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Naperville divorce attorneysIt is estimated that about one out of five U.S. parents are stay-at-home-parents who do not work outside of the home. The majority of stay-at-home parents are mothers, but data shows that many fathers are choosing to stay home with their children as well. If you are a stay-at-home parent who is considering getting divorced, you probably have many concerns. You may worry, “How will I financially support myself without my spouse’s income? Will I still be able to stay home with my children?” Stay-at-home-parents who divorce face a different set of circumstances than parents who have had a career outside of the home, so it is important to know your options.

Property is Divided According to Equitable Distribution in Illinois

In some states, marital property is split exactly in half during divorce. Illinois, however, uses a method of property division called equitable distribution. Marital estates in Illinois are divided equitably, or fairly, but not necessarily equally. Factors considered by Illinois courts during property division disputes include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The value of each spouse’s separate or non-marital property
  • The value of the marital property expected to be allocated to each spouse;
  • Each spouse’s income, employability, and overall financial circumstances
  • Any child support or spousal maintenance obligations that a spouse has from a previous relationship
  • The contributions each spouse made to the value of the marital estate
  • Non-financial contributions to the marriage made by a spouse acting as a homemaker or stay-at-home-parent
  • Child custody and child support provisions

You May Be Eligible for Spousal Support

Spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, are payments that one spouse makes to the other after a divorce. When a spouse has not had a typical job in many years, spousal support can help give them the financial assistance they need to get back on their feet. Spousal support is generally intended to be temporary and only lasts as long as it will take the recipient spouse to gain the skills and education needed to find suitable employment. Permanent spousal support may be awarded if the recipient spouse cannot support themselves financially or after a marriage lasting 20 years or more.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysSpouses who are getting divorced can, and often do, fight about virtually anything, but issues involving money are often among the most difficult to resolve. This can be especially true if one or both spouses have substantial wealth or high net-worth. However, planning is important for divorcing couples, no matter how much money they have. If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, there are some things you can do to protect yourself and your assets.

Gather Relevant Information

When you were getting married, you probably did not wait until a week before your wedding to start looking for a caterer or venue for the reception. Unfortunately, many people approach divorce in exactly this way. They do not do anything about the situation until their spouse actually files the petition for divorce.

It is a good idea to start preparing as soon as divorce becomes a real possibility. There is absolutely no harm in getting financial information together. Most experts recommend going back about five years and gathering as much as you can, including account statements, transaction receipts, tax returns, credit card bills, investment paperwork, and any other items that could provide details about your finances. If you are unsure about a particular document, keep it just in case. Make copies of everything and have them available for your lawyer and the court once the proceedings get started.

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DuPage County asset division lawyerOne of the most challenging aspects of a divorce can often be determining how property will be divided. Illinois law dictates that only marital, or shared, property should be divided during a divorce and that non-marital, or separate, property is not. However, it can be hard to determine what property is considered marital and what property is considered separate.

Untangling two individuals’ finances and assets during divorce can be a complicated endeavor – especially if the couple is not able or willing to negotiate. In some situations, property decisions are left up to the judge assigned to the case. The judge will then use a method of property division called “equitable distribution” in order to assign property to each spouse.

What Is Considered Non-Marital Property?

Separate property is not subject to equitable division and will be assigned to the spouse who owns it during divorce. Separate property generally includes:

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