Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce lawyerThe decision to get divorced often comes about after a long period of strife or unhappiness in a marriage. Many couples struggle with the decision for some time before finally contacting an attorney to start the process. If you have been thinking about divorce for a while but are unsure if it is the right move, there are a number of questions that you should consider.

Have You Done Everything You Can to Fix the Relationship?

The first important consideration is whether or not all reasonable steps have been taken to save the marriage. What constitutes “reasonable steps” is different for different people, but it could include couples therapy, individual counseling, or marriage retreats—not to mention in-depth discussions between you and your spouse. There are also many self-help books that might help address the problems you and your partner may be dealing with on a daily basis.

Are You Prepared for the Emotional Strain?

Before filing for a divorce, you will also need to be ready to deal with the myriad emotions that come with ending a marriage. Even if you are the one who wants the divorce, you will probably need to go through a grieving process over the “death” of the marriage. Divorce can also leave you struggling with feelings of anger and guilt. On the other hand, there may be feelings of relief that the turmoil of the marriage has ended. Individual therapy can also help you work through these feelings

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Wheaton collaborative divorce lawyerMaking the decision to file for divorce does not have to lead to a future involving long, stressful hours spent in court. In fact, many couples do not even set foot in a courtroom to create their divorce agreement. Resolving your divorce through a trial is a process known as divorce litigation, and it is typically reserved for those with an especially contentious relationship who are unable to come to an agreement on their own. If you foresee that you and your spouse will argue over every little detail, divorce litigation may be your only option. If, however, you and your spouse are ending things amicably, a collaborative divorce may help you reach a resolution more quickly and on a more positive note.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a process in which you and your spouse negotiate the terms of your divorce, rather than having a judge make these decisions for you. This includes determinations regarding spousal support or maintenance, the division of assets, child custody, child support, and more. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse can each hire your own specially certified divorce attorney to act as your legal representative and help guide you through the divorce process. You will likely meet one-on-one with your attorney for advice on how you should proceed, as well as in conferences with your spouse and his or her attorney to negotiate the details of your divorce agreement. You may also seek advice from other professionals, such as financial advisors, child custody specialists, and more. Once you and your spouse have come to an agreement on each matter, you will have contact with a family court judge who will sign your prepared agreement, making it legally enforceable moving forward.

What are the Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce?

It is no secret that a divorce can get expensive the longer the process goes on. If you and your spouse are willing and able to come to an agreement on the different aspects of your divorce, you can save a significant amount of time and money. Litigation costs additional money due to the court fees, and it may take extra time depending on how quickly the judge comes to a decision. Collaborative divorce allows you and your spouse to voluntarily exchange the necessary information, agree on legal procedures that can often cut down on expenses, and make the process much simpler. Another important benefit of collaborative divorce procedures is the ability to make your parenting plan as a couple. You and your spouse usually know your children best, and if you can work together, you can likely create a much more effective parenting plan than a judge can. This can also strengthen your co-parenting relationship moving forward.

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Wheaton IL prenuptial agreement lawyerWhile it has become more common to have them, the truth is that not every couple needs a prenuptial agreement—also referred to as a prenup—at least not in Illinois. Some couples or individual partners insist, but in many cases, there is not enough between the two people to warrant a careful, item-by-item disposition, which is often what a prenuptial agreement turns out to be. However, a prenup can be beneficial under some circumstances, and it is a good idea to consider whether it might be right for your marriage. 

Do You Have Extensive Assets?

As one might imagine, couples with significant assets individually or between them will benefit from a prenuptial agreement in multiple ways. Perhaps the most common is in dealing with property division issues during divorce proceedings. Illinois adheres to the theory of equitable distribution, meaning that all marital property is divided in the most equitable or fair way possible, rather than giving each spouse half, as might happen in a community property state. A prenuptial agreement is one of the easiest and most common ways to clarify whose assets are whose before the marriage, meaning that all the specified assets can be classed as non-marital property, and thus likely not subject to division.

Another way prenups can help those with extensive holdings is to provide a way to track assets that become commingled with marital property. If you had a certain sum of money before the marriage, listing it in a prenup may help you retain it in divorce, even if it would normally be considered marital property as a result of commingling or use to benefit the marriage. Some couples are agreeable to such assets becoming marital property, but if you would rather retain them, mentioning them in a prenup may be enough to accomplish that goal. The divorce court does have the discretion to deny that provision if it puts your partner at an undue disadvantage, however.

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Wheaton IL child relocation attorneyIt is rather common for people to move after they divorce. Sometimes, they move due to a new job or promotion, and other times, they move to be closer to family. Whatever the reason, there are certain rules parents must follow when they wish to relocate with their child. Any parent who has been allocated the majority of or equal parenting time can seek to relocate with his or her child, but there are certain procedures that must be followed.

The Definition of “Relocation”

Under Illinois law, a relocation is defined as a move of a certain distance by a divorced or single parent who is subject to a co-parenting plan and who has at least half of the parenting time with his or her child. Specifically, a move is considered a relocation when such a parent moves with his or her child more than 25 miles from a home in DuPage, Cook, Kane, McHenry, Lake, or Will Counties, or more than 50 miles from a home in any other Illinois county to a new home somewhere else in Illinois. A move is also a relocation if the parent moves more than 25 miles from a home anywhere in Illinois to a new home in another state.

Factors for Relocation

The parent seeking to relocate usually must provide written notice at least 60 days before the relocation. If the child’s other parent agrees to the relocation, signs the notice, and files it with the clerk of the circuit court, then the relocation will be allowed as long as it is in the child’s best interests. 

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County gray divorce lawyerAlthough the divorce rate in the United States is slowly declining, there is one demographic that has seen a significant increase in divorces in recent decades: Americans over age 50. In fact, data shows that one in four adults currently going through a divorce is aged 50 or above. These so-called “gray divorces” can be substantially more complex than divorces involving younger individuals. When older adults get divorced, there are special concerns that they must consider.

Spousal Maintenance Is Often Ordered After a Long Marriage

Many divorce cases do not involve any type of alimony or spousal maintenance. Generally, alimony is only granted when a divorce causes one of the spouses to be at a significant financial disadvantage. For example, a stay-at-home mother who sacrificed a career to care for her children will likely have a much lower earning capacity than her husband who remained in the workforce during the marriage. Illinois courts make spousal maintenance decisions based on factors such as:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage

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