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Libertyville Divorce Blog

How to maintain the parent-child relationship from a distance

There are many ways Illinois parents can bond with their children after a divorce even if they live a long distance away. They should keep in mind that scheduled visits and phone calls are not the only way to stay in touch. They can call at unscheduled times, or they can send encouraging messages using postcards. Text, social media and email all provide additional ways for parents to stay in touch with children, and they can also ask their children what they prefer.

Parents can take steps to ensure that the visits remain high in quality. This means keeping the focus on the child and making sure there is plenty of alone time. Parents should not take this time to introduce the child to people they are dating unless it is an established relationship. Parents should also try to meet their children's friends and their friends' parents. Knowing these parents increases the likelihood that the friends will be allowed to accompany the child on outings.

Divorce mediation and convincing a spouse to take part

When an Illinois couple is experiencing marital problems and contemplating divorce, the issues that sparked the strife can be complicated and difficult to get beyond. It may seem simpler to go straight to court. For many couples, however, negotiation and divorce mediation can be a better option.

Often, the most difficult part is getting a reluctant spouse to agree to take part. It is important to be prepared to explain why mediation could help. It is not necessary to have a deep knowledge about the process, but a basic understanding as to why it could benefit is useful. Communication regarding mediation is also key. If the spouse is stressed or has other things on his or her mind, pressing them about divorce mediation could spark a negative response. However, there are alternative communication methods like email or a text message. Discussing it with the mediator before speaking to the spouse could provide ideas.

Key facts about Illinois' spousal maintenance

As divorcing parties separate, finances are often a high-priority item in the settlement. Certain instances may warrant a spousal maintenance payment arrangement.

It is important that both maintenance providers and recipients understand the parameters of this payment. There are a few key facts to understand about Illinois' spousal maintenance requirements.

Tips for protecting assets in a divorce

When Illinois couples get a divorce, they need to take steps to protect their investments. These might be IRAs, securities, annuities or other assets. After the divorce, they should ensure that their estate planning reflects this life change, including removing the ex-spouse from beneficiary designations unless they still want the former spouse to inherit those assets.

While the divorce is underway, there are several other steps they should take. A spouse who has not participated in the financial side of the marriage will need to understand what assets are owned as a couple and separately and should get access to those accounts. Depending on what those assets are, there are several considerations to keep in mind. For example, a 403(b) or 401(k) can only be divided in a divorce after a plan administrator approves a document called a qualified domestic relations order. The rules are different for an IRA, which will require a divorce decree and new IRAs for each person to roll the distribution into to avoid penalties and taxes.

A strategic way to save money on taxes

Lots of people would be happy to save money on taxes. However, not everyone is willing to go through a divorce in order to do so. The so-called "marriage penalty" has some Illinois couples, especially high-earning ones, talking about the potential benefits that would come from divorcing on paper.

Getting a divorce in order to save money is sometimes referred to as a strategic divorce. After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act went into effect in 2018, couples who fell into the 37% tax bracket were required to pay higher taxes than individuals who made the same and filed their taxes as single individuals. While the IRS sees individuals being better off as single, there is a lot more at stake.

Signs a divorce may be inevitable

Most married people in Illinois understand that there are several factors that drive couples apart. It is usually not just one simple thing. While having issues in a relationship does not mean that divorce is inevitable, it doesn't get rid of everyone's problems. Here are a few factors that can signal an unhealthy relationship.

Having meals together allows a couple to spend quality time with one another. They are able to discuss a variety of things in a comfortable atmosphere. When marriage mates stop eating together, this can be a bad sign. While some may say that they don't eat together because they have different schedules, it can sometimes signal that the relationship is disjointed.

Handling the family home during property division

The family home may be one of the most important assets for couples in Illinois who decide to divorce. For many people, the marital home is the most valuable item that they own, far outstripping other investments. In addition, it can come with sentimental attachments, especially for couples with children. Many people decide to sell the home during the divorce. This way, they can move forward after paying off the mortgage and splitting the remaining proceeds as part of the property division process. However, others may want to make an effort to stay in the family home.

It can be expensive for one spouse to buy out the other as part of the property division process. The amount of equity each spouse has in the property should be determined. This process includes an assessment of the value of the home as well as the mortgage remaining on the property. If there is a mortgage, the spouse staying in the home will usually need to refinance into his or her name alone. They may also pursue a larger mortgage to buy out the spouse. However, the spouse must be able to get approval for a larger loan from the bank based on his or her credit and income alone.

Conquering personality traits may help married couples

Contrary to popular belief, couples are not rushing to divorce courts. Yet a newly married couple still has to worry about what might end their marriage. Comprehending their faulty personalities can help spouses focus on learning how to develop tolerance toward each other and prevent the downfall of their marriage.

It is a known fact that adultery is a major reason couples file for divorce. A lack of self-confidence can cause a spouse to feel so insecure that the person looks to someone else for comfort. Seeking solace in the company of another person is one way to deal with feelings of inadequacy. A spouse may think they are engaged in an innocent friendship only to learn that the relationship has escalated into an adulterous affair. When spouses live together without any sense of love or closeness, the chance of committing adultery transforms itself into tangible reality.

Divorce need not be so difficult

No one looks forward to divorce. While it is true that many Illinois marriages simply don't work and either one or both parties know they will ultimately be better off going their separate ways, the process of divorce can be messy and emotionally taxing. Although there is no magic formula to make the myriad of legal issues that need to be decided go away, there are ways to approach divorce that allow for the business matters to be taken care at the same time the human aspects are acknowledged and addressed. Divorce doesn't have to be so traumatic.

The number one mistake people going through divorce make is to internalize everything. Family therapists stress the importance of being realistic about all that is going on and reaching out and get the help that is needed. Help can come from professionals, such as lawyers, accountants and therapists, but also simply from friends and family who can offer encouragement and support during a difficult time.

How to decrease the cost of your divorce

When it comes to divorce, it may feel like the only positive is that you will no longer be married to your spouse. The rest can be a nightmare, including the bill at the end of the day.

If the cost of divorce is preventing you from proceeding, do not despair. Follow these tips to make it more affordable.

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