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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 lawyer for empty nestersThe term “empty nesters” refers to a couple whose children have left home (or the “nest”) to attend college or move into their own house after starting a career. Although many spouses relish their newfound freedom from parental responsibility, other partners may dread it for various reasons. Two people who were madly in love in their 20s may realize after decades of being married that they have nothing in common now that they are in their 50s. Their feelings toward each other might have gradually changed over the years, so much so that they now are considering a divorce. Statistics show an increase in divorce for couples age 50 and over, and the trigger is often when their children leave home.

Reasons For Empty Nest Syndrome

Raising kids is not easy, but before you know it, they are 18 and headed off to college. After focusing so much attention on the children, problems between the spouses may become more apparent. In some cases, parents decide to stay together for the sake of the children, even though they are unhappy. Many people think divorcing will cause irreparable emotional damage to their kids, so they put off a potential split until the children have reached adulthood. 

In some cases, children moving out may lead to life changes that cause a person to seek divorce. If one spouse withdraws from his or her partner and devotes a lot of time to work, hobbies, or friends, that can put a significant rift in the relationship. “Empty nest syndrome” often coincides with mid-life, an age at which many people have a “crisis” or struggle with their identities. This is especially true if one spouse was a stay-at-home parent; now that the children are gone, he or she may feel lost and without a purpose. 

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Oak Park, IL family law attorney for parental alienationThere is no doubt that a divorce can be a volatile process. In many cases, one of the partners does not want to end the marriage. He or she may feel anger or bitterness toward the other spouse. This can lead to the rejected spouse acting out and behaving irrationally. If children are involved, this kind of behavior can be detrimental to everyone. One parent may attempt to turn the kids against the other parent by talking negatively about him or her. This is common in divorces where one parent has the majority of parental responsibility, and the other parent harbors resentment against his or her ex. When one parent engages in parental alienation, the other parent should seek legal advice to protect his or her rights. 

Examples of Hostile Aggressive Parenting

According to the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO), parental alienation is a form of child abuse. Also referred to as Hostile Aggressive Parenting, it includes certain behaviors that cause children to be manipulated or bullied into the belief that their other parent is the enemy, and thus should be disrespected, feared, hated, and/or avoided. 

Parental alienation can take a variety of forms, including:

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Cook County divorce lawyer for middle aged spousesPeople are living longer these days, and as their children leave the nest, the bond that holds a marriage together can dissipate. A divorce at any age can be nerve-wracking, but for those couples who are over 40, it can be very intimidating. For some people, the thought of being alone after a long marriage is overwhelming. If you have been together for many years, figuring out how to divide your marital assets can also be complicated. A common concern for a newly single person is whether or not he or she will have the financial resources needed for retirement. It is important to become acquainted with Illinois’ divorce laws to ensure that you can create a stable future.   

Practical Advice 

With more women working full time, and some out-earning their spouses, the financial imperative to stay together no longer exists in many marriages. Also, if a middle-aged couple had children together, the children are usually out of the house at college or living on their own, so there is no need to remain married “for the kids’ sake.” If you are considering filing for divorce, the following tips can help ensure a smooth process regardless of your age:

  • Seek professional legal counsel. 

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Hillside QDRO lawyer

Many people work for a long time in order to save for retirement. Others may have a pension, or they may invest in mutual funds or IRAs so they can live comfortably after they are done working. If a married couple decides to part ways, they may wonder what will happen to their assets in a divorce, including their retirement plans. Under Illinois law, marital assets are divided using “equitable distribution.” This means any assets acquired during the marriage will be divided fairly between the spouses, but not necessarily split in half. It is important to understand what you are legally entitled to in terms of retirement savings that may have originally been meant for both your and your spouse’s future.   

Dividing Retirement Accounts and Pensions

If retirement accounts were created or contributed to during a couple’s marriage, or if they increased in value during the marriage, they are considered to be marital property. The balances in these accounts may be divided equally between the spouses, or a couple may agree on another way to divide these assets. Once it is determined how any retirement accounts will be divided, the retirement plan administrator must be given the details of the division and how that division will be executed. This is done through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). 
By using a QDRO, funds can be withdrawn or transferred from a retirement account, and the account owner will not be required to pay penalties or taxes on the withdrawn amount. QDROs are typically entered once the divorce is finalized. The majority of retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, require a QDRO before they can be divided between spouses. IRAs are considered a different type of retirement savings and do not require a QDRO. 

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Oak Park divorce attorney mental illness

Mental health issues are prevalent in today’s society. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), millions of Americans are affected by mental health conditions each year. A mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or depression can be very challenging for a married couple and a family in general. In many cases, mental health issues can cause a couple to grow apart, and they may ultimately lead to divorce. Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, and irreconcilable differences is the only recognized legal basis for divorce. While the issue of mental illness is not a legal reason to file for divorce, it can significantly impact the divorce proceedings. 

Orders of Protection

In some divorce cases, a person’s mental disorder could lead to dangerous or even violent behavior. If someone fears for their own safety or the safety of their child, then they should take immediate action. This can include obtaining the following orders of protection

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