233 W. Wilson Street, Batavia, IL, 60510

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Making Your House Feel Like Home After DivorceAt least one of you will be moving into a new home after your divorce, and it is possible that both of you will be moving if you choose to sell your marital home. Settling into a new home can be stressful, especially when combined with adjusting to being single. Even if you get to keep your old home, it may feel noticeably emptier without your spouse. You will need time to adjust to your new living situation, but personalizing the appearance of your home can help you with the transition.

Decluttering

Moving is a good time to assess which items you no longer need after your divorce. Some items are impractical for you to keep as a single adult. You may want to purge yourself of other items because they remind you of your marriage. There is nothing wrong with getting rid of otherwise useful items because of your emotions towards them. Before throwing out or giving away an item, you should ask yourself:

  • Can I look at or use this item without thinking about my former spouse?;
  • How difficult or expensive will it be to replace this item?;
  • Do my children have any emotional attachments to this item?; and
  • Could this item be of use or value to my children in the future?

Personalization

You may have compromised with your spouse on the appearance of your home when you were living together. Now that you are alone, you can decorate your living space to fit your tastes, such as:

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Making Financial, Emotional Adjustments After DivorceBefore starting your divorce negotiations, you should ask yourself what comes next for you after your divorce. Though you may not have specific answers, you do know that your life and your needs will be different than when you were married. Your divorce agreement should help you meet your financial and emotional needs, whether it is through the division of property, spousal maintenance, or the allocation of parental responsibilities.

Financial Needs

You will have a heavier financial burden after your divorce because you will be individually responsible for your expenses. Your individual income may be unable to afford your married lifestyle. You can adapt by budgeting your money and cutting back on your living expenses, but you should also try to maximize your individual income and assets. There are several ways that you can prepare yourself for this in your divorce agreement:

  • Some marital properties have more practical benefits or the potential to increase in value;
  • Other marital properties are more valuable to you if you sell them;
  • You should consider whether the expense of owning and maintaining your marital house is worth keeping it;
  • You will likely receive monthly spousal maintenance payments if your former spouse has a higher income than you; and
  • A divorce court can award spousal maintenance as a way to support you while you attend school, with the goal of obtaining a degree that will qualify you for better-paying jobs.

Emotional Needs

You may feel lost and without an identity, once you are no longer married. Happiness after divorce requires finding new friends and interests that do not rely on your marriage. Financial stability from your divorce agreement gives you the freedom to pursue these interests. Being a parent is the most important identity for some divorcees. Your parenting time gives you emotional fulfillment and a feeling of importance. However, your relationship with your children is not a replacement for your marriage. You still need to have meaningful relationships with people your own age, which may include going on dates. Your parenting schedule should give you time off in which you can be social and focus on your own needs.

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Enforcing Child Support Payments from Your Co-ParentIllinois made its child support system more equitable when it started using an income shares model to determine payments. With the model, each parent pays a share of the total child-related expenses that is proportionate to their comparative incomes. Still, some parents do not pay their mandated child support, leaving the other parent with a disproportionate financial burden. As a parent, you have legal means of enforcing your child support agreement. A court or state agency can seize the money from your co-parent or punish him or her for not complying.

State Agencies

You can ask the Illinois Department of Child Support Services to enforce your child support agreement if the state processes your child support payments. The DCSS will investigate your claim to confirm that your co-parent is not making the required child support payments. The DCSS has several ways of enforcing child support orders, including:

  • Garnishing your co-parent’s wages or bank accounts;
  • Taking his or her federal and state income tax refunds;
  • Placing a lien on his or her property;
  • Suspending or revoking his or her driver’s license;
  • Denying his or her passport; or
  • Requesting criminal prosecution because your co-parent is in contempt of a court order.

The DCSS will decide which mechanism to use based on how much your co-parent owes and whether he or she has a history of missing payments.

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Four Reasons to Stay Off Social Media During DivorceSocial media is a potential pitfall for divorcees because your spouse can use the content you post against you in your case. Social media users often share information about themselves without considering who can see it and how others could interpret it. You can best protect yourself by not posting anything on your social media account during your divorce. There are several ways that remaining active on social media can hurt you in a divorce case:

  1. Your Content Reflects Your Character: Your behavior during your divorce can influence a court’s decision on the allocation of parental responsibilities and the division of property. People often post pictures of themselves on social media having fun or out with friends. Your spouse could portray a seemingly innocent post as evidence that you are irresponsible as a parent and budgeter of your finances. Defending yourself against these accusations distracts you from other work in your divorce.
  2. You May Say Something You Regret: Your spouse will frustrate you at times during your divorce. Unfortunately, social media allows you to publicly voice your complaints before you have time to think about the consequences of what you said. Public complaints will create further tension with your spouse and undermine your negotiations. You may also alienate friends and family who are uncomfortable being involved in your divorce arguments.
  3. Posts Are Never Truly Private: You may think that you can hide your social media content by changing your privacy settings. How can your spouse use your social media against you if he or she cannot see your accounts? You cannot be sure that what you post will always stay private. Your social media connections can publicly share your content, and your former spouse is likely connected to some of them.
  4. Deleting Posts Could Get You in Trouble: You may not be allowed to hide or take back regrettable social media posts that you made during your divorce. Courts consider social media content that is relevant to your divorce to be evidence in your case. Deleting a post could qualify as spoiling evidence and gives the impression that you have something to hide. The court could fine you and force you to turn over the evidence.

The Role of Social Media in Divorce

Your social media history can be useful during your divorce case if it shows evidence of marital assets or the nature of your relationship with your children. However, you risk damaging your case if you continue to post to social media during your divorce. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., will advise you on how to behave during your divorce. To schedule a consultation, call 630-879-9090.

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How to Save Money on Divorce CostThe cost of the divorce process is one factor that may cause spouses to hesitate in getting a divorce. Studies have estimated that the average divorce in Illinois costs $13,800, which puts the state in the top third of the most expensive states for divorce in the U.S. It is reasonable to consider whether you can afford a divorce if you are heavily in debt or lack financial resources. However, avoiding divorce when it is necessary keeps you stuck in an unhealthy relationship. You also risk your marriage worsening to the point that divorce is unavoidable and more expensive than it would have been before. By understanding the costs involved in the divorce process, you can find ways to save money.

Attorney Cost

Having a skilled divorce attorney is invaluable to you, but it is also likely to be your largest expense. You can shop around to find an attorney you can afford or explore financing options. However, you may be able to save more money by being efficient in your use of your attorney. Attorneys are often paid based on billable hours that they work, and you can reduce the hours by:

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