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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyerThere are some common things that a person may be advised not to do when it comes to a divorce. For example, people are encouraged not to post too much information about the divorce on social media, not to make major decisions about the divorce based on emotion, and to avoid financial pitfalls stemming from the divorce. Financial pitfalls are easy to miss in many cases because there is so much going on in the divorce that the spouses may not be thinking of the bigger picture.

In a divorce, the spouses routinely exchange financial disclosure information. This information is supposed to aid in the spousal division of property. The first mistake in a divorce would be to provide inaccurate financial information. Trying to hide assets is not a good idea because of the actions the court may take to punish the spouse for hiding the assets. However, providing inaccurate information on expenses can be just as detrimental.

A spouse who undervalues his or her expenses could end up with a lower amount of spousal support than he or she would have had the correct expenses been listed. If a person is unsure about the nature of their monthly expenses, he should request bank statements for a number of months, and try to figure out what he spends his money on. This can be a good start to determining how much the person would need to meet monthly expenses.

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Illinois divorce lawyerThere are many changes in the new tax law that was signed into law on December 22, 2017. One way in which the new law will affect divorcing couples is through the elimination of the alimony deduction. Spouses who are ordered to pay alimony to a former spouse will no longer be able to deduct these payments from their federal income for tax purposes.

Under the former tax law, a person who was ordered to pay alimony was allowed to deduct the monthly payments from their income. This could make a significant difference if the person making the payments was ordered to pay a large sum in alimony. In Illinois, spousal maintenance is not mandatory, it is awarded if a court makes a determination that maintenance should be awarded. A couple can also agree that maintenance will be awarded and determine the amount, either before the marriage or after. The ability to deduct this income could be a factor in negotiating the amount of alimony to be paid if the couple was proceeding by agreement. It may also affect how prenuptial agreements regarding alimony are drafted.

Previously, the spouse receiving the alimony payments would not get the money tax free and would have to report it as income and pay taxes on it. This provision changes with the new law and the spouse receiving the alimony payments will not have to pay taxes on that income. This may create an incentive for a spouse who will be receiving alimony as part of a divorce to delay the finalization of the divorce until 2019.

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Illinois divorce lawyerEffective January 1, 2018, there is a new changes to several Illinois laws, including the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. One notable change in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act will be how pets are treated in an Illinois divorce. Once the changes are in effect, judges who are presiding over an Illinois divorce will be able to award ownership of a pet after considering the well-being of the pet. The law actually refers to pets as companion animals and specifically exempts service animals from the law.

Previously, a judge made decisions on which spouse got to keep the family pet without considering if that spouse was the best person to take care of the pet. Under the new law, a spouse will have the opportunity to show the judge that he is best suited to take care of the pet. The law doesn’t specify how this will be shown, but spouses could rely on testimony from family and friends, or by presenting documentation showing that one parent had the primary responsibility of caring for the pet.

Pets will continue to be viewed as property even after the changes are implemented. The companion animals or pets that will be covered by the law are those that are considered marital property. Generally, this means that if one spouse owned the pet before marriage, the pet is more likely to be awarded to that spouse. However, this may not apply in every case, especially if the case decides that there were actions taken after the marriage that transformed the pet into marital property.

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Posted on in Child Custody

Illinois family lawyerWhen parents are not married or living together and have to balance parental time-sharing and parental responsibilities with each other, there are times when one or both parents may want more time with the children that he or she normally gets. One way a parent can try to get more time with the children is by requesting the right of first refusal when it comes to childcare.

The right of first refusal when it comes to the care of minor children in Illinois refers to the opportunity for one or both parents to be given the first chance to provide childcare for the parents’ minor children during each other’s normal parenting time. This means that if a parent has a reason to get childcare for a significant period of time during his parenting time, he has to offer the other parent the opportunity to have the children during that time.

The right of first refusal is generally not used to cover short-term childcare needs, such as when a parent has to run to the grocery store. The right of first refusal also does not apply in emergency situations. So if a parent is called away unexpectedly, the parent can get the fastest available babysitter to watch the children instead of offering the other parent the opportunity to take the children. However, if the emergency extends to a significant period of time, the parent may be required to make arrangements to offer the other parent the opportunity to take the children and care for them.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorneyOne marital asset that can become difficult to divide and distribute in a divorce is a spouse’s share in a business. Even when a spouse may have owned a business before marriage, some parts of the business may be considered marital property and be divided as such.

Generally, if a person owns a business before marriage, the business and the assets in the business are considered nonmarital property. However, as the business grows and becomes more successful, the increase in the business value and newly acquired assets may become marital property. In order to determine the amount of the business that would be required to be divided as marital property, the business would need to be valued for its current worth.

The commingling of business assets with marital assets is also something that may factor into whether or not a business interest can be divided as a marital asset. For example, if marital funds were used to pay for business debts, the spouse who does not own the business can argue that the business is marital property.

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