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Kane County divorce attorneysThe thought of going through a divorce can be intimidating, even if you are in an unhappy marriage. Suddenly becoming single after years of being married is often a difficult transition. When children are involved, the breakup of the family unit can seem devastating. However, a dysfunctional relationship is not healthy, so in many of these cases, divorce is the best option. Facing a new chapter of your life may be scary, but there are steps you can take to alleviate the stress. It is also critical that you hire a proficient divorce attorney to guide you through the process and protect your rights when it comes to the division of property or assets, spousal support, and child support.

Practical Ways to Adjust to Your New Life

You will most likely go through an adjustment period once you are divorced. You may be sad, angry, or bitter. Similar to when someone you love passes away, there is no set time when you should “be over” your divorce. It is painful even if it was your idea to split up. Here are several helpful tips for obtaining a fresh start after your marriage ends: 

  • Give yourself time to grieve. Regardless of the circumstances, a divorce is a loss, and you need to acknowledge that. Cry if you want, or spend time with family members and friends who can provide unconditional love and support. 
  • Process your feelings and emotions. Talk to a therapist or join a divorce group to talk about your regrets, hopes, and dreams. People who are going through the same thing can often relate. 
  • Rediscover your interests. You may have put aside your dreams or hobbies during your marriage if your spouse did not like the same things. Take time to pursue your passions by joining a book club or a fitness class. 
  • Try new things. Be adventurous and open to exploring different things, such as taking golf lessons or learning how to crochet or paint. Book a trip to a place you have always wanted to go. 
  • Embrace your new status. When you are ready, you may want to start dating again. Join a dating service or “meet up” groups where other singles enjoy networking and mingling in a social setting. 

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney 

Although a divorce signifies the end of your marriage, it does not mean your life is over. Many people can find happiness again, whether they remain single or get remarried. It is important to understand the necessary legal steps to finalize your divorce in an efficient manner. The dedicated legal team at Weiler & Lengle P.C. will fight for your rights to secure the best possible outcome. Speak with a qualified Kane County spousal support lawyer to learn your options for protecting your rights to the marital estate. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 630-382-8050.

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Kane County divorce lawyerAlthough it would be nice if all divorces were amicable, that is rarely the case. Even if a couple mutually decides to end their marriage, they may disagree on many of the marital issues that need to be resolved when divorcing. Some typical points of contention include dividing assets or property, determining spousal support, and creating a parenting time schedule. When children are involved, it can be hard for parents to reach common ground, especially for the allocation of parental responsibilities. Child custody disputes during the divorce process can cause both parents and children to feel anxiety and guilt. In some situations, it may be necessary to seek the professional opinions of subject matter experts in addition to a skilled divorce attorney to come to a resolution.   

How Can a Professional Evaluation Help?

When determining which parent will be awarded the majority of the parenting time, the court will consider what is in the best interest of the children when making any decisions. A judge may order one or both parents to undergo a mental health evaluation. This is often the case when one parent is worried that the other parent may pose a risk to their children due to a mental illness, substance abuse problem, or similar psychological issues. The judge then uses the findings to determine whether one parent is better equipped to care for the children. In certain cases, the results can affect parenting time rights. 

A psychologist or a licensed clinical social worker can conduct an evaluation using different personality tests and interviews. He or she then submits recommendations to help the court decide what would be best for the children’s emotional well-being. This third-party evaluation will address the developmental needs of the children and the capacity of each parent to meet those needs. He or she will consider several factors regarding the parents, including: 

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Kane County divorce attorneysThere is a common misconception these days that half of all marriages end in divorce. However, recent statistics show the rate is between about 30 and 40 percent. When a couple decides to end their marriage, each spouse should seek legal representation offered by a knowledgeable divorce attorney. In some cases, a separate divorce coach can also help spouses as they navigate this transition. A divorce coach is a specially trained divorce professional who works alongside an attorney to help clients better understand the legal and emotional process of a divorce. This type of coach can act as a guide and provide emotional support as you work your way through the proceedings.

Practical Ways a Coach Can Help 

It is important to note that a divorce coach plays a separate role from your attorney. Your lawyer will represent you in court, inform you of Illinois divorce laws that apply to your case, draft your legal documents, and negotiate with your spouse’s attorney regarding a settlement on marital issues. This includes determining who gets what in the divorce since Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state. Issues such as child support, spousal maintenance, division of assets/property or debt, allocation of parental responsibilities, and parenting time can all be decided with the help of your legal team.

A divorce coach can do the following once you file for divorce: 

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Kane County divorce attorneysToo often, children believe that a divorce is their fault and that if they had behaved better, maybe mom and dad would not be splitting up. Parents know that this is not true, but these thoughts can lead youngsters down a path of mental disturbance.

This is why having a proper parenting plan put in place is important for children whose parents are  involved in a divorce. As part of a parenting plan, both parents can decide on a schedule for visitation—now called parenting time in Illinois—after the physical separation of the family.

Keeping Parents Involved

Child development experts and mental health professionals tend to agree that is usually best for children of divorce to have both parents continue to play an active role in the children’s lives. There are exceptions, but children who grow up with only one active parent seem to be at a higher risk for:

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St. Charles Spousal Support Lawyer

If you are currently receiving maintenance payments, also known as spousal support or alimony, you must notify the payor if you remarry or move in with a romantic partner. Illinois law requires you to notify the payor of your intention to remarry at least 30 days prior to the wedding, unless the wedding occurs spontaneously, in which case you must notify the payor within 72 hours of the wedding. 

Unless your divorce order states otherwise, the obligation to make future maintenance payments ends on the date of your remarriage or on the date on which cohabitation began as determined by the court. If maintenance was paid to you after such date, you must reimburse the payor for those amounts. 

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St. Charles Child Support AttorneySince Illinois switched to the “income shares” method in 2016, child support payments are calculated based on the combined net income of both parents. When both parents have a job that pays a straight salary or hourly wage, the calculation of net income is fairly straightforward. The calculation can be far more complicated, however, when a parent is self-employed, retired, has a child support obligation from a previous marriage, or has some other special situation. 

The Definition of Net Income for Illinois Child Support Calculations

Illinois child support law (750 ILCS 5/505), in combination with various court rulings, defines income for the purpose of child support calculations as follows. 

Net income includes all income from all sources, broadly defined by the courts as “a gain or recurrent benefit” that “enhances a parent’s wealth and facilitates that parent’s ability to support a child.” This specifically includes:

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St Charles Divorce Attorney

When you start thinking about divorce and dividing your assets, the division of your personal and household belongings may not be top of mind. However, when you add up the cost of replacing those items, the total can be significant. Insurance companies generally estimate the contents of your home to be worth about 50 percent of the value of the structure itself. Thus, if your home is worth $400,000, its contents may be worth as much as $200,000.

In an Illinois divorce, all marital property must be divided equitably between you and your spouse. Your marital property broadly includes all household furnishings and other belongings acquired during your marriage with the exception of items received via inheritance or personal gift. In a typical division of property, each party keeps their own clothing, jewelry, and similar personal items, although a high-value collection of watches or jewelry may be excepted from that rule. You will need to inventory everything else and decide on an equitable division of those items.

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St Charles Divorce Attorney

When a two-income couple divorces, each person may have no problem becoming self-sufficient immediately. However, if that is not the case, the higher-earning spouse may need to make maintenance payments, formerly known as alimony, to the other. Spouses are free to negotiate their own agreement regarding maintenance payments. If they cannot agree, the court must first decide whether a maintenance award is appropriate. If so, then the judge will determine the amount and duration of maintenance using statutory guidelines (750 ILCS 5/504).

Reasons One Spouse May Need Post-Divorce Financial Support

Marriage often changes how people think about their careers. In some families, one spouse takes on the role of being the primary manager of home and family needs, perhaps even homeschooling the children. That frees the other spouse to focus on building their career and generating income to support the family. In other families, one spouse works longer hours to support the other’s dreams of higher education, developing their own business, or working in a fulfilling but low-paying occupation. The longer a person remains unemployed, the harder it can be for them to re-enter the workforce. If you fall into any of these categories, you may need to negotiate for maintenance payments as part of your divorce settlement.

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Kane County Business Divorce LawyerBuilding a business takes years of effort. The last thing you want to have happen is to lose the business, or a substantial portion of it, in a divorce. Three ways to protect your business in a divorce include: (1) Creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, (2) Keeping clear documentation that the business was acquired with non-marital assets, and (3) Seeking early advice from a divorce attorney with substantial experience in handling divorces for business owners.

Is My Business Marital Property?

Under Illinois divorce law (750 ILCS 5/503), all marital property is subject to an equitable division between the spouses. Marital property includes all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the time of the marriage, including income earned by the efforts of either spouse. Therefore, if you started a business during your marriage, it is most likely marital property.

However, your business will generally be considered your separate, non-marital property if:

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Kane County Divorce Law FirmIf you want to live comfortably in retirement, you will need an income of at least $50,000 per year for an estimated 15 to 20 post-retirement years. That means you will need $250,000 to $500,000 in retirement savings to supplement your Social Security benefits. It should not come as a surprise, then, the division of retirement benefits is becoming one of the most contentious points in Illinois divorce cases. You will want to do everything you can to get your fair share of retirement benefits that you and your spouse have accrued during your marriage.

You might think that your entire pension or 401(k) plan at work is your separate property since it is under your name only and is tied to your employment. However, under Illinois law, any pension benefits or retirement savings built up during your marriage are a marital asset subject to a fair and equitable division. You will need to use historical records to determine what percentage of your retirement savings were accumulated prior to the marriage versus during the marriage. You will want to scrutinize these calculations to get as much of your account as possible designated as a non-marital asset. On the other hand, you will want to get as much of your spouse’s account as possible designated as a marital asset.

You might also think that one retirement account is the same as the next, but that is not correct. When you reach retirement age and start to withdraw money from a 401(k) or a tax-deferred IRA, you must pay ordinary federal income tax on the entire amount you withdraw, both original contributions and earnings. However, when you withdraw money from a Roth IRA, you will pay no federal income tax on any withdrawals as long as you are at least age 59½ and have had the account for at least 5 years. Thus, for someone with a 15% average federal income tax rate, $1,000 in a Roth IRA is worth 15% more than $1,000 in a tax-deferred IRA or 401(k). This is a good reminder of how important it is to understand the tax consequences of divorce decisions.

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