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Wheaton IL divorce attorneyFrom a legal standpoint, a divorce is in some ways similar to a business deal. Marital assets are dissolved and/or equitably split between the invested parties, and even the creation of a parenting plan can start to feel like an exercise in scheduling. Underneath it all, though, there are emotions, including hurt, anger, betrayal, a sense of loss, and grief. At times, this can lead to post-divorce depression. Taking the time to acknowledge the emotional aspects of divorce and address them in healthy ways can help you cope with the stress on your mental health.

Learn to Recognize When You Need Help

Too often, people coming out of a divorce feel ashamed of their perceived “failure.” As a result, they may shy away from asking for help. Reframing your divorce as the end of a journey rather than a shortcoming can allow you to move past it, and a strong support system can help you to do so. With this in mind, seek help when and where you need it. You might consider talking to a grief counselor, the pastor at your church, a friend who has gone through divorce, your family, or a divorce support group.

Many of these options are readily available and waiting for an opportunity to show their love and support, so let them. Ask for your mom to pick up the kids from school if you are stuck at work or just need an afternoon to sit with your emotions. Go to the movies with your best friend. Give yourself permission to lean on the people who love you most, and never be afraid to ask for professional help.

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DuPage County divorce attorneyFor many people, the decision to end their marriage is not a sudden one, but one that is made after a period during which there has been a gradual erosion of the relationship. If you are considering a divorce, or you have already made the decision, you should take certain steps to gather all the legal and financial information and documentation you will need to help you reach the best possible divorce settlement.

Preparing Yourself Emotionally for Divorce

Even if you are the one who is seeking the divorce, you will most likely find yourself navigating an emotional roller coaster over your decision. As difficult as it may be, try to avoid allowing these emotions to rule your behavior. Seeking out the services of a professional therapist often helps in staying focused, even more so than confiding in family and friends. A therapist is unbiased and can help guide you through working through the feelings you are dealing with about the divorce. What you share with the therapist is also confidential, unlike sharing with a friend, who may repeat what you tell them, possibly allowing the information to get back to your spouse.

Assessing Marital Assets and Debts

Before the divorce process begins, you should also do some research to find out the status of any assets and property that you and your spouse own. If you had a prenuptial agreement drawn up before you were married, it may include important terms related to property division. You should also look for ownership documentation for any property that you and your spouse have. Along with physical property, you should make a list of all of the joint and separate financial accounts belonging to you and your spouse. This not only includes checking and saving accounts, but also all retirement, pension, and investment accounts. Gather the most recent copies of each account’s statement so that you are well-informed about their current status and value.

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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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Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County child custody attorneyIf you share parental responsibilities regarding your child with a former partner who has proven time and again to be inconsistent and unreliable, terminating his or her parental rights may make the most sense to you. However, under Illinois law, unless there is another party willing to step in and adopt the child, parental rights usually will not be terminated at the request of the other parent, unless there are extreme circumstances involved.

What Does Termination of Parental Rights Mean?

When a person’s parental rights are terminated, it means that he or she is no longer legally responsible for a child. When this happens, the terminated parent no longer is required to make child support payments, but he or she also no longer has rights to parenting time or any say in how the child is being raised.

The Illinois Adoption Act (750 ILCS 50) states that the only circumstances in which a parent’s rights can be terminated are when another person is looking to adopt the child, or when a court has found that a parent is unfit. In most cases, the court will agree that a child will best benefit from the care, or at least the financial support, of two parents. However, parental rights may be terminated if a parent is shown to be unfit for one or more reasons, including:

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