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Joliet divorce attorneysDo you turn to social media to seek out support from others who share similar experiences or do you use it as a personal diary to vent about your problems? Now that social media has become so integral to our lives, these digital platforms take on different meanings for everyone. Depending on your current circumstances, social media can be a fun pastime or an emotional outlet, but when it comes to your divorce, these platforms should always remain neutral. When divorces become contentious and conflict begins to arise, social media accounts are one of the first places that your spouse’s attorney will turn for evidence in his or her favor.

Areas of Concern

The two places where contention typically surfaces is during child custody determinations and the asset division process. If your co-parent is dead set on parenting alone, they will need to provide an explanation of why you are not fit to be a parent. In some instances, these accusations can be made out spite for the conflict that occurred during your marriage, rather than a true testament of your ability to act as a responsible parent. Whether or not the accusations are actually true, social media posts can make it easy to convince the judge otherwise. A number of photos of you out with some friends, holding a beer in one hand, can be misconstrued as a common occurrence of alcohol abuse. Without adequate or accurate context, a judge can view the series of photos as a testament of your character and ability to safely parent your child, resulting in reduced or even supervised child custody orders.

Additionally, your social media presence can be telling of your financial situation. When it comes to asset division and spousal maintenance decisions, the court will decide who gets what based on each spouse’s income and personal savings. If you claim that you have a very limited income, asking for consistent spousal support or a particular marital asset, then post a photo of you on vacation, the judge can easily get the wrong idea. Even if you planned the vacation well in advance of your divorce or the trip was a gift from a close family member, your spouse can attempt to spin the situation to work in his or her favor.

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Joliet divorce attorneysDetermining what to do with your family home during the asset division process can be a difficult task. For some, it may be obvious who will be keeping the house and who will be moving out. For others, it may be a contentious conversation to have during your divorce proceedings. Illinois divides marital property equitably, but not necessarily equally, and this reality can leave you wondering how you and your spouse will each be granted equivalent amounts of marital property if your family home is your most expensive asset. With the help of a reputable divorce attorney, you can be fully informed on the options available to you and will receive your fair share.

Dividing Your Large Assets

For those who have more than one large asset, determining who gets the family home may not seem like an unfair discussion. If you and your spouse have multiple large assets, such as luxury cars or a vacation home, you may just agree to have one spouse keep the home and the other keep the second large asset. This is the easier route to take if it is a possibility, but for most families, their home is their one and only particularly large asset.

Buy Out Your Spouse

In order to avoid having one spouse benefit by receiving the largest asset, while the other spouse feels short-changed, the spouse who intends on keeping the marital home can buy out their former spouse. This requires an official appraisal of your house’s current market value, dividing the number in half, and the new sole-homeowner paying their former spouse for their half of the ownership. This is a common solution used by divorcing parents, allowing the children to remain in their current home with one parent while the other parent finds alternative housing.

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If My Ex Remarries, Am I Still Obligated to Pay Spousal Support?After your divorce proceedings are finalized and all the dust settles, it can sometimes still feel as if you have marital obligations to your former spouse. Spousal support is often a requirement for divorced couples, and if you share children, you will continue to communicate and see each other in the years to come. Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is the financial support from the higher-earning spouse to the other. Oftentimes, these payments are made monthly and the allotted amount is determined and mandated by the court. All spousal support agreements vary, both in amount and timeline, and you may be wondering how long the payments will go on. As the years go by, this financial assistance can begin to seem unnecessary, especially if your former spouse is in a serious relationship with someone new. Luckily, Illinois law addresses the instances that warrant spousal support adjustments or termination for situations such as these.

Adjusting Spousal Support Obligations

Is the possibility of marriage on your former spouse’s horizon? This situation arises for many divorced couples and warrants adjustments to your spousal support obligations. According to Illinois law, there are three situations that warrant immediate termination of spousal support obligations: the death of either spouse, the remarriage of the receiving spouse, or if the receiving spouse begins cohabitating with another person. Because the purpose of alimony is to help the lower-earning spouse stay afloat, if a new spouse comes into the picture, then the financial assistance is no longer necessary. 

If your spouse does not remarry, but you believe that you have a case to modify your spousal support obligations, it is best to discuss your situation with a divorce attorney to verify that it qualifies for an adjustment. According to Illinois law, spousal maintenance obligations may be modified or terminated if the paying party can prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as the following:

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What Happens to the House During an Illinois Divorce?Looking back on your life with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it can be emotional to imagine the big steps that you have taken together — buying your first home, moving in together, and making memories under its roof. For many, homes can be a symbol of love, family, and security. For those considering divorce, their home can still represent all of these things, which makes it difficult to determine what you should do with it. Is one of you adamant about keeping the home or are you both looking for a fresh start? Depending on you and your spouse’s circumstances, there are a number of options available to you during the asset division process.

Equitable Division

Illinois is an equitable division state when it comes to marital property division. In other words, you and your spouse’s belongings will be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. A number of factors, such as each spouse’s income and savings, will be considered when determining who gets what. For most couples, their home is their largest asset, making it a prized possession during asset division. Couples involved in a collaborative divorce can determine how they would like things to be handled, while those involved in litigation will have a judge make this decision for them. Regardless, there are a few common options available if your intention is to keep the house and not sell it.

Divide the Large Assets

For couples that have a number of large assets, such as a vacation home, expensive cars, or a large stock portfolio, they may decide to allot certain assets to each other. One spouse gets the marital home, while the other gets the vacation home. Since one spouse is typically more inclined to keep the marital home than the other, this can often be an easy decision to make. If you and your spouse have kids, the custodial parent will usually stay in the home with their kids, while the other parent finds a new place to live.

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What Unique Issues Do LGBTQ Couples Face in Divorce?In June 2015, history was made as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples in every state had the legal right to marry. Illinois had already legalized same-sex marriage the year before. Despite only gaining the legal right less than a decade ago, many LGBTQ couples considered themselves married, or life partners, long before Illinois passed its legislation. A lack of legal recognition may not have kept same-sex couples from being together, but it did prevent them from having the legal rights given to married couples. The legalization of same-sex marriage, unfortunately, did not remove all discrepancies that exist between heterosexual spouses and same-sex spouses. If you are a member of the LGBTQ community and wish to file for divorce, there are a few unique circumstances that you may experience. 

The Length of the Marriage

Many LGBTQ couples have been together for much longer than their marriage certificate says. Couples who have been together for decades, but only legally married for the past five years, may have difficulties during the asset division process and alimony determination. Illinois is an equitable division state, meaning that property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. External factors will be taken into consideration when determining who gets what. For couples who have been together for decades but have legal recognition of the marriage for only the past few years, property that they purchased together before getting legally married may not be considered marital property. Similar discrepancies exist when determining who will pay spousal maintenance. The number of years that you are legally married plays a significant role in how much is paid and how long the payments will last. Without proof of your decades-long relationship, you may have difficulties obtaining proper maintenance amounts.

Parenting Determinations

Divorcing parents will have to spend time formulating a parenting plan, determining who the primary caregiver will be, and deciding how much child support will be paid. If you and your spouse are involved in a collaborative divorce, then you may be able to make these decisions between each other. However, if you are seeking divorce litigation, the judge will make decisions about your allocation of parental responsibilities. Depending on who the biological parent is, they may be granted primary parenting time with the child simply based on their biological connection, not their parenting skills. If you are not the biological parent and never formally adopted your child, the judge can make the decision to grant your co-parent full parental responsibility and give you very few legal rights as a parent.

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