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DuPage County divorce attorneyThere are not many divorces that are completely amicable, with both spouses on the same page about all of the issues to be resolved. Sometimes, disagreements between spouses can lead to one or both lashing out in the form of destructive, high-conflict behaviors. Not only can this distress everyone around them, but it can also make the divorce much more difficult. Going through a divorce with a high-conflict spouse can be unpredictable, but temporary orders can help take some of the uncertainty away.

What Type of Temporary Orders Can I Petition For?

In almost all divorce situations, the family unit has been disrupted and the household no longer functions as it used to. Both spouses may not even live in the same home anymore. In high-conflict divorces, this marital breakdown can bring much uncertainty, especially when it comes to things such as spending time with the children and paying household bills. Temporary court orders can be requested when there are concerns of a high-conflict spouse.

A temporary court order during your divorce is legally binding, the same as an order for child support you might get after your divorce. The difference here is that these orders will be focused on your immediate needs and will only last until your divorce is finalized. There are various things that you can request to have included in a temporary order during your divorce. Some of the most common and useful inclusions in a temporary order can be:

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DuPage County divorce attorneySo many uncertainties pop up when you know that divorce is in your future, and one of the biggest questions people have is about the price tag. It is no secret that getting a divorce can be expensive, but many people do not realize just how expensive a divorce can be until they are in the middle of the chaos. Some divorces can be completed for as little as a few thousand dollars, while other divorce price tags can jump into the hundreds of thousands. But why is there such a big price difference from divorce to divorce? For the same reason there are such big differences in the divorce agreements: no two situations are the same.

Factors That Influence the Cost of Divorce

There are various elements that factor into a divorce that can affect the cost of the process. These factors can include:

  • Whether your divorce is contested or amicable: One of the biggest factors in determining how expensive your divorce ends up being is the ability for you and your spouse to cooperate. If you and your spouse are on the same page and you do not have any major disagreements, your divorce will likely cost much less than if the same issues were contested.

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DuPage County marital debt division attorneyWhen going through the divorce process in Illinois, couples typically focus on how to divvy up assets they acquired during the marriage. Less attention is paid to the financial obligations the parties incurred since the wedding date, so debt in divorce is often overlooked. In particularly contentious cases, bitter disputes and court battles may erupt as one spouse attempts to hold the other accountable for the amount due. Even if you are on relatively good terms, marital debts can often stand in the way when you are trying to reach an agreement on distributing real estate and personal property.

It is always wise to rely on experienced legal counsel when addressing divorce-related issues, so you should consult with an attorney about your specific circumstances. However, an overview of Illinois law may help you understand the basic concepts.

Illinois Law on Dividing Assets and Debts

Illinois’s statute on the disposition of property in a divorce requires an equitable distribution of all property and assets that belong to the marital estate. The law goes on to include debt and financial obligations in the definition of “marital property.” Therefore, it is important to consider the following regarding any debt belonging to you or your spouse:

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Naperville divorce finances attorneyIf someone were to ask you right now how much money you would need each month to live comfortably, do you think you could give them an accurate number? Most people have no idea how much money they actually need to survive each month or how much they actually spend, even if they do have a budget. However, when you go to get a divorce, it is important to have an idea of your spending habits and financial needs, as it will be one of the questions that your attorney will bring up when discussing issues including spousal support and asset division. Most of the time, people will significantly underestimate or overestimate what they actually need to live a comfortable life or to maintain the lifestyle that they had during their marriage. A lifestyle analysis can help to ensure that you are prepared for life after your divorce is final.

Components of a Lifestyle Analysis

The goal of a lifestyle analysis is to produce a report that contains all of you and your spouse’s recent financial information. The analysis will also establish a basis for what your standard of living was during your marriage, and it may help to identify any issues or discrepancies. Information in your lifestyle analysis may include:

  • Personal tax returns from at least the past three years for both you and your spouse, along with business tax returns if either of you owns a business

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DuPage County spousal maintenance lawyerEven in today’s world where a two-income household is becoming more of the norm, it is not uncommon to come across a family in which one parent works while the other stays at home to take care of the children. This may work during the marriage, but if the couple were to ever get a divorce, the stay-at-home parent could be at a significant financial disadvantage. In these types of situations, spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, is sometimes awarded to a lesser-earning spouse to help them become self-sufficient and to ensure they are able to enjoy a similar standard of living that they enjoyed during the marriage. 

How Long Does Spousal Support Continue?

The terms of a spousal maintenance award, including the duration of the payments, can differ from case to case depending on a variety of factors. However, there are a few situations in which spousal support will almost always automatically terminate:

  • Cohabitation: Illinois is one of the states in which spousal maintenance terminates when the receiving spouse moves in with or begins to cohabitate with a new partner. The spouse paying the support has the burden of proving the other spouse has a cohabiting relationship with another person, which is defined in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) as two people living with one another “on a resident, continuing conjugal basis.”

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Naperville IL parenting plan lawyerSome of the most contentious issues in a divorce are often the issues that revolve around the children, such as parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. Before a couple with children can divorce, they must come to a consensus on all of these issues and put their agreement in writing into what is called a parenting plan. If you and your spouse are able to come up with the agreement on your own, this can be extremely helpful in the long run. Keeping the negotiations between you and your spouse, rather than taking the issue to court, also allows you to personalize your parenting plan and include provisions that are specific to your family’s situation. 

Items to Address in Your Parenting Agreement

Though you should further discuss your parenting plan with an Illinois divorce lawyer, here are a few things you should consider adding to your Illinois parenting plan:

  • Dietary standards for your child: Though it may sound strange, in some cases, one parent may want their child to follow a certain diet. For example, a parent may want their child to follow a vegetarian or gluten-free diet. Including a provision in the parenting plan could help ensure both parents stick to the diet.

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DuPage County high-conflict divorce attorneyGetting a divorce is rarely easy, but for some couples, the divorce process can be especially troublesome. It is normal for a divorcing couple to have disagreements, but when it seems as if the conflict will never cease, you can begin to feel worn down and burnt out. This can end up affecting not only your divorce case, but your physical and mental health, too. In many cases, a high-conflict divorce is the product of a high-conflict spouse. Often, it is possible to predict whether or not your spouse is likely to be combative or difficult to work with during your divorce process, allowing you to prepare yourself emotionally, mentally, and practically. 

Managing the Divorce Process With a Difficult Spouse

If you are going through a high-conflict divorce, here are a few ways to help you survive:

  • Limit the contact you have with your spouse. The easiest way to limit the stress of a high-conflict divorce is to limit the amount of communication you have with your spouse. A high-conflict spouse may thrive off of the arguments and the rise they can get out of you, so limiting the amount of time you spend talking with one another limits the amount of time they have to escalate the situation. Try to cease face-to-face communication and keep emails, text messages and phone calls short and simple.

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DuPage County divorce attorney debt division

For many people, going to college to get an education is an important step that they must take to advance themselves in their careers. However, college education does not come with small price tags. According to Forbes, there are approximately 45 million people in the United States with student loan debt, the majority of which owe between $20,000 and $40,000. Student loan debt may be one of the largest debts that either you or your spouse have. If you decide to get a divorce in Illinois, debt can be an important factor when it comes to asset and debt division since you are required to allocate all of your property and liabilities. An experienced Illinois divorce attorney can assist you with this process.

Are Student Loans Marital or Nonmarital Property?

Before you can even begin to look at dividing up student loan debt, you must first look to see if the debt is technically marital or nonmarital property. If the student loans were incurred before the marriage took place, then they would be considered non-marital property and would likely remain the responsibility of the person who incurred them. If the student loans were obtained after the marriage took place, they are considered marital property and will be subject to division.

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DuPage County divorce lawyerFor many divorcing couples, children are a part of the picture and must be properly handled before the divorce can be finalized. Getting a divorce when you have any children at all increases the complexity and difficulty of the legal process, but doing so when your children are in their teenage years can provide for rather unique and interesting issues. If your children are still minors, you and your spouse must have a parenting plan approved and in place before you can have a judge finalize your divorce agreement. Creating a parenting plan can be straightforward in some situations, but when you are creating a parenting plan for teenagers, there are some things you should keep in mind.

Flexibility is Important

When you have a child who is a teenager, they are just beginning to blossom into young adults. Their lives are no longer revolving around you and the family. They have other things going on in their lives, such as school, friends, extracurricular activities, sports, jobs and significant others. A strict parenting plan will only cause stress for everyone and can put a strain on the relationship between you and your teen. Having a flexible parenting plan is important for successfully co-parenting a teenager.

Be Prepared For Them to Spend a Lot of Time With Friends

As your child grows, they will naturally want to spend more time with their friends and will gravitate away from the family setting. This is normal and actually helps prepare them for a few years down the line when they will be surrounded by peers and no longer living with parents. You should try not to place too much pressure on your teen for wanting to spend time with his or her friends in the midst of your divorce.

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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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Wheaton divorce lawyerEvery divorce case will have its areas that cause disputes. For some couples, child-related issues will be the epicenter of most of the divorce conflict. For others, typically spouses who do not have children, the asset division process can be this source of contention. The asset division process can be long and confusing, especially since much of the process involves delving into your finances.

Unfortunately, divorce can bring out the worst in some people, prompting them to do things that they normally would not do or things that they know they should not do. In a high-asset divorce, it is not uncommon for a spouse to attempt to hide assets or otherwise keep his or her spouse from receiving a portion of the marital estate. This is where help from a forensic accountant can be beneficial.

Illinois Asset Division and Discovery

When it comes to the rules governing asset division, each state is different. The state of Illinois uses what is called an equitable distribution model. This, however, is not to be confused with equal distribution. Equitable distribution means that each spouse will receive a portion of the marital estate, that is deemed fair when all relevant circumstances are considered. Illinois courts urge couples to agree upon asset division themselves, but a court will divide assets if need be. If the court divides a couple’s marital assets, there is a chance that one spouse will receive a larger portion of the marital estate than the other spouse.

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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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Wheaton high asset divorce attorneyThe financial aspects of divorce can be an additional stressor for those in the process of ending their marriage. For some, this stress comes from worrying about the cost of divorce. But for couples who have money to spare, their extensive assets can actually be the root of the divorce anxiety. During divorce, couples who have a high net worth have a few different issues that many other couples typically do not have to worry about. If you are going through a high net worth divorce, here are a few mistakes you should try your best to avoid:

Concealing Assets From Your Spouse

Trying to hide assets from your spouse is not uncommon in high net worth divorces. This is possibly one of the worst mistakes you can make, because not only is it unfair, but it is illegal. During divorce negotiations, you are required to be completely truthful with your spouse and their attorney. If you do not fully disclose all aspects of your finances during the discovery process, including the income you earn, the assets you own, and the debts you owe, you could end up paying a lot more than what you would have originally, causing you to lose the assets you were trying to protect.

Forgetting About Tax Issues

Getting a divorce involves a lot of financial decisions that can affect you for the rest of your life. One thing you must keep in mind when making these decisions is how it will affect your taxes after the divorce papers are signed. With the many financial aspects of divorce, there are tax implications that can come up in the future. Issues such as spousal support can affect the amount of taxes that you pay, along with 401(k) distributions or selling certain assets.

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Naperville family law attorneyStarting a new life after divorce can be tough for everyone, but for children, the adjustment can be especially challenging. Kids are accustomed to having both parents constantly in their lives and any change can be difficult. They thrive off of stability and permanency, which is why co-parenting arrangements can sometimes be disruptive to children. One alternative solution to the traditional co-parenting structure is called a “nesting” plan. This type of plan does not work for every family situation, but it is an option worth considering.

What is a Nesting Plan?

A nesting plan is a type of alternative co-parenting arrangement in which the children remain in the family home and the parents take turns living in the home with them. This type of arrangement allows children to have minimal disruptions in their everyday lives and continue to live under the same roof at all times. Rather than requiring the children to pack up and move between two households, the parents take on that burden for the benefit of their children. 

Considerations for Nesting Plans

As with anything, there are pros and cons to a nesting plan. Many families believe this alternative arrangement is beneficial because it takes a more child-centered approach to co-parenting. The children remain in the family home longer and continue to see both parents within that home, just not at the same time. Nesting plans are typically temporary, but they provide a secure way for children to transition into life with two unmarried parents.

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DuPage County divorce attorneyDivorce is considered to be one of the most stressful life events you can experience, and almost 50% of married couples go through it. One of the factors that contributes to the stress of a divorce is the financial aspect. It has been estimated that divorces can cost anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to almost $100,000, depending on the couple’s situation. While getting a divorce is never free, there are certain things that you can do to help keep your divorce costs reasonable.

Come Prepared to Meetings With Your Attorney

While your attorney will play a crucial role in your divorce case, you want to make the best use of their time and avoid paying for unnecessary attorney's fees. In order to cut back on the amount of time spent in legal meetings, come to your appointments organized. If you know that you will be meeting to discuss property division, make sure you come prepared with a list of your marital assets and debts and any other relevant financial documents that may be useful to your attorney.

Be Prepared to Negotiate

Nobody ever gets everything that they want in a divorce. It is important for you to have a realistic idea of what is and is not possible when it comes to a divorce settlement. The most expensive divorces are those that go to trial because the spouses cannot reach a settlement outside of court. It is important to know when to compromise to save you time and money.

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DuPage County parental relocation lawyerFor some, relocation can be a necessary step after divorce. There are many reasons why divorcees would want to move after the divorce is finalized. Some wish to be closer to family members, while others move for a new job. Regardless of the reason, a parent must have primary or equal custody of the child in order to submit a relocation request. In Illinois, relocation includes any move that is at least 25 miles from the child’s current home for those that live in Will, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake or McHenry County or moves outside of Illinois state borders. If the child lives in a different county than those listed above, relocation boundaries increase to 50 miles from the current residence to any other part of Illinois. Moving with your child can be stressful, especially if your ex-spouse does not approve of the relocation.

Notice of Relocation

Before you are able to do anything, you must provide your former spouse with notice that you intend to relocate with your child. In the notice, you must include the date of your intended relocation, your new address, and whether or not the relocation is permanent. If the other parent signs the notice, it can be filed with the clerk of the circuit court, and if the judge agrees that the proposed move is in the child's best interests, the parenting plan will be modified. If the other parent does not agree to the relocation, the parent seeking to move must file a petition with the court requesting to relocate.

Deciding Factors

If the parents are unable to come to an agreement on their own, they must take the issue to court. A judge will review the petition for relocation and the other parent's objections to the planned relocation to determine whether the move is in the child's best interests. When the judge is making the decision about the relocation, he or she will consider a variety of factors. These include:

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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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Wheaton property division attorneyOne of the most difficult issues that all couples have to face when they get a divorce is determining how they will divide the marital property. Most people think that property division only pertains to assets such as the family home, vehicles, cash and other household items, but all of a couple’s property needs to be divided during a divorce -- including assets and debts that are not necessarily tangible. Property division tends to become more difficult the longer a couple has been married because couples that have been together for many years have typically accumulated more together.

Marital and Non-marital Property

Before you go to court, you must first determine which property is actually subject to division. In Illinois, all marital property is subject to division and non-marital property is not. Marital property is any property or debt that was acquired by either spouse after the marriage. All other property is considered to be non-marital property.

Factors Used in Making Determinations

If you and your spouse, along with each of your attorneys cannot come to an agreement about marital property, a judge will assign the property to each spouse as he or she sees fit. There are certain factors a judge must take into consideration before he or she assigns the property. These factors include:

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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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DuPage County divorce attorneyOne of the things that holds back many couples from divorcing is the children. Many parents worry and wonder what kind of effects the divorce would have on their children, even if they know that a divorce would be best for their personal wellbeing. In reality, many parents do not know that staying in an unhappy marriage can actually be more detrimental to a child’s wellbeing than divorce. Here are a few ways as to how staying in an unhappy marriage could harm your children:

Chronic Stress and Tension

If you are feeling the stress at home, then your children probably are too. Constant fighting or bickering can mean chronic tension in the home and that is not good for anyone. Your children will feel it and will feel uneasy in their own home.

Low Self-Esteem

Children absorb everything around them. When their surroundings are full of fighting and rejection, children tend to internalize that, which turns into low self-esteem. Constantly being at odds with your spouse can cause your child to feel uncertain and rejected.

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