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Posted on in Divorce

Lombard divorce attorneysDivorce can touch the lives of people of any race, gender, income level, or age. Some marriages that seemed doomed to failure from the beginning end up flourishing while other marriages that seemed like perfect matches end up dissolving. Researchers have known for years now that there are certain demographics of people who are statistically more likely to get divorced than others. For example, those who marry very young or wait until their late 30s or longer to marry are more likely to get divorced than those who get married in their 20s. It is also fairly well-known that women are more likely to initiate divorce than men are. For non-married couples, however, men and women are equally likely to end the relationship.

Women More Likely Than Men to Be Unhappy in Their Marriage

A survey conducted by the American Sociological Association found that in heterosexual couples, women start the divorce process or first seek a divorce 70 percent of the time. The study’s lead author, Michael Rosenfeld, theorizes that women may be more likely to initiate divorces because they are more likely to be dissatisfied with the quality of the relationship than men are. Rosenfeld said that these results support the idea that some women experience heterosexual marriage as oppressive or unfulfilling. He explains further, “I think that marriage as an institution has been a little bit slow to catch up with expectations for gender equality. Wives still take their husbands’ surnames…husbands still expect their wives to do the bulk of the housework and the bulk of the childcare.”

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Lombard family law attorneyMarried couples get divorced for an endless variety of reasons. For some, infidelity may an issue while financial stresses drive others apart. Of course, there are often many factors that play into a couple’s decision to end their marriage, and researchers are always trying to identify trends that could help married couples recognize possible red flags. According to several recent studies, however, a first-born daughter could be one of the potential warning signs.

Australian Team Studies Dutch Families

Dr. Jan Kabatek and Dr. David Rebar, faculty members at the University of Melbourne, conducted one such study. The pair examined more than two million marriages in the Netherlands over the course of 10 years. They chose the Netherlands because Dutch marriage and family records are very comprehensive and provide exact dates of marriages, divorces, and births. Other, similar studies have been based on participant’s responses to surveys—which rely on memory and recollection as opposed to objective data.

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Lombard divorce lawyersFor years, scientists have known that children of divorced parents are more likely to get divorced as adults. People have speculated that this was because children spend time with their divorced parents during their formative years and therefore grow up to have a similar lifestyle. However, a new study suggests that genetics may play a role in whether children grow up to get divorced or not.

The study was conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University and published in the journal Psychological Science. It examined data regarding divorce in adopted children and children who grew up around their biological parents. The study’s findings showed that children who did not grow up knowing their biological parents and siblings still had a tendency to match their biological family’s decisions regarding divorce. The adopted children were less likely to have similar histories of divorce as their adoptive parents. This could mean that many of the choices we make about our relationships as adults are influenced by our DNA. When it comes to divorce, nature may be a stronger factor than nurture.

Destined to Divorce?

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Posted on in Divorce

Lombard divorce lawyerMost of the time, when two people want to get divorced, they simply inform the other person by having a copy of the papers served upon them, usually by hand delivery. However, there are some very rare situations when the spouse cannot be located. When that happens, a suitable alternative must be found. The answer in Illinois and many other states is called divorce by publication.

A “Good Faith Search”

In all cases, your soon-to-be-ex-spouse must be informed of your desire and intention to file for divorce. However, if they have moved or are trying to avoid you and have left no forwarding address, the normal methods of mail or hand delivery are impossible. Yet it is contradictory to public policy to demand that two people remain married when they are not even living together and all communication has broken down. Publication is generally the best possible chance for your information to reach your absent spouse.

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Lombard estate planning lawyerWhen you get divorced, virtually your entire life is affected. Your relationship with your children changes, your living arrangements are different, and even your outlook on the future is likely to evolve. A divorce can also have a dramatic impact on the viability and the appropriateness of your existing estate plan. If you have recently gone through a divorce, it is a good idea to sit down with your lawyer and go over the details of your will, trusts, and any other estate planning tools you have in place.

Changes in What You Own

One of the most important reasons to update your estate plan after a divorce is the potential change to the property that comprises your estate. According to Illinois law, marital property must be divided equitably between divorcing spouses, which means that you probably own less now that you did when you were married. If your estate plan only makes general references to the property in your estate, the existing terms may be sufficient. Many estate plans, however, contain provisions for specific items or assets such as a particular vehicle or the family home. In the wake of your divorce, you may no longer own these assets, thus making an update necessary.

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Posted on in Divorce

Lombard divorce attorneysIn the past, divorce proceedings were often heavily biased against wives, for a multitude of societal and anthropological reasons. Society has changed over time, as one might expect, but there are still very different issues that women face after a divorce than those affecting men. Women—especially older women—are often put in positions they are unfamiliar with and may require help in handling.

Financial Issues

One of the major issues that many women face, especially older women, is that financial concerns are often foreign territory. Especially in marriages among older people, finances are traditionally the responsibility of men, so women after divorce may find themselves at a disadvantage in handling their money. An experienced divorce attorney may be able to advise on how to keep your assets safe. For example, a living trust may be an effective way to keep your assets in a form that cannot be accessed by creditors.

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Posted on in Mediation

Lombard family law attorneysIn this day and age, divorce is no longer the exclusive province of family law courts. Many couples, especially if they enjoy a fairly civil relationship, choose alternative dispute resolution methods to achieve their objectives. Couples who use such methods are often driven by a willingness to move their case forward faster than would possible in court. If this avenue appeals to you, Illinois law provides several different options.

Mediation

Divorce mediation is not for everyone. In fact, it is definitively not appropriate for spouses who will not or cannot maintain a civil relationship. If, however, you and your spouse are able to talk and be in the same room, mediation could be an option. While most mediators undergo specialized training, they are not necessarily required to be licensed by any governing body or accreditation entity. This reality can sometimes be a deterrent for those who fear that something may go wrong. However, Illinois does have a Uniform Mediation Act, which sets out requirements and prohibitions that must be followed.

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Lombard divorce attorneysAsset distribution is a part of nearly every Illinois divorce, and it has unique potential to cause arguments and misunderstandings. Nowhere is this more common than in attempting to distribute assets with significant sentimental value. Both spouses may wish to retain an asset like a piece of art or jewelry that has good memories associated with it, and it can very often devolve into a fight over who will keep the item.

When, How, and Why?

The little details can make a difference. For example, the date, or rough date, of acquisition can often decide who actually has ownership of the item. If you or your spouse acquired the item before your marriage, it is your (or your spouse’s) property, with no obligation to share it. Illinois law holds that nonmarital property encompasses all that you owned before your marriage, unless you actively take the step of making it marital property. For example, if you own a parcel of land before your marriage, and sign half the interest over to your spouse, that land would qualify as marital property, because you took the affirmative step of involving your spouse in its administration.

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Lombard estate planning attorneyFollowing a divorce, the terms and provisions of your estate plan may become obsolete, especially if your ex-spouse factored prominently in your plan. While there are laws that help prevent estate planning issues after a divorce, it is still a good idea to take another look at your will, trusts, and any other estate planning tools to determine if modifications are needed.  

Revocable Trusts

A revocable or living trust is the most common instrument that requires review during or after a divorce. In a revocable trust, the holder of property (called a settlor) confers that property to a trustee to hold for a beneficiary while still retaining the right to take the property back. It is very common for either the trustee or the beneficiary to be a spouse.

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Lombard divorce lawyerOver the past decade or so, one of the more common scenarios that have emerged in family courts across the country is where one or both spouses who are going through the divorce process make the decision to represent themselves instead of hiring an attorney. This is known as a pro se divorce.

Going Through It on Your Own

Couples who decide for forgo the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney may do so for a number of reasons, including:

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Lombard family law attorneyMost people are uncomfortable with confrontation to certain extent. While there are exceptions, you may have heard the phrase “going along to get along” used to describe the actions of a person looking to avoid a fight by placating someone else. This is a common trait among people with a so-called “easy going” personality. Going along to get along is a reasonable approach for most situations in life—deciding where to have dinner, for example, is not worth fighting about. When it comes to divorce, however, being afraid of making waves could leave you at a serious disadvantage, possibly for the rest of your life.  

Divorce Is Not Easy But It Is Worth the Effort

Nobody will try to tell you that a divorce is a simple undertaking. Just making a list of the issues that must be addressed can be overwhelming, not to mention actually addressing them. Despite the complications that may arise, the reality of a divorce is rather straightforward: if you do not advocate for yourself, nobody else will do it for you. If you think you are entitled to spousal support from your spouse, ask for it. If you want primary parental responsibilities regarding your children, develop your ideal parenting plan and present it to the court.

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Posted on in Divorce

Lombard divorce attorneyAnybody who says that his or her divorce was easy either is misremembering the situation or is not telling the whole truth. Virtually every divorce will have its share of challenges as the process represents not on the end of a relationship between two people but also the dissolution of the marital contract. Along the way, most people who go through a divorce experience a number of challenges and difficulties often accompanied by a great deal of stress and anxiety. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to limit the negative feelings and to focus on a happier, healthier future.

Commit to Cooperate

As you and your spouse approach your impending divorce, you have two basic options. You could choose to dig in and fight over every element—including the division of property, parenting plans, and alimony—or you could try to work things out amicably. It is important to realize, however, that negotiated, amicable divorce does not just happen. Instead, it requires a commitment from both spouses and concerted effort throughout the process.

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Lombard divorce attorneysThe practice of forensic accounting is based on the idea that careful analysis and investigation can reveal potential problems or concerns regarding the financial situation of the individual, business, or entity in question. Forensic accountants, for example, are employed by law enforcement agencies—including the FBI—to investigate white-collar crime. They may also play a role in divorce cases—especially when the couple’s finances are complex and hidden assets could present a problem.

The Problem of Hidden Assets

Illinois law requires the marital estate of a divorcing couple to be divided between spouses in a manner that is fair and equitable. The first step in dividing marital property is determining what assets the couple owns. If both spouses are not completely open and honest regarding their finances, determining the actual extent of the marital estate will be impossible. Too often, spouse will try to hide sources of revenue or even tangible assets during a divorce hoping to keep them from his or her soon-to-be ex-partner. Hidden assets may be a particular danger if one spouse maintains full control over the couple’s finances or if a spouse owns a business that could be used to cover deceptive behavior.

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Posted on in Divorce

Lombard family law attorneyIf you are a stay-at-home parent facing divorce, you are not alone. Among the thousands of divorces which occur annually, a significant portion involves a parent that stays home, working to keep the house and family in order rather than working for someone else. Divorce has the possibility of being harder for these spouses than their counterpart, which does not need to be the case. The experience can be beneficial and positive with proper planning and preparedness.

Locate and Maintain Proper Records

You and your spouse’s separate lives have become fused into one shared life together through marriage, no matter how lengthy or brief. The process of divorce seeks to split the two into two equitable parts again. Everything from the house itself to the items within the home, to the finances and retirement plans, will need to be divided. Make these records available to make the process easier:

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Posted on in Divorce

Lombard family law attorneyWhy did you marry your spouse? Most people answer this question by explaining all the desirable characteristics that the individual had that made them a good potential partner. They tend to note that their spouse was kind, thoughtful, generous, or funny. In essence, their spouse had a personality which complimented their own. We often think of character traits or personality to be intrinsically woven into a person’s DNA. A person may learn and grow but his or her personality never really changes. If this is the case, then why do so many marriages end in divorce?

Researcher and psychologist Walter Mischel says that everything we thought we knew about the immutability of someone’s personality may be wrong. These revelations about the instability of personality could help explain how two people who started out in love can find themselves so distant from one another after a relatively short period of time.

Mischel's Cognitive-Affective Model

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Lombard family law attorneysA divorce, as most people realize, can be extremely stressful for everyone involved. Children commonly have the most difficulty adjusting to all of the changes. Unfortunately, the effects of a divorce may be felt by your child for many years after the process has been completed. There are several ways—including some things you can do right now—to help your child cope with the end of your marriage.

Listen to Their Problems and Worries

Children, just like adults, feel loved and cared for when they know you are listening to them. This is more than just hearing what they have to say. Listening requires you to both be active in showing you understand what they are worried about while withholding any judgments or solutions until after the child is done sharing. Even then, it important to allow your children the freedom to experience their feelings. Attempting to control your child’s emotions or shaming him or her for feeling a certain way is not healthy and can lead to larger problems down the road.

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Illinois family law attorneysThe decision to divorce is not one that is made easily. This is especially true for those that have children who are sure to be impacted by the complex process. To bring awareness to the struggles that children face in divorce and to help parents better understand how they can improve their child’s ability to cope and adjust, The Child of Divorce—an advocacy group for children—has created and recently released an emotional but educational video. The topics discussed in the video are extremely relevant to many families and provide tips that parents can use during their divorce.

A Child’s View of Divorce

Parents are often—and understandably—shaken, troubled, and possibly even shocked by the changes that divorce brings. Children experience many of these very same emotions but in a very different way. They often feel that the very foundation of their world is crumbling. All that was once stable, safe, and secure is changing, and they have no control or say over the matter. Yet they still feel a strong attachment to both parents. When the parties become more focused on “winning,” and less on the emotions and well-being of their children, young ones can feel as though they are being asked to choose. No child should ever be placed in this position.

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Posted on in Divorce

Lombard divorce lawyerA divorce can complete reshape a person’s life. In addition to possibly forcing you to live off a single, your divorce may also create concerns regarding child custody disputes, alimony payments, and the challenges of finding a new place to live.

Separated spouses may live in different states, or one spouse may wish to move out of state after the proceedings. If you or your former spouse plans to leave the state, there are several factors to consider. Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to postpone the move.

Moving Before and After Filing for Divorce

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Posted on in Divorce

Lombard divorce attorneysMany people in struggling marriages wait until later in life to divorce. Couples consisting of partners aged 50 and above now account for a full quarter of all divorces in the United States. Divorce between older individuals has been nicknamed “gray divorce,” and has been on the rise in this country for a number of years.

Couples get divorced after many years of marriage for various reasons. Some do not want to upset the family balance while there are children living at home. Others wait for financial or career-oriented reasons. Still others may have tried for a long time to salvage the marriage and finally decide to call it quits. While a divorce is a life-changing event for individuals of any age, waiting until later in life to get a divorce comes with its own special challenges.

Factors to Consider When Divorcing After the Age of 50

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Posted on in Division of Property

DuPage County divorce lawyersMaybe he is your best hunting companion, spending countless hours together in the woods or tracking game. Maybe she likes to curl up on your lap while you watch television or against your body while you sleep. Companion animals like dogs and cats play such a significant role in the everyday lives of millions of people. You would never consider taking your leafblower hunting nor would you want to cuddle up with a set of silverware and cup of hot cocoa. However, if you are going through a divorce, most states recognize companion animals simply as property, no different than the household items in these impractical examples.

Working Together

Communication and compromise are important tools for any divorcing couple when making arrangements for parental responsibilities and the division of property. Placing a dispute in the hands of the court to decide can lead to contentious hearings and an outcome that leaves one or both partners unhappy. When custody of pets is at issue, however, compromise is even more imperative. While there are some small signs of change around the country, most courts are not nearly as concerned with a pet’s best interest as they are with that of a child.

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