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DuPage County divorce attorneysAn inheritance is property that you receive when a loved one passes away. Though the death of a loved one is often a tragic event, an inheritance can provide you with a bit of financial security. If you are married or plan on getting married, this can pose a unique situation if you were to get a divorce. Because many married couples have shared finances, one of the biggest parts of divorce is determining how to divide assets and debts. In Illinois, this process is done in an equitable manner, which does not necessarily mean that both spouses will come out of the divorce with half of the marital estate. A variety of factors are weighed to determine what is equitable, including each spouse’s income and earning potential, the duration of the marriage, and each spouse’s non-marital property in relation to the marital property. So, what does all of this mean for a spouse who has received an inheritance?

Understanding Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Before your property can be divided, you must determine which of your property is non-marital and which of it is considered marital property. In general, any assets or debts that you have acquired during the time that you were married is considered to be part of the marital estate. This means that this property is subject to division during the divorce process. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, and inheritances are one of them. As per Illinois law, property that one spouses acquired by gift, legacy or descent is exempt from being considered marital property.

Keeping Your Inheritance Separate

Even though an inheritance is technically non-marital property, there are ways in which it can have both marital and non-marital characteristics. If this happens, then your inheritance could be considered part of the marital estate and subject to division between you and your spouse. For example, if you received a cash inheritance, and you deposited that money into an account that you share with your spouse for household expenses, it could be considered part of the marital estate.

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DuPage County divorce attorney asset division

Financial struggles are cited as one of the most common causes of divorce. Heavy debt and being unable to pay the bills is stressful, which can damage the couple’s relationship. Monetary troubles can also highlight the spouses’ conflicting spending and saving habits. Bankruptcy is one way that a couple may try to resolve their debts and get a clean start, but it may not be enough to save a marriage that has crumbled under the stress. If you are considering both divorce and bankruptcy, you should understand how the two could affect each other. 

Should Divorce or Bankruptcy Come First?

It would be chaotic to file for divorce and bankruptcy at the same time. Not only would you be juggling two major court cases, but most of your marital assets would be tied up in the bankruptcy. Which you file for first may depend on these factors:

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Naperville divorce lawyersMost divorces require at least one of the spouses to find a new place to live. If you know you will not keep the marital home as part of the division of property, your housing search will be one of your top priorities. How do you begin such a search? How will your divorce affect your search? How do you know what is the right home for you? Here are three important tips for finding a new place to live during and after your divorce:

  1. Choose Something You Can Afford: Your housing expenses will be a key component of your post-divorce budget. Whether you are paying rent or a mortgage, your new home must fit within that budget. Determine what you can afford to pay each month, given your income and expenses. Keep in mind that you may have continued expenses related to your divorce, such as child support and spousal maintenance. On the other hand, receiving spousal maintenance may help you afford a better living situation.
  2. Consider Where You Want to Live: Many divorcees have ties to their current area, whether it is their work and social life or their children. You may need to limit your housing search to somewhere that is reasonably close to your children’s primary home if you want to be a regular and active part of their lives. However, divorce is also a chance to start over somewhere new. You may be free to pursue a new job or move to a place where you have wanted to live but could not while you were married. Some divorcees want to move closer to their families if they feel no connection to where they have been living.
  3. Make Sure You Are Compensated in Your Divorce: Illinois divorce law practices equitable division of property, meaning spouses are required to divide their marital properties in a way that is fair but not always exactly even. Your marital home may be the most valuable asset in your divorce agreement. If your spouse is keeping the house, it is reasonable for you to request other valuable assets in return. This could even mean protecting marital properties that you otherwise would have to share, such as your retirement benefits or business interests.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

The assets you receive in your divorce agreement will help determine where you can afford to live following your divorce. By working with a Naperville, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., you can negotiate an agreement that gives you the financial resources you need to start your new life. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

 

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DuPage County Divorce AttorneysWith the way that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted society, it is understandable for you to wonder whether the courts are available to hear cases on divorce and other areas of family law. The good news is that courthouses in Illinois are open and operating—but with new rules that prioritize the safety of everyone attending. Courts are also taking advantage of video conferencing to limit the number of in-person meetings while still moving forward with cases. The 18th Judicial Circuit Court of DuPage County began hearing all cases again on June 8 with new guidelines that it will use for the foreseeable future.

Will I Have to Attend Court?

Most cases in DuPage County’s domestic relations court are being heard remotely rather than in person. The exceptions are for hearings involving orders of protection, extended trials, and cases that the court deems to be exigent. The court will judge whether a domestic relations case is urgent based on factors such as:

  • How long the case has been pending and the reason for the delay
  • Whether the case involves a dispute about parenting time
  • Whether there is an immediate risk of danger to minors
  • Whether there is an immediate risk of irreparable harm to the marital estate
  • Whether the case involves misconduct by one of the parties

What If I Am Required to Attend in Person?

The DuPage County Courthouse has strict requirements for those who enter to attend a hearing:

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Posted on in Divorce

Four Ways to Be a Good Client During DivorceWhen you begin the divorce process, you are entering a prolonged working relationship with your divorce attorney. Your attorney is your go-to person for discussing all of the technical aspects of divorce, including property division and allocation of parental responsibilities. You select an attorney based on his or her ability to help you obtain a favorable outcome from divorce. However, a good attorney is at his or her best when the client is helpful. Here are four tips for being a good client during your divorce:

  1. Showing Interest: Your attorney has extensive knowledge about divorce, but you are the expert on all matters concerning your life and your marriage. You must be willing to be an active part of the divorce by being available to answer questions and provide information. Anticipate that your attorney will need to know detailed information about your finances and property. Try to promptly answer any questions he or she asks.
  2. Trust Your Attorney: Curious and concerned clients may do their own research on legal aspects of divorce. With the open access to information on the internet, it is tempting to try to answer your own questions. Having access to information is different from knowing how to find the answer. Your attorney should be your resource for any questions you have about your divorce. By doing your own research, you are drawing your own conclusions about the law that may conflict with your attorney’s work.
  3. Efficient Communication: It is good to have an open line of communication with your attorney, but excessive phone calls or emails can be detrimental. Productive conversations become interruptions while your attorney is trying to work. You can most efficiently address your concerns by writing them down and discussing them all at once during planned, regular communications.
  4. Remaining Calm: Some divorce topics may stir up your emotions because of their personal nature. An uncooperative or difficult spouse may also make you angry. When you allow your emotions to control your judgment, you make irrational decisions that undermine your attorney’s efforts to help you. When you fall prey to negative emotions, listen to your attorney’s advice with an open mind. Your attorney has an impersonal perspective on your divorce that helps him or her identify decisions that will be most beneficial to you.

Client Relationships

Divorce attorneys and their clients are most successful when they work with each other on the case. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, PC, can discuss ways you can help during the divorce process. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Preparing For Your Initial Divorce ConversationDivorce is a monumental event that will affect your life and the lives of your family and friends. However, your divorce will start as a conversation between you and your spouse, with a stark message: “I do not want to be married to you anymore.” It can be difficult to build up the courage to have that initial conversation because you anticipate the pain and turmoil that it will cause. Your initial reactions can set the tone for whether your divorce will be amicable or combative. You cannot control how your spouse will react to your request for a divorce, but you can prepare for the conversation in an attempt to minimize conflict.

Be Gentle

Leading up to the conversation, you may have accepted that your marriage is beyond repair and divorce is what will make you happy. Do not assume that your spouse has come to the same conclusion. Recognizing conflict in a marriage is different from wanting to end the marriage. If your spouse is surprised by your divorce request, he or she will likely be angry and upset. You should anticipate this response so that you can:

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How Social Media Can Hurt Your Divorce CaseMany users of social media have gotten into the habit of oversharing personal information. They have an unfounded belief that only a select group of friends will see what they post online. A savvy user knows not to post embarrassing or incriminating information about themselves to Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other popular social media applications. People going through a divorce must be even more cautious about how they use social media. A divorce attorney will investigate the opposing spouse’s social media accounts for evidence to use against him or her. Seemingly benign posts can damage someone's reputation in the context of a divorce. Divorce courts are given discretion in settling cases, and damaging social media posts may affect the:

There are several instances in which social media can be used against you during a divorce.

Attacking Your Spouse

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Getting Divorced After a Short MarriageAfter their actual honeymoon, newly married couples typically go through an extended honeymoon period, when the excitement and happiness of marriage outweighs any negatives. Researchers estimate that the honeymoon period typically wears off after three to five years, when stresses test the strength of a marriage. Some marriages do not survive the test, as studies in the U.S. show that approximately 20 percent of first marriages and 31 percent of second marriages end within five years. In rare cases, a couple may not need even a year to realize they made a mistake. Settling a divorce after a short marriage involves many of the same issues as longer marriages, but the duration of the marriage may affect how the issues are decided.

Division of Property

Illinois requires divorcing spouses to equitably divide their marital property, but a court is allowed to consider the duration of the marriage when determining the division. Courts will generally put greater importance on fairly dividing property in cases involving longer marriages, though there is no official number of years that are required for a longer marriage. For short marriages, it is also important to distinguish between marital and non-marital property. Spouses who have not been married for long are less likely to have accumulated shared assets, including:

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How to React When Divorce Catches You by SurpriseEveryone would like to believe that they understand the status of their marriage well enough to know when a divorce is imminent. However, some people are caught off guard when their spouse asks them for a divorce. Suddenly being served with divorce papers can be emotionally jarring. Your immediate reaction may be to ask yourself:

  • How did I miss the signs of my marriage falling apart?
  • Can I save my marriage?
  • What will happen to me and my children after a divorce?

While it is natural to feel shocked, you must prepare yourself for what is likely an inevitable divorce.

Legal Representation

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Identifying Silent Killers in a MarriageDramatic conflicts can kill marriages. When a spouse is cheating or abusive, it is easy to predict that a couple will seek a divorce. However, many marriages die slowly and for reasons that others may not understand. There are silent marriage killers that do not manifest as direct conflict but will gradually create a divide in a relationship. While it can be difficult to detect these killers, spouses who are aware of them may be able to work through their problems and maintain their marriages.

Lack of Communication

Not talking with your spouse is literally a silent killer in a marriage. You both need to communicate to express how you feel and show that you care about each other. You may have stopped having meaningful conversations in order to avoid conflict. You may be distracted by work or personal interests. Checking social media, in particular, has become an addicting hobby that draws people’s attention away from live interaction and towards their phones. Improving your communication may take a conscious effort:

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Benefits of Attending Divorce Support GroupsGoing through your divorce can be an intensely emotional and personal experience, but divorce, in general, affects a broad number of people. By discussing your divorce with others, you may discover that what you thought were your unique problems are actually common experiences. Divorcees are often advised to see a therapist for individual attention to their emotional needs. Attending a divorce support group can be a good supplement to individual therapy.

What Is a Support Group?

Divorce support groups are meetings for people who are going through or have completed a divorce. One of the members will lead the others in introducing themselves if they are new to the group and discussing their personal experiences with divorce. The atmosphere tends to be relaxed, and members try to be supportive in allowing others to express their feelings without judging them.

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Spouse may hide their assets during a divorceAs part of the divorce process in Illinois, the marital property of the two spouses is split in a way that is deemed to be equitable. Each side must identify and value its assets to determine the marital property that must be split. Diverse and high value assets can make this process complicated, and some spouses may try to take advantage of that by hiding some of their assets or the value of those assets. Besides being illegal, hiding assets during a divorce can result in an inequitable division of property, as one of the spouses has more financial resources than is legally disclosed. It can be hard to tell if your spouse is hiding assets, but there are common methods he or she may use.

  • Physical Assets: If you know your spouse has a collection of valuable items, such as cars or antiques, make sure those items do not get overlooked. If they suddenly disappear, your spouse may have hidden them with a friend or family member.
  • Bank Accounts: Your spouse may try to hide how much money he or she has in a bank account. Money may be withdrawn to be put in a safety deposit box or another account under someone else’s name.
  • Real Estate: Keep track of any properties your spouse owns. He or she may try to transfer that property to someone else for the duration of the divorce proceedings.
  • Work Compensation: Your spouse may underreport his or her work wages by deferring paychecks or falsely claiming a demotion. There is a greater possibility of deception if your spouse is self-employed or runs his or her own business.
  • Taxes: Your spouse may try to misreport his or her income when filing a tax return or overpay the IRS, knowing that he or she can receive a tax refund after the divorce.
  • Debt: Your spouse may collude with someone else to create a fake debt that he or she owes.

Consequences

If it is determined your spouse was hiding assets, the court may award you with a greater share of assets in the division of property or make your spouse financially compensate you. Depending on the severity of your spouse’s deception, your spouse may be found in contempt of court or face criminal charges.

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divorce and children, naperville divorce lawyerThe adjustment period for those going through a divorce can vary in emotional intensity and overall impact from person to person and from family to family. Children, in particular, are susceptible to high levels of stress and emotional turmoil, especially when the situation is not properly explained to them or communicated in a way that helps them understand the reason for the family separation.

Tips on Helping Your Children

If you are recently divorced and wish to provide your children with the ample support they need to grow up happy and healthy, making the following efforts can pay off in the long run:

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