2016 brings to Illinois a revised and amended Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The new Act brings some substantive changes to the way that divorce and custody is adjudicated in Illinois, but the guideline advice for preparing for a divorce remains steady. If you find yourself headed for divorce, you should consider taking the following steps to protect and prepare yourself:
Know Your Assets & Debts – Make an effort to summarize your important assets and debts, and if you have been kept in the dark about what your marriage holds by way of assets and retirement plans, talk to my firm about the use of discovery at the beginning of your case to get at these items. If you have assets that you owned before the marriage, or that were acquired by way of inheritance or estate plan gifting, be sure to segregate these gifts or bequests from your “marital basket” of accounts.
Maintain Behavioral Balance – In other words, don’t make impulsive changes or purchases, or begin a path of active dating while the divorce is in process. Starting a divorce case puts each party under the view and control of the Court; this can be an advantage in gaining control over, for example, assets being wasted by the other spouse, but this change also puts a premium on good behavior. Don’t use social media as a confessional or bully pulpit to bash your spouse. Check the security of your email and social media accounts, and if you have any doubts about the integrity of your email, talk with my firm about steps you can take to prevent keystroke logging ( see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystroke_logging ) or email hacking.
Focus on the Children – the new Illinois Divorce Act now establishes “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities” … no longer do we contest custody and visitation, but there will be equal, if not more, emphasis in 2016 on evaluating each parent’s fitness and ability to have a shared or balanced parenting allocation (time and decision making). Keep the children at the center of your decisions and behaviors. Don’t use the home as a forum for fighting or toxic behaviors. If your spouse won’t act properly, please speak with my Firm to discuss options to address toxic behavior in the home that affects the wellbeing of the children.
Hire an Experienced Divorce Lawyer – By experience, I mean a lawyer that has actively and successfully invested years of trial and negotiation experience, and a passion for the craft of divorce and custody lawyering. Michael Roe practices only Divorce and Custody law, and has done so at the highest levels of practice. Contact our firm to discuss your important case.