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:

  • Preparing questions and important information before meeting with your attorney;
  • Providing copies of key documents on your own so your attorney does not need to file a formal request;
  • Not asking your attorney to perform tasks that are outside of his or her areas of service; and
  • Behaving amicably with your spouse so as not to draw out the process.

Court Cost

The court fees involved in getting a divorce are more rigid than your attorney fees. You will have a basic fee for filing your divorce papers and additional fees for your court appearances. The best way to save money on court fees is by keeping your court appearances to a minimum. Spouses can negotiate their own divorce agreement outside of court and present the agreement for court approval at the end of the process. Courts must intervene in the negotiations when spouses cannot come to terms on a divorce agreement. The spouses must attend a series of divorce hearings, which increases their court and attorney fees.

Do Not Go It Alone

Because of the associated fees, some spouses choose to handle their divorce without an attorney. However, a do-it-yourself divorce is time-consuming and may backfire if you make mistakes. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can efficiently handle your divorce case and help you reach an agreement that best benefits you. Schedule an appointment by calling 630-879-9090.


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Getting Ready to Testify at Divorce CourtEvery divorce case will require an appearance in court to at least finalize the dissolution of marriage and approve the divorce agreement. However, a divorce case in which there is a dispute may require you to testify at a hearing. Testifying can be an intimidating experience because you will be asked several personal questions, some of which may seem like an attack on your character. Fortunately, you will have time to prepare for your day in court because divorce hearings often move slowly. You cannot predict every eventuality, but you can ready yourself for the experience:

  1. Practice Answering Questions: Your attorney has been through many divorce hearings and will know what questions you will be asked. You can have a mock hearing, in which you practice how you will answer the questions.
  2. Dress Appropriately: Your attire should match the formality and professionalism of the courtroom. However, you should not overdress or appear flashy. This may make you seem cocky and contradict your message if you are trying to argue that you need more assets from the divorce. Conservative business attire is usually a safe bet.
  3. Show Up Early: If you aim to get there on time, you risk being late for the hearing. Tardiness implies to everyone in the courtroom that you do not respect the hearing. Arriving early will allow you to familiarize yourself with your surroundings and have another discussion with your attorney.
  4. Bring Support: A family member or close friend can accompany you to the courthouse and provide emotional support. Knowing that you have another ally nearby may comfort you. You can ask your attorney about whether your guest will be allowed in the courtroom during the hearing.
  5. Remain Calm: Your demeanor in the courtroom is important in getting your message across during the hearing. You must clearly and truthfully answer the questions you are asked. If a question catches you off guard, take your time to answer in a calm and coherent manner. Do not speak unless you are answering a question and do not interrupt others. Avoid fidgeting or looking distracted when you are listening to others.

Helping Your Cause

Appearing calm and rational during your divorce hearings will give others the impression that you are responsible, whether it is in managing your assets or caring for your children. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can prepare you for your court appearances. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.


Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Divorce, Divorce Advice, Family Law, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney | Tagged , , , |

Children Need Parental Attention During DivorceParenting time is one of the primary ways you can address your children’s needs after a divorce. You and your spouse may disagree about how the parenting time should be divided because you each believe that your children will be best off by spending as much time with you as possible. However, concerns about the quantity of parenting time can sometimes overshadow the importance of the quality of parenting time. Whether you have a majority or a minority of parenting time, it is important that you use that time effectively to address your children’s emotional needs and help them through the difficult adjustment.

Silent Struggles

Children of divorce need acute attention from their parents because the process has left them with many questions and doubts about their lives. Unfortunately, parents who are caught up in a divorce may not notice their children’s struggles and assume that their children will tell them if something is wrong. Your children notice how the divorce upsets you and may be afraid that asking questions will draw your ire. They are waiting for you to notice that they are upset and to talk to them. When you fail to do so, they may conclude that you do not care, which can cause depression and resentment.


You must approach your time with your children as an opportunity for them to talk to you about their thoughts related to the divorce. To allow them to feel comfortable, you should:

  • Directly ask them how they feel;
  • Attentively listen to what they say;
  • Reassure them about their doubts without rejecting their feelings; and
  • Tell them that you are not upset or angry with them.

As much as you want your parenting time to be happy, it is healthy to allow your children to be sad if that is how they feel. Your children need to express what makes them sad and angry about the divorce and feel that you acknowledge those emotions.

Parenting with Purpose

When arguing with your spouse about the allocation of parental responsibilities, you should ask yourself whether what you want is best for yourself or best for your children. Your children are not a property to be divided but a responsibility to be shared. Both of you have an individual, irreplaceable role in helping your children through what is likely the most traumatic experience in their lives. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you create a parenting agreement that is in the best interest of your children. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.


Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Child Custody, Coparenting, Divorce, Family Law, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney | Tagged , , , |

Answering Your Doubts After Grey DivorceSpouses age 55 and older are the only age demographic in the U.S. that have seen an increase in their divorce rate in recent years. Known as grey divorce, divorce at an older age and after years of marriage can happen for many reasons:

  • Spouses no longer have the children at home as a reason to stay together;
  • Spending more time together after retirement may emphasize their differences;
  • There is a sense of urgency to start over while still young enough to do so; and
  • People and relationships change from when they first married.

Though friends and family often do not understand the reason for the divorce, the couple will know they are making the right decision. However, people dealing with the aftermath of their grey divorce still face feelings of doubt about their futures.

“Who Am I Now That I Am Divorced?”

A person’s role as a spouse and parent is often his or her most important identity. After a grey divorce, a person is often living alone without a significant other or children to care for. The situation could become an identity crisis if the person is also retired. Being single at an older age is an opportunity for someone to discover an identity that is separate from his or her relationship to others by:

  • Focusing on hobbies or activities that he or she enjoys;
  • Traveling to new places; or
  • Becoming active with local clubs and groups.

“Is It Too Late to Find Love Again?”

The thought of spending the rest of their lives alone can be frightening to divorcees. Older divorcees may think they have a limited amount of time to find a new partner. A relationship started because someone is afraid to be alone is unlikely to last. There is no set age limit for falling in love. Divorcees should take their time in starting a new relationship to make sure they are emotionally ready for the experience. They may also need to change their expectations for what the relationship should be. Companionship and friendship may be more of a priority for older couples than the physical love they sought when they were younger.

Divorce for Seniors

Grey divorce cases can be more complicated than cases involving younger spouses because of the numerous marital assets that the spouses must divide, including retirement benefits. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can guide you through all the financial decisions you must make as part of your divorce. To schedule a consultation, call 630-879-9090.


Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Divorce, Divorce Advice, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney | Tagged , , |

Factors That Can Invalidate a Premarital AgreementPremarital agreements are vitally helpful documents to have in case of divorce. The agreement can settle some of the more contentious aspects of a divorce negotiation, such as the division of property and spousal maintenance payments. However, the document does no good if the divorce court determines that it is invalid. Problems with premarital agreements often originate from mistakes made during their creation. Illinois law states that a premarital agreement is unenforceable in the following instances:

  1. Unofficial Agreement: Both parties must read and sign the premarital agreement in order for it to become official. The parties are not required to have witnesses to the signing or to file the agreement with a government agency. However, there does need to be a formal document outlining the agreement, with proof that both parties understood and agreed to the terms.
  2. Signed Under Duress: One party cannot force or coerce the other into signing an agreement. This includes presenting the agreement shortly before the marriage. One party may feel pressured to sign the agreement without having the chance to properly review the document with his or her own attorney.
  3. Invalid Provisions: A premarital agreement is not allowed to make decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities or child support. Those issues must be settled during the divorce, adhering to state laws. The agreement also cannot include provisions that are blatantly in violation of state divorce laws.
  4. Deception: A court may invalidate a premarital agreement if it determines that one party was hiding valuable assets in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage in the agreement. There is some responsibility for each party to not overlook premarital assets that they can easily discover. However, a party may be liable when failing to disclose an asset that the other party had no reasonable way of knowing about.
  5. Unconscionability: Even if both parties approved of a premarital agreement, a divorce court may not enforce an agreement that is blatantly unfair to one party. The court may also alter the terms of spousal maintenance if it believes the payment agreement would put undue hardship on one party for reasons that could not have been foreseen when the agreement was created.

Valid Agreements

When creating a premarital agreement, it is important that you and your future spouse each have your own legal representation to review the agreement. An attorney can also look over the agreement at the time of your divorce to determine whether it is valid. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you with the creation and enforcement of premarital agreements. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.


Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Divorce, Enforcing Agreements, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney, Prenuptial agreements | Tagged , , , |