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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois has very low divorce rates. According to World Population Review, Illinois ranks number six with a crude divorce rate of 6.2 per 1,000 people.

The question you might ask is, why? There is no perfect explanation for why divorce rates increase or decrease, but several plausible theories help paint a general picture.

High median income

Income is one of the most significant indicators of divorce rates. When people get divorced, many couples say money is the main factor. Illinois residents have a high median income compared to other states. In southern states with much higher divorce rates, income tends to be much lower.

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Divorce, by its very nature, is difficult. It represents a significant change in your life, and preparing for one is a daunting prospect. However, you can take steps to make your divorce easier.

If amicable divorce is not an option, you want your divorce case to go as well as possible. Continue reading for some divorce case preparation tips.

Separate your property

First, you need to figure out what is your separate property. This is not always obvious. According to the Illinois General Assembly, property acquired before the marriage falls under the condition of “non-marital property.” Besides that, gifts, inheritance and property received with the sole use of non-marital property in the exchange count as non-marital property. However, specific actions you take with the non-marital property during your marriage might convert it to marital property, so be aware of that while you go through your accounts.

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Vacations and holiday trips are valuable opportunities to create lasting memories with your family. If you are a divorced parent with shared custody of your child, booking travel can become complicated.

Every parenting plan is unique, but these guidelines can help avoid confusion and unnecessary tension when planning a trip with your child.

Consult your shared custody order

Your custody order could contain restrictions that impact your ability to travel freely as a family. Make it easier to plan vacation time by knowing which terms your agreement might include, such as:

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As the weather starts to change, parents and children alike begin thinking about summer. Whether your children enjoy time outside or long days of relaxing at home, for many children, it is a time to rest before the start of another school year.

However, if you are still learning the ropes of sharing custody of your children, summer approaching can feel like a new challenge to navigate. Just when you and your ex got into a comfortable pattern for the school year, it may be time to change your schedule.

Here’s what you should know about how summer break could impact your child custody arrangement.

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Unfortunately, divorce is common among entrepreneurs. They often make sacrifices, such as long hours, to nurture a growing, successful business.

The inevitable division of assets may affect your business. However, you can take measures to protect your investment in the event of divorce.

Do not ignore your own salary

Many business owners sacrifice their own salaries to build the company. As a result, the family income suffers. When divorce occurs, your spouse may request a share of the company because you anticipated a larger future payout from all your hard work.

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Posted on in Divorce

With your marriage ending, you have many tasks to complete. Among them include figuring how to tackle taxes. All these years, the two of you filed jointly, but that will end once your divorce is final.

Now that things have changed, you want to make sure every tax-related matter gets properly set in place. It could mean whether you must pay more taxes this year or get that sought-after refund.

Filing status and dependents

Here are a few tax tips to consider and study when filing for divorce:

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Illinois is an equitable division state. In divorce, Illinois courts try to split the marital property into a fair arrangement. If you have multiple properties, you may wonder how this affects the outcome of your marriage ending.

Families with multiple homes or other properties like time-shares or cabins need to understand the property division process. See below to learn more about what you stand to lose and how you might protect your assets.

How is property divided?

When dividing your estate, a judge or arbitrator considers the value of each property, the marriage length, economic contributions, finances from previous marriages, childcare expenses, the ability of each spouse to make money and a variety of other social and economic factors. However, since Illinois is a no-fault state, marital conduct does not play a role in determining asset division.

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The end of a marriage never follows a set checklist of events. Marriages can end due to infidelity, addiction, trust issues or criminal activity. For some, the marriage ends simply because the spouses have grown apart. Often, however, issues center on financial struggles and the prospect of hidden assets.

Trust is a significant factor in the health of a marriage. It is not uncommon for one spouse to hide physical assets, digital assets or cash reserves.

Be on the lookout for clues

While a spouse might be careful to hide these things from his or her partner, there are often clues to this behavior, including:

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When you split from your Illinois spouse and the two of you share a child together, you need to work through dividing parental responsibilities as part of your divorce. You also need to determine if one of you is going to be responsible for paying the other child support. This depends to some degree on the custody arrangement you and your ex or the court decide on.

Per the Illinois General Assembly, the state’s family court system considers the best interests of your child when allocating parental responsibilities. The courts typically consider the following elements and areas, among others, when making decisions about parenting time and decision-making responsibility.

Your child’s desires

If your child is at an age where the court thinks he or she should have a say in where to live and when it may allow your child to voice these preferences.

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The supply chain is not the only thing that could put a damper on the holidays this year. Divorced parents will also need to navigate child custody arrangements during the holiday season. So while you make a point to get a few early gifts in case there is a supply chain back-up, it is also a good idea to review what custody time will look like during the holidays.

What does the court consider a holiday?

This may seem like an odd question, but parents may be surprised by what is considered a holiday when it comes to time with their children. Some holidays are clear, and parents may ask for a specific date. Christmas, for example, always falls on December 25. Other holidays may not occur on a set day, Chanukkah is a great example as the celebration starts and ends on a different date every year.

Ideally, parents who value certain holiday traditions and want to share those celebrations with their children will account for this within the divorce settlement agreement and child custody arrangement.

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A divorce with children may become complex, especially if one parent wants to relocate and the other does not. Regardless of the reasons, a move to another state may complicate post-divorce parenting.

Parenting across state boundaries may seem impossible, but it can happen. If both people work together and keep the lines of communication open, their children do not have to bear the emotional brunt of a relocated parent. Learn more about how co-parenting across the miles can occur.

Revamp the visitation schedule

Depending on the distance between parents, the parenting plan will need revising to account for the distance. Some of the elements that an out-of-state visitation plan may contain include:

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Those of us with decent health insurance have the peace of mind of knowing that if we get sick or badly injured, we can get the medical care we need without a massive bill afterward. The same goes for our children. Your health plan may not be perfect, and dealing with the insurance company is not always pleasant, but it certainly beats having no insurance at all.

Most married couples in the Chicago area put the family on one spouse’s plan. But if that couple gets a divorce, what happens? Does each spouse have to get their own health insurance? What if one spouse does not work outside the home and does not have access to an employment-based plan?

Spousal continuation and your divorce

Fortunately, Illinois law allows you to stay on your ex’s health insurance after your divorce. It’s called “spousal continuation.” A statute lays out the steps you and your ex must take to make this happen.

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After agreeing to the terms decided upon between you and your spouse, you signed divorce papers, but as time goes by, life and circumstances change. The change may have affected your financial situation, leading you to believe you need more money to keep yourself stable.

Although divorce decrees are legally binding, you can ask the courts to alter certain areas. Spousal support is one of those for which you can request a modification.

Factors involved

There must be a substantial change in your financial status to justify a modification for spousal support. Judges consider different factors to decide if you meet the requirement.

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By now, almost all schoolchildren in the Naperville area are on summer vacation. But summer goes by fast. In a few months, school will start again, with most (if not all) students planning on back to in-person learning this fall.

If you are getting divorced this summer, the 2021-22 school year could be your kids’ first time dealing with school while also living in a shared child custody arrangement. This will require adjustments for yourself, your ex, and most importantly, the children. Fortunately, by keeping your children’s schooling in mind when negotiating your parenting plan, you can make the transition easier and help your kids thrive in their education.

Two possible custody plans to help your kids in school

There are several options that allow you to share custody while still giving your kids stability so they can go to class, do their homework, and take part in extracurricular activities. One option is to have the children alternate weeks between your and your ex’s homes. This is a good option for older children who can better handle being away from one of their parents for an entire week. A twist on the week-to-week plan is to throw in a mid-week evening visit or overnight stay. For example, the child could be living with parent A for the week but have dinner (or spend the night) with parent B on Wednesday night, then vice versa the next week.

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Throughout your marriage, you and your spouse accumulate many assets, and during a divorce, you must split your valuables equitably.

Retirement plans are often among people’s most valuable property. If you have savings set aside for your senior years, you should understand how a divorce in Illinois will impact those funds.

Is your retirement account a marital asset?

As with most assets, any savings you accumulate before the marriage are not considered marital property. Any contributions made after your union are marital property unless you have a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement that excludes the account. Illinois treats these contributions like any other marital property.

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Divorce can create a lot of problems for business owners. If you have put your assets into a business and they are subject to division during divorce proceedings, it could jeopardize everything that you have worked hard to achieve.

There are a few things that business owners can do to proactively protect a company against divorce. Some simple but effective precautionary steps may make it possible for you to preserve your interests, keep your business going, and continue meeting your obligations to partners or creditors.

Create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

An agreement stating that the assets you invest in a business are not marital property is an excellent way to safeguard them. If you are already married but do not have a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement can have the same binding effect.

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When a couple getting divorced relied on one high-income breadwinner, it is often a priority for the other spouse to receive enough marital property to maintain the lifestyle they enjoyed during the marriage. Alternatively, spousal maintenance can help a divorced person continue to enjoy the same comforts they did during the marriage.

While divorce will affect their children’s lives, most Naperville parents would want to minimize the impact — both emotionally and economically. Child support is how divorced and unmarried parents in Illinois make sure that their children’s basic needs are met. But for high-income families, child support can also have the purpose of maintaining the children’s lifestyle after their parents split up.

Child support can be different for high earner parents

State law includes a formula for calculating child support based on several factors, including each parent’s income. But family court judges can deviate above the calculated level of support when the noncustodial parent’s income is high. Depending on that parent’s income and financial resources, the court might order them to pay thousands of dollars a month in child support. Besides the basics like food and shelter, the custodial parent can use this money to pay for things like sports, private tutors, designer clothes and vehicles.

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Determining who keeps the family home after divorce is often a financially, legally and emotionally complex process, especially when a couple shares young children.

During an uncontested divorce, spouses may be able to negotiate an agreement. However, if spouses cannot agree on ownership, the court treats the home as it does other types of assets that may be subject to equitable distribution under the law.

1. Is the family home marital property?

With the exception of personal gifts and inheritances, nearly all assets that either spouse acquires during marriage automatically become shared marital property subject to court division upon divorce. This includes the family home, even if only one party’s name is on the deed.

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As in other states, Illinois law now uses the term “parenting time” in lieu of “physical custody”. This reflects the fact that family courts prioritize thebest interests of the childwhen determining whether he or she lives with one parent or alternates between households.

In general, the court favors an arrangement that fosters a close relationship with both parents. However, even when parents share physical custody, the time that the child spends with each parent may not be evenly split. Additionally, if one parent has demonstrated that he or she is unfit, the court may award sole custody to the other ex-spouse.

Physical custody and parenting plans

Even when parents share physical custody, it is unlikely that the child will spend precisely half of his or her time with each parent. Rather, divorcing individuals must submit adetailed parenting planthat specifies which days of the week the child will spend with each parent, including holidays and school breaks.

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Though permanent spousal maintenance is rare in Chicago-area divorces, it does happen. Spousal maintenance, commonly known as alimony, is meant to provide financial support to one spouse. The purpose is to give the spouse time to develop the job skills necessary to be financially independent or maintain the spouse’s lifestyle during the marriage but cannot afford to keep up on their own.

Most of the time, spousal maintenance is temporary. The spouses either agree to alimony for a set number of years, or the judge presiding over the divorce awards maintenance with a certain end date. But indefinite alimony is allowed in Illinois. When permanent spousal support is part of a divorce order, it is usually because one of the exes gave up working to support the other ex’s career. They agreed to be the primary homemaker and child-rearer to allow their spouse to focus on achieving their work goals. Now, after many years of depending on their spouse for income, they have few, if any, job skills.

Often, spousal maintenance is awarded when the divorcing parties are older. For the working ex, retirement may be around the corner. But once they retire, they may no longer be able to afford spousal support.

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