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Will County divorce lawyerStudent loan debt is a serious burden for millions of Americans, with recent statistics showing an average debt of more than $30,000 among borrowers. Often, borrowers take 20 years or longer to fully pay off their loans. With this in mind, there is a good chance that if you are going through a divorce, you, your spouse, or both of you will have outstanding student loan debt. You should be sure to understand how this debt will affect the division of marital property, as well as your financial situation after the divorce.

Marital and Non-Marital Debt

One of the most important steps when getting a divorce is to take inventory of all of your assets and debts, as well as all those belonging to your spouse. Each spouse’s non-marital assets and debts will stay with them after the divorce, while marital assets and debts will be distributed fairly between the spouses. The question, then, is whether student loans qualify as non-marital or marital debt.

It is common now for people to wait until after graduating college to get married, meaning that many spouses have taken out student loans before their marriage begins. Student loans incurred before the marriage are an example of non-marital debt. However, if you or your spouse took out student loans during your marriage to further your education, they will most likely be considered marital debt. The fact that the loans financed only one spouse’s education, or that only one spouse signed on the loans, will not change their marital status. If you get divorced later in life after taking out loans in your name to finance your children’s education, these loans will also likely be considered marital debt.

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Homewood divorce lawyerOne of a parent’s most important responsibilities and legal obligations is to provide financially for their child’s basic needs. Many Illinois parents who are no longer married, or who were never married to their child’s other parent, rely on court-ordered child support to ensure the other parent’s fair contributions. However, married couples are typically left to manage child-related expenses on their own. This can make things difficult for a parent who is still legally married but in the midst of the divorce process, especially if their spouse is withholding income and assets.

If you are trying to get a divorce from a spouse who has abandoned you and your children, or who has cut you off financially, you may be able to petition for temporary child support before your marriage has been legally dissolved. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you understand your options.

Petitioning for Temporary Child Support

Providing for your children’s needs during the divorce process can be challenging, especially with the legal costs you are likely to incur. If you are struggling to provide and your spouse is not contributing, you can request a temporary child support order by filing a petition with the court that has jurisdiction over your divorce. Your petition will need to include a financial affidavit using a standard, statewide form, through which you will have the opportunity to explain your circumstances. You should also include any relevant evidence that supports your affidavit, including your bank statements, pay stubs, and recent tax returns.

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Joliet IL family lawyerIf you and your partner are ready to commit to a life together in marriage, it is crucial that you can trust each other to make responsible financial decisions and respect each other’s property and financial goals. Similarly, if you are already married and your financial situation has recently changed, it is important to determine how you and your spouse will adapt to this new reality. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can often help to address these issues. When considering whether an agreement of this nature is the right choice, you should be aware of some of the property concerns that it can help you manage.

What Can an Illinois Prenuptial Agreement Do?

Provided that you and your spouse can agree to the terms, a prenup or postnup can help you do all of the following:

  • Define non-marital property - One of the most common reasons for creating a prenup is to protect the property that each spouse brings to the marriage. For example, a prenup can clearly define the amount of each spouse’s premarital retirement contributions, or ensure that a business or home remains the separate property of one spouse. A postnup can accomplish a similar purpose during the marriage, perhaps if a spouse wants to protect a newly acquired inheritance.

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Will County family law attorneyFor divorced and unmarried parents in Illinois, a parenting plan is crucial to establish the terms of the co-parenting relationship and ensure that the children’s best interests are protected. Like many other family law orders, the terms of a parenting plan are legally binding once they are approved by the court. Parents should be sure to abide by them, both for their children’s sake and in order to avoid legal consequences. If your child’s other parent has violated your parenting agreement, you can take action to enforce the order.

Parenting Plan Violations in Illinois

Illinois parenting plans must be fairly comprehensive when it comes to addressing parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, and communication between co-parents. As such, there are many ways that a parent could violate the terms of the agreement. For example:

Will County family lawyerAfter a divorce, most parents want to ensure that they can spend as much time as possible with their children. However, parents who work or attend school will need to balance their parenting responsibilities with these other demands on their time. This can be especially difficult for single parents who may not be able to rely on the other parent’s assistance as they did when they were married. As you prepare for a divorce, you should be sure to understand your child care needs and consider how to address them in your divorce resolution.

Strategies For Managing Your Child Care Needs

You may think of providing for your children’s care as a personal responsibility that has little to do with your divorce proceedings. However, there are several aspects of the divorce process through which you can address child care. These include:

  • Creating a thoughtful parenting time schedule. If you and your spouse can cooperate, the court will allow you to work together to create a parenting time schedule that addresses the days and nights your children will stay with each parent, as well as plans for exchanges between homes. As you iron out a schedule that meets your needs, you should keep your work schedule in mind and try to reach an arrangement that minimizes overlap between your parenting time and your work responsibilities.

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