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naperville divorce lawyerWhen a couple has decided to divorce, part of that process involves dividing their assets and debts in an equitable manner. As you go through and list the assets you and your spouse have, one asset that you may overlook are any retirement accounts either of you may have. Illinois recognizes retirement funds accumulated during the marriage as marital assets, so they become part of the marital estate and are divisible in the divorce.

Dividing Retirement Accounts

The division of retirement accounts can be complex because of the federal and state laws and regulations that may apply. There is also the issue of ownership of the funds that are in the account. Any funds that were accumulated in a retirement account prior to the couples marriage is considered separate property and does not become part of the divorce settlement. It is only the funds that accumulated while the couple were married that are distributable. This is why it is important to have a skilled Naperville divorce attorney representing you, to ensure your best interests are protected.

Ideally, the spouses will agree to offset assets and the retirement account will maintain intact. For example, one spouse may agree to take sole ownership of a vacation property the couple owns that has the same value of the other spouse’s retirement account. If both spouses have retirement accounts, then another option is that they agree that they will each keep their own accounts separate from the marital estate and any divorce settlement.

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naperville divorce lawyerEnding a marriage is never easy, even when you have decided that it is the best choice for you and your children. No matter the circumstances that brought you to this point, the divorce process is often a painful one and you may find yourself dealing with anger, stress, sadness, and even grief. While you work through the emotional issues of divorce, there are also legal issues that must be dealt with. Having a skilled Naperville divorce attorney looking out for your best interests is crucial during this time.

Choosing Your Divorce Attorney

Once you have made the decision to file for divorce, it is important to discover and understand what all of your legal options are. Some people do consider filing for divorce without an attorney, however, if you and your spouse have children, property, and/or debt, it is best to hire an attorney to handle the divorce for you. 

It is also important to hire an attorney who specializes in divorces and other Illinois family law issues. An attorney who does not regularly handle divorce or child custody cases may not recognize certain common divorce or custody issues that could come up in your case and this could result in a negative ruling against you. Attorneys have areas of specialty just like doctors do. You do not want to go to an attorney who usually only handles personal injury cases or estate plans to handle your divorce.

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Lombard family law attorney for child custody evaluationsChild custody is comprised of two main components in Illinois. “Parental responsibilities” refers to a parent’s authority to make major decisions about the child. “Parenting time,” which used to be called visitation, is the time that a parent spends with their child. Many parents disagree about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. In some cases, a child custody evaluation is used to gather information about the situation so that the court can make an informed decision regarding child custody. In these cases, parents will want to do the following:

Cooperate With the Evaluation Process

For some parents, being the subject of a child custody evaluation can feel like their parenting skills are being called into question. Some parents may even feel like their love for their child is being questioned. Understandably, this can lead to strong emotions. It is important to remember that the purpose of a child custody evaluation is to gather information about the child’s best interests. You are not being accused of anything. It is best to cooperate with the child custody evaluator and remain respectful.

Freely Provide Information and Answer Questions Truthfully

The child custody evaluator may require access to medical records and financial documents. He or she may ask you personal questions about topics that you rarely discuss with strangers. If you are a private person, you may feel uncomfortable about some parts of the evaluation process. While this is understandable, it is important to provide the information and documents that are requested. Answer the evaluator’s questions honestly and show that your child’s well-being is your top priority.

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