Chicago Divorce – Planning Tips for Stay at Home Spouses
When you’ve been staying at home to raise children while your spouse earns the majority of the household income, the prospect of Chicago divorce can induce many concerns and anxieties. However, it’s important to remember that the court will take into account your non-economic contributions to the marriage, as well as your spouse’s income, when making decisions about property division and spousal maintenance.
At the same time, there are important steps you can take to ensure that you’re treated fairly during the Chicago divorce process. Below are a series of actions you should take when you’re certain that you or your spouse will be filing for divorce.
Make an Inventory of Your Property
When it comes time for property division for Chicago Divorce, Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that the court won’t necessarily divide your property equally, but rather will divide it equitably. It’s important to know what you own that counts as marital property and what counts as separate property. Generally speaking, most assets you acquired during the marriage will be “marital property” for the purposes of division, but there are a number of exceptions.
You don’t need to make a list of every item you and your spouse own together, but it’s a good idea to have a rough inventory of major items. Making a list of property can help to ensure that nothing gets left out (and that your spouse doesn’t end up with an unfair share) during division. Some items you should put on your list include real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, cars, boats, furniture, artwork, home appliances, jewelry, and other items of significant value.
Have Knowledge of Your Spouse’s Income
While it might seem like a silly question, do you know precisely how much income your spouse earns? If your spouse is the primary earner, his or her income will be extremely important in determining issues like spousal maintenance. You should look at recent paycheck stubs and write down the amount of income, and you should also learn about any income from small businesses or investments.
If your Chicago divorce is likely to get heated, it may be difficult to learn this information later on in the process. You want to do everything you can now so that you’re prepared when it comes time to go before a judge.
Hire an Experienced Chicago Divorce Lawyer
Family law is extremely complicated, and divorces can be messy. There’s no reason that you should handle your divorce on your own, especially if you and your spouse have acquired significant property during the marriage, or if you’ve had children together. An experienced Chicago divorce attorney can help you to understand your rights under Illinois law and can advocate for those rights during the divorce proceedings.
Many divorcing couples don’t realize that some of the actions they take—out of frustration or anger—can seriously impact a favorable outcome from the divorce. In particular, it’s important to stay level-headed when it comes to your children. You don’t want to make a mistake that could affect your custody rights.
Facing a divorce can be extremely difficult. However, you don’t have to face the obstacles alone. Contact the law offices of M. Scott Gordon & Associates today to speak with an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer.