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Wheaton lawyer for filing for divorceCOVID-19 has deeply affected millions of Americans. Many have faced job loss or reduced work hours because of shutdowns. Others have had to quit their jobs to be at home with their children during remote learning. If you are in a difficult financial position and want to file for divorce, you may have concerns about how your financial hardship may affect your situation. You may have heard that there was a mandatory separation period before a couple could get divorced but are unsure of what exactly is required. If you and your ex cannot afford to live in separate homes, can you still be granted a divorce?

Changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act Address the Separation Period

Major changes to the laws that govern marriage and divorce in Illinois were enacted in 2016. Among the many changes was a modernization of the “grounds” or reasons that a spouse may request a divorce. Before the changes, spouses could claim fault-based grounds for divorce, such as impotence, infidelity, abuse, or drug addiction. Following the change, all of the fault-based grounds have been abolished.

There is now only one no-fault ground available for divorce in Illinois: irreconcilable differences. If you wish to file for divorce under no-fault grounds, you must state that:

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Wheaton, IL high conflict divorce lawyerIf you are planning to get a divorce, you may be concerned about how conflict with your spouse will affect the divorce process. In an ideal world, divorcing spouses would be cooperative, cordial, and kind to each other. However, the reality is that some divorce cases are filled with bitterness and disputes from beginning to end. Regardless of why your divorce is contentious, working with a skilled lawyer is one of the best ways to avoid drama during your divorce. Your lawyer can help you properly prepare for the divorce so that it goes as smoothly as possible.

Take Stock of Your Financial Situation

If you suspect that your divorce will be less than pleasant, it is important to prepare for divorce in advance. One issue you should be concerned with is whether your spouse will be truthful and forthcoming about financial information. Finances can influence everything from child support to the division of marital assets and debts, so having an accurate assessment of your finances and your spouse’s finances is essential. Take inventory of your income, assets, debts, and expenses. Gather tax returns, bank statements, loan documents, and other financial information. You may also want to take photographs of valuable personal property in case your spouse tries to hide or destroy it.

Build Your Support System

A high-conflict divorce is likely going to be one of the most difficult things you ever go through. It is crucial that you set up a strong support system. Let your close friends and family know how they can best support you during this challenging period in your life. You may also want to seek professional guidance from a counselor, therapist, or religious authority.  

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Wheaton business asset division attorneyWhen a married couple divorces, the spouses divide their property and debt. When most people think about asset division during divorce, they think about dividing physical property such as furniture or vehicles. However, a business is an asset just like any other piece of property. If your business was purchased or established during your marriage, both spouses have a right to the business according to Illinois law. If you are a business owner who is considering divorce, it is crucial that you understand how businesses may be valued and divided in an Illinois divorce.

Does My Spouse Have a Right to My Business?

If you are solely responsible for managing your business, you may assume that you are entitled to keep the business upon divorce. However, this is not always the case. Illinois law considers any property acquired during the marriage to be part of the marital estate. Property that was acquired before the marriage is classified as “separate property” and assigned to the spouse who originally acquired the asset. However, even if you founded or acquired a business before you got married, an increase in the value of the business during your marriage may be considered marital property. This is especially true if your spouse contributed to the increased value of the business, and in these cases, you may be required to reimburse your spouse for their contributions.

The Business Must Be Valued Before it Can Be Divided

Having your business accurately valued is a crucial step when you are getting divorced. The most commonly used business valuation methods include an asset approach, earnings value approach, and a market value approach. An accountant or business valuation expert can work with you and your attorney to help you determine the best way to value your business. Once you have determined how much your business is worth, you must decide how to account for the business’s value during asset division. You may choose to “buy out” your spouse’s share of the business by assigning him or her marital assets of an equivalent value. You may also decide to sell the business and divide the proceeds between you and your spouse.  Your attorney can help you and your spouse negotiate a property division arrangement that takes the value of your business into account.

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DuPage County family law attorney for marital asset distributionWhile we often think of marriage as a personal or romantic union, it is also a financial partnership. When two people get married, they combine their financial resources, either intentionally or unintentionally. Therefore, the end of the marriage comes with considerable financial implications. If you are planning to get divorced, you may have questions about how your property will be divided. You may specifically wonder if the spouse who earned the majority of the income during the marriage is entitled to more of the marital estate during divorce.

What Property Is Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

When you file for divorce in Illinois, there are several issues that you will need to resolve. One of these issues is the distribution of marital property. The marital estate consists of property that either spouse accumulated during the course of the marriage. It includes real estate, personal property, collectibles, investments, retirement accounts, and other assets that were obtained while the couple was married. Separate property includes property gained by inheritance or property that a spouse acquired before the marriage took place or after a legal separation. However, understanding what is included in the marital estate and what is separate property is not always easy. Issues like commingled or combined assets can complicate property division during divorce.

Reaching a Property Division Settlement

There is a misconception that the courts always divide property in a divorce. In reality, the vast majority of divorce cases are resolved through a settlement or mutual agreement. You and your spouse may decide how to divide your assets on your own, with help from your attorneys, during divorce mediation, or through another avenue. If you cannot reach an agreement, then the court will step in and divide marital property for you. Illinois courts follow a legal doctrine called equitable distribution in contested divorce cases. Property is divided equitably but not always evenly, and this division is based on factors such as:

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Wheaton family law attorney for divorce petitionsMarriages end for innumerable reasons. Sometimes, one spouse wants the divorce, while the other spouse believes that the marriage is salvageable. Other times, the spouses both agree that it is time to call it quits. Whatever your situation, you may have questions about the divorce process and how to get started. One particular question you may be asking yourself is, “Does it matter which spouse files for divorce?”

The Basics of Filing for Divorce in Illinois

In Illinois, a divorce is called a Dissolution of Marriage. The spouse who files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the petitioner, and the other spouse is the respondent. To file for divorce in Illinois, at least one of the spouses must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days prior to filing the petition. 

Illinois is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that the spouses will not be asked to assign blame for the marriage ending. The only grounds for divorce in Illinois is “irreconcilable differences.” When determining the terms of a divorce, Illinois courts do not consider which spouse is the petitioner and which is the respondent. Both spouses are treated equally under the law.

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