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Elgin Illinois Family Law Blog

3 tips for talking to kids about divorce

It’s no secret that divorce can be an emotionally challenging time. Between filing paperwork and separating possessions, it can be easy to lose sight of the most important thing. Talking to your children about divorce is not a conversation that any parent wants to have, but it’s a necessary one.

Life isn’t only going to be different for you, but it will be different for them as well. Divorce can be emotionally devastating for children if handled improperly. However, good communication between parent and child and a gentle approach can help alleviate some of the negative effects of a divorce.

What happens to joint credit card debt in divorce?

Once you decide to divorce, your attention will turn to a variety of matters. For example, it's imperative to create a property and debt division checklist.

As a married couple, you may have used joint credit cards for a number of reasons. If you have this type of debt and are ready to go through the divorce process, there are some things you can do to ease your stress:

  • Talk to your spouse about paying off joint credit card debt: If you have the means to do so, pay off your joint credit card debt before you divorce. This gives you one less thing to worry about.
  • Use balance transfer credit cards: With this approach, you and your spouse can split the balance down the middle. The end result is a credit card in your name, allowing you to deal with the debt however you want.
  • Cancel all joint credit cards: It doesn't matter if you're paying off your debt or transferring it to separate credit cards, cancel any joint cards. If you fail to do so, your spouse could continue to use it, putting you on the hook for half the balance.

What happens with your pet when you divorce in Illinois?

You might have heard before of an "amicable divorce". Those spouses that are most apt to reach a friendly conclusion to their marriage are few. It's generally only those who've been married a short time, have little assets and no kids that can amicably resolve their differences. The more property or children that a couple has, the more likely that they are to have to litigate their divorce.

Pets are increasingly becoming another reason why divorcing couples have to head to court. This is especially the case if one or both spouses see the pet as more of a family member as opposed to a mere animal.

Can you modify your visitation schedule?

A visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent is often a big part of a parenting agreement. If you have visitation rights, it's critical to understand what you can and can't do. This will help you avoid a mistake that could upset your children or your ex-spouse.

There may come a time when you need to modify your visitation. This is nothing to take lightly, as the process requires attention to detail and the involvement of the other parent.

Key steps to financially prepare for divorce

You know that divorce will alter your life in many ways, so taking steps to protect yourself is of utmost importance.

There are many things you can do to financially prepare for divorce, including the following:

  • Make a list of your assets and debts: This will come in handy when negotiating property and debt division. A detailed list should include both separate and marital property, as well as all joint debts.
  • Set a budget for the future: Your financial situation will change as the result of your divorce, so you should immediately set a budget for the future. For example, if your spouse was the primary breadwinner, you'll need to adjust your expenses to ensure you can live on your salary alone.
  • Gather all the necessary documentation: This typically includes bank account statements, retirement account statements, investment account statements, mortgage statements, credit card statements, recent pay stubs and past tax returns.
  • Get help: For example, you can consult with your accountant to better understand the tax implications of divorce.
  • Don't make any big financial decisions: Now's not the time to buy a car or home, give big gifts or run up a large credit card bill. It's more important to maintain financial stability at this time.

A parenting agreement can save you time and stress

As you move through the divorce process, you'll turn a good portion of your attention to child custody related matters. With a parenting agreement in place, both you and your ex-spouse will have a clear idea of how to best parent your children in the future.

While creating a parenting agreement is easier said than done, once you have this in place you'll have greater peace of mind. Your agreement can outline things such as:

  • Where your children will live
  • If one or both parents have legal custody of the children
  • A visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent
  • A schedule outlining where children will spend vacations, holidays, birthdays and other special events

How to prepare to tell your children about your divorce

Going through a divorce is one of the most challenging times of your life. If you find yourself in this position, you need to protect yourself and your children.

The first step in helping your children through the divorce process is explaining to them what's happening.

Do you know how to ask your spouse for a divorce?

Let's face it: There's nothing simple about asking your spouse for a divorce. Even if your marriage has fallen apart, this conversation can bring forth a variety of challenges and quite a bit of tension.

While there's no right or wrong way to ask your spouse for a divorce, there are some tips you can follow to ease the stress and ensure you have a meaningful conversation.

  • Prepare for everything: In addition to knowing what you want to say, think about how your spouse may react. This allows you to prepare for every possible situation, ensuring that you're not caught off-guard.
  • Your safety is top priority: Yes, you want to discuss your feelings with your spouse, but you should never take a risk with your safety. For example, if your spouse has the potential to become extremely angry, it's best to ask for a divorce in a public place or over the phone.
  • Don't focus on the details of your divorce: This conversation is a good time to discuss your feelings and let your spouse know of your intentions. It's not a good time to discuss the details of your divorce, such as who will stay in the family home and which parent will have physical custody of your children. These details are best left for the actual divorce process.

Are you finding it difficult to make child support payments?

There may come a point in your life when you're no longer able to make child support payments as required by the court. If this happens, you need to take formal action, as opposed to making the decision to stop paying on your own.

Here are the most important steps to take if you require a child support modification:

  • Don't wait any longer: The court expects you to pay your child support in full until they grant a modification. Remember, there is no way for the court to know your financial situation has changed unless you tell them.
  • Ask the other parent for help: Explain your situation and let them know that you're going to file for a child support modification. They may agree to a change until you get back on your feet, improving the likelihood of the court following suit.
  • Document your financial change: You must be able to show the court that your financial situation has changed to the point of not being able to make your payments in full. A good reason for this is a job loss, demotion at work or a serious illness that is keeping you from earning a living.

What makes divorcing a narcissist a nightmare

Divorce is a terrible reality for many people. The process of separation and finalizing the divorce process is often one of the most difficult experiences for many people. When children are involved, it makes the emotional strains even more difficult to overcome.

Most divorces are settled outside the parameter of the court. However, when divorcing a narcissist, you are likely to have a more difficult divorce process overall. The road towards the single life is wrought with more obstacles when your partner is narcissistic.

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