Family Law Articles

The Stay at Home Parent and Divorce

Kane County Family Law Firm

Saint Charles Stay At Home Parent Divorce Attorneys, family law, divorce, property division, alimony, Spousal MaintenanceAlthough it has become more common in recent decades for both parents to work outside the home, many families still make the conscious choice to have one parent remain in the home full time to care for the household and the couple’s children. In a family like this, a divorce can create serious financial difficulties for the parent who remained in the home. Certain legal protections for stay at home parents exist, such as the right to seek spousal maintenance and the principle of equitable distribution during property division. Talk to your lawyer about these protections and how you can advocate for yourself during your divorce to ensure that you receive a fair share of your assets. If you are your child’s primary caregiver, you likely have additional concerns that your lawyer can discuss with you and help you to face in court.

Property Division for Stay at Home Parents

In Illinois, a divorcing couple’s property is divided according to the doctrine of equitable distribution, which means that the property is divided according to each partner’s personal and financial needs following the divorce, rather than simply cutting the marital estate in half. Factors considered when dividing a couple’s property include:

Unique Challenges of High Net Worth Divorce

Kane County Family Law Firm

Saint Charles High Net Worth Divorce Attorneys, divorce, hidden assets, property division, large asset divorce, kane county family lawHigh net worth individuals are frequently defined by financial service providers as individuals with $1 million or more in liquid assets. These individuals often have multiple sources of income and may have substantial investment portfolios. In an Illinois divorce, the couple’s marital assets must be divided equitably, which means that they must be divided in a fair way that provides each partner with a share of their marital assets that suits their contributions to the marriage and their financial and personal needs following the divorce. Determining how to equitably divide a marital estate that includes multiple investments and income streams can be much trickier than dividing a small marital estate belonging to two working individuals.

If you are a high net worth individual, work with a divorce lawyer who has experience handling high net worth divorces. Every couple has unique needs, and if you are part of a high net worth couple, it is important that you work with a lawyer who understands the issues you are facing during your divorce in order to reach a fair settlement. Otherwise, your lawyer might inadvertently overlook certain assets or considerations, causing you to lose money that rightfully belongs to you in the settlement.

Parenting Together After a Divorce

Kane County Family Law Firm

Saint Charles Divorce AttorneysWhen you have a child with your partner, you are linked to that partner for a minimum of 18 years. In reality, you are linked to that partner for the rest of your life – your adult child's life will likely bring graduations, perhaps a wedding, maybe grandchildren for you, and years of family celebrations and milestones to acknowledge and celebrate. In many cases, an individual's parenthood outlasts his or her marriage. When you are working through the divorce process, the prospect of co-parenting with your former spouse after your divorce can seem daunting. You might feel a flurry of emotions that include resentment and fear, especially a fear of having to cede control to the court to determine your parenting time schedule. The court creates parenting time schedules based on what it feels are in the child's best interest, which is often an arrangement that allows the child to have substantial time with both parents. After your divorce is finalized and you adjust to the new normal of your parenting time routine, incorporate the following strategies to make it easier for yourself, your children, and your former partner.

Communication with your Former Partner is Key

Co-parenting is a collaborative effort. As with any other collaborative effort, communication with the other party is key to its success. When an issue arises with your child or your schedule, talk to your former spouse about it. Do this with issues of all sizes, from letting him or her know that you will be a bit late to pick up the child to notifying him or her if your child has gotten into trouble at school or is in danger of failing a class. Even if you are no longer a couple, you are still a team for your child.

Social Media: The Impact it Can Have on your Divorce

St. Charles Divorce Attorney

Kane County Divorce Lawyers, social media, divorce, family law, saint charles divorce attorneyWhen you are going through a divorce, you have a lot of responsibilities on your plate. Aside from securing legal aid and putting together a budget for your divorce, you need to be vigilant of how you continue to conduct yourself at work, with your children, and in online spaces. All eyes are on you during your divorce, particularly if it is a contentious divorce and your spouse is attempting to sway the court’s decisions about parenting time and responsibilities, child support, property division, or spousal maintenance. Although adultery is not, on its own, an issue to be considered when determining spousal maintenance or property division in Illinois, it may be considered if marital funds or other assets were used to facilitate the affair.

While your divorce is pending, be careful about what you post and how you conduct yourself on social media. You might even want to consider staying off social media altogether until the divorce is finalized. Content and images from your social media accounts can be used to support claims made in court. Tell yourself this before you make any post or comment to determine if the comment or post can come back to hurt you later.

Your Retirement Benefits and Divorce

St. Charles Divorce Attorney

Kane County Divorce AttorneysMany Americans have money put aside for their retirement. This money might be in an IRA, a 401(k), a 403(b), or a simple savings account. Many Americans also count on their pensions to cover their financial needs in retirement. These accounts, like checking, savings, and brokerage accounts, can be considered marital property if they are opened after an individual enters a marriage. Even when an individual opens a retirement account before he or she marries, if he or she continues to contribute to it during the marriage, presumably with his or her spouse, the account becomes marital property. In an Illinois divorce, marital property is divided among the couple according to the doctrine of equitable distribution. This means that the property is divided according to a set of factors that the court uses to determine a fair distribution, rather than simply cutting the entire marital estate in half.

What is a QDRO?

The court may order a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) as part of your property division. This is a court order that assigns an alternate payee to a retirement account so he or she can receive a portion of its funds. Although in most cases, the retirement account holder's spouse is named as the alternate payee, his or her children may also be named through a QDRO. This order can be used to divide retirement savings or to fulfill financial obligations of the paying party, such as spousal maintenance or child support. As long as all IRS requirements regarding your QDRO are followed correctly, a QDRO is a tax-free transaction.

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