How Your Employment Can Affect Your Divorce AgreementState divorce laws will not allow you to gain an advantage in support payments by quitting your job or not searching for a job. Your child support and spousal maintenance can be based on what you are realistically capable of earning. Courts will not offer much sympathy to people who try to cheat the system by creating an artificial need for support. If you are capable of working, you are expected to keep your job or try to find one.

Leaving Your Job

Courts determine child support and spousal maintenance payments based mostly each spouse’s income. Thus, a spouse could seemingly reduce his or her child support obligation and qualify for spousal maintenance if he or she was unemployed. You will not fool the court if you voluntarily leave your job in order to gain an advantage. The court will instead base your income on what you are capable of earning. However, there is a difference between quitting a job and leaving a job because it conflicts with your parenting time. As a single parent, you may need to look after your children during the hours you normally work. A court may be understanding in this situation but will expect you to look for another job that fits your schedule or to find childcare services.

Losing Your Job

You may become involuntarily unemployed during your divorce due to layoffs or being fired. The court will not hold it against you if you lose your job but, once again, will expect you to be actively looking for a job. It may want you to take a job for lesser pay until you can find new employment in your field.

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Planning Your Divorce Conversation with Your ChildrenTelling your children about your divorce will be as difficult of a conversation for you as when you and your spouse first discussed divorce. Both are stressful and emotional, but your conversation with your children may be more upsetting for you depending on their reaction. Just as with your spouse, it will help to plan your conversation with your children. This will be a traumatic milestone in their lives, and you should avoid thoughtless mistakes that will make the experience worse than it needs to be.

Timing

You should tell your children about your divorce soon after you have made your decision, but a slight delay may be necessary to find an optimal time and place. Ideally, the conversation should:

  • Include both parents and all of your children together; and
  • Take place when none of you have any immediate responsibilities afterward, such as the beginning of a weekend.

Talking to your children together allows you to present a unified message about the divorce. Having all your children present avoids the appearance that you are favoring one of your children by telling him or her first. The conversation will be upsetting and distracting to your children. They will need time to process the news and continue to ask you questions.

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Can You Be Overly Amicable in Your Divorce?An amicable divorce is often healthiest for both parties, but there is such a thing as being overly nice to your spouse during the process. Some divorcees give up too much during the negotiations or do not ask for enough information from their spouse. The process may have been peaceful, but the divorcee ended up with an agreement that did not meet his or her needs. Being amicable during your divorce means being reasonable and calm, but you must be willing to advocate for yourself.

Why People Are Too Amicable

Spouses should try to conduct an amicable divorce because they want to reach a fair and timely resolution. People who seek a quick divorce with little discussion or arguments may instead be motivated by:

  • Wanting to finish the divorce quickly because the process is uncomfortable;
  • Having a natural tendency to avoid conflict with others;
  • Being concerned about pleasing others;
  • Being used to being subservient to their spouse; or
  • Feeling guilty because they blame themselves for the divorce.

As a result, an overly amicable divorcee may quickly accept a spouse’s proposal for dividing property or scheduling a parenting plan without carefully considering the consequences of the proposal.

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Four Reasons You May Need a Forensic Accountant for Your DivorceForensic accountants investigate personal and business financial records and analyze the information that they find. Divorce attorneys often work with forensic accountants in complex and contested cases. You may question whether you need the added expense of a forensic accountant for your divorce, but there are several reasons why hiring one is vital when going through a high-asset divorce:

  1. Your Marital Properties Are Numerous and Diverse: Are you confident that you could name all of your marital assets if someone asked you to? Your spouse may have luxury items, properties, business interests and benefits accounts, some of which you have never seen. Forensic accountants know which properties are common in a high-asset divorce and how to find them.
  2. Differentiating Between Marital and Non-Marital Properties Is Complicated: Claiming that properties are non-marital allows your spouse to exclude them from the division of property. However, a property that only your spouse uses is still a marital property if he or she used marital money to purchase or maintain it. Forensic accountants can track how your spouse paid for a property that he or she claims is non-marital. If it is marital property, then your spouse must compensate you if he or she wants to keep it. 
  3. Expensive Assets Need Accurate Valuation: Your spouse may undervalue his or her income, business, and personal properties in order to gain an advantage in the division of property. You are allowing your spouse to receive more marital property value than you realize without being compensated in return. Misreporting his or her income could also diminish what you receive in child support or spousal maintenance. You need a forensic accountant to independently assess the value of your marital assets.
  4. Your Spouse May Be Hiding Assets: You may have allowed your spouse to handle all of your financial decisions and recordkeeping during your marriage. Your spouse can take advantage of his or her superior knowledge by hiding assets during the division of property. This could include creating secret accounts, misreporting income, or using deceptive practices to artificially decrease the value of his or her business. Forensic accountants know all of these tricks and can identify suspicious information in your spouse’s records.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

A knowledgeable forensic accountant may ultimately save you money on your divorce by preventing your spouse from taking advantage of you. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can recommend a forensic accountant and work with him or her on your case. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.

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Calling Character Witnesses During a Parenting CaseYou are most likely to use a subpoena during your divorce when you need your spouse to turn over important documents related to your marital finances. Using subpoenas on potential witnesses has become less common in Illinois since the state made all divorces no-fault cases. When spouses needed to prove fault in a divorce, they called on character witnesses to support claims of infidelity or immorality. Character witnesses can still be useful during a divorce when you are trying to establish the allocation of parental responsibilities.

What Witnesses Provide

You may be concerned about leaving your children alone with your spouse if he or she can be irresponsible or abusive. However, a court may believe your own testimony on the subject to be biased because you could benefit from portraying your spouse as an unfit parent. A third-party witness would support your claims by testifying that he or she saw your spouse:

  • Act recklessly or abusively with your children;
  • Regularly fail to fulfill his or her parental duties; or
  • Expose your children to unhealthy situations.

Identifying Witnesses

A witness in a parenting dispute should be someone who sees your children regularly, but a court may view testimony from a family member or close friend as being biased towards you. Ideally, you would find a witness who does not have a personal connection to you, such as a neighbor, teacher, coach, or babysitter. This person’s only concern should be towards what is best for your children.

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

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

 630-584-4800

 1770 Park Street, Suite 205
Naperville IL 60563

 630-364-4046

 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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