wheaton divorce lawyerPeople getting divorced in Illinois frequently worry about finances and perhaps never so much as when they are on the cusp of retirement. Pensions, investment plans, and savings accounts are the product of many years’ worth of hard work, sacrifice, and painstaking planning. The prospect of dividing assets in a divorce can be devastating. While a divorce attorney cannot guarantee a perfect outcome, having the help of an experienced firm on your side can help you mitigate the financial impact of divorce on your retirement prospects. Here are three questions to ask yourself as you gather your financial information before the divorce. 

What Will Your Social Security Benefits Be? 

Spouses who have been working their entire lives often have a healthy amount of Social Security waiting for them upon retirement. But for spouses who have worked only a little or not at all, a spouse’s benefits may be the best option. If you have been married for at least 10 years, you may be eligible to receive up to half of your spouse’s benefits. If your ex-spouse plans on collecting based on your work history, your benefits will not be affected. 

How Does Your Retirement Plan Work? 

Not every retirement plan is created equal. For example, military spouses must have been married for at least 10 years before they can claim a portion of their former spouse’s benefits. Other plans have highly specific rules that detail how benefits can be divided, including complex paperwork that must be filled out and submitted correctly. Other plans, like simple 401(k)s, can be divided using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Whatever the circumstances around your retirement plan may be, is important to know the specific details before divorce negotiations begin. 


wheaton divorce lawyerBefore your Illinois divorce can begin, you will need to choose the county - or venue - in which you want to file for divorce. Generally speaking, the spouse who files for divorce gets to choose the venue where the divorce will take place. However, the responding spouse can object to the venue and petition for change. If your spouse already filed for divorce and you are worried that the venue may negatively affect you, it is essential to have an experienced Illinois divorce attorney who can help you petition for a change of venue. Here are three reasons you may want a different divorce venue. 


Sometimes spouses who are getting divorced have already separated households. If one spouse moves to another county and files for divorce there, the distance may be too great to comfortably move back and forth for court dates or mediation sessions. This is especially true if the responding spouse has minor children who need to be cared for during court dates. 

Spouses can petition to change the venue to a county that is equally distant from each partner, the county where the responding spouse lives now, or in the county in which most of the marriage took place. 


wheaton divorce lawyerAmericans' average student loan debt is now nearly $40,000, just $5,000 less than the median individual income. For some students, such as those with graduate degrees in medicine and other highly competitive fields, the cost of an education can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the promise of education and the returns on investment it may bring leads many people to get deeply into student debt, getting out of that debt is not so easy. 

For many married couples, their student loan debt may be their most significant liability. And while a couple may have agreed that one spouse would go to school to pursue greater opportunities, when confronted with the prospect of divorce, the other spouse may suddenly be hesitant to share the responsibility of that debt. So what does an Illinois couple do when they are getting divorced with student loans? 

Are Student Loans Marital Property in Illinois? 

To determine whether both spouses are responsible for paying off student debt, it is necessary to determine whether that debt is marital or personal. If the spouse with the debt accrued all or most of the debt before getting married, the debt will likely remain with that spouse in a divorce. 


wheaton divorce lawyerThe world becomes a different place for most people once kids enter the picture. The natural instinct is to protect your children at all costs, and when the threat is coming from your child’s other parent, the stress may feel like more than you can bear. Unfortunately, child abuse is fairly common and in the heat and stress of divorce, child abuse may be even more prevalent. If your child is telling you that they are suffering at the hands of your co-parent, listen to them and take their allegations seriously. Then take action by meeting with a family law attorney who has experience handling matters of custody in Illinois. 

Signs Your Child May Be Abused

Managing cases of abuse or neglect is easier when a child is able to speak up about their treatment, but sometimes this is not possible. You may need to keep a close eye out for signs that your child is being abused. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Sudden or unusual difficulty sitting, walking, or laying down


illinois paternity lawyerFathers used to get the short end of the stick when it came to child custody disputes. Often held responsible for paying child support without any real options for getting custody of a child, fathers were left paying for a relationship they frequently did not get to participate in fully. Both fathers and children suffered because of this in the past, but with recent changes in Illinois family law, you do not have to suffer the same fate when it comes to your relationship with your child.

Illinois courts now recognize the importance of both parents playing a significant role in a child’s life. To that end, the law has changed in such a way that allows fathers to get custody of a child (known as “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” in Illinois) - but they must first prove they are, in fact, the child’s father. To learn more, read on and then contact an Illinois paternity and child custody attorney. 

How Can I Establish Paternity? 

If you and the child’s mother agree that you are the father, you can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity at the hospital when the child is born. If you do not agree, or if the child’s mother is not cooperative, you may need to request a court order stating that the child must undergo genetic testing to determine whether you are the father. If your genes match the child’s genes, a court will issue a paternity order listing you as the father. 


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