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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

707 N. York Street, Suite 201, Elmhurst, IL 60126

Elmhurst | 630-528-0734

Mokena | 815-458-5660   Oak Park | 708-480-9651

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One important set of documents tends to be forgotten in themad scramble of divorce : your estate plan. this is comprised of several essential documents that protect your financial interests and personal medical choices in the event of an emergency. If your plan isn't updated, then your ex may still be designated as your executor and primary beneficiary.

Estate planning documents commonly include a:

  • Will
  • Revocable trust
  • Irrevocable trust
  • Advanced health care directive
  • Durable power of attorney for finances
  • Durable power of attorney for health care

Your Medical Care

Without an updated estate plan, your former spouse may legally have full control over your estate in the event of a medical emergency. The intent of a durable power of attorney for finances document is to grant an agent the authority to pay your bills, take care of your medical expenses, and manage your assets while you're incapacitated. this means your agent has full access to your financial accounts. Likewise, a durable power of attorney for health care authorizes your agent to make medical choices on your behalf - so long as he or she respects your advanced health care directive. Depending on your relationship with your ex, this may not go well.


iPhones are incredible technological devices that allow you to maintain social relationships and navigate the inconveniences of daily life. Your phone even has the ability to sync up to any other Apple product in your home, allowing you to consolidate information and easily keep your day-to-day appointments. So what role does your iPhone play in your divorce ?

Here are some phone-related divorce rules you may already know:

  1. Don't send cruel text messages to your ex (texts can be used against you!)
  2. Don't record your spouse with out their knowledge ( this is illegal!)
  3. Be patient when separating your shared cell phone plan ( this can be a long-drawn-out challenge!)

Many people don't consider how much access their spouse has to the irprivate information and personal data. A former spouse may be able to spy on their ex by accessing their phone or laptop. If you share an iCloud account or Apple ID with your spouse, they may have full access to all your appointments, photos, and emails with out you knowing - this includes emails to and from your legal team!


As of 2018, Illinois is the12th state to adopt a collaborative practice law under the Illinois Collaborative Process Act. In a collaborative divorce , spouses hire attorney s to facilitate their equitable distribution negotiations outside of court. Since implementing the law in January, it has become increasingly common for divorcing couples to utilize the collaborative process as an alternative to traditional divorce .

How Does the process Work?

In a traditional Illinois divorce , spouses file for dissolution of marriage and hire lawyers to represent their individual interests in court. divorce can be a stressful and highly emotional process, and court negotiations may become adversarial if spouses start fighting over asset division.

A collaborative divorce is a unique alternative because it requires all parties - spouses and attorney s - to sign an agreement stating that all negotiations will take place outside the courtroom. Under this pledge, divorce lawyers are responsible for facilitating communication between both parties until a settlement is mutually agreed upon. Lawyers also have the duty of ensuring that all participants are fully and honestly disclosing any requested and required information.


In many ways, a military divorce shares many similarities with a civilian divorce and, depending on the circumstances, might not be that much more complicated to navigate with legal help. That said, they do share some differences, including the service of process, residency and filing requirements, and specific rules regarding thed ivision of military pensions.

To help shed some clarity on the basics of a military divorce , we have compiled a list of military laws and rules you should familiarize yourself with as you begin this process:

  • Military divorce laws: Military divorce s are governed by state and federal laws. When dividing assets like military pensions, federal laws will come into play, where as state laws will dictate how alimony is issued. If a military spouse ison active duty, the service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) prevents divorce proceedings from continuing for 60 days or more, if allowed by the court. this protection allows military spouses to devote their time and attention to their duties rather than worry about missing important court dates.
  • Jurisdiction: In order to grant a divorce to military members or spouses, a court must first have jurisdiction to hear the case. this is generally straightforward for civilians since jurisdiction is typically the place where one or both spouses live. For members of the military, jurisdiction might be the placewhere he or she has legal residence, despite being stationed elsewhere.
  • Service of process: Military members and their spouses typically have three options when it comes to choosing a state to file for divorce in. The filing spouse can choose to do so in the state where he or she resides, where the military spouse is stationed, or where the military spouse has legal residency. The divorce laws of the chosen state will govern how property distribution, child custody, alimony, and other key issues are determined.
  • Residency filing requirements: In many cases, states reduce or eliminate residency requirements for military divorce s, allowing members of the military or their spouses to file wherever themember is stationed. this is not always the case, however, so ask your divorce attorney or advice on your own specific situation.
  • Military pensions and other benefits: Military pensions are subject to division during a divorce . The payment of a military spouse's retirement is done so directly through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) as long as there were at least 10 years of marriage, which overlapped with 10 years of military service. Additionally, a former spouse of military personnel is eligible for full medical, commissary, and exchange privileges if they were married for 20 years or more, if the service member served at least 20 years of creditable service toward retirement pay, and if there was at least a20 year overlap of marriage and military service.
  • Spousal and child support: the court can enforce child support obligations in various ways, such as a court order, wage garnishment, and voluntary or involuntary allotment.

divorce attorney s in Illinois

If you believe your marriage is headed for a divorce , you need to take the right steps to understand your options and how to best protect your interests. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., our Illinois divorce attorney s can navigate you through your divorce , even if you or your spouse is a member of the military. We will use our experienceand knowledge to your advantage.


Getting a divorce is not just an emotional process, but a financially difficult one as well. Divorcing spouses risk taking a major hit to their financial health during a divorce , especially with out proper legal guidance on their side. While you might be tempted to fixate on what went wrong in your marriage or on how to cope with this major change in your life, it is crucial to also try to limit the other effects your divorce will have on your life, so you can work toward minimizing the damage.

Below are some of the most common missteps spouses make during a divorce and some advice on how to avoid them:

  • Missing money: It is crucial to take the time to examine your assets in order to make a thorough accounting of current accounts, non-cash assets, and future assets, such as pensions, business interests, or start-up stock options.You should also remember to include the income you earned prior to filing for divorce but received after. The cut-off date for asset valuation is the date of your divorce filing, so pay close attention to these details. If you are actively involved in managing the household's finances, this might not be too daunting a task, but if not, your attorney can effectively help you fill in any gaps and reveal potentially hidden assets.
  • Ignoring tax basis: If you want a fair settlement , do not forget your taxes. For example, the spouse who is awarded the marital home that is worth $500, 000 will face a different set of tax circumstances when he or she sells the house for profit than the spouse who receives distributions later on from an individual retirement account that is worth the same amount.
  • Staying connected: Remaining financially linked through joint accounts and beneficiary designations is a major liability once you begin the process of a divorce , especially if there is a lot of hostility with you and your soon-to-be former spouse.Open a new individual bank account to keep your future income separate and begin financially untangling yourself from your spouse. this couldinclude calling your credit card issuers to remove authorized users, closing joint accounts, updating deeds and titles to reflect who was awarded what, and changing beneficiaries.
  • Raiding retirement: Unless you are taking distributions from retirement for retirement purposes, tapping into these accounts to fund your divorce or to pay off joint debts is a big mistake. Barely half of all households have adequate savings for retirement, so dipping into them for your divorce is not going to improve your chances of a comfortable retirement for the future.
  • Getting emotional: Some of your assets will likely have a lot of sentiment attached to them, but if you are not careful, theemotional value you place on them will inflate your idea of what they are truly worth, making a settlement unfair and dangerous to your future. For example, getting the house will not matter if you lack the liquid assets to keep up with the mortgage. Try not to let your feelings for certain assets get in the way of making the right decisions.

divorce attorney s in Illinois

If you and your spouse are moving forward with a divorce , you need to seek skilled legal assistance to ensure your financial future is not compromised by any mistakes. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., our divorce attorney s in Illinois have the experience and knowledge that necessary to navigate you through this process while protecting your bestinterests and future.





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