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Kane County divorce lawyersIt is common for divorced individuals to look back on their relationship and acknowledge that the marriage was over long before they filed a petition for divorce. While the reality is not always as obvious to those in a struggling marriage, some people are able to recognize the proverbial writing on the wall. If your marriage has reached the point where divorce is the only viable option, it is important to prepare for the difficult road that lies ahead.

Know What You Have

Regardless of whether you expect your divorce to be amicable or bitter, one of the most important first steps is to compile an inventory of everything you and your spouse own. Start by making a list of all of your major assets, including any real estate holdings, vehicles, investments, and retirement savings. Locate purchase contracts, loan documents, and account statements so that you can determine when each asset was acquired and how much it may be worth now. Once you have covered the large assets, move on to smaller things like furniture, artwork, and jewelry, again recording the item and when it was purchased.

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Kane County divorce attorneysIf you are someone considering getting divorced, or your spouse is considering filing for divorce, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns. You may be wondering if you should hire an attorney, how you will share responsibilities and parenting time with your children, or how your assets and property will be divided. Additionally, you may be worried about how you will mentally and emotionally cope with the end of your marriage. There is no perfect way to get divorced, but there are some actions which can certainly convolute the process and make it more drawn out and expensive than necessary.

Hiding Assets or Lying About Your Financial Status

Everyone handles divorce differently, but there are some mistakes which should be avoided at all costs. Hiding assets is one of these mistakes. Divorce is a not only a personal separation but also a financial separation. Courts need accurate financial information from both spouses in order to make decisions about spousal maintenance, child support, property division, and more. Artificially deflating your income, failing to report a piece of real estate, or otherwise misrepresenting your financial circumstances can result in penalties, money sanctions, and a more problematic and expensive divorce. In order for things to go as smoothly as possible, it is critical that both spouses are honest regarding marital debt and assets.

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Kane County family law attorneysIn recent years, the movement to get divorces out of the courtroom has gained significant momentum. Alternatives like mediation and collaborative divorce have attracted a growing number of supporters, but there are just as many who are unsure of the benefits of these relatively new approaches. Before making a decision either way, it is important to understand the features of all the methods so that you can get a better sense of what might be right for you and your divorce.

Courtrooms Offer Familiarity

The divorce process in an Illinois courtroom has changed little over the years, even as the laws relative to divorce have changed significantly. To initiate divorce proceedings, you or your spouse must file a petition in the relevant county court, and from there, the other may either respond or choose not to contest the divorce. Judgment will be entered if and when a court is able to verify that irreconcilable differences have resulted in an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage.

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Kane County maintenance attorneysSpousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, refers to the payments one spouse (the obligor) makes to the other (the obligee) after a divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to provide "reasonable and necessary" financial support to the lower-earning spouse.

In Illinois, there are four main types of spousal support: temporary, permanent, reviewable, and rehabilitative. Temporary maintenance is sometimes ordered by a judge in order to help a spouse financially during the divorce proceeding. If a judge orders permanent maintenance, the obligor makes payments until the spouse passes away, remarries, or cohabits with a new partner. If the obligor passes away before the recipient, the decedent’s estate does not have to continue payments.

Permanent maintenance is generally ordered in instances where the marriage lasted 20 years or more. Rehabilitative spousal support is a temporary support measure which allows the obligee time to acquire the education, skills, training, work history, and licensure needed to become financially independent. Finally, reviewable alimony refers to orders for spousal support which are made with the intention of being reviewed and possibly modified or discontinued by the courts in the future.

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Kane County divorceEvery day, people make the decision to divorce their spouse. Sometimes, the split is related to adultery or abuse, and other times the spouses simply no longer wish to be married. For many of these couples, divorce is something they never saw in their future. Most couples get married with the hope of spending the rest of their lives together. They share not only their lives but also all of their possessions. This can make the issue of property division especially tricky during divorce.

Couples who are considering divorce may worry about how their savings account, retirement accounts, family home, vehicles, furniture, and other assets will be divided. In Illinois, property is divided based on what is “equitable.” This means that the property may not be split exactly evenly. Instead, it will be divided in accordance with what the court deems to be fair and just. Each case is different, but generally, a judge will consider factors such as:

  • Each spouse’s contributions to the acquisition, preservation, or increased value of marital property, including contributions as a homemaker;
  • Custodial arrangements for children conceived during the marriage (the family home is often awarded to the parent who has a majority of the parenting time with the children);
  • An existing prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • Each spouse's age, health, and economic circumstances, and future employability;
  • Whether a spouse is receiving spousal support from a former spouse;
  • Each spouse's current job and their abilities for future acquisition of assets and income; and
  • Spousal support or child support that either spouse is already paying.

Equitable property distribution in an Illinois divorce can be complicated. The divorce process is already an emotional experience, and the division of assets can sometimes be difficult. Those considering divorce may worry that their spouse will get more than his or her fair share of the marital property. Others who have stayed at home to raise children or to be homemakers may worry that they will be unable to find employment after divorce. There are so many things to consider when dissolving a marriage, it is extremely difficult to manage alone.

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We serve clients throughout Kane County, Illinois including St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elgin, Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elburn, Hampshire, Huntley, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sleepy Hollow, Wayne, West Dundee as well as throughout DuPage County.

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