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Lake County and Cook County Divorce Law Blog

Finances and divorce: It's not just about the money, honey

When you think about marital strife, a variety of issues may come to mind:  romance (or lack thereof), sex and infidelity, in-laws, how to raise the children. Surprisingly – or perhaps not – the number one issue that most couples fight about – and the one that most often is a good indication of an eventual divorce – is finances.

You and your spouse probably discussed a number of important matters before you decided to marry, to ensure you were in agreement on issues like religion and politics. For one reason or another, though, fewer individuals seem to seek out partners with similar views on spending. Yet the unhappy truth appears to be that when these financial dissimilarities come to light, for some couples, the disagreements are too great for the marriage to weather. This seems to hold true regardless of financial stability and income.

How to get an annulment in Illinois

Most people in Illinois probably have a good understanding of what a divorce entails. However, in some cases, a marriage may not be considered valid. Ending this type of relationship is done legally through an annulment. In Illinois, the ability to seek an annulment is dependent upon specific circumstances outlined under the law. According to Illinois General Assembly, there are four strict standards of which at least one must be true of the union. These standards include the following:

  • The marriage was prohibited.
  • One of the individuals was unable to consummate the union due to physical issues that the other person did not know about.
  • One of the parties lacked the mental ability to consent or one of the couple was under the age of consent and did not have parental approval.

A declaration of invalidity will not be granted if one of the people die, except in the case of illegal unions.

Protecting a business in a high asset divorce

Unfortunately, not all Illinois marriages are the happy unions most couples envision for themselves, and many choose to end their marriages. In addition to the emotional toll a divorce can have on a person, they may face financial burdens as well. This can be particularly true in the case of a high asset divorce. Luckily, there may be steps individuals can take to help protect important assets, such as a business.

When married couples share a business together, they will likely each have a stake in the business in the event of a divorce. However, negotiating full ownership of the business may be possible if one spouse is willing to sacrifice his or her claim on other assets, such as shared real estate or automobiles. Another option may be to agree to pay the other spouse's share of the business over a certain length of time. This will allow an individual to maintain control over the company while ensuring the other spouse receives his or her monetary share.

Illinois couples divorcing may need to consider child support

When a divorce is imminent for an Illinois couple, they may be unsure of how to proceed. In many cases, the best option is for each spouse to consult separate experienced divorce attorneys. This is particularly true for more complicated divorces where couples have children and the parents must consider their child support options. 

There are several factors that a court can take into consideration when determining how to handle child support. The time each parent will spend with the child can be one factor. Another is based on each parent's income. This can help ensure the child benefits from the financial support needed. Should any of these factors change significantly in the future, modifications can be made where appropriate.

A prenuptial agreement could aid in future property division

Illinois couples looking to get married are likely focused on planning wedding details, such as vows, menus and venues. However, doing some financial planning before the big day could be beneficial as well. Creating a prenuptial agreement before a marriage takes place could save couples from future struggles with property division should a divorce ever occur.

One way couples can get an idea of what to plan for in the event of a divorce is to track their household expenses. Doing so could not only help to create a budget, but it could also help attorneys and judges decipher how to split assets and investments and determine whether spousal or child support should be awarded. Keeping documentation of these expenses can aid in this. 

Divorcing near retirement age could affect property division

It is very unlikely that most couples ever plan for divorce. However, even though most envision spending the rest of their lives with their spouse, many factors may lead to extreme changes. Those divorcing at or near retirement age may face obstacles related to their retirement plans and other property division challenges. An experienced Illinois divorce attorney may be able to help those facing these difficulties.

Forbes recently revealed that in couples age 50 or older, the divorce rate has doubled since 1990. Luckily, there are steps those in this age bracket can take to help ease financial burdens. The first step is to consider the various ways in which the finances are now split; each person is now responsible for his or her own housing, insurance and other expenses. Determining how best to balance these can help individuals continue saving for retirement.

Important information regarding guardianship of children

While it is always beneficial when a child can remain with one or both of his or her biological parents, it is not always possible. There are a variety of circumstances that may necessitate another adult stepping in and acting as guardian on behalf of a child, but the legal process of establishing this sort of protection can be arduous, even when it is clearly in the best interests of the child.

Whether you wish to establish guardianship of an Illinois family member with special needs or you need to legally outline your responsibilities for a minor child, you will find it beneficial to seek the appropriate guidance regarding the steps you need to take.

Couples must consider many factors with property division

Illinois couples who are considering divorce may find themselves facing not only an emotional burden, but a financial one as well. Luckily, they may be able to ease this concern by sorting out their property division in the early stages. Consulting an attorney could help couples figure out the best way to do so.

One consideration couples should make is how to divide their investments. If one spouse invests more zealously than the other, it may not be beneficial for the other to keep an asset at that risk level. Many find that when selling assets, it is better to do so before dividing them. Liquidating after division typically leads to more significant taxes.

What are the concerns about relocating and child custody?

Parents hold a lot of responsibility for ensuring their children get to spend time with each of them after a divorce in Illinois. The court's work hard to ensure both of you are in your children's lives and that visitation is not something difficult for anyone. However, custody and parenting time can be compromised if you or the child's other parent decides to move and it is deemed a relocation.

According to the Illinois General Assembly, relocation is defined based upon the county in which a child currently lives. For Lake and Cook counties, a move that is more than 25 miles away, even if it is still within the state, is considered relocation for the purposes of parenting time and custody. If you are moving and have custody of your children, then you must give your children's other parent a notice of the move.

Negotiating tips for high asset divorces

Couples who are about to embark upon divorce in Illinois may have some concerns, especially in a high asset situation. It can often be difficult to iron out all the details without getting into a power struggle. The best way to avoid such issues is to ensure solid negotiation tactics are used when settling the details of the divorce.

According to Forbes, mediation may be a good approach to avoid fighting in court. This option usually results in quicker agreements being made, which leads to less stress and lower costs. Perhaps the best part of mediation is it gives the parties control instead of leaving decisions up to the court. This means if they can work out an agreement, the court will not step in. This can allow for more flexibility in how assets are divided.