Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL child custody lawyerEnding a marriage is undoubtedly one of the most emotionally draining situations many people have to face. At this difficult time, it is vitally important to be aware of the negative impact this emotional upheaval can have on personal finances. While working through your separation and divorce settlement process, it is necessary to take proactive responsibility for safeguarding your personal finances and credit score.

Good Credit Is Crucial

For spouses who have not been responsible for bill-paying in the marriage, the transition to successfully managing their personal finances can be challenging. At our firm, we work with our clients to get an overall understanding of their finances so we can help them make smart decisions going forward. One important area of focus involves the personal credit score. Everyone has their own credit score assigned to them by the credit reporting agencies, regardless of if they are single or married. However, for married people, depending on how the couple’s credit and loan accounts were set-up and administered, their individual credit scores may be substantially different.

It is important to maintain a high credit score so that you can:

  • Qualify for a rental lease or mortgage loan
  • Obtain low-interest rates on unsecured and secured debt
  • Clear credit checks for employment purposes

Bills Are a Priority

Many people who are contending with a separation or divorce experience financial constraints that can make it challenging to meet their obligations. Prioritizing bill payments and staying current on all accounts is one area of fiscal management that you must make a priority during the divorce process. Every situation is unique, but, in general, you would do well to prioritize the following bill categories:

  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Vehicle loan payments
  • Credit card payments
  • All utilities, including your cell phone and internet service accounts

Focus on Building Your Own Financial Identity

In addition to paying most bills promptly, it is important for clients in the separation or divorce process to begin building their own financial identity as soon as possible. It is especially important to prioritize closing all joint accounts so that unauthorized charges made by the other spouse that result in new, shared debts are not a possibility. As soon as possible, you should:

  • Open new bank accounts and credit lines as a single account holder

  • Close all joint accounts

  • Review your annual credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies

Speak With a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

If you are thinking about getting divorced, contact an experienced Wheaton family law attorney to get the guidance you need throughout the process. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation at Stock, Carlson & Duff, LLC today. We will work hard to ensure that your rights and best interests are fully protected.


Posted in Divorce Finances | Tagged , , , , |

files for divorce, Illinois divorce attorney, Wheaton family lawyerThe decision to get divorced is never easy, but once you have made that decision, the real work begins. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse must now decide how you will divide your marital property, share the responsibilities of parenting your children, and build your respective lives after the divorce. One of you must also initiate the formal divorce process by filing the petition for divorce at your county courthouse. At our firm, we are often asked about this, and many clients are curious to know does it matter which spouse files for divorce first.

What Does the Law Saw?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage, or IMDMA, is a collection of laws that essentially govern the entire process of divorce in the state of Illinois. According to the law, a divorce is, at its most basic, a legal proceeding through which the marital contract between two parties is officially dissolved. Technically, a divorce has a plaintiff and a defendant, but the application of the terms is much less important during a divorce than in other types of legal proceedings, such as criminal or personal injury cases. As a matter of fact, the IMDMA references the parties in a divorce as the plaintiff or defendant in just a single paragraph.

The law, however, makes many more references to the “petitioner” and “respondent.” As you might expect, the petitioner is the party who files the petition for divorce. He or she is officially the plaintiff. The other spouse has the opportunity to file a response to the petition and, as such, is known as the respondent. After the initial filing and response, both parties have the same status in the case. Both have equal standing to file motions, ask for considerations, and introduce evidence. Therefore, from a legal perspective, there is not much of a formal advantage to be had by being the first to file—especially if both spouses are expecting the filing.

Psychological and Emotional Advantages

Filing first can have benefits, however, that are not legal in nature. If you take control by getting the proceedings started, you might gain an increased level of confidence. This could create a more positive outlook for the rest of the divorced process. Likewise, many people believe that by filing first, they can put their spouse in a defensive position, ostensibly giving the filing party the ability to “steer” the divorce in the direction of their choosing. This may not be exactly true from a legal standpoint, but the psychological and emotional effects cannot be ignored.

Get Help from a Wheaton Divorce Lawyer

If your spouse has put you in a defensive mode by filing for divorce, or you would like to explore your options for filing first, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. Call Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC at 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation today. We will provide the guidance and representation you need to protect your rights during your divorce.


Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , , |

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL prenup lawyerIt may be awkward to bring up the possibility of a prenuptial agreement with your partner, as it can be uncomfortable to think about divorce before the marriage even begins. However, a prenuptial agreement can be more than just a safeguard for your assets in the event of a divorce. It can also be an opportunity for you and your spouse to have an open discussion about your finances and help you remain aware of each other’s needs and priorities throughout your marriage.

Items to Address in a Prenuptial Agreement

Couples can choose to address a variety of issues in their discussions and prenuptial agreements, primarily related to their financial and property interests. Some important topics include:

  • Division of assets: A prenuptial agreement can clearly specify which spouse has the rights to certain kinds of property and assets acquired before or during the marriage, as well as who will receive the property in the event of a divorce.
  • Business interests: If you or your spouse owns a business going into your marriage, you can choose to establish your prenuptial agreement such that each of you maintains the right to your business property and the ability to make decisions about the management of the business.
  • Spousal support: Your prenuptial agreement can address whether one spouse will be expected to pay the other spousal support after a divorce, which may save you from lengthy negotiations during the divorce process.
  • Life insurance: Your agreement can clarify who will be the beneficiaries of life insurance policies in the even of one of your deaths, for example, whether it will be the other spouse or your children or dependents.
  • Estate planning: Your agreement may include the creation or modification of a will to ensure that the provisions you include are honored if one of you dies during the marriage.

Keep in mind that your prenuptial agreement cannot address issues of child support, parental responsibilities, or parenting time, as these must be determined based on the children’s best interests at the time of the divorce. It is also crucial that both parties are honest and transparent during the creation of the agreement and willingly consent to sign it, as any manipulation or coercion can result in an unenforceable prenuptial agreement.

Contact a Wheaton Divorce Attorney Today

At Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC, our experienced attorneys know the common issues that couples face during a divorce, and we can guide you and your partner through the creation of a prenuptial agreement that addresses these issues in a way that helps you avoid conflict and uncertainty. Contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer today at 630-665-2500 so we can help you enter your marriage with confidence that your financial interests are protected.



Posted in Prenuptial Agreement | Tagged , , , , , |