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What should you change about your estate plan during a divorce?

Nothing is constant in life except for taxes and death, as the saying goes. Like many other Illinois residents, you may have already taken care of your tax and inheritance matters by creating an estate plan. However, what happens if you get a divorce?

As you may already know, it is important to update your will, trust and other estate planning elements if you have a significant life change, such as a marriage, the birth of a child or the wish to add or disinherit someone. A divorce can be especially challenging when it comes to changing your estate plan. Rather than waiting for your divorce to be final, there are numerous things you should do during the divorce process to protect your estate planning interests, explains Forbes. The following are some good examples:

  • Find out what the state requires you to leave your spouse and decide if you want to leave him or her the legal requirement or disinherit your spouse – which can result in an inheritance dispute.
  • You might not want your spouse to represent your health care needs if you are incapacitated, so update your health care proxy.
  • Remove your spouse as the executor of your will.
  • Change your power of attorney so in the event you are incapacitated, your spouse does not have access to assets that belong solely to you.
  • Name an alternate guardian for your children if both you and your spouse die before the divorce is final, since your guardianship choice may be different now.

Get the facts about foster parent adoption

As a foster parent in Illinois, you are likely a loving person willing to open your heart and home to children in need. We at Lavin & Parisi Attorneys at Law admire your generosity and self-sacrifice. There may come a time when you want to make a more permanent arrangement and adopt a foster child. 

If this is the case, you should know that there is a lot of confusion and misinformation out there regarding foster parent adoption. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, has gathered some facts that shed light on the issue. 

What types of marital property are considered in a divorce?

Going through a divorce can be extremely emotional and overwhelming. One of the most difficult issues to tackle is that of property division. Separating marital property may seem like a daunting task, as it can be hard to part with things that you have collected throughout your marriage. Yet, it is important to understand everything that constitutes marital property so that you can receive everything you are entitled to in the divorce settlement.

While you may think of marital property as the family home, vehicle, furniture and contents of your bank account, there are other items that may not be as apparent. These include the following:

Moving for work? Divorced parents need to jump extra hurdles

In the business world, your success may lead to promotions or new job offers. These opportunities can mean all kinds of exciting possibilities for your future, but if you need to relocate to pursue them, you might find yourself facing a whole mess of complications.

When you’re divorced, Illinois law can limit your ability to move your kids to a new home. If you plan to move to another city, you’ll likely need to file for a modification of your parenting plan. That means you’ll need to reach an agreement with the other parent, or if you can’t reach an agreement, you may find yourself going back to court.

What is the gray divorce phenomenon?

Whether you have just taken your marital vows, or you recited them decades ago, you probably did not anticipate filing for divorce later on down the road. Yet, divorce is rather common among married Americans, and affects more than 50% of marriages. The rise of divorce in people over the age of 50 is known as the gray divorce phenomenon and it is taking the nation by storm. According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 2.8% of people over the age of 50 filed for divorce a half-century ago, compared to 15.4% in 2011. While people may believe that a marriage that has lasted for decades may have avoided divorce altogether, that is simply not the case. Circumstances in life may change that cause people to terminate their marriage, even later in life.

There are several reasons why gray divorce may be on the rise. More women are in the workforce today when compared to half a century ago when many women were financially dependent on their spouses. If women are faced with an unhappy marriage, their financial independence puts them in a place where they can leave the marriage and survive. People are also living longer lives and may find that they do not wish to spend their remainder years stuck in an unhappy marriage.

How is child support calculated in Illinois?

Everyone goes into marriage with the best intentions. You’ve found someone you love and with whom you want to create a life. But in reality, 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorces, and that’s something for which you should be prepared.

Divorce gets even more complicated if children are involved. Not only will you have to work out financial arrangements with your former spouse, you also need to set up a custody schedule and determine how to support your kids monetarily.

How does mental illness impact child custody proceedings?

There are many reasons why marriages come to an end. One reason that is too seldom discussed is mental illness. If one spouse suffers from certain types or certain severities of mental illness, it can make it difficult or impossible to keep the relationship healthy – especially if the ill spouse refuses to get treated or comply with treatment recommendations.

If and when the couple ends up getting divorced, mental illness could also play a role in child custody decisions. Because May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, it is a good time to discuss the mental illness of a parent as it relates to child custody proceedings.

How are pensions divided in a divorce?

During divorce in Illinois, marital property is split equitably but not always equally. That means that assets like homes, vehicles, bank accounts and investments are split between the spouses in a fashion a court considers equitable.

Pensions are difficult to split and require some additional maneuvering.

Woman murders husband after he seeks divorce in Illinois

Photo of Karen Lavin

When you ask for a divorce, there is a possibility that your spouse may not take the request kindly. They may be annoyed, hurt or angry. In some cases, you may worry about your safety.

If you do, you need to know that you can seek an order of protection. Getting the order soon enough could be helpful in protecting you, your children and family members.

Mother and father place child in center of feud

Photo of Karen Lavin

A custody case in McLean County has reached national news because of its twists and turns. Normally, custody cases are kept quiet unless parents do something that makes them newsworthy, like in this case.

Normally, when two parents both want custody, the judge has to think carefully about what would be in the child's best interests. In this case, the child's mother and father both have criminal records. The 4-year-old child has been caught in the middle of a custody dispute that has become bitter.

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