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Libertyville Divorce Blog

Planning helps avoid financial stress after divorce

Getting a divorce can be among the most stressful events in a person's life. It is taxing emotionally, financially and mentally, but people in Illinois and elsewhere who are considering ending their marriages can make the process more financially manageable by paying attention to a few specific areas. Individuals who keep track of costs during divorce, create a post-divorce budget and divide assets fairly have a better chance of avoiding financial strain.

Keeping track of divorce expenses means going into the process with an idea of what it will cost. Like any major life event, divorce necessitates a budget. People who plan for the cost of divorce are likely to save money and feel less anxiety. It's a good idea to review invoices from divorce attorneys and other professionals to make sure the costs are fair and align with what was predicted.

3 ways to manage emotions during your divorce

Divorce can take a tremendous toll on virtually anyone’s mental health. If you currently face the end of your marriage, you may feel a variety of emotions, ranging from anger to sadness. You are also apt to have strong feelings about your partner's and your own future. How you cope with your emotions may make a tremendous difference on your divorce’s outcome. 

Dissolving a marriage does not have to be an all-out battle. Still, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse plan to seek a collaborative divorce, you likely do not want your unchecked emotions to force you into court. Here are three ways to manage your emotions during a divorce: 

Divorce can impact a person's health in many ways

A divorce can have a significant impact on a person's mental and physical health. Illinois residents who are older than 50 when they end their marriages may be even more vulnerable to changes in their mood, behavior or cognitive function. If someone's caregiver was his or her former spouse, it may be difficult for that person to obtain the medical care that he or she needs after the divorce.

Individuals who have just gotten divorced may become isolated from friends or other contacts made during a marriage. This may be especially true for men who relied on their wives to schedule events for them. Those who are isolated may become more sedentary or start to show signs of depression. Depression could cause a person to take unnecessary risks such as using drugs, eating too much or engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners.

What to consider when keeping the home in a divorce

Some people in Illinois who are going through a divorce may be sentimentally attached to their home and want to keep it after the separation. Others might want to retain the marital home because they think it will be better for their children to remain in a more stable environment. The first step is to find out the value of the home and how much equity each spouse has in it. It may also be important to consider what other fees and taxes each spouse may be responsible for paying.

Next, the couple should decide how one person will buy out the other. Divorced couples often do this by arranging for the spouse who is not keeping the home to get a bigger share of the assets. This could be jewelry, a savings account or any other piece of property that makes up the difference. Another option is taking out a loan. This could be done through a refinance or home equity line of credit. Some people turn to family and friends for help.

What to do about social media during a divorce

For some unhappy spouses in Illinois, it might be tempting to vent about an upcoming divorce on social media. However, it is usually best to avoid divulging too much information. What a spouse posts on social media can be used against them in a divorce. In fact, a soon-to-be ex may want to consider increasing their privacy on social media accounts during a divorce and removing anyone from their friends list who is likely to be a troublemaker.

Once the divorce is underway, a spouse should continue to observe this discretion. If the divorce is amicable, the couple may want to make an agreement about when and how they will announce the divorce online. Even an amicable split can quickly change if one person badmouths the other online.

How to cut costs during divorce

When you split from your spouse, you will undoubtedly need to work through several different matters, and doing so can cost you a substantial amount of money. Spending a ton of money on the divorce process, however, often leaves little to put toward a new home, a new car or other things you may need once you and your ex go your separate ways. Therefore, you may consider keeping divorce-related costs low a main priority.

Luckily, you can take several steps to help reduce how much your divorce costs you. For example, if you look to lower costs associated with your divorce, consider:

Divorce has a greater impact on retired couples

Retirement planning is a long-term endeavor that is not easy for many Illinois residents. It takes discipline and sacrifice and may not be without detours along the way due to unexpected expenses or periods of unemployment. If a couple makes it to the finish line and puts their work years in the rearview mirror, life seems good. However, that feeling of contentment can be shattered if the couple's retirement leads to divorce.

In the not too distant past, if a married couple reached a certain age, a parting of the ways was almost unheard of. However, recent studies have shown that divorce rates for people over 50 have doubled in the last 30 years. This is significant from the financial aspects of a divorce because people in that age bracket have fewer years ahead of them to work than younger individuals or may already be retired. In many cases, resources to establish two households when previously only one existed can be strained, and the rules for splitting assets when at or near retirement age can be complicated.

Study finds wedding debt causes marital strain for some

Some Illinois couples may be among those who said in a LendingTree study that they regretted spending as much money as they did on their wedding. The survey was conducted among people who were aged 18 to 53 and who had gotten married within the past two years. Nearly half said their wedding had put them into debt.

More than three-fourths of those who had wedding debt said they argued about wedding costs with their spouse while just 20% of those who were not in debt said they did. Fewer than 10% of the couples who did not accumulate wedding debt said they had considered getting a divorce because of money issues while almost half of those with wedding debt said they was the case. More than two-thirds of couples who had debt from their wedding said they argued often about money compared to less than 10% of those who did not have any wedding debt. One-quarter of couples surveyed said they wished they had spent less on their wedding.

Benefits of a prenup for couples of average means

It's fairly common for couples planning to tie the knot in Illinois to assume prenuptial agreements are for individuals with significant assets they wish to protect before marrying. However, it's also possible for a prenup to provide much-appreciated protections for couples of average means getting ready to walk down the aisle.

The creation of a prenuptial agreement provides an incentive for both parties to disclose available assets and existing debts. Taking this step before marriage could minimize legal disputes in the event of a divorce and reduce the financial burden that often comes with the end of a marriage. If properly structured, a prenup can also clearly establish what was separate property going into a marriage, which could reduce frustration over trying to find supporting documents proving sole ownership of certain assets if a marriage ends later.

Advantages of keeping separate bank accounts during divorce

Some Illinois residents find that having bank accounts that are separate from their spouses reduces financial conflict. Additionally, some may believe that it can actually make the divorce process easier as finances were never commingled and, thus, are not considered marital property to be divided. This is actually a misconception as any assets gained during the marriage may be designated as marital property, making them subject to division.

Even though funds kept in separate bank accounts may still be considered marital property, there are still many advantages to keeping separate bank accounts. If a couple is going through a divorce, having funds that the other person cannot access can be advantageous if things turn sour. One individual may still have some access to emergency funds even if his or her ex-spouse cuts off access to any joint accounts.

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