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Elgin Family Law Blog

Creating a parenting plan as kids start back to school

As the school year gets underway, you may have new concerns for yourself and your children because of your recent divorce. Now, you will need to create a schedule that not only accommodates your kids' activities but that also stays in line with the child custody agreement you have with the other parent.

Creating a parenting schedule is not always easy, and each family has different details to consider. Though having a plan in place before school starts may seem ideal, you may want to maintain some flexibility because you may not know what your children's after school activities will include until after the school year begins.

How to keep a marital home

An Illinois home may be sold at the time of a divorce or a date that the couple deems to be appropriate. However, there are some instances in which keeping the home is a person's top priority. This may be the case even if an individual doesn't have children and simply wants the home due to its sentimental value. Determining how much the property is actually worth is the first thing that should be done.

Figuring out a home's value may influence whether a spouse wants to be bought out. Ideally, the house will only be sold to a spouse if that person can afford to purchase it at fair market value. Further complicating matters is the fact that a couple may not necessarily want to split the home on a 50/50 basis. It is also important to consider the cost of maintaining the property.

Retirement finances and divorce

The Pew Research Center reports that the divorce rates for people who are at least 50 years old is twice what it was in 1990. Older Illinois residents who decide to get a divorce should be aware of how a divorce can affect their retirement finances.

One type of retirement income that is impacted by divorce is Social Security. Typically, individuals are able to claim the benefits based on the work history of their ex-spouse if they were married for at least a decade, are not presently married and the ex-spouse is at least 62 years old and also able to claim benefits. The benefits of the ex-spouses are not affected when claims are made off of their work history.

Reasons couples may want a prenuptial agreement

Some couples in Illinois might think of prenuptial agreements as tools that are only useful for wealthy people. However, since most divorces involve the division of property, a prenup can also be helpful for couples who do not have enormous incomes. It gives them the opportunity to establish what assets they want to keep separate and how they will divide shared income and handle spousal support in a calm environment.

One stage of the divorce process is full disclosure of all assets and debts. A spouse who had not been part of managing the marital finances up to this point can be at a disadvantage in a divorce. A prenup ensures that this disclosure happens before the marriage since the couple must also disclose assets and debts. However, this conversation can be valuable for couples even if they do not divorce. Understanding the financial situation and the other person's attitude toward money can reduce the likelihood of conflict over money after marriage and may make the relationship stronger.

Options for paying for the costs of a divorce

When the possibility of divorce becomes a reality, Illinois residents in this situation might be concerned about how to pay for the divorce. With legal fees averaging about $15,000, financing a divorce can be the first challenge to overcome. However, there are a variety of ways residents can pay for their divorce process.

Because divorce also entails the negotiation for the division of assets and debts, paying for the costs associated with divorce cannot always be done through joint savings as these will be part of the litigation. However, if the person has additional savings that they can access, this might be one way to pay for the costs. A downside, of course, is that they would be using money they might need to set up their new life. Another way to pay is to borrow money from relatives. However, relatives might also feel entitled to weigh in on the decisions made during the process.

Why parents need to be vigilant with their teenagers

Being a parent or teenager can be tough enough without the added stress of a divorce. The teenage years are already a time when a child is transitioning into an adult, and they may not always want to do what their parents ask of them. Furthermore, divorced parents in Illinois may have to contend with a lack of communication with the child's other parent. Therefore, it can be easy to make mistakes raising a child.

For example, parents may communicate less because they feel like their teens can handle some problems on their own. However, they still need support and guidance, and that can only happen if a parent knows what a son or daughter is going through. Teens may also take advantage of the fact that they have more freedom as they get older and receive less parental supervision.

How does an Illinois judge approach property division?

When you decided to end your marriage, you probably went through many emotions, including panic and fear. You want to know how you will get on financially after the divorce.

Whether you face a courtroom battle or come to an agreement without the help of a judge, it would help to understand the factors that Illinois judges consider when dividing marital property. The first thing to know is that Illinois is an equitable property state, which means that you will receive a fair and equitable portion of the marital property that may not constitute an equal split.

Imbalanced income between spouses may increase divorce risk

According to data maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's becoming increasingly common for wives in Illinois and throughout the U.S. to earn more money than their husbands. Roughly 38% of wives are bringing home more income than their husbands, and that dynamic can cause problems in a marriage. Some research indicates that the risk of divorce increases and the likelihood of marriage decreases when the woman earns more than the man.

At the same time, some have advanced the opinion that couples are more likely to stay together if they cannot afford to maintain separate residences. Men in the U.S. tend to be more comfortable when they earn more money in the relationship. According to a study that examined more than 6,300 married couples, the risk of divorce is almost 33% higher when the husband doesn't have a full-time job.

Jointly held loans can be a thorny divorce problem

Ending a marriage is rarely easy, and the desire to get through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible sometimes leads divorcing spouses in Illinois to make financial decisions that haunt them for years to come. Many of these poor decisions are made during property division negotiations when assets such as real estate or automobiles are discussed. This is because these assets are often financed with loans that both of the spouses involved have signed.

While the spouses who receive these assets may vow to keep making the payments on time, the spouses who cede ownership of them will remain legally responsible if they do not. This is because lenders are not bound by, and will generally not recognize, the provisions of divorce settlements. When jointly held loans fall into arrears, lenders will pursue all of the individuals who signed the original documents regardless of the decisions made during property division talks.

What to do after receiving a divorce decree

Once a couple in Illinois decides to divorce, the next step is for them to fill out legal documents and file them at the courthouse. During this process, each spouse must decide how to divide his or her assets and money, including jewelry and financial holdings. While it is simple to split up books, DVDs and similar belongings, it is difficult to divide monies and properties.

Consequently, couples thinking about divorce need to consider several important things, including who is going to live in their current home. Plus, they must decide how to divide the holdings belonging to their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). When each person in a marriage has his or her own IRA, he or she must divide his or her holdings and monies during a divorce. One exception is if the couple writes and signs a marital settlement agreement describing how they wish to divide their monetary assets.

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Ryan Family Law P.C.
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