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The cost of health insurance is one of the many factors to consider when contemplating divorce.  According to a 2012 study by the University of Michigan, approximately 115,000 women lose their private health insurance every year due to divorce. Under the Affordable Care Act, or as it is colloquially known, Obamacare, however, divorce could decrease health insurance costs.

  health insurance & divorce IMAGECurrently, individuals and couples within a particular income range can receive Obamacare subsidies that lower the amount they spend monthly or reduce their out-of-pocket costs for copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. Married couples have their incomes counted together for the purposes of determining their eligibility for Obamacare subsidies. In contrast, couples that live together without getting married have their incomes evaluated separately. For example, a married couple from New York recently announced that they might file for divorce to qualify for Obamacare subsidies. Nona Aronowitz and Aaron Cassara related to The Atlantic that a divorce could save the couple thousands of dollars in health insurance costs.  Nona, a freelance writer, and Aaron, who works in the film industry, earn more than $62,000 a year. The couple’s yearly income places them over the 400 percent of the federal poverty level cutoff to qualify for Obamacare subsidies.  However, if the coupled divorced and chose instead to simply live together, they would qualify for the subsidies and save thousands of dollars a year. Moreover, even if Nona and Aaron’s combined income fell below 400 percent of the federal poverty level, the subsidies for which the couple would be eligible might be worth less than subsidies for which they would be eligible as unmarried, cohabitating individuals. While Kane County couples are unlikely to consider divorce to increase their eligibility for subsidies to purchase insurance, couples contemplating divorce should think about the health-related implications of their divorce.  Other Health-Related Concerns in a Divorce Aside from health insurance costs, there are other health-related considerations for those contemplating or in the midst of divorce.
  • Insurance premiums: A temporary court order could be required to make sure that all health insurance premiums get paid as usual.

  • Long-term-care coverage: If a couple already owns long-term-care insurance together, they need to research what happens to their coverage in a divorce.

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 While some are celebrating and spending time with family, others are coping with the emotions prompted by a divorce. Perhaps there is no good time of year to legally separate or divorce, but there are several options for navigating challenging times. A Chicago Tribune article provides some options for recent divorcees.  For those considering a divorce during the holidays, there are many activities to consider: Think of the Timing Can you wait? If possible, allow the holiday season to conclude before pursuing the divorce. Every situation is different, but if you have young children, distancing the divorce from holiday traditions and celebrations may keep them from associating a festive time with the family split. Reach out to Family and Friends There is nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with people you love and letting them know you need emotional support. Meet a loved one for lunch or help a friend decorate. Sometimes being out and busy may help to temporarily shift the focus from your situation. Spend Time with Children Children have a way of taking your mind away from grown-up problems. Help them bake a dessert or color a picture. Simple activities can give you a much needed respite from the complexities of life. Find a Support Group Find people who are going through the same thing. Sometimes you need to talk about your feelings with people who are also facing divorce. You may have to search until you find the group that is best for you, but it may be a worthwhile pursuit. Hire a Family Law Attorney Family law attorneys are a great resource. They handle the legal process so that you can focus on moving forward emotionally. An excellent divorce lawyer will not only advise you on the best strategies and solutions, but will be personable and take the time to listen to your story and help you establish attainable goals. Divorce can be an emotionally complex process, but the legal part does not have to be. Contact an experienced family law attorney in St. Charles, Illinois today.

Tips When Writing Your Prenup IMAGEA prenuptial agreement may seem best reserved for the very wealthy or famous, but the truth is that all couples—no matter their economic status—should have a prenup. A prenup ensures that in the event of divorce no one gets the wool pulled over his eyes, and, in some cases, can also help keep the divorce proceedings from being as nasty as they might otherwise be. According to the Huffington Post, however, “many people, including celebrities and other high net worth individuals, have had their prenuptial agreements invalidated due to common mistakes.” While no one should attempt to write or enforce a prenuptial agreement without the assistance of a qualified family law attorney, it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting yourself into. According to the Huffington Post, the number one most common mistake made by “couples when executing a prenuptial agreement” is that the couple doesn’t realize that both parties need a separate attorney. This is true even if the divorce is amicable, and can be a difficult decision. In many cases, a family will have an attorney that it has worked with for years—in the event of a divorce only one spouse can opt to work with this attorney. The same is true for a prenup. The prenuptial agreement MUST be signed in the presence of two separate attorneys. “Each attorney will make sure his/her client fully understands the prenuptial agreement and the signing is done voluntarily,” according to the Huffington Post. If a prenup is signed under duress, reports the Huffington Post, the agreement can be challenged in court and thrown out. Duress can refer to incapacitation of one party, as if he were drunk or under the influence of drugs. A prenup can also be invalid if it is signed too soon before the wedding. The agreement, according to the Huffington Post, should be signed “at least one to three months before the wedding date.” And even though it may seem like a good idea to address the possibility of future children in a prenup, “a prenuptial agreement cannot have any provisions relating to the children of the marriage, such as custody and child support,” according to the Huffington Post. If you or someone you know is considering divorce—or have questions regarding a prenup or other family law matters—don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney today.  

Norwegian Initiative to Curb Divorce- Date IMAGEWith divorce rates on the rise across the world, some countries are taking initiatives to curb marital dissolution. The divorce rate in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention was 3.6 per 1,000 people in 2010, the most recent year for which data was available. This is roughly half the marriage rate for the same year, meaning that nearly 50 percent of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. While the divorce rate has remained high in the U.S. for the better part of the 20th century, there have only been a few major coordinated efforts to reduce the nation’s divorce rate. This is surprising, as divorce ends up costing Americans millions of dollars every year, and as a consequence is likely a contributing factor in more than one personal bankruptcy. According to the Huffington Post, the commonly-accepted ballpark figure for the cost of a divorce “is anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000.” As one attorney told a Huffington Post reporter, “basically it costs as much to get unmarried as it does to get married.” The cost of divorce and its subsequent impact on the people going through it could be one reason for some nations’ initiatives to attempt to curb the divorce rate. According to a different Huffington Post article, “Solveig Horne, [Norway’s] new minister for children, equality and social inclusion and a divorcee herself told a Norwegian newspaper that she’s encouraging couples to go on dates in order to rekindle the romance.” Horne’s idea, while some may say is indicative of a “nanny state,” is based in statistical fact. In 2012, reports the Huffington Post, the National Marriage Project “released a study that claimed married couples who actively kept ‘dating’ were 3.5 times more likely to say they were ‘very happy’ in their marriage.” The same survey showed that that happiness translated to good times in the bedroom: “women who went on weekly dates with their husbands experienced a higher rate of sexual satisfaction,” the report found. If nothing is working for you—even trying to “date” again—divorce may be the best option. Working with an experienced divorce attorney is essential to get you life back on track. Don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced Illinois family law attorney today.

For many divorcing couples, a long-term separation may seem like the ideal way to warm up to the idea of marriage dissolution and determine if it’s really the best move for you and your partner. According to The New York Times, long-term separation works very well for some couples experiencing marital trouble. For one couple, John Frost and his wife, they see no need to divorce though they don’t even live in the same city. “Since separating we get along better than we ever have,” Frost told the Times. They still file joint tax returns and she’s still covered by his insurance. “To tie a bow around it would only make it uglier,” he says. “When people ask me about my relationship status, I usually just say ‘it’s complicated. I like my wife, I just can’t live with her.’”  Long term separation vs. divorce IMAGE During the Great Recession of 2008, according to the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, “among those who were considering a divorce prior to the recession, a large minority of couples say the recession caused them to postpone or put aside divorce.” This meant that more unhappy couples were living together than ever before because they had no other option—but it also meant that many couples were opting for legal or long-term separation rather than divorce to save on divorce costs. Surprisingly, less than 30 percent of surveyed couples said that the recession brought financial stress to their marriage, which means that most couples that divorced during the recession likely were headed in that direction anyway. The idea that a long-term trial separation before a divorce is a good idea may not be true for everyone, however. According to Forbes, “without a formal legal agreement that defines its terms, long-term separation can be a recipe for financial disaster.” This is especially the case for women. According to Forbes, reasons that a long-term separation without divorce can be disastrous include (but are not limited to):
  • An opportunity for the primary earner spouse to hide assets
  • A chance that your spouse’s financial situation will change and you could get less
  • Either one of you could meet someone new
If you or someone you know is considering divorce, the most important first step is to contact an experienced family law attorney. Don’t go through it alone. For a consultation to learn how we can help you, contact Goostree Law Group today.
Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 200
St. Charles, IL 60174

 630-584-4800

 400 S. County Farm Road, Suite 300
Wheaton, IL 60187

 630-407-1777

Our Illinois divorce attorneys represent clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County, including Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, Virgil, Lily Lake, Aurora, North Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Gilberts, Millcreek, Maple Park, Kaneville, LaFox, Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Bristol, Newark, DeKalb, Sycamore, Naperville, Wheaton, West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Oak Brook, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Schaumburg, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Plainfield, Sandwich, Yorkville and many other cities.

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