IL divorce lawyerWhen getting a divorce, most married couples will need to sort out various financial concerns. Some of these concerns are obvious. For example, you probably already know that you will need to decide who will keep the house, how you will divide the checking account, or who will get the furniture. However, other financial issues often get overlooked or pushed to the side until the last minute. Part of planning for a smooth divorce process is learning about the various financial issues you will need to address before you finalize the split. The better-informed you are of these issues, the better position you will be in to make sound financial decisions during the divorce.

Allocation of Debt in an Illinois Divorce

Property division does not only involve the division of assets, it also consists of the division of liabilities and debts. According to Illinois law, debts are handled similarly to property during divorce. The debts that either spouse accumulated during the marriage are the responsibility of both parties. This true even if the other spouse did not purchase the item or the title is only in one spouse’s name. If a spouse agrees to pay a debt for which both parties are liable and fails to fulfill this responsibility, the creditor may pursue the other spouse – even after the divorce is final. This is why many divorcing spouses choose to sell assets to pay off jointly held debt during divorce.

Tax Consequences of Your Divorce

It is important to remember that ending a marriage may result in significant tax consequences. When negotiating a fair division of the marital estate, make sure to understand the tax implications of your arrangement. Even child custody can affect taxes. Only one of the parents can take the child exemption on their income taxes. Typically, the parent who has the majority of the parenting time is considered the “custodial parent” and therefore entitled to claim the dependency exemption.

Division of Retirement Accounts

Depending on the age of the divorcing spouses, retirement funds may constitute a significant part of the marital estate. Retirement plans are unique in that the asset may be partially marital (and therefore belonging to both spouses) and partially non-marital or separate. Typically, the portion of the retirement funds accumulated before marriage is considered separate property and not subject to division. The share accumulated during the marriage is part of the marital estate.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

If you are getting divorced, an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer from Shaw Family Law, P.C. can help. Call us at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation today.

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IL divorce lawyerBeing a stay-at-home mom or dad can be a wonderful way to ensure that your children receive the care and attention they need to grow into successful adults. It can also put you in a difficult situation during divorce. If you are a divorcing parent who has not worked outside of the home in several years, you may be overwhelmed by the possible personal and financial implications of your impending divorce. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to protect your rights as a stay-at-home parent and avoid mistakes that put you in an unfavorable position during divorce.

Know Your Rights Under Illinois Law

Many people are unaware of the rights that they have during divorce. They may quickly agree to terms before researching all of the possible options because they are eager to get the divorce over with. However, if you do not know your rights, you may inadvertently lose them. For example, many stay-at-home parents are entitled to spousal maintenance or alimony. The amount and duration of alimony payments depend on the financial and employment circumstances of both spouses, the duration of the marriage, and other factors. You may also be eligible for temporary spousal maintenance and/or child support payments before the divorce is finalized.

Under Illinois law, you have a right to an equitable share of the marital estate. This includes an equitable or fair share of any income or property acquired by you or your spouse during the marriage. If your home was purchased during the marriage or marital funds were used to pay the mortgage, your home is likely a marital asset. Any retirement funds that were accumulated during the marriage are also subject to division. You may even have a right to a fair share of your spouse’s business or professional practice.

Gather Important Financial Documents

Often, stay-at-home parents are not as involved in the household finances as their spouses. If have been out of the loop regarding finances, it is time to start taking inventory of your financial situation. Make copies of tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage and loan documents, and other financial paperwork. The better informed you are about your financial situation, the better position you will be in to make wise financial decisions during divorce.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

As a stay-at-home parent, you are in a challenging position during divorce. A St. Charles divorce attorney from Shaw Family Law, P.C. can help you request alimony, handle child custody concerns, ensure a fair division of the marital estate, and much more. Call us at 630-584-5550 for a free, confidential consultation today.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen parents split up, children can sometimes feel as if their entire world has been turned upside down. Divorce that involves a significant amount of contention is often especially hard on children. If you are a parent who is going through a high conflict divorce or you suspect that you soon will be, you are probably worried about how this will affect your kids. Poor performance in school, behavioral issues, low self-esteem, and other psychological consequences have been shown to result from parental conflict. However, there are things that you can do to reduce the negative effects of divorce on your children.

Use Caution When Telling the Children About the Divorce

The moment that your children learn that you and the other parent are divorcing may be one that they remember for the rest of their lives. It is important to plan out what you will say in advance. Most experts suggest that parents tell their children the news together, however, this may not be possible in a high conflict situation. The age of your children will determine the types of conversations that you can have about divorce, however, experts agree that it is best to tell them all at once. This prevents one child from having to keep a secret from the others.

Make sure to keep it fact-oriented and to avoid details about why the marriage is ending. Blaming the other spouse for the divorce or bad-mouthing him or her can make it much harder on the children. It may also lead to allegations of parental alienation. Focus on reassuring your children that they are loved and safe.

Keep Conversations About the Divorce Out of Earshot

Research shows that parental arguments and tension have a profound impact on children. A child’s mental health, future relationships, and overall emotional wellbeing can all be negatively impacted by family conflict. It is important to shield your children from conflict as much as possible during the divorce. Keep conversations with the other parent or your lawyer private. Do not fight in front of the children and never ask them to choose sides.

Create a Detailed Parenting Plan

During the divorce, you and the other parent will be expected to create a parenting plan. If you cannot reach an agreement, the court will determine a plan for you. The more detailed your plan is, the less room there is for disagreements in the future. An attorney experienced in high conflict divorce can help you negotiate a parenting plan and represent you during your child custody dispute.

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IL family lawyerDisagreements about financial issues is consistently ranked as one of the top reasons for divorce. Financial deception is also a common issue in marriages across the United States. Spouses may spend large quantities of money, hide assets, and rack up debt without the other spouse’s knowledge. The popularity of online banking has made it easier than ever to hide financial transactions from your spouse. If you are getting divorced and financial deception has been an issue for you in the past, it is important to take steps to ensure that you receive a fair divorce settlement.

Speak to a Lawyer As Soon As Possible

If your spouse has been dishonest or controlling about finances in the past, it is very likely that he or she will continue to do so during your divorce. Per Illinois divorce law, you deserve an “equitable” or fair share of the marital estate. However, you can only receive your fair share if you know what your fair share is. You also deserve child support and spousal support arrangements that are based on your actual financial circumstances. An attorney who is experienced in handling divorce cases involving complicated financial issues can help you uncover the truth. Your attorney may use a variety of techniques to get accurate and complete information about income, property, debt, and expenses during the divorce, including:

  • Requests for production
  • Depositions
  • Interrogatories
  • Admissions of fact

Gather Financial Documents and Information

In many marriages, one spouse handles the finances and the other spouse simply trusts him or her to do so ethically. Unfortunately, spouses do not always act with integrity when it comes to finances. If your spouse has lied about money-related concerns in the past, he or she may continue or even escalate this behavior during divorce. Your spouse may “forget” to report revenue from his or her small business, overstate his or her debts, or hide sources of income. One of the best ways that you can help your attorney is to start gathering financial documents as soon as possible. If possible, obtain copies of:

  • Tax returns
  • Mortgage statements
  • Bank statements
  • Pay stubs
  • Retirement account statements
  • Life insurance policies
  • Credit card statements
  • Bills
  • Investment accounts

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

If there have been issues with financial deception in your marriage and you want to get divorced, it is important to stand up for your right to a fair divorce settlement. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we know the strategies that spouses use to hide assets and lie about finances during divorce. A St. Charles divorce attorney from our firm can find hidden assets and unveil other financial dishonesty so that you can get a divorce settlement that is based on the truth. Call us at

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IL family lawyerFor many married couples, it can be hard to know when to officially call it quits. Many couples consider divorce for months or even years before they make the decision to end the marriage. You may find yourself in that situation now. Perhaps you are unhappy in your marriage but you still hope that things can change. In situations like these, many couples decide to undergo a “trial separation.” If you are interested in temporarily separating from your spouse, it is crucial that you know the potential legal and financial ramifications.

An Information Separation Is Not a Legal Separation

People often use the word “separation” in reference to both living apart and getting legally separated. However, these are two completely different situations in the eyes of the law. If you are living apart from your spouse, this alone does not change the status of your relationship. A legal separation, on the other hand, involves a legal action. If you get legally separated, you and your spouse will formally decide on issues like the division of assets and debts, parenting time and parental responsibilities, child support, and spousal support. You can reach an agreement about these issues outside of court, or if you cannot reach an agreement, the court will hand down a decision. The only issue that Illinois courts cannot determine during a legal separation is property distribution.

An Informal Separation Can Leave You Vulnerable During Divorce

If you and your spouse decide to live apart for some time while you work out your differences, you should know the impact this can have on your finances and your potential future divorce. Simply living in separate homes does not afford you legal protections the way a legal separation does. For example, if your spouse racks up a great deal of debt during the trial separation, you could still be on the hook for repaying it. Courts also cannot enforce any informal arrangements you make about child support or spousal support.

You should also know that the child custody arrangements you decide on during the trial separation can influence future child custody decisions if you divorce. Illinois courts aim to make divorce as easy on children as possible. This means that they are more likely to favor the “status quo” as opposed to a new custody arrangement. For example, if your spouse kept the children during the school week during your trial separation and you decide to divorce, the court may favor keeping the custody arrangement the same.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

If you want to learn more about legal separation or divorce, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. A Kane County family law attorney can help with matters related to child custody, property division, child support, and more. Call 630-584-5550 for a free, confidential consultation.

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