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St. Charles Family Law AttorneyAny married person can tell you that marriage takes work. Over the years, many couples find themselves exasperated and considering divorce. Financial stress, child-related concerns, infidelity, and countless other issues can harm a marriage relationship. However, it can be difficult to know when a marriage is truly beyond saving. This is why many married couples agree to a “trial separation” before deciding whether or not to get divorced. If you are thinking about a trial separation, keep the following things in mind.

Being Separated and Being Legally Separated Are Two Different Things

The term “separated” is often used to describe a situation in which a married couple is living separately but has not yet begun divorce proceedings. Usually, when couples talk about a trial separation, they are referring to an informal agreement to live separate lives for a certain period of time. This situation should not be confused with a legal separation.

When couples get a legal separation, they have the opportunity to divide marital assets and debts and address other divorce issues like child support and child custody. Legal separation allows couples to protect their financial interests while keeping the marriage intact. If spouses are living separately but not legally separated, these legal protections do not exist. Any property or debts accumulated by either spouse may be considered marital property and therefore jointly held by both spouses. This property and debt would need to be divided during divorce.

St. Charles Property Division LawyerSeparating finances is often one of the most complicated parts of the divorce process. Because the division of assets and debts can have such a significant impact on spouses’ post-divorce future, it is also often one of the most contentious aspects of the divorce process. If you are getting divorced in Kane County, it is important to understand how marital property is divided according to Illinois law.

Dividing Property and Debts During Divorce

Countless factors influence the complexity of the property division process, including the spouses’ ability to agree. If you and your spouse are on relatively good terms, you may be able to reach a property division settlement outside of court. Your respective lawyers can help you negotiate the terms of your property division arrangement if you and your spouse struggle to reach an agreement on your own. If you are unable to reach an agreement or settlement, the court will determine how to divide property for you. Illinois courts divide marital property according to a principle called “equitable distribution.”

What is Equitable Distribution?  

There are two main legal theories when it comes to dividing assets and debts in a divorce: Community property and equitable distribution. Illinois is an equitable distribution state. Courts divide assets and debts in a manner that is fair, or equitable given the spouses’ particular circumstances. Contrary to popular opinion, assets and debts are not split exactly in half.

St. Charles Postnuptial Agreement LawyerThroughout the past 100 years, the way we think of marriage and divorce has changed dramatically. Divorce was once seen as a taboo. People stayed in unhappy or even abusive marriages indefinitely – even when doing so harmed them or their children. Fortunately, things have changed. As divorce becomes more accepted in society, many married couples are choosing to use prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements to protect their financial interests in the event that the marriage does end in divorce. Read on to learn about the potential benefits of a postnuptial agreement, when a postnup is appropriate, and how you can get help with creating a postnuptial agreement.  

Protecting Financial Interests and Planning for the Future

Postnuptial agreements are virtually the same thing as prenuptial agreements, the agreement is just signed after the couple is married. There are countless reasons a couple may choose to sign a postnup. Often, couples choose to sign a postnuptial agreement because they have accumulated significant assets or debts that they want included or excluded from the marital estate. A postnuptial agreement is also a useful tool when a married person has children from a previous relationship. If you have a blended family and you want to ensure your children receive certain assets when you pass away, a postnuptial agreement can help you accomplish this goal.

Business owners and entrepreneurs may benefit greatly from signing a postnuptial agreement. Through a postnup, you can designate how business profits and the business itself are classified should the marriage result in divorce.

Kane County Family Law AttorneyDivorced parents often struggle to communicate about their child’s schedule and needs. It can be hard to coordinate parenting duties with an ex – especially if you are not on good terms with that person. Fortunately, modern technology has many different solutions for parents in this predicament. Using smartphone and computer applications is a great way to keep track of your parenting time schedule, coordinate drop-offs and pick-ups, and record child-related information.

Joint Online Calendars Can Help Ensure Parents Are On the Same Page

Smartphones have changed nearly every aspect of our lives. More and more parents are throwing out paper calendars and address books in favor of digital applications on their phones, tablets, or personal computer. Google Calendar, iCloud Calendar, and Microsoft Outlook Calendar are some of the most popular digital calendars available today. Parents can create shared calendars that may be viewed or edited by either parent in real-time. This can help eliminate confusion about school events, birthday parties, changes to the parenting time schedule, and more.

Co-Parenting Applications for Your Cell Phone

There are also smartphone applications specifically for co-parents. The app 2Houses lets parents organize their parenting time schedules, keep track of child-related expenses, and record medical and school information. Parentship offers similar features and also allows parents to store digital documents like the child’s social security card and passport. OurFamilyWizard is another app that parents can use to communicate information about their children. This particular app comes with a feature called “ToneMeter” that helps parents identify when their message to the other parent may be phrased in an antagonistic or negative way. Apps like these will not completely eliminate the stress of co-parenting with an ex, but they may make it a little easier to stay on the same page with the other parent.

St. Charles Divorce AttorneyMarriage is about much more than money. However, managing financial issues is often a huge aspect of the marital relationship. Consequently, finances are also a massive consideration in a divorce case. In Illinois, divorcing spouses are required to disclose all assets and income. Unfortunately, many spouses try to gain an unfair advantage by hiding assets. Read on to learn about some of the red flags of hidden assets in divorce and what you should do if you suspect your spouse is lying about property or money in your divorce.

Your Spouse Keeps You in the Dark About Finances

In many marriages, one spouse handles financial issues like investments and paying the bills while the other spouse handles other concerns. Unfortunately, this division of labor can backfire during divorce. If your spouse hides financial documents, changes passwords on online bank accounts, or intentionally keeps you in the dark about finances, this may be a sign he or she is hiding something.

Your Spouse’s Business is Unexpectedly Failing

Business owners have an even greater number of ways to manipulate finances in a divorce. If your spouse owns a business, he or she may try to undervalue the business by changing profit and loss statements, delaying invoices, or increasing prices. If your spouse owned a successful business but now claims the business is failing, this may be a sign he or she is trying to deceive you.

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