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Joliet divorce lawyerGetting a divorce brings so many major life changes that you may find yourself looking for comfort and stability in things that can stay the same. This mindset may have led you to prioritize keeping your marital home in the division of property so that you do not have to worry about moving along with ending your marriage. However, keeping the home is not always the best decision, and it is important to consider your answers to the following questions as you decide how to proceed.

Are You Raising Children?

If you have kids under the age of 18 who are still living with you, especially if you are expecting a greater share of parenting time, staying in your home may be important to help the children adjust and allow them to continue attending the same school. If your children are already grown, however, a divorce may be a good opportunity to sell the home and downsize to a residence that is more affordable and easier to maintain.

Can You Afford the Mortgage?

If you and your spouse have not finished paying off your mortgage, keeping the home in the divorce will likely also mean that you become fully responsible for the debt. Homeownership also comes with other substantial costs, including insurance, property tax, utilities, and repairs. If all of these expenses fit into your post-divorce budget, keeping the home may be a good idea, but if you cannot pay them, it may be best to let the home go.

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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_protection-order-domestic-violence.jpgDomestic violence is a serious and widespread problem in Illinois and throughout the United States., and it is important for victims and those under threat to know where they can turn for help. One of the most powerful shields from domestic violence is an order of protection issued by the court and enforced by local law enforcement. An order of protection can grant many different kinds of relief, including prohibiting an alleged abuser from engaging in abusive behavior or coming near a person or their children at work or school. Perhaps the most significant--and most complicated--form of relief is a grant of exclusive possession of the residence.

Considerations When Granting Exclusive Possession

In a legal proceeding involving an order of protection, the person requesting protection is known as the petitioner, and the alleged abuser is known as the respondent. When the court grants exclusive possession of the residence, this means that the respondent is ordered to stay away from the location where the petitioner lives, even when the respondent shares that residence and fully or partially owns or leases it.

In deciding whether to grant exclusive possession of the residence, the court will consider two important factors. First, the court must determine whether the petitioner has a right to occupancy of the residence. As the petitioner, you have a right to occupancy if you own or rent the residence on your own or with someone else, including the respondent. Even if you do not own or rent the residence, you may have a right to occupancy if the owner authorizes it. You also may have the right to occupancy if the person who owns or leases the residence is your spouse or someone who has a legal duty to support you or your child. In many cases, this means the respondent.

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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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