even greater during the divorce process. 

Common Communication Issues in the Divorce Process

Psychology experts indicate there are specific behaviors that many people exhibit while interacting with their spouse during the divorce that are often responsible for unproductive—and sometimes hostile—communication. These problematic communication patterns can quickly sabotage even the simplest of discussions, making the divorce process that much harder for both parties.

If you want to see better results when talking to your former spouse throughout the divorce, experts suggest practicing the following tips:

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Wheaton IL divorce lawyerDivorces can drag on for many months, if not longer. If proceedings stall, it can be difficult to get through the process alone. Men and women both face the temptation to date before they are officially divorced, even though this can lead to potential problems with their ex-spouses. There are positives, such as companionship during what can be a trying time, but the social and financial negatives tend to outweigh them. In fact, many divorce attorneys will advise you to wait before beginning a new relationship.

Spouse and Child-Related Issues

Despite your best intentions, it can seem like a slap in the face to your ex-spouse if you cannot wait to date a new person until after the divorce is concluded. While in theory, it has ceased to be their business, in practice, a jealous or bitter ex-spouse can drag out proceedings, costing you significant time in court and money in attorneys’ fees. While there are limits as to what a party can do to hold up the process without facing potential sanctions, it is very possible for a divorce to drag on exclusively due to one party’s intransigence.

Dating during your divorce can also affect your children, especially if your new partner is very different from your former spouse. Child psychologists urge maintaining a routine for children during divorce, especially younger children, and seeing their parent with someone new is the antithesis of routine for many. Depending on the nature of the relationship, it may even provoke a response from your ex-spouse if your children experience adverse reactions. It is possible that your parenting time or the amount of parental responsibilities you are granted will be affected by introducing a new person into your children’s lives, especially if that person may be considered unsafe, perhaps due to past criminal convictions on their record. 

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