Every divorce is different. While some couples end up in hotly contested divorce proceedings where they communicate primarily through their attorneys, other spouses part ways on more amicable terms. In either case, it is important to use caution in resolving issues pertaining to money, property, debts, and children, as these have the potential to impact your life dramatically, both now and in the future. The following are three important issues anyone contemplating divorce should discuss with an experienced divorce attorney.
Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), marital property, assets, and debts are divided equitably. This means that rather than splitting everything 50/50, the judge in the case will consider factors such as each party’s income and earning potential, the standard of living they were accustomed to in the marriage, and the contributions each made in accumulating assets or debts.
The first step in the process is to make a complete inventory of everything purchased, earned, or acquired during the marriage. This includes homes, furnishings, and cars, as well as financial accounts and pension benefits. To ensure a fair split, be thorough in listing all assets as well as any debts, such as mortgages, car payments, and credit card balances.
Depending on the length of the marriage, either party in a divorce may be entitled to spousal support and maintenance. Factors the judge will consider in awarding this type of support include each party’s earning potential, the education and skills they bring to the job market, and any career sacrifices they may have made to support the other spouse in their career or on behalf of the family.
While adultery is no longer relevant as grounds for divorce in Illinois, it may be a factor in alimony award. A spouse who commits adultery is generally barred from receiving spousal support, while one who spent lavishly on affairs may find themselves paying more as part of the divorce settlement.
Under changes to the Illinois Statutes in 2016, child custody is replaced by allocation of parental responsibility. This means that rather than one parent having sole custody while the other has visitation and pays support, the court aims to have both parents more actively involved in their lives. In addition to timesharing, in which the child spends liberal amounts of time in each parent’s home, it also means sharing responsibility to making decisions on the child’s behalf.
Decisions made during divorce proceedings impact every area of your life. To ensure your rights and interests are protected, call or contact Sabuco, Beck, Hansen & Massino, P.C. online today.
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