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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

1100 Lake Street, Suite 120, Oak Park, IL 60301

Oak Park | 708-848-3159

DuPage County | 630-852-9700   Mokena | 815-727-6144

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Cook County divorce attorney for stay-at-home parentsStatistics show that many marriages end in divorce. Once you and your spouse make the decision to part ways, there are several issues you will need to resolve. Some of these include the division of marital assets (and debt), child support, and spousal maintenance. In some cases, one spouse may have stayed home to raise the couple’s children. In other scenarios, both parents might have pursued careers. For stay-at-home moms or dads, it can be difficult to imagine a new life as a single parent, which often means finding a job to make ends meet. However, there are ways to cope with this major life transition, and you will want to make sure you have the financial resources you need after your divorce. 

Consider the Best Housing Situation 

Depending on the allocation of parental responsibilities in a divorce, one parent may be able to stay in the marital home. This can often help ease the transition, allowing the children to remain in the house they lived in during the marriage. However, as a parent who did not work while raising your kids, home ownership can pose a significant financial burden. Making a large mortgage payment every month can seem overwhelming, and you will also be responsible for property taxes, utilities, and upkeep of your home. If you are awarded spousal support, this may allow you to cover your monthly bills, but it may be more financially feasible to sell the house. This will allow both you and your ex-spouse to receive a portion of the profits from the sale. Moving to a new residence may be a first step in beginning a new chapter for everyone.  

Understand Your Finances

It is imperative that you have a firm grasp of your financial situation during and after your divorce. You will want to know what kinds of bank or retirement accounts you and your spouse have and who is listed as the account owner. By obtaining this financial information, you can ensure that you fully understand the extent of your marital assets, allowing you to receive the property and assets you are entitled to.

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Oak Park divorce lawyer for asset dissipation claimsThe end of a marriage can be difficult, regardless of the reasons why a couple’s relationship broke down. Even an amicable divorce may have its challenges, since many legal issues will typically need to be resolved, including the division of assets. In Illinois, marital property is subject to equitable distribution. This means that any assets acquired during the marriage must be divided fairly. In some cases, it may be discovered that one spouse frivolously spent a large portion of the marital assets. Referred to as dissipation of assets, this typically occurs when one partner wastes money by making large purchases for his or her own benefit. This behavior often occurs when there are problems in the marriage, and a divorce is forthcoming. If you suspect that your spouse may have squandered marital funds, you may be entitled to compensation in your Illinois divorce settlement.   

Examples of Wasted Assets

There are many ways a person can dissipate assets or property. These include:

  • Gambling addictions

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Cook County divorce mediation lawyerFiling for divorce or being served with divorce papers can be an overwhelming experience. There are many decisions to make, especially if you and your spouse have children together. However, if you and your spouse are able to cooperate and work together to make these decisions, the process can be completed more quickly and easily. One way of doing so is through mediation.

During divorce mediation, you and your spouse will meet with a neutral third-party mediator to work through the issues you need to resolve so the two of you can end your marriage as peacefully and cost-effectively as possible. During mediation, the two of you will work to reach agreements on issues such as child custody, spousal support/maintenance, property and asset division, and any other matters that will need to be addressed in order to legally end your marriage.

How a Mediator Can Help You

If you and your spouse are willing to communicate and compromise on the issues that will need to be resolved, divorce mediation may be your best option. The benefits of divorce mediation include, but are not limited to:

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Oak Park property division attorney for LGBTQ couplesThe state of Illinois legalized marriage between two people of the same sex in 2013. Same-sex couples have the same rights and responsibilities as their heterosexual counterparts regarding marriage. This means all the same issues will need to be resolved in the event of a divorce. In the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, marital property is defined as any assets that were acquired by either spouse after they were legally married and before a judgment of legal separation. In a divorce, any marital property is subject to “equitable distribution.” This method involves splitting assets acquired during the marriage in a “fair” manner, but not necessarily completely equally or in half. Same-sex couples who divorce can face unique challenges when dividing their property due to the nature of their relationship.  

What Is “Ownership of Property”?

Determining who gets what in a divorce is not always simple for LGBTQ couples. Same-sex partners may have been together for a long time before they could legally marry. Therefore, the partners may have brought many assets to the marriage, both together and separately. These can include cars, a house, furniture, artwork, clothing, and more. Items acquired before a couple was legally married are considered “separate property,” even if the partners had behaved as if they were married for a long period of time.

Determining ownership of property acquired before the date of marriage can be a complicated undertaking, since some of these assets may have been “commingled” during the relationship. That means even though one partner purchased an item, the other partner could have used or benefited from it. In many cases, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be helpful, because it can specify who will own certain assets if the couple decides to get divorced.

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Oak Park child support attorneyGoing through a divorce involves many legal steps with various issues to discuss and resolve. If a couple has children together, that means a lot of decisions will need to be made regarding their welfare. Issues such as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time may be agreed upon by both spouses. However, if the parents cannot come to a resolution, the court will intervene, and a judge will decide what is in the best interests of the kids. Child support is another important issue that needs to be addressed when a couple legally terminates their marriage. The non-custodial parent will typically be required to pay the custodial parent a certain amount each month to help address the child-rearing costs.   

How Is Child Support Calculated?  

According to Illinois’ divorce laws, an “income shares” method is used to determine parents’ child support obligations. The income shares child support model became effective on July 1, 2017. This approach uses a table with economic data to determine the amount that parents would spend on their children’s needs if they were married, based on the combined family income and the number of kids. This amount is known as the Basic Support Obligation, and it is meant to address children’s daily needs (food, clothing, shelter, etc.). Under the income shares method, each parent’s percentage share of the combined income will also be calculated, and this percentage will be used to determine how costs will be divided between parents. 

Important Child-Related Costs 

Raising children can be an expensive endeavor. Child support can ensure that both parents contribute to a wide range of costs, from clothes to education to sports clubs. These costs can vary depending on the age of the children. For example, if both parents work full-time, and they have a younger child, they will likely need to pay for daycare until the child reaches the age where he or she begins attending school. In addition, a private school’s tuition will be higher than if their child goes to a public school. A portion of medical and dental visits may be covered by one or both parents’ insurance policies, but there can also be out-of-pocket costs. 

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  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • West Suburban Bar Association
  • Northwest Suburban Bar Association
  • Will County Bar Association
  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Lake County Bar Association
  • Kane County Bar Association

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