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Gray Divorce: How Does Getting Divorced Later in Life Change Things?When you think of divorce, you may imagine a recently married couple quickly realizing that they were not ready for marriage — or maybe you picture an ugly custody battle between two parents with young children. This may be a common depiction of divorce on TV or in movies; however, getting divorced at an older age is becoming more and more common. This is known as “gray divorce.” Given the false assumption that older people have life “all figured out,” many people are surprised to hear that older couples are getting divorced more frequently as each year passes.

Common Reasons for Gray Divorces

It may seem counterintuitive to get divorced at an older age — you and your spouse have already lived an entire life together, how could you end it now? Yet many people forget that a long marriage does not necessarily mean it was a good marriage. Every relationship is unique but there are a few commonalities that have been found relating to gray divorce.

  1. Higher Expectations: This explanation is not reserved solely for older couples filing for divorce — a change in society has led many couples to divorce regardless of their age. However, older couples often see greater societal changes since they have been together longer. With an increase in partner equality, many couples split when the power dynamic shifts to match the modern time.
  2. Life Expectancy: As lifespans extend, it can be more difficult to commit to spending a lifetime with another person. Individuals in every relationship grow and change, but with a longer life, it can be difficult to grow together. People may not have “better” or “worse” marriages today yet they may be more inclined to end their relationship if things are taking a bad turn since their future has more years to it.
  3. Empty Nesting: For couples with children, their kids may be the glue holding them together. This is the case for many marriages and it can become more obvious when their children leave home. Some parents may recognize that their only connection is their children and this may not be enough for them moving forward.

Considerations for Divorcing Later in Life

Older couples deciding to file for divorce have a few areas that they must consider that differ from younger couples. Many couples have tied their retirement plans together when preparing for the future. In a gray divorce, dividing the retirement plan equitably can be critical. Many older couples will use a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). Depending on the type of retirement plan that you and your spouse have, this may be a necessary step to recognize marital assets and ensure that each spouse is receiving their fair share. For younger couples with children, the family law portion of the divorce can take on the bulk of their concerns. Older couples do not share this same concern. Their children are likely no longer minors and thus parenting arrangements and child support payments are removed from the conversation.

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What Factors are Considered When Calculating Spousal Maintenance in Illinois?After deciding to cut ties with your spouse, it can be difficult to imagine a life without them. You may know that divorce is the best decision for you both; however, that does not always mean that the transition is seamless. You experience being truly on your own for the first time since getting married, both emotionally and financially. While the emotional transition can be a rollercoaster of highs and lows, adjusting to a single income can be the most difficult change of all. Maybe you were a one-income household with one parent staying home, or perhaps you both had a steady income. Regardless, getting used to living off one paycheck, while working on the emotional distress that comes with divorce, can be enough to send someone into a spiral. Fortunately, spousal maintenance can supplement your finances if your former spouse has a greater income than you.

What Does the Court Look At?

To help divorcing couples adjust and survive, the court will often require one spouse to pay their ex a particular amount each month. While they may use an equation of sorts, there are a variety of other factors that play into a judge’s decision for these payments. Spousal maintenance requirements vary in amount, frequency, and lifespan. In other words, every divorce agreement is unique, including the amount of money that will be given by one former spouse to the other. According to Illinois statutes regarding spousal maintenance, the following factors are considered while making decisions regarding these payments:

  • The property and income of each party, including any assets that are assigned in the property division process
  • The possible present and future earning capacity of each party
  • Time devoted to domestic work throughout their marriage and decisions made to defer education or employment opportunities as a result of the marriage
  • The time it will take the deserved party to acquire proper training, education, and employment and how well this job position would allow them to support themselves
  • The duration of the marriage and their standard of living at the time of divorce
  • All sources of income that each party has access to, including retirement and disability income

When the court comes to an agreement on the spousal maintenance amounts, they must provide the two parties with the reasoning behind their choices. The findings report will include information regarding why the court did or did not require spousal maintenance payments to be made and an explanation of what factors contributed to their decision.

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Will County child custody attorney

Many people do not realize the number of steps included in the divorce process, and this number only increases when children are involved. While many may think dividing your belongings is the most difficult portion, formulating a parenting plan can often create the most conflict between divorcing couples. Learning to “share” your child with your ex when you do not live together is difficult for every parent. From the outside, it may seem obvious how you should divide the parenting time; however, this can change during the divorce proceedings. Understanding what is included in a parenting plan and what the various options are is a good idea before stepping into your legal meetings.

 

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Tips for Divorcing a Spouse With a Substance Abuse Problem in IllinoisAlthough most people who get married enter into their union thinking it will last “til death do us part,” that is not what statistics show. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce in the United States. There are many reasons that can cause a couple to file for divorce. Issues such as infidelity, financial problems, and drug or alcohol addiction can all put a significant strain on any relationship. Illinois is a no-fault state, which means that a couple must only have “irreconcilable differences” as grounds for divorce. However, when one spouse has a substance abuse problem, this can make the divorce process very challenging. That is why it is essential that you plan ahead and take steps to protect your rights before filing for divorce from an addicted spouse. 

Taking Precautions to Protect Yourself

Excessive drug and alcohol use can lead to many problems and negatively impact a family as well. When someone drinks or uses drugs, he or she may become violent by physically or verbally abusing his or her spouse and children. The abusive partner may also squander the couple’s savings to fund his or her addiction. 

Although every situation is unique, there are certain decisions that still need to be made in an Illinois divorce, regardless of the reasons for splitting up. These include the allocation of parental responsibilities and child support if children are involved, as well as spousal support and the division of property or assets. All of these issues may be impacted by the fact that one party has a substance abuse problem. For example, a parent may be required to have supervised visitation or denied parenting time altogether if it is proven that it is in the best interest of the children. 

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Are Belongings Divided 50-50 in an Illinois Divorce?During the divorce process, property division can be the most contentious conversation that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will have. Not only is it emotionally difficult to discuss divvying up your life together, but it can also reveal sides of your former spouse that you may have never seen before. The division of assets can sometimes feel like a lose-lose situation, especially when you do not think that your previous partner deserves some of your belongings. Having an experienced divorce attorney on your side can help you determine which assets you are willing to give up and which ones are worth fighting for. Without a proper lawyer’s help in states like Illinois, it may feel like you are giving up a lot more than you expected.

Equitable Distribution Versus Community Property

Like most states in the U.S., Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that properties in a divorce are divided in a manner that is deemed fair but not necessarily 50-50. Divorcing couples who cannot agree on how things will be divided will be turned over to a judge, who will then determine how the property will be divided in an equitable manner. The judge will look at factors such as income, personal assets, and financial needs and determine what is considered fair.

There are nine states that use a different method, and they are called community property states. Within these states, lawmakers deem all property, assets, and debts to be the belongings of both spouses. With this in mind, everything will be divided 50-50 between both parties, including any debts. This type of division applies to anyone filing for divorce within these nine states, whether or not they got married within them. These properties will be considered “quasi-community” property if they are acquired while living in an equitable distribution state.

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