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Four Key Post-Divorce Moves to Manage Your FinancesOften, being married means nearly every part of your lives are entwined with each other – and finances are no exceptions. Many married couples have joint finances and share financial assets such as bank accounts, credit card accounts, investments, and even retirement accounts. When you go to get a divorce, you have to split all of that up in the most equitable way possible. This can be difficult even for the most amicable of couples. It is important to understand that a lot – but not all – of your post-divorce financial success depends on how you handled the finances during the divorce. Here are a few things you can do after the divorce to ensure you have a bright financial future:

  1. Take Care of Your Credit: You should take steps to make sure your credit is protected and that you are starting to build new credit in your name only. If there are any credit cards still open in both your and your ex-spouse’s name, be sure to close them as soon as possible. Open one or two credit cards in your name only to begin building credit on your own.
  2. Make Sure Your Estate Planning Documents are Up to Date: This is something that couples often forget about when they get a divorce. Once your divorce is final, you will want to be sure to update all of your estate planning documents, if you have them. The last thing you would want is for your ex-spouse to inherit your estate if you were to suddenly die. Be sure to update the beneficiaries in your will, trust or other documents.
  3. Sell or Refinance Your Home: If you and your spouse bought a home while you were married, you will also need to determine what to do with such a large asset. If neither of you wants the home, the easiest thing to do would be to sell the home and split the profits. If one of you is keeping the home, you may need to refinance it to make the payments more manageable.
  4. Form a Budget For Yourself: Now that you are single, you will need to rework your budget to meet your needs, while also fitting within your new income. Before, you probably relied on both yours and your spouse’s income to run the household. Now you must make sure you can survive on your income alone. 

Get Help From a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Your finances are one of the biggest issues that will affect you for the rest of your life following a divorce. Getting help from a knowledgeable Bolingbrook, IL, divorce attorney can ensure your divorce settlement addresses as many of these issues as possible. At The Foray Firm, we can help you plan for your financial future before your divorce and help you modify the terms of your agreement after the fact. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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Unique Assets That You May Need to Divide in Your Illinois DivorceBeing married, even for just a few years, can leave you and your soon-to-be ex with a mess of tangled assets, which can be stressful when all you want is for the divorce to be over with. Illinois courts support the idea that divorces work best when the couple comes to agreements for issues on their own, although that is not always possible. Illinois judges will first make you and your spouse attend mediation sessions to try to work out the details of your divorce, but you will end up in court if it does not go as planned. The process of dividing your property can become lengthy, especially since you have to address almost everything you and your spouse own together or separately – even the not-so-common assets. 

Physical Items

Physical assets are those that you can see, feel and touch. Typically, when most people think of property division, they are thinking of physical assets, which can include:

  • Pets or other animals: Prior to 2018, Illinois treated pets much like property was – whoever contributed the most financially to the animal usually ended up keeping it. Now, pets are treated more like children and a judge can decide who to place the animal with, based on the relationship between the animal and each spouse and the wellbeing of the animal. Pets are still one of the more contentious issues in property negotiations.
  • Collections or other mementos: Items such as photographs and home videos are invaluable and can be highly fought over in property division. With today’s technology, making copies of these things is fairly easy, though having the originals is another matter. Collections can also be fought over, especially since many collectible items are worth a lot of money.
  • Gifts given to each other: Items that were given as gifts before you were married – such as the engagement ring – are not subject to division. However, any items you may have given as gifts while you were married are fair game.

Abstract Assets

These assets are sometimes overlooked because they are not technically physical things. Just because something cannot be touched or felt does not mean that it lacks value. Intangible, yet valuable assets that you should not forget include:

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Preparing Your Finances for an Illinois DivorceFor many people, getting a divorce is the most difficult thing they have ever had to do or experience in their lives. Getting a divorce uproots your entire life after you have gotten used to it for years or even decades. Divorces not only spell emotional turmoil, but they can also wreak havoc on your finances if you are not careful. Many people often underestimate the effect a divorce will have on their finances or simply make poor decisions because they are under pressure. One way to avoid making these mistakes and to set yourself up for success after your divorce is by preparing before you even begin the divorce process.

Know What You Are Working With

Before you do anything, your first task is to take inventory of everything that you own. You should take stock of all assets and have all pertinent documents on hand, including:

  • Savings and checking account statements;
  • Brokerage account statements;
  • Pension and Social Security statements;
  • Property deeds and car titles; and
  • Any physical property you own, such as household items.

Do not forget to also take inventory of any liabilities or debts you may have. Gather all documents pertaining to these, such as:

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Setting the Record Straight: Common Divorce Myths and Their TruthsMost of the public perception of divorce is just what people have seen in movies and television or what they have heard from family and friends. While Hollywood does a good job of making intriguing entertainment, it can be partially to blame for some of the misinformation that has been spread about divorce. Divorce myths and misinformation can not only confuse you, but they can also be detrimental if you base your divorce decisions off of them. If you are considering filing for a divorce, you should be thoroughly informed of what you are getting yourself into before you do. Here are a few common divorce myths and the truths behind them:

1. Proving that your spouse committed adultery will help your case.

This might have been true 50 years ago, but most divorce courts no longer give any weight toward claims of adultery. In fact, most divorce courts do not care what the specific reason for divorce is. In Illinois, the only type of divorce that is recognized anymore is a “no-fault” divorce. Instead of choosing a reason for getting the divorce, you now only have to prove that there were irreconcilable differences that resulted in the inevitable breakdown of the marriage. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act also specifically states that decisions will be made “without regard to marital misconduct.”

2. Mothers always receive custody of the children.

This one was also somewhat true for a long time. Now, the state of Illinois does not care whether it is the mother or the father who receives a majority of the parenting time. The only thing that Illinois courts are concerned with is the best interest and the wellbeing of any children who are a part of a divorce. If that means that it is in the children’s best interest to spend most of their time with their father, then that is what the court will decide on.

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Who Gets the Pets in an Illinois Divorce?For many people, pets are like family members. Some people even think of their pets as if they were their children. If you are a pet owner, one issue that may arise during your divorce is who gets to keep the pet(s). Pets can be a big point of contention during a divorce, making for tense situations and heated arguments. Just a few years ago, the state of Illinois treated pets in a divorce like any other piece of marital property. During the allocation of the couple’s property, the pet was awarded to one of the spouses. In 2018, Illinois made a change to the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to allow judges to determine which spouse would be the best caretaker for the animal.

Changing Attitudes

Before the amendment to the Act was passed, pets were treated as property. Most of the time, the spouse who paid for the animal or who had a better financial situation between the two spouses was the one who was awarded the pet. Because of this, pets sometimes lost the person who cared about them the most and some spouses were left with animals they did not actually want.

Now, judges actually treat pets as if they were more like children, rather than property. Judges will look at the entire situation concerning the pet and make a decision based on the pet’s wellbeing. Situations involving pets function much like how custody situations with children function. A spouse can be awarded either full ownership of the pet or joint ownership with their ex-spouse.

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