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Posted on in Divorce

divorce, holiday season, illinois divorce attorneysThe winter holidays, for many, are a time filled with joy, laughter, and family get-togethers. At the same time, you may feel like you are being pulled in a million directions, with presents to buy and wrap, food to prepare, and, often, travel arrangements to be made. That is not even to mention concerns related to work, school, or other obligations. For those who are in the midst of a divorce, however, the holidays can seem almost empty, and devoid of the happiness they once promised. If you are going through a divorce, there are some thing you will probably want to keep in mind.

Stay Involved

As tempting as it may be to sit home and to avoid the company of others, consider pushing yourself to go out and interact. The feelings of loneliness and sadness are a natural part of the divorce process, and there is nothing wrong with you for feeling that way. But isolating yourself during the holidays may not be the best solution. Make the effort to see family and friends, even it is not the most comfortable. Allow yourself to be distracted, even if just for a little while, and if loved ones offer support, do your best to accept it graciously.


divorce agreement, negotiation, Illinois divorce lawyersA marriage can legally end in just two ways, and both are incredibly difficult experiences. The first is by the death of either spouse, and, of course, the death of a loved one is always challenging. The second, as you probably realize, is divorce, or the dissolution of the marriage, according to the law in Illinois. For many, divorce is no less traumatic than a loved one’s death, and can even be made worse by months of intense fighting and brutal courtroom litigation. There is, however, an alternative to a hotly contested divorce process and, while still not necessarily easy, negotiating the terms of your divorce agreement outside of court may be the best solution for all parties involved.

What Can We Negotiate?

The laws governing divorce in Illinois are contained primarily in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The IMDMA is a comprehensive set of statutes that covers, often in great detail, the responsibilities of each divorcing party, as well as those of the court, for most matters of family law. Regarding divorce agreements, the IMDMA specifically acknowledges that a negotiated agreement promotes the "amicable settlement of disputes between parties to a marriage." It goes on to specify that such an agreement may contain terms regarding spousal maintenance, the division of property, the allocation of parental responsibilities, and child support.


joint simplified divorce, Illinois law, Kane County family lawyersA number of previous posts on this blog have discussed the idea that divorce does not need to be a knock-down, drag-out battle. It is very possible for divorcing spouses to remain calm, civil, even friendly throughout the process. These types of cases lend themselves quite well to proceedings for uncontested divorce, in which neither party objects to the divorce and the details of the agreement are generally negotiated outside of the courtroom. Uncontested divorce is often much faster and less expensive than contested divorce, but the law in Illinois provides an additional option that may be easier and even more cost-effective. It is called joint simplified divorce and there are very specific conditions that apply in order for a couple to be eligible.

What is Joint Simplified Divorce?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act offers an alternative to more traditional divorce for couples without complex marital concerns. In a joint simplified divorce, both parties file the petition together, along with their signed agreements regarding property and support. The court will typically hear the case on the same day that it is filed, and if everything is in order, the judgment may be entered immediately. This represents a dramatic savings in time, energy, and expenses compared to formal divorce proceedings.


selfie, divorce, Illinois family law attorneyEarlier this summer, a snapshot quickly made the rounds on social media that raised a few eyebrows but created some very interesting discussions on the state of marriage and divorce in North America. It also has started a sort of copycat trend, with hundreds of similar images having been posted to Facebook and Instagram in the weeks since.

Photographic Commitment

The viral photo was of a Canadian couple who stopped for a smiling selfie—a self-shot photograph taken with a cellphone camera—in front of the sign on the Calgary, Alberta, municipal court building. Their happy faces and comfort together suggested that they just made a life commitment to one another. In fact, they had, but not the one you might think. The couple had just filed for divorce, but took the photo as a symbol that they had made the right decision and that they would continue to work closely together in raising their children.


advice, divorce lawyer, Lombard family law attorneysWhen family, friends, or coworkers learn you are about to go through a divorce, it is natural for them to want to help. Sometimes, that help comes in positive forms—a shoulder to lean on, an offer to help out with the children, or even just space to cope with the emotional baggage that often accompanies a divorce. But advice, often given with the best of intentions, may not always be helpful for a divorcing couple. In fact, sometimes divorce advice can end up doing more harm than good.

Most Common Forms of "Bad" Divorce Advice

In most instances, bad divorce advice comes from those that truly do want to help. Unfortunately, they may not fully comprehend the emotional or legal repercussions of what they are suggesting. Thankfully, it is pretty easy to spot poor divorce advice because most will involve "shortcuts" of one sort or another. Examples may include tips like:


dating after divorce, impacts of divorce, Illinois family lawyersConsidering all that you have been through during your marriage and divorce, nobody should deny you the opportunity to pursue happiness in your post-divorce life. You have the right to enjoy your new situation to its fullest, and, for many, that may mean starting a new romantic relationship. Casual dating and even a new, serious love interest can be very beneficial for your health and self-esteem following a divorce, but there are some things to keep in mind, especially if you have children.

It May Take Time

While you may have the freedom to pursue dating relationships after your divorce, you may not be ready for it immediately. This, of course, depends on what type of dating you are considering and your own emotional health. If you are ready to casually meet people for dinner and drinks on occasion, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you move directly from your marriage into another long-term serious relationship, you may want to give it a second thought, as you may not have healed yet from psychological impact that is usually inherent in divorce.


social media, divorce, Illinois Family Law AttorneysNever before in human history have people been as connected as they are in the Digital Age. While sociologists will argue for decades over the perceived depth or superficiality of relationships facilitated by social media, there is little question that society has changed as a result. In most situations, liking or sharing photos and posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter may be relatively harmless, but it is absolutely critical to understand the power of social media in the midst of legal disputes and divorce, in particular.

Before You Click Send…

…remember that you cannot take back what you are about to post. Anything you share to a social media site, or really, even most internet-based applications, have the potential to remain permanent. Yes, you may be able to delete a post or a picture, and certain apps like Snapchat purport to only keep your information for a few seconds at time. However, all it takes is for a single person to capture a screenshot of your post and your control over its permanence is totally lost.


Posted on in Divorce

dating, dating during divorce, Lombard Family Law AttorneysIf you are going through a divorce, you probably feel that your marriage was over a long time ago. The legal process of divorce may represent little more than a necessary formality so that you can get on with your life. As the proceedings continue, however, you may be inclined to begin a new romantic relationship, one in which you finally feel appreciated and empowered for the first time in quite a while. Of course, you have every right to seek happiness in your post-divorce situation, but until your divorce is finalized, it is probably a good idea to stay out of the dating scene.

Legal Considerations

From the standpoint of Illinois divorce law, there is nothing preventing you from pursuing a new relationship once the process of divorce has begun. If you choose to date, you will need be careful about what assets you may be using to fund your activities, though. Using your own money is fine, but inappropriately spending marital funds prior to the property division process may be considered dissipation, and you may be required to pay it back.


infidelity, ashley madison, Illinois divorce attorneysHeadlines around the world are ablaze with news of a data dump including the hacked information of some 37 million people. The accounts are associated with subscribers of Ashley Madison, a website that advertises itself as a forum to connect married users looking to have an affair. Email addresses found among the hacked data have been linked to TV personalities, politicians, and military personnel, along with countless private citizens. The exposition of Ashely Madison’s subscriber lists has forced many couples into unexpectedly dealing with allegations of infidelity, and probably have some already considering divorce. Before making any rash decisions, it is important to realize that your spouse may not be lying about his behavior.

Look But Don’t Touch

If you recently discovered that your spouse was registered on an infidelity-driven website, your first inclination was probably to feel completely betrayed. Such a reaction is completely understandable, but before taking action, you need to get the whole story. Of course, at this point, you will probably find it difficult to trust what your spouse is saying, but, if this is the first indication that something may be wrong, you should probably give him the opportunity.


equitable distribution, Illinois law, Lombard property division lawyersThe short answer to that question is no. More accurately, the answer is not necessarily. Dividing property during divorce is a bit more complicated than simply splitting the marital estate in half. In fact, the word "half" does not appear anywhere in the statute governing the allocation of assets in the state. Instead, Illinois law is based on the principles of equitable distribution which look to justly allocate marital property based on the consideration of a number of factors.

Community Property States

The basis for most people’s assumption of splitting property in half is the community property concept currently in place in nine states, including Wisconsin, California, and Texas. These principles maintain that, in marriage, both partners equally own all marital assets and that each is entitled to half upon divorce. This applies regardless of employment considerations, contributions to the marriage or family, or any other seemingly relevant concerns. In many cases, spousal maintenance or alimony awards are used to compensate for such considerations.


technology, divorce, Arlington Heights Divorce LawyerWhen you are going through a divorce, there are many seemingly minor considerations that could have far-reaching consequences. One of these is the increased  use of social media. According to Jeff Landers, certified divorce financial analyst and Forbes contributor, social media can have unforeseen ramifications for your divorce, especially in complex or high-asset marital dissolution. "Even if he’s blocked you from seeing his posts directly, your mutual friends can still tell you all about the ski trip he took to Switzerland with his girlfriend a week after claiming he couldn’t afford to pay spousal support," Landers said as an example. It is also vital to be aware that not every online "friend" is an ally, and even the most innocent posts can be seen and easily misinterpreted in a damaging manner.

Yet not all recent technological advances are necessarily detrimental during divorce. There are, in fact, several applications that can make your divorce easier and less stressful. For example, there is a variety of apps that can help you chart the monetary aspects of your divorce. Divorce Log helps divorcing couples track all divorce financial information, such as alimony or child support payments. iSplit divorce "helps users divide their pricey marital assets by assigning icons to all big-ticket items."

There are also technological options that can be of help after the divorce has been finalized. One of these is the 2Houses app, which allows separated parents to share a digital calendar for plotting kids’ activities. Another similar app is Parenting Apart, "an advice-based service that provides resources for separated or divorced couples."


divorce considerations, questions, Illinois divorce lawyerThinking about ending your marriage can be a devastating undertaking. Your marriage vows promised that both of you would commit your lives to each other. However, one day you may realize that you are unhappy in the marriage, or not able to connect with or find joy in being with your partner. It is important to remember that you are not a failure; people change as they develop in their careers and other parts of their life. In some cases, one partner’s actions can damage the marriage beyond the hope of reconciliation. Sometimes, the healthiest option for both parties is to consider a divorce.

Emotionally Healthy Living Environments Are Important for Children

Although staying together for the children is a tempting reason to remain married, this can lead to stressful interactions and potential bitterness among family members. Living in a family environment that harbors shouting, hostile feelings, and manipulation on a regular basis is extremely damaging to both the adults and children involved. In situations where domestic violence is present (physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological abuse, financial manipulation, etc), it is critical to seek help immediately.


verbal agreement, contract, Illinois family law attorneyAs you work through the divorce process, you and your soon-to-be ex spouse will undoubtedly attempt to discuss dozens of different topics related to your split. Some may be rather mundane, such as who gets to keep the coffeepot as a wedding present. Others, however, may have more of an immediate impact, such as who is responsible for making the mortgage payments or taking the kids to school. While it may seem easier for the two of you to rely on verbal agreements, consider an aphorism that is widely known throughout the medical field and employment law: "If it is not written down, it did not happen."

Oral Contracts

Strictly speaking, a verbal agreement can constitute an oral contract. An oral contract, in turn, may be enforceable under Illinois law. The challenge, however, lies in proving the existence of the oral contract. Your husband may have told you not to worry about the rent this month, but if you cannot prove he promised to pay it and your name is also on the lease, you are likely to be stuck with no avenue for relief.


new law, Senate Bill 57, Kane County Family LawyersLawmakers in Illinois recently sent Governor Bruce Rauner a bill that would make a number of sweeping changes to a number of family law provisions in the State. The legislation takes aim at several different family-related concerns including parental relocation regulations, child custody agreements and spousal maintenance issues. It will also significantly impact divorce proceedings around the State in two primary ways.

Irreconcilable Differences

Known currently as Senate Bill 57, the new law, if enacted, would eliminate the at-fault grounds for divorce from the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. As a result, every divorce would be handled as a no-fault divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. A large number of Illinois divorces already cite irreconcilable differences under the existing law, and, by law, fault cannot be considered in property division or spousal maintenance proceedings anyway. The proposed law would simply remove fault grounds such as infidelity, impotence, and physical cruelty as an option in divorce.


divorce, separation, Illinois Family Law AttorneyFor many couples, separating is the first step to divorcing. In fact, Illinois law requires a separation period of no less than six months for a no-fault divorce. Separating gives the couple time to work out their issues without the pressure of having to comply with the court&s deadlines or having to pay for lawyer meetings, hearings, and other divorce-related fees. During the separation period, couples can save money and stress by working together to develop a plan before officially filing for their divorce.

There are a few steps that a couple should take after separating that can make their divorce quicker and easier. A quick divorce is almost always less expensive than a long, drawn-out divorce. If you are currently separated from your spouse, some of the following may help you more efficiently end your marriage.

Prepare the Necessary Documents


filing for divorce, filing first, Illinois divorce attorneyIn many cases, it is often clear that a marriage is over long before a petition for divorce has been filed. You may have come to that realization regarding your own relationship. However, filing for divorce may seem to be a drastic step and one that you may be hesitant to take, regardless of the condition of the marriage. Should you file first? Should you wait for your spouse? Does it really make a difference?

Depending on the specific circumstances of your situation, filing first will probably not make much of a difference in the outcome of your divorce. Your role during the process may change slightly based upon your status as the petitioner or the respondent, but the end result is likely to be effectually the same. You will have the same opportunities to present information to the court, in most cases, the factors considered under law make no reference to a party’s filing status.

Possible Exceptions


prenuptial agreement, prenup, Arlington Heights Family LawyerWhen you make the decision to marry someone and share your life with him or her, the romantic love that you feel is often intoxicating. Your idealistic vision of the future make take over, and, as the wedding day gets closer, it may not even occur to you that you are entering into a business partnership as well as a romantic union. Throughout history, however, marriage has been an arrangement of shared property, while the romantic aspect of marriage has really only evolved relatively recently. Modern marriage, as combination of social contract and romantic love has led to the increased utilization of prenuptial agreements to protect the financial interests of each spouse.

For many, the concept of a prenuptial agreement is closely tied to a prediction of failure, as such agreements necessarily consider the possibility of divorce. This is often seen to be in direct contrast to the idea of marrying for love and living "happily ever after." As such, couples frequently struggle with the dilemma of making practical, yet seemingly cold preventive arrangements, or relying on love and trusting that things will be fine.

However, a large number of prenuptial agreements are drafted not only in anticipation of a potential divorce, but also as security in the event of a spouse&s unexpected death. Indeed, providing for your surviving spouse after your death is its own romantic (and responsible) gesture. When considered from this perspective, prenuptial agreements can actually bring harmony to your marriage by settling financial issues and keeping them from creating conflict during your life together and afterward.


your name, changing your name, Illinois Divorce attorneysAlmost every divorce brings with it a large number of important concerns, including child custody, visitation, child support, and division of marital property. Other considerations may not seem quite so critical, but can have a larger-than-expected impact on the life of a divorcing individual. As a woman going through a divorce, you may be, in fact, dealing with one of these issues in particular. Specifically, you may be wondering if changing your name back to your maiden name after divorce is a good idea.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage act provides the opportunity to restore a previous name, including a maiden name, for any woman whose marriage is dissolved under law. According to the statute, such a provision may be included in the divorce decree upon her request. Although the legal process of changing your name is not terribly difficult, deciding whether or not to do so is an entirely different matter.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes changing your name. There is only what is right for each person. Many women, however, consider many similar issues in their decision-making process, including:


divorce process, divorce responsibilities, Kane County divorce attorneyHiring an attorney to handle your divorce can be among the best decisions you will ever make. However, hiring an attorney and not investing yourself in the process can be among the worst decisions you will ever make. Divorce, obviously, can be very difficult under the best of circumstances, but by being an active participant along with your lawyer, you may find the effort to be reflected in the final result.

During your initial consultation and meetings, your attorney will likely ask you to take responsibility in certain areas. Doing so can make the entire process easier and more efficient, no matter the challenges that your case presents. Whether explicitly requested or not, your attorney will appreciate that you:

  • Communicate with Your Lawyer: Your attorney is a legal professional, not a mind-reader. You must understand what your goals and values are and communicate that to your lawyer so that you are working in the same direction. In addition, maintain regular contact and provide pertinent personal updates throughout the process. A clear understanding of your situation can help your attorney best represent your position.
  • Be Organized: This includes keeping records of the divorce proceedings, as well as carefully organizing financial statements or other documentation necessary to the process. Handing your attorney a stack of jumbled papers rather than an itemized list of expenses and income, for example, does not do anyone any good.
  • Show Up and Be on Time: At this particular point in your life, your divorce needs to be a high priority. Skipping appointments with your attorney is not a good idea, while being late for or missing scheduled court proceedings can be devastating to your intentions for the case.
  • Comply with All Court Orders: Whether they are related to child custody, support, or anything else, an order from the court must be obeyed. Failure to do so can have a serious impact on the ultimate outcome of your divorce.
  • Pick Your Battles: You may be inclined to fight over every detail with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, and while you may be legally entitled to do so, prioritizing what is most important to you may be a better option. Be willing to let certain things go and focus your energy on the most critical issues. The process will often move faster, resulting in lower stress in addition to lower attorneys’ fees and court costs.
  • Be Respectful: Do your best to maintain a high level of civility at all times. This includes the court staff, attorneys, and even your spouse, no matter how difficult it may be. Your approach to the case can directly impact the attitude of the court and the overall outcome of your divorce.

If you are considering divorce and would like more information about taking control of your case, contact an experienced Arlington Heights divorce attorney. At A. Traub & Associates, our compassionate legal team is prepared to work with you in providing the best professional representation available. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation.

life satisfaction, divorce, Illinois Family Law AttorneyThere have been a number of studies over the years pointing to the negative health impacts related to divorce. Whether emotional health, physical health or both are affected, many such projects identify the stress of a divorce and its aftermath as potential hazards for those who experience it. Despite the research, however, many have maintained that some health risks are worth it if the alternative is remaining in an unhappy or destructive marriage. A new study suggests that this latter group may have been right all along.

Conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado Boulder, the project was recently published in the Journal of Family Psychology. Led by University of Arizona psychology doctoral student Kyle Bourassa, the study looked at more than 1,600 participants between the ages of 25 and 74. Analyzing both men and women by measuring personality traits, depression, and marital status at intervals approximately 10 years apart, the research team looked to identify trends in health and happiness. The team found that for men, staying married or getting divorced had little effect, if any, on their level of life satisfaction. Women seemed to be much more affected, especially those in low-quality marriages. Compared to women who stayed in poor-quality marriages, those who divorced out of them reported much greater life satisfaction years later. The results also showed that women in good marriages remained happier by staying married, while divorce negatively affected women with slightly below average-quality marriages. According to the researchers, the most important finding of their study is the confirmation that divorce does not represent a negative event for everyone. Such an idea matters not only to counselors and marriage experts, but to unhappily married individuals in low-quality marriages. "Those in the poorest quality relationships may face a variety of negative stressors from which divorce provides a clear relief," the team wrote. Despite their circumstances, the thought of divorce is overwhelming for many people. Just understanding where to start can be extremely difficult, let alone the numerous considerations that must be made throughout the process. Fortunately, help is available. If you feel stuck in a low-quality marriage, divorce may provide you the opportunity to improve your life and start fresh. Contact an experienced Illinois family law attorney today at A. Traub & Associates. Our compassionate, caring team understands how difficult a bad marriage can be and is ready to help you build a more hopeful future.
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