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Libertyville Divorce Blog

The downside of gray divorce

An increasing number of older couples in Illinois and across the U.S. are choosing to end their marriages. In fact, while the divorce rates for all other age groups has declined, the divorce rate for people age 50 and up has doubled over the last three decades. Meanwhile, the divorce rate for people age 65 and up has tripled over the same period.

Some divorce experts are alarmed by this trend, known as "gray divorce," and want to see it reversed. They point out that divorce can harm not only the couple who splits up, but it can also harm others around them. For example, studies show that children of divorce are more likely to have their own marriages end in divorce. Even people who are adults when their parents split tend to be shaken by the event and question the state of their own romantic relationships. In addition, divorce can spread like a virus. A recent study found that people are more likely to divorce if they know a friend or an acquaintance who has ended their marriage.

Helping kids thrive at school after a divorce

A new school year can be both exciting and a source of anxiety for children in Illinois and throughout America. However, children and parents alike may face challenges in trying to prepare for a school year after a divorce. By taking some time to prepare, parents can help their children set goals for the year and clarify some rules and expectations.

Ideally, both parents will take part in establishing goals and expectations for the new year. This can help the adults learn how to work together while helping the child to clearly understand what they are supposed to do. Ideally, children will create goals related to what happens in the classroom as well as outside of the classroom. Parents and children should also discuss the financial implications of accomplishing one or more of these goals.

Study of wedding date selection reveals divorce likelihood

Couples in Illinois have many issues to consider when choosing the day for their weddings. A study from the University of Melbourne of about 1 million marriages provides a cautionary tale about special wedding dates like Valentine's Day or interesting date number combinations like Sept. 9, 1999. The researchers found that choosing a specific date for its romantic quality or numerical interest might predict divorce.

Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, proved to be the worst day to schedule a wedding. Couples married on the day known for romance had a 11 percent divorce rate by the five-year mark. At nine years, legal separations among people with a Valentine's Day anniversary reached 21 percent.

Yes, it is possible to divorce without war

Many couples in the Libertyville area may feel like the words “divorce” and "health/amicable” are paradoxes or nonexistent. Though you may have heard a few stories about healthy separations, they are not as elusive as they might seem. Whether you are getting ready to separate, contemplating it or just curious, the efforts you put toward keeping things amicable during divorce between you and your partner can spare more than just your sanity in the long run. 

Many misconceptions can arise that keep you and your partner on different pages and your relationship out of balance. Also, if you and your partner cannot agree on things, you may feel like an amicable divorce is not within reach. Take some time to learn a few strategies to keep your divorce from becoming a war. 

How divorce can affect a circle of friends

When Illinois couples divorce, they generally consider it a matter that primarily affects themselves and perhaps their immediate family, particularly any children of the marriage. However, the social effects of divorce could resonate far outside the boundaries of the family. In fact, divorce can be "contagious" in a friend group or social circle. While some may think such beliefs are only based on anecdotal evidence, research conducted by social scientists at Brown University, Harvard University and the University of California at San Diego backs up this phenomenon.

According to one study, people with friends who recently divorced are 75 percent more likely to seek a divorce themselves. However, the effect goes further in a social circle. People with friends of friends who divorce are 33 percent more likely to end their marriages. There are a number of factors that could contribute to this type of trend. Many people remain in an unhappy marriage due to a sense of inertia. When a friend takes action to change his or her situation, it can inspire others to make a move.

Divorce and handling finances

Illinois residents who get a divorce may experience significant stress when thinking about the impact the process will have on their finances. Individuals can gain control of their lives by taking an honest look at their financial situations. This process entails being aware of all of their income, assets, liabilities and expenses.

There are various types of financial assets individuals may own. These may include certificates of deposits, stocks, money-market accounts, real estate investment trusts, savings bonds, cash, mutual funds, bonds and checking and savings accounts. These financial assets may be especially necessary for spouses who earn a low income or are not working as they can be used to pay for living expenses.

Divorce, older adults and dividing assets

Individuals in Illinois who are older than 50 and get a divorce are a part of a trend that has seen the divorce rate for older couples double since the 1990s. One of the main issues that has to be addressed during a divorce is the division of financial assets, including retirement. Both parties should be aware of how to properly divide their retirement assets in order to avoid having to pay high tax penalties or suffering a financial loss.

Individuals who have pensions or 401(k) plans should obtain a qualified domestic relations order to divide the funds. A QDRO is a legal document that details a divorcing spouse's right to obtain a portion or all of the funds in the account holder's qualified plan. After the QDRO is given to the administrator of the plan, the specified portion of the plan can be transferred to the divorcing spouse.

How student loan debt impacts marriage

On average, individuals in Illinois and elsewhere who have student loan debt owe an average of $34,144. This is an increase of 62 percent in the past decade, and the number of people who owe $50,000 or more has tripled in that same time period. For those who graduated in 2017, that average balance increases to $39,400. According to a study from Student Loan Hero, 13 percent of respondents attributed their divorces to student loan debt.

Only 22 percent of millennials don't have any type of debt, and only 50 percent are expected to earn more than their parents according to Yahoo! Finance. This has caused them to put off getting married as well as put off meeting other milestones such as buying a home. Data from Student Loan Hero found that 41 percent of millennials would buy a home if they weren't paying off student debt.

Communication is key to successful post-divorce parenting

Illinois parents who are going through the divorce process might be worried about their kids. Even though their marital relationship has ended, an ex-couple will have to continue working together to raise their children. Successful co-parenting depends on open, honest communication. However, this can sometimes be hard after a split.

The communication between the parents should be open and positive. While this might seem challenging, particularly after a tense divorce, both parents need to remember that the focus of this communication is the children and their well-being. One way to prevent tensions based on past issues is to avoid face-to-face meetings and phone conversations. Texting, email and apps designed to promote communication between families are good ways for parents to communicate about their children after divorce. An added benefit is that using these methods also means there is a written record if for some reason the parents ever need to head back to mediation.

Divorce mediation can have positive effects on children

If you are currently in the process of separating from or divorcing your spouse, you undoubtedly have a lot on your plate. You may, too, have concerns about how the change in the family dynamic might affect any children you and your spouse share, as family transitions can sometimes take an emotional toll on all involved.

If the relationship between you and your soon-to-be-former husband or wife is not particularly unpleasant, however, you may be able to minimize the emotional toll your divorce may take on your child by considering divorce mediation.

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