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college, Arlington Heights family law attorneyWhen you are going through a divorce, there are plenty of pressing matters that require your immediate attention, especially if you are a parent. You will need to decide who gets to keep which assets, establish if there is need for spousal maintenance, allocate parental responsibilities, and develop a workable parenting time schedule. For most divorcing parents, the issue of child support must also be determined, usually based on the supporting parent’s income and the needs of the family and child at the time of the divorce. It is very easy, however, for many parents to fail to look ahead to providing for their child’s college education, particularly if the child is still young. By planning early, you and your spouse can have a better understand of what may lie ahead.

Some, All or None

As part of your divorce settlement, you and your spouse can address how, if at all, you intend to help your child pay for college or other post-school education. You can agree in advance that together, you will assist your child in paying for school, even going so far as to develop a specific savings or contribution plan. Likewise, you may decide that one of you will be responsible for footing the entire bill. Finally, your family’s financial situation may be such that you are unlikely to be able to afford paying for your child’s post-secondary education, and your agreement may reflect that determination.

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Hidden assets, Property Division, Divorce FinancesIn any divorce situation, division of property is an extremely important consideration. Whether accomplished by means of an agreement between spouses or by litigation and the decision of the court, the marital assets must be addressed, in most cases, before the divorce decree can be finalized. As with any compromise, a property division negotiation may leave one or both partners feeling a bit cheated or that the other partner ended up with more than was deserved.

In some cases, it can seem very clear that a marriage is deteriorating and headed for divorce. Such a situation may drive one partner, often the one with more control of the family’s finances, to manipulate the situation to unfairly benefit in the event of divorce. While either partner may be tempted to take advantage of the circumstances, it is often the husband who may attempt to hide cash, disguise income, or undervalue property. Hiding assets is not only detrimental to an equitable divorce settlement, it is also illegal.

Jeff Landers is a divorce financial analyst, author, and contributor to Forbes whose focus is primarily women involved in financially complicated divorces. He suggests being vigilant and aware of your family’s financial situation because if your husband is hiding assets, there may be warning signs. While it may be too late to prevent it from happening, knowing what to look for can help you better prepare for what lies ahead.

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Posted on in Divorce

post divorce check listOnce a divorce is granted, there are still many things a person has to do to ensure all official and/or legal connections with their now ex-spouse are taken care of.  The divorce decree ends your marriage, but you still need to make contact with various entities to ensure that your ex-spouse no longer has access or benefit of things to which they are no longer entitled.

The best way to do this is to make a list of the particulars you will have to change. Some of the items that may be on your task list include:

  1. All testamentary documents that you have drafted will need to be updated. Make sure you change the beneficiaries on any will and trusts you have, otherwise your ex-spouse would still be able to inherit your assets and property if something should happen to you.
  2. If there are any other entities where your spouse is named beneficiary, those should be changed as well. You will want to remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary from insurance policies, bank and stock accounts, and any other financial accounts you may have. The only time this should not be done is if the divorce settlement says differently. For example, if you are paying spousal support, the judge may have ordered you to keep your spouse as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy for the duration of your alimony obligation. There may also need to be changes made to retirement accounts, such as a partial roll over into one spouse’s name, depending on the divorce settlement.
  3. If your divorce settlement included an exchange of real estate between the two of you, then you will need to have quit claim deeds recorded. There may also need to be mortgage refinancing that needs to be done to remove the other spouse from financial obligation of the property, again depending on what the final divorce settlement reads.
  4. If there are any joint utility bills, such as electric, water, and telephone, those will also have to be changed into the name of the spouse that will be living in the home.

If you are considering a divorce and are looking for an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney, contact A. Traub and Associates for a consultation today.

Posted on in Divorce

teenager divorceStatistics show that by the time they turn 16 years old, almost half of all teenagers will have experienced their parents divorcing. Fifteen percent of teenagers will deal with divorce more than once because of parents’ remarriages and subsequent divorces. For teens of unmarried parents, 25 percent will experience their parents’ breakup.

Adolescence can be an extremely emotional and difficult time. For many teens dealing with their parents’ divorce, the feelings are similar to coping with a death in the family and they will show all the signs of grieving. These feeling can especially intensify during special events and holidays.

Signs that a teenager is struggling with difficult emotions about the divorce include aggressive behavior, guilt, and anger. Physical signs include any changes in sleeping or eating habits, complaints of frequent headaches and stomach aches.

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inheritance in divorceFor the majority of people who get married, the assumption is that it will be "’til death do us part." Despite the high rate of divorce, most couples think they will beat the odds and live happily ever after. Typically, all the assets a couple acquires during the marriage are pooled – income, gifts, inheritances, etc. are all shared between the two spouses. The reality is, however, that at least half of marriages do end in divorce, with an even higher rate if the marriage is a second or third marriage.

Most divorce negotiations involve how finances and property will be divided between the couple, but what happens with the inherited assets? Unfortunately, in many circumstances, unless there was an agreement in place before the divorce, those assets just may be included in the marital estate. A person may be able to keep that expensive piece of jewelry their grandmother left them, but the value of that piece becomes part of the marital estate and the other spouse is entitled to receive something of equal value in their share of the marital estate. The same may be true for inherited real estate property, stocks and bonds, and cash.

There are ways a person can protect those inherited assets in the event their marriage does not work out. The first step is a prenuptial agreement. Engaged couples should consider prenuptial agreements for many reasons, and this certainly is an important one. A prenup can clearly outline that in the event of a divorce, inherited assets go to the spouse they were intended for and not considered part of the marital estate.

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Posted on in Divorce
right of first refusalChanges to the Illinois family law that went into effect in January mean divorced co-parents will need to notify their ex-spouse any time they plan to leave their children with a caregiver for more than four hours. This could have a serious impact on long-standing child care arrangements, particularly in situations where a couple has been divorced for a longer period of time.

According to Illinois HB 2992, parents who share joint custody of their children must offer their ex-spouse the opportunity to care for the couple’s children temporarily before seeking third-party care for any period more than four hours. As long as the co-parent lives within a reasonable distance, they must be offered the opportunity to provide care before a babysitter can be hired and before the child can be left with grandparents or at a daycare facility.

This new clause is commonly known as "right of first refusal," and may lead to a significant change in families where the custodial parent usually leaves a child with grandparents or babysitters while running errands or a parent’s night out. They will now be required to notify their ex-spouse of their plans and give their co-parent the opportunity to care for the child during that time instead. An exception may be made in emergency cases. If the co-parent does choose to accept the additional time, they will be responsible for providing any transportation that may be required, except in cases where a different arrangement is agreed upon between both parties.

If you are a co-parent sharing joint custody and have questions about how this may impact current custody agreements or child care arrangements, we can help. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney at A. Traub & Associates today for a consultation. Our qualified team of attorneys understand the importance of communication in child custody issues and will work diligently to reach a clear and concise resolution to your situation.

Posted on in Divorce

Illinois child supportDivorcing your spouse can be difficult. Divorcing your spouse when you have children together can be exponentially more difficult. Separating parents must consider the effects the process may have on their children and how life may be different post-divorce. Arrangements for custody, visitation, and support of the children need to be negotiated and sometimes litigated. While custody and visitation agreements may differ greatly due the circumstances unique to each family, Illinois law provides a guideline that courts are expected to follow when deciding and calculating child support.

Who Pays Support?

Under Illinois law, the court may require one or both parents "to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for the support of the child, without regard to marital misconduct." The law allows for the possibility that the child may reside with someone other than a parent after the divorce, but, in practice, the court will typically require the non-residential or non-custodial parent to pay child support.

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marriage breakdown of communicationNumerous studies confirm that the primary contributing factor of divorce is the breakdown of communication. The Huffington Post recently posted the results of yet another study confirming that communication is essential for a successful marriage. The online lifestyle resource, Your Tango, recently polled 100 medical health professionals who in agreement, at 65 percent, still cite the lack of communication as the major contributor to divorce.

Dr. Kelly M. Flanagan, an Illinois licensed psychologist and contributor to The Huffington Post, begs to differ. Dr. Flanagan contributes the following additional factors as possible contributors responsible for the high rate of divorce.

We Like, Therefore We Think We Love

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Posted on in Divorce

benefits of divorceMaking the decision to divorce can be one of the hardest decisions a person has to make. A couple at this crossroads has usually struggled for years trying to make their marriage work. It can be even more heartbreaking if there are children involved.

The aftermath of divorce can feel as if a death has occurred. In a way it has – the death of the marriage. This can leave a person dealing with all kinds of emotions, ranging from grief to sadness to anger. But there is also, many times, relief felt that the person can move forward.

In fact, research has shown that for women, once they move past the grieving stage, they are actually much happier for at least the five years following their divorce, often more content than they had ever been in their lives.

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signs of marriage troubleIs your marriage in trouble? There are signs that marriage and family therapists say can be indicators that a marriage is headed for divorce court. They are also good indicators if you have been struggling with the decision to divorce of where exactly your marriage is at.

  • Do you find yourself no longer consulting or valuing your spouse’s opinion or input? From serious topics, such as work issues, to plans for the weekend, making decisions on your own without even broaching the subject with your spouse, especially if this is something you always did in the past, is an indicator of a breakdown in communication.
  • Another sign there could be serious problems is if you do not consider ever putting your spouse’s needs or wishes ahead of your own anymore. As one therapist put it, making yourself "king or queen of the castle" is a sign something is wrong.
  • Has the ebb and flow of giving in the relationship now been replaced by a scorecard of what you do and what your spouse does?
  • Do you feel like you are living with a partner or with a roommate? Partners work together, making plans for the future and achieving goals together. Roommates share the same space but live singular lives. They pick up after themselves, cook their own dinners and buy their own food, etc., without considering or including the person they live with.
  • Do you purposely hit your spouse’s "hot button" to try to get a reaction from him or her? In healthy relationships, we learn what things are upsetting to our spouse and try to avoid those actions. That’s not always the case in marriages that are breaking down.
  • Do you still date? Even married couples need to court and woo each other, just like they did when dating. Love notes, little gifts, and wanting to look good for your spouse are all things that help keep the romance in a marriage.
  • Do you still talk? Not just talk about problems or issues that come up, but do you and your spouse enjoy conversations with each other about anything? If you barely communicate with your spouse, unless it is about who needs to pick up the kids or take the dog to the vet that can indicate a marriage in trouble.

Do you think a lot about what life would be like without your spouse in it and envision it as a much happier and better life than it is right now? If you are thinking about divorce, contact an Arlington Heights family law attorney to find out what legal options you may have.

Laughter, laughing, divorce, divorce rate, Illinois divorce lawyerAccording to Fun Trivia, laughing uses 53 of our muscles. Laughter, often revered as the best medicine, involves jiggling our facial, jaw and throat muscles, and ultimately tickling our Zygomatic and Risorius muscles. Did you ever consider that by flexing these 53 optimal muscles you could keep your marriage intact?

A new study conducted by University of Maryland sociologist, Philip N. Cohen, suggests that divorce rates will increase as our economy improves. The reason? Couples can finally afford to seek the services of an experienced divorce attorney to dissolve their marital ties and be financially secure in their decision.

So how could flexing these 53 muscles improve your chances of staying married as the economy improves? Co-authors, Amy Waterman and Andrew Rusbatch of "Save My Marriage Today!" offer the following advice.

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adultery, infidelity, divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, Arlington Heights divorce attorneyHas the time come to change our western views on adultery and marriage? According to a recent article published by The Huffington Post, perhaps it has. No longer does the act of adultery result in the offending spouse strolling through town with a scarlet letter sewn to her bodice or does the adulterous male receive a good flogging but are we truly ready to alter our thought process when it comes to marital deception?

It is estimated that 30 to 60 percent of all couples in the United States will deal with some form of infidelity at one point in their marriage. David M. Buss and Todd K. Shackelford, University of Texas, Austin, co-researchers responsible for this data, also believe these numbers may be conservative since the act of adultery resulting in divorce can still taint the marital waters with a shade of crimson. Is Adultery Inevitable? Perhaps. As we evolve, marriage has also evolved. We are living longer than previous generations. As the vow states, "till death do us part", but will we remain satisfied with our partners on all levels, emotionally and physically? Or do we tread on dangerous ground resulting in adultery and possibly divorce? East Meets West?

Being married is highly vital to secure one's social status in Eastern culture. Love is not necessarily part of  the marital equation, especially when there is a booming adultery inspired industry. In some eastern cultures, marriage is viewed as vehicle to secure your social standing. Without this collaboration, you could experience difficulty with obtaining employment and the opportunity of climbing both the social and corporate ladder. Clearly a different viewpoint from traditional Western culture.

Evolutionary Thinking? With the continual expansion of the Western melting pot, perhaps differing cultural influences may infuse our long-standing marital philosophy. Perhaps East may meet West for future generations. Will we celebrate a long term marriage as maintaining a strong sense of open communication rather than remaining physically faithful. Will future couples define what is expected and acceptable as terms of a successful marriage? For some the evolution of marriage may not be terms they are willing to accept. For many, infidelity is an issue. It will remain an issue although there is evidence of a lack of marital communication that may have led the offending spouse to his or her decision to stray. Most couples continually cite infidelity as the determining factor of filing for divorce, primarily due to an emotional disconnect from their partner. Luckily for Western culture we still have the opportunity to define our own marital commitment and decide when and why we may choose to dissolve our marriage. The family law team at A.Traub & Associates understands the emotional and financial importance of a divorce for whatever the reason. We will work diligently to ensure an open line of communication as we meet your legal needs and a fair and equitable resolution of your marriage.  Contact us today at 630-426-0196 to learn more about your options and our dedicated legal team.
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