When going through a divorce, one of the primary goals is to avoid issues once your divorce is final. Not only can dealing with lingering issues from your marriage be extremely frustrating, but it can also prove costly. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid unnecessary issues by taking a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to the divorce process.

What Types of Issues Can Former Spouses Encounter Post-Divorce?

What types of issues are we talking about? Here are seven issues former spouses can encounter after their divorce:

1. Undistributed Marital Assets

Under Illinois law, divorcing spouses must divide their marital assets according to the principles of equitable distribution. Divorcing spouses must identify their separate and marital assets, and they must ensure that they address all of their marital assets during the divorce process. If divorcing spouses overlook marital assets, not only can this lead to issues with the overlooked assets themselves, but it can also raise questions about whether the distribution of their other assets was truly equitable.

2. Undistributed Joint Debts

Just as divorcing spouses must distribute their marital assets, they must also distribute their joint debts. Overlooking debts during a divorce can lead to problems as well—and potentially even bigger problems than overlooking assets. If both spouses remain jointly liable and one spouse fails to pay, default or foreclosure could have serious consequences for both of them.

3. Unanticipated Financial Strain

Too often, spouses approach the divorce process with the mindset that, “Everything will be fine.” While it is good to have a positive outlook, it isn’t good to set yourself up for failure. From having to pay too much alimony or child support to not receiving the full financial support you need, various issues can arise if you don’t accurately assess your post-divorce financial needs during the divorce process.

4. Disagreements Regarding Child-Related Decisions

When going through a divorce with minor children, parents should decide in advance how they will handle important child-related decisions after parting ways. This could mean agreeing to work together in good faith, making certain major decisions in advance, or finding another solution that is mutually agreeable. If divorced parents don’t have a plan in place, they run the risk of being unable to reach an agreement and not having a clear path forward.

5. Disagreements Regarding Parenting Time

Divorced parents will also frequently run into issues regarding parenting time. Developing a comprehensive parenting plan is itself a process that requires time, forethought, and attention to detail. If parents overlook things like holidays, birthdays, unanticipated business trips, pickup and drop-off times, or transportation responsibilities, they can end up facing disagreements that they will struggle to resolve amicably.

6. Inability to Pay Child Support or Spousal Support

If a former spouse is unable to pay child support or spousal support, this can lead to trouble for both parties. While filing for modification is an option, it isn’t an option in all cases. For the former spouse who has a responsibility to pay, non-payment can lead to wage garnishment and other means of enforcement. For the spouse who is entitled to payment, not getting paid on time can lead to financial problems that may or may not be easy to resolve.

7. Relocation, Losing Touch, and Other Practical Issues

If a former spouse relocates unexpectedly, if a former spouse changes his or her phone number, if a former spouse cohabitates with a new partner, or if any of a variety of other circumstances arise post-divorce, these can also create issues that it can be difficult to resolve. While spouses can minimize the risk of issues by planning for contingencies during their divorce, in order to do so they need to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can help guide them forward.

How Can Spouses in Illinois Avoid Unnecessary Issues After Getting Divorced?

So, those are some examples of potential issues. Now, what can divorcing spouses do to avoid these issues once their marriage ends? To protect themselves during their divorce, spouses can:

  • Take a Comprehensive and Forward-Thinking Approach to the Divorce Process – As we said in the introduction, it is extremely important that spouses take a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to the divorce process. By focusing not only on their immediate circumstances but also on circumstances that may arise in the future, spouses can ensure that they are not setting the stage for a post-divorce dispute.
  • Create a Budget and Financial Plan –The more planning divorcing spouses do in advance, the better able they will be to avoid issues down the line. Both spouses should create a budget and financial plan so that they have a clear understanding of their financial needs post-divorce.
  • Don’t Overlook Issues Simply Because They Seem Unlikely – Unlikely doesn’t mean impossible. Even if a potential issue seems like a remote possibility at best, it is generally best to address it proactively.
  • When In Doubt, Seek Clarification – When spouses have questions during the divorce process, they should not hesitate to seek clarification from their divorce lawyers. Misguided assumptions can lead to mistakes, and these mistakes can prove costly when they lead to disputes in the future.
  • Take the Time to Make Informed Decisions – Ultimately, the key to avoiding unnecessary issues post-divorce is making informed decisions during the divorce process. Divorcing spouses need to take the time to gather the necessary information, consider their options, and make a decision focused on their long-term best interests. By taking this approach, spouses can navigate the divorce process with confidence, and they can rest easy knowing that they have done everything necessary to make the transition to post-divorce life as smooth as possible.

Considering a Divorce in Illinois? Contact Us for a Free Initial Consultation

Are you considering a divorce in Illinois? If so, we encourage you to contact us for more information. To schedule a free initial consultation with Gurnee divorce attorney Deanna J. Bowen, please call 847-623-4002 or request an appointment online today.