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Five Common Questions About Divorce MediationMany spouses are turning to divorce mediation as an alternative to the lengthy and costly process of divorce litigation. Mediation involves the two spouses directly negotiating the terms of their divorce, with an impartial mediator guiding them through the process. By working together, the spouses can reach a mutually beneficial agreement without the vitriol that can come with litigation. You may be considering mediation for your divorce but are unsure whether the process is right for you. Here are the answers to common questions about divorce mediation:

  1. Is Mediation Only for Amicable Divorces?: Mediation works best when both spouses can cooperate with each other, but it can still work even if you and your spouse have a contentious relationship. Part of the mediation process is teaching you how to reach an agreement in spite of your differences. The mediator is there to help defuse unproductive arguments. The most important requirement for mediation is your willingness to communicate and behave reasonably.
  2. Is a Mediator the Same Thing as a Divorce Lawyer?: Many mediators are practicing family law attorneys, but their role as a mediator is different than that of an attorney. An attorney represents one side in a case, while a mediator is a third-party observer and advisor to the mediation process. Many spouses share the cost of hiring a mediator, while individually hiring their own attorneys who they can consult with outside of the mediation.
  3. Do I Still Need to Appear in Court?: If your mediation goes well, you will have two court appearances: filing for a dissolution of marriage at the start of the process and submitting your divorce agreement for approval at the end of the process. The court must review your agreement to confirm that it adheres to the state’s divorce laws and is not blatantly unfair to one party.
  4. What Happens If Mediation Fails?: The mediation process will end if you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse on part of your divorce settlement. Your case will likely move directly to litigation afterward. However, the mediation process may not have been a waste if you were able to agree on some parts of your divorce settlement.
  5. Is Mediation Faster and Cheaper than Litigation?: If successful, mediation could be a faster and less expensive process for you. You are saving time by having more-efficient negotiations and avoiding numerous court appearances. Saving time will also save you money on court fees and legal expenses. However, failed mediation could be slower and more costly because you will have used both mediation and litigation.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Mediator

When hiring a divorce mediator, you need to find someone with knowledge of divorce law and training in the mediation process. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce mediator at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can explain the mediation process to you. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.

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How to Reclaim Your Last Name During DivorceChanging your last name after your divorce is an empowering step that helps signify your disconnection from your husband. You have little reason to keep his name unless you want to share the same last name with your children. The process for changing your name can be fairly simple and quick if you want to revert to your maiden name. However, the name change will affect many aspects of your life, and it will take time to make all of the necessary updates.

Name Change Process

As part of your divorce agreement, you can decide to change your last name back to your maiden name, which the divorce court will approve. Taking on a completely new last name is a separate process that may take more time. If you did not reclaim your maiden name during your divorce, you can still change your last name after the divorce by:

  • Filing a petition to change your last name;
  • Publishing a notice in a local newspaper about your hearing to change your last name; and
  • Attending the hearing to decide whether to allow your name change.

Your name change hearing will likely be simple and without much argument. The purpose of the hearing is to make sure you do not have fraudulent motives to change your name and to give others the opportunity to object to your name change, which is rare.

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Continuing to Live with Your Ex After DivorceLeaving your marital home after your divorce can be difficult for both personal and financial reasons. Personally, you may no longer be living with your children and will see them less often. Financially, you will need to pay for a new home after previously investing in your marital home. If you think it would be easier to continue to live in your marital home with your former spouse, understand that there is a precedent for this living arrangement. However, you will need to settle legal issues and figure out how you can live separately within the same home.

How It Works

Divorcees who stay in the same home choose their own living areas where they can have privacy from each other. They can create a schedule for when they will use common areas, such as the kitchen. As part of the divorce agreement, they can clarify who is responsible for:

  • Upkeep of the home;
  • Purchasing food;
  • Paying bills; and
  • Deciding on changes to the home.

If they have children in the home, they will need a parenting agreement to determine when each parent will be responsible for the children. The schedule may look similar to one that the parents would have created if they were living separately.

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Marriage-to-Divorce Ratio Reaches Highest Level in DecadeThere are several formulas that researchers use to try to better understand the divorce rate in the U.S. The crude divorce rate compares the number of divorces to the total population, which can skew the number because it includes people who cannot marry. The refined divorce rate compares the number of divorces to the number of married women, giving a more accurate total. There is also the marriage-to-divorce ratio, which compares the number of divorces to the number of marriages. The National Center for Family and Marriage Research recently released a study that states that there were 2.2 marriages for every one divorce in the U.S. in 2017.

What Does It Mean?

It is common for there to be more marriages than divorces in a given year, even during periods when the divorce rate is considered high. The 2.2 marriage-to-divorce ratio is the highest that the National Center for Family and Marriage Research has recorded since it started the study in 2008, though it is still well shy of the estimated 3.0 ratio in 1970. Other facts to keep in mind include:

  • Illinois’ 2.55 ratio was the 10th highest marriage-to-divorce ratio in 2017 amongst the 50 states and the District of Columbia;
  • The District of Columbia had by far the highest ratio at 5.87, followed by Hawaii at 3.42 and Alaska at 3.26;
  • Maine had the lowest ratio at 1.34, followed by Alabama at 1.38 and Rhode Island at 1.53; and
  • Nearly half of the states saw their ratios increase from 2015 to 2017, while a quarter saw their ratios decrease.

Formula Limitations

Comparing the number of marriages to the number of divorces in a given year does not tell you how likely it is that the marriages will end in divorce. Most of the divorces involved people who were married in previous years, meaning that the married and divorced groups are not directly comparable. The formula also cannot reliably tell you whether the rate of divorce has increased from year-to-year. Theoretically, a spike in the number of marriages in a year could increase the marriage-to-divorce ratio even if the number of divorces remains consistent.

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Obtaining Health Insurance After Gray DivorceYour medical needs and their related expenses increase as you approach the age of becoming a senior citizen. This means health insurance is a vital issue during a gray divorce, a term that describes divorce between spouses that are age 50 and older. You need continued coverage, but it may be more expensive for you than for younger people who are divorcing. You must consider your health insurance expenses when negotiating your divorce agreement.

Coverage Change

Getting older typically means more frequent visits with doctors. You are also more likely to need an expensive medical procedure and be prescribed regular medication. Losing your health insurance would be devastating to your personal finances because you would be paying those expenses out-of-pocket. Getting divorced may change how you receive and what you pay for your health insurance. If you are already on Medicare, you can continue with that coverage. Otherwise, you will need to sign up for:

  • Medicare coverage;
  • Spousal Continuation Coverage;
  • Coverage through your own employer; or
  • Individual coverage through the health insurance marketplace.

Medicare

You will qualify to receive Medicare once you turn 65 but may be charged a premium for the coverage if you have not worked 40 quarters during your career, which is roughly 10 years. If your former spouse worked the requisite number of quarters, you can receive benefits from his or her Medicare plan, as long as you:

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Determining Child Support With an Inconsistent IncomeIllinois calculates the percentage of child support that each parent owes based on their comparative net incomes. The parent who earns a greater income will pay a proportionate share of the child-related expenses. However, child support can be more complicated when one of the parents has an income that varies by month, due to:

  • Working overtime;
  • Receiving bonuses; or
  • Working for a commission.

Extra pay is part of a parent’s net income but usually not included in the child support calculations. How do you ensure that your co-parent is paying a fair amount of child support when he or she cannot give a consistent monthly income? There are three methods of dealing with this:

  1. Calculating the Average: You can add your co-parent’s income from a period of several months and determine his or her average income, which becomes the basis for the child support payments. This is the simplest method because you are establishing a consistent income amount. However, it can be the least accurate depending on how much your co-parent’s income fluctuates. You may need to revisit your child support payments if his or her monthly income greatly deviates from the past average.
  2. Monthly Supplements: Your co-parent may have a base wage that he or she receives each month. You can use that amount as your co-parent’s base monthly income and supplement it each month with any additional pay that he or she receives. This method requires more work because your co-parent must submit his or her pay statements each month. Your child support contributions will reflect your respective incomes, but you are trusting that your co-parent is providing you with accurate information.
  3. True-Up: You can use the third method in conjunction with either of the first two methods. With a true-up, your co-parent provides the pay statements and W-2 income form from the previous year to determine what he or she should have paid in child support for that period. If your co-parent underpaid you, he or she must reimburse the difference. If your co-parent overpaid you, he or she will receive a credit towards future child support payments. You and your co-parent must have a good level of communication and trust for this method to work.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Illinois determines your child support obligation based on the expected cost of raising your children. Allowing your co-parent to exclude income is taking resources away from your children. A Warrenville, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can make sure that your co-parent is contributing an appropriate amount to your parenting expenses. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111. 

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Posted on in Divorce

A New Divorcee's Guide to Valentine's DayWhether you are in the middle of a divorce or have already finished, your first Valentine’s Day after leaving your spouse can be emotional. Seeing other couples celebrate the holiday can make you feel lonely – not for your spouse but for the relationship you have lost. Valentine’s Day does not need to be a depressing event for you. With the right approach, you can find other ways to enjoy the holiday.

What to Avoid

It is wise to not treat this Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday by going out on a date. If you are in the process of divorce, spending money on a romantic evening could be construed as you wasting marital assets or showing that you do not care about your divorce. If your divorce is complete, you must consider whether you are emotionally ready to start dating again. In general, you should avoid:

  • Going to places that are popular for date nights, such as nice restaurants and movie theaters;
  • Viewing photos on social media of friends celebrating with their significant others;
  • Isolating yourself in order to sulk and feel lonely; or
  • Getting drunk or high to distract yourself from your thoughts.

What to Do

You have worked hard to get yourself through your divorce and start your new life. This Valentine’s Day can be about rewarding yourself with simple pleasures, such as:

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Parenting Your Teen During DivorceTeenagers are more capable of complex thinking than younger children because of their growing maturity. Thus, it makes sense that a teenager’s reaction to a divorce may be more complicated than with his or her younger siblings. In some cases, your teen may surprise you with how well he or she reacts to the news. However, it is also common for teens to become depressed, angry, or rebellious. Though your divorce can distract you from your parental responsibilities, you cannot wait until it is over to address the issues that your teen may be having. Here are three tips for helping your teens during your divorce:

  1. Communicate With Them: Teens are already inclined to spend more time with their friends than their family. Your divorce makes it likely that they will turn to their friends in order to escape the stress of family life. It is good for them to have that social outlet, but they still need you to be a guiding presence in their lives. Your teen’s friends may not know the correct way to react if he or she starts behaving dangerously, such as showing increased interest in drugs, sex, or violence.
  2. Do Not Overburden Them: In a single-parent home, you may need your teens to take on greater responsibility for your family’s daily tasks. Some teens will take it upon themselves to pick up the slack, including assuming an almost parental role with their younger siblings. You should not expect your teen to be a second adult in your household because your teen would be skipping an important stage in his or her development. Let teens help you with age-appropriate tasks while encouraging them to continue their extracurricular and social activities.
  3. Maintain Discipline: You may find it difficult to be strict with your children during your divorce because you feel guilty about how your decision is affecting them. A teen may be smart enough to take advantage of this leniency in order to get away with inappropriate behavior. You can be a disciplinarian with your teen while also being compassionate and understanding. Try not to be angry with them. Instead, tell them that you are setting rules because you care about them and want to instill good habits and values in them.

Contact a Warrenville Divorce Attorney

Your children need you to be present in their lives during and after your divorce. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you create a parenting schedule that allows you to see your children regularly. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Limited Tax Deductions May Make Keeping Home CostlierThe elimination of the alimony tax deduction has rightfully received the most attention amongst the recent changes to the federal tax laws. Not being able to deduct your spousal maintenance payments from your federal taxes is changing how divorcees negotiate their maintenance. However, changes to tax deductions related to real estate could affect whether you want to keep a home or other real property after a divorce. People in high-asset divorces may have fewer tax deductions available to them.

Tax Deductions

One of the goals of the federal tax reform law passed in 2017 was to simplify the tax code. The standard deduction for a single filer increased from $6,000 to $12,000, but many other deductions were reduced or eliminated, including:

  • Capping deductions for state and local income and property taxes at $10,000 when filing as a single person or a married couple filing jointly, or at $5,000 for a married person filing separately;
  • Eliminating deductions for home equity loan interest unless the loan was used to pay for improvements towards a primary or secondary home;
  • Reducing the mortgage interest tax deduction from $1 million to $750,000 if the mortgage was obtained after Dec. 15, 2017; and
  • Eliminating deductions for foreign real estate taxes.

Some of the people who stand to lose the most from the tax deduction changes are those who own multiple real properties and those who live in areas with high local income and property taxes. Even though the standard deduction has doubled, people in a high-asset divorce may have been able to save more money on taxes with the previous deductions intact.

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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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Moving Out of Your Post-Divorce Comfort ZoneGetting a divorce is taking a big step out of the familiar and into the unknown. While you may have felt some comfort in your marriage, you realized that ending your marriage was a healthier choice for yourself. However, you may not find the better life you were hoping for if you stay inside your comfort zone following your divorce. Repeating the same patterns and routines will keep your life mostly the same as during your marriage. Here are four tips for leaving your comfort zone after your divorce:

  1. Seeing a Therapist: You must identify the personal tendencies that hold you back in order to break free of them. A therapist is not required in order to do this but can help with the process. By talking about yourself to someone else, you can better understand the insecurities and fears that hinder your willingness to change. A support group could be another place for you to talk, as well as receive advice from other divorcees.
  2. Joining Clubs: Speaking of groups, a club can be a fun way to try new experiences and meet new friends. It is less frightening to explore outside of your comfort zone when you are in a group setting. There are clubs for people with shared hobbies or similar backgrounds, including clubs for single or divorced adults interested in social outings. Keep trying until you find a club that fits your interests and needs.
  3. Saying “Yes”: Opportunities occur during your life to try new experiences and make major changes. It could be as simple as a friend inviting you to an event or as profound as a new job. Take more time to seriously consider an opportunity before following your instinct to say “no.” Accepting the opportunity may turn out to be fun or even change your life for the better.
  4. Understanding Your Limits: It is okay to be cautious in leaving your comfort zone because some opportunities may not be right for you. For instance, it is wise to wait until you are ready before you begin dating and seeking new relationships. Taking on too many changes at once could be overwhelming while making gradual changes can build your confidence towards bigger changes.

Contact a Warrenville Divorce Attorney

Taking that first step of filing for divorce is the key to leaving an unhappy marriage and changing your life for the better. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you reach a divorce agreement that allows you to enter your new life with confidence and security. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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How Your Divorce May Affect Your BusinessGoing through a divorce can be perilous for your business, particularly if it is a smaller, family-run business. Some owners have seen the value of their business drop or lost control of it because of the consequences of the divorce process. It is important to work with your divorce attorney on protecting your business during the divorce and allowing it to thrive afterward.

Marital Property

You may need to fight for ownership of your business during your divorce negotiations. Your business is marital property if you created it during your marriage or used marital assets to invest in it. A business that predates your marriage can be nonmarital property, though the amount that the business increased in value during your marriage can be a marital asset. You have several options when your business is part of the equitable division of property. You can:

  • Have complete ownership of the business in exchange for other marital assets of equitable value;
  • Co-own the business with your former spouse after the divorce;
  • Split your business into two companies that you own separately; or
  • Sell your business and divide the proceeds.

The option you choose may depend on the size of your business and how involved your spouse is in it. Your spouse may be content to let you keep the business if he or she is not part of it. A spouse who helped create and run the business may be unwilling to give up his or her business ownership without ample compensation. However, co-owning or dividing a small business may be impractical, and selling your business means losing your source of income.

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Answering Your Children's Questions About DivorceYour children will have many questions about your divorce, some of which may be difficult for you to answer. Some questions have obvious answers, such as “Do you still love me?” and “Is the divorce my fault?” There are other questions that you may not have immediate answers to, such as “Who will I be living with?” You can assure your children whatever parenting time decision you make will be in their best interest. The trickiest question is the big one: “Why did you get divorced?”

Preparing for the Question

You know that your children will ask about the reason you got divorced. Unfortunately, you do not know when or where they will ask the question. Your initial reaction could have a major effect on how future conversations on the subject will go. You should decide how honest you want to be with each child. No child wants to hear salacious details about your marriage, but children who are at or near adulthood may be able to handle more of the truth. The main points of your answer should be that:

  • They were in no way responsible for your decision to divorce;
  • It was a difficult decision to make, especially because of how it would affect them;
  • Parents may stop getting along for reasons that are no one’s fault;
  • Parents are best off getting a divorce when their marriage becomes unhealthy for them; and
  • Nothing about the divorce will ever change the fact that you love your children.

Detailed Questions

Your children may eventually ask you specific questions about the reason for your divorce that they were afraid to ask when they were younger. A question may be uncomfortable for you if it is about something you or your spouse did wrong, such as having an affair. Rather than deny what happened, you should be honest about your faults that may have contributed to your divorce and use it as a teaching moment:

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Adjusting a College Financing Plan During DivorceGetting divorced can disrupt years of careful planning to pay for your children’s college educations. Both you and your co-parent may not have the financial resources to continue regular payments into a college fund. You may need to adjust your plan, which you can establish in your divorce agreement. Financial aid will also become more important, and your divorced status may increase the amount of aid that your child will be eligible to receive.

College Payment Plan

Illinois law allows you to petition to continue child support payments in order to pay for college after your child has turned 18. However, it may be more efficient to include a college financing plan as part of your divorce agreement than to try to extend your child support payments in the future. You can specify how you will divide the college expenses and other details, such as:

  • Limits on annual payments;
  • How many semesters the payments will continue;
  • What constitutes college expenses, such as textbooks and off-campus housing;
  • Whether there is an age limit for the student;
  • Whether there are restrictions on which college the student may attend, such as a public vs. a private school;
  • Whether the student must maintain a certain grade-point average; and
  • Whether the payments should go to the other parent, the student, or the school.

Financial Aid

College financial aid is available to students who fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or a CSS Profile at participating colleges. Application reviewers will use the income of the student’s parents to determine how much aid the student is eligible for. With FAFSA, a student of divorced parents can report only the income of the parent he or she lives with for a majority of the time. FAFSA will use the parent who pays a greater amount of child support if parenting time is divided equally. Both child support and spousal maintenance payments are part of your income, but a single parent likely has less income than a two-parent household, which should qualify your child for greater financial aid. With CSS financial aid, some colleges require the students to submit incomes from both of their divorced parents.

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Six Financial Clues That Your Spouse Plans to DivorceMany people who were surprised by their spouse’s divorce request will say that their spouse’s financial behavior should have warned them of the divorce. A spouse will start preparing once he or she has made an independent decision to divorce in order to gain an advantage in the division of property. Some behavior is an unintentional reaction when your spouse is considering divorce. Though not guaranteed signs of divorce, these changes in financial behavior often accompany a divorce:

  1. Your Spouse Is Not Depositing into Your Marital Account: Most spouses have a joint bank account that they use to pay for marital expenses. A spouse who is preparing for divorce may secretly open an individual account for use during and after the divorce. If your spouse suddenly stops depositing his or her income into your joint account, the money may be going to the individual account.
  2. Your Spouse Has Made Unexplained Withdrawals from Your Account: Sneaking money out of your marital account could mean several things. Your spouse may be putting that money into a private account, paying for a divorce attorney, or spending it on an extramarital affair. Your spouse may face legal consequences for essentially stealing your marital assets for personal gain.
  3. Your Spouse Wants to Track Your Spending: A spouse who is considering divorce may ask that you adhere to a tighter budget and give him or her a record of your recent expenditures. Your spouse’s hidden goal may be to gather financial data to prepare for your divorce.
  4. Your Spouse Encourages You to Take on Marital Debts: Some divorces occur shortly after a couple has entered a major loan agreement. Your spouse may have taken on the marital debt knowing that you would continue to share liability for it after your divorce.
  5. Your Spouse Complains About His or Her Income: Parties in a divorce downplay their individual assets and incomes in order to receive more marital property and avoid higher support payments. Your spouse may be trying to convince you that his or her earning potential has diminished or looks bleak in order to gain this advantage in your divorce. You must investigate whether these claims are true.
  6. Your Spouse Suddenly Showers You With Gifts: Giving you expensive gifts or taking you on a luxurious vacation seems to contradict the financial interests of someone who plans to divorce. However, your spouse may be feeling guilty about the pending divorce or trying to figure out whether these gifts can help save your marriage.

Contact a Warrenville Divorce Attorney

Once you know that your spouse wants a divorce, the responsible reaction is to consult your own lawyer. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you financially prepare for a divorce. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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How Winning the Lottery Would Affect Your DivorceWinning the lottery is not something that you can plan for, but how you respond to winning is important if you are going through a divorce. You must first determine whether your spouse is entitled to a share of the winnings as part of the division of property in Illinois’ divorce laws. If your winnings are completely your property, your sudden influx of money will still affect how you settle your divorce. What you cannot do is hide the fact that you have won.

Property Status

Whether your lottery winnings are marital property in a divorce depends on when and how you purchased the ticket:

  • Your lottery winnings would most likely be marital property if you purchased the winning ticket before you started the divorce process. Your individual income is marital income during your marriage, and purchases made with marital income are marital property; and
  • Your winnings could be individual property if you purchased the ticket while separated from your spouse but before your divorce is completed. You would need to prove that you paid for the ticket with your individual income.

Illinois law states that spouses must equitably divide their marital properties during a divorce. Your spouse would not necessarily receive exactly half of your prize money. Instead, he or she would receive what the court believes is a fair share of the money, depending on the duration of your marriage and his or her financial situation.

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Helping Your Children Adjust to a Second HomeHaving two homes is one of the most difficult changes that children experience after a divorce. It will take time for them to adjust to their new living environment and the parenting time schedule that has them switching between homes. Your job as a parent is to make the transition as comfortable as you can while understanding that your children may be initially anxious and upset. Here are five keys to helping your children through the adjustment period:

  1. Familiar Space: At least one of your children’s homes will be new to them. Encourage your children to decorate their rooms so that they feel comfortable and more at home there. Allow them to bring some familiar items from their other home. Have duplicates of items that would be impractical for them to take back and forth for each visit.
  2. Shared Schedule: You have already created a parenting time schedule as part of your divorce. Have a calendar with your parenting schedule prominently displayed in your home. Your children can see when they are visiting each parent and become familiar with the schedule.
  3. Dropping Off: Divorced parents are advised to drop their children off at their new home instead of the other parent picking them up from their familiar home. This can make a psychological difference to the children during their first couple of times staying in the new home. When you pick your children up, they may feel like you are taking them away from their home to an unfamiliar place. Delivering them to the new home may be less traumatic.
  4. New and Old Routines: Preserving old routines can create familiarity in a new home. You may have regularly watched a television show with your children, cooked a special meal on certain days, or helped them with their homework after dinner. You can also start new routines that fit your schedule with the children.
  5. Staying Calm: How you react to your new parenting schedule can determine your children’s reaction. The first time you drop your children off at your co-parent’s home may feel traumatic to you, but you must try to keep your emotions in check. Showing that you are upset will make your children upset. They are already worried about the change and need you to comfort them.

Your Parenting Plan

You and your co-parent should craft a parenting schedule that best accommodates your children and tries to keep disruptions to a minimum. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you negotiate the allocation of parental responsibilities. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.

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Which Jobs Correlate with Higher Divorce Rates?A 2017 study attempted to connect a person's job with his or her likelihood of divorce by looking at which careers have the highest and lowest divorce rates in the U.S. The top 10 jobs in which employees most often divorced were:

  1. Gaming managers;
  2. Bartenders;
  3. Flight attendants;
  4. Gaming service workers;
  5. Rolling machine workers;
  6. Switchboard operators;
  7. Extruding and drawing machine workers;
  8. Telemarketers;
  9. Textile knitting and weaving machine workers; and
  10. Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine workers.

While a list is fun to look at, it is more useful to understand the shared traits of these careers that may increase the risk of divorce. 

Long or Odd Hours

Many of the careers with the highest divorce rates can require working nights and weekends. This schedule may limit how often spouses see and interact with each other if they do not work the same hours. People who work odd hours may also be more tempted to have an affair with a co-worker. They are around their co-workers more often than their spouses and find it easier to spend time outside of work with someone who has the same schedule.

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Illinois Adjusts Spousal Maintenance Law Ahead of Tax ChangesIllinois recently passed a law that changes the formula and court instructions for calculating spousal maintenance as part of a divorce. The law goes into effect at the start of 2019, which is the same time that a federal tax law eliminating the alimony deduction goes into effect. Illinois is adjusting its spousal maintenance law because the tax law will put a greater burden on people paying maintenance. Since the new tax law was announced, lawyers have warned divorcees that it may become more difficult to reach a spousal maintenance agreement if the payor cannot use the alimony deduction. Illinois’ new law will try to make court decisions on spousal maintenance more equitable for both spouses.

Alimony Deduction

Any spousal maintenance agreements approved before the end of 2018 are still eligible for the alimony tax deduction, and payors under existing maintenance agreements can continue claiming the deduction until a change of circumstances requires them to modify the agreement. With the alimony deduction, payors can deduct the full value of their annual maintenance payments from their federal income taxes. Payees must report the maintenance that they receive as taxable income. When the deduction is eliminated, the payor will save less on his or her taxes, and the payee will not pay taxes on his or her maintenance.

Illinois’ Response

Divorcees may be less likely to reach a spousal maintenance agreement on their own because the alimony deduction was an incentive for the payor to agree to larger maintenance payments. Illinois’ new maintenance law tells the courts to consider the tax consequences for each party when deciding on spousal maintenance. It also changes the spousal maintenance formula so that the courts:

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Your Options When Your Spouse Refuses to DivorceYou can file for divorce without your spouse’s consent, but your spouse can prolong the process by contesting you. There is little chance that your spouse’s arguments will cause the court to stop your divorce. Illinois courts do not accept a reason for divorce other than irreconcilable differences, which either spouse can independently cite. Unfortunately, your spouse may be reacting emotionally, either not understanding the futility of his or her actions or delaying the divorce to spite you. How you respond to your spouse’s actions depends on how your spouse is being uncooperative.

Not Responding

You must send your spouse a notice of your petition to divorce and the scheduled court hearing as part of the filing process. Once your spouse has received notice, he or she has 30 days to respond by declaring whether he or she will appear in court and contest the divorce. If your spouse does not respond or attend your hearing, you can request a default judgment in favor of your petition to divorce. The court may set another date for the default judgment hearing to give your spouse a chance to respond. If the court issues you a default judgment, your spouse will no longer have a voice in determining your divorce settlement.

Cannot Be Found

A court will not grant a default divorce judgment unless it is satisfied that your spouse is aware of the divorce and the hearings. Your spouse may hide from you in order to avoid receiving notice of your divorce petition. You can still complete your divorce if your spouse is missing, but you must:

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