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Wheaton Family And Criminal Law Blog

How to keep your divorce from killing your career

Whether your divorce came out of the blue or was something you saw happening from a mile away, it still has the capacity to turn your life upside down. It's easy to get caught up in the emotions that are playing out -- and the energy drain can be significant.

You're also worried about how your private life can remain private when your marital woes keep spilling over at work. Here are some tips you can use to cope:

  1. Organize your time. Don't try to squeeze a meeting in with your attorney (or your spouse) during lunch hours or first thing in the morning. The emotional drain will likely affect you the rest of the day. Aim for end-of-the-day meetings whenever possible.
  2. Choose an attorney who's convenient. While location isn't everything, an attorney whose office is near yours will be more easily accessible than one who requires an hour-long commute every time you have to go to the office.
  3. Keep your documents off your computer desktop. Your divorce documents and financial records should probably not be on your work computer at all. If, for any reason, you do have to store some documents there, put them in a private folder where they're out of sight.
  4. Don't take your spouse's calls at work. You can answer calls in the morning before work starts, at lunch (when you have a little privacy) and after work ends. That way, your attention isn't split and you don't risk any ugly scenes on the job.
  5. Let your boss know. You're going to probably need to take a few hours off, here and there. Let your boss know what's happening so that there are no surprises.

When dividing up the assets in divorce, pets are special

Given the importance of pets to today's Americans, it's hard to believe that dogs were once kept primarily as a labor force and were seen as nothing more than another type of livestock. Now, pets -- dogs, cats and other animals -- tend to be beloved companions. Many people even refer to their four-legged friends as their "fur babies," likening them to children, particularly among Millennials.

That's creating some major hiccups in divorce cases everywhere. Years ago, ownership of a pet was decided mostly based on which spouse's name was on the adoption or registration papers. These days, it's not so simple. Couples going through a divorce may be willing to compromise on a lot, but they often go to bat for custody or visitation rights over the dog (and, sometimes, the cat). Some couples even wind up back in court, well after the divorce is over, due to allegations of neglect or abuse of a pet. Pet owners have also occasionally refused to comply with a court's order regarding their pets, which has even led to contempt charges.

When can a child decide which parent to live with in Illinois?

When you're a parent, one of the worst aspects of divorce is that you will likely no longer have your child living with you 100% of the time. Parents often fight hard for the right to control in which household a child spends the majority of their time. They may also be surprised to learn that a minor child can sometimes make that decision for themselves.

In Illinois, the law allows children 14 years of age and older to choose which parent they want to have primary custody. Unless the judge has a compelling reason not to allow it, the child's preference may hold sway.

4 questions young people need to consider when divorcing

Sometimes, couples quickly figure out that their marriage is a mistake. When you're in your 20s and 30s, you know that you have plenty of time to start over -- which makes divorce seem less intimidating.

But divorce at any age can be complicated -- even when you're young. Here are some of the things that you need to keep in mind if you're thinking about divorce before age 40:

Discussing a prenup with your intended spouse

Prenups are increasingly popular these days, especially as people continue to marry later and enter into relationships well after they're established their own wealth and independent lives.

But talking about a prenup with your intended spouse can be awkward at best. You don't want to give the impression that you're already doubting the viability of a marriage that hasn't yet started and you certainly don't want to trigger a reaction that could end your relationship.

A vindictive spouse may play dirty during divorce

You have probably had enough drama in your life as you dealt with the deterioration of your marriage. Perhaps you were even hoping to divorce your spouse through some less combative method, such as mediation, rather than going to court to fight it out. However, even if you and your spouse agree to alternative dispute resolution, you may still be facing tactics that can lead to more battles and more drama.

Whether you have previously witnessed vindictive behavior in your spouse, or you would never expect such actions from him or her, it may shock you to learn how divorce can bring out the worst in some people. That is why it is wise to know about some common dirty tricks spouses can play during divorce that can potentially wreck your future.

Why a DIY divorce is a big mistake

Americans typically have a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mentality -- whatever the project, they're willing to use online resources and a little ingenuity to tackle the job. Unfortunately, taking that attitude toward even a simple divorce can tangle you up in unexpected problems.

Here's why DIY divorces that don't involve an attorney can become problematic:

Custody tips for the professional parent

When you're a professional (or otherwise deeply invested in your career), managing the demands of parenthood can be challenging. That's doubly so if you find yourself facing a divorce.

How do you balance the needs of your children while still preserving your career? Knowing the answer to these questions could be key to obtaining the type of custody you seek, so here are some things to consider:

New law makes post-divorce name change easy in Illinois

Women who change their last name upon marriage are generally pleasantly surprised at how easy the whole thing is to accomplish. As a customary act, the road to your "married name" is usually easy to follow.

Not so, however, when you get divorced. Depending on where you live, reclaiming the name you used prior to your marriage can be a complicated -- and intrusive -- process that adds a layer of frustration to an already difficult time.

Is a prenuptial agreement worthwhile?

Prenuptial agreements used to be something associated with heiresses and trust fund babies -- but things have changed. Men and women alike are coming into marriage a little older, a little more independent and a little more financially sophisticated than in the past -- especially among the Millennial generation.

Here's why prenups are a good idea:

  • If you have your own business or entrepreneurial dreams, a prenup can protect them. It can help you keep your business out of the marital pot if you divorce.
  • Prenups can control alimony amounts. As long as an agreement is fair, a prenup has the potential to save you a fortune in spousal support by outlining how much will be paid and how it will be distributed. Given the changes in the tax law, under which alimony payments are no longer deductible, that's essential.
  • If you divorce, a prenup can keep everything civil. By the time a couple decides to divorce, most of the arguing is done -- until it comes time to divvy up assets and debts. A prenup can eliminate a great deal of conflict in a divorce.
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