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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1724156191.jpgOne of the most damaging parts of divorce is the impact it can have on a family’s finances. Even for two adults without children, splitting a household can cause enormous financial upheaval. While getting divorced does not directly affect things like your credit score or your salary, your financial situation following a divorce is likely to be affected in some surprising ways. Here are four things to watch out for. 

Your Car Insurance Rates May Go Up

Just as getting married can indicate stability and lower your car insurance rates, getting divorced indicates a person with a greater risk profile, leading car insurance companies to raise premiums for divorcees. Although the difference is not likely major, factor this in as you plan your post-divorce finances. 

Your Credit May Suffer Even if You Make Timely Payments 

Whether debt is in your name, your spouse’s name, or both, when it comes time for divorce, creditors will still want their money. As long as a loan was taken out during a marriage and benefited the relationship, it will likely be joint debt and both parties can be given responsibility for paying it off. But beware - if your spouse is supposed to make payments on a joint credit card and does not, your credit score can suffer even if you make your share of the payments on time. 

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chicago divorce lawyerAlthough many divorcing spouses look forward to the finalization of the Illinois divorce process in the hope that they will start a new life and things will be easier, the difficult truth is that for many people, finalizing a divorce is the beginning of challenges – albeit a different set of them. But that does not mean that life after divorce cannot be meaningful and healing. If you are in the final stages of your divorce and are looking to start the near year on a positive note, here are some helpful tips to help you move forward.

Do Not View Your Marriage, Or Yourself, as a Failure

Many divorcees view their marriage as a failure, but there are many things throughout life that do not work out. Rather than beating yourself up, try to understand that divorce happens to many, many people and remember your marriage as one part of a long life.

Ask Yourself What You Learned

Rarely is the breakdown of the relationship the complete responsibility of just one spouse. Even if your spouse engaged in egregious behavior like infidelity or substance abuse, chances are you could still learn a thing or two – even if it is just keeping your eyes wide open for red flags in the future.

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arlington heights divorce lawyerEven as Illinois family law has been updated to reflect the changing and modernizing circumstances many families live in, the law still protects spouses who have stayed out of the workforce to raise children or keep a home. Many couples still choose this path together and, following a divorce, the spouse who gave up employment opportunities to raise children may receive spousal maintenance (alimony) while he or she becomes financially independent. 

Although most people do not willingly take advantage of their spouse, some individuals will deliberately remain employed or underemployed as their spouse financially supports them. This can cause financial problems during a marriage, and it can also pose serious difficulties during divorce. If you are considering divorcing your unemployed spouse, here are some important things you should know. 

Can a Person Be Ordered to Pay Their Spouse’s Attorney’s Fees? 

After the divorce is over, ongoing spousal support payments, if any, will already have been determined. But what about during the divorce? Illinois law allows either spouse to ask a judge to order the other spouse to pay all or part of their attorney fees while the divorce case is ongoing. The lesser-earning spouse may also receive interim or temporary spousal maintenance. Generally, interim maintenance allows economically disadvantaged spouses to exit unhappy or abusive marriages while still having competent legal representation. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyerAccidents, slips and falls, or malfunctioning equipment can seriously harm people while they are at work. When people get injured badly enough that they need medical treatment or lose wages, they often pursue workers’ compensation claims or personal injury settlements and sometimes get a significant amount of money from the party responsible for the injury. 

You may be surprised to learn that, if such an injury occurs while you are married, any compensation can be considered a marital asset - and therefore subject to division if the courts divide property in a divorce. This seems counterintuitive because there is only one spouse who is injured and therefore in need of compensation; nevertheless, Illinois law generally defines any asset obtained during the marriage, including cash settlements or ongoing payments, as a marital asset. 

Disabilities May Be a Factor in the Illinois Property Division Process 

Spouses who have received personal injury settlements or workers’ compensation payments may not have to divide these monies the same way they would divide a cash savings account. Because Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, many factors need to be taken into account to ensure the division of marital property is fair. 

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spousal maintenance lawyerOne of the most difficult issues divorcing couples struggle to agree about is spousal maintenance. Previously known as alimony, spousal maintenance or spousal support is money paid by one spouse to another after an Illinois divorce while the receiving spouse becomes financially self-sufficient. Spousal maintenance may be paid in a lump sum or in monthly payments over a set period. Sometimes, for long marriages, spousal support is ordered to last indefinitely.  

Spouses who are ordered to pay spousal support sometimes feel upset that they are giving money to someone they are not married to anymore. This may be especially true if one spouse is petitioning for spousal support to be a nuisance to their ex, not because they genuinely need the financial assistance. If you believe your former spouse is wrongfully petitioning for spousal maintenance and you want to fight their claim, the information in this blog may be helpful to you. 

When is a Spouse Obligated to Pay Spousal Maintenance? 

Although urban legends are full of bitter spouses who are driven to financial ruin by alimony payments, the truth is that spousal maintenance is not automatically granted after a divorce. Spouses in Illinois are encouraged to work cooperatively to decide on spousal maintenance payments together, but when this fails, a judge may intervene. When a judge is making decisions about spousal support, they consider many factors, including: 

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arlington heights divorce attorney

One of the most challenging parts of any divorce is the property division process. Ideally, a couple can work together to create an agreement for splitting their assets and debts equitably. However, sometimes court intervention is required for spouses who cannot negotiate productively or when there are other extenuating circumstances. 

One of the circumstances under which a court may get involved in dividing property is when one spouse has engaged in wasting, or “dissipating,” marital property. In this blog, we will discuss what marital asset dissipation is, how it can be proven, and how dissipated assets might be recovered. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyerAlthough it may seem difficult or even impossible, many spouses have been able to work through their differences and successfully negotiate a divorce agreement through mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods. One important but challenging issue that many couples must address is that of spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance

Avoiding the hassle, expense, and conflict of litigating a divorce in court is usually best for everyone - especially if there are children involved. Although negotiating spousal support may be difficult, it is well worth the effort. Here are three tips for helping you begin. 

Successful Alimony Negotiations 

  • Focus on finding a solution - Rather than hashing out old differences, stay task-oriented and work towards an outcome. Try not to make accusations; instead, communicate your feelings and focus on your priorities. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyerGetting divorced involves learning an entirely new vocabulary. Discovery? Allocation? Retainers? Although the amount of new information can seem overwhelming, taking it step-by-step and having a great divorce attorney can help you understand everything you need to know about the divorce process

But most people who are getting a divorce have never hired an attorney before, so even that can seem daunting. In this blog post, we will explain the basics of how someone can retain an attorney and how attorneys usually get paid. 

How Do Lawyers Get Paid in a Divorce Case? 

Not everybody has the same needs or budget in their divorce, so hiring an attorney can look a little different for everybody. Many attorneys offer hourly rates, limited scope representation, contingency fee agreements, or flat rate representation. However, for most people, the process of getting the help of an attorney means paying a retainer first. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyerAlthough some people getting divorced in Illinois want to hire an attorney who will represent them from the moment the divorce begins to the moment the final divorce decree is handed down, this is neither financially nor practically feasible for everyone. If you anticipate a simple divorce, have budgetary restraints, or simply have the desire to handle certain issues yourself, you may have another option: Limited scope representation. 

Illinois allows attorneys to limit the scope of their representation to clients if there are reasonable circumstances and the client understands and gives their consent. Attorneys can coach divorcees who wish to represent themselves, prepare evidence, and can even appear in court if necessary - but only if the client seeks that representation as part of their legal services. If you are considering getting divorced in Illinois and doubt that full-scale legal representation is right for you, read on. 

Divorce on a Budget

One of the reasons people avoid hiring an attorney during their divorce is because of financial concerns. Hiring an attorney, paying a retainer, and committing to making payments throughout the divorce process may simply be out of the question. Although these concerns are legitimate, it is rarely a good idea for people to pursue divorce without any legal assistance whatsoever. It is easy to overlook pitfalls, make mistakes, or fail to realize that you are getting taken advantage of. 

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Arlington heights child support lawyerChild support payments are a crucial part of ensuring children are raised in a way that meets their physical and emotional needs following a divorce. Generally, child support ends once a child turns 18 or graduates high school or college. For some adults, mental and physical disabilities make it impossible for them to live independent lives. In cases like this, child support payments may be extended so the child can maintain a reasonable standard of living, even as an adult. 

If you are parenting a disabled child and want to know more about what this might mean for child support payments, this blog may be helpful to you. Keep in mind that every situation is unique and that a qualified Illinois child support attorney is the best person to give you advice tailored to your situation. 

Determining Child Support for Disabled Adult Dependants

In Illinois, child support payments are based on both parents’ incomes and the amount of time each parent spends with their child. This allows parents to split the cost of raising a child in a way that is fair to everyone. Illinois has standard tables it uses to calculate child support payments, but judges have leeway to modify payments if they would be unfair or insufficient. 

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Arlington heights child support lawyer Child support payments are legally binding obligations. Once a divorce order has been finalized, parents cannot simply choose not to pay child support because they feel it is unfair or they cannot afford it, nor can former spouses renegotiate child support payments themselves without the assistance of the court. 

If a parent fails to make child support payments, in addition to jeopardizing their children’s well-being, they face serious legal consequences. For the parent who should be receiving child support, the lack of resources coupled with the frustration of recovering payments can present a very difficult challenge. Having the help of a qualified attorney can make the process easier and take some of the burden off of your shoulders. 

Consequences of Failing to Pay Child Support

Illinois has many strategies to bring non-compliant parents current on their child support payments. If a parent does not pay child support, the other parent can notify the Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS), which then begins monitoring the parent who is responsible for paying child support. Additionally, the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act provides criminal charges for parents who fail to pay, especially if they do so repeatedly. 

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arlington heights child support lawyer Child support is a notoriously difficult area of family law, both because of its emotional impact on the parents who give and receive it, and because of the complexity of the rules involved in determining and modifying the amount. 

Parents who are ordered to pay child support may feel angry or panicked if they worry they will not be able to make payments and maintain their own quality of life, but once a  child support order has been handed down, it is difficult to modify - even if the paying parent feels the order is deeply unfair. If you have been ordered to pay child support and you fear you cannot meet your obligations long-term, do not stop making your payments and consult a qualified Illinois child support attorney. 

When is it Possible to Modify an Illinois Child Support Order? 

During a couple’s divorce proceedings, judges will often order temporary child support. This can be modified at any time before the divorce decree is finalized. Once a divorce decree is finalized, the child support order can be modified at any time before the child support obligation terminates. There is no mandatory waiting period. That being said, Illinois law requires a “substantial change in circumstances” to have occurred before judges will approve an increase or decrease in child support. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerParents going through a divorce in Illinois may experience some understandable anxiety when faced with the prospect of making or receiving child support payments. The paying parent may worry whether they will be able to afford their payments and sustain their current standard of living. The receiving parent may worry that payments will not get made and that their children will suffer as a result. 

Illinois courts and judges take many factors into account when establishing a parent’s child support obligations. Understanding how these decisions are made is an important part of planning for your financial future. In this blog, we will explain the methods generally used to determine child support payments. It is important to remember that the exact calculation can be a lengthy and complex process, and the best person to answer your questions is an experienced Illinois family law attorney. 

What Factors Does a Court Consider Regarding Child Support? 

Courts can consider many factors, but the most important consideration is always the best interests of the child. In addition, the court can consider the following:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_415745011-min.jpgAlthough most spouses could comfortably walk away from their partner after a divorce and never speak to them again, reality does not work that way. Even after a couple gets divorced, several things can keep them connected long into the future. This is especially true if children are involved. Child support, spousal maintenance, and arranging shared parenting schedules often compel former spouses to work together for many years after the marriage has ended. 

This means that the decisions of each partner often affect the other, and few decisions have as much of an impact as the remarriage of a former spouse. Former spouses who wish to get remarried often wonder how their finances will change, and whether they will need to support two families and two spouses. This article will discuss the two most common issues a remarriage can impact - child support and spousal maintenance

How Does Remarriage Affect Child Support Payments? 

Child support orders are seldom terminated in the event of a remarriage. However, the remarriage of a paying spouse can affect his or her overall financial situation and be grounds for a modification in the amount of monthly child support payments. 

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arlington heights family law attorneyIn the rush and excitement of planning for a wedding, many couples overlook the importance of a prenuptial agreement. But after the wedding is over and they settle into real life as a married couple, they may want to create a shared arrangement regarding their finances. 

In many ways, postnuptial agreements are similar to prenuptial agreements. They can address how a couple will deal with day-to-day finances, work together towards retirement, and how they will allocate separate and marital property in the event of a divorce. Although prenuptial and postnuptial agreements may not seem romantic, they are actually a great way loving spouses can protect each other - whether they stay together or separate. 

Who Can Benefit From a Postnuptial Agreement? 

One common misconception about marital agreements is that they are only beneficial to older spouses, those who already have substantial financial resources, or those who share children from previous marriages. Although it is true that a prenup or postnup can be valuable to people in those circumstances, a postnuptial agreement can be equally valuable to a young couple just beginning their journey together in life. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyerModern technology has made it very easy to record every moment of our lives. Photo, video, and voice recordings of people acting poorly are all over the internet. Although people getting divorced in Illinois may believe that recording their spouses doing something threatening or illegal would be justified and therefore no big deal, Illinois and federal law are quite strict regarding legal and illegal recordings. 

Many people have legitimate reasons to fear their spouse during an ongoing divorce process and may want to surreptitiously document threats or abusive behavior. Although there are times when secret recording can be done legally, it is easy to violate these laws and a recording could be inadmissible as evidence - or worse, get the person doing the recording in serious legal trouble. 

When Can Conversations Be Legally Recorded in Illinois? 

Illinois is an all-party consent state when it comes to recordings. This means that everyone involved in a conversation must be aware that recording is taking place. They do not have to consent to the recording; they must only be aware of it. 

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Arlington Heights family law attorneyGetting a divorce can have a major, ongoing impact on your finances. After the divorce is over and all the court and attorney expenses have been paid, many divorcees must continue to make spousal maintenance payments to their former spouses.

Knowing how spousal maintenance is handled and what kinds of maintenance there are in Illinois is crucial for managing your options and expectations. In this article, we will explore what the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act allows in terms of spousal maintenance, how payments are calculated, and how long you can expect to make these payments. 

How is Spousal Maintenance Calculated? 

Maintenance payments are allocated based on a fairly simple equation but judges have wide leeway to adjust payments depending on other factors as well, such as child support obligations or spousal support payments already being made to previous spouses. The basic formula for spousal maintenance is 33 percent of the paying spouse’s annual net income, minus 25 percent of the receiving spouse’s annual net income. 

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cook county custody lawyerDeciding how to arrange a parenting time schedule is never easy, but it can be particularly difficult when both parents are extremely hostile toward each other or when a parent is poorly equipped to care for their child. Sometimes, the court cannot determine the most appropriate arrangement without the assistance of other professionals, such as guardian ad litem or custody evaluators.

What Does a Custody Evaluator Do? 

A custody evaluator is a trained professional who is usually a psychologist, psychiatrist, or attorney. Custody evaluators are different from child representatives because they do not legally represent the child or anyone else. A custody evaluator’s job is to work with the judge, the parents, the child, and any other relevant parties to objectively assess what would be in the best interests of the child. 

In order to do this, evaluators may employ a wide range of strategies. These include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_737110144-min.jpgFor many divorced individuals, the prospect of remarrying a former spouse is the last thing on their minds. However, this is a choice that a surprising number of people make - and, according to the research, they frequently do it successfully. 

People who seek to remarry their former spouse often have very good reasons for wishing to do so. After some time apart, a couple may realize that getting divorced does not rid them of the responsibility to raise their children together. A shared history and vision for the future often make it possible to overcome past hurt and rekindle a relationship. 

However, marriages that ended once can end again. Former partners getting remarried should consider several things before taking a second leap into commitment. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyerStatistics about domestic violence in Illinois are tragic and shocking. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that nationally, about 35% of both men and women experience harm by an intimate partner during their lifetime. In Illinois, these rates are even higher for women.

Unfortunately, domestic violence often occurs within the context of a marriage. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional manipulation, and withholding necessary financial resources are common forms of marital abuse. If you are a victim of spousal abuse and are considering divorce, there are a few additional actions you may want to consider. 

File for an Order of Protection

Orders of Protection are legally binding orders from the court that prohibit an abusive person from contacting or coming within a certain distance of their victim. You can file for an Emergency Order of Protection (EOP), which will give you immediate protection for 21 days. After the EOP expires, you may need to attend a hearing to get a Plenary Order of Protection that can last up to two years. Orders of Protection can also prohibit an abuser from contacting or coming near your children. Violations of Orders of Protection are punishable by arrest and incarceration.

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