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Illinois Court Questions Law Requiring Divorced Parents to Pay for CollegeThe Illinois Supreme Court has upheld a portion of the state’s divorce law that can order both parents to help pay for a child’s college education, in response to a circuit court judge who ruled that it was unconstitutional. The circuit court judge had decided that forcing a divorced parent to contribute to college expenses is a violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which promises equal protection under state laws. Rather than argue the merit of the claim, the supreme court said that the circuit court judge lacked the authority to strike down the law because the supreme court had previously ruled that the law was constitutional. Only the supreme court has the authority to overturn that ruling, it said.

College Expenses

The law in question is Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, which states that courts may order divorced parents to use their assets and incomes to pay for a child’s post-high school education. Expenses may include:

  • Tuition
  • Housing
  • Books and supplies
  • Reasonable living expenses
  • Medical expenses

Divorced parents can share these expenses by allocating assets in their divorce agreement towards paying for college or continuing child support payments until the child graduates with a bachelor’s degree or turns 23, whichever happens first. The age deadline can be extended to 25 if good cause is shown. Continued child support payments may be dependent upon the child’s academic performance.

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Should You Worry About the Privacy of Your Divorce Record?Many people do not realize that the court hearings for their divorce are part of the public record, meaning that anyone can access records on your divorce after it is completed. Everything you say during the hearings and the various documents that you submit is part of that public record. With records being digitized, it is more convenient for people to request and receive court records. If you are concerned about your privacy, you should discuss with your attorney whether you can seal your divorce record from the public.

What Is in the Record?

Your public divorce record does not include sensitive information such as your Social Security Number or bank account numbers. However, it may include details that are professionally damaging or personally embarrassing, such as:

  • Your financial history and debt record
  • Your business assets and interests
  • Admissions of substance abuse or mental health problems
  • Accusations of domestic violence or child abuse
  • Personal arguments between you and your spouse

All of this is information that could hurt you if someone such as a potential employer discovered it when conducting a background check on you.

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Can Divorce Improve You as a Parent?Parents who are getting a divorce worry about how it will affect their children. Besides the pain that the breakup causes, there is the challenge of being a single parent to your children. Can you handle the demands of being solely responsible for your children when they are with you? Can you perform the tasks that you normally left to your co-parent? Divorced parents must resolve to be the best parent they can for their children. Fortunately, there are a few ways that your divorce may actually help you become a better parent:

  1. You Have Shed the Negativity of Your Marriage: It is only after divorce that you realize how much the stress of your marriage was affecting you. While there may be some sadness after divorce, you should no longer feel the anger and dread of coming home to your spouse. Your children may notice that you are happier, which may help with their own moods.
  2. You Are More Focused as a Parent: Without your spouse, your children are unquestionably the most important people in your life. Your time at home will focus on interacting with them and meeting their needs, without the distraction of your marriage. Your attention is one of the things that your children most need from you when they are adjusting to the divorce.
  3. You Can Strengthen Your Relationship: Parents often fall into roles during a marriage, such as one parent being the primary caretaker and provider of emotional support. As a single parent, you need to fill all of the roles when you are with your children. This gives you an opportunity to spend more time interacting with your children and talking to them when they have a problem. As a result, you may feel like a more complete parent to them.
  4. You Have Learned Compromise Skills: When co-parenting, you must move beyond your conflicts with your former spouse and find ways to reach agreements that benefit your children. Learning to compromise will help you in all of your relationships, including with your children. The act of compromise is also setting a good example for your children that people who do not like each other can still find ways to work together for a common good.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

How you allocate your parenting time and decision-making responsibilities is an important aspect of adjusting to life as a single parent. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., will help you negotiate a fair parenting agreement that benefits your children. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.

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Obtaining an Order of Protection Before Your DivorceAn abusive marriage is a horrible situation to live in but difficult for some victims to leave. There is a fear of how your spouse will respond when they discover that you are leaving. You may also worry about your ability to financially support yourself – both immediately after leaving your spouse and permanently if you divorce. Rather than leaving at the spur of a moment, it is better to plan ahead if you are not in immediate danger. Illinois offers several resources for domestic abuse victims, including an order of protection.

What Is an Order of Protection?

Also known as a restraining order, an order of protection is a court-issued document that prohibits an alleged abuser from contacting or harassing the victim. The definition of abuse in Illinois includes physical violence and psychological harassment and intimidation. You must fill out a form requesting your order of protection against your abuser, including:

  • Past incidents of abuse
  • Whether you previously contacted the police
  • Whether there were any witnesses to the abuse
  • Why you need an order of protection against your abuser

If the court believes that your allegations are credible, it will issue an emergency order of protection, which will go into effect immediately and last for three weeks. In that time, you can file for a plenary order of protection that would last for two years. During the hearing for the plenary order, the alleged abuser will have a chance to respond to the accusations. A court can also issue an interim order of protection for 30 days if the emergency order is going to expire before it can rule on the plenary order.

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How Divorce Can Change a Family-Owned BusinessMarriage is an equal partnership in which spouses share their assets and responsibility towards their family. For some spouses, their relationship extends to a business partnership. It is common for spouses to help each other run a small family business, with one spouse often serving as the primary owner and manager. In less common situations, the spouses may be equal business partners who were both instrumental in creating and growing the business. If spouses in a business partnership decide to divorce, they must decide how they will continue to run the business afterward.

Your Options

Your business is a marital property that you must include as part of your division of property. You have four options for what to do with your business during the divorce:

  • One of you can pay the other in exchange for complete ownership of the business.
  • You can continue your existing business relationship despite your divorce.
  • You can divide the business between each other and create separate businesses.
  • You can sell the business and divide the proceeds.

Some of these options may be impractical for you, depending on your circumstances. You should consider continuing to be co-owners only if you believe you can put your personal differences aside in order to make business decisions. Splitting into two businesses will make each of your businesses weaker and possibly have you competing over the same clientele. Selling your business is risky if you do not have a plan for how you will replace your lost income.

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Why an Empty Nest Can Sometimes Lead to DivorceEmpty nest syndrome – a term used to describe grief after children have permanently left the family home – is something that most parents expect to deal with because it is healthy for the children to move out when they become adults. Unfortunately, some couples add divorce onto that grief. They could go from a full family household to living alone in just a few years. The timing of divorce after the children have left is often more than a coincidence. Empty nest syndrome can lead to divorce, even if the marriage has lasted for decades.

Prolonged Marriage

Some parents intentionally wait until their children are adults to end their marriage in order to spare their children from the effects of divorce, such as shared parenting time arrangements. However, a couple may not realize that their marriage is in danger until it is just the two of them at home. Parenting demanded most of their attention and was their strongest bond with each other. Without their parenting responsibilities, their marriage relies on their relationship with each other. Some spouses find that they no longer have much in common or have incompatible personalities. They face the difficult choice of whether to tolerate an unhappy marriage, try to fix their issues, or end the marriage.

New Perspective

Children leaving the home is a landmark event for parents that can make them reassess their lives. What will replace the purpose and satisfaction that they got from parenting? Who do they want to spend the rest of their lives with? A person’s needs can change once parenting is no longer the focus of their life. Some couples conclude that they are more likely to be happy outside of their marriage or by pursuing new relationships. They may want to end the marriage while they are young enough to start over and change themselves.

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Does Marital Satisfaction Decline Naturally Over Time?The reason that a couple decides to divorce is often tied to marital satisfaction – if you are no longer satisfied with your marriage, you are more likely to want to end it. There is less consensus about whether marital satisfaction naturally declines over time or if something needs to create that dissatisfaction. People who believe in a natural decline in marital satisfaction may use terms such as “the honeymoon is over” and “seven-year itch”:

  • After the initial bliss of being married, spouses face adversity for the first time when they settle into their shared life; and
  • There is an idea that people become tired of their relationship with each other after seven years.

A recent study published in the journal “Social Psychology and Personality Science” tried to test whether a decline in marital satisfaction is common. The researchers differentiated their study by including couples of diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, believing that the tendency to study white, middle-class couples may have skewed past results. Researchers followed couples for five years after their marriage, checking in each year to ask questions that helped them measure each couple’s level of marital satisfaction. There were several findings:

  1. Initial Satisfaction Set the Tone: As would be expected, most couples started their marriages with a moderate-to-high level of satisfaction. Sixty percent of the couples had a high level of satisfaction, 30 percent had a medium level, and 10 percent had a low level. In subsequent years, the satisfaction level remained fairly stable for couples who started with high and moderate satisfaction. Only those who started their marriages with low satisfaction showed a deep decline in marital satisfaction.
  2. Women Are More Likely to Become Dissatisfied: The category that had the steepest decline in marital satisfaction was women who started their marriage with low satisfaction. By contrast, men who started their marriage with low satisfaction tended to have an increase in marital satisfaction after three years.
  3. Economic Risk Has a Mixed Effect: The researchers looked at couples who were most likely to struggle with socioeconomic issues to see whether they had a lower rate of marital satisfaction. They found that it had little effect on men, but women were more likely to start a marriage with low satisfaction if they faced economic hardship.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Every couple that gets divorced has its own reason, but all must follow the same divorce process and laws. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., will guide you through all the necessary steps in getting a divorce. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.

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When Do Spousal Maintenance Payments End?Spousal maintenance, if awarded during a divorce, can last a couple of years to the rest of your life. The duration of your spousal maintenance will rely on several factors, such as:

  • How long you were married;
  • The financial means of the recipient; and
  • Whether you agree to an end-date in your divorce.

New circumstances can also allow the termination of spousal maintenance. Here are five ways that spousal maintenance payments can end:

  1. Automatic Termination: A court that awards spousal maintenance during a divorce has the discretion to determine whether it should be temporary or permanent. Illinois courts normally use the duration of the marriage to determine the duration of maintenance. A table shows how maintenance payments will continue for a period of time that is a percentage of how many years the spouses were married. For instance, maintenance payments will last for a time that is 20 percent of the duration of the marriage if the spouses were married for less than five years. The percentage increases for every two years that they were married. Divorcees who were married for 20 or more years often have permanent spousal maintenance.
  2. Negotiated Termination: Spouses can decide their own termination date for spousal maintenance if they can agree on the payments without needing the court to decide. They can reach this agreement during the divorce negotiations or as part of a prenuptial agreement. The maintenance recipient can also voluntarily terminate the payments as long as they were not coerced into doing so.
  3. Remarriage: Spousal maintenance payments automatically end if the recipient remarries or cohabitates with a partner in a relationship that is effectively a marriage. With cohabitation, you will need to prove that your former spouse is sharing their life and finances with their partner.
  4. Death: Spousal maintenance often ends if either party dies before it is scheduled to be terminated. However, a divorce agreement can stipulate that the payor’s life insurance will continue payments to the recipient after the payor's death.
  5. Change of Circumstances: The payor or recipient can petition to modify spousal maintenance if there has been a significant change of circumstances, such as an increase or decrease in income. In some situations, the court may discontinue the maintenance payments if they are no longer appropriate. These situations may include the recipient increasing their income so that it is equal to or greater than the payor’s income or the recipient not making a good-faith effort to become self-supporting.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Spousal maintenance has become more difficult to negotiate since the alimony tax deduction was eliminated this year. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you, whether you would be the payor or recipient of maintenance. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.

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What It Costs to Keep Your Marital Home During DivorceMany divorcees prioritize owning their marital home as part of their divorce agreement. There are advantages beyond an emotional attachment to your house. You may have invested money into making the home that you want. Finding a new home will take time and be costly. There is stability in continuing to live in the same home – for yourself and your children. However, it can be expensive to keep your house in your divorce agreement. Your spouse is a co-owner of the house, and you will need to buy them out in order to be the sole owner.

Assessments and Equity

Before you can negotiate what you will pay your spouse for the home, you first need to assess its value. How you determine this may depend on whether you are still paying off a mortgage on the house or you own it outright. You need a valuation of the house in both situations, including:

  • A property value assessment;
  • The estimated market value; and
  • The property’s condition and cost of repairs.

If you have a mortgage, you will need to determine your equity in the home by subtracting what you owe on the mortgage from the house’s value. You will pay your spouse their share of the home equity in exchange for keeping the home. Your spouse may present a different valuation of your house, based on their own assessment. If you cannot agree on the house’s value, you will need to take the issue to a court, which will choose the more accurate assessment value.

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When Is Equal Parenting Time Appropriate for Children?Illinois law requires courts to divide parenting time in a way that is best for the children. There is a rebuttable presumption that the children are better off when one parent receives a majority of the parenting time because it is more stable than frequently transporting children between parents. A group primarily made up of fathers’ rights advocates has spent years trying to change that presumption so that an equal division of parenting time is the default. State legislators have introduced equal parenting time bills multiple times in recent years, but none of them have progressed to a full vote by either chamber. It is difficult but possible to get a court to approve a 50/50 division of parenting time. There is no denying that children benefit from having an equally strong relationship with both of their parents. Other factors determine whether equal parenting time is the best arrangement for the children:

  1. Parenting Cooperation: Parents with equal time with the children need to work together more often because shared decision-making often accompanies shared parenting time. The parents must communicate about their children and sometimes receive permission from each other to make decisions. An equal parenting time plan will collapse if you are constantly clashing with your co-parent.
  2. Proximity: An equal parenting schedule involves either frequent child exchanges or staying with each parent a week or more at a time. Either way, the schedule will put stress on the children unless the parents live near each other. Proximity will shorten the travel time between homes, making each child exchange less of an ordeal. You should ideally live within the same school boundaries to make school transportation easier.
  3. Availability: Parents with equal parenting time must both be available to care for the children. This may mean having a work schedule that is compatible with the children’s schedules and forgoing other activities when it is their time to be with children. It is not fair to the children to have equal parenting time but to frequently use childcare during your parenting time.
  4. Capability: Children are solely reliant on a parent during their parenting time. Each parent needs to be capable of protecting and nurturing their children on their own. A lapse in care or discipline between parents is harmful to the children.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

The argument over equal parenting time is about which parenting arrangement courts should presume is best for children, not what the parenting arrangement should be for all cases. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you determine what division of parenting time will be best for your children given your situation. Call 630-393-3111 to schedule an appointment.

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Four Surprising Emotions You May Experience After DivorceGoing through a divorce can stir up complicated emotions for everyone involved. Some of the emotions are predictable, such as anger, depression, and anxiety. You may be angry at your spouse and yourself for the end of your marriage while also feeling depressed about it. It is natural to feel anxious about what your post-divorce life will be like. However, you may surprise yourself with some of the emotions you feel during and after the divorce. Rather than deny them, you should acknowledge these feelings and understand why you are experiencing them:

  1. You Still Care About Your Former Spouse: Couples divorce because they no longer feel affection for each other and are unhappy living together. You may initially feel resentful towards your spouse and take some pleasure in their struggles. However, you may eventually realize that you still care about your spouse’s wellbeing and want them to find happiness on their own. This is not the same as loving or even liking someone. It is showing empathy towards someone who was once an important part of your life.
  2. You Have Some Fond Memories From Your Marriage: People try to justify their divorce to themselves by thinking that there was nothing positive about their relationship. The negative moments from your marriage do not erase the positive moments. You should hold onto the positive memories, such as your wedding, vacations, shared parenting, and fun you had together. Try to learn from your negative experiences rather than dwell on them.
  3. You Are Interested in Your Former Spouse’s Life: It is natural to be curious about how your former spouse is doing. It may be necessary to keep track of them if you are co-parents or included spousal maintenance in the divorce. However, there is also an unhealthy tendency to compare yourself to your former spouse. It does not matter if they have started dating again before you or if they look happy in their social media photos.
  4. You Are Relieved to Have Free Time from Parenting: Divorced parents often feel guilty about splitting up their family and spending less time with their children. The idea of not seeing your children for a couple of days each week may frighten you, but you may discover that you feel grateful for the time that your children spend with your co-parent. This does not make you a selfish parent. Being a single parent is more demanding than when you were married, and you need alone time to take care of personal issues or just relax.

Contact a Naperville Divorce Attorney

Dissatisfaction with your divorce agreement is an emotion that you can avoid after your divorce. A DuPage County divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you create an agreement that meets your post-divorce needs. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Understanding Illinois’ Shared Parenting Child Support FormulaIllinois calculates the child support payments that one parent owes the other by using an income shares table. To determine your child support payments, you would start by adding up the combined net incomes of yourself and your co-parent. Each row in the income shares table has an income range. When you find the row where your combined incomes fall, you will go across to the column for the number of children you share. The number you see is the base level of the combined child support obligation that you must pay together each month.

Your proportionate incomes will determine the share of the child support obligation that each of you are responsible for. If your income is 60 percent of your combined incomes, then you are responsible for 60 percent of the child support obligation. The nonresidential parent is typically the one who pays child support to the residential parent, even if they have a lower income. The formula for determining the payment amount changes when parents have a shared parenting arrangement.

Shared Parenting Formula

Illinois defines shared parenting as a parenting schedule in which each parent has the children overnight at least 146 times per year, which would be a 60-40 division of parenting time. The formula for calculating child support in a shared parenting arrangement is more complicated than the basic formula:

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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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Alcohol Abuse Can Devastate Your Divorce CaseWhen your divorce is stressing you out, it is healthy to find an activity that helps you relax. For some people, drinking alcohol is a nice treat after a stressful day and a way to unwind. However, you should be careful that your alcohol consumption does not become excessive. Studies have shown that divorce can increase the risk of alcohol abuse and the development of alcoholism in some people. Alcohol abuse is bad for both your health and your ability to receive what you want from your divorce.

How Alcohol Becomes a Problem

With its prevalence in society, it is easy to forget that alcohol is a drug that can alter your mood and behavior. As a depressant, alcohol relaxes people who feel anxious or stressed, such as a person going through a divorce. There is truth in the idea that people use alcohol to self-medicate. However, the frequent use of any drug has the risk of abuse or addiction. Drinking may have always been an enjoyable activity to you, and you may turn to it more frequently during your divorce as a source of relief. Not living with your spouse may make it easier to go out for drinks after work and to have several drinks when you get home. Binge drinking can lead to a dependency on alcohol to help you relax. Some people naturally have a greater risk of developing alcoholism, but excessive use can create addictive behavior in anyone.

Effect on Divorce

Besides hurting your body, alcohol abuse can hurt your divorce:

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How Cohabitation Can Affect Spousal MaintenanceSpousal maintenance payments established in a divorce agreement are terminated if the recipient party remarries. There is no argument that the remarried party has a new source of income and no longer needs their former spouse to pay for their living expenses. A court may also terminate maintenance if the recipient is in a de facto marriage, meaning that the couple is not legally married but behaves as if they are. The spousal maintenance payor is responsible for proving that a de facto marriage exists and that maintenance payments are no longer appropriate.

Proving a De Facto Marriage

There is a difference between an intimate relationship and a de facto marriage. Illinois courts look for several signs that a relationship is behaving like a marriage, such as a couple:

  • Living together;
  • Having a long-standing relationship;
  • Sharing financial accounts and expenses;
  • Spending holidays and vacations together; and
  • Acting like co-parents to the children.

A court will need proof of several factors in order to conclude that a de facto marriage exists. Cohabitation is important evidence but may not be enough on its own.

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Remarriage Can Affect Child Support PaymentsParents who divorce are required to create a child support agreement in order to share the cost of child-related expenses. Illinois currently uses an income shares model that determines how much each parent should pay based on their proportionate incomes. If a parent’s income makes up 70 percent of their combined incomes, that parent will pay 70 percent of the child support obligation. Either parent can request a modification of the child support order, based on a significant change of circumstances, such as: 

  • A change in a parent’s income;
  • A change in the expense of raising a child; or
  • A child becoming a nondependent.

In certain situations, child support may be modified when one parent remarries.

Available Income

Illinois will not include the income of a new spouse when calculating a parent’s child support obligation. A stepparent is not required to financially support a child, and combining the incomes of a biological parent and stepparent would effectively force the stepparent to do so. A new spouse could affect a parent’s ability to pay their child support obligation. A parent may claim that a child support obligation is unreasonable if it does not leave them with enough money to pay for their own living expenses. Illinois courts have the discretion to deviate from the child support formula to create affordable payments. Remarriage changes a parent’s available income because spouses will combine their incomes and share their expenses. A new spouse could pay for a parent’s living expenses, freeing the parent’s income for other expenses. In such a situation, the other parent could request that the remarried parent pay child support based on the normal calculation.

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How to Address Divorce with Casual AcquaintancesLike it or not, your divorce is not something you can keep secret for long. You know you need to tell your family and closest friends about it. You may try to avoid discussing it with more casual and impersonal acquaintances, but those people may hear rumors about your divorce or figure out something is wrong. Most people know that it is rude to pry into the personal life of someone who is not a close friend. You can plan how you will respond to people who do ask about your divorce:

  1. Consider the Context: You do not need to tell anyone about your divorce unless you know that it will affect them. For instance, your boss at work may need to know if your divorce will impair your ability to complete your work. Co-workers may need to know if you will be unable to complete your work, but you do not have to tell them that you are getting divorced. People who you do not work or socialize with do not require any notice about your divorce.
  2. Coming Up with a Speech: What do you do if a casual acquaintance asks if you are getting divorced or related questions? There is no reason to lie to them, but you should not have to talk any longer than is necessary to make your point. You may be familiar with the idea of an elevator speech – a brief, rehearsed speech often used when introducing yourself to a business networking contact. You can create an elevator speech for explaining your divorce. The key components of your speech could be confirming your divorce and explaining that you do not want to discuss it any further because it is a private matter. If the person asks if they can help you, tell them that you appreciate their concern and will let them know if you need help.
  3. Sparing the Details: Your divorce elevator speech should not include any details about why you are getting divorced or how the process is going. Very few people need to know this information, and sharing details will likely create an awkward situation. A casual acquaintance may mention that they have gone through a divorce themselves. It is your choice whether you want to continue discussing the general topic of divorce. A co-worker who has gone through a divorce may have good advice on how to balance work and divorce. However, you should still not feel compelled to share details about your divorce while it is still ongoing.

Contact a Naperville Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is a personal decision that can have public effects. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you manage the stresses of your divorce. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Financial Infidelity Can Destroy Trust in MarriagePeople usually associate infidelity in a marriage with having a romantic affair. There are other ways that spouses can lie to or hide things from each other that are just as hurtful. One way that is receiving increased attention is financial infidelity, which is when a spouse has secret financial accounts or debts. Financial infidelity is not only a betrayal of trust, but it also puts the unaware spouse at financial risk. In some cases, the betrayal may be serious enough that the spouses choose to divorce.

Understanding Financial Infidelity

Digital technology makes it easy for someone to create secret accounts or conduct financial activities without their spouse knowing. The person can control everything remotely and hide records. As with most lies, the truth comes to light usually when the lying spouse feels compelled to confess or the unaware spouse discovers evidence of the secret finances. There are several reasons why a spouse may have secret assets or debts:

  • The assets could be paying for a romantic affair;
  • The spouse may have an addiction, such as gambling, shopping, or substance abuse;
  • The spouse may have obtained the money illegally; or
  • The spouse may be siphoning away money because they are preparing to leave the marriage.

Regardless of the reason, financial infidelity affects both spouses because they are both liable for debts accumulated. Even if there are no debts, the money diverted to the secret account could have been used to pay for marital expenses, child expenses, or retirement savings.

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Creating a Parenting Agreement for Your Special Needs ChildParents of children with special needs must consider the many ways that a divorce will affect their child, as well as how having a special needs child will affect their divorce. The type of special need can determine how you explain the divorce to your child, as well as the details of your parenting plan and child support. Your divorce agreement may need a plan for how you will share responsibility for your child for the rest of your lives.

Emotional Needs

All children need special attention and emotional support when their parents are getting divorced. However, parents must use extra care when explaining divorce to a child with cognitive disabilities. You know what your child is capable of understanding and how he or she reacts to change. You may need to explain the divorce multiple times and in a way that he or she comprehends. Your child may still not understand the divorce until he or she sees the result. You can be prepared for a bad reaction to the divorce, but your child may still surprise you.

Parenting Time

It may be impractical to have a normal shared parenting schedule, where each parent has the child for a few days during the week. If your child has physical disabilities, you must consider:

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Can a Divorce Court Order You To Sell Your Home?Deciding what to do with your marital home is one of the most important decisions you will make during your divorce. Will one of you keep the home or will you sell it and divide the proceeds? What is your home’s value? What properties will the other spouse receive if one of you keeps the home? Your divorce negotiations may stall if you cannot come to an agreement on answering these questions, forcing you to take the matter to trial. Among its options, the court can order you to sell your marital home if it decides that a sale is the only way to equitably divide the property.

Recent Case

In the Illinois case of In re Marriage of Hamilton, the wife in a divorce appealed a lower court decision that forced her to sell her marital home and rental home. The lower court ordered the sale of the homes because neither party presented their actual value. Without that information, selling the homes was the only way for the court to ensure that their value was divided equitably. The former wife cited four reasons why she believed the court erred in this decision:

  • Her former husband had testified to the estimated value of the homes;
  • She had presented tax assessment notices for the properties;
  • The marital home had sentimental value because it had belonged to her family for 90 years; and
  • Remaining in the marital home would have been in the best interest of their daughter.

The appellate court rejected these arguments and upheld the sale. Property valuations need to be current and based on proven facts. The husband did not cite how he reached the estimated values of the homes. The tax assessments were three years old and likely did not include inspections of the homes’ conditions. The sentimental value of the home can be part of a court’s decision but does not prevent it from ordering a sale if that is believed to be the best solution.

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