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DuPage County divorce lawyer for property division and child custodyDivorce is typically not something that most people want to think about. After all, many divorces do not end on a high note, and they can end up turning out to be one of the most stressful life events that people go through. Yet, divorces do take place, and life goes on, though several different aspects of a person’s life can be affected. Without proper preparation and guidance, a person’s social, emotional, financial, and mental health can be affected, along with their future well-being.

The fact of the matter is, there are things that you should and should not do when getting a divorce in Illinois. There are many mistakes that you can make during your divorce, but a knowledgeable Illinois divorce lawyer will be able to help you anticipate these errors and prevent them from being made. Here are a few common divorce mistakes you will want to avoid:

Choosing the Wrong Type of Divorce for Your Situation

Contrary to what many people may think, there is more than one way to get divorced from your spouse. When you think of the word divorce, you likely think of a litigated divorce, or a more “traditional” divorce in which disputes are resolved inside the courtroom. While this is still an option in Illinois, it is typically only used as a last resort or in situations with extenuating circumstances. The state of Illinois highly encourages you and your spouse to work together with one another to settle the issues pertaining to your divorce because the outcomes tend to be better. Both mediated and collaborative divorces offer benefits that a litigated divorce does not.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL child custody lawyer, IL spouse's infidelity lawyerIt can be devastating to those who decide to get a divorce because of their spouse’s infidelity. Marital infidelity can cause feelings of sadness, hurt, anger, despair, and anguish, which can all cause the divorce process to be even more stressful and combative than your average divorce. If you are divorcing because of infidelity, you may be wondering whether or not your spouse’s adultery could give you an advantage in your divorce. While the answer is typically “no,” there are certain areas and aspects of your divorce that could be affected by a spouse’s infidelity.

Wasted Assets During an Affair

When it comes to asset and property division during a divorce, Illinois is considered an equitable division state. This means that each spouse will receive a share of the marital estate that is considered to be fair and just but does not always mean each spouse will receive half of everything. In regard to infidelity, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) specifically states that the court, “shall divide the marital property without regard to marital misconduct in just proportions…” which means that a spouse's infidelity will not be a deciding factor at all.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL child custody lawyerThe “dream” divorce, if there is such a thing, is one in which both spouses are amicable with each other, still respect one another, and are willing to work together. While this may be a reality for a lucky few, the majority of divorces are going to involve some degree of animosity between the spouses. In some cases, the tension between the spouses can get so bad that a spouse will do anything in his or her power to keep their soon-to-be-ex from getting their fair share of marital assets. In these cases, the spouse may do what is considered marital asset dissipation.

What is Dissipation?

The Illinois Supreme Court defines dissipation as the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time the marriage at a time the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.” Dissipation can include intentional wasting, spending, destroying or otherwise squandering marital assets for the simple purpose of depriving the other spouse of the asset. Examples of dissipation can include:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL child custody lawyerWhen a couple decides to get married, they usually agree to share what they own. If the marriage were to end in divorce, the marital estate is divided under the equitable distribution doctrine. Unlike community property states, which divide the couple's assets in a 50/50 division, Illinois law says the couple's assets need to be divided equitably based on certain factors. Some of these factors include:

  • How long the couple was married
  • Each spouse's contribution to the marital estate
  • The value of the assets
  • What each spouse's financial circumstances will be after the divorce
  • Tax implications
  • Whether spousal support will be paid
One factor that usually supersedes all other factors is whether the couple had a valid prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract entered into by the couple prior to the marriage which stipulates how assets and property will be divided in the event the couple divorces. The agreement can also address any outstanding debt the couple has and spousal support/maintenance. Although it is recommended that every couple draw up a prenuptial agreement before the wedding, many couples choose not to. The good news for those couples is that Illinois law also recognizes postnuptial agreements. Postnuptial agreements address the same terms and/or issues that prenuptial agreements do. The only difference is that the agreement is entered into at some point after the couple has married.

Reasons Why Married Couples Choose to Sign a Postnuptial Agreement

In certain marital situations, signing a postnuptial agreement is highly recommended. Typically, postnuptial agreements are established because of the following:

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Park Ridge divorce attorney for child custody evaluatorsWhen parents are divorcing or separated, they may disagree about how to share responsibility for raising their children, the amount of parenting time children will spend with each parent, and a variety of other issues. In some divorce or child custody cases, the court may require assistance from outside experts such as child custody evaluators, to help determine what would be in children’s best interests. When working with these professionals, both parents and children may be concerned about what records will be available to them and whether confidential information will be released as part of the court record. At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, we recently represented a client in a case that clarified some of these issues.

How Does Illinois Law Address Child Custody Evaluators?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) specifies when and how professionals may be appointed to perform investigations and evaluations of a situation and provide recommendations about children’s best interests. According to 750 ILCS 5/604.10(b), a person who is appointed by the court may review relevant records and information related to the case, and they will present a report that explains their conclusions and recommendations about the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, or child relocation.

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