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St. Charles divorce attorney hidden assets

One of the most crucial parts of an Illinois divorce is the submission of each spouse’s financial affidavit. The financial affidavit is where you will list your income, assets, debts, and expenses. It is often the first divorce-related document on which a deceptive spouse may lie. Divorcing spouses have many reasons to fabricate financial information during a divorce. Some are hoping to lower the amount their spouse receives in a property division settlement. Others are hoping to reduce the amount they pay in spousal support or child support. If you are getting divorced in Illinois, it is important to be watchful for signs of hidden assets and other financial deception.

Manipulating the Outcome of the Divorce by Hiding Assets  

Spouses are expected to disclose all of their assets and income. Some spouses intentionally leave out sources of income in order to artificially reduce their net worth. There are many different ways that a spouse may attempt to sway the divorce decree in his or her favor. A spouse may “forget” to include sources of income or certain property on his or her financial disclosure. He or she may undervalue assets, create fake expenses, lie about business revenue, transfer property to friends and family, or intentionally overpay the IRS. Some spouses hide assets by literally hiding cash in their home, office, or safety deposit box.

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St. Charles divorce attorney parental relocation

Getting divorced and moving to a new location are both significant sources of stress in a person’s life, and the stress can be compounded when one happens soon after the other. A parent seeking to move with his or her children after a divorce is often especially complicated, as it can have a major impact on the other parent and his or her ability to maintain a relationship with the children.

In Illinois, parents who intend to relocate a certain distance away from their children’s current residence must obtain approval from the other parent or the court, but in most cases, this approval is just the beginning of the legal action necessary for the relocation to take place. Parents will also often need to consider substantial modifications to their current parenting plan or agreement, especially regarding parenting time.

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St. Charles divorce attorney legal separation

Some states require a waiting period during which a married couple must be separated before a divorce can be finalized, and Illinois used to be the same. However, since 2016, an Illinois couple can proceed with a divorce at any time as long as one of the spouses has been an Illinois resident for at least 90 days and the marriage has broken down due to irreconcilable differences. That said, while a legal separation is no longer a necessary step on the path to divorce in Illinois, it is still an option, and you may have questions regarding whether it is a good idea in your case.

Potential Benefits of Legal Separation

Many married couples choose to live apart from each other while considering a divorce. If you and your spouse have already taken this step, but you are not yet sure that you want to initiate divorce proceedings, you can instead petition for a judgment of legal separation. Doing so offers several possible legal benefits, including:

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St. Charles divorce attorney spousal maintenance

In Illinois, spousal support or maintenance is not a guaranteed part of all divorce orders; rather, it is generally only ordered if one spouse has a financial need and there is an imbalance in income and assets between the two parties. As a result, it can often be a contentious part of the divorce process, as the two parties may have different ideas as to whether a spousal support order is justified. This contention may continue even after the divorce is finalized as both parties’ circumstances change. If you have been ordered to pay spousal support and you believe that you should no longer have to do so, you may have legal options to pursue the modification or termination of the spousal support order.

Reasons to Modify a Spousal Maintenance Order

You should know that it is usually not possible to stop paying spousal support simply because you are angry or upset with your ex-spouse. Rather, you will need to demonstrate to the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that justifies a reduction to your obligation. Possible reasons for a modification include:

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St. Charles divorce attorney spousal support

Infidelity on the part of one or both spouses is one of the most common reasons for a marriage to fail. If your spouse has been unfaithful and you are unable to work through it together, a divorce may be imminent, and it is reasonable to wonder how the infidelity might affect the divorce process. The answer may surprise you, but it can also help you prepare more effectively for your divorce.

Infidelity Is Not a Legal Reason for Divorce in Illinois 

Though a spouse’s unfaithfulness may be a major contributing factor, or even the most important factor, in your personal decision to get a divorce, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state in which irreconcilable differences are the only legally recognized grounds for divorce. This means that an unfaithful spouse will not be held responsible for causing the divorce, and the infidelity will not be considered by the court in any decisions regarding the division of property, spousal support, or the allocation of parental responsibilities. However, this does not necessarily mean that infidelity will have no impact whatsoever on the way your divorce proceeds.

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St. Charles divorce attorney asset division

Although Illinois courts will do everything possible to ensure a fair and equitable resolution to a divorce, your finances will always be affected to some degree when marital assets are divided between you and your spouse. As you prepare to move forward with your life as a single person, it is important to make a plan to recover financially and ensure that you can support yourself and your children well into the future.

Strategies for Achieving Financial Stability

Securing your financial situation can start before your divorce and continue throughout the rest of your life. The approach you take may depend on whether or not you have any children. Some helpful suggestions include:

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St. Chalres divorce attorney spousal maintenance

Divorce can be difficult for anyone, but it may be especially devastating for stay-at-home parents, who devote their time and energy every day to the care and well-being of their family. As a stay-at-home parent, you may be concerned about how the divorce will impact your children, as well as how you will support yourself without the income of your spouse. As you prepare for your divorce and life moving forward, it is crucial to identify your priorities so that you can focus your efforts on the issues that are most important to you.

Divorce Issues Affecting Stay-at-Home Parents

Certain aspects of the divorce process may be especially important for stay-at-home parents. You may find it beneficial to keep the following at the forefront of your mind:

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St. Charles divorce attorney property division

Arguments over finances are a contributing factor in many divorces, and when money is already a contested issue, it can be concerning to consider that you and your spouse will have to divide your assets and debts as part of your divorce resolution. However, you may find it reassuring that not all property belonging to you or your spouse is subject to division. In Illinois, anything that is considered non-marital property will most likely stay with the person to whom it belongs.

Identifying Non-Marital Property

While you might take comfort in knowing that you can hold onto your non-marital property during your divorce, it can be a challenge to determine which assets and debts are considered non-marital. Under Illinois law, properties that are often defined as non-marital include:

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St. Charles divorce lawyerSpousal support, also known as maintenance or alimony, is often an important element of an Illinois divorce resolution, especially for stay-at-home parents and anyone with significantly lower income or earning potential than their spouse. However, it can also be a major point of contention if your ex is resentful about having to pay support, and arguments can last well after the divorce is finalized if he or she fails to make the required payments on time. If your former spouse is regularly late in making payments that you rely on, you should work with an attorney who can help you pursue enforcement.

Spousal Support Enforcement in Illinois

The terms of a divorce agreement filed in court are legally binding, so as long as the original agreement includes a spousal support order, you have the option to pursue legal enforcement after your ex’s late payments. In some cases, it may be best to notify your former spouse in advance that you intend to pursue legal action, as this on its own may be enough to convince him or her to make the required payments.

However, if your ex still fails to pay despite your best efforts, your attorney can help you file a Petition for Rule to Show Cause asserting that your ex-spouse has failed to follow a court order. Your petition should clearly identify the terms of the divorce agreement that your former spouse has violated, and you should be prepared to present evidence of the failure to pay, including your financial statements and records of communication with your ex.

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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 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

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 Gray Divorce Lawyer

In the past two decades, divorce after age 50 has become far more common, leading to the popular term “gray divorce.” What seems to be causing this, and what should you do if you find yourself considering divorce after age 50?

What Has Contributed to the Increase in Gray Divorce?

Experts hypothesize that longevity and technology trends have converged to make divorce more appealing to those over age 50. In 1970, the average American lifespan was 70 years. If spouses reached age 55 or 60 and felt they had grown apart, most would just stick it out rather than be alone. Today, the average lifespan is about 79 years, almost a decade more. Members of the Baby Boom generation who are now in their 50’s and 60’s also expect to remain healthy and active longer. When they have finished raising their children or their careers have peaked, they could be living for 30 more years. If life with their current spouse is no longer appealing, they feel they have an opportunity to do something different in their remaining decades. They have higher expectations for their remaining years in part because of what they see on the internet. Divorce seems a more viable option than it did in the past, in part because of the reduced stigma of divorce and the ease of meeting a new partner through online dating.

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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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