Palatine divorce attorney property division alimonyIn many cases, people going through a divorce find themselves in a difficult situation simply because they did not fully prepare for their situation and take steps to protect themselves. If you know that divorce is in your future, there are a few steps you can take to help the process proceed more smoothly and ensure that you are able to achieve a fair settlement that will meet your ongoing needs.

Copy Important Documents

Before filing for divorce, you will want to make copies of all of the important documents pertaining to your finances. These may include tax returns, wills, mortgage documents, life insurance policies and statements for bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts or investments, as well as any other documentation related to your marital property. This will allow you to have a full understanding of the financial issues you will need to address during your divorce.

Understand Household Finances

You should keep track of your utility bills, mortgage or rent payments and other household expenses. You will also need to be sure you understand your spouse’s income as well as your own and any debts or financial obligations either of you may have. If either you or your spouse are self-employed or own a business, you should keep track of all of the income that comes in for a few months prior to the divorce. By understanding your ongoing income and expenses, you will be able to address these issues during divorce and ensure that you can meet your needs after your marriage has been dissolved.

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Rolling Meadows divorce attorneyWhen you are going through a divorce, you will want to work with an attorney who can help you secure a fair settlement and make the process as easy as possible. However, you do not need just any attorney; you need the lawyer who is right for your case. Although there are many good divorce lawyers in Illinois, you will want to find someone you are comfortable with who can address your unique concerns and help you complete the divorce process successfully. You will want to ask your divorce lawyer following questions:

Have You Handled Many Cases Like Mine?

No two divorce cases are alike. You may need to address a variety of complex issues, such as a high net worth, child custody disputes, or potential dissipation of assets by your spouse. You might expect your divorce to be contested, or you may plan to reach an amicable settlement with your spouse using methods such as mediation. You will want to be sure the attorney you ultimately hire should is experienced in handling the issues you will need to address.

How Will We Communicate During the Divorce?

Attorneys tend to have preferred methods of communication, and you will want to be sure you are comfortable discussing your case in this manner. Whether you prefer to communicate via email, phone, or text messages, you will want to establish a plan for how you will send information, ask questions, and receive updates.

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Hoffman Estates divorce lawyer child custody alimonyUnder Illinois law, gender is not a factor that should be considered when deciding a divorce case; however, some may fear that the decisions made during divorce will favor their ex-spouse, and they will want to understand their rights and the best ways to achieve success during the divorce process. Below are some of the biggest myths that still surround men and divorce and the truth behind them:

When Men Do Not Pay Child Support, They Cannot See Their Child

Fathers may worry that if they fall behind on child support payments, the mother may be able to refuse to allow them to spend time with their child. Fortunately, this is not the case. There are serious consequences for not paying child support, including being held in contempt of court. However, the courts view child custody and child support as two separate issues, and a mother cannot punish a father for non-payment of child support by restricting parenting time. If a parent withholds visitation because their ex-spouse did not pay child support, she/he can face serious consequences themselves.

Mothers Are Always Awarded Primary Child Custody

This is perhaps the biggest myth surrounding men and divorce. Although it is true that at one time, the courts were more likely to award child custody to mothers, this is no longer the case. Today, decisions about child custody are based on what is in the child’s best interests. The gender of the two spouses has nothing to do with child custody hearings. Instead, courts will consider factors such as the health of the parents, the children’s wishes, and how parents acted in the past when providing care for their children.

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Rolling Meadows divorce attorney irreconcilable differencesMany states have adopted a no-fault system for divorce. This means that when one spouse wants to get divorced, he/she does not have to prove that the other spouse did anything wrong. One spouse simply states that there was a breakdown in the marital relationship and attempts to reconcile would not be in the best interests of the family.

Those in Illinois wanting to divorce may wonder whether the process of filing for divorce is this simple. Fortunately, Illinois law allows for no-fault divorces. If you are considering divorce, there are some issues you should consider before filing your divorce petition.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

In the past, Illinois law allowed a person to state that his/her spouse was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. The law recognized a number of grounds for divorce, including:

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Arlington Heights divorce attorney for hidden assets and incomeIn an ideal world, everyone going through a divorce would be honest and upfront about their finances. Unfortunately, some spouses understand that marital property is going to be divided, and because of this, a person may try to hide certain assets from the other spouse during divorce. This is financial fraud, and it can result in an extremely unfair settlement for the spouse that is not hiding assets. The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself from these types of actions by your spouse. 

Understand the Potential Types of Fraud

There are many different ways a spouse can try to hide assets during a divorce. A person may temporarily give friends and relatives property, cash, or securities in order to avoid dividing these assets. In other cases, a spouse may try to hide or misreport income in order to reduce his or her spousal maintenance or child support obligations. 

Failure to fully disclose one’s income may also be considered tax fraud. This type of fraud may occur not only during a divorce, but after it is finalized as well. If this is done on a joint tax return that you and your spouse have signed, it can result in serious financial repercussions for you. Even if you had nothing to do with the fraud, you may still be held accountable, and you may face the same sanctions and penalties as if you had committed the fraud yourself. 

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