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Grotta & Associates Family Law Blog

Let your attorney talk to your ex if you can't stay calm

Many people become intensely emotional during a divorce. It is normal to experience feelings ranging from anger and disappointment to sorrow and embarrassment. Regardless of your emotional state, you need to be aware of how your words and actions may influence the way that other people, including the divorce courts, view you.

You want to put your best foot forward in order to secure the most favorable outcome in your upcoming divorce proceedings. Keeping your emotions under control is important. Otherwise, you may say or do things that make you look volatile or dangerous due to how intensely you currently feel about the situation. You need to keep calm in court, as well as when you're dealing with your ex.

What is your separate property in an Illinois divorce?

One of the most confusing things for many people facing divorce is making sense of how the courts in Illinois divide assets between spouses. Illinois uses the equitable division standard for marital assets. The courts will do everything in their power to ensure that the split is fair. The courts will weigh your personal and financial situations and determine the best way to split your marital assets.

However, not everything that you own is a marital asset. Some of it is separate property that you own independent of your spouse. In most cases, separate property is not subject to division in a divorce. Only marital assets, which include almost everything you acquire or earn during marriage, get split up by the court.

Even a non-working spouse has a claim to the pension in divorce

Couples facing divorce in Illinois frequently have to sort out disagreements about how to fairly split up their possessions. It is relatively common for disagreements to occur about who owns what and what assets and debts are marital property. The more valuable the asset in question, the more likely spouses are to argue over who will retain it.

The house you share is likely going to be a source of contention in the divorce. The same is probably true of any pension or retirement account you have. Pensions and retirement funds are emotional assets. In a way, they reflect a person's dedication to the future.

Yes, you may have a right to visitation with your beloved pet

People all too often assume that couples who don't have children have an easy time going through divorce. The truth is that divorce is difficult regardless of how big or small your family unit is.

While couples who don't have children won't have to worry about arranging for child support or visitation schedules, they may still have a dependent in their life with whom they want to retain a relationship.

How do the courts determine who keeps the house?

For most divorcing couples, money and time with the children will be the two biggest points of contention in the divorce. Child custody is a complicated situation, but that doesn't mean that asset division is simple. In fact, the possessions and debts people acquired during marriage are often complex.

Many assets exist in strange legal gray areas, making it hard for those considering divorce to understand the potential financial impact of that decision. Major assets, such as your retirement accounts or marital home, can often become the sole focus of asset division proceedings.

2 questions about alimony: When is it necessary and how much?

When it comes to the person who pays alimony, he or she doesn't usually want to pay it. When it comes to the person who receives alimony, there tends to be a wish to receive as much as possible.

But how do you know when someone needs to pay alimony under the law, and what factors serve to increase the amount of alimony the "payer" will pay?

Why "just getting it over with" isn't the right divorce approach

While going through a divorce, you're tempted to just "get it over with" by getting through the process as fast as possible.

It's understandable. This is an outcome you couldn't have imagined when you got married. You wish it wasn't happening. Even if you want the divorce now, you wish you hadn't gotten married to start with. It's stressful and emotionally difficult. It's a lot to deal with.

The way you ask for a divorce is important to your future

As you consider the pros and cons of divorce, you may spend a lot of time thinking about how to discuss your feelings with your spouse. Since this is a difficult conversation, many people stay in a bad marriage as opposed to bringing their true feelings to light.

The way you ask for a divorce can set you up for success as the process unwinds. Here are five tips you should follow:

  • Prepare accordingly: You don't ask for a divorce on a whim. This conversation will impact your life in many ways, so you need to prepare for everything. Once you decide to talk about divorce, your relationship with the other party will never be the same.
  • Choose the right place: If your true feelings are eating at you, you may be tempted to ask for a divorce the first chance you get. This can lead to having the conversation in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
  • Remain firm during the conversation: It's not out of the question for your spouse to explain him- or herself in an attempt to save your marriage. If you've already considered your options and understand that divorce is the best way to proceed, you must remain firm. You don't have to be mean, but make it clear that you've made up your mind.
  • Be ready for any reaction: Your spouse may become so upset that they run out of the room crying. Or maybe your spouse becomes so angry that they get physical with you. Preparing for all reactions allows you to properly deal with every possible situation.
  • Don't get into the details: It's natural to turn your attention to the future once you ask for a divorce. However, you don't want to discuss details like child custody and property division during this conversation. Your emotions are running high, so getting into the details is likely to result in an argument.

Unpaid labor can impact asset division and support in a divorce

There are many ways for an individual to contribute to their household. The most obvious and straightforward is by earning an income. Typically, this involves either running your own business or maintaining steady employment.

Confusion about what constitutes a contribution to the marital estate often leads non-working spouses or spouses who make non-monetary contributions to their households to worry about the financial implications of their divorce.

How to protect your separate property before an Illinois divorce

Deciding who gets what in your divorce, a process also known as asset division, is typically one of the most contentious aspects of ending a marriage. Both spouses tend to have their own ideas about what is fair and reasonable, and there is often very little overlap. Whether you find yourself squabbling over a particular asset or trying to minimize how much your spouse takes in the divorce, careful planning ahead of time can do a lot to protect your assets.

Ideally, the modern marriage should have financial transparency and an understanding between spouses regarding what is fair and reasonable in the event of a divorce. In order to protect themselves, more marriages these days involve prenuptial agreements than in the past. However, even if you married without a prenuptial agreement, it is still possible to protect your own finances in the event of a divorce.

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