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Grotta & Associates Family Law Blog

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.

How to prepare your finances for divorce

As you move closer to the divorce process, it's imperative to better understand your finances and what will change in the weeks and months to come. The more time you put into this up front, the better off you'll be in the future.

While no two people are facing the exact same circumstances, there are some things you can do to prepare your finances for divorce. Here are five tips to guide you:

  • Review your budget: You want to get a better feel for your income and expenses right now, as this will help you understand what's going to change after your marriage is in the past. You shouldn't expect your budget to remain the same, so now's the time to prepare for potential changes.
  • Make note of future expenses: Even if your income will remain the same after your divorce, there's a chance that your expenses will change. For example, you may need to purchase or rent a new home. Or maybe you'll find yourself paying child support and/or alimony. Preparing for new expenses up front can help you avoid trouble.
  • Gather the necessary documents: You'll need quite a bit of documentation to make it through the divorce process, including but not limited to: bank account statements, retirement account statements, loan statements, recent pay stubs, tax returns and a list of debts and assets.
  • Prepare for everything: Even if your soon-to-be ex-spouse says they want to work things out, this is very rarely the case. You're sure to run into resistance along the way, so you must prepare for anything and everything that could come to light.
  • Don't make big financial decisions: It's okay to do so after your divorce is finalized and you're financially stable, but don't do this while the process is unwinding. For instance, this is not a good time to purchase a new home or car.

Can excessive video game playing lead to divorce?

It's no secret that alcoholism, social media addiction and drug addiction have caused numerous Illinois divorces, but what about video game addiction? Since late last year, the wildly popular -- and highly addictive -- video, Fortnight, has taken the world by storm and it currently has 125 million players throughout the globe. Due to its time-sucking nature, the game also may be causing problems for marriages.

According to a popular divorce assistance website in the United Kingdom, in 2018, the website has received information pertaining to 200 divorce petitions that cited Fortnight addiction as one of the reasons for divorce.

Focus on the big picture in divorce, not just on your emotions

Seeking a divorce is a very stressful experience. For many people, even if they know their marriage was over, divorcing can bring out intense emotions. Feelings of anger, rejection or depression are common. These emotions can overwhelm you and drive you to do things that you would otherwise find inappropriate or even abhorrent.

Things can become heated quickly if you share significant assets with your spouse. Neither of you are likely to agree about the fairest way to split up your possessions. If you have children, parenting rights and custody decisions can also spark intense emotions.

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