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Wheaton family law attorneyNo one enters into marriage expecting to get a divorce. However, it is impossible to predict the future, and unforeseen circumstances can cause a marriage to fail. Whether it is infidelity, financial problems, or addiction issues, some couples may decide to legally terminate their union. When that happens, there can be many issues to resolve and divide. In some cases, a couple may create a prenuptial agreement prior to their marriage to outline how certain marital issues will be handled in case of a divorce or a legal separation. A postnuptial agreement is a similar legal document that can be drafted after marriage. This document can protect certain marital rights, such as spousal maintenance and division of property. 

Protecting Your Interests in a Postnup

A postnuptial agreement is often referred to as a postmarital agreement or a “postnup” for short. There are many reasons why a couple may want to draft a postnup. For example, if both partners have significant assets that they bring to the marriage, or if they start a business together while they are married. Settling these affairs ahead of time can distinctly define each party’s wishes, which may help prevent a contentious divorce. 

A few of the main issues that a postnuptial agreement addresses include:

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Wheaton divorce attorneysThere are many reasons why people get divorced, and one of the most common is financial issues. Arguing over money or frivolous spending can cause a couple to grow apart. In some cases, it may destroy trust and result in the end of the marriage. During the divorce proceedings, anything the spouses owned together will need to be divided between the spouses. This is referred to as the division of marital assets and property. Certain assets might be in the form of retirement accounts, pension plans, or other investments acquired by one or both spouses. However, splitting these types of assets is not as easy as tangible items such as a house, furniture, or vehicles. The process can be complicated, so it is important to understand how they will be distributed according to Illinois divorce law.   

What Is “Equitable Distribution”?

In Illinois, marital property is just about anything the couple acquired during the time they were married. This is different from non-marital property, which are items or assets that one of the spouses owned prior to the marriage. Gifts and inheritance also fall into the non-marital or separate property category. 

Under Illinois law, “equitable distribution” in a divorce means that all the marital property will be divided between the spouses in a fair or equitable way, but not necessarily completely in half. Therefore, it is important to determine what portion of the retirement savings is considered to be marital property and subject to division during the divorce.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysMaking the decision to legally terminate a marriage is a big step. For some people, it might be daunting to think of being single again, especially if they have been married for a long time. There are options that a couple can take if they are not ready to split up permanently. A trial separation is an informal agreement between two spouses that they will live apart for a period of time. Unlike a legal separation, a trial separation is not a legally binding contract, but in both situations, the pair is technically still married in the eyes of the law. In some instances, the married couple may choose to seek counseling to work out their problems during the separation. They may even reconcile and move back in with each other. However, some couples may decide to get a divorce after they are separated. 

Factors to Consider During a Separation

A trial separation begins as soon as one of the spouses moves out of the marital home. This means he or she will have to find a new place to live, whether it be temporary or long term. A couple can decide on the terms of their agreement, which can be flexible since it is not an official legal arrangement. This allows both partners to explore options regarding child-related and marital issues in the event of a divorce later on. 

Some of the important factors to consider in the short and long term following a separation include the following:

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Wheaton divorce lawyersIn divorce law, the term “dissipation” is used to describe property which is wasted during the end of a marriage. With help from a qualified family law attorney, you may be able to be compensated for assets which your spouse dissipated before your marital property was formally divided during divorce. However, not all wasteful spending is considered dissipation. Only situations which meet certain criteria are considered dissipation, and it is important to understand what these criteria are. 

What Types of Spending Are Considered Dissipative?

Many individuals who are in the process of getting divorced have questions about their soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s financial responsibility. However, dissipation refers to a specific situation in which a spouse wastes, misuses, or destroys marital property. The Illinois Supreme Court has specified that dissipation is the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage.”

Dissipated assets include any money or property that was used for the benefit of one of the spouses but did not benefit the other spouse or the marriage in any way. Examples of dissipation may include:

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneysThe realization that your marriage is coming to an end can oftentimes be very difficult to cope with. While this can be true for some cases, a divorce can occasionally result in the individuals coming out much happier based on the promise of a fresh start. When a couple can work together and make compromises on divisions of assets, debt, property and other marital concerns, stress and anxiety can be relieved. It is critical to remember that if children are involved, their needs are more important than anything else, which should be reflected in the agreed upon parenting plan. The divorce process can all depend on how everything is managed, and an amicable outcome can be achieved if the spouses involved can follow these tips:

Tip #1: Do Not Act Inappropriately

Understanding that a divorce affects other people can help with perspective. The actions and emotions you display can have a lasting outcome on friends, family members, children, and the opposing spouse. Saying something that you might regret later could result in your peaceful separation falling apart. 

Coinciding with this, social media may seem like a good platform to vent your frustrations and anger, however this is not recommended. Taking into account all of the relevant factors, an inappropriate post could have severe consequences. It is not uncommon for social media posts to be presented as evidence in divorce cases, often to the detriment of the spouse who posted them.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysA divorce is typically a last resort for a couple who may have tried marriage counseling or therapy in an effort to solve their problems. Illinois recognizes “irreconcilable differences” as the only grounds for divorce, meaning that the marriage is considered beyond repair. While there is no longer a requirement in Illinois for divorcing spouses to live apart, a six-month period of living separately will be taken by the court as proof that there are irreconcilable differences between the parties.

Once the decision to end a matrimonial union has been made, there are legal steps that need to be taken in order to complete the divorce process. Even if a couple works together to come to agreements on financial or child-related issues, there are still obligations each party must meet for the final divorce decree to be issued.  

Divorce Proceedings

Illinois requires residency for a minimum of 90 days before a person can file for divorce. The proceedings are initiated when one spouse (petitioner) files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in his or her county’s court. After the filing, the other spouse (respondent) is served with the petition. The respondent has 30 days to file a response to the petition. If this is not done within the appropriate time period, a judge can enter a default judgment against that spouse. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysThe prevalence of social media cannot be denied in today’s society. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are some of the most popular social media websites for people of all ages. While a lot of users like these sites as a way to communicate and share pictures with friends or family members, the use of social media can prove detrimental when going through a divorce. If one spouse is posting photos of extravagant spending, for example, this can be spun as evidence against the other spouse if the couple is disputing spousal support/maintenance, child support, or child custody issues. It is imperative to err on the side of caution when contemplating social media activity during a divorce. 

Online Evidence Can Be Used Against You

It is important to know that text messages and emails are admissible in court. If a spouse uses social media, text messages, or email to announce a new job or an upcoming bonus that has not been disclosed to the other spouse or in court, this can be used as evidence that the person is not being honest regarding his or her finances. This can affect settlements for division of property and assets. Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state so marital property will be split fairly, not necessarily equally. However, a judge will take several factors into consideration when determining how to divide everything. 

On Facebook, friends might post pictures and “tag” someone else in them, which includes his or her name. Therefore, people must be careful about their actions and behavior depending on their privacy settings for social media accounts. For example, if an individual takes an expensive vacation with friends and someone in the group posts pictures of it, that might lessen his or her chances of receiving spousal support or maintenance payments after the divorce.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersMaking adjustments after a divorce is a scary scenario that far too many couples encounter today; your entire life as you know it is coming to a change very quickly. While one half of the couple may seem to move on with limited issues, the other companion might not be that lucky. Stay-at-home parents are very common in our society, as many couples have taken the option of putting one spouse's career on hold in an effort to focus on the aspects of life at home, such as raising children and maintaining the property. Stay-at-home parents may feel at a disadvantage in many categories going into and coming out of a divorce.  

Planning for the Future 

Once a divorce is introduced into the conversation, each partner will have to consider how their life will be without the other involved. Finding a new place to live and possibly searching for a new job are two major hurdles that are not easily overcome. The entire process of a divorce and its outcomes rely heavily on financial matters. How can spouses be on a level field if one of them has not worked for a significant time?

Looking ahead to what will need to be accomplished is a good task to keep in mind. Some recommended things you should do include taking the time to:

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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 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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Naperville Divorce Lawyer annulment In some circumstances, the annulment of a marriage can be sought instead of a divorce. The difference between a divorce and an annulment is that a divorce ends the marriage, but an annulment declares that the marriage was invalid and should never have happened. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/301), the court has the power to determine and make it as though the marriage never occurred. However, an annulment will only be available in particular situations:

Lack of Capacity to Consent

If one or both of the individuals who were married lacked the mental capacity to consent to marriage, it can be annulled. This includes if the individuals were drunk, on drugs, or intoxicated by any other substance that mentally impaired them at the time of their wedding (think of a late-night Las Vegas ceremony). The parties can reasonably claim afterward that they did not have the capability to consent to the union. In such a case, the annulment must be sought within 90 days to void the marriage.

Coerced into Marriage

If one participant in the wedding entered into the union while under duress, the marriage may be annulled. In these cases, there is also has a 90-day time limit after learning of the conditions for annulment.

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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce lawyers

Your divorce may have taken a heavy toll on your life, but once the divorce process is over, you have to learn how to live on your own again. When rebooting after your divorce, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut and not know what to do with yourself when the person you have spent so much time with is out of your life. 

Successful Post-Divorce Life Tips

If you want to make your life after divorce more enjoyable, follow these helpful tips.

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Naperville divorce mediators

Marriage is supposed to be a partnership with both sides working together. Sometimes that does not occur and the marriage ends in divorce. If you are thinking about divorce but do not want to go through a lengthy court battle and you believe you can work through the divorce process with your spouse, divorce mediation could be the best choice for you.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is used as an alternative method of resolving a divorce case. With mediation, a third party works with the couple to resolve all issues covered in their divorce agreement, including child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance. The mediator listens to both sides and crafts an agreement that is satisfying to both parties. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyers

If you are beginning the divorce process, you may be struggling with the emotional preparation for the changes about to happen in your life. Divorce is often a long and arduous process for both spouses. These four tips on how to prepare yourself for your divorce can help you shift your mindset as you prepare for the next chapter of your life. 

Develop a Support System

Keeping in touch with friends and family during the process will help you overcome the draining emotions associated with divorce. It is not beneficial to your mental and emotional health to hide away and be secluded from the world. It is hard to keep your mind from racing and thinking about the bad things in your life when alone, but when spending time with friends and family, your mind can dwell on other things. Letting yourself lean on your support system and forget about your problems briefly will help you cope with the divorce and the emotions you are feeling. 

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Naperville Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is generally more complicated if a couple has children together. A divorce agreement must determine parental custody, visitation, child support, and other matters. Children sometimes have a hard time accepting divorce and all the changes happening in their lives. Acceptance can be even more difficult when one parent relocates after a divorce

Relocation brings its own unique set of challenges. Moving far away after divorce should only be considered if it is absolutely necessary and due consideration has been given to the way it will affect the children and their relationship with both parents. 

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Oak Brook Divorce Attorney

Divorce can happen due to many different factors in the couple’s life, such as infidelity, general unhappiness, or abusive behavior. Money is also one of the most common concerns in a marriage. Financial problems put a strain on many marriages and are often cited as one of the more common reasons for divorce. 

Couples with more money can afford to hire someone to do the things they do not want to do and focus on more leisure activities. Those with less money, perhaps due to unemployment or underemployment, have to deal with the stress of worrying about how the family will pay its bills. Here is a look at one study that examined the effect of males in a relationship not having a full-time job.

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Naperville Divorce Attorney

Many people have opposing political ideologies due to a variety of factors, including how they were raised and where they were born. In a marriage, you are closer to your spouse than you are with other people, and it is likely political viewpoints are going to come up at some point. If you and your spouse have differing political viewpoints, it can play a role in the marriage moving forward, but that does not mean it is necessary to divorce because of the differences, even during these hyper-partisan times.

Marriage Statistics

One 2016 study interviewed just over 18 million married couples in the United States and found 55 percent of couples were Democrats or Republicans only. Independents married to one another made up 15 percent of those interviewed, which left 30 percent as mismatched partisan pairs, meaning two people with different ideologies who married.

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Posted on in Divorce

Oak Brook Divorce Lawyer

Deciding to end a marriage is among the most impactful decisions an individual can make. It involves considerable evaluation of what is right for you in your life and a significant amount of stress as you approach the unknown. While the substantial number of elements that need to be worked out in a divorce can be overwhelming, if you follow these tips, you can reduce some of the emotional burden that accompanies the divorce process.

Include Everything in Your Divorce Agreement

To ensure there is no confusion from either party after your divorce is final, cover every conceivable issue in writing as part of your divorce decree. With everything listed as part of the legal document, nobody should “forget” a part of the agreement. If they do, there will be clear evidence they have neglected their responsibilities. 

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Wheaton Divorce Attorney

The internet has become a place where you can locate anything. Cute cat pictures, a recipe, or a new husband or wife can all be found online. Many people have turned to online dating to help them romantically. According to market researcher Nielsen, almost 30 million unique users visit dating sites each month, which makes up almost 10 percent of the U.S. population. Online dating has caused a noticeable difference in how people view relationships, marriage, and divorce

Effects of Online Dating

It used to be that people would be much more likely to date someone their friends or acquaintances knew, such as a “friend of a friend” situation. However, the increase in online dating has caused a jump in dating between what essentially amounts to strangers. The people who meet on these dating sites are usually not people who have ever encountered one another before and have no other known connections. They were completely unknown strangers before meeting online, which is significantly different than how relationships formed previously. 

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