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Libertyville Divorce Blog

How to handle the holidays after divorce

Illinois parents who are getting divorced might be worried about how to handle the holidays. This can be a time of anger, fear and sadness for both the exes and children. However, parents have an obligation to put aside those feelings and focus on trying to make the holidays pleasant for everyone in the family.

Therapists or loved ones may be able to provide an emotional outlet for parents. Exes should avoid the temptation to try to get back at one another by interfering with the children's ability to visit both households during the holidays.

How a divorce coach fits into the divorce process

When an Illinois resident is considering getting divorced, he or she may assume that the first step is to hire an attorney. While an attorney may provide legal counsel and representation in a divorce, another type of professional could provide guidance and help a divorcing person to prepare for the matters that lie ahead. A divorce coach offers emotional support, guidance and answers to questions about what to expect as the divorce moves forward.

The goal of a divorce coach is to help the client separate from their spouse in a manner that is as painless as possible, according to the co-founder of a divorce coach firm that provides divorce coaching services and training for people who wish to become divorce coaches. However, a divorce coach cannot give legal advice or do many of the things that an attorney is qualified to do. A divorce coach can help a client get paperwork in order to save time and costs, prepare for meeting with an attorney and provide emotional support.

How taxes and alimony will change after 2018

For many decades, alimony has been tax-deductible for the payor and tax-payable for the recipient. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will be reversing that situation for divorce agreements finalized after the end of 2018. Most experts agree that this means both parties will probably have less money as a result. In addition, the lack of a deduction could put some Illinois payers in a higher tax bracket.

One possible solution is to try to finalize the divorce agreement before the year's end. In order to do this, prioritizing is critical. One should think about what they and their spouse want and need in order to quickly reach an agreement. They should also keep in mind that if they can put together a satisfactory agreement for now, it may be possible to modify it later if needed.

How children can benefit from joint-custody arrangements

When you separate from or divorce your spouse, chances are, you worry about how the transition may impact any children you have together. Once you divorce, you typically have several options at your disposal in terms of custody, and those options could include you taking over primary custody, your spouse doing so or the two of you deciding on a joint-custody arrangement.

Even if the relationship between you and your former partner is relatively amicable following your split, it may pain you to have to spend part of your time without your child living in your home. It may help you to some extent, however, to recognize that, according to Time, your joint-custody arrangement may have positive effects on your child.

Keeping the marital home after a divorce

Individuals who are going through divorce in Illinois may need to decide if they want to keep the marital home after the divorce is finalized. The spouse who keeps the home usually pays the other spouse their half of the equity and assumes the mortgage debt. There are several important factors to weigh when deciding whether or not to keep the home after a divorce.

It is important to keep in mind that when one spouse signs a quitclaim deed granting the other the rights to the marital home, the underlying legal obligations on the loan are still in effect because the names of both parties are on the contract. If the spouse who is keeping the home after divorce fails to make payments, this could affect the other spouse's credit.

How to avoid common financial errors in a divorce

There are several financial mistakes that people in Illinois should be sure to avoid during a divorce. For example, they should not spend on big-ticket items during the split. The bills for this behavior can add up quickly.

Another mistake is selling assets in order to pay bills. What people who do this may be unprepared for is the hefty tax burden that could accompany such sales. Another area in which people should be mindful of taxes is with 401(k)s. Making distributions from a 401(k) during divorce without a document called a qualified domestic relations order and an IRA to roll the distribution into will result in taxes and penalties on the distribution.

Study raises questions about the cohabitation effect

Researchers have long held that marriages are less likely to end in divorce when couples live together before walking down the aisle. However, a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family's September 2018 issue suggests that what is known as the cohabitation effect may be extremely short-lived. Experts believe that couples who live together happily before getting married will find married life far less disrupting, but researchers from Stanford University discovered that this was only true for the first year of marriage.

The researchers criticized earlier studies into the cohabitiation effect for looking solely at the short-term consequences of living together before marriage. To provide a long-term perspective and a deeper understanding of the issue, data on American women gathered between 1970 and 2015 by the National Surveys of Family Growth was used for the latest study.

Practical approaches to prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements might not qualify as romantic, but engaged couples in Illinois have much to gain by defining the terms of a hypothetical divorce. These contracts allow people to establish how marital assets and debts will be divided in case the marriage ends. By negotiating the terms during a happy point in the relationship, people might avoid making emotional decisions when under stress in the future.

These agreements are not just appropriate for the wealthy. People of any income level have an interest in preventing prolonged disputes over money or even pets if a relationship goes sour. The law also generally protects people from contracts that include unreasonable terms such as prohibiting weight gain or ruling out the possibility of paying child support.

How to prepare financially for divorce

It costs a lot of money to go through a divorce. Illinois is actually one of the more expensive states in the country to divorce, with the average divorce filing fee being $289. That does not even take into account the attorney's fees.

To prepare for this, you need to plan your finances accordingly. While you should seek an uncontested, amicable divorce when possible, there is the likelihood of having a contested divorce. Either way, the following actions can help you get your finances in order before pursuing divorce in earnest. 

How having more money could increase divorce risk

Illinois couples who are wealthy might be more likely to get a divorce than those who have less money. Furthermore, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that divorce rates increase during times of economic surges and decrease during economic declines. Faced with the financial costs of divorce, some couples decide to stick it out.

Money is often a source of conflict between couples as well. In a survey conducted by SunTrust Bank, 35 percent of people said finances were a major issue in their relationship. The Federal Reserve Board has reported that couples with disparate credit scores are more vulnerable to divorce than those who have similar scores. People with higher credit scores are likelier to stay in a relationship.

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