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Several steps can help people to prepare for divorce in 2016

Filings for divorce are expected to surge in the next few weeks as some married people opt to begin the New Year with a totally clean slate. However, divorce is often a complicated process -- one that has financial and legal implications that may be costly to overlook. Those in Illinois who are planning to dissolve their marriages in 2016 can take some steps now to prepare for the process.

First, it makes good sense to retain legal counsel, and it may also be smart to seek the assistance of a financial planner and a psychologist. The psychologist can help a person to make certain he or she is thinking clearly when deciding to get a divorce. Meanwhile, a certified financial planner can outline how a divorce may impact one's finances in both the short term and the long term. It is best to employ professionals outside of the family in order to ensure that the discussions remain confidential.

The presence or lack of a prenuptial agreement, which can be used to outline how two married people's assets are to be divided in the event of divorce, also has an impact on the proceedings. If a prenuptial agreement is in place, it would be wise to go over this with legal counsel. If there is no prenuptial agreement, marital assets will end up being divided according to the prevailing equitable distribution laws in Illinois.

A couple may decide to negotiate directly, submit to mediation or consider a collaborative divorce in order to avoid further court intrusion. However, this is not always possible if the two parties cannot find common ground. In this situation, a judge may need to step in to decide unresolved issues.

Source: marketwatch.com, "Divorcing in 2016? Get your affairs in order first", Quentin Fottrell, Dec. 12, 2015

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