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Wheaton divorce attorneysIf you are a parent and are considering ending your marriage, you probably have many concerns about how the divorce will affect your children. The good news is that children with divorced parents can lead just as contented a life as those whose parents are together. In fact, some studies show that children are better off with divorced parents than with parents who are miserable being married. One of the hardest parts of getting a divorce as a parent is telling the children the news. There is no perfect way to tell children that their parents will no longer be living together, but experts do have a few tips to help make the conversation less upsetting for everyone involved.

Try to Tell the Children Together With Your Spouse

While this is not always possible, many child psychology experts say that telling the children about divorce as a couple is the best way to break the news. Sitting with your spouse when you tell the children about the divorce provides a united front. The children are less likely to think that they need to choose sides or put the blame on one of the parents. If you have multiple children, it may be a good idea to tell all of them at once. When parents tell some of the children before the others, it can force them to keep a secret which they are too young to handle.

Make the Conversations Age-Appropriate

After the initial conversation breaking the news of divorce, you will probably need to answer additional questions and address concerns later on. This is the time where you can make conversations more personalized. Younger children will want to be reassured that their parents will still love and care for them, while older children may have more specific questions.

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Wheaton Spousal Maintenance AttorneysIn a large number of marriages, one spouse is the sole income earner and the other spouse is a stay-at-home parent. In many more cases, one spouse earns far more money than the other does, even if they both work outside the home. If these unions end in divorce, it can be difficult financially for the partner who did not work or who earned substantially less to move on. However, Illinois divorce law states an ex-spouse may be entitled to financial support.

Alimony or what is now called “spousal maintenance” refers to payments made to an ex-spouse who does not have sufficient income to self-support after a divorce. The amount and duration of this support depends on several factors, including each party’s income, the length of the marriage, and standard of living. But, what happens to that maintenance if one or both of the ex-spouses remarries?   

What Constitutes the End of Spousal Support? 

In Illinois, alimony ends automatically when the supported ex-spouse remarries (unless the couple decided otherwise in their divorce agreement, which is rare). The paying ex-spouse can stop making alimony payments starting on the date of the supported ex-spouse’s remarriage. The paying ex-spouse does not have to ask the court for a termination of support.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysMost people do not go into a marriage thinking it will end. However, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), approximately 40 to 50 percent of matrimonial unions do not last “until death do us part.” Once a couple decides to separate, the divorce process can be intimidating. Mediation and collaborative law are two forms of alternate dispute resolution for dealing with the divorce process. One option might be better depending on the circumstances of the divorce, but both can be beneficial and help achieve the best outcome for everyone involved. 

Benefits to Mediation 

Divorce mediation involves spouses meeting with a neutral third party called a mediator to help them resolve any issues within the divorce. The majority of mediations end in a settlement if all parties are agreeable to the terms. It is important to know the mediator does not make decisions for either spouse. The mediator serves as a facilitator to help the spouses work out the best solution on their own regarding property division, spousal support, or child-related issues.

Mediation can provide many benefits including: 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysAfter a divorce, one spouse—usually the lower-earning spouse—may be entitled to financial support, which is commonly referred to as “alimony” or “spousal maintenance.” Illinois courts consider different factors to determine whether spousal support is warranted. If maintenance is found to be appropriate, the court typically uses a specific formula to determine the amount and the duration of the payments. In some cases, a spouse may refuse to pay or become delinquent on support payments, but there are laws governing this area of divorce.  

What If a Former Spouse Does Not Pay?  

When an ex-spouse does not make court-ordred maintenance payments, the former couple will likely have to go back to divorce or family court. The person not receiving payment must show the court evidence that his or her ex-spouse has not made any payments, has not made full payments, or has not made timely payments. Hard copy documentation of late or partial payments can be proof in explaining how this has caused financial difficulty. 

If the non-paying spouse continues to disregard the court’s order to pay, the judge may implement a charge of contempt of court against the former spouse, requiring him or her to go before another judge. A second judge may order the non-compliant spouse to pay the support to the ex-spouse in addition to court costs for the contempt case. If this second order is not obeyed, a person can face fines and jail time. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysWhen a couple divorces, they are separating in more ways than one. All of the assets that were acquired during the marriage have to be divided up. The “marital estate” can include monetary funds, as well as property such as a house, vehicles, plus personal possessions and gifts. Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, which means property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Gifts given between spouses or received from a third party can cause conflict when it comes to dividing assets during a divorce, especially in a contentious break-up. 

Marital Property Versus Non-Marital Property

Under Illinois law, marital property is property that was acquired during the marriage, and non-marital property is typically property a spouse had before the marriage or acquired during the marriage by inheritance or gift. Non-marital property is considered “separate property” of each spouse and marital property will be divided between the couple if they split up. In most scenarios, an asset given to one spouse by any third party is considered non-marital property. Gifts such as these can include jewelry, clothing, furniture, cash, vehicles, artwork, almost anything. However, the spouse claiming a gift as non-marital property may be required to prove in court that it was indeed a gift.

Gifts given between spouses throughout the marriage and before the couple parts ways are considered marital property that must be accounted for, valued, and distributed as part of the marital estate. The only exception to this rule is if someone claims it to be separate property of the recipient spouse. The spouse who claims that property acquired during the marriage is separate property must prove at least one of the following: 

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