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Naperville IL divorce attorneyFor some couples, the idea of planning for divorce seems downright unnecessary. Not everyone sees the end of their marriage coming, even when it has been unraveling for some time. It is easy to remain in denial or to be so swept up in work, friends, and other activities that you do not realize the marriage is over until the warning signs are unmistakable. Marriages can end suddenly, and when they do, couples are often left to race around and pick up the pieces, with little to no preparation at all. 

How to Start Preparing for an Illinois Divorce

If you were not expecting your relationship to end so abruptly, you may be left with little choice but to face the music and begin chipping away at the filing process. Even the most peaceful splits entail a great deal of work from both parties. From arranging parenting plans and discussing possible spousal maintenance to dividing assets and planning for relocation, your hands will likely be full as you are thrust into the separation experience.

If you, like many spouses, feel blindsided by your suddenly imminent divorce, you can make the filing process as efficient as possible by making the following preparations:

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Naperville IL divorce attorneyFiling for divorce is a momentous decision. Before you begin the process, it is a good idea to ensure that you are prepared in every way possible. The last thing you want is to be knee-deep in divorce proceedings and realize you are unprepared to navigate a critical question. 

Preparing For Divorce Financially

The first thing any professional will recommend is to begin saving money. It is not only attorneys that cost money—you will likely encounter many different bills, and without your spouse’s income, it may be harder to pay them. It is imperative, however, that you do not attempt to hide your assets, at least not money such as your paycheck that can be considered marital property. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property is distributed to the spouses in the most equitable manner possible upon a divorce. Concealing money that is earmarked as marital property, as spouses’ paychecks usually are, can lead to accusations of hiding assets.  

It is also a good idea to consult a financial professional sooner rather than later, bringing any financial documents you have so that you can develop a realistic picture of your finances at the outset of a divorce. A professional will be able to give specialized, individualized advice as to whether you should take the step of closing joint accounts or opening a private account, or what to do with certain assets like stocks and retirement accounts. These instruments are so individual, and each situation so unique, that often, only a professional can assess your potential financial issues with any degree of accuracy.

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Making a Divorce To-Do List to Stay OrganizedThe decisions and responsibilities involved during a divorce can come at you fast and leave you overwhelmed even if you are somewhat prepared. As with other responsibilities, creating a to-do list for your divorce can keep you organized and prevent you from forgetting about important tasks. This may be the most complicated to-do list you will ever create because it involves all aspects of your life. Instead of crossing off completed list items, you may mark that an item is being addressed and update it periodically. Most divorce to-do lists will have the same general sections, with the specifics in each section varying by the person:

  1. Filing for Divorce: The divorce process officially starts once you have filed for a dissolution of marriage with a local court. Either spouse can file for divorce, and the other spouse will receive a notice of the divorce and the scheduled court date. You may gain a geographic advantage by being the one who files if you and your spouse live in separate court districts.
  2. Gathering Your Financial Information: Dividing your marital properties is one of your primary tasks during your divorce. You also need current income records to determine child support and spousal maintenance. You can collect documents and search for information regarding your finances before you file for divorce. Any information gathering you can do before your divorce attorney gets to work will help with the process.
  3. Parenting Arrangement: Your divorce agreement will include the allocation of parental responsibilities, which is the parenting time and decision-making responsibilities of each parent. However, you will need a temporary parenting arrangement for during your divorce. When will each parent be responsible for the children? How will you pay for child expenses? You need immediate answers to these questions.
  4. Housing Status: Most spouses do not live together during their divorce. You must first determine which of you will stay in the marital home. The spouse with primary parenting time often keeps the marital home to avoid relocating the children. You should also consider each of your abilities to find or pay for your own housing. You may have multiple options if you are leaving your marital home, such as staying with family or friends or renting a temporary living space.
  5. Other Tasks: Once you have yourself and your children settled, you must consider how the divorce will affect other aspects of your life. Your employer probably needs to know about your divorce in case it affects your work availability. You may need to close joint financial accounts and open individual ones. You will need to update various documents and forms of identification to reflect your new marital status after your divorce is completed.

Contact a Naperville Divorce Lawyer

When creating your divorce to-do list, there may be important tasks that you forget or are unaware of. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., knows everything you need to accomplish during your divorce. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Using Your Separation to Prepare for DivorceAttorneys often advise clients that legally separating from your spouse is an unnecessary step if you are certain that you will be getting a divorce. You must negotiate the same financial and parenting issues as during a divorce without being free of your marriage. However, some spouses find themselves going through an informal separation period before they formally file for divorce. Living apart may help them feel certain that getting a divorce is the correct decision, even though it means dragging their feet on starting the divorce process. There are several ways that you can prepare for your divorce while separated from your spouse:

  1. Find a Lawyer: You should start by consulting with a divorce attorney to learn more about the process. An attorney can explain what you are allowed to do during your separation and what will happen if you start your divorce.
  2. Protecting Nonmarital Properties: During your divorce, you will categorize your personal properties as either marital or nonmarital. Nonmarital properties are ones that you purchased before your marriage and have remained independent of your marital finances. You can claim properties that rightfully belong to you and would not be part of the division of property.
  3. Identifying Marital Properties: It is important to know what your marital properties are and how much they are worth. Your separation is a time when you can start researching this by collecting receipts and contracts related to the properties. When your divorce starts, you should have a list of marital properties and understand which ones are most valuable to you.
  4. Closing Joint Credit: Spouses share their marital debts after a divorce, and you do not want to be responsible for your spouse compiling greater debt while you are separated. Try to pay off and close your joint credit accounts. You should avoid making major purchases in general when you may be getting a divorce.
  5. Create a Parenting Schedule: You can build the framework of your divorce parenting agreement during your separation. You should be sharing responsibility for your children, even if they are living with only one of you. You have more flexibility now to figure out what parenting schedule works best before it becomes a formal court agreement.

Contact a Warrenville Divorce Attorney

It is natural to be uncertain about whether you want to divorce your spouse. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can explain the process and help you come to a decision. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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