Divorce in Illinois: Steps to Take Before You File
Regardless of how long you've been married or what caused things to break down, divorce is usually a very hard time for you and your family. Even though you may be anxious and eager to have the marriage officially ended as soon as possible, issues that can crop up during the divorce process can potentially slow things down, causing even more stress and anxiety for everyone involved. It is therefore wise to take some steps before you even file for divorce that will help eliminate some of these issues and complications. Helpful Steps to Take
Helpful Steps to Take Before Filing for Divorce
Quick divorces are possible, but they are rare and sometimes unwise. A lengthy divorce, however, can sometimes be avoided right from the get go. Before filing for divorce, it is helpful to:
- Talk to your spouse: If possible, have a conversation with him or her about the divorce—when and why you plan on filing, what each of you wants to see happen down the road, etc. Surprising your spouse with divorce papers can cause hostility and anger right away, making an already difficult time even more so. Talking to your spouse about how you feel beforehand can save you time and money on divorce proceedings, especially if you are not entirely sure that you want to end the marriage. But more importantly, it can help avoid feelings of anger and abandonment which can lead to even more contention when the divorce is officially pending.
- Talk to your children and family: Inform the people closest to you about what's going on. They can provide a support system for you throughout the divorce process. It is especially important to talk to your children about an impending divorce in an age-appropriate fashion. Illinois courts have the power to order a divorcing couple to attend an educational program about the effects of divorce on children and most counties already require this class. This educational program can be beneficial in helping you talk to your children about divorce and learn how to communicate appropriately with the other parent. Each spouse must pay a fee for the program, which is usually run by the county.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report: Both you and your spouse will usually still be liable for any joint debts once the divorce is finalized. Get a copy of your credit report so you can sort out which debts exist and the details surrounding them. You do not want to default on any of your debts because you thought your spouse was responsible for them; it is important to be aware of which payments are in your name and which payments need to be made by whom.
- Plan your finances: This usually includes gathering your tax returns and pay stubs, checking your bank statements, and speaking with an accountant. If necessary, you can also freeze accounts to protect your finances until a court has ruled on how your assets will be divided after the divorce (though keep in mind the court can always rule that certain assets are marital property subject to a fair division in the divorce).
Consult a Wheaton Divorce Attorney Today
Of course, one of the most important steps to take before filing for divorce is talking to an experienced family law attorney. This conversation will help you decide what your options are, what you can expect in your divorce, and what steps still need to be taken. If you are contemplating divorce, contact the family law attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC for a free consultation today. With decades of experience practicing in all areas of divorce law in Illinois, we will work hard to help make your divorce as stress free as possible, while assisting you through the challenges of ending your marriage.