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Cook County Family Law Blog

Does mediation work for everyone?

Although it would be nice if it did, mediation is not always the best solution for all divorces. Sometimes, one person or a couple is so angry at one another that they can't talk to one another to resolve the divorce. Sometimes, one person is vindictive or wants to manipulate the divorce by being difficult.

While a mediation session won't resolve anything for people who can't work together, it can be a great option for those who can. If you and your spouse can agree to try to work together, it may be a good choice because mediation can reduce the length of time it takes to resolve disputes and is often more cost-effective than going to court and litigating the case.

The rise of prenuptial agreements among millennials

Millennials, those people born between 1981 and 1996, are a group who are reaching new stages of adulthood. Many are buying homes and starting families. They're getting married -- and many are also thinking about how to protect themselves in the event of a divorce.

It's an interesting fact that the divorce rate in America is generally decreasing. Part of the reason for the decrease is that millennials, in particular, are not quick to rush to the altar. That delay gives them longer to make the decision to get married and to be sure of that decision once it's made. However, that doesn't mean that they are oblivious to the possibility of a divorce.

Yes, you may be entitled to spousal support

Spousal support can be a way to provide for yourself with payments from your spouse.  This is an issue that must be decided during a divorce.

Many people don't want to ask for spousal support because they don't want to continue relying on someone they're no longer with. However, spousal support is about more than just getting payments from your spouse to support yourself. It can be a way to make the situation fairer for you and to give you support as you look for work or adjust to life on your own.

Illinois divorce: Keep stress low and take one step at a time

When you met the person you wanted to marry, you likely had dreams and goals of how your future life would unfold. Perhaps those goals included having and raising a family together. Maybe you both have entrepreneurial spirits and dreamed of becoming business partners. No two couples are exactly the same; therefore, each marriage is unique. What is common to most couples, however, is the fact that most encounter relationship challenges at some point.

If you're among those in Illinois who determined that certain issues made your relationship unsustainable, you might also be among those who have filed or are preparing to file for divorce. When your dreams and goals in life change, it can be quite stressful. By building a strong support network, however, and taking one step at a time, you can lay the groundwork for a successful, new lifestyle.

A post-divorce modification is possible with supporting evidence

After a divorce, there may be times when you need to address changes in your custody arrangements, alimony or other aspects of your divorce agreements. If that's the case, then you will need to ask for a post-decree modification.

A post-decree modification asks a judge to look at a situation and change something about the original divorce decree. For example, a change to do with spousal support or alimony might be requested when an ex-spouse gets remarried. The judge would then look at the request and the facts of the case and release the party paying spousal support from further payments.

Why try a collaborative divorce?

Collaborative divorces are very popular because they save time and money while preventing serious conflict. A Collaborative divorce takes your divorce out of the traditional trial-based system and places into a setting where you're expected to negotiate to resolve disputes.

There are many benefits to going through a Collaborative divorce rather than taking your disputes to trial. These include:

  • Saving money and emotional distress
  • Having a less formal setting to discuss your divorce's resolution
  • Being able to freely exchange information in an honest, informal environment
  • Being able to negotiate for a result that works for you and having control over that result instead of having one imposed on you by the court
  • Deciding how to handle disputes over settlements that already occurred
  • Working effectively on your divorce with the support of team members that are appropriate for your case

Can't decide on custody? Try mediation

In a divorce case that involves children, it is common for parents to struggle with the idea of spending less time with their kids. The reality is that there is no way to give both parents as much time as they want with their children. The time simply has to be apportioned. Parenting agreements and custody schedules vary, so that is something that you and your spouse will need to talk about in detail prior to the finalization of your divorce.

Protect yourself during divorce and know if you need support

When you're an older divorcee, one of the things you have to be cautious of is protecting your finances. You may need retirement funds, or you might need to focus on obtaining part of your spouse's pension. Whatever the case may be, the reality is that you may not have time to start a new career or to move up to the level you would have if you'd started younger.

The cost of living is much higher for individuals than it is for people living together. In fact, your expenses may be 40% to 50% higher if you're living alone. The reality is that divorcing later in life can ruin retirement plans since you'll be focused on paying up to 50% more to cover your financial needs. That could mean you have to go back to work, even if it wasn't in your original plan. It also means you may need to seek out additional spousal support or maintenance.

Estate plan changes that can't wait until after the divorce

When you and your spouse decided to divorce, you may have felt overwhelmed with the decisions you had to make. Your first concern may have been for your children's well-being, but you also wanted to be sure your finances were in reasonably good shape for your post-divorce life. You may have had to find new living arrangements and determine how you would divide the furniture and other assets.

There may be one more thing you are overlooking. If you have not addressed your estate plan in light of the changes in your marital status, you may be leaving some very important work undone. Your estate plan may no longer express your wishes, and it may be a matter of urgency to modify those documents.

Mediation can work for contentious divorces, too

You and your spouse don't see eye-to-eye, and that's been further established by the animosity during your divorce. Every time you do one thing you believe will help, your estranged spouse seems to lash out at you in anger and vice-versa.

You may both actually want to talk to one another and work out a solution, but with such a hard time communicating, it may feel impossible. The good news is that those who are willing to meet and attempt to have a discussion can benefit from mediation.

  • Court Certified Mediator Domestic Relations
  • Collaborative Practice Resolving Disputes Respectfully
  • Collaborative Law Institute Of Illinois

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