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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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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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4 Tips For Creating a Successful Parenting Plan For Your TeenFiling for divorce when you and your spouse share children together always makes things more complicated. Add in the challenges of raising a teenager and the process only becomes more difficult. Divorcing as a parent requires additional legal considerations to be made, including the drafting of a parenting plan. If you and your spouse are involved in a collaborative divorce, you will be able to build this plan together as you see fit. The unpredictability of kids when they are in their teenage years may leave you feeling overwhelmed when trying to determine what is best for your child moving forward. The following four tips can help you tailor your parenting plan to meet the needs of your teenager and maintain a relationship with them even though they may be living under two separate roofs:

  1. The More Detailed, The Better – Without a detailed plan in place, things can quickly go awry. Be sure to have a parenting schedule that outlines when your child will be with each parent and determines which holidays will be spent where. Since your child is of the age where they have their own circle of friends and life outside of your home, penciling in designated family time can make sure that your teen is still spending time with each parent.
  2. Consider Their Schedules – When creating your detailed schedule, it is important to take your teen’s schedule into account. Your child is at the point in their life where they have their own interests and activities. Failing to consider these key parts of their life will not end well. Have a copy of you, your spouse, and your child’s schedules in hand while designating each parent’s scheduled time.
  3. Financial Implications – Your teenager comes with some significant costs, especially if they do not have a job. Those over the age of 16 will need financial assistance for academic and social activities and college tuition costs if they intend on going in that direction. Consider these incoming costs and outline who will be responsible for what to avoid future conflicts in this area.
  4. Life Changes – You should include a clause regarding how things may change within your parenting plan and how you and your co-parent will make these decisions. The life of a teenager changes from day-to-day. From their academic responsibilities to their social lives, your teen is only going to become busier and more independent as the years go on. Take this into account when creating your plan so that you are prepared for any changes that may come your way.

Contact a Joliet Family Lawyer For Help

Whether you are in the process of filing for divorce or need help adjusting your parenting plan to meet your teen’s needs, The Foray Firm is here to help. Divorce is an emotionally taxing experience, especially when you have a teenager who has grown up with married parents up until this point. The best way to handle your divorce when you have a child is to have a detailed plan in place. Our Will County family attorneys believe in preserving the dignity of families, even in the instance of divorce. For help with your parenting plan, contact our Joliet divorce attorneys at 312-702-1293.

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How to Successfully Co-Parent After a Contentious DivorceRarely do couples walk away from their spouse without some conflict arising in the divorce process. For some, the property division process can reveal hidden assets or greedy intentions that you never experienced with your spouse throughout your marriage. For parents, deciding their future parental arrangements can bring out an ugly side of them. You may argue over who will be the primary parent, what legal rights you each have, or how often each parent will spend time with the kids. Whether you deliberate over every little detail or have one, large argument that damages your relationship further, it can be difficult to move forward as co-parents. With a combination of good communication and self-recognition, you and your co-parent can begin to transform your damaged romantic past into a well-working, co-parenting relationship.

Self Responsibility

As silly as it may sound, taking good care of yourself – mentally, physically, and emotionally – can in turn improve the way that you treat others. It is important to recognize your successes and faults from your marriage so that you can make progress moving forward. Many divorcees will continue to blame their ex for the breakdown of their marriage and age-old arguments will never be left in the past. If you do not take the time to heal or work on yourself, your past can continue to damage your future relationship with your former spouse. 

Focus on Common Goals

The reason that you and your spouse filed for divorce was a lack of romantic or lifestyle compatibility, not your inability to care for your kids. Even if you still see and do things differently in the parenting department, recognizing that you have a common goal – your child’s happiness – can help bring you back to the real purpose of your continued relationship. If you both acknowledge that your child is your priority, this can help mitigate any other disagreements that you may have about how to raise your child.

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