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Joliet child custody lawyerAs a recently divorced parent who puts your children’s wellbeing first, you may understand the importance of co-parenting with your former spouse, both for the sake of maintaining a consistent routine and ensuring that your kids continue to have strong relationships with both parents. However, when it comes to actually communicating with your ex to make this possible, you may be struggling, especially if the emotional pain of the divorce is still fresh. Learning how to communicate effectively with your co-parent can be one of the most challenging responsibilities you have as a parent, but it is also often one of the most important.

Tips for Better Co-Parenting Communication

Some of the details of your co-parenting strategy will be laid out in your parenting plan, while others develop with time. Communication is a skill that takes work, and the following tips can help you continue to improve.

  • Find the right method of communication. Some co-parents are able to communicate face-to-face without a problem, but it is okay if this does not work for you. Talking on the phone or communicating through text or email are perfectly acceptable. Written communication may even be better in some cases, like when you have important plans to share with your co-parent.
  • Know when to communicate. You should also know when communication with your former spouse is appropriate. Your parenting plan likely specifies situations that require communication, like an emergency, upcoming travel plans, or significant decisions for which both parents should provide input. Communication surrounding parenting time exchanges is also often important. However, texting or calling your ex at all hours is rarely necessary, and it could even interfere with his or her parenting time.

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Will County divorce attorneyThough getting a divorce is often the right decision for personal reasons, you may find yourself at risk of financial hardship without your spouse’s income, especially if your own earning ability is limited. Petitioning for spousal maintenance can help you meet your needs after the divorce, but these support payments usually have an end date, and they can terminate earlier than expected under certain circumstances. With this in mind, it is a good idea to start planning for your future as soon as possible.

How Long Will Support Payments Continue?

When an Illinois court determines that spousal support is appropriate, it will often be ordered for a fixed term, the length of which is figured using a calculation based on the length of the marriage. In general, a longer marriage means a longer duration of spousal maintenance payments, though the court may decide to deviate from the calculation depending on the specific circumstances. In any case, the end date of support payments will be included in the divorce decree. However, alimony payments can terminate before the expected end date if the receiving spouse remarries or moves in with a new partner, or if the paying spouse dies.

Getting Ready for Alimony to End

Even if the end date of your spousal maintenance payments is set for several years in the future, you should start preparing for that eventuality early on. An important first step is to create a budget that factors in all of your monthly and yearly income, including from spousal support and possibly child support if you are a parent, as well as your expenses. During this process, you may find opportunities to cut costs that can make your financial obligations more manageable.

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Will County divorce lawyerEnding a marriage can be a complicated process, especially when the couple has built a life together over many years. However, some people recognize early on that their marriage is not going to work and decide to file for divorce after a short time. If you and your spouse are in agreement about ending your marriage, you may be eligible for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage in Illinois, which can make the process much easier and more efficient.

Joint Simplified Dissolution Criteria

Under Illinois law, there are several qualifications that a couple must fulfill in order to pursue a joint simplified dissolution of marriage. You and your spouse may meet the requirements if:

  • You have been married for less than eight years.
  • One or both of you have been an Illinois resident or stationed in Illinois for military service for at least the past 90 days.
  • You are in agreement that your marriage has broken down due to irreconcilable differences.
  • You do not have any children together and one of you is not currently pregnant.
  • You have reached a written agreement on the ownership of any pets or companion animals.
  • The value of your marital property is less than $50,000, and your assets do not include any real estate property or retirement savings of a combined value of $10,000 or more.
  • Your individual gross annual incomes are both less than $30,000, and your combined gross annual income is less than $60,000.
  • You have disclosed all relevant financial information to each other and reached a written agreement on the allocation of marital debts and any marital assets worth more than $100.
  • You have both waived the right to maintenance, otherwise known as spousal support or alimony.

Reaching a Resolution

Pursuing a joint simplified dissolution of marriage does not mean that you have to waive the right to an attorney, and in fact, it can be quite beneficial to consult with a lawyer before moving forward. An attorney can help you review your case to determine whether you are eligible, and can also advise you of your rights to property and assets to help you protect your interests when negotiating an agreement with your spouse. Attorney fees for a joint simplified dissolution are often much more affordable than for a more complicated divorce, and at The Foray Firm, you may be eligible for a flat fee divorce.

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Joliet divorce attorneysThe divorce process is often a time of intense conflict, and unfortunately, it can sometimes bring out a person’s worst behavior. Spouses may attempt to hurt each other out of anger, resentment, frustration, selfishness, or more destructive impulses, and one way of doing so is by dissipating marital property before it can be divided in the divorce. It is important to know that if your spouse is dissipating assets, an attorney can help you hold him or her accountable and achieve a fair outcome.

What Does It Mean to Dissipate Assets?

Broadly speaking, the dissipation of assets occurs when a couple’s marriage has entered a period of irretrievable breakdown, and one of the spouses uses marital assets in a way that has no benefit for the other spouse. In practice, this can take many different forms. For example, a spouse could attempt to transfer marital assets to a private account or to a friend or family member to save for after the divorce. Alternatively, a spouse could spend marital assets for a purpose in their own self-interest; for instance, to buy things for a person with whom they are having an affair. In some cases, a spouse will even destroy or waste marital assets to the benefit of no one.

Asset dissipation may be an intentional strategy to try to damage the other spouse’s financial security or take away a property that the other spouse holds dear. It can also be an act of recklessness or self-destructive behavior. Regardless of the reason for dissipating assets, it is illegal, and it can have a major impact on the outcome of the divorce.

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Joliet divorce attorneysAs part of the transition from being married to being single that occurs in a divorce, Illinois couples are required to equitably divide all marital assets and debts. This is an issue that can lead to much conflict, and the outcome can have serious financial implications for both spouses. As such, it is important to be prepared by understanding the assets you will be expected to divide and how you can do so in a way that protects your interests.

Examples of Marital Assets

Illinois law defines marital assets as any properties that are acquired by either spouse during the marriage and before any judgment of legal separation, with a few exceptions including assets acquired by one partner through a gift or inheritance, and assets that are designated as non-marital in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Some examples of marital property may be obvious, but others you may not expect. Marital assets can include all of the following:

  • Bank accounts with contributions made during the marriage, whether they are joint accounts or listed under one spouse’s name
  • Real estate property including the marital home, if it was acquired during the marriage
  • Physical property acquired by either spouse, including vehicles, furniture, appliances, jewelry, and other valuables
  • Retirement accounts, including both individual and employer-sponsored accounts, if contributions were made during the marriage
  • Business assets and investments acquired during the marriage, whether they are owned by one spouse or co-owned by both.

Methods of Dividing Marital Property

It is important to note that Illinois requires an “equitable” distribution rather than an “equal” distribution, meaning that neither individual assets nor the entire value of the marital estate must be divided exactly in half between both spouses. This leaves you with options for determining the best way to divide your marital property. For example, you may negotiate with your spouse to come to an agreement that allows each of you to remain financially stable and keep properties that are important to you. You may also negotiate for spousal maintenance to offset imbalances resulting from the division of property. If negotiation is not possible, you can also take your case before the court with the assistance of an attorney.

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