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Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerDivorce is commonplace in today’s society. Many families go through this legal process and some even have to sign the papers multiple times. Like the statistics say, 50% of marriages end in divorce. Though high-conflict divorce is seen on television and social media every day, divorce is not always conducted through a screaming match. Some couples divorce due to infidelity or constant arguing; however, two of the most common reasons for divorce are lack of intimacy and not being prepared for marriage. Divorce may not be pleasant for any of the parties involved, but getting a divorce does not mean you hate your spouse. Learn about the two types of divorce and the common options available to those going through the ending of a marriage.

Contested Divorce

This is the type of divorce often televised or included in movie plotlines. A contested divorce occurs when neither party can come to an agreement about the terms and details of the divorce. This includes the division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or child custody. Those going through a contested divorce will find themselves arguing in court, in front of a judge. Because of the lack of agreement between the parties, a judge will make the decisions for the couple, by taking all aspects of their relationship, family, and financial situation into consideration. This takes away all forms of decision making from the divorcing couple and places it into the hands of the judge. Often times, couples will begin the divorce process in a contested manner but eventually come to agreement to save themselves from enduring a divorce in front of a court.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is one of agreement and compromise. Those going through an uncontested do not necessarily have to “get along” but they do need to be able to come to a conclusion on matters such as division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or child custody. Though this may not be an easy task, learning to compromise can save couples from wasted time and money. Many couples going through an uncontested divorce seek divorce mediation. The purpose of divorce mediation is for the couple to decide on the terms of their divorce with the helping hand of a divorce attorney. The lawyer is not there to act as a referee between arguments, but rather to legally record the terms of the divorce while acting as a neutral negotiator between the two parties. Though mediation does not work for all couples, it is a good option for those going through an uncontested divorce. Not only does it save time and money, but it also allows for the couple to sustain an amicable relationship after the ending of their marriage.

Legal Assistance

Regardless of the type of divorce you and your spouse are involved in, an experienced divorce attorney is necessary to ensure fairness and equality in the terms of the divorce. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we have experience with both contested and uncontested divorces. We also have mediation attorneys available to couples seeking a conversational format for their divorce process. Contact our skilled Kane County divorce attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation to discuss your options for divorce.

 

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IL family lawyerWhen a couple chooses to divorce through mediation, they work with a neutral third party to develop their divorce settlement. Usually, mediation is a less expensive, less stressful option than divorce in the courtroom.

Mediation only works when a couple is capable of working amicably together. Sometimes, couples who initially think they can mediate their divorce successfully find that it is a much different process than they envisioned. If you face challenges with your mediation, take the following steps to determine your best course of action:

Talk to Your Spouse About Your Issues to Work Them Out

Address your difficulties with your spouse directly. If you feel he or she is not taking the mediation process as seriously as you are or that he or she is not being cooperative, talk about it. Successful mediation is only possible when both partners are willing to communicate and cooperate. Your spouse might not realize he or she is being difficult or stalling the mediation process, or he or she might be unwilling to move forward and actively trying to sabotage it.

The issue could also be with you and your approach to mediation. The only way to determine whether it is worthwhile to continue pursuing mediation is to determine whether you and your spouse are both 100 percent on board with it. If not, mediation is not for you.

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Illinois divorce lawyerWhen a couple cannot stand to be around each other, they are often advised to file for divorce. But a divorce is not feasible in all cases. When there is a barrier to a couple divorcing, whether that barrier is their cultural or religious beliefs about marriage, their financial situation, or just their own perspective of the marriage and the prospect of ending it, legal separation can be a useful way to detach from each other without actually ending the marriage. Some legally separated couples do go on to divorce while others remain content living singly while legally separated. Still, others use their separation as a time to reflect on their marriage, repair the issues that drove them apart and find ways to be a successful couple.

Below are four common reasons why Illinois couples choose legal separation.

Your Religion Prohibits Divorce

Many religions prohibit divorce. Sometimes, individuals’ personal convictions make divorce an unattractive, or even unacceptable, option. For individuals whose religious or philosophical beliefs make divorce a taboo subject, legal separation can be a way to exit an unhealthy marriage without actually violating these beliefs.

You Are Not Sure if You are Ready for a Divorce

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b2ap3_thumbnail_divorce-filing.jpgMany couples must ponder the idea of whether or not there is truly a “right” time to divorce when faced with the decision to call it quits. Is there really such thing as a good time to break the sad news to friends and family? No one is ever truly prepared for the emotional toll that divorce entails, so it is completely understandable when a couple chooses to delay the decision. Some couples hold off with hopes for possible reconciliation, while others feel it may be best to stay together for the children.

Identifying Priorities

Whatever the personal circumstances surrounding your imminent separation, weighing various factors that may ultimately shape your divorce experience for better or worse before officially ending the marriage can be beneficial. Evaluating these factors can help you identify your priorities in the divorce process, which can help you decide the best time to make the jump.

Explore some of these key areas when looking at the timeline of your divorce:

1. Financial Standing

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerIf you and your spouse find yourselves in the midst of separating, you, like many couples, may be pondering the advantages and disadvantages of legal separation before divorce. Legal separation serves to outline the rights and responsibilities of each spouse when they are living apart, but are not yet divorced. Living apart for a period of time can be helpful for the couple who wants to try a trial separation before making the decision to call it quits, but doing so can bring about certain financial risks if not addressed properly early on.

Making It Official

If you choose to go the trial separation route, there are certain stipulations that must be met in order to make the separation official by law. Ensuring your separation is legal will help prevent any potential financial risks associated with living apart before you divorce.

The following three main requirements must be met in order to legally separate in the state of Illinois:

1. Make a petition - A petition must be filed with the Clerk of Court requesting the separation and the petition must be served to the other marriage partner. From there, the partner being served must respond to the petition to continue the process, and they have the right to present any defense against the petition at this time.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyUndoubtedly, when couples decide to file for divorce, two of the most emotionally and mentally draining topics that arise following the decision are the division of property and child custody arrangements. If a couple shares a child, the stress of arranging parenting time is only compounded when the subject of dividing belongings is added to the mix. Everything combined calls for multiple lifestyle changes at once, creating a number of inevitable emotional landmines for everyone involved.

Priorities and Perspectives When Dividing Property

When it comes to dividing property, deciding who gets what after the divorce can be particularly distressing due to the finality that surrounds the task. Splitting belongings is the final step in ending a life that was once shared and beginning a new one, making it an overwhelming, burdensome chore for both parties.

According to studies reported by the American Psychological Association, the moment couples begin weighing the division of property in preparation for a settlement, they approach the subject with different perspectives. These differences ultimately determine their priorities, which often clash when it is time to meet with a mediator or attorney. Studies have shown the following differences between men and women when it is time to negotiate property division:

  • Women tend to focus more on interpersonal goals;
  • Task-specific goals are more typically the focal point for men;
  • Women are more concerned about their relationships with others than men are;
  • Women are more leery of risk at the end of marriage, which may suggest they are more likely to accept smaller settlements; and
  • Women are also more likely to forego monetary benefits than men are due to their cautious nature when it comes to settlements.

Along with these notable differences between men and women regarding their approach to settlement negotiations, other important research indicates there is a general perception of higher value placed on belongings that a party owns personally. For example, a husband or wife may feel less concerned about losing a particular joint savings account versus a brand new car that they personally purchased and placed in their name.

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Illinois mediation attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerEven the most peaceful divorces can benefit from family law mediation. Whether there are minor or major disputes regarding issues such as finances or the raising of children, the groundwork for any separation is improved when spouses work with a certified professional who can both provide the resources and information needed to ensure the divorce process goes smoothly and help reduce tension at the same time.

Why Is Family Law Mediation Such a Helpful Tool?

  1. It reduces emotional and financial stress.

Divorce can make you go bankrupt - both literally and figuratively. It is not uncommon for spouses who feel hurt or betrayed to experience a lot of hurt and anger toward their partner. These emotions often turn into the desire for revenge, especially where finances are concerned. When consumed or blinded by these emotions, it is easy to lose sight of reality and form unrealistic expectations about how much money you will receive from your spouse or how much you will be responsible to pay following the separation. If you are not careful, this can translate to a lot of money and energy spent on “getting even,” which can sadly lead to serious emotional toll as a result. Divorce mediation helps keep the facts and your perspective in check, providing a professional, civil, organized environment for settling financial and lifestyle matters.

  1. It makes the divorce process more efficient.

Another common habit divorcing spouses adopt in the midst of a separation is independent research. In today’s day and age, it is completely understandable to want to research things like alimony and child support calculations on your own. While there are many useful tools on the internet for those going through a divorce, some of these resources are inaccurate or mere estimations. They cannot replace the true value and legitimacy of a legal professional, especially when it comes to the ability to lessen tension, reduce misunderstandings, and educate you and your spouse on your rights. The Illinois Department of Human Rights reports that the state’s Mediation Unit has a resolution rate of over 80 percent out of all conferences held. The mediation process is confidential, relatively fast, and removes any doubts or uncertainties you might have as you proceed with your divorce. All of these factors combined make for a more efficient divorce process, from start to finish.

Regardless of where you and your spouse fall on the divorce conflict spectrum, professional mediation offers an excellent alternative form of dispute resolution. If you want to minimize conflict, reduce tension, and ensure your rights are protected, it is important to speak with an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation today.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois divorce processRegardless of the reason for your impending divorce, the challenges set before you as you wade through the ordeal can seem daunting, especially when you are unfamiliar with the steps required to initiate the process. Even the most civil agreement between two partners to end their marriage can prompt a lot of stress due to the overload of incoming information.

You have decided to divorce. So, what is next? What do you need to know? Are you taking the most reasonable course of action? Who can help guide you along the way? Here are three things every divorcing spouse should know:

Legal Separation Is Not for Everyone

Some partners choose to file for legal separation in order to officially live apart but hold on to certain benefits, such as health insurance policies and various financial arrangements. Living apart and filing for legal separation can protect the best interest of both parties while giving them time and space to live apart to examine whether or not divorce is the best option. For some, this is a way to test the separation waters before officially calling it quits; for others, it is merely a transitional stepping stone on the way to a sure-fire divorce. No matter which camp you fall in, one thing to know is that legal separation is just that: a separation. It is not an actual divorce, and it is only a temporary solution.

Mediation Works

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Illinios family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerDivorcing couples often hear a number of things about mediation as they enter the divorce process. Success stories and horror stories abound. More often than not, though, the success stories far outweigh the disappointing accounts given by co-workers, families, and friends. This is ultimately due to the overwhelming resolution rates that we see among Illinois State divorce cases. The Department of Human Rights reports that their Mediation Unit’s resolution rates are 80 percent for all conferences held. That tells us mediation works, and it can for you, too.

What Makes a Good Mediator?

Resolution rates are not magic, however. They do not exist by chance or luck; they are a direct result of working with a professional, efficient, trained mediator who is well skilled and equipped to produce good results. Here are three qualities that define a good mediator:

Effective Communication

All mediators are required to be excellent communicators. After all, it is their duty to help facilitate a civil, safe meeting between two divorcing partners to discuss and negotiate the terms of their separation. Listening skills are crucial, but being able to effectively communicate the concerns and needs of each spouse to everyone present during the meeting is a must.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois divorce lawsAlthough partners may always choose to live apart without legally separating, the formal arrangement of legal separation has its advantages for spouses looking to protect their best interests when a divorce is imminent. Not only does official legal separation help define lifestyle and financial boundaries for a separating couple, it also gives the couple space to spend some time apart and consider whether or not divorce is the best solution.

If you or your spouse are not yet committed to filing for divorce, legal separation is a temporary, alternative avenue that allows you to explore your options and set the parameters for your split. To file for legal separation in Illinois, you will need to keep the following requirements in mind:

  • You and your spouse must be separated and already living apart when the court action is initiated;
  • If you are the one seeking the legal separation, you must provide a statement that you are not the one at fault for the separation;
  • You may not marry anyone else during a legal separation until the dissolution or marriage or divorce is resolved and final;
  • You may not claim any rights to property or possessions at a later divorce hearing, after the date of the judgment of legal separation has passed; and
  • To begin the legal separation procedure, you must start by filing a petition with the Clerk of the Circuit Court

Once you file the petition with the Clerk of the Circuit Court and declare that you are not at fault for the separation, you are required to wait for a sheriff’s deputy to deliver a summons to your spouse. Your spouse will then have the opportunity to respond and at that point, the case is brought before a judge. The judge will decide whether or not all issues between you can be resolved, and if so, help set the groundwork for your agreements.

Acquainting yourself with the general requirements for a legal separation is the first step in filing and beginning the process. Should you have more questions as you consider legal separation, you can benefit from having an experienced, professional Kane County family law attorney by your side to help direct and guide you to ensure your case is handled both thoroughly and efficiently. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 today for a free consultation.

 

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyWhether your decision to end your marriage has been a mutual one or a tough conclusion you’ve had to make all on your own, divorce is never easy. Even amicable separations can bring about a lot of headache when it comes time to take legal action. Both partners must come to an agreement on how assets should be divided, who will take ownership and responsibility for what, and if children are involved, parenting time (visitation) and child support must be arranged and agreed upon.

If you live in Illinois and have recently come to the conclusion that it is indeed time for you and your partner to file for divorce, here are some basics to help you get started.

The Statutes

As you begin to seek representation and commence the divorce process, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with the state’s divorce statutes. These written laws explain the guidelines for dissolution of marriage and how they are defined. For example, Part IV of The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act covers everything from Irreconcilable Differences to Legal Separation. While the legal jargon can be hard to digest and is best read through with an experienced attorney, the statutes clearly and specifically lay out what you need to know. You can find these laws via the Illinois General Assembly government website (www.ilga.gov).

State Requirements

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