The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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DuPage County high-asset divorce attorneyAll divorces have the potential to be complex, but when a couple has a high net worth, the proceedings tend to be even more complicated than normal. For couples who have an abundance of property or assets that are worth a lot of money, the divorce process will involve more decisions. Issues such as property division, spousal maintenance, and child support may be handled differently. People who have a high net worth can greatly benefit from a skilled divorce attorney who has experience dealing with high-value assets to help them figure out the best options for their situation. If you are involved in a high-net-worth divorce, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. High-Net-Worth Divorces Are Often More Contentious

When it comes to divorces that deal with high-value assets, it is much more likely for couples to be combative, especially when dealing with property division. When spouses have many assets, especially assets that are expensive, it can be even more difficult to figure out who gets what. It may be necessary to hire an appraiser to determine the value of any large assets or property such as real estate, businesses, vehicles, boats, jewelry, artwork, or other expensive items.

  1. High-Value Divorces Are More Likely to Be Long and Expensive

When divorces are contested, or there are a lot of issues to settle, it is likely that the proceedings will be long and drawn out, which can get expensive quickly. Although nobody wants a lengthy divorce, couples in high-asset divorces may also be better equipped with the funds to pay for divorces that require a lot of negotiating and help from lawyers.

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DuPage County divorce lawyer for financial issuesDivorces are difficult for some families, especially when it concerns financial matters. Splitting your marital finances during your divorce can be challenging, but it can also be disastrous for a couple. With two separate households comes increased financial obligations. Some people may be prepared for the increase, while others may struggle. While divorce in itself will not lower your credit score directly, certain actions and events that take place during the divorce can affect the score in negative ways. The following are a few situations that could potentially impact your credit score when going through a divorce:

You Have to Refinance Your Home

One of the biggest assets you may have to deal with in your divorce is the family home. If one spouse is planning on keeping the marital home, it is best to make sure the home is in that person’s name only. To do this, you may have to refinance your mortgage. Refinancing means you will have to go through a comprehensive credit inquiry, which can affect your credit score.

Your Spouse Still Has Access to Your Accounts

When you are married, most of your financial accounts are probably joint accounts, meaning you and your spouse both have ownership over them. When you get divorced, the process of splitting those accounts and/or taking your spouse’s name off of them can take a while. If your spouse still has access to accounts such as your credit card account, he or she can rack up charges, which can affect your credit score in a negative way.

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DuPage County collaborative divorce attorneyIn recent years, divorcing by means of alternative dispute resolution has become rather popular. Both mediated and collaborative divorces have been the choice of many couples who are looking to get a divorce, rather than using the traditional litigation process. While each type of divorce has its advantages and disadvantages, collaborative divorce can be the answer to many people’s problems when it comes to settling issues and getting the results they want out of the divorce.

What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

The idea of collaborative divorce has existed since the 1980s, although it was only practiced in Illinois beginning around 2002. The Collaborative Process Act was signed into law in Illinois in 2018, and this formally recognized the collaborative process as a means to divorce. When a couple begins the collaborative process, they agree to cooperate in order to resolve the outstanding issues in their divorce. The collaborative divorce process takes place outside of the courtroom, in multiple private meetings. Avoiding litigation is one of the main goals of this process, and a collaborative divorce will often follow several methodical steps:

  1. Make a commitment to avoid litigation. In order to proceed with a collaborative divorce, you must first find a lawyer who is certified to practice collaborative law. That attorney will answer any questions you might have and prepare you for the collaborative divorce process. Once you and your ex-spouse have each found a collaborative divorce lawyer, you will sign an agreement stating that you will do everything in your power to settle any issues outside of the courtroom. This agreement will also state that you will provide each other with a full disclosure of financial information, and you will answer any queries or requests honestly and completely. If you are unable to complete the collaborative process successfully, your respective attorneys will withdraw from representing you, and each party will need to find new counsel to represent them in court.

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DuPage County divorce lawyerDivorce is stressful for many reasons. Not only do you have various emotions running through your head, but you also have to deal with the financial aspect of the divorce. It has been estimated that a typical divorce can cost anywhere from $8,500 up to $100,000. The actual cost of your divorce will depend on a variety of factors, with some of the most influential factors being where you live, whether or not you have children, and your attorney’s hourly rate. With a price tag of at least a couple thousand dollars, it is not uncommon for some couples to have sticker shock when it comes to paying for their divorce. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the cost of your Illinois divorce.

Figure Out Which Process You Want to Use

Before you even begin, you should know which type of divorce you want to use. Contrary to what many people may believe, traditional litigation is not the only way to get a divorce. You can also choose to go with a mediated divorce or a collaborative divorce. Each method of divorce has its advantages and disadvantages, but depending on your situation, a mediated or collaborative divorce may be able to save you both time and money.

Be Prepared With Organized Financial Records

Before you meet with your attorney to begin dividing your marital property, you should be sure you have all of your financial records organized and ready to go. Make sure your records are in order so your legal team can better understand your financial picture. Organizing your records yourself before a meeting saves you precious time for more important matters.

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DuPage County, IL spousal support attorneyA divorce is never an easy decision, and for many, it can turn their entire lives upside down. Years ago, spousal maintenance (then known as alimony) was a rather common thing that was typically awarded to women who were getting divorced. Now, with more women in the workforce, the number of women receiving spousal maintenance has dropped, while the number of men receiving spousal maintenance has slightly increased. Spousal maintenance is still a rather common issue during Illinois divorces that must be decided before the divorce can be finalized.

Calculating the Amount of Maintenance Payments

If the judge determines that a maintenance award is, in fact, appropriate, he or she will use the maintenance guidelines to determine the amount of spousal maintenance to be paid. The Illinois maintenance guidelines apply to any couple whose combined annual income is less than $500,000 and when the payor does not have any other obligations to pay child support and/or spousal maintenance from a previous marriage.

The amount of maintenance to be paid is determined by taking a portion of the payor’s income and subtracting a portion of the receiver’s income from it. The formula for calculating the maintenance amount is as follows: 33.3% of payor’s income minus 25% of receiver’s income equals the yearly spousal maintenance amount. To determine the monthly amount for maintenance payments, you would simply take the amount for yearly maintenance payments and divide it by 12.

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Illinois divorce attorneyIn today’s world, there is more than one way to do almost everything, including getting a divorce. Historically, most divorces were litigated, meaning they were settled in court by a judge, rather than between the parties themselves. These days, more and more couples are choosing mediation and alternative forms of dispute resolution when it comes to divorces. One such alternative is a collaborative divorce, which brings many benefits to the table, but this type of divorce only applies to some situations. If you are considering a collaborative divorce, here are a few things you should know:

  1. You and Your Spouse Have to Agree to Settle Outside of Court

Before you even begin the divorce process, you, your spouse, and both of your attorneys must agree to settle the divorce in a respectful, honest manner outside of the traditional court system. You will create an sign a document called a Participation Agreement, and this is a legally binding contract. If you fail to settle the divorce through collaboration, you and your spouse will both have to find new counsel and go the traditional litigated route.

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DuPage County, IL family law attorney prenuptial agreementAs times are changing, so are attitudes toward previously taboo topics, such as signing prenuptial agreements before marriage. Over the years, drafting a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot has become more and more popular. One possible reason for the increase in popularity is that people are waiting until later in life to get married the first time. This means more people are entering into marriage with more assets that they want to protect. Prenuptial agreements must be created carefully, or they run the risk of being invalidated if they are contested during a divorce. Here are a few ways your prenuptial agreement may be found invalid:

  1. The Agreement Was Not in the Right Format

In the state of Illinois, prenuptial agreements must be in writing. In other words, you cannot have an oral prenuptial agreement. Both you and your spouse must sign the agreement for it to become valid, and you must file it with the clerk of the circuit court so there is a record of the agreement.

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DuPage County divorce lawyerSocial media has been one of the defining topics of the 20th century. According to Hootsuite, a social media management platform, there were nearly 3.5 billion people around the world actively using social media at the beginning of 2019. With so many people connected on the Internet through websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, people are sharing their personal lives with each other more than ever before. While this can be a good thing, it can be detrimental if you are going through a divorce. Sharing parts of your personal life online can create evidence that can be used against you that can affect the outcome of issues such as spousal maintenance, property division, and even child-centered issues such as parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.

Using Social Media Posts in Your Favor

Social media is easy to use, which allows people to post photos and comments without having to think too much about what they are doing. In some situations, these kinds of posts can leave clues for the other spouse about issues such as hidden assets or whether or not the ex-spouse has a true need for spousal maintenance. For example, your ex might be petitioning to receive spousal maintenance due to claims he or she will not be able to enjoy the same standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage. However, if he or she posts photos of a vacation with friends, you may be able to use those posts as evidence that he or she was not being completely honest about his or her financial situation.

Social Media as Evidence in Court

In the state of Illinois, using information obtained from social media is a legitimate form of evidence. This means that anything you or your spouse post on social media could be used against you in court, as long as the information was not obtained illegally or fraudulently. You cannot open fake social media accounts with the intention of posing as another person to gain information. You also cannot “hack” into your spouse’s account with the intention of gaining information. As a general rule of thumb, if the information you are using was posted publicly and available to users with an account, it is typically admissible as evidence in court.

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Aurora, IL family law attorneyThe divorce process is complex. It affects almost every area of your life, including your financial well-being, your emotional health, and even your living situation and retirement plans. Since divorce is such a monumental event, it is essential that you find a good divorce lawyer to guide you through the legal process. Who you hire to represent you is arguably one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your divorce. It can be confusing choosing a lawyer, but by using the following tips, you can ensure that your attorney is the best choice for your situation and circumstances.

Keep Your Goals in Mind

Before you even begin meeting with divorce attorneys, you should figure out what you want out of the divorce. What issues are most important to you? If you have a feeling that your soon-to-be ex-spouse will become contentious over the parenting time and parental responsibility arrangements, you should try to find a lawyer who is skilled in handling child-related issues. If you have reason to believe your spouse may be hiding assets from you, you will want to seek a lawyer who has experience in investigating financial matters. Attorney Matthew M. Williams has dealt with cases involving both parenting time and parenting responsibility allocation. He also has worked with forensic accountants and other financial experts in cases in which spouses are not transparent with their assets.

Ask the Right Questions

Once you have a selection of lawyers who may be good matches for you, you should begin setting up consultations to meet with them in person. This will allow you and your potential attorney to get to know each other before you commit to working with him or her. During your consultation, you will want to ask a few questions about his or her qualifications and how the firm can help your case overall. During this time, you can ask what the attorney’s opinion is on your case and how he or she would proceed with handling it. When consulting with Attorney Matthew M. Williams, his 15 years of family law experience will be apparent while you discuss your case with him.

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Dupage County asset dissipation lawyerIn a perfect world, couples who decide to end their marriage would do so amicably and without any ill feelings. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and divorcing couples are often much less than amicable. In some divorces, feelings of anger, resentment, greed, and spite are driving factors in decisions made by one or both spouses. In cases such as these, it is not uncommon for one spouse to do anything he or she can to keep the other spouse from receiving his or her fair share of the marital estate. The most common way of doing this is to waste the marital assets, also known as “dissipation.”

How Is Dissipation Defined in Illinois?

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, dissipation refers to the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.” In other words, dissipation occurs when one spouse wastes, destroys, or spends marital property during the breakdown of the marriage for the purpose of depriving the other spouse of the property.

Examples of dissipation of marital property can include:

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Aurora child support enforcement attorneyIn Illinois divorces, it is not uncommon for child support or spousal support to be awarded to the appropriate parties. A support order of either type is a legally binding court order, meaning failure to pay can result in severe consequences. The state of Illinois understands that many families rely on these support payments in order to provide for themselves and their children. Because of this, failure to pay child support or spousal support is taken very seriously.

What Constitutes Failure to Support?

According to the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act, failure to support can occur in a few different ways. If a person commits any of the following actions, they can be held in contempt of court:

  • Willfully, and without any lawful excuse, refusing to provide for the support or maintenance of his or her spouse, with the knowledge that the spouse is in need of such support or maintenance.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Whether you are just starting the divorce process or you are in the middle of a months-long divorce, it’s no secret that it can be hard on everyone. For many people, the only information they have about divorce is what they have heard from family or friends who have gone through it, or what they have seen on TV or in movies. Divorce brings with it a slew of uncertainties that even the most planned out divorces can bring. The divorce process is different for everyone, but here are a few things you may not know about divorce: You Will Probably Experience the Grief Process Losing a relationship from your life is a lot like losing a person from your life. Many people going through a divorce find that the healing process is very similar to that of the grieving process -- though it is not so much of a surprise. It is only natural for you to grieve the loss of your relationship, but going through the grief process can help you move on with your life. Your Children Will Definitely Be Affected Many divorcing parents wonder if their divorce will affect their children. While the perfect answer would be no, the divorce will almost certainly affect your children, even younger ones. There is no way to tell how a child will react to news of a divorce, but as a parent, it is your job to make sure your child develops healthy coping mechanisms. A divorce does not mean your child will be emotionally scarred for life -- most children are usually happier after. It is Going to Cost You Money It has been said that the average wedding these days costs anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000. Sadly, you could end up spending that much on divorce, too. While there is no “average” cost for a divorce, they can become costly very quickly. The total cost of a divorce will depend on the type of divorce you are getting, where your life if you are using an attorney and how amicable you and your spouse are. All Divorces Were Not Created Equally Many people think the only way to get a divorce is to hire attorneys and fight it over in court. In reality, there are a handful of ways you can go about getting a divorce. You could go with a traditional litigated divorce, a mediated divorce, a collaborative divorce or even a do-it-yourself divorce. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it can be worth it to do your research before you begin the process. Consult with a Knowledgeable DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Though a divorce may feel like the end of the world, it is not. All divorces are different, but one thing you can do to make sure you have a successful divorce is to hire a skilled Aurora, IL divorce attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today to discover how we can help you finalize your divorce and allow you to move on with your life. Call our office today at 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.today.com/health/divorce-10-things-i-wish-id-known-2D80445585

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Getting a divorce turns your entire life upside down. The asset division process can prove to be especially cumbersome for some couples, as it requires you to take every single asset and debt into consideration when making decisions. Most couples argue over the house, bank accounts, and vehicles. While these high-value assets are important, it is also important not to overlook one of your most important assets -- retirement funds. It is easy to forget about retirement when it is 15 or 20 years away, but planning for it now can save you a big headache in the future. When it comes to retirement plans, one of the most important tools in your toolbox is a QDRO, which is a commonly used acronym for a qualified domestic relations order. QDRO's can be extremely beneficial when divvying up retirement plans during a divorce and can take some of the uncertainty out of your future. What Is a QDRO? In the state of Illinois, all pension benefits, including individual retirement accounts (IRA’s) and defined contribution plans and accounts, are presumed to be marital property and must be divided in “just proportions.” This is where a QDRO comes in. A QDRO is a legal document that designates an alternate payee’s right to receive all or a portion of the benefits held in certain types of retirement accounts. What Is Included in a QDRO?

QDRO’s are just as legally enforceable as an order for alimony or child support and must be approved by the court. Basically, a QDRO will allow both payees to draw from the retirement plan when the time comes. Most of the time, the named payees will be both spouses, but in certain situations, the alternate payee can be a child or another dependant. For a QDRO to be valid, it must contain:

  • The plan owner’s name and mailing address;
  • The alternate payee’s name and mailing address;
  • The percentage of the plan that will be going to the alternate payee;
  • How that percentage will be determined;
  • The number of payments included in the order; and
  • How those payments will be made to each payee.
Consult with a DuPage County Asset Division Attorney Today

If you are getting a divorce, it is important that you keep all of your assets in consideration -- including your retirement plan. By hiring a knowledgeable Aurora, IL asset division lawyer, you can be sure that you are getting your fair share of the retirement plan. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today to discuss your case and determine your best course of action. Call our office at 630-409-8184 to set up a consultation.

 

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,The process of allocating assets during a divorce is often one of the most contentious issues between couples. The state of Illinois practices equitable distribution of assets and liabilities, rather than equal distribution. This means that there is nothing saying a judge has to assign half of the marital estate to each spouse -- one spouse could end up walking away from the divorce with more money or more debt. Because of this, some spouses may be tempted to cover up assets so they may keep them for themselves. Illinois courts strongly recommend that couples try to come to an agreement on property distribution on their own, but this is not always possible, especially if both spouses are not willing to be truthful with each other.

This is often the step of the divorce process in which “discovery” comes into play. Discovery is the exchange of information between the two spouses and their attorneys. During this step, both spouses are required by law to be fully and completely transparent about the issue at hand. This means each spouse must disclose any and all assets, including both marital and non-marital assets.

The Role of a Forensic Accountant

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,When you are going through a divorce, there are many changes that you will notice. These can range from obvious ones -- such as your living arrangements or income -- to ones you may not necessarily think about all of the time -- like insurance. Insurance is something that you will almost always need, but it is also something people do not necessarily think about. Many people forget about insurance changes when they are going through a divorce because compared to other things you might be dealing with, it may not seem very important -- but it is. Taking care of these crucial changes to your insurance policies can save you grief and money in the long run.

Life Insurance

If you have a current life insurance policy, you may need to reevaluate the terms of the policy before you finalize the divorce. As long as there are no ongoing obligations, such as child support or spousal maintenance, you may want to think about removing your ex-spouse as a beneficiary on your insurance policy.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,There were an estimated 27.9 small businesses in the United States in 2010. Owning a business can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it can also be scary if you get a divorce. Typically in Illinois divorces, the two spouses must split their assets according to Illinois’ equitable division guidelines. This does not necessarily mean that each spouse will get half of the marital assets, but it does mean that the judge will determine what is equitable. The only things that are subject to division are those that are considered marital property. Your business may or may not be considered marital property and figuring that out is your first step in protecting your business from your spouse. Here are a few ways you can protect your business and keep it in your control during your divorce:

Get Your Business Valued

One of the first things you will want to do is to find out how much your business is worth. This can be accomplished by using a court-appointed valuation expert who is required to be unbiased when coming up with a value to assign to your business. It is still a good idea to hire an outside valuation specialist to make sure your result is in line with the court’s result.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Everyone knows that divorces are expensive, but they cost a whole lot more than just money -- they also cost you precious time, energy and emotional stress. Money is one of the biggest stressors in both marriage and divorce, which is why divorces can be so tense and combative. There are many complicated decisions you must make during a divorce and a good amount of them revolve around your finances. The decisions that you make about your finances when you get divorced are decisions that will affect you for a good portion of your life. Try to avoid making these four common financial mistakes during your divorce:

Not Having All of You and Your Spouse’s Financial Documents on Hand

Preparation is key when it comes to divorce. You will want to make sure that you have all of you and your spouse’s financial documents before you begin to negotiate who gets what. Make sure you have bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage and loan information and any other relevant financial documents on hand. If you think that your spouse is hiding assets from you, let your lawyer know. They will be able to help you uncover any hidden assets.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,Getting a divorce makes many things in your life far more complex than usual. Your children’s living arrangements become more complicated, managing your time becomes harder and even having your work life and home life balanced becomes more difficult. One of the things that can be the root of much stress is your finances and if you are not careful, your divorce can wreak havoc on them. If you are getting ready to file for divorce or you are currently in the process of a divorce, these four tips can help you keep your finances organized and simple:

Close Your Joint Accounts

Once you have filed for divorce, you should make sure you close your joint accounts, whether they are checking accounts, savings accounts or credit accounts. By splitting the amounts of both your checking and savings accounts, you can begin the separation process for marital property. You should also make sure to close your joint credit accounts so you do not rack up any more marital debt.

Open New, Separate Accounts

Next, you should open separate accounts that have your name on them only. It’s important that you remove your name from your spouse’s accounts or you remove your spouse’s name from your accounts. New checking, savings and credit accounts should be opened as soon as possible.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, One of the biggest questions people have when they begin the divorce process is how it will affect their finances. Many people forget how interwoven their lives become with their spouse’s lives until they go to separate them. Especially when it comes to your finances, things can become confusing and stressful. The decisions you make during your divorce will affect you for many years to come, if not the rest of your life. One of the ways you can ensure your finances are taken care of and your assets are distributed correctly is by having a lifestyle analysis prepared.

What Is a Lifestyle Analysis?

Simply put, a lifestyle analysis creates the basis for what your standard of living was during the marriage. It is basically the complete financial picture of the most recent years of your marriage. Your lifestyle analysis will include:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,When you hear people talking about divorce, they are probably talking about one of three things: how it affects you emotionally, how it affects your children, or how financially debilitating it can be. Marital life typically means that all of your finances and assets are entwined with each other, making it a difficult and stressful time for you when you go to separate them. Divorce can leave you with a sad bank account, a less-than-favorable credit score and thoughts about how you will pay bills alone. Although these issues can weigh on you, there are things you can do to help yourself after your divorce. Educate Yourself Before you begin creating a plan of attack for your finances, you have to know what you are working with. One of the first things you need to do is to take stock of all of your assets and debts and determine what is now yours. Divorce means you will be splitting all of these things, though not necessarily equally, but equitably. Figure out what you are working with and then go from there. Create a Budget Next, create a budget of what you need to spend and save each month. List out all of your monthly expenses such as rent, health insurance, utilities, credit card payments or other bills. Then figure out how much you can afford to save each month. Even a little bit at a time can add up eventually. Creating a budget can help you get into the swing of managing your finances after your divorce. Cancel Your Joint Bank Accounts Though this might be self-explanatory, you need to immediately cancel any and all of your joint bank accounts that you have with your spouse. Once you have begun the divorce process, having any joint accounts open can become a big liability very quickly. If your ex happens to run up big bills on credit accounts and your name is still on them, you will also be liable for paying those debts. Get a New Credit Card Opening a credit card with just your name on the account is a good way to begin rebuilding your credit. Start by spending a small amount each month, such as money for gas, but make sure you have the money to pay the bill off each month. Balances that sit on your credit card are not good for your credit score. Contact an Illinois Divorce Attorney

While you may be panicking now, you should take a deep breath and know that everything is going to be okay. An experienced Aurora divorce attorney can help you make the right financial decisions when it comes to dividing you and your ex’s assets and debts. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to determine your best plan of action. To set up a consultation, call the office at 630-409-8184.

 

Sources:

https://www.pacificawealth.com/21-divorce-financial-tips-must-divorce/

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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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