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Libertyville Divorce Blog

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.

What to consider before filing for divorce

Illinois residents who are considering getting a divorce might want to organize and plan before starting the filing process. Taking the time to do this might save them time and money and prevent additional anxiety later.

The first thing to consider is if divorce is truly the best path to consider. Once the decision to go through with the separation is made, educating oneself by learning the state laws, time limits and costs of divorce is important. Financial considerations are the next step. These include thoughts about life after divorce and the division of property, including the marital home. Divorce involves major life changes that often mean leaving the home for a smaller, more financially manageable place. For couples with children, the considerations will also include how the divorce will affect the children.

Women tend to be hit with financial surprises during divorce

Divorce can act as a financial wake up call to women in Illinois, especially if they left all financial matters to their husbands. A recent survey of 1,785 women who were planning to divorce, in the middle of a divorce or had completed a divorce indicated that 46 percent of them had experienced financial surprises when ending their marriages.

A divorce financial analyst who contributed to the survey process agreed that women frequently get some eye-opening surprises about money matters. She said that some clients had limited knowledge of marital debts arising from home equity loans, mortgages, 401(k) loans, student loans, car payments and credit cards. Some of her clients had not expected that they would need to enter the workforce again. They had assumed that they would receive larger amounts of spousal or child support. A portion of women had expected that keeping the marital home would have been easier to achieve. The huge cost of health insurance also surprised some clients.

How money can lead to divorce

Illinois marriages that end in divorce are frequently unable to survive because of issues related to money. For example, a marriage could end because there was no communication or trust when it came to the household finances. To improve communication, couples should come together often to have conversations in an honest and safe manner. These conversations should happen at least once per month.

When one person in a relationship is a saver and the other is a spender, it can be difficult for each to come to agreements regarding how money is used. Ideally, a plan will be created that allows money to be set aside for retirement or paying for a home. The rest of the money can then be used how the couple sees fit.

Financial recovery may be possible after divorce

The financial implications of divorce could derail a person's long-term goals. In fact, legal fees and separating assets may leave an ex-spouse with a lot less than they need to retire. By reevaluating goals and adjusting targets to reflect the new status, someone who was recently divorced in Illinois may be able to get back on track and regain financial independence.

Credit reports are a good place to start when one wants to know how much debt they actually need to repay. Regardless of what the divorce decree might say, creditors could still pursue former spouses to collect on joint debts. A thorough review of debts prior to finalizing the divorce could help a spouse avoid taking on more than their share of the marital debt. If getting divorced means using retirement funds or having to transfer some of a retirement account to a spouse, it's important to make up for those losses by increasing contributions as soon as possible.

Is divorce in the genes?

When Illinois residents consider that between 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, they might wonder what exactly, makes some couples divorce and others stay married. A study published in the American Psychologists Association suggests that there is a gene that predisposes some people towards divorce.

According to the study, people whose biological parents had been divorced had a higher incident of divorce . This study looked at 20,000 adopted children and found that 20 percent of children whose biological parents had experienced divorce had also gotten divorced, regardless of the relationship between their adopted parents. This, however, did not mean that having divorced biological parents was a definite predictor of divorce for the children.

Your amicable divorce and the folks who do not understand

People in a wide range of situations want to divorce without a fight. This can happen even if cheating, gambling, addiction or other issues are present. You do not need to explain to anyone why you would prefer to divorce amicably, but you could cite children, moving on as quickly as possible or mistakes made on both sides.

It can be really frustrating when you and your spouse have done everything that you can to make the divorce friendly, yet people such as your parents, friends or siblings may not understand and try to interfere. For instance, if your parents are babysitting the children and your spouse picks them up, your parents could get in several hurtful, snide remarks about how you "really" feel. Similarly, your siblings might bad-mouth your ex to your children. What can you do in such cases?

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