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Wheaton divorce lawyerFor many Americans, March was the last month that had any sort of normalcy to it. As the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe, it hit the United States especially hard, with the number of confirmed cases topping five million in recent days. The pandemic is responsible for closing thousands of non-essential businesses and forcing many others to conduct business remotely or work from home. This was true even for government operations, such as business conducted at the DuPage County courthouse. For those who are in the middle of the divorce process or are thinking about beginning the process of getting a divorce, the biggest question running through your mind is likely, “Is a divorce even possible at this time?”

Changes to Court Procedures

Thankfully, the answer to that question is yes, it is still possible to get a divorce during the pandemic, though it may be a little different from what you thought your divorce would be like. Beginning on June 8, the DuPage County courthouse reopened for normal business hours, but with changed procedures to help implement social distancing guidelines and other policies to protect court staff, judges, attorneys, and visitors. These guidelines include:

  • Reducing the number of in-person court calls conducted on a given day and requiring some court calls to be conducted through remote means to reduce the number of people present inside of the courthouse;

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Naperville child support lawyerWhen parents get divorced, there are many things that suddenly become a topic of concern for their children. Once you determine how you will split parenting time, you can then begin to calculate how much child support will be paid by whoever has the least amount of parenting time. In the state of Illinois, child support calculations take into account both parents’ incomes, the number of children, and the amount of parenting time that is allocated to each parent. Child support may also include a child’s medical expenses, which either or both parents can be responsible for. Child support calculations can be complicated and disputed, but an Illinois divorce lawyer can help you ensure your parenting plan addresses your child’s medical needs and his or her medical expenses.

Who Maintains the Child’s Health Insurance Coverage?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a portion of the basic child support payment made each month to the custodial parent is intended to be used for basic medical expenses, such as cough medication if the child had a cold. However, the court does have the authority to order either or both parents to add the child to an existing policy held by either of the parents or purchase health insurance coverage for the child.

How Are Other Medical Expenses Managed?

It is rare that all of a person’s medical expenses will be completely covered by insurance. Typically, insurance companies pay for a portion of your healthcare services while you are responsible for the remainder of the cost. These costs can add up quickly, which is why it is important to denote how you will allocate those costs for your child in your parenting plan. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, the court has the discretion to order either or both of you to pay for medical expenses beyond insurance coverage, dental care, orthodontic care, and vision care.

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Wheaton divorce lawyer“I want a divorce.” Those four words, small as they are, have the power to break a person’s heart or set him or her free—depending on who is saying them. When you have finally made the decision that you no longer want to be married to your spouse, it can feel like a sigh of relief. Telling your spouse about your decision, however, will likely be one of the most important, yet difficult conversations of both of your lives. The approach that you take when having this conversation could set the tone for the entire divorce and even though nobody wants to have this conversation, it is one that needs to take place. If you are thinking of separating from or divorcing your spouse, here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Make sure you mean what you say. You should not tell your spouse that you want a divorce unless you are certain that is actually what you want. If you are unsure of whether or not you are ready for a divorce, but you know that you are unhappy, you should talk to your spouse about why you are unhappy and how it can be fixed. Once you are fairly certain you would like to proceed with a separation or divorce, then it would be appropriate to bring it up.

  • Set the scene for the conversation. Talking to your spouse about your divorce will likely be one of the most complicated conversations of your life. You should do your best not to ambush your spouse with this conversation. If you can, plan a time and a place for you and your spouse to talk. Many times, talking in the privacy of your home is the most comfortable, but if you are scared for your safety, you may want to have the conversation in a public place, such as a coffee shop, or with a friend or family member nearby.

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Naperville family lawyerGetting a marriage annulled is not simply another way to end a marriage. While divorce terminates a marriage, an annulment declares that a marriage was never valid in the first place. In Illinois, an annulment is technically called a “Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage.” An individual cannot get their marriage annulled simply because they regret getting married. In order to qualify for an annulment, there must be some reason that the marriage is considered invalid. Fortunately, if a marriage does not qualify for an annulment, the couple will still be able to end their marriage through divorce.

Reasons That a Marriage May Be Considered Invalid

In many cases when we hear about a married couple getting an annulment, it is a religious annulment through their church. However, a civil annulment is only issued if a marriage is invalid for some reason. The justifications for annulment include:

  • One or both of the spouses did not meet the age requirements to be married according to Illinois law. Individuals aged 16 or 17 may marry, but they must have written permission from a parent, guardian, or Illinois judge.

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Wheaton family law attorney legal separation

The term “separation” holds a certain negative connotation when explained to family or friends. If you and your spouse decide that you both need some time apart, others may jump to conclusions and assume that this is your first step toward divorce. While this may be the case for some couples, experts have shown that time away from your spouse can often help you make a better decision about how you would like to proceed. Some may simply live separately while others may file for a legal separation agreement. There are benefits and drawbacks to separation, some of which may bring you closer while others could drive you apart. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you navigate the legal process of separation.

How to Facilitate a Healthy Separation

Living apart from your spouse for a period of time does not have to end in divorce. In fact, many psychologists and marriage counselors actually encourage time apart if you are struggling to make things work. Once apart, you may recognize how much you miss and rely on your partner and decide to put in the additional time and effort to improve the relationship. In order to be productive while you are separated, here are a few things that experts suggest:

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Wheaton divorce lawyerFor many people, having a child and starting a family is a life goal. Having children can be extremely fulfilling, but they do not need to be taken care of forever. Eventually, children grow up and head off to college or move out of the home. During this time, many parents develop feelings of loss and emptiness. These feelings have been named “empty nest syndrome,” and they can lead to a great deal of stress for many parents that can affect their marriages. It is not uncommon for couples to have marital issues after their children have left the home. In some cases, the issues in the marriage could lead to a divorce.

What Is Empty Nest Syndrome?

If you have children, you have spent years, even decades, dedicating yourself to them. You took care of them while they were babies, helped them through the tough adolescent years, and guided them through heartbreak and other difficulties as teenagers. Now, they are ready to leave the home and explore the world. You are left behind, with the same home, same life, and same spouse, and you may struggle to adjust to your children being gone. The feeling of loss and emptiness that you may experience is known as empty nest syndrome.

Dealing With Empty Nest Syndrome

When your last child has left the home, you may begin to focus more on your spouse, for better or for worse. In some cases, there may have been issues present throughout the marriage that you never had time to address. Now that you have the time, the issues can seem even more intense and problematic. You and your spouse may have grown apart during the years of your marriage, focusing all of your time on your children and not enough time on each other. In this type of situation, you may feel as if you do not even know who your spouse is anymore. Feeling the effects of empty nest syndrome does not have to result in divorce, but it can often highlight issues that are already present in your marriage. If you are unable to resolve these issues, divorce may ultimately be your best option.

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Wheaton divorce attorneyGetting divorced is a stressful situation for most couples. Even if both spouses agree to the divorce, one can end up feeling overwhelmed, especially if there are children involved. When spouses become adversaries in legal situations, it is not uncommon for one or both spouses to begin to hide certain information or partake in other activities that could damage the family or affect the outcome of the divorce. In some situations, hiring a private investigator may be beneficial to help you uncover information. Here are a few ways in which a private investigator may be beneficial for you:

You Suspect Your Spouse Is Cheating on You

In Illinois, the only type of divorce that is recognized is a no-fault divorce. This means you do not have to cite a reason for the divorce, other than stating that the two of you have irreconcilable differences. Even though you cannot use your spouse’s adultery as a means of proving fault, it can still benefit you to discover whether or not your spouse is cheating on you. If it is determined that your spouse wasted marital assets on a lover during the marriage, you may be able to prove that he or she is guilty of dissipation. A private investigator will be able to gather evidence of a partner’s infidelity, which may prove beneficial when addressing issues related to the division of marital property.

You Need Help Locating Assets

A private investigator will have the skills and technology that allow them to gather information that could be valuable to you during your divorce. For example, spouses are not always truthful when it comes to disclosing all of their assets and income. This can keep you from receiving your fair share of marital property, or it could affect the spousal support you will pay or receive following your divorce. If something is not adding up in your divorce, a private investigator can help uncover hidden financial information.

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Wheaton asset division attorneyWhen you get a divorce, one of the most difficult subjects to handle is the division of property between you and your spouse. Not only can it fuel the emotional side of divorce, but property division can become complicated when trying to determine what to do with specific assets and how to make the division as fair and equitable as possible. There are a variety of factors that come into play when determining how marital property is divided.

Dividing Real Property

Some of the most complicated issues arise when it comes time to determine how real estate property is divided. Because a home cannot be physically split in half, couples sometimes have to get creative when distributing the value of this property. Spouses typically have three choices when it comes to dealing with the home: selling it and splitting the profits, keeping it in one spouse’s name while that spouse “buys out” the other spouse's share, or continuing to jointly own the home.

Dangers of Continued Joint Ownership

It is rarely a good idea to continue to jointly own property after a divorce. It is in your best interests to ensure that only your name is on the deeds or titles to any property that you are awarded in the asset division process.

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DuPage County divorce attorney

Marriage may look bright and shiny on the outside, but it can be a difficult relationship to maintain over the years. As people change, sometimes their partners do not change alongside them. No couple stays the same throughout the entirety of their marriage. For some couples, this can lead to new adventures throughout life’s stages, while for others, it can cause them to grow apart with no hope for reconciliation. Every marriage is unique, but there are a few common denominators that experts have found to be frequent causes of divorce

Money, Money, Money

In the past, many couples got married at a young age, meaning that they often did not have much money to their names. This has shifted in the last decade, as millennials decide to wait a little longer before tying the knot. Money troubles are common for young couples looking to start a life together. Rather than taking the time to build up a fair amount of savings, these couples can find themselves struggling to pay their bills, putting their relationship on the back burner. Although this is common with younger couples, those who get married later are far from exempt from financial issues. Some are used to being independent and find it difficult to share finances with their partner, while others run into hard times financially due to a job loss or medical care costs. Regardless of the reason, disagreements regarding money are common for all couples, and they can sometimes make or break a relationship.

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Naperville divorce attorneyDivorce is full of difficult situations. Even making the decision to get a divorce can seem impossible. Perhaps one of the hardest situations that you will have to deal with during your divorce is breaking the news to your children. Depending on your circumstances, your children may already suspect that something is awry. If there has been constant fighting in the house, your children are likely aware of the fact that you and your spouse are unhappy. There is no way to predict how your children will react to the news of a divorce; each child processes and copes with the news differently. Though this can be a difficult time for everyone, here are a few tips to help you tell your children that you and your spouse are getting divorced:

Act as a Team

This may be difficult for some couples, but telling the children about your decision as a team can make a world of difference. Even if the decision to divorce was not mutual, it is important that the children see that you and your spouse can still work together. After all, you will always have a common connection -- your children. 

Plan What You Will Say

This is one conversation that you do not want to make up as you go along. You and your spouse should sit down and plan out some talking points that you want to get across when you tell the kids that you are getting divorced. You both should be sure that your child understands that the divorce is not their fault, but rather a matter between you and your spouse. You should also remind your kids that you both love them very much, regardless of your marital state.

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Naperville prenuptial agreement attorneyEveryone thinks that marriage is forever — and for many people it is. But for some Americans, divorce is still very much a reality. Depending on the source, the divorce rate has lingered around 40 to 50 percent for the past decade or so. Getting a divorce can turn your entire life upside down and can even change your financial situation for the worst. One thing you can do to protect yourself before you get to that point is to get a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that you can use to dictate how certain things will be handled in the event of a divorce. This can be greatly beneficial in reducing the amount of conflict and the length of time it takes to complete a divorce if you and your spouse ever get to that point. In order for your prenuptial agreement to be enforceable and valid, there are certain things that are not permitted in a prenuptial agreement and certain rules and procedures you must follow when creating one. Here are a few mistakes you should avoid while creating your prenuptial agreement:

1. You and Your Spouse Did Not Have Different Attorneys

One of the basic requirements of a prenuptial agreement is that you and your spouse both have independent legal representation. If you and your spouse do end up getting a divorce, what is best for you may not be what is best for your spouse. A single lawyer cannot advocate for both you and your spouse equally.

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DuPage County Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage lawyerYou have had it up to your ears with your spouse, and your spouse is fed up with you. You both know that you want to end the marriage, but you both also know how stressful, long and drawn out divorces can become. You know you want something that is as quick and easy as possible. 

One option that you may have is to apply for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage. This type of divorce is expedited and can allow you and your spouse to complete a divorce much quicker than a traditional divorce. Importantly, there are certain requirements that couples must meet in order to qualify to use a joint simplified dissolution of marriage.

Requirements for a Simplified Divorce

Only certain couples qualify to file for a joint simplified divorce. According to Illinois law, the following requirements must be met before a couple can file for a simplified divorce:

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Naperville asset division divorce lawyerToday, nearly three million ex-spouses within the United States earn Social Security benefits from their former spouse's work records. If you or your ex have Social Security benefits and are officially divorced, you may want to know what rights you have under the law. Additionally, if you are considering divorce, you will want to understand what your spouse is likely to claim in the future. This information can directly impact the divorce judgment with regards to property division and support claims. Consider the following regulations:

Length of Marriage

According to the United States Social Security Administration, if you are divorced, but your marriage lasted at least ten years, an ex-spouse can receive benefits from another spouse’s record. An ex-spouse is still eligible even if the benefiting spouse has remarried. However, if the non-benefitting ex remarried, they can no longer make a claim, unless their new marriage ends, either by death, divorce, or annulment.

Qualifications

A divorced spouse has “divorced spouse benefits” equal to one-half of their spouse's retirement or disability benefits. An ex must meet the following qualifications:

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Naperville divorce lawyer alimony taxesWhile no two divorces are identical, they all have one thing in common: they are complicated and stressful. Experts suggest that the only event more stressful than divorce is experiencing the death of a spouse or a child. Even if you and your spouse experience an amicable, mutual separation, and there are only minor disagreements, the process itself is made up of many legal facets that must be resolved before it can be finalized. From child-rearing to finances, the division of a marriage into two separate lives can become troublesome. As if that were not enough, some brand-new divorce laws become effective as of January 1, 2019.

If you are considering divorce now or in the future, these new laws may affect your situation:

Spousal Maintenance Will No Longer Be Tax Deductible

Before 2019, spouses ordered to pay spousal maintenance or alimony were given a substantial deduction during tax season. This deduction often eased the sting of a monthly payment. Experts believe that now, spouses may argue to pay less in alimony as a result.

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