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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneysDivorce is a tough process for anyone. After all, no one gets married with the intent to someday divorce. Women sometimes experience different challenges during divorce than men do. There is no perfect way to end your marriage, but there are some things you can do to minimize your stress and help the process go more smoothly.

Take Care of Your Needs

Women often put other’s wants before their own. Wives and mothers are sometimes so busy looking after others that they rarely stop to think about their own needs. According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, getting divorced is the second-most stressful life even a person can experience. Only the death of a spouse is considered to be a more stressful life event. During this time, it is important to charge your emotional battery. Whether that means going to the spa, out to lunch with friends, or sitting in your own backyard with a good book, do not be afraid to take time to de-stress while your divorce is ongoing.

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Posted on in Divorce

Lombard divorce attorneysThere are many reasons why a couple’s marriage may break down. In some cases, the two spouses simply got married before they were ready for the commitment. Other times, one of the spouses is unfaithful and causes hardship in the marriage through his or her infidelity. However, one of the biggest causes of marital stress is money. Couples argue about whether to spend or save money, what to spend it one, or how their money should be managed.

Financial Stress Causes Friction in Relationships

A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that about 75 percent of Americans are experiencing financial stress at least some of the time. Furthermore, almost a quarter of U.S residents are experiencing extreme financial stress. Couples do not have to be living paycheck to paycheck to experience this stress. Many financially-secure couples also experience the stress of not knowing which money decisions are right for them and their family.

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Lombard family law attorneysDivorce is extremely common, and sometimes, it can come at an inopportune time. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of military families, when essentially, there is no “good” time unless the person with a military career is essentially retired. To help military couples obtain a divorce in an amicable fashion without having to wait years, there are certain specific divorce laws that apply only to them.

Service and Timing Issues

The main issues in trying to obtain a divorce from an active duty military member are personal service and the possibility of default. A divorce can be filed in Illinois if one or both spouses either live in state permanently, or if one or both spouses are stationed in the state. However, in any contested divorce, the non-moving party must be served personally with a copy of the petition filed by their spouse. Otherwise the court, in theory, has no jurisdiction over them. In other words, without personal service, the military member would not have enough contact with the place where the court is for that court to have any power over him or her. If the divorce is not contested, personal service may be waived, but if it is contested, the rule is absolute.  This means that the personal service requirement can make going forward with the divorce very difficult if the military member is overseas or in a war zone.

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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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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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Lombard family law attorneysIt is certainly not uncommon for divorcing spouses to fight over money. In many situations, finances are the only issue that keeps the divorce process ongoing—often for many months or even years. A large number of such cases include high-net-worth couples with significant assets and business interests, which can be very complicated to divide fairly. Other cases, however, involve one spouse hiding or obfuscating assets so that he or she will not lose them during the divorce.

Manipulating the System

Illinois law requires each spouse to make a full financial disclosure during the divorce process so that all marital property can be divided equitably. Too often, one spouse will attempt to leave certain assets or revenue streams out of his or her disclosure so that they will be “safe” from division during the divorce. This type of behavior defies the intent of the law regarding equitable distribution and is taken very seriously by the courts.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysIn most types of court proceedings, there is a clear delineation between the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff—sometimes called the claimant—is the party that has decided to take some sort of legal action against the defendant. In a personal injury case, for example, the plaintiff may have filed a lawsuit to recover financial compensation for injuries that he or she believes were caused by the defendant. Likewise, the plaintiff in criminal proceeding—the state—is seeking a judgment of guilt and criminal penalties against a defendant believed to have committed a crime. Technically, a divorce is no different: the spouse that files the divorce petition is considered the plaintiff, making the other spouse the defendant. But, does it really matter which spouse is which?

Different Terminology

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) is a comprehensive compilation of statutes that govern the divorce process in Illinois. The IMDMA generally avoids the use of the terms “plaintiff” and “defendant,” instead using the more neutral “petitioner” and “respondent” in most cases. This highlights the concept that divorce does not need to a highly contentious battle in which there are clear winners and losers.

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Lombard family law attorneyWhen you are going through a divorce, it is a reasonable to wonder how you and your spouse will divide the property that you have accumulated during the course of your marriage. For many couples, in fact, disputes regarding the division of assets are among the most contentious in the entire divorce process. If you and your spouse are not able to reach an agreement regarding your property, the court will rely on provisions in the law to determine which of you will be receiving what.

Not Necessarily Equal

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means there is not legal presumption that marital property should be divided equally. Rather than a guaranteed 50-50 split, equitable distribution holds that the marital estate must be divided in a manner that is reasonable and fair, based on the circumstances of the marriage and divorce. This means that every situation is unique and must be considered individually by the court.

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Lombard divorce lawyersMothers choose to stay home with their children for a number of reasons. For some, their family’s lifestyle is easily supported by their spouse’s income, which gives them the financial flexibility to spend time with their children. Others may stay home out of necessity. Regardless of the reason – be it to care for a special needs child, a desire to parent full-time, or simply because they can – all are at risk for lifelong poverty, should their marriage end in divorce. If you are a stay-at-home mom and planning on filing for divorce, or have already been served with divorce papers, learn what you need to know about protecting your financial future, and how you can obtain skilled legal counsel, even if you have no assets of your own.

Why Stay-at-Home Moms Are at Risk

Despite the fact that women often do the very same work as men, they continue to make less per hour for the exact same tasks, positions, and responsibilities as their male counterparts. Furthermore, research has shown that divorced women often struggle to return to the workforce after divorce. This is often due to a lapse in employment that causes them to fall behind on necessary job skills or training. Add to that their lack of retirement earnings and they are at risk for poverty, not just during their child-raising years, but for the rest of their lives.

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financial infidelity, Illinois divorce attorneysHave you ever cheated on your spouse? Before you answer, keep in mind that cheating can mean much more than an episode of sexual indiscretion. In fact, there is another type of cheating that is far more prevalent in today’s marriages, and it has virtually nothing to do with adultery; it pertains, instead, to a couple’s finances. According to a recent survey, more than 40 percent of Americans have committed what is known as financial infidelity against their partner. With money already a commonly-cited contributor to the breakdown of marriages, financial infidelity, if not addressed and resolved, can quickly lead a couple down a path toward divorce.

What is Financial Infidelity?

Although it may take many forms, the basic idea of financial infidelity is relatively simple: one partner in a relationship with combined finances lies about or hides money and purchases. It could be an interest-bearing account set up in his name that she has no idea exists, or it could be a credit card that she has on the side. Whatever the case, if both partners are not fully disclosing financial concerns—within previously agreed-upon parameters—one or both may be committing financial infidelity.

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