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Some considerations in divorce for Illinois residents

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The time leading up to the decision to divorce can be stressful for many in Illinois. Making the decision to divorce may feel like a moment of clarity allowing spouses to move forward with their separate lives. However, there may be some confusion on how to best to proceed during a divorce. By following a few steps, Illinoisans can improve their chances of successfully traversing the divorce process.

An important first step for divorcing couples would be to get any financial documents in order. This important information may include tax records, savings and checking account statements as well as any other financial documents from the marriage such as loans, insurance policies and real estate documents. It usually a safe bet to err on the side of having too much paperwork.

Next, ex-spouses may want to start creating a new financial identity. In other words, couples may want to start by informing banks and credit card companies about the split. Then, each individual may look to set up a new credit card, checking account and savings accounts. Of course, each ex-spouse will want to make sure an employer is direct depositing to the new, separate bank account. If a couple still have joint expenses, they may want to consider setting up a joint or escrow account for those expenses.

Through the process, it can be wise to maintain a similar standard of living as experienced during the marriage. That may sound counterintuitive, since divorce may not feel particularly cheap. However, reducing one's standard of living may reduce future financial support, especially if one partner is seeking spousal support.

Finally, it may always be wise to seek professional help. Divorce can be a complicated process, so having professionals at one's side can help prevent mistakes that could create issues in the future. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Source: Huffington Post, "We're Getting A Divorce, Now What?," Linda Descano, July 29, 2013

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