Hinsdale divorce attorneysThe first holiday season after a divorce or separation can place tremendous emotional strain on the best of us. Now that you and your ex have parted ways, the holiday parties and family gatherings you have been celebrating for years as a couple suddenly seem daunting and complicated. Who gets to go to which parties? How do you "share custody" of friendships? What do you say when someone asks why your better half is no longer at your side? It's enough to make an already emotionally fraught season barely tolerable.


But fear not. Celebrating the holidays alone can be a great joy, but it requires good planning, a positive attitude and most importantly, realistic expectations. Here is our short list of tips to help you have a joyful holiday season solo:

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IL divorce lawyerAfter a couple with children gets a divorce, one parent is often ordered to pay the other child support. Typically, a child support order remains in effect until the child is no longer considered a minor, but when a child attends college or university, that could change. Paying college expenses differs slightly from standard child support, and it is important that all parents understand what child support may entail if their child pursues post-secondary education.

Contributions to College Expenses for a Child

In 2016, the Illinois legislature passed a law that gave the courts the authority to order the parents of a child to pay for a child’s education expenses until the child turns 25 years old. Most orders of this type will expire when the child turns 23 years old, but parents have the right to request payments for an additional two years.

 While Illinois courts use a specific formula to determine the amount of child support a parent must pay prior to the child’s 18th birthday, the same is not true of support paid to contribute to college expenses. When determining the amount of support a parent must pay for post-secondary education, the court will consider the financial resources each of the parents will have in the future and use that to determine how much each parent will be required to pay.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are considering divorce, it is important to work with an Illinois divorce lawyer that can help you through the process. Many people find that they have to meet with a few divorce lawyers before finding the one that is right for their case.

To help you narrow down your list faster, and to ensure you find the lawyer that is a good fit, it is important to prepare for your initial consultation. This may include bringing any relevant documents, such as financial statements, as well as a list of questions you want to ask. In addition to any questions you may have about the specifics of your case, below are some additional questions you should ask.

Is Family Law Your Specialty?

Family law encompasses many different factors. A divorce case involves more than just ending a marriage. Divorce lawyers have to understand every aspect of divorce, including child custody and child support, property division, and more. A lawyer that focuses on family law will know all the ins and outs so they can appropriately advise on your case.

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IL divorce lawyerMany people think the hardest part of a premarital agreement is asking their partner to sign one. However, the most challenging part may be deciding what to include in the contract. It is usually wise to have an idea of what you want in the agreement even before asking your soon-to-be spouse to sign one. Knowing what you want in your contract can provide a way to start talking about it, and can also help you explain why you want one to your partner.

Issues to Include in Your Premarital Agreement

Premarital agreements are mainly used to address any property division issues that may arise in the event of divorce. The most common issues to address in a premarital agreement are as follows:

  • Providing children from previous marriages with certain assets
  • Defining the owner of a business
  • Division of retirement benefits
  • Outlining separate and marital property
  • Division of debts
  • Defining the spouse to receive maintenance and the amount
  • Division of joint accounts
  • Division of household expenses
  • Division of savings account
  • The cost of higher education for either spouse and how that cost is divided after divorce

Understanding the items you want to include in your premarital agreement is a good start. Once you know which items you want to include, you can then take it one step further.

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Hinsdale divorce attorneyFrequently couples who are seeking a divorce try to make their own agreements. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it degenerates into argument after argument.

If you’ve practiced divorce long enough you know that people frequently come very close to making a final agreement and then everything blows up. Here are some ideas about how to stop that from happening: 

  1. You and your spouse should sit down and try to see what you actually can agree to in writing, without making a final commitment to it. Sometimes trying to finalize with signatures puts too much pressure on the other spouse and the whole deal blows up. What you want to do is come up with the things you can actually agree on, in other words a starting point.
  1. It’s important not try to force your spouse to actually sign the document, which will only be thought of as your attempt to dominate him or her.
  1. If you can’t come to an agreement don’t despair. Your object of the game here is to keep the game alive and moving forward. Avoid at all cost throwing in the towel and giving up. If you can’t agree just say “let’s table that thought for another time,” and move on to another topic.
  1. Once you have an outline of what you think an agreement should be, you should put the outline of agreement aside and think about it for a day or two. Is anything left out or unclear?
  1. After some time, you should schedule another meeting with your soon to be ex- spouse and go over just the issues that were left out. Try to clarify with each other what both of you think about those things which were undecided.
  1. Many times, we see couples come in with the beginnings of an agreement after using this process. It’s much easier to deal with problems that have been discussed openly and where settlement and resolution has been first tried.
  1. In the process that I’m talking about you need to avoid name calling and reminding each other of past actions or events which were hurtful and stonewalling such as drawing a line in the sand at whatever point and saying I would never do that in a million years.
  1. The couples that have the best chance of having a successful easy divorce realize that they many times will need to have some type of relationship with their ex after the divorce particularly when they have children.
  1. It has been said the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Rest assured that even During these COVID steeped times, the courts are open for business and even if it is done remotely you can get a divorce. Believe it or not that’s the easy part the hard part is making the deal. We’ve been making divorce deals for clients for more than 35 years. In our experience, the cases that move the most quickly through the system are those where the clients have a general idea of what the issues are, both for themselves and their spouse and a clear idea of what they want the outcome to be after divorce. By the way this saves a substantial amount of money and emotion.
  1. Even a basic outline of agreed parts of a divorce settlement will make it substantially less costly in attorney’s fees as well as grief.
  1. If you have the bare bones of an agreement with your soon to be ex, feel free to contact us and give us the chance to tweak your basic outline into a final agreement and a fast tracked/streamlined divorce.


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