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How are College Expenses Handled During a Divorce?College is not cheap. Since the 1980s, college tuition costs have risen more than 200 percent for public universities across the country, making covering the expense of higher education more difficult than ever. Because of this, young adults are living with their parents longer than any generation prior to them. For parents getting a divorce, paying for their children’s college education can be a point of contention during the divorce negotiations. Fortunately, Illinois law has included provisions in the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) on how post-secondary education expenses are distributed between parents.

Covering the Costs

The IMDMA allows courts to allocate costs to either or both parents based on a variety of factors. The judge can order that property allocated to either spouse during the asset division process be used to pay for post-secondary education, either now or when the time comes. Child support payments can also be extended beyond when the child turns 18 for the purpose of paying for college. A variety of things can be included in college costs, as long as the costs are accrued before the child’s 23rd birthday, or in some cases, the child’s 25th birthday. These costs can include:

  • A prep course for a standardized college entrance exam
  • Two standardized college entrance exam fees
  • Fees for up to five college applications
  • Tuition and fees
  • Housing expenses and meal plans
  • Medical insurance and dental expenses
  • Reasonable living expenses for the child
  • Books and supplies 

Who Pays for What?

As mentioned before, either parent or both parents can be held responsible for paying for the costs related to the child’s college education. If the parents cannot come to an agreement as to how these costs will be covered, it will be up to the judge to decide for them. The judge will make his or her decision based on a variety of factors, including:

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How to Keep Your Illinois Divorce Costs as Low as PossibleNothing in this world is free and that holds true for a divorce. The estimates available for the average cost of getting a divorce differ greatly depending on the source. Some sources state you can get a “do-it-yourself” divorce for a couple of hundred dollars, while other sources state that a litigated divorce can cost upwards of $100,000. Certain things can affect the cost of a divorce, such as the type of divorce you get, where you live, the retainer cost for your attorney and your attorney’s hourly rate. The cost of getting a divorce can seem daunting, but there are some things you can do to help keep those costs down.

  1. Choose the Right Type of Divorce for Your Situation: When it comes to divorce, you have a few options. You can choose between a traditional litigated divorce, a mediated divorce or a collaborative divorce. Typically, the most expensive type of divorce is a litigated one and can cost you big time when it comes to court costs, filing fees, and attorney rates. If you and your spouse are willing to work together with one person who is knowledgeable of family law, a mediated divorce might work, which reduces the cost of two attorneys to one. If you and your spouse are somewhat contentious but you do not want to litigate the divorce, a collaborative divorce might work for you.
  2. Make Sure You are Organized: Being organized and prepared is key when it comes to saving money on attorney costs. If you come to meetings with your attorney and you do not have the needed documents or information for the topics at hand, you will have to meet with your attorney again, costing you more money in the long run. It pays to be prepared and efficient when it comes to a divorce. 
  3. Try to Settle As Many Issues as Possible On Your Own: Another slightly obvious way to save money during a divorce is to try to negotiate as many issues as you can with your spouse without involving your attorney. For example, do not use a meeting with your attorney to hash out the details of who gets which household items if that is something that you and your spouse can work out together. The less time you have to spend with your attorney, the less money you have to pay him or her.

Hire a Skilled Will County Divorce Attorney

If you are concerned about what it will cost to get divorced, there are certain things you can do to ensure you are not paying more than what is necessary. At The Foray Firm, we are not only efficient at what we do, but we also offer a flat-rate divorce for those who want a fixed price prior to beginning the divorce process. Let our knowledgeable Homewood, IL, divorce lawyers assist you with all aspects of your divorce. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 312-702-1293.

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Dealing With Marital Debt During an Illinois DivorceThe majority of your negotiations during your divorce will involve you and your spouse fighting over what each of you wants out of the divorce. One of the only things you and your spouse will not be fighting to keep are the debts that the two of you incurred during your marriage. In an ideal world, you and your spouse would each walk away from the marriage with only the debts that you each created, but that is not how divorce works. Illinois divides marital assets and debts on an equitable basis, which typically means you will only be responsible for the debts that you have the means to repay. If you and your spouse have a difference in income, the spouse with the higher income will typically be responsible for more of the marital debt.

Go Into Your Divorce Debt Free

Most divorce attorneys will tell you that your troubles can be cut in half if you go into your divorce without any marital debt. Lenders typically do not care about divorce decrees, nor are they legally required to abide by them. Lenders just want their money. If your spouse is ordered to repay a certain debt that also has your name on it, you are still legally responsible for that debt after divorce and can suffer the consequences if that debt is not paid back. Still, it is unfeasible for many couples to repay all of their debts before getting a divorce, though you should repay as much as you can.

Allocating Secured and Unsecured Debts

Handling debts during a divorce can be done in a few different ways, depending on the type of debt it is. Secured debts, or debts that are secured by a certain asset, such as a house or car, typically require refinancing if one spouse is keeping the asset and both spouses are on the debt agreement. To release one spouse from being legally obligated to repay a secured debt, the spouse who is keeping the asset must qualify for refinancing on his or her own.

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Will Getting a Divorce Affect My Credit Score?For many people, divorce can put a big financial strain on the family. The cost of getting divorced is estimated to be anywhere from a couple of thousand of dollars to more than $100,000 if you have an extensive list of issues you must settle and a combative spouse. In addition to the cost of getting the divorce, your finances can change because you are switching to a one-adult household with less income and similar expenses. Many couples worry about what a divorce will do to their credit score and for good reason. Getting a divorce will not lower your credit score by itself, but there are things that happen throughout the divorce and the asset division process that could negatively affect your credit score:

  1. You Have Not Closed Your Joint Accounts Yet: Many couples simplify their finances during the marriage by having joint accounts. These can be bank accounts, credit card accounts or even investment accounts. During a divorce, these accounts must be distributed to both spouses, but it can take time to do that and to open new accounts in your own name. If your spouse still has access to accounts that have your name on them, they can do things that can negatively affect your credit score, such as accruing charges or overspending on a credit card account.
  2. You are Not Prepared for the Change in Income and Expenses: Divorcing also means you are splitting your households. Instead of having two incomes to pay for all of your expenses, you now have all or most of the same expenses but are paying those with only one income. Some spouses may be ready for this change, but other people take time to adjust. Before you are on your own financially, you should figure out a new budget for your post-divorce life and determine what you can and cannot afford. Even something as small as one late payment on a credit card or loan can impact your credit score negatively.
  3. You Have to Refinance Your Home: If you and your spouse owned a home together during the marriage, you must determine what you are going to do with it. Though the easiest way to deal with a family home is to sell it and split the profits, many people want to keep the home, especially if they have young children. If one of you is keeping the home, it is easier for everyone if the mortgage is in that spouse’s name only. To do this, you will probably have to refinance the home, which means you will have to go through a hard credit inquiry that could impact your credit score.

Consult With a Will County Divorce Attorney Today

Though your credit score is probably not on your list of priorities when you are going through your divorce, you should definitely keep an eye on it. Many people come out of divorce not knowing what their personal credit score is or not realizing that their credit score is not strong enough to qualify them for many things. At The Foray Firm, we understand how much of a change a divorce can bring to all aspects of your life. Our skilled Homewood, IL, divorce lawyers can help you throughout your divorce and help you protect your credit during the process. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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Is My Marriage Over? Four Signs You Should Consider DivorceMarriage is not easy. You will have good days and bad days. When the bad days happen more often than the good days, you may begin to wonder if you should even still be married. You may wonder if your marriage is over and what that means, but there is no universal answer to that question. For some people, the best thing to do is to get a divorce, while other couples are able to work things out and rebuild their marriage. The decision is never easy, but here are a few common signs that you may want to consider divorce as your best option: 

  1. You and Your Spouse Do Not Communicate: Communication is key to any successful relationship, especially a marriage. When you do not communicate with your partner, you can easily drift apart, which makes for an unhappy marriage. Lack of communication can indicate that there are deeper issues that need to be solved than just learning how to communicate again.
  2. There is No Trust Between You Anymore: Typically, a lack of trust goes along with a lack of communication. You should be able to fully trust your partner, but if you and your partner are not communicating, trust can fade. If you feel like you cannot be vulnerable and honest with your partner about your needs, hopes, and fears, you are not being emotionally fulfilled.
  3. You Are Only Staying Together for the Kids: Staying married simply because you and your spouse have kids together is never a good idea and is not beneficial to anyone in the family. In fact, staying married to your spouse when neither of you is happy can harm your children. Studies have shown that children who live in unhappy households typically have lower self-esteem, behavioral issues, and problems at school.
  4. You Do Not Resolve Your Issues: Conflict resolution is an important skill for any relationship. It has often been said that you should not go to bed angry. While that is not necessarily true, it does mean that you should eventually work out your issues. Refusing to face the issues between you and your spouse or never coming to a resolution builds tension in a marriage. 

Talk With a Knowledgeable Will County Divorce Lawyer Today 

For many people, one of the most difficult choices they will make in their life is whether or not to divorce their spouse. This decision does not come easy and often takes months or even years to arrive at. If you think a divorce would be your best option, you should also talk with a compassionate and skilled Homewood, IL, divorce attorney as soon as possible. At The Foray Firm, we understand that you may be nervous or unsure about taking this step in your life. We can help you take care of all of the details of your divorce so you can focus on the next chapter of your life. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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BBA Of Will County Illinois State Bar Association Cook County Bar Association The National Bar Association BWLA
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