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Grotta & Associates Family Law Blog

5 stages of divorce

If you are thinking about getting divorced, you probably already know that you could be entering a long and complicated process. From separation to actually filing a petition for divorce and dividing marital property, there are various stages you will have to complete.

You may be wondering exactly what to expect as you travel down the divorce highway. While each case may have slight variants, the following steps in the divorce process can prepare you for what lies ahead.

A positive attitude can improve co-parenting situations

Children have a lot of changes to deal with when their parents divorce. Trying to make the situation as positive as possible can help them manage. When parents decide to co-parent, they need to make an effort to work together as much as possible.

Even if it is difficult to deal with your ex, you have to do your part to make this arrangement work. Consider these tips to help you make the best of the situation:

Attorney Thomas Grotta's Victory Mentioned in Divorce Digest

A divorced father engaged the services of Thomas E. Grotta to defend him against an action brought by his ex-wife seeking an Order of Protection on behalf of the party's twelve year old son. The twelve year old son claimed the father hit him in the head, threatened to duct tape him, shave his head and repeatedly belittled him by calling him offensive names.

Get it over with? Think your divorce over, first!

It's easy to say you want to get your divorce over with, but if you don't do it right, you could end up hurting yourself in the long run. Imagine if you went to a surgeon who decided to "get it over with" and perform a surgery the same day after doing no tests. He or she could seriously hurt a patient. The same idea applies to a divorce. Without the right education and support for your claims, you could make mistakes that end up hurting you.

What can you do to make your divorce better for everyone without dragging it out? Be prepared. Before you decide you're getting a divorce, start collecting legal and financial documents. Gather your important items and make copies of them. When you speak to your attorney, you want to have as much information as possible.

Handling your finances during a divorce

When couples with significant assets choose to divorce, there is often a temptation on both sides to act in their own best interests and begin seizing assets for themselves, potentially complicating the divorce process later on.

This is particularly complicated when the couple shares access to financial accounts. Many couples do not understand the divorce process thoroughly enough to realize that the actions they take in their own self interest may actually come back to hurt them further down the road, and may even result in punitive action from a court.

Media hype and stories from friends can hurt you in a divorce

We all glean information from a variety of sources. Doing so helps us form well-rounded and informed opinions on a variety of topics. In some situations, accepting advice from friends with personal experience can help you make the best decisions. Other times, information from television, movies and other media sources can help you as well. However, divorce is absolutely not one of those times.

When you consider a potential divorce, you need accurate information that reflects the laws in Illinois and common practices, not worst-case-scenarios that are lurid enough to draw media attention. Advice from well-meaning friends can also fall flat in the face of the dissolution of your marriage. You should seek guidance from those who understand the court processes and likely outcomes, not people with topical or inaccurate ideas about divorce.

Do you have reason to worry about your prenuptial agreement?

When people sign a prenuptial agreement during their engagement, they often imagine doing so is unnecessary. They intend to have their marriage last forever, only to discover that simply won't be the case later in life. In many cases, it is only when a marriage starts to fall apart that spouses may carefully consider the contents of their prenuptial agreement.

It's only natural to want to protect your assets in a divorce. A properly executed and drafted prenuptial agreement can do exactly that. Educating yourself about Illinois prenuptial agreement law will make it easier to predict if the courts will honor your agreement.

How will an Illinois divorce affect your plans for retirement?

There are many uncertainties involved in getting a divorce. Unless you and your spouse agree on specific terms for asset division and other issues via a prenuptial agreement, uncontested divorce or negotiated terms, the courts will end up making the major decisions. Since every marriage and every divorce is unique, it's impossible for anyone to accurately predict the exact outcome of your divorce.

However, a review of state law and common practices can help you understand the likely outcome of certain aspects of your divorce. One issue that particularly concerns divorcing couples aged 40 or higher is the potential impact of the divorce on retirement accounts. The larger and more complex the assets you've acquired during marriage, the more uncertainty there may be about their allocation in a divorce. Certain rules and practices, however, will guide the court's decision-making process.

Dissipation of marital assets can impact the division of assets

Divorce can bring out the worst in some people, leading them to do things that they usually wouldn't consider. Sometimes, for example, one spouse may take steps to intentionally hide marital assets from the other. They do this in the hope that it will result in more assets for them when the courts finalize the divorce. If caught, the person hiding assets could end up receiving much less as a result of this attempt.

Another common behavior immediately prior to divorce is dissipation of marital assets. At its most basic, this refers to when one spouse uses marital assets for something other than the marital union during the breakdown of the marriage. There are many forms that dissipation can take, and they can definitely impact the outcome of the asset division process.

Protecting your assets: Negotiating during high-asset divorces

A high-asset divorce has the potential to drain your income quickly, especially if you and your spouse can't come to an agreement on how to split your assets. Fortunately, there are alternatives to spending too long fighting each other. You can choose arbitration or mediation to help you resolve your issues quickly while protecting the assets you want.

Arbitration and mediation help because they take less time and cost less. You and your spouse both go through the motions, so you can come up with agreements that work or have someone else determine what's fair in your particular situation.

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