"To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part" doesn't seem to be the norm today. It ends often like until irreconcilable differences do us part. Consider that in 2016, according to the data provided by the Department of Public Health:
- in Cook County, there were 31,685 marriages while there were 7,576 divorces; and
- in Dupage County, there were 4,951 marriages while there were 2,210 divorces.
The rate of divorces is pretty high considering the rate of marriages. Basically, for every 3-4 people getting married in the Chicago metro area, 1-2 married couples are getting a divorce.
If you are considering a divorce yourself in Cook County or Dupage County, then it will serve you better to be prepared before you approach your spouse. You never know for certain how a spouse will react – making sure you have important documents and something akin to an exit strategy in place can help make sure the process goes somewhat smoothly or as smoothly as it can. Here's an overview of what that "divorce preparation" in Illinois may or should involve.
Get Important Information.
Make sure you gather together and have copies of all records and other important information. This includes:
- financial information (e.g., bank accounts, 401k, stocks)
- insurance information
- medical information
- titles to vehicles or real property
- wills, trusts, other estate planning instruments
Open a Separate Bank Account
Now that you have all the important information gathered and safely stored someplace, open a separate financial account at a separate bank if you do not yet have one. If you still prefer paper statements, have the statements sent to another address. This address can belong to a family member, a friend, or another trusted person.
Prepare a Budget
You want to have a budget planned in advance so you can plan (and fund) the divorce properly. This projected budget should include things like:
- other life necessities
- divorce fees
- attorney fees, if the divorce requires one.
Make sure you are putting away (or trying to at least put away) enough money to cover a few months in your new bank account. Apart from allowing you to predict how much money you will need to cover yours and your children's expenses, a budget will make filling out paperwork easier later when you start the divorce process.
Stay Present in Your Children's Lives
You probably are already active in your children's lives, but just the same: remain active or get more active. Your presence in your children's lives will make it that little bit easier when the divorce is finally told to them. Plus, it can help with child custody matters, when it comes around to that.
Keep track of what's happening or why you want the divorce. In some circumstances, this may make a difference, like if a spouse is abusive to you or your children. The diary can be provided to your attorney as evidence, if necessary.
A divorce is difficult enough, but not being prepared for it can make it all the more difficult. If you need more advice on how to prepare, contact an experienced divorce attorney in the Chicago metropolitan area today. It's never too early for a little support.