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Lombard divorce attorneysEven if you have never experienced it, you probably realize that a divorce can take a tremendous emotional toll on a person. You may also be familiar with the basic idea of dividing marital property. What may not be as obvious from the outside, however, is the potentially devastating effects a divorce can have on the personal financial situation of each spouse, which can be long-lasting and can even result in bankruptcy.

If divorce has become a strong possibility for you and your spouse, there are a few areas of concern that you can address along the way to prevent major financial problems down the road.

Consider the Type of Assets

The division of marital assets is an often contentious part of the divorce process. Although Illinois is equitable distribution state, meaning each spouse’s allocation should be fair, not necessarily equal, you and your spouse will probably try to reach a fairly even agreement. You should keep in mind, though, that certain assets are not as easily converted to cash in the event of unforeseen expenses. For example, if you got to keep the family home while your spouse was allocated an investment account with similar value, you may struggle to sell the home if you were to ever need to do so.

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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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marital debt, Lombard family law attorneysAdjusting to life after a divorce can be challenging. One of the hardest things can be learning to deal with the new financial picture, especially any new debts you may have acquired as part of the divorce.

Setting a Budget

Family courts not only have the authority to divide the marital assets, but they may also be tasked with dividing the marital debts. This may mean you have less disposable income than you did before the divorce. It is important that you carefully review your finances early on and set up a realistic budget.

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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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gray divorceExpect more gray divorces in the coming years.

For one thing, the divorce rate among younger couples has decreased. More people staying married through their 30s and 40s means that there are more couples who could break up in their 50s and 60s. Additionally, people are living longer and enjoying sustained quality of life. To many people, "60 is the new 40" and "80 is the new 60."

Issues in a Late-in-Life Divorce

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unemployment rate divorceThere is encouraging news for Illinois as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) confirmed that the Illinois unemployment rate fell again in August, marking a decline for the fifth consecutive month. Not only is this encouraging news for Illinois, but perhaps even better news for men in the Prairie State. Recently, researchers at Ohio State University published survey results regarding the instance of marital strife due to the unemployment status of married men and the slim prospects for the unemployed single man seeking a marital partner.

Lead researcher Liana Sayer, a professor of Sociology at Ohio State University, worked in collaboration with the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH). Sayer and her team followed over 3,600 couples from 1986 to 2003. By using a series of questions, the group gauged how the couples felt about their marriages in general and then further collected data regarding employment and current earnings. Their goal was to determine if financial uncertainty would lead to divorce.

Seventy-five percent of the female participants directly indicated that they would not consider marriage to an unemployed partner. The study further revealed that an unemployed husband faces a higher risk of being sued for divorce by his spouse. Remarkably, the study also alluded that a married unemployed male may also choose to request a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney as financial difficulties increase. With regard to the wives who experienced a layoff, the marriage generally stayed on track.

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cost of divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois divorce attorney, divorce financesYou have finally made the decision to get a divorce. Whether it is an agreed upon decision with your spouse or something you've decided on your own, there are several things you should do in order to help minimize the financial hit you could be facing.

According to financial advisors, one of the first things you want to get rid of is any joint loans and credit cards you have with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Until your divorce is final, you and your spouse are both legally and financially responsible for each other’s debts, even if you had nothing to do with incurring the debt. If your spouse takes your shared credit card that and decides to go out and charge a whole new wardrobe on it, you are both responsible for the debt. Never assume that your spouse would not do something like that. Even the friendliest divorces can suddenly turn contentious.

Another mistake some people make is making all kinds of financial concessions in order to keep peace during a divorce in order to speed up the process. In some cases, couples opt for mediation rather than litigation, assuming that it will make the divorce process smoother. Mediation is best for couples who had a short marriage with few assets and no children, and couples with great communication skills. In other situations, litigation with attorneys for each partner may be a better option.

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divorce finances, Illinois divorce lawyer, divorce attorney, divorce settlement, division of propertyAlthough going through a divorce can be a very emotional time, it’s important to keep divorce finances in mind in order to protect both your future and your children’s future. Financial analyst Suzanna de Baca offers these financial tips for people who are going through a divorce:

Do not give too much away in the divorce settlement.

Negotiating with your spouse over property and assets can turn acrimonious. The constant arguing and conflicts can be emotionally draining, causing many people to "surrender" and end up walking away with less than an equitable amount – just to stop the fighting. It’s important to protect your financial future, so de Baca suggest working with both your attorney and a financial planner to ensure you receive a settlement that is in your best interest.

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