Shawn McKenna | Chicago Divorce Lawyer | Divorce Lawyer Chicago

The Ultimate Pre-Divorce Checklist: Insider Advice from Chicago's Top Divorce Attorney

Navigating the turbulent waters of divorce in Illinois? Before you dive in, there’s crucial groundwork to lay. Shawn McKenna, Chicago’s leading divorce attorney, spills the secrets to what you absolutely must do before filing for divorce in Illinois. Get ready to arm yourself with knowledge that could save you stress, time, and potentially thousands of dollars.

Gather Your Financial Documents

The cornerstone of any divorce process is a thorough understanding of your financial landscape. Start by collecting bank statements, tax returns, investment accounts, and any documentation related to debts and assets. Knowing your financial standing upfront will pave the way for a smoother negotiation process.

Take Stock of Your Assets and Debts

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning not all assets and debts are split 50/50. Make an inventory of all marital assets (those acquired during the marriage) and any personal assets (those you owned before marriage or received as a gift or inheritance). Understanding what’s on the table is critical for fair negotiations.

Understand Your Living Expenses

Post-divorce life can look drastically different, financially speaking. Prepare a detailed monthly budget that accounts for your current living expenses and anticipate adjustments for your post-divorce life. This foresight is invaluable for discussions about alimony and child support.

Consider Your Children's Needs

If you have children, their welfare should be at the forefront of any divorce planning. Start thinking about custody arrangements and how you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can co-parent effectively. Illinois courts prioritize the child’s best interests, and so should you.

Consult with a Divorce Attorney

Even if you’re considering a DIY divorce, a consultation with a seasoned divorce attorney like Shawn McKenna can offer invaluable insights into your rights and obligations under Illinois law. Understanding the legal landscape can help you avoid common pitfalls and position yourself favorably from the start.

Prepare for Emotional Support

Divorce isn’t just a legal process; it’s an emotional journey. Establish a support network of friends, family, or a professional counselor to help you navigate the emotional highs and lows. Being emotionally grounded can help you make rational decisions throughout the divorce process

Plan for the Future

Divorce marks the end of a chapter, but it’s also the beginning of a new one. Start envisioning your life post-divorce and set personal and professional goals. This forward-thinking mindset can be a beacon of hope and direction during challenging times.

By tackling these seven steps before filing for divorce in Illinois, you’re not just preparing for the end of a marriage; you’re laying the groundwork for a brighter, more stable future. Remember, knowledge is power, especially in the complex realm of divorce law. Equip yourself with the right information and support to navigate this life-changing process with confidence and clarity.