Tag Archives: divorce

Before You Divorce After the Holidays

Holiday Divorce

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and love. It shouldn’t be the season for pain. But for some couples, they keep it together only to divorce after the holidays and in the New Year. In fact, a common time to divorce is right after the holidays.

Here are the three tips for couples to consider before divorcing after the holidays:

  1. Nurture your friendship. One of the top reasons for divorce is that people become emotionally and physically distant and drift apart. Between balancing work, raising children, technology distractions and daily life craziness, it’s tough to feel connected to your partner. But it makes a difference. So many of my clients report that when they spend quality time with each other, things are overall improved and they can weather the tough times better.

TIP: Connect every day. You have to intentionally make it a priority to connect every day, whether it’s 20-second hugs, passionate kisses, or 15-minute conversations. Bring back the fun and play in your relationship!

  1. Maintain your identity. It’s also easy to lose yourself in your marriage. Maybe you stopped doing the things that once brought you joy, or put your needs aside for your partner and family. The thing is, if you’re not happy, it’s easier to blame the marriage. Doing your own thing is a good thing. Some degree of separateness from your partner can maintain long-term passion. It also adds mystery, which is important for desire. When you were dating, you didn’t know what your partner was up to every day. One of my clients told me that when his wife went out with her girlfriends, he would think about how great she looked and that it would ignite his passion for days—something so simple like his wife going out with her girlfriends!

TIP: If you’ve lost sight of who you are, go back to the basics. What were the things you used to do? What brought you pleasure and joy? Some of my clients really struggle maintaining their individual identities—so make a list, and write down your needs and see how many of them have been fulfilled.

  1. Renegotiate your marriage. People buy into what they think their marriage “should” look like. First comes marriage, then a house, then a baby, dog, etc. This doesn’t work for everyone. When you first married, you had an expectation of what your life together would be like. If those expectations changed, or something isn’t working, it’s ok to renegotiate! Couples who have high expectations are actually happier—but they both work toward making their expectations happen in mutually respectable ways.

TIP: Depending on how you think your marriage is doing, you can meet monthly but in general you can meet once or twice a year. I recommend to my couples that they keep their anniversary as a happy time, and then spend their half-anniversary talking about their relationship. Discuss what’s working, what isn’t, what’s been missing, new goals or vision for marriage, put new dreams on the table, what needs to be done, etc.

If you need help with any of the above, see an experienced marriage counselor. Find one who is trained in evidence-based methods to teach you the tools you need to come back from the brink of divorce. Keep the holiday season for what it is meant to be—a time of joy, laughter, and love.

Money and Property – How Illinois’ New Divorce Law Impacts Your Wallet

Guest Post by: Andrew G. Vaughn. Divorce Attorney/Founder of NuVorce LLC and Professor of Advanced Domestic Relations Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

divorce and money 123rf

On January 1, 2016 a new set of divorce laws became effective in Illinois. These laws changed many of the core practices in divorce. In this three part guest blog post, we will discuss: (1) the fundamentals of divorce, (2) how this new law impacts your kids, and (3) how this new law impacts your wallet.

The Basics

There are three basic financial issues that can impact you in a divorce: (1) Alimony, (2) Child Support, and (3) Property Division.

Alimony

Alimony is financial support for a spouse. Under the new Divorce Law, Illinois has adopted a formula for alimony which is: (Step 1) Multiply the gross income (income before taxes) of Alimony Paying Spouse by .3, (Step 2) Multiply the gross income of the Alimony Receiving Spouse by .2, (Step 3) subtract the product of Step 2 from the product of Step 1. This is the amount of alimony that is to be paid. (Note: there are exceptions to this formula – such as for couples who earn more than $250,000. There are also additional steps in the formula, but this is the basic idea.)

Child Support

Child support is paid from one spouse to another to support the children. Under the new Illinois Divorce Law, there is a formula for child support which is the following percentages of net income (income after taxes) based on the number of children you have: 1 child – 20%, 2 children 28%, 3 children 32%, 4 children 40%, 5 children 45%, 6 or more children – 50%. (Note: there is a provision that allows for exceptions to this formula, but this is applied in most cases.)

Property Division

Property consists of the assets (items with positive value – real estate, retirement accounts, business interests, etc.) and liabilities (items with negative value – mortgages, credit card debt, student loans, etc.). Under the new Illinois Divorce Law, the court follows three steps before dividing property: (1) Classification: identify if property is marital or non-marital (marital property is anything you acquired during the marriage; non-marital property is property from before you were married or that you got by inheritance or gift), (2) value the property (i.e. How much is your business actually worth?), and (3) divide the marital property equitably (equitably means fair, so not necessarily 50/50).

Bottom Line

There are now formulas for alimony and child support. Formulas may make the process easier and more predictable, but the use of formulas may be unfair in certain circumstances. Marital property will be divided fairly – so not necessarily 50/50.

If you’d like to know more, visit us at www.nuvorce.com, email us at info@nuvorce.com, or call us at 312-802-2897.

Custody and Visitation – How Illinois’ New Divorce Law Impacts Your Kids

Guest Post by: Andrew G. Vaughn. Divorce Attorney/Founder of NuVorce LLC and Professor of Advanced Domestic Relations Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

On January 1, 2016 a new set of divorce laws became effective in Illinois. These laws changed many of the core practices in divorce. In this three part guest blog post, we will discuss: (1) the fundamentals of divorce, (2) how this new law impacts your kids, and (3) how this new law impacts your wallet.

The Basics

Deciding to divorce can be difficult if children are involved. If you do decide to divorce, there will be two primary issues related to you kids that will need to be resolved: (1) who will have custody of the children and (2) what the visitation schedule will be. (Note: Child Support is also related to the Kids, but will be addressed in our next post – How Illinois’ New Divorce Law Impacts Your Wallet).

Custody

Under the old law, Custody meant decision making authority for major decisions for your kids. Major decisions are not what they’re wearing to school but bigger picture issues like: (1) Medical – who will their doctor be, (2) Education – where will they go to school, and (3) Religion – what religion, if any, will they be raised in. Under the new law, Custody still means decision making, they’ve just added a fourth major decision – (4) Extracurricular Activities.

While adding Extracurricular Activities is a smaller change, the next one is big. They have added an additional type of custody that can exist. Under the prior law, parents could have “Joint Custody” which meant that those major decisions were made by both parents together. Alternatively, one parent could be awarded “Sole Custody” which meant that major decisions were made by only one parent. Under the new law, there is still Joint Custody and Sole Custody, but they have also added a hybrid where the court can divide the decisions between the parents (For example: doctor parent makes medical decisions and teacher parent make educational decisions).

Visitation

Under the old law, visitation with children was to be “reasonable.” Under the new law, the visitation is to be based on the “best interests of the children.” I recently asked a Judge what the difference was between the reasonable standard and the best interest standard. Her response: “I have no clue.”

Bottom Line

Under the new law there is a hybrid type of custody between Joint and Sole, extracurricular activities are now considered a major decision, and no one yet knows how visitation has been changed.
If you’d like to know more, visit us at www.nuvorce.com, email us at info@nuvorce.com, or call us at 312-802-2897.

divorce 123rf

Guest Post by: Andrew G. Vaughn. Divorce Attorney/Founder of NuVorce LLC and Professor of Advanced Domestic Relations Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

On January 1, 2016 a new set of divorce laws became effective in Illinois. These laws changed many of the core practices in divorce. In this three part guest blog post, we will discuss: (1) the fundamentals of divorce, (2) how this new law impacts your kids, and (3) how this new law impacts your wallet.

The Basics

Divorce impacts every aspect of your life, from how often you see your children to how much you can spend at Starbucks. Because of this, it can seem very complex. However, some of the new changes to the law have simplified the process. In this post, we’ll discuss how to identify what issues you will have in your divorce and the grounds for divorce.

Identifying the Issues

Do you have children? If the answer is yes, you will need to consider at least 5 issues in your divorce: (1) Child Custody, (2) Visitation, (3) Child Support, (4) Alimony, and (5) Property Division. If the answer is no, you will need to consider only two of those issues: (1) Alimony and (2) Property Division.

Grounds for Divorce

In 2015 and earlier, you could be divorce for one of two reasons (which are called grounds because lawyers have to make things complicated). The first reason for divorce was what the statute called “Fault Grounds.” This included adultery, abuse, impotence, etc. The second reason for divorce was called “No Fault.” This meant that basically the marriage has just broken down. Under the new Illinois Divorce Law the only reason for divorce is “No Fault.”

As part of the “No Fault” grounds for divorce, you also have to prove that you and your spouse have been separated. Under the old law, you had to be separated for two years (but there was an exception where you could agree to a shorter separation). Under the new Illinois Divorce Law, that separation period has been reduced to 6 months.

Bottom Line

Under the new law divorce can happen faster (6 months of separation instead of 2 years) and should happen nicer (under the no fault concept – no one needs to drag their spouse through the mud to get the divorce).

If you’d like to know more, visit us at www.nuvorce.com, email us at info@nuvorce.com, or call us at 312-802-2897.

I can’t believe I’m married to such an idiot.

You finished one thing on the list. Do you want an award for being ‘Partner of the Year’?

You call that picking up after yourself? Can’t you do anything right?

You always spend too much money. Why are you so irresponsible? Can you be any more selfish?

Do you have interactions between you and your partner where you feel your partner is mean and even downright cruel, or vice versa? Do you feel like your partner is disgusted by you, or maybe you’re disgusted by your partner? If so, you’re in dangerous relationship territory.

Contemptuous exchanges like those above are the most toxic behaviors for a relationship. Contempt shows a lack of respect for your partner, and you think you’re better than them. You put your partner down and show them they are worthless. Contempt comes in many forms – mockery, insults, name-calling, eye-rolling, sighs of disgust and even sarcasm. I meet a lot of people who are proud of their sarcastic sense of humor. Because it is a form of contempt, be careful how you use it with your partner!

Contempt doesn’t appear in a relationship overnight. It usually develops because you’ve allowed negative thoughts about your partner to simmer over a long time. You’re more likely to have such thoughts if you haven’t resolved your differences. For example, maybe you think your partner is doing things the wrong way, and your ways are better. Your partner probably thinks they’re doing things the right way, and thus you have a stand-off without a resolution. As the conflict continues, you get more and more fed up, and simple disagreements can turn to contemptuous exchanges over time.

Contempt is so toxic that research shows it is the biggest predictor of divorce. It must be eliminated. And if you’re thinking that’s impossible, research shows that among happy couples, the frequency of contempt is almost zero. Happy couples convey admiration and respect for their partner, and it’s never too late for you to do that with your partner.

To counteract contempt you can do three things:

1. Consistently practice sharing fondness and admiration with your partner. To get you started, think about the following: What are your partner’s strengths? What are your top three favorite traits about them? Why did you fall in love with your partner in the first place? How can you compliment your partner today? You have to create a positive mindset about your partner and go a step further by expressing it to them. Be genuine and give yourself time for praise and admiration to seem more natural, especially if it hasn’t been a part of your relationship for a long time.

2. Complain (as opposed to attacking your partner’s character). Think before you speak. Instead of, “Why didn’t you clean the kitchen like you said you would? You’re so lazy, I have to do everything!” you can say, “You said you would clean the kitchen but you didn’t. I’m very upset by this.” You want to focus on the behavior without the character assault.

3. Understand your partner. As I frequently tell my clients, the goal is not necessarily to agree with your partner, but to understand where they are coming from. Does their perspective make sense? You can both be right, and that can go a long way toward repairing the damage of contempt.

Although contempt is the most toxic relationship behavior, you do have the power to eliminate it. If it’s been present in your relationship for a long time, it may take some time to feel comfortable with the new positive and affirming behaviors. But if you want your relationship to have a fighting chance, contempt absolutely must be eliminated.

In my line of work as a relationship expert, I work with cheaters. Some are funny, others volunteer, and some go to church every Sunday. Some coach their child’s sports teams, others take care of their elderly parents, and some are the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Some research shows that, at a minimum, at least 50% of all couples will be affected by cheating.

 

It can happen to you.

 

No relationship is immune from infidelity. There is a lack of education about cheating, especially around how and why it happens. I find myself repeating the same things to my clients and continually debunking myths. Talking openly about the “reality” of infidelity is one of the best ways of protecting a relationship from it.

 

Myth 1: Only immoral people cheat.

Reality: Good people cheat. People are harshly judged for stepping outside the bounds of their relationship. Yes, they made a bad choice, but it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. Two of the most common things I hear are: “I never thought I would cheat” from the betrayer, and “I never thought s/he would cheat” from the betrayed partner. If you assume that both you and your partner can cheat, you can be more aware about threats and risky situations.

 

Myth 2: If there’s no sex, it’s not cheating.

Reality: There’s a different kind of affair that’s been on the rise – the emotional one. It usually starts as “just a friendship” but then a deep, passionate connection grows as time goes on. People can fall in love before realizing just how far they’ve crossed the line. Warning signs your “friendship” may be heading toward an emotional affair: You don’t tell your partner when or what you talk about with this person, and you’ve started divulging personal information about your partner to him or her.

 

Myth 3: You only cheat if you’re unhappy.

Reality: One of the ways people leave their relationship vulnerable to infidelity is by assuming that only unhappily coupled people cheat. Not so, as my clients often tell me, “I thought we were happy.” For some, cheating is less about happiness and more about sliding across boundaries. Opportunity is one of the leading variables of infidelity.

 

Myth 4: Affairs happen because of sexual attraction.

Reality: My clients often tell me they weren’t even attracted to the person they ended up cheating with. Research shows that the affair partner isn’t any better than the spouse, just different. If you assume you need sexual attraction, you’re more likely to minimize the close emotional relationship you’re developing with another person.

 

Myth 5: A marriage is irreparable.

Reality: As painful as an affair is on a marriage, healing and recovery are possible. Many of my clients tell me that the affair was a “blessing in disguise.” Often I hear that spouses talked more in the aftermath of an affair than they have all year, or they realized they have been taking each other for granted and needed a wake up call. Although the process is not easy, surviving infidelity and making your marriage better than ever is achievable.

 

An affair can happen in any relationship. Awareness of these 5 myths and the reality of each can help keep you both faithful to each other.