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St. Charles divorce attorney parenting plan

The holiday season is often a time of family traditions and togetherness, and while it can bring great joy, it can also be hard for anyone who has recently gone through a divorce. Going from being married to being single is a major life transition, and it can take time to adjust to this new lifestyle. The thought of celebrating without your whole family intact can be sad and overwhelming, but as the 2020 holiday season approaches, it may help to consider some suggestions that can make it easier to bear, and maybe even help you enjoy the holidays again with new traditions.

Suggestions for Managing the Holidays After Divorce

There is no denying that the holidays will look different after your divorce, but that does not mean they have to be something you dread. You can better prepare yourself for the holiday season by considering the following advice:

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St. Charles divorce attorney

The decision to initiate a divorce is usually not one that happens overnight. In many cases, it comes after a long period of marital troubles and dissatisfaction, and the longer you put it off, the more challenging it may be to broach the subject. However, it is not possible to start working toward the future without first telling your spouse of your intentions. If you have decided that a divorce is your best option, you should think carefully about how to approach this difficult conversation before you begin the legal proceedings to end your marriage.

Tips for Starting the Conversation About Divorce

The first conversation with your spouse about divorce can set the tone for the entire process. A heated argument can make things more difficult in the long run, but a rational discussion can give you a better chance at a cooperative resolution. Here are some tips for telling your spouse that you want a divorce:

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St. Charles divorce attorney settlement conference

Divorce is rarely easy for either party given the major life changes it brings and the potential for emotions to run high, but the good news is that most divorces are able to be resolved through a settlement agreement. When settlements are successful, couples can avoid facing the time, costs, and publicity associated with a divorce trial. Just keep in mind that if you choose to pursue the settlement approach, it is still important to come prepared for negotiations, and that starts with understanding what to expect from a settlement conference.

Important Things to Know About a Divorce Settlement Conference

As you begin the divorce process, the more you know about settlement conferences in advance, the less likely you are to be surprised by the unexpected. Some important things to keep in mind include:

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St. Charles divorce attorney parenting plan

When you have children, getting a divorce can be especially difficult not only because of the emotional impact on the whole family but also because you will need to consider your children’s best interests along with your own when making many important decisions. However, with some effort and flexibility, it is often possible to reach an agreement on your Illinois parenting plan that works for you, your children, and your ex-spouse.

Factors to Consider in Your Parenting Plan

A healthy family dynamic is possible after divorce, but both parents must be willing to compromise. Your best chance at establishing a collaborative agreement on parental responsibilities and parenting time that meets everyone’s needs is to consider factors including:

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St. Charles family law attorney prenuptial agreement

If you own a business prior to getting married, it is only natural that you would think about how your marriage will impact your business assets and operations, even in the happiest and healthiest of relationships. You have likely invested significant time, money, and effort into building the business up to its current state, and want to ensure it remains in good hands throughout your marriage and in the event of a future divorce. One way to protect your business assets is to pursue a prenuptial agreement with your soon-to-be spouse.

Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement for Illinois Business Owners

Though it may be difficult to broach the subject of a prenuptial agreement with your partner, failing to be upfront with your needs can lead to problems in your marriage later on. An open discussion about finances can clarify where each of you stands and may help you both feel more comfortable about your marriage. For business owners, a prenuptial agreement offers several benefits, including:

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St. Charles divorce attorney child support

Whether you are getting a divorce or you are an unmarried parent, child support is an important concern. Of course, you will want to ensure that your children’s basic needs, including food, clothing, and shelter, are provided for. However, raising kids can often include additional expenses for which you may want contributions from the other parent. When you are negotiating or determining a child support agreement, you should think beyond the basics to consider all of these costs that are necessary to maintain your children’s quality of life.

Special Expenses to Consider in Your Child Support Calculations

When calculating child support obligations, the State of Illinois considers the children’s physical and emotional condition, educational needs, and the standard of living the children could have expected if their parents were together. Ensuring that payments meet these standards often requires the inclusion of more than just basic needs. Other common expenses that can be covered through child support include:

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St. Charles divorce attorney division of assets

When you make the decision to get a divorce, the financial implications can be just as important as the emotional implications, especially when it comes to your retirement savings. Contributions to a retirement account during your marriage are almost always considered marital property and are therefore subject to division between you and your spouse if you choose to end your marriage. With this in mind, you need to prepare for the possibility that your personal retirement assets will decrease and understand how to properly divide your accounts to avoid excessive tax penalties.

3 Common Types of Retirement Accounts in a Divorce

In an Illinois divorce, 401k accounts, Roth IRAs, and pensions are all considered in the division of assets, but each type of account involves its own unique considerations to ensure the distribution is handled properly.

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St. Charles divorce attorney

Deciding to get a divorce is a delicate and difficult matter. It is a decision that usually comes with careful consideration, deliberation, and thought. Although most people do not go into marriages thinking that it will end in separation, in some cases it is for the best. However, the divorce process alone can cause anxiety and uncomfortable feelings. The stress associated with this major life transition can sometimes feel overwhelming and all-encompassing. Acute anxiety may sometimes be helpful when it comes to big projects or public speaking by queuing to the body that there is something important happening, which often makes a person rise to the challenge. On the contrary, prolonged stress is not good for the overall health of the mind and body. The following are some practical tips for managing your emotional and physical well-being during your divorce proceedings. 

Taking Control of the Situation

The divorce process involves issues such as property division and the allocation of parental responsibilities if you have children, which can be daunting and difficult to navigate at the time. Here are some helpful tips to help your mind and body maintain wellness during the divorce process:

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St. Charles divorce attorney child custody

Having a dog is an integral part of many family dynamics these days. Pets are there to offer comfort, provide companionship, give unconditional love, and more. They often become near and dear to the hearts of all family members. You may have heard the saying, “Dogs are a man’s best friend,” but what if they are a woman’s best friend, too? When it comes to divorce and allocating responsibility of the pet, things can become complicated. With more and more families opting not to have children, the custody of the family pet can be an especially important issue in an Illinois divorce.

Pets Are More Than Just Property

The connection to pets runs deep, and it can be traumatic for any dog owner who is faced with the idea of separation. In the past, according to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the division of a pet was classified under property and treated as such. Some pet owners considered this to be a somewhat cold approach, and therefore they fought to change this. Since January 1, 2018, a new law was put in place that allocated judges to consider the best welfare of the pet when contemplating which spouse should be awarded custody. This new legislation treats the allocation of pets more like deciding the custody of a child rather than the division of property.

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St. Charles divorce attorney domestic violence

Domestic violence is a serious issue that unfortunately affects many people. It is defined as a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. According to the Illinois Domestic Violence law, this occurs when a person hits, kicks, chokes, harasses, threatens, or interferes with the personal liberty of a household or family member. If you or someone you know is considering leaving an abusive partner, it can take careful planning. That is why it is imperative to hire a skilled divorce lawyer to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. 

Create Boundaries and Barriers

Leaving an abusive relationship can seem like an extremely daunting task. Typically, the alleged abuser has convinced his or her partner that they will be unable to live without each other. This is simply not true and is used as a scare tactic to maintain control over the relationship. Getting out of your marriage is crucial in instances when your well-being is at risk. Your first priority should be to seek safety for yourself and your children if you have any. 

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St. Charles divorce attorney parenting time

Many struggles have accompanied the COVID 19 health crisis. Whether it be limited access to food, job loss, reduction of income, or isolation, it is safe to say that the past several months have been a hard time for everyone. However, if you are living with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it can be even more difficult. If the pandemic hit right when you were thinking about getting a divorce, it could be that plans to legally end your marriage have been put on hold for various reasons.

Navigating the Proceedings Together

If you and your spouse are on OK terms, living with one another during the divorce proceedings can be a rather amicable experience. Since going through this pandemic can be a bit stressful, and perhaps isolating, it may be nice to have someone there for the company. But if that is not the case for you, it can be frustrating to cohabitate with someone you do not get along with.

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St. Charles divorce attorney asset and property division

Divorce can require you to do a number of things that you likely never expected when walking down the aisle. If you have children, your primary concerns are probably focused on creating a healthy and fair parenting plan. For those who have a family business, you may be concerned about how this will be divided between you and your spouse. Some of the divorce determinations may be unique based on your family’s circumstances, but one area that every divorce requires to be addressed is the division of marital property. Whether you have been married five months or five years, anything accumulated during that time is considered marital property and must be divided equitably according to Illinois state law. Many couples’ largest asset is the home that they have built together and it can be the most difficult belonging to “divide.” Since an apartment or house cannot physically be cut in half, there are other means that can be taken to determine what is fair.

What Is an Appraisal?

In order to properly determine the current value of your home, one should seek out a professional who specializes in such work. The price at which you bought your home is unlikely to be its current value and looking at the cost of homes in your neighborhood is not enough for a true estimate. An appraisal provides homeowners with the value of their home based on prices in the area and the features of your house. An appraiser will come into your home to complete an inspection of the property. They will look at all of the work you have put into your home and all of the features that elevate its value. The professional will then factor in recent sale prices of homes in your area and use both numbers to provide you with the true market value of your home. 

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St. Charles divorce attorney parenting plan

If you are a parent considering divorce, you probably have a million questions swirling through your head. Who will be the primary caregiver of my children? How often will I see them? Where will my kids live and how long will they be at each house? Imagining carting your children between two homes can seem unfair and difficult, especially for kids who are old enough to have homework, after-school activities, and friends to see on the weekends. It can feel as if their lives are always in transition between one home and another. A recent phenomenon has caught the attention of divorcing parents who might be concerned about this two-home lifestyle for their children. Before making decisions about what will happen to the family home and how your children’s time will be divided between you and your ex-spouse, learn about a new option many families are considering: Nesting.

One Home Sweet Home

What most families will do once their divorce is finalized is have one parent remain in the family home as the primary caregiver while the other finds an apartment or alternative living space where the children can visit based on their parenting plan. The two separate living spaces can be beneficial for former spouses, but it can be difficult for kids to live between two homes. Nesting is a modern alternative that many co-parents have begun to consider in the weeks or months following their divorce. Rather than having the children come to the parents, the parents come to the children. One parent will keep the family home and the kids will continue to live there full-time and each parent will stay at the house when it is his or her scheduled time with the children.

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St. Charles family law attorneysThere is no denying that a divorce can be a complicated process. The legal dissolution of a marriage is not simply signing a piece of paper. Decisions about important issues need to be made, including how a couple’s assets and property will be divided. In some situations, spouses may have complex or high net-worth assets, including a family business. It can be difficult to determine how to handle the company’s ownership after the divorce, especially if both spouses are active in running the day-to-day operations. There are several options when it comes to dividing this intangible asset. Regardless, it is important to hire a knowledgeable divorce attorney to help protect your rights. 

The Equitable Distribution of a Company

According to Illinois law, marital property is subject to equitable distribution. This means that any assets or property acquired during the marriage will be divided fairly but not necessarily equally in half, or 50/50. Some couples may create a prenuptial agreement to decide ahead of time how to disperse marital assets in case they get divorced. Some couples may choose to sell the business, continue to jointly own it, or buy out their share.

When considering what happens to a business, if one spouse started a company before he or she got married, the business may be considered non-marital or separate property. In other cases, one or both spouses may have opened a store or launched a business together after they took their vows. In these instances, the business would likely be classified as marital property. 

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Kane County parenting time attorneyA divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences one can go through, especially if children are involved. The allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) are two important issues that need to be resolved during the divorce proceedings. A couple can create a parenting plan, which essentially outlines details such as what days of the week the child is with each parent. If they cannot agree on the terms, a decision will be made based on the best interest of the child by the court. 

Courts will also weigh other factors before making a decision on parenting time in order for both parents to take an active role in child-rearing. However, in these uncertain times, with stay-at-home orders issued in many states, parents are being creative by using technology for virtual visits if they cannot be done in person.  

Determining Factors for Visitation

Illinois courts recognize that children benefit from a relationship with both parents. This is generally true as long as there is no evidence or history of abuse or that a parent poses a threat to the welfare of a child. Otherwise, parenting time may be denied or supervised visitation ordered. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_home-buying-open-house-real-estate-selling.jpgDeciding to get a divorce can be one of the most difficult decisions of anyone’s life. For those couples who have been married a long time or who have children, it can be devastating. The mere thought of separating and starting over can be daunting. For some parents and kids, the marital home may have sentimental meaning. This is especially true if the couple purchased the house together after they got married and it is where they raised their family. However, the division of property is one of the main issues that needs to be resolved in any divorce. That does not automatically mean the house will have to be sold, but it is a possibility. Assuming both spouses own the home together, there are two options: sell or stay. Deciding who gets to stay can be the source of much conflict during the proceedings. A skilled divorce attorney can help figure out what is the best option.  

Benefits of Selling the House

It is imperative that both spouses learn the home’s current value. This may require an appraisal to get an accurate amount of what it is worth on the market. An assessment of the home’s monthly or yearly costs is also important, which may include the mortgage payment, homeowner’s insurance, and utility bills. Depending on the economy and housing market, most people hope to earn a profit when they sell a house. This money is typically split between divorcing spouses in the final property settlement. In certain situations, one partner “buys out” the other from the home. This means paying the spouse the portion that he or she would have received if the home was sold to an outside party. For those who want to stay in the home, possibly with the kids, this can be a good option.  

Some of the advantages to selling the marital home in a divorce include: 

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Kane County family law attorneySome people have a tendency to become addicted to certain substances or activities. This can include alcohol, drugs, gambling, or pornography. Addictions to these things can often lead to the demise of a marriage. In many cases, controlled substances can change the addicted spouse’s personality and make him or her physically and emotionally abusive to his or her partner or child. In other situations, a spouse may dissipate assets to sustain his or her gambling problem. If you are considering filing for divorce and your spouse has an addiction, it is important to take certain precautions in order to protect your best interests as well as your child’s during the proceedings. 

Preparation Is Key

Deciding to legally end your marriage takes courage, but it also requires careful planning if your spouse has an addiction. Preparation is key to make the process as smooth as possible, even if your spouse tries to contest the divorce. Here are a few ways to mitigate the stress of divorcing an addict: 

  1. File for an order of protection if you feel like you or your child is in immediate danger. 
  2. Save text, voice, or email messages that show your spouse’s harmful behaviors.
  3. Take photos of any damaged property caused by alcohol- or drug-induced incidents. 
  4. Change your passwords for email, social media, phone accounts. 
  5. Remove your spouse from your joint credit card, bank, or retirement accounts.
  6. Move valuable items such as jewelry or family heirlooms to a safety deposit box.
  7. Confide in people you trust or a therapist. 

If a court decides that it is not in your child’s best interest to spend time with his or her other parent, you will probably be allocated the majority of the parental responsibilities. This may also mean that you receive the marital home as part of the property division to maintain some sense of stability for your child.

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Kane County family law attorneysUnfortunately, not every marriage ends happily ever after as they do in the fairytales. In some cases, spouses simply grow apart or cannot reconcile due to infidelity or an addiction problem. When a couple has a child with a physical or mental disability, it can also put a significant strain on their relationship. In these family situations, the decision to divorce can be especially difficult. The thought of caring for a special needs child as a single parent can be overwhelming. On top of the usual issues that need to be resolved, such as the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, and the division of property or assets, there can be a lot of uncertainty about caring for your child as a divorced parent.   

Disabilities Can Take Different Forms 

A special needs child is a minor who has been diagnosed with a condition that requires attention and certain assistance that other children do not. The state may declare this status for the purpose of offering benefits for the child’s well-being and growth. Some of these conditions may result in occupational or physical therapy, in addition to emotional or behavioral support. In some cases, a child may be confined to a wheelchair or need a seeing-eye dog. 

The following disabilities are typically placed in specific categories: 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_dissipation-wasting-money-divorce-broke.jpgDivorce can happen after three years or 30 years of marriage. Every relationship is unique, and there are many factors that cause the breakdown of a relationship. Some of these may include adultery, addiction, financial problems, and even mental health issues. In some cases, a spouse may be blindsided by the news that his or her partner wants to end the marriage. Divorce under the best of circumstances can be challenging, so for those individuals who are not prepared, it can be overwhelming. 

There are many issues that need to be resolved, including how all the couple’s possessions will be divided. Unfortunately, this can be a contentious process, especially when one party is not being truthful. The dissipation of assets occurs when one spouse intentionally squanders or destroys marital property to prevent the other spouse from getting his or her fair share of the marital estate.

Examples of How Assets Are Dissipated

In order for a court to find someone guilty of dissipation, the spending must be wasteful, excessive, and without the other spouse’s knowledge or approval. It is also important to note that this means it is only benefitting one spouse while the marriage is going through an irreconcilable breakdown. Dissipating marital assets or property can take different forms. Here are a few examples of the most common actions that constitute such behavior: 

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St. Charles divorce attorneysThe decision to file for divorce is just the first step in a long road toward legally ending a marriage. One of the major concerns for couples who are divorcing is figuring out who gets what in the final settlement. Illinois is an equitable distribution state when it comes to dividing marital property in a divorce. However, non-marital property is handled differently. Under Illinois divorce law, both spouses are entitled to keep all of their own or separate assets. Non-marital assets are classified as property acquired as a gift, through an  inheritance, or prior to the marriage, as well as property that is specifically protected by a valid prenuptial agreement. In some cases, disputes can arise if spouses argue over these items.  

Identifying Separate Property 

Distinguishing between marital and non-marital or separate property in a divorce is not always as simple as it may seem. One of the difficulties that can arise when trying to establish a non-marital asset occurs when the spouses have commingled or mixed non-marital and marital funds. Tracing is a method of following the flow of money or assets from their original source to demonstrate that they are indeed non-marital. This requires proof that the original source of the asset came from a gift, an inheritance, or ownership prior to the wedding. 

Proving the non-marital nature of inheritance money may require documents such as wills, trusts, and tax returns. These documents can establish the timing of when a spouse received the inheritance. Next, it must be proven that it has not been commingled with any marital funds, such as put in a joint bank account. If this occurs, then the non-marital asset can be transmuted into marital property, which is subject to division between both spouses. 

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