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8 Steps to Preparing for an Illinois Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Barrington divorce attorneyGetting a divorce is a challenging time in many adults’ lives. Not only are there things to settle financially and assets to divide, divorce brings much emotional confusion into the picture. Once you have decided that a divorce is your best option, you should become prepared for the long and winding journey that is the divorce process. These 8 things can help you get a head start on your divorce even before the legal process gets started:

1. Determine the Type of Divorce You Want

Often, people think that a divorce is a divorce. In reality, there are many different types of divorce. In Illinois, the types of divorce recognized are:

  • Uncontested divorce;
  • Contested divorce;
  • Mediated divorce;
  • Collaborative divorce; and
  • Joint simplified dissolution.

Each type of divorce has its advantages and disadvantages, and some divorces may not be available to you depending on your circumstances, so it is important to do your research before settling on a divorce process.

2. Gather Your Documents

A divorce requires a lot of paperwork, so you should begin gathering the necessary information as soon as you decide on the type of divorce that you want. Documents that you should gather include:

  • Tax returns;
  • Bank statements;
  • Retirement account statements;
  • Appraisals;
  • Credit card statements;
  • Wills;
  • Pay stubs; and
  • Other financial documents.

Ensuring that you have all the documents you need can help your divorce process move a little more quickly.

3. Make a List of Assets

Beginning an inventory of all of your assets can be helpful once it comes time to divide your marital property. In Illinois, there is a difference between marital property and non-marital property, so it is a good idea to make lists of each. Marital property is any property, including debts and other obligations, that is acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Non-marital property includes:

  • Property acquired before the marriage.
  • Property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent;
  • Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage;
  • Property acquired by a spouse after a legal separation; and
  • Property excluded by an agreement of the spouses, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

4. Make a List of Expenses

The sooner you begin working on your household budget the better. Along with assets come liabilities, which will also be hashed out during a divorce. Liabilities can include:

  • Car payments;
  • Mortgages;
  • Student loan payments;
  • Living expenses; and
  • Other expenses incurred during the marriage.

5. Gather Income Information

You should gather information about how much you and your spouse make when you decide that divorce is in the cards for you. Decisions on matters such as child support and spousal maintenance usually depend on your income, which is why it is important to have your income information readily available.

6. Check Your Credit History

You should gather copies of your credit report in order to prepare financially. It is a good idea to settle any disputes before you begin the divorce process. It is also a good idea to monitor your credit report to make sure that your spouse is not charging anything under your name that you will be responsible for making payments for.

7. Start Saving Money

It is not a secret--divorce is expensive. Once you have made the decision to get divorced, you should start putting money aside for the costs and fees associated with divorce, as well as for the costs of living once you are single. You should also open a separate bank account if you have a joint bank account with your spouse. If you do have joint bank or credit card accounts, you should either close them or remove one spouse’s name.

8. Seek Representation From an Arlington Heights Divorce Lawyer

The last step in preparing for divorce is finding a knowledgeable and skilled Schaumburg divorce attorney. Divorce can be a complicated and messy process, but it does not have to be. Contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. at 847-995-9999 to discuss your specific situation in a free consultation and see how we can help your divorce go as smoothly as possible.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/6-critical-steps-to-prepare-your-finances-for-divorce/

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