Category Archives: Family Law

IL divorce lawyerFacing divorce is extremely difficult, but you may find it even harder to sit down and tell your children about it. In some cases, it may have been clear for quite some time that divorce was imminent, so the children may already have their suspicions. Sometimes, however, the announcement of divorce comes as a complete shock to children, which makes it even more difficult. There is no perfect way to tell your children that you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, but the below tips can help you find a starting point and ensure you know what to say.

Go Into the Conversation Together

It is always best if both parents can enter into the conversation by sitting down with all children at once and making the announcement together. Even if only one parent wants to get a divorce, it is important neither spouse blames the other for the divorce. Children need to know that their parents will continue to work together post-divorce, which will help their emotional well-being.

Plan Important Talking Points

Before sitting down with the kids, plan what you and your spouse are going to say. Tell them that something has changed in your marriage and that you are going to get divorced. If you have tried to fix the problem but you still need to end the marriage, you can also tell your children this. Reinforce the idea that the divorce is the fault of you and your partner, and that they are not to blame. Also tell them that although things are going to change, you will still be their parents and you will all still be a family.

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IL divorce lawyerIt is always a difficult situation when two people get divorced and, at least until it is final, have to live in the same home. There is typically tension between the two parties, and that stress can filter throughout the house. When children are involved, they can feel it too, and that can become unhealthy. In some instances, it may be possible for one spouse to evict the other from the marital home and take exclusive possession of it. Unfortunately, this is not easy to do. An Illinois divorce lawyer can help individuals that wish to take exclusive possession of their home.

Exclusive Possession Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA)

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) allows for one spouse to seek exclusive possession of the marital home in certain situations. The requirements to warrant exclusive possession under this Act though, are quite strict. This type of possession is only granted when one spouse is in fear of their mental or physical welfare or the welfare of their children.

It is important to understand that the stress of living with another spouse is not enough to warrant exclusive possession. There must be a genuine fear that living with a spouse will place a person or their children in jeopardy. However, individuals that obtain exclusive possession can temporarily evict their spouse, and even change the locks if they wish.

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IL divorce lawyerIllinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that during a divorce, property is divided fairly, although not necessarily equally. Due to the fact that the property must be divided fairly, a judge will use a number of factors to determine how that will work, and how property will be divided. Below is one explanation about those twelve factors and how they affect property division.

Each Spouse’s Contribution

According to 750 ILCS 5/503(d)(1), the court must consider the extent to which each spouse contributed to both the assets and debts. If one spouse contributed more to acquiring a certain asset, they may be awarded more of that asset. Likewise, if one debt incurred more debt than the other, they will be responsible for repaying more of it than the other spouse.

Dissipation of Each Spouse

Dissipation means to hide or waste assets during the marriage. For example, if one spouse wasted a significant amount of money gambling during the marriage, that spouse may be awarded fewer assets.

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IL divorce attorneyTypically, at least one spouse knows the marriage is headed for divorce before anyone actually files divorce papers. As the prospect of divorce becomes more of a reality, it is then natural for that spouse to wonder if they should file first, or if it matters.

Technically, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. This means that one spouse does not have to prove the other person did anything wrong or was the reason the marriage broke down. One spouse must only have to state that there was a breakdown in the marital relationship and that there is little to no chance of reconciling. As such, many spouses think that it does not matter which person starts the proceedings. However, for spouses considering divorce, there are advantages in being the first to file.

Better Preparation

Divorce often comes as a surprise to many people, but that is obviously not the case for the person that files first. By eliminating that element of surprise, the spouse that files first can collect copies of all the important financial documents that are needed during a divorce. These can include bank and investment account statements, life insurance policies, titles to property, and more. Being the first to file also allows spouses to save money, or apply for credit that can help them through the divorce process.

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IL divorce lawyerThere was a time when people would not even think of getting a divorce after many years of marriage, even if they were unhappy. Historically, the majority of people simply did not see the point of getting divorced after a long marriage and were content enough to just wait it out. That is no longer the case today. Now, people are more willing to get divorced if they are unhappy, no matter how long they have been married. When they do, there are certain things to take into consideration that may not necessarily be a factor in a divorce after a shorter marriage.


In some divorce cases, judges will award maintenance, also known as alimony. Maintenance is more likely to be awarded after a lengthy marriage, particularly if one spouse remained at home for a long time to care for children. When this is the case, the spouse that remained at home is likely to be in a worse financial position, and may not have the skills necessary to return to the workforce right away. In these instances, a judge will most likely award that spouse maintenance, at least for a period of time.

Financial Challenges

In addition to one spouse being more susceptible to financial hardship after a divorce, there are other challenging financial aspects associated with divorce after a lengthy marriage. Property division issues are complicated in any divorce, but this is especially true when the marriage was a long one. A couple that has been married for a long time may have their finances spread around in retirement plans, stock options, Social Security benefits, joint bank accounts, and more. All of these assets must be divided, and that can be difficult.

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