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Steps to take before filing for divorce

Spouses who are approaching divorce in Illinois can take steps to make the process as smooth as possible. Divorce is almost never easy; it creates stress of several varieties, including emotional and financial worries. Taking the time to get organized prior to divorce can prepare a person for what is to come, relieve stress and make favorable outcomes more likely.

Among the first steps before filing for divorce is to take inventory of assets, debts, accounts and all financial-related documentation. It's a good idea to gather together investment and bank account statements, real estate documents, mortgages, credit card bills, wills and other estate planning documents, insurance policies and personal statements of finances. Having these documents can save time during divorce proceedings and prepare a person for separation early in the divorce process.

In addition to gathering documents, it is important to have them organized. Establishing a system of organization can make communication with accountants or attorneys simpler. Keeping all real estate documents together and all banking documents together, for example, can make meetings with an attorney more productive.

Another step is to categorize assets owned by the parties as separate or marital property. An attorney with experience in divorce law may be able to help with this part of the process by identifying the couple's assets. Typically, it is relevant how the property was originally acquired and whether it was acquired before or during the marriage.

Someone who has questions about the process of divorcing in Illinois might want to schedule a meeting with an attorney. In addition to helping the parties categorize their assets, an attorney might be able to help by negotiating the terms of property settlement before the divorce or by arguing on the client's behalf during child custody hearings.

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