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Chicago Illinois Family Law Blog

Certain personality traits can lead to divorce

The unfortunate truth is that most Illinois couples are at risk for eventually separating. In partnerships where certain personality traits are strong, however, the risk for divorce is a lot higher. According to some psychologists, therapists, divorce lawyers and other experts with experience in divorces, there are seven specific personality characteristics that can increase the chance of a relationship ending.

One of these personality traits is known as catastrophizing. This is when one or both partners turn tiny disagreements into much bigger issues. One divorce lawyer from Illinois reported that he had a client file for divorce simply because her husband forgot to take out the trash. The opposite personality trait to this is argument avoidance, but it can be just as destructive. This is when a partner bottles up problems instead of trying to resolve them.

Handling divorce close to retirement

Illinois residents can face challenges during divorce whether they are younger and have children or are just a few years away from retirement. For individuals who are age 50 and over, the divorce rate has doubled since 1990 according to data from the Pew Research Center. This is despite the fact that divorce rates have been declining overall. If a person is going through a divorce, it is important to manage money carefully.

This means not buying a house or other expensive items before, during or after the divorce proceeding. Instead, it is a good idea to create a budget that will allow a person to live a stable lifestyle now and many years into the future. It is also a good idea to work with a financial adviser who can help an older person prepare for retirement after his or her marriage has come to an end.

Retirement and pensions subject to split in Illinois divorces

You and your spouse decide to divorce, but you worry about how a judge will split your assets. Even before you married your spouse, you began a career that established a successful future pension plan. Now that you and your spouse wish to separate, you are concerned about the division of the pension agreement.

Illinois operates under the law of equitable distribution when dividing assets during a divorce. Equitable distribution allows a judge to look at many aspects of your marriage and determine a fair, yet generally equal split of property. Included in this property are retirement accounts and pension plans.

It’s illegal to leave Illinois with your child after a divorce

Your divorce has finally been finalized. A difficult, emotional chapter of your life has just ended, and a new future is waiting for you and your child. Be careful when making plans, though. Unless you’ve been awarded sole legal and physical custody, there is a good chance that moving out of Illinois with your child is currently illegal.

Whether you’re interested in the fresh start that comes with a new location, are seeking a new career position or have personal reasons for wanting to leave the state, know that you will need court approval to do so.

The pros and cons of sole custody

Parents in Illinois and elsewhere may ask for sole physical custody of their children after a divorce. This means that the child will live with one parent more than half of the time. One of the benefits of this arrangement is that it minimizes the potential interruption to a child's life. As a general rule, the child gets to stay close to friends and remain in the same school.

This can provide a sense of stability in what may otherwise be a turbulent period in a young person's life. Parents and children also avoid having to constantly bring clothes, books and other belongings to a separate house on a regular basis. However, this may not always be in a son or daughter's best interest. While the noncustodial parent generally gets visitation rights, it may not feel like enough time for the parent and child to spend together.

Planning for educational expenses in the divorce

People in Chicago who are thinking about divorce may focus on the financial aspects of the separation, especially once the emotional and practical issues are resolved. This can be particularly critical when children are involved. While divorcing parents may think extensively about how to manage child custody and set up a parenting plan, it is equally important to develop a schedule for how the children's educational expenses will be handled in the future. The divorce process can give both parents the opportunity to decide their responsibilities and memorialize them in the resulting decree.

Illinois, like many other states throughout the country, requires parents to designate responsibilities for their children's college education in a divorce agreement. While neither parent has to pay university costs, and in some cases they may be unable to afford them, both need to agree about how their responsibilities will be apportioned. When parents don't reach an agreement among themselves, the court can use standard language. In some cases, it may be difficult to plan specifically as parents may not know what to expect in the future decades. However, people can state their lack of ability to make a specific commitment.

Finances and divorce

Illinois couples who are getting a divorce may be concerned about the state of their financial affairs. However, they can begin to take control of their lives by being proactive and getting a handle on their liabilities, income, expenses and assets.

The different types of financial assets individuals can have may include checking accounts, certificates of deposit, cash, mutual funds, real estate investment trusts, savings bonds, money-market accounts, savings accounts, stocks and bonds. The spouses who have a low income or are not working may find these assets particularly beneficial as they can be helpful in paying for living expenses.

Planning for the financial future in a gray divorce

When people decide to divorce later in life, they may have particular concerns about their financial future. One of the most significant aspects of "gray divorce" can be the distribution of retirement funds. These distributions are increasingly common, especially as the divorce rate for people over 50 has more than doubled over the past two decades. These divorces can be substantially different from those between younger people. In many cases, the split is more amicable, and issues like child support and custody are unlikely to be significant.

However, property division issues like the distribution of retirement funds can be a major concern. Each partner may need to make changes to increase his or her own retirement investments after the divorce is finalized, especially if he or she is close to retirement age. In addition, it's very important to follow proper procedure when preparing for the division of these funds. If errors are made, they can be costly as people may be hit with expensive and unnecessary taxes or penalties as a result.

The rise of prenups amongst millennials

Millennials are breaking the mold in several ways from former generations, so it’s not a surprise that more millennials are marrying a partner later in life. However, with later marriages comes the rise of prenuptial agreements, a legal document that outlines how a couple will divide their assets in a divorce.

A recent survey noted a boost in millennials, ages 18 through 34, drafting prenups before marriage, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The study also noticed a fivefold increase in prenuptial agreements across the board over the last 20 years.

Financial conduct that can spell trouble for a marriage

How married couples act when it comes to money can impact many things. It could affect how likely a marriage is to last. Money problems are a common divorce cause.

Certain financial behaviors can greatly increase tension within a marriage. This includes:

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