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Recent Blog Posts

5 financial challenges women face in divorce

 Posted on October 01, 2020 in Divorce

When you are facing divorce, especially if you are a parent, you may worry about how your split will impact you financially. Often, women facing divorce are surprised when they realize they end up with fewer assets than they thought or spousal support that ends sooner than expected.

Five challenges women experience during divorce include the following:

  1. Not having a strong understanding of their marital debts vs. assets. Many women underestimate how much mortgage debt they and their spouse share on the family home or in credit card debt. These debts will negate other assets the couple shares in a divorce.
  2. Not earning enough money to afford to live without their spouse. In 2020, women earn, on average, 19% less than men their age. That gap may be even higher if you took time off from your career to raise your children.

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What Illinois considers when awarding parental responsibilities

 Posted on October 01, 2020 in Child Custody

When you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement about parenting time and parenting responsibility, you may ask Illinois’ family court system to make such decisions for you. When tasked with doing so, the court system typically refers to the same set of factors.

While how much weight the court system gives each factor may depend on your child’s age, among other variables, understanding what these variables are may give you a better sense of your custody chances. What are some of theareas Illinois family courts considerwhen allocating parenting responsibilities?

Your child’s preferences

If your child is an infant or toddler, his or her own wishes with regard to where to live may not carry much weight. Older children may have strong opinions about where they want to live. If your son or daughter is old and mature enough to voice an opinion, the court may take it into account.

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How your Tollway I-Pass could affect your divorce

 Posted on August 01, 2020 in Divorce

When the Illinois Tollway began offering drivers a way to pay their tolls electronically, few drivers thought that the new system might impact their case if they ever got a divorce. But thanks to an unusual legal loophole, your ex might be able to find out information collected by the Tollway about your movements and use that data against you.

Most people in the Naperville area will remember when the Illinois Tollway began issuing I-Pass transponders to drivers. These devices attach to your vehicle, and whenever you drive through a gate, you pay the toll automatically. Besides the convenience of not having to stop to toss your change into the dish, I-Pass users get a discount on tolls.

Driving data used in divorce proceedings

What you may not know is that I-Pass collects data on users’ travels on the Tollway. While that information generally is kept private, I-Pass will disclose that information when the party to a legal action — such as a divorce — gets the judge to issue a subpoena.

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3 things to consider before filing for divorce

 Posted on August 01, 2020 in Divorce

If you decide to file for divorce, now is the time to think about items to gather before you start the process. Make a list of everything you will need in terms of paperwork, but also include outcomes you would like to see during the divorce and after it is final. Here are three things to add to your list.

1. Financial and legal documents

Getting together all yourlegal and financial documentsmay support your claims for spousal support and property division. Legal and financial information includes:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements
  • Copies of trusts and wills
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Bank statements
  • Balances

Consider opening a bank account and credit card in your name. This is to protect you if your spouse takes money out of your joint account or maxes out the credit cards.

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The relationship between an empty nest and divorce

 Posted on June 01, 2020 in Divorce

Raising children is much more than a full-time job. Their needs dictate the day-to-day goings-on in a household for 18 years, sometimes longer. It is a responsibility that takes up much of the space in a parent’s life.

When those children leave home, it creates a vacuum. This center of gravity, around which life revolved for so long, is simply gone. It is of little surprise this new normal leads some spouses to contemplate divorce.

Divorce and an empty nest

The relationship between divorce and an empty nest is not perfectly clear. There are too many factors to draw a definitive line between the two events. However, there are some clues that suggest it may be applicable to some marriages.

For one, we know there has been a recent uptick in the divorce rate among older adults. There is speculation this could be tied to empty nest syndrome, as the ages generally line up. But it is clear there are other factors at play.

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Is your small business part of your marital estate?

 Posted on June 01, 2020 in Divorce

Like other small business owners, you are proud of the progress your venture has made in recent years. Thanks to your hard work, financial investment and business acumen, you have turned your startup into a well-oiled machine. If you are thinking aboutending your marriage, though, you may have some uncertainty about what happens to your company.

In Illinois, judges use anequitable distribution approachwhen dividing marital assets. Therefore, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, a judge is apt to give you a fair share of everything the two of you jointly own. You can probably keep everything that is exclusively yours, however. To plan for your future, you must identify whether your business is part of the marital estate.

Separate vs. marital property

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Will My Ex Get My Economic Impact Payment (Stimulus Check)?

 Posted on April 01, 2020 in Divorce

Updated April 3, 2020.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are currently working to provide Americans with an economic impact payment as part of the $2.2 trillion economic relief package recently signed into law.

The IRS announced that the majority of people who have a bank account on file would receive their payment via direct deposit starting in the next few weeks. The amount you receive depends on your AGI on your 2019 tax returns. If you did not finish filing your 2019 tax return, the IRS would use your 2018 tax return.

What Happens If I Don’t Have Access To The Bank Account On File?

Individuals who recently divorced may have a bank account on file that now belongs to their ex-spouse. Alternatively, the bank account the IRS has on file may be a martial account that you no longer can access.

The Treasury Department is developing a web-based portal for people to update their bank account information. However, the exact details for how to ensure that you receive your payment, instead of your ex-spouse, is unknown. If your ex-spouse receives your payment, the resolution of that issue may fall under the jurisdiction of the domestic relations court.

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Couples who use a “strategic divorce” could see major tax savings

 Posted on December 01, 2019 in Divorce

When couples divorce, the common assumption is that there will be significant impacts on their finances. They may need to divide retirement accounts. Alternatively, they may need to sell real estate holdings or other assets as part of the divorce agreement.

While the potential negative downsides are well documented, there can be some financial advantages for a couple to divorce. Referred to as a “strategic divorce”, some higher-income couples could see benefits from this prudent approach.

A tactical strategy to avoid the “marriage tax penalty”

The federal tax code does offer some advantages for joint filers. Those benefits start to evaporate as couples move up the income ladder.

The marriage penalty refers to situations where a married couple’s combined income pushes them into a higher tax bracket than if the individuals filed separately. A couple who divorces may be able to earn more separately – and pay a lower rate – than a couple who remains married.

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Do divorced parents have to pay for college expenses?

 Posted on November 01, 2019 in Child Support

Once children grow up and become legal adults, questions arise surrounding how much financial support do divorced parents need to provide. A ruling from the DuPage County Circuit Court May 2018 seemed to limit the financial responsibility that divorced parents may have when it comes to paying for college.

After more than a year of legal limbo, the Illinois Supreme Court has weighed in. In a unanimous decision, the court overruled that previous decision, thereby reaffirming an Illinois Supreme Court decision dating back to 1978.

What is Illinois’s Section 513 law?

The duty of divorced parents to finance educational expenses falls under Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The law allows courts to award money for education expenses out of the property and/or income of either or both spouses.

Furthermore, the law allows these payments to continue until the student’s 23rdbirthday unless a party can demonstrate a good reason to continue the payments longer. The absolute latest education expenses may be covered, for any reason, is the child’s 25thbirthday.

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New law will make name post-divorce name changes easier in 2020

 Posted on October 01, 2019 in Divorce

Divorce is a time of new beginnings for both spouses. For those who adopted a new last name during the marriage, a divorce may mark a time to return to the maiden name that he or she had before marrying.

Previously, Illinois law made it a tedious process for married women to go through with a name change. Recent legislative changes will make it significantly easier for women to change back to their maiden following a divorce.

Current process creates unnecessary headaches

Under current law, if divorced individuals want to change their names, they needed to publish a notification in the newspaper. This process, which primarily affected women, is highly intrusive of people’s privacy and is often a laborious process.

Beyond the time and unwanted attention, the person changing their name needed to pay the newspaper to publish the legal notice. The only exception is if the person received a court-issued marriage certificate. Another option is to ensure that the attorney includes the name change within the divorce decree.

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