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Joliet divorce lawyersThe legal process of divorce can sometimes make you feel like you are drowning in paperwork. Decisions need to be made regarding spousal maintenance, the division of marital assets, parenting plans, and more, and along with these decisions comes a significant amount of legal paperwork and signing on the dotted line. But, what about when your divorce is finalized—what else needs to be done? Unfortunately, the life updates do not stop when your divorce is all said and done, and the following will need to be adjusted to reflect your new future as a single adult.

Emergency Contacts

Whether it is your kids’ contact information at school or your own personal emergency medical contact, it is important to update this information to be relevant to your current life rather than your old one. Emergency contacts can often get overlooked until an actual emergency is happening, in which case it may be too late to provide the new information.

Tax Information

As a married individual, there are a number of tax benefits allotted to you. Once your divorce is finalized, your tax information will be changed to reflect your new relationship status. For those who have gotten divorced in the past year, you may be able to write off some of the divorce settlement fees when tax time comes around, including spousal and child support. Your attorney should provide you with an itemized list of performed services to attach to your tax documents for proof of your listed exceptions.

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Will County family law attorneyDivorce is an emotionally-challenging life experience that, unfortunately, many couples go through. Regardless of the number of years that you have been married, recognizing that the promise of “till death do us part” has been broken can be devastating. This is especially true for those who share children together. Divorce does not just affect the married couple’s relationship, but also each parent’s relationship with their children. This decision does not need to have a damaging impact on your relationship as a parent, however, and the way that you choose to discuss this decision with your kids can be a key factor in the ramifications of your divorce.

Breaching the Topic

When you and your spouse have made the definitive decision to move forward with your divorce, it is important to be upfront with your children from the start. If they find out about your divorce through the grapevine before you have had the chance to talk to them, this can be damaging to your relationship and their trust in you. If you and your spouse are filing for divorce, it is highly unlikely that your child has not sensed your distance or tension in the past. They may even suspect that divorce is on the horizon. 

Before telling your kids the news, you and your spouse must be on the same page about how the discussion will go. Presenting the news as a united front will send the message that you are both their parents, despite your impending divorce. The details of the conversation will shift depending on your kids' ages, but be sure to stress that your decision to divorce is not reflective of your love for your child or a result of their actions in any way. 

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Joliet divorce attorneysEvery divorce is different, including each spouse’s inclination to be cooperative throughout the process. Though it is easiest and quickest for both parties to be forthcoming regarding their finances, it is not uncommon for one or both spouses to attempt to keep a portion of their assets out of the divorce proceedings. As an equitable distribution state, Illinois requires all finances and assets to be disclosed and fairly distributed between both parties, even if one spouse was the primary breadwinner. If you suspect that your spouse is keeping a side-stash of assets, you may consider taking additional action to reveal their true colors.

Common Signs of Hidden Assets

Do you have a feeling that your spouse is not being truly forthcoming about their assets, but are unsure of where to look? Before obtaining a court order against your spouse, you should try to do your own digging. There are four common ways that spouses hide their assets during a divorce:

  1. Denying that the asset exists
  2. Transferring the asset to a third party for the time being
  3. Claiming that the asset was lost or misplaced
  4. Creating false debt

Looking at the details on your tax returns are often the most telling of your true financial situation. The first place that you should look is the itemized deduction section. You can easily detect undisclosed assets or income. For example, a deduction of property taxes could reveal the existence of a hidden property. You can also look at the interest and dividends recorded on the tax return. First, create your own inventory of the assets that you know of, then compare this to your tax return to determine if there are any unknown assets generating interest or dividends. There are a number of other areas that can be useful in locating hidden assets with the help of your attorney, though this is a good place to start.

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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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