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While divorce can and does happen throughout the year, there is often a spike that occurs right after the holidays. Many reasons may exist for this phenomenon, but the big concern is not when the divorce happens, but rather how. Far too many couples wait until they are ready to file before contacting an attorney. Unfortunately, this may not be in their best interest. If you intend to file for divorce in the New Year, the following information can help you better understand the benefits of planning for divorce now, before the holidays are over.

Understanding the Purpose of Divorce Planning

Divorce planning is essentially what it sounds like - a plan for the months leading up to the actual divorce. This can be especially helpful when there are complex divorce matters, such as a high net worth, contention among the divorcing parties, or complex child-related matters. It keeps everyone focused on the overall goal when emotions start to run high. Divorce planning can also help each party prepare for the future, whether that means ensuring that they have paid off some of the debt to prevent divorce-induced financial troubles, talking to a financial advisor about potential tax consequences, or obtaining suitable housing ahead of time to smooth the transition for children.

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Divorce is one of the most contentious, emotionally difficult, and legally complex matters of the law. This is due, in part, to the process known as asset division. These things, being divvied up between you, are not just material possessions. Many have memories attached - a family home where children were raised, summers spent at a vacation cottage, the pearls given as a Christmas gift. How do you decide what to split, what is worth arguing over, and what should simply be sold? The following information, and guidance from our skilled divorce attorneys, can help you forge forward.

When "Winning" Becomes More Important Than the Asset

Before they actually embark on their journey through divorce, many couples think about how the process will play out. They want to believe that, when push comes to shove, they will avoid fighting and, instead, focus on moving forward. Unfortunately, this is rarely the reality. Guilt, anger, rejection, despair, and other negative emotions begin to take over, often causing even the most level-headed people to snap, yell, and argue. Before you know it, you have become more focused on "winning" the divorce than anything else.

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Posted on in Divorce

All divorces are legally and emotionally complex, but high asset divorces are exceedingly so. This is due, in part, to the separation, valuation, and distribution of high value assets, but there are often other factors at play as well. Maybe the earning potential of one spouse is much lower than the other. Or maybe the assets came from a family owned business that may placed at risk during divorce. Whatever the reasons may be for the anxiety you feel about about the future, careful and effective preparation can help ease some of the burden.

Always Prepare for the Worst

In divorce, emotions are often high and may fluctuate several times throughout any given day, week, or month. Old wounds or arguments can be unearthed or rehashed. New issues can arise. In short, even an amicable divorce can quickly turn contentious, and sometimes without notice. For this reason, you should always hope for the best and then plan for the worst in a high asset divorce. Hire a high quality divorce attorney, try to avoid giving into the desire to "win" your divorce, and be ready to disengage if you sense an argument brewing or your spouse becomes combative. If necessary, limit contact to avoid unnecessary arguments.

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Divorcing couples with a reasonable sum of assets and money usually want to ensure they receive their fair share. Unfortunately, obtaining that fair share is not always an easy task. For some, the division of assets is a long, drawn-out battle, with each party arguing over what he or she is entitled to have or keep. For others, there could be deceptive practices like asset hiding or transferring that is meant to rob the other party of his or her fair share. Regardless of the situation, arguing over assets carries a number of possible risks for all involved.

Losing Assets or Money You May Have Been Owed

Most people realize that settling before every possible factor, condition, and offer has been considered may result in the loss of assets or monies they might have otherwise been owed. However, few fully understand just how significant and far-reaching the impact of an early settlement can be. If, for example, you have been a stay-at-home parent for the last several years, you may struggle to find employment that offers a salary comparable to what you would have made, had you stayed in the workforce. This, paired with possible child-care costs and single-income household expenses, could affect your life for many years after the divorce is complete.

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Divorce is emotionally and mentally draining, but it can also be a massive hit to your financial well-being. Sometimes, the blow can be so catastrophic that it can lead to complete poverty, either immediately after the divorce or later in life. Matters are further complicated when one or both parties make some of the most common financial missteps in divorce asset division. As such, it is important that you understand how to best handle the financial aspects of your divorce, and how you can best prepare for the aftermath.

Mistake #1: Not Investigating Money Matters

According to a 2014 National Endowment for Financial Education survey, 15 percent of consumers have a hidden bank account. Another 14 percent admitted to lying to their spouse about how much they earned. What these two statistics should tell you is that you should never assume you know everything about your marital assets, and everything should be investigated. Moreover, you should speak with an attorney and a financial advisor to help determine which assets are considered marital property and which are considered separate under Illinois state law.

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