st. charles divorce lawyersOne of the most difficult challenges of an Illinois divorce is dividing your marital assets and debts. Any property, money, vehicles, loans, credit card debt, or other financial instrument or asset that you acquired during your marriage must be divided. While property division has to be fair, there is no guarantee that your financial situation after divorce will be easy; divorce is notoriously difficult on a person’s net worth, as well as their credit score. If you are considering divorce, here are three tips for managing your credit as you go through the divorce process. 

Get to Know Your Credit Report 

Many people do not think twice about their credit report during their marriage, especially if their spouse has good credit and manages the family finances. But this can be risky, especially if you do not have your own credit history. There are many free, easy-to-use resources available for accessing your credit report. Become familiar with every account on your credit report and start finding ways to build your individual credit. 

Begin Separating Your Finances Early

As soon as you know you are getting divorced, do what you can to close joint credit accounts and take your name off of debts. Even if you do not consent to spending money on a credit card, if your name is on it, you are still legally responsible for paying it off - even if your divorce decree says your spouse has to make payments! The sooner you can pay off and close joint credit accounts, the sooner you can prevent the risk of being held responsible for debt that you did not accrue. 

Negotiate a Divorce Decree that Separates Your Finances Completely

Divorcing couples are encouraged to create a divorce agreement with the help of a neutral mediator. Because couples divide marital debts as well as assets, sometimes a divorce decree will allow credit accounts to stay open under both spouses’ names while one spouse is responsible for paying off the debt. To protect yourself from bad debt and late payments, your best option is to negotiate a divorce decree that minimizes outstanding debt and gives you or your spouse exclusive ownership of whatever portion of the debt each of you needs to pay off. 

Contact a St. Charles, IL Divorce Lawyer

While divorce may be difficult on your finances, you can still make careful decisions and plan for the future. For help managing the challenges of divorce, put your trust in the hands of the experienced Kane County divorce attorneys at Shaw Sanders, P.C.. In addition to knowing the ins and outs of Illinois divorce law, we also have a wide network of professionals who can support you in other areas of divorce. Call us today at 630-584-5550 to schedule your first meeting. 

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st. charles divorce lawyerMany people get divorced after many years or even decades of being married. Even if a marriage is unhappy, for most people there is a certain level of predictability, stability, and companionship that comes with being married. An Illinois divorce upends all of those things, even as it can free a spouse from a stifling, distant, or abusive relationship. 

In addition to the significant changes of divorce, the fear of being alone is often as compelling as the fear of remaining in an unhappy marriage forever. If you are considering divorce and wondering whether you can adjust to the single life again, know that millions of people have done so happily - and when you are ready to finalize your divorce, here are four steps that could help you. 

Actively Socialize

One of the challenges of divorce is that it breaks up family and friend groups, leaving both spouses with fewer social connections than they had during the marriage. To make up for this, you may have to take a more active role in forming new social connections than you have in many years. Divorced singles often find meaningful friendships at church, support groups, and game nights. When someone asks you over for dinner, say yes - and invite people into your home as well. 

Pick Up a New Hobby

Learning something new is a rewarding experience at any stage of life - and especially when you have a lot on your mind, doing something with your hands can be a great way to stay busy and stop yourself from obsessing over the divorce or other parts of the past. If you already have skills or hobbies, spend more time getting better at them or find a way to turn them towards the service of others. 

Focus on Your Career 

Once your divorce is finalized, you may have more free time that you can spend on enhancing your career aspirations. While a career is not a replacement for meaningful relationships, a satisfying and engaging job can make a big difference in your overall life satisfaction. If you are not satisfied with your job, perhaps now is the time to take classes so you can consider a career change. You can learn nearly anything for free now and building a great portfolio can often act as a replacement for a degree or certificate. 

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st. charles divorce lawyerUntil fairly recently, the vast majority of men and women entered into heterosexual marriages at a young age and stayed married to one person for the rest of their lives. However, with the advent of no-fault divorce, over the last 50 years and particularly over the last 20 years, societal expectations of what is considered marriage have expanded and far fewer people are even getting married to begin with. 

Although marriage rates may be declining, people are still engaging in relationships just as they always have. Yet when relationships are not formalized as marriages, leaving the relationship can get complicated because couples do not always know how to protect their interests while breaking up. Here are three non-marital relationships and how they end in Illinois. 

Civil Union

Couples can no longer enter into civil unions in Illinois. However, there are still many couples who are in civil unions who eventually decide to separate. Civil unions dissolve much the same way that marriages do; couples have property rights and must divide their marital assets and debts. Likewise, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements for civil unions are enforceable as long as they are legally sound. 

Cohabitation 

More and more couples are choosing to cohabitate rather than get married. A cohabitating couple’s commitment may be no less serious than a married couple, but, unfortunately, cohabitating couples do not share any of the property protections that married couples have. Although some couples create cohabitation agreements, there is some question about whether these agreements are enforceable, as the Illinois Supreme Court has decided that Illinois gives preference to marital contracts and can strike down workarounds like cohabitation agreements. Couples who own property together but cannot agree on how to divide it will need to address their disagreements in civil court. 

Common-Law Marriages 

While Illinois does not allow couples to enter into common-law marriages, couples who are in common-law marriages in other states can have their marriage recognized in Illinois. However, proving that you were in a legitimate common-law marriage in the state in which you were “married” can be tricky, so be sure to have an attorney help you manage your common-law marriage’s dissolution. 

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st. charles divorce lawyerAll marital property needs to be accurately valued and fairly divided before an Illinois divorce can be finalized, and while that may sound straightforward in writing, in reality it can be quite complicated. One type of property that tends to be the most complicated is that of a small business or personal practice

Professionals spend many years and countless resources obtaining an education and building their careers, and the prospect of having the fruits of those labors divided in a divorce can be devastating. If you are an attorney, doctor, accountant, or another similar professional and own your own practice or share a small business with a business partner, you likely have questions about how your divorce could change the way you do business. 

Is a Professional Practice Always Marital Property? 

Spouses often opt to protect their professional practices with prenuptial and postnuptial agreements that carefully detail the treatment of said practices in the event of a divorce. But without a legally enforceable contract protecting a practice, the value of a practice that was earned during a marriage is usually marital property and subject to division. This is true whether the practice was started after a couple was already married or whether a spouse owned the practice before the marriage began. 

How is the Value of a Professional Practice Determined? 

Spouses will likely want to get the help of a professional appraiser to determine the value of a practice. Valuation methods can differ greatly depending on the type of practice; for example, a dental practice, with valuable equipment and hundreds of patients would have to be valued differently from a psychotherapist’s practice in which very little equipment and far fewer patients are involved. Whatever valuation method spouses choose, eventually spouses will have to agree on the value of the business and how to divide its value. This can be done by selling the practice and splitting the value, buying out one spouse’s value with other marital assets, or, when couples cannot decide themselves, entrusting the matter to a court to decide. 

Contact a St. Charles, IL Property Division Attorney

Determining what happens to marital property can be a complicated part of any divorce. Having an experienced St. Charles property division attorney with experience and negotiation skills is essential to ensuring your interests are protected during your divorce and well into the future. At Shaw Sanders, P.C., we know how important it is to protect your personal reputation and professional practice. Call us today at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free case review and learn more about how we can help. 

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st. charles divorce lawyerParents who get divorced in Illinois are frequently concerned with the potential effect the divorce could have on their children. After all, research suggests that children whose parents are divorced often struggle with many aspects of life, including their own intimate relationships later in life. However, when done carefully and thoughtfully, divorce does not need to be a traumatic experience for children. Collaborative divorce offers a cooperative, mutually respectful way for parents to separate while keeping their children’s best interests in mind. Here are three ways collaborative divorce could benefit your children. 

Less Conflict

One of the hardest parts of a divorce is the conflict. Children frequently get caught between arguing parents and may feel like they have to choose a “side.” This can be confusing and deeply disheartening for children, who naturally love and respect both of their parents. Collaborative divorce is so focused on reducing conflict that every person involved is committed to reaching a resolution - even the attorneys. In fact, if collaborative efforts are not successful, the entire process dissolves and parents must seek new attorneys. This ensures that everybody is motivated to cooperate and find the best possible solution. 

Child-Focused Professionals 

Child psychologists or therapists who specialize in divorce’s effects on children are frequently part of a collaborative divorce team. In addition to working with children to help them process their feelings about the divorce, child-focused divorce professionals can counsel the parents as they seek to create a parenting plan that has the children’s best interests in mind. They can gently remind parents to put the children’s needs first, even when it may be inconvenient or difficult for the parents, ensuring that the transition from one household to two is as smooth as possible. 

Faster Resolution

Because everyone on a collaborative divorce team is focused on achieving compromise, collaborative divorce often moves a divorce towards a final conclusion faster than other methods. This benefits children by reducing their exposure to the stress that the divorce process can put on their parents and benefits everyone by allowing life after divorce to begin as soon as possible.  

Schedule a Free Consultation with a St. Charles, IL Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

At Shaw Sanders, P.C., our St. Charles collaborative divorce attorneys know that every family needs a divorce strategy that takes their unique needs into consideration. If you are getting divorced and want to mindfully and peacefully separate from your spouse, call us now at 630-584-5550 to schedule your free initial consultation. Our comfortable offices are conveniently located on Randall Road. We look forward to helping you. 

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