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IL divorce lawyerIf you have decided to file for divorce, you may ask yourself whether you should speak to your spouse before filing. Whether it is better to talk to your spouse first depends on your particular spouse and the circumstances of your divorce. Only you know your situation and can decide whether it is better to talk to your spouse before your attorney files the paperwork on your behalf. If your divorce is amicable, talking to them is likely the right course of action. On the other end of the spectrum, if your relationship has grown unsafe, you might not want to alert them that you are planning to leave. Your attorney can assess your situation and suggest a few things to consider in making this important decision. 

Safety Comes First in Divorce

If you are afraid that your spouse will react violently if you tell him/her that you are planning to divorce, you may not want to be together when this news is shared. If your spouse has made threats or been violent toward you in the past, you can request an Order of Protection. While not a perfect defense, these orders tell your spouse he/she will be arrested if he/she takes certain actions, like coming near your home or harassing you. 

Planning a Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce offers many benefits, such as allowing you more control over the final result and saving you court costs. If you hope to file an uncontested divorce, starting the divorce process collaboratively by talking to your spouse first is usually the best choice. If your spouse is aware of the divorce in advance instead of being blindsided with papers, he/she may be more inclined to cooperate with mediation. 


Questions to Ask Before Divorce Mediation

Posted on in Divorce

Il divorce lawyerDivorce mediation is a wonderful thing for many people. When it works, mediation can allow the parties to settle and finalize their divorce quickly and without costing too much. Unfortunately, divorce mediation is not for every set of spouses. There are many reasons mediation might fail, and the parties might need to go through a contested divorce. There are cases where one spouse is unreasonable or refuses to participate. Unsure about whether mediation is right for you and your spouse? Take the time to think this option through. Tell your Illinois divorce attorney if you have any particular concerns about trying mediation. 

3 Things to Think About Before Trying Mediation

Mediation will likely work if you and your spouse are still amicable. Mediation can work in high-conflict divorce but is less likely to succeed when the spouses are trying to spite each other. A few questions to ask yourself before you start mediation include: 

  • Can my spouse treat me fairly? - If you know that your spouse is not the type who is capable of compromising or making even a small sacrifice, mediation might not work. If you strongly feel your spouse will dig in their heels and refuse to give you anything, you might need a Court to force them to be fair. 
  • Will mediation endanger me? - If you have suffered through domestic violence, mediation might not be safe. Even mediation by video call might be harmful to your mental health. Or, if you believe that your spouse might try to manipulate you into staying in an unhealthy marriage, it might be best to use another strategy that does not bring you together. 
  • Will my spouse show up? - If your spouse has a substance abuse problem, a gambling addiction, or a serious mental illness, consider if your spouse can be counted on to reliably keep appointments. You can get divorced in Court with or without their participation. 

Getting divorced can be an emotional struggle. Mediation makes it easier for some spouses but can be harmful for others. It is important to talk with your attorney if you have any concerns about mediation. 


5 Unique Concerns in High-Asset Divorce

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IL divorce lawyerNot every law firm is prepared to take on a high-asset divorce. The issues involved in a divorce when the spouses share substantial wealth can be far more complex than those in a divorce with a less substantial marital estate. Issues may involve not only the value of the property involved but the complexity of the types of property to be divided equitably. Splitting the cash in a bank account is often easier than dividing a fluctuating stock portfolio. Couples with financially successful marriages should work with an Illinois divorce attorney with experience in high-net-worth divorces when ending their marriage. Dividing a large and complex marital estate without significantly decreasing its total value can be challenging. Your divorce may take time as your attorney steadily works towards a resolution that is fair and financially beneficial to you. 

Issues in High Net Worth Divorce

 Some of the unique issues that may arise in high-asset divorce include: 

  • Business ownership - One or both spouses often have an ownership interest in a business. Dividing that interest may be a multi-step process beginning with a skilled business valuation. One spouse may need to buy out the other’s shares or may need to develop a continuing co-ownership plan. 
  • Dividing profitable real estate - Many spouses who own multiple real estate properties use at least one as a source of income. Whether you and your spouse own several apartment buildings or one beach condo you use as a short-term vacation rental, you will need to find a way to divide an asset that is still actively bringing in profit. This may mean splitting the profits going forward or negotiating so that one spouse receives property of similar expected value. 
  • Fluctuating-value assets- Many spouses with the money to invest do so wisely. The problem with dividing stocks and other investments of fluctuating value is that since the value keeps changing, a fair 50/50 split is nearly impossible. 
  • Managing publicity - If you or your spouse is a public figure of any kind, such as a local news anchor or city councilman, you may have the extra concern of managing any publicity your divorce may attract. 
  • Prenuptial agreements - If one or both spouses had or expected to have wealth before marriage, you probably have a prenuptial agreement. Your attorney must review this document to determine how it could affect your divorce. Note that not all prenuptial agreements are valid and enforceable exactly as written. 

Each of these issues can become highly complex and involved in its own right. 


Should I Contest My Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerA contested divorce can be difficult, stressful, and time-consuming. However, in some cases, this may be the only way to get a fair divorce decree. Most people today use alternative dispute resolution strategies like mediation to settle their divorces out of Court. Resolving a divorce out of Court offers quite a few benefits. You have more control over the end result. Mediation is less expensive than going to Court. Getting divorced can be much faster when the spouses are able to agree on who keeps what property and what type of child custody arrangement to use. However, mediation does not work for every couple. Some are simply unable to reach an agreement. These couples may have little choice but to allow a Judge to make decisions. If you are concerned that your case may go to Court, you will benefit from working with an experienced lawyer

When to Consider Contested Divorce 

There are a few common types of situations where contested divorce becomes necessary. You may want to speak with your attorney about the possibility of contesting divorce if you are facing circumstances like: 

  • An uncooperative spouse - Alternative dispute resolution only works if both parties participate in good faith. If your spouse completely refuses to go along with the process, will not compromise on anything, or is being unreasonable, you might not be able to reach an agreement. If your spouse does not agree to a fair division of property or parenting time, you may need to ask a Judge to decide what is best. 
  • Hidden or dissipated assets - If you suspect or know that your spouse is concealing assets, they likely will continue trying to conceal them during the divorce process. You might need a Judge to force them to disclose what they own. Or, if your spouse has wasted a lot of your marital finances for their own selfish reasons, like gambling, you may need to involve a court. 
  • Serious custody issues - If your spouse is a danger to your children and will not agree to a parenting plan that does not allow them substantial alone time with the children, or insists on demanding full custody, you might need a Judge to create a fair arrangement. 
  • Abuse - If your spouse abused you, you may not be treated fairly in a divorce unless a Judge forces them to do so. 

In these situations, contesting your divorce may be the best or only way to resolve your divorce. 


Signs Divorce Mediation Might be For You

Posted on in Divorce

mediate.jpgDivorce mediation is not for every couple. Some spouses refuse to cooperate with the process, failing even to keep scheduled appointments. Other spouses are unable to agree on anything because they cannot work together without fighting. However, alternative dispute resolution does work quite well for most people who are getting divorced. Even rather contentious divorces can often be settled out of court through mediation. There are a lot of advantages to uncontested divorce. Resolving the issues in your divorce through mediation is usually faster and less costly than asking a Judge to make these decisions. If you are considering giving divorce mediation a try, consider consulting with an experienced attorney first. You should be represented by a lawyer even if you and your spouse are amicable and intend to file an uncontested divorce

Will Divorce Work for Us?

Divorce mediation works for most spouses. Whether it works for you, however, depends on a number of factors. Some positive signs that you and your spouse may succeed in mediation include:

  • Amicable divorce - If you and your spouse are amicable and likely to remain friends even after the divorce, you may be able to reach an agreement in mediation. More amicable divorcing spouses are generally more willing to compromise and cooperate. 
  • No children - Not having children can make it easier to reach an agreement because there are usually fewer - and less emotionally charged - issues that need to be resolved. Many parents do not want to give up any time with their child willingly. Some will go to Court to fight for more parenting time than their spouse would agree to give them. 
  • Gray divorce - Older adults are often better able to communicate and compromise in the interest of reaching a resolution. 
  • Strong prenuptial agreement - If you have a prenuptial agreement in place, you likely have few issues left to resolve. Most are likely governed by the terms of your contract. 
  • Committed parents - If you are both focused on putting your children first, it is more likely that you will both be willing to make compromises and treat each other fairly. Parents who resolve their divorces through mediation can spare their children the stress of going to Court. 

Each set of spouses and each divorce is unique. Your attorney can assess your situation and help you decide whether alternative dispute resolution is for you. 


Introducing The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson

Nicholas W. Richardson is an experienced divorce lawyer and mediator whose comprehensive legal knowledge, commitment to clients and reputation for results bring lasting solutions to your problems.

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