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IL divorce lawyerGetting divorced is stressful on many levels. It is emotional and can be financially burdensome at the time of the divorce and in the future. Young couples filing for divorce are not often thinking about retirement; however, properly preparing for the future should be on the mind of divorcees throughout the proceedings. One of the best ways to secure your future financially is to obtain a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). This is an order that ensures the recognition of a second party in receiving a portion of the retirement benefits from their former spouse’s plan. While you may believe that you are entitled to your ex’s retirement benefits, the only legal way to secure this money is through a QDRO.

Who can receive money through a QDRO?

This legal document has limitations regarding who is considered eligible to receive financial assistance. The recipient is known as the “alternate payee” while the plan holder is known as the “participant”. Alternate payees can include spouses, former spouses, children, or other dependents of the participant.

What should be included in a QDRO?

Each retirement plan has individual requirements; however, there is certain information that must be included on every QDRO request. These include:

  1. The name and address of the participant and alternate payee
  2. The name of each plan to which the order applies
  3. The dollar amount or percentage of the benefit to be given to the alternate payee
  4. The number of payments or time period of the order

Can I get a QDRO after my divorce?

QDROs can be filed at any time. Whether you are in the middle of the divorce process or have been divorced for a decade, QDROs do not have a time limit. This is done in part because financial situations can change over time. While some may have a retirement plan with their job at the time of their divorce, they may change jobs later on and find themselves in need of financial support. QDROs can also be filed for after the former spouse’s death; however, it must be consistent with the terms of the retirement plan. QDROs can be filed for long after the divorce is finalized but it is best to obtain one and file the QDRO with the retirement plan as quickly as possible.

Obtaining a QDRO with the Help of a Kane County Attorney

All legal processes go much smoother with an experienced attorney by your side. If you are in the middle of your divorce, you should notify your attorney that you may need the financial assistance later in life. You may also need to contact the plan for information about your spouse’s plan if your spouse is not willing to provide you with that information. At Shaw Family Law, we draft QDROs during or after divorce to ensure that you receive the proper allotment of finances later in life. If you are considering divorce or need assistance drafting a QDRO from a divorce that happened years ago, contact our experienced St. Charles, IL divorce attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyAs a parent undergoing divorce, you have your work cut out for you. Not only do you need to address the legal technicalities of the split in the midst of experiencing the grieving process, you also need to tackle all the issues that accompany the end of a marriage, including everything from the division of assets and parenting time (visitation), to parenting plans and inventory of your personal finances. For the stay-at-home parent, divorce requires a complete lifestyle overhaul, which can trigger a number of concerns for the spouse who has been the primary caregiver at home.

Safeguarding Your Rights as a Stay-at-Home Parent

The idea that the stay-at-home parent will be able to continue to live the lifestyle they were originally accustomed to prior to the divorce is sadly not always a realistic one. While there are laws that vary from state to state that allow certain protections for the stay-at-home spouse, the parent’s lifestyle will inevitably change as their financial circumstances evolve due to the divorce. Parents used to staying home to raise their children can still make the effort to safeguard their rights during the transition in the following ways:

Explore the possibility of maintenance - Here in the state of Illinois, the law may entitle you to maintenance (alimony), which is sometimes awarded to account for a significant difference in income and earnings between spouses. The amount you may be eligible for and the length of time you may receive the award is determined by a mathematical formula and factors summarized in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/504). The court will look at everything from the current and future earning capacity of each spouse, joint property and assets, and the needs of each spouse, to the standard of living that was established during the marriage and how long the union lasted. Exploring your eligibility for maintenance can help you plan, prepare, and protect your financial well-being

Assess your assets - In order to protect your livelihood after your divorce, you need to first get a clear snapshot of what your finances currently look like. This will help you gauge what you are walking into after the divorce, and help you know what needs to be addressed when consulting with your attorney. Take stock of everything from your mortgage and car title to basic monthly expenses and debts, and also jot down any potential employment options as well as educational pursuits you may explore, which may incur additional expenses on your behalf.

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Posted on in Mediation

Illinois mediation attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThe decision to attend mediation to settle your divorce matters is a beneficial one. Couples have the option to discuss their post-divorce arrangements and come to settlement agreements in the presence of a professional mediator, who is trained to minimize conflict and help produce positive results for the entire family. Before you begin the negotiation process, though, it is important to address core issues that will be discussed during mediation. This will help ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible and that you are not caught off-guard when it is time to reach an agreement.

Here are some key areas every couple should discuss in preparation of the mediation process:

Joint Accounts

Whether you share regular checking and savings accounts, vacation funds, or credit cards, it is important to take inventory of all your joint accounts and make sure you have copies of everything. This includes mortgage statements, wills, and trusts. If you are able to civilly discuss money matters with your soon-to-be ex-spouse before mediation, it is helpful to do so, but if that is not an option, gather the financial records for yourself and wait to tackle the subject until your mediation conference.

Other Assets 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_asset-division.jpgRegardless of how much or how little you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse own, the division of assets in the divorce process can significantly impact your financial standing after your marriage is over. Whether you need to look out for your own well-being or you have additional family members to care for after the separation, money matters. What you and your spouse split and how you split it will be a defining factor in the overall quality of your long-term financial security.

Where Asset Division Can Get Tricky

Determining Value

Some couples make the mistake of believing that the most important factor in the division of assets is the flat dollar value. Whatever something is worth must determine its overall value and it should simply be divided evenly, right? This is not always the case. When it comes to most assets, their worth must be based on more than just their dollar value. For example, you must take into account factors such as an asset’s liquidity as well as how its sale will be affected by taxes. The long-term worth of a piece of property is just as important as its immediate worth.

Types of Property

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