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How is legal separation different from divorce?

 Posted on July 31, 2022 in Divorce

Those in Illinois have three ways to sever a marriage: divorce, annulment and legal separation. You can only get an annulment in specific situations (such as incapacity or if a spouse is underage), leaving divorce and legal separation as your options.

The critical way legal separation differs from divorce is that it won’t end a marriage in the eyes of the law. In other words, you cannot remarry if you have not gotten divorced. Still, a legal separation can be the best choice for some couples looking to address a broken union.

You and your spouse are free to negotiate the same issues you would if you got a divorce. You can divide your marital property and create a spousal support agreement in your separation documents. You may even address child-related matters such as custody, visitation and support.

Why do people choose legal separation?

It depends on issues specific to each couple. Some choose legal separation because their religion rules out a divorce. Other common reasons for choosing this option include the following:

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Why would a prenuptial agreement be invalid?

 Posted on July 21, 2022 in Prenuptial Agreement

If your prenuptial agreement is not drafted and filed properly, it’s going to be invalid. You and your spouse can’t simply write out a note at home and store it in the safe deposit box, for instance. It’s not a legally binding document.

However, even if you take the proper steps to draft and file that prenuptial agreement, it may still be invalid. This isn’t something that you want to find out right before you file for divorce, so carefully consider why it may be invalid in advance.

It addresses child custody

First and foremost, your prenuptial agreement has to be financial in nature. You can discuss how to split up the money that you have or the assets that you own, but you cannot say anything about how you would split up custody of your children.

They never read it

If either one of you never read the agreement, it may be invalid on the grounds that one person didn’t know what they were signing. That sometimes happens in cases where the prenup is a last-minute idea and there’s just not enough time to read it and fully consider it before the marriage.

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Could deferred compensation be at risk in a divorce?

 Posted on July 16, 2022 in Divorce

One of the earliest steps people take in a divorce is creating an inventory of their property and obtaining copies of their most important financial records. Both you and your ex will need to provide each other and the courts with information about your property.

Some belongings will be separate property that you don't have to share, but much of your income and many of your assets will be subject to division in an Illinois divorce. There may be certain assets that are harder to categorize than others, especially for high-asset couples facing a complex divorce.

If you are an executive or another highly compensated professional, you may have deferred compensation included in your employment contract. Will that deferred compensation play a role in property division proceeding in your Illinois divorce?

When you earn the income is what matters

For the purpose of the equitable distribution of marital property, it is when you learn or acquire income or assets that determines whether those assets belong to you and your spouse or you separately. A portion of your deferred compensation could be vulnerable to claims by your spouse, even if you won't receive that money for several years.

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2 financial issues tied to custody arrangements after divorce

 Posted on July 08, 2022 in Child Custody

You probably realize that your divorce will have a lasting impact on your financial circumstances. Not only will the official end of your marriage usually result in the division of your property, but it will also require that you split your responsibilities towards your children with your ex.

The allocation of parental rights and responsibilities in Illinois divorce is one of the most important parts of the process when there are children in the family. The courts look over the family circumstances and try to make choices that will be in the best interests of the children in the family.

Those decisions may ultimately have some financial implications for the parents.

The division of parenting time influences child support

The more disparity there is in the parenting time each parent receives, the greater the likelihood that one of them will have to make substantial child support payments to the other. If the two of you divide parenting time evenly, there will be less obligation for child support.

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When should you be suspicious that your spouse is hiding assets?

 Posted on July 01, 2022 in High Asset Divorce

Secrets often come to light during the divorce process. Sometimes those are financial secrets – big ones. You have a right to a fair property settlement in your divorce, but you can’t get that if your spouse isn’t being completely honest and transparent about finances.

Both parties are required to provide full and accurate financial information to the other. If your spouse has always been the one to handle the family finances or if they have complex assets, like stock options with their employer, ownership in property or businesses or overseas investments, it may be wise to add a financial advisor to your divorce team.

Common red flags

Before you do that, let’s look at some red flags that your spouse may be hiding or undervaluing assets – whether they did it throughout the marriage or only now that they risk losing some of them in the divorce.

This can include things like:

  • Controlling all of the joint assets and accounts
  • Having you sign documents, including tax returns, without giving you a chance to read them

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What does divorce look like in the 21st century?

 Posted on June 24, 2022 in Divorce

Since the 1970s, divorce rates have increased in the United States. Women of the ‘70s gained many freedoms, possibly giving them the courage to buck tradition and exit an unhappy marriage. More men also began initiating divorces to escape unfulfilling marriages, and the trend has continued.

Although most people no longer believe divorce is scandalous or disgraceful, many still find it difficult to escape its negative stigma. If you feel guilty about your divorce, perhaps the following divorce statistics will help you feel better.

Effect on children

You may know that children of divorced parents may have an increased chance of divorcing themselves. However, recent data shows that kids who grew up in intact families with two battling parents are more likely to seek divorce as adults.

Reasons for divorcing

About 75% of American divorces occur due to a lack of commitment. Other leading causes of divorce include:

Handling custody with a narcissist

 Posted on June 22, 2022 in Family Law

When you’re in a relationship with a person who has a narcissistic personality, it can be scary to try to go against anything they want. Whether they’re seeking out custody of your child or trying to manipulate the entire situation in their favor, you deserve the opportunity to fight back and make sure the court rules in a way that is in the best interests of your child.

Narcissistic personality traits make it so a person has a few unusual aspects to their personality, such as a lack of empathy or a need for admiration. They may have a self-imposed image of grandiosity and think they’re much more powerful or commanding than they are.

Engaging with this kind of person during a divorce can be difficult, as they often try to manipulate issues and could decide to try to punish you in some way. For example, they might start gathering up information about what a bad parent you are when you decide that you don’t like a specific schedule they want. Then, if you cave in, they may suddenly recant those statements and start singing your praises again.

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Has divorce negatively affected your child’s academics?

 Posted on June 20, 2022 in Child Custody

Divorce can be tough on all family members. Often, both spouses will have invested much effort into reconciling their differences, to no avail. Divorce may be the best option for them, but that doesn’t make it easy.

Children can find it even more difficult than adults to cope with the stress of a divorce. They blame themselves or question whether or not their parents truly love them. All of this can have a knock-on effect on their school work.

How can you tell if your child is struggling at school?

Poorer grades than usual

Your child has breezed through school so far, obtaining the highest possible grades. In the months after the divorce, you notice that their school reports show lower grades than the previous year.

While this may not be directly linked to divorce, it is a possibility. You, your co-parent and the teaching staff should be able to come up with a plan to help your child get back on track.

Disorderly behavior

Divorce can make your children angry at the world. They may question their future and the meaning of life. When their parents separate, it can feel like their world has been turned upside down. This can manifest itself in psychological conditions like depression and anxiety, but it can also impact their external behavior.

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Understanding the 80/20 custody schedule

 Posted on June 10, 2022 in Child Custody

Many divorcing parents have nontraditional work schedules or jobs that require long, sometimes unpredictable hours. During the marriage, the other spouse was able to take care of the kids when that parent couldn’t be home. However, after the two separate, that parent can’t very well share custody (or “parenting time,” as Illinois law refers to it) equally. The same is true for parents who are going to be living some distance from their child after divorce.

For families in this situation, an 80/20 child custody arrangement is often the best option. It typically involves the child staying with their primary caregiver most of the time but spending every other weekend with their other parent.

If the parent lives some distance away, it often involves that parent driving, flying or taking the train to visit their child. If the child is old enough, they may be the one to do the traveling, at least occasionally.

Making the most of your limited parenting time

If this schedule is the one you have to choose, at least for a time, you can still make the most out of those weekend visits with your child. Having a communication plan is also crucial so that you can video chat with your child every day or as often as possible. It’s important to have that codified in your parenting plan so there’s less chance of confusion or conflict and your child can count on regularly talking to you.

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Why long-distance parents need a communication plan

 Posted on June 01, 2022 in Child Custody

If you’re going to be living some distance from your co-parent and your child after your divorce, it’s crucial to have clear provisions for communication with your child in your parenting plan. Long-distance parents often have to work harder to maintain a close relationship with their kids – especially when they can’t be with them for months at a time.

Fortunately, we have a variety of technology today that allows parents to have “virtual parenting time” with their kids from anywhere in the world. However, the other parent has to facilitate these visits if the kids are younger – or at least not hinder them.

What provisions should you include in your parenting plan?

When you detail your communications provisions, you may want to designate things like how often your virtual parenting time will take place, what time(s) of the day, through what app (FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and so forth) and if the other parent will be present during the call. Be sure you allow for time zone differences. You may also want to have provisions for “make-up” time if something comes up that you or your child can’t be available when a call is scheduled.

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