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Coping with Divorce during the Holiday Season

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

McHenry County divorce lawyersDivorce is a difficult process any time of the year, but the holidays can be especially challenging. Many experience loneliness and depression. Others feel more overwhelmed than usual and may be more prone to mood swings. Whatever the situation, however you are feeling, know that there are ways to cope. The following information may be able to help.

Surround Yourself with Friends and Family The holidays are a time when people are used to being surrounded by friends and family, so reach out to those that you love. If your circle has become significantly smaller, try and make some new friends. Support groups, colleagues at work, and even your neighbor are all great places to look. Some might even surprise you – that person you might have overlooked at the office who went through a divorce last year, or the single mom a few doors down that you might not have even noticed. Go to holiday parties, even if you do not feel like it. Whatever you decide to do, try to surround yourself with people and try to immerse yourself in holiday cheer. Give Back to Your Community If meeting new people seems too exhausting, maybe some charity work can help to put you in the holiday spirit and heal your soul a little. After all, there is little that can lift the spirit like feeding the homeless, volunteering at a domestic violence shelter, reading to kids in a hospital, or playing board games with someone in a nursing home. Not sure where to look? Try your local church, bulletin boards, or newspaper. If you cannot find anything there, try talking to friends or just pick up a phone and call your local shelters to ask if they could use some help. Be Gentle with Yourself and Practice Self-Care Surrounding yourself with people and giving back are all great ways to cope with divorce during the holidays, but probably the most beneficial thing you can do is to be gentle with yourself and to practice self-care. If you find yourself crying a lot, that is okay. Your grief and sadness are normal. If you do not feel like putting up your tree or lights, try purchasing just a small live one that does not take as much effort – and do not let yourself feel guilty for doing so. Keep the decorations put up if you like, soak in warm baths, make hot chocolate or tea, read a book, or buy a box of candy canes and a present for yourself. In short, do what makes you happiest this holiday season. Seek Assistance with Your Divorce If you are filing for divorce but have not obtained legal assistance, now might be the time to reconsider. Not only can a divorce attorney help to ensure you avoid unnecessary mistakes, they can handle the legal details so that you have the time and energy to grieve and care for yourself. You also have an increased chance of receiving a fair settlement in your case if you have an attorney on your side. At the Thomas Law Office, we offer compassionate and personalized services to suit your needs. Dedicated and experienced, our McHenry County family law attorney can protect your rights and will always make your best interest our top priority. Schedule your consultation to ask how we can help with your case. Call us at 847-426-7990 today. Sources:

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Divorce or Bankruptcy: Which Comes First?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Bankruptcy

bankruptcy-and-divorceYou may not have imagined filing for divorce on your wedding day. However, in a world where, according to the CDC, nearly 44 percent of marriages end in divorce, more and more couples will have to navigate their way through this trying time.

Divorce alone can seem overwhelming, but you may find it is not your only challenge. Couples with debt may face certain financial concerns, especially those who are considering filing for bankruptcy.

Why Filing for Bankruptcy First Is a Good Idea

If you are filing for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may want to think about jointly filing before the divorce has finalized. This way, you will have a repayment plan or possibly dismissal of certain debts, which will help you plan your post-divorce finances.

Debts incurred during the marriage are the responsibility of both partners. If your ex files for bankruptcy and you do not, you could be liable for the debt. With that said, bankruptcy will not shelter you from alimony, eliminate student loans, or stop you from having to pay child support.

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Divorce and Finances: What to Expect

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

divorce finances, Illinois divorce and family law attorneyMarriage and divorce are alike in that they usher in a number of changes for both spouses, many of which involve finances. Though marriage tends to offer more optimistic benefits, especially in regard to taxes and living with two incomes, the financial challenges of divorce can be more disconcerting.

Regardless of whether the marriage was young or old, you should plan your finances carefully before filing. Your budget should include legal expenses, possible relocation, and any adjustments that come with living on a single income. Spouses with children may face other monetary hurdles.

Seeking Out Professional Advice

Financial challenges should not dissuade you from consulting an attorney. A divorce lawyer may be able to help you avoid mistakes that could compromise your financial well being. According to the Women's Institute for Financial Education, failing to seek professional input is one of the most common mistakes divorcing spouses make.

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How to Estimate Child Support Payments in Illinois

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Child Custody

child support payments in illinois, estimate child support payments, McHenry County Family Law LawyerSplitting up a family is one of the most emotionally and mentally challenging aspects of a divorce. The process involves several life-changing decisions, such as choosing where the children will live and developing a child support arrangement.

Estimating Child Support Payments in Illinois 

Each child custody and support case is unique. Different families can vary in income level and number of children. As a result, general advice may be helpful; however, it might not directly apply to your situation.

Also, divorce laws differ from state to state. In Illinois, laws concerning child support aim to find a solution that serves a child's best interests, according to the Illinois General Assembly. Child support amounts scale with the number of children. The more children, the more a non-custodial parent will likely have to pay.

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When is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy a Better Option than Chapter 7?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Bankruptcy

chapter 13 bankruptcy, file for bankruptcy, McHenry County Bankruptcy AttorneyFiling for bankruptcy—no matter which chapter you choose—can be a mentally exhausting process. For many Americans, though, bankruptcy offers an opportunity to regain financial independence and stop creditor actions.

In many cases, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a smarter option than Chapter 7. For example, if you have fallen behind on business payments or your mortgage, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to maintain your property. Additionally, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to reinstate your original mortgage agreement if you can make the overdue payments within a specified period. In this way, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can put homeowners on the path to a debt-free life.

Generally speaking, people with valuable property that Illinois bankruptcy exemptions do not cover should consider filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This chapter may also be ideal if your income is too high to be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Is it a Smart Choice for Your Case?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Chapter 13 Banruptcy

chapter 13 bankruptcy options, McHenry County Bankruptcy AttorneyEach year, thousands of Americans file for bankruptcy as part of their efforts to gain financial control. The bankruptcy process can give debtors a fresh start while also teaching invaluable lessons related to financial management. In many cases, debtors must choose between filing for Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcies. Therefore, understanding the breakdown of Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you decide if it is a smart option for your particular case.

What You Need to Know about Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 

Chapter 13 offers debtors the opportunity to organize debt into a structured payment plan. According to, Chapter 13 applicants must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible.

First, applicants must have a steady income that will allow them to make payments according to the agreed upon schedule. In fact, debtors with a high income may not be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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4 Factors That Could Jeopardize Prenuptial Agreements

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

prenuptial agreements, McHenry County divorce lawyerEvery couple fantasizes about a perfect life after marriage; however, reports indicate that nearly 44 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. For this reason, engaged couples may consider signing a prenuptial agreement to protect their finances in the event of divorce.

Like many other matters in marital law, prenuptial agreements come with a long list of complex considerations. In some cases, a seemingly minor mistake may render the contract void.

Four Factors that May Render a Prenuptial Agreement Invalid

1. One spouse signed the prenuptial agreement under coercion or duress.

According to the Illinois General Assembly, in order for a prenup to be legal, both spouses must have signed the document without duress or coercion. If one spouse can demonstrate that any threats—verbal, physical, or otherwise—convinced him or her to sign the contract, the prenup may be void.

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Your Illinois Divorce: Fault, No Fault, and Child Custody

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

your Illinois divorce, child custody, McHenry County Divorce LawyerDivorce is one of the most stressful and mentally exhausting chapters in a person’s life. It comes with a long list of life-changing considerations, such as where each spouse will live, how to survive on a single income, and what the child custody arrangement will entail.

The legal side of divorce can be just as overwhelming as the personal challenges. This is especially true in contested divorces when couples cannot agree on asset division, child support, or other factors.

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorces

According to current Illinois law, a divorce will fall under one of two categories: “fault” or “no fault.” In no-fault divorces, there is not a fundamental issue that caused the divorce. As such, the marriage is ending due to “irreconcilable differences.”

Fault divorces, however, involve a clear reason for the separation. This may include adultery, physical or emotional abuse, or drug addiction. The cause of the divorce could affect the outcome as it relates to asset division, alimony, and child support. It is important to note, however, that all grounds for divorce, besides irreconcilable differences, will be eliminated January 1, 2016 due to the implementation of Senate Bill 57.

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Will I Lose My House if I Declare Bankruptcy?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Chapter 13 Banruptcy

declare bankruptcy, lose house, McHenry County Bankruptcy LawyerMany people mistakenly assume that bankruptcy is financial suicide. However, the truth is that bankruptcy has helped millions of Americans start their path toward a debt-free life.

There are several chapters of bankruptcy, with Chapters 7 and 13 being the most common. The eligibility criteria and consequences of filing each chapter vary, and one factor that sets them apart is the possibility of liquidating assets.

What Will Happen to My Property if I File for Bankruptcy?

According to, Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of assets to pay off creditors. As a result, filers may need to sell their home or other properties to pay debts.

Every case is unique, and not all Chapter 7 filers will have to sell their home. Also, there is a homestead exemption in Illinois bankruptcy cases which will allow you to preserve a portion of your home's equity. Depending on the details of your mortgage, the trustee may decide not to group your home with the liquidated assets.

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Can You Spy on Your Spouse During a Divorce?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

spy on your spouse, McHenry County Family Law LawyerWhen you feel that your marriage is over, you may be tempted to spy on your spouse. However, spying can be legally risky and may not even benefit you in the divorce. Therefore, it is important to know what the law says about spying on your spouse.

What Are You Hoping to Prove?

The most common reason for spying on a spouse is to uncover proof of his or her cheating. However, now that Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, whether your spouse is cheating or not will not affect allocation of parental rights, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance, or the division of property.

If your spouse is spending marital assets on someone with whom he or she is cheating, you should try and uncover how much is being spent. The same is true if your spouse is spending money on drugs or gambling. These actions may be considered dissipation of marital assets—your spouse is wasting marital assets on things that do not benefit the marriage, nor have you agreed to this spending. It is possible to get some or all of these funds back in a divorce.

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