Category Archives: Family Law

IL divorce lawyerNeglect is a term thrown around quite frequently in heated custody battles by one parent directed at the other. However, what constitutes neglect? Leaving a child alone for an afternoon may seem like an unwise, irresponsible thing to do in one parent’s opinion, but perfectly normal and acceptable to the other parent.

At what age is it okay to let a child walk to school? In Utah, a law was recently passed that allows “free-range parenting,” giving parents the legal right to allow their children to walk or ride their bikes to school, to play in a park unattended, or be at home alone unsupervised — all contingent on the child’s age and maturity level for the situation at hand. While Illinois has no such free-range parenting law, there is still much up for debate when it comes to what is and is not acceptable, and what constitutes neglect in the eyes of a family law judge.

Evidence of Neglect May Show That Joint Custody Is Not in the Child’s Best Interest

As you may well understand, an Illinois family judge will make his or her custody decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests, not what is in the parents’ best interests or who makes the most compelling argument about how their child loves them the most. As such, in a contested divorce, it is not unheard of for spouses to bicker about each other’s faults as a parent. Usually, these faults are benign. Forgetting to pick up a child at school once in a blue moon should have no real effect on a custody decision. However, more commonplace mishaps or egregious parenting choices can hurt that parent’s chances for custody. Being accused of neglect is a serious allegation, as it shows the court that that parent does not have what it takes

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IL divorce lawyerMany of the laws surrounding divorce can seem complicated, unnecessary, poorly thought-out, or just plain wrong depending on your side of the argument. For example, disability benefits can be garnished to pay alimony or child support. For some, this may seem like an unfair demand or request. On the other hand, the receiving spouse may rely on that money to make rent or pay for their child’s healthcare expenses. An experienced Hinsdale divorce attorney can help explain how disability benefits can and cannot be divided during divorce.

Does Social Security Disability Income Get Split as a Marital Asset?

Over 10 million Americans rely on Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), with the vast majority of those people being disabled workers. If you are receiving SSDI benefits through your own work record and health condition, your disability benefits will not be altered during divorce in regards to division of marital assets. Similarly, if you were receiving SSDI benefits as a spouse to the person with a disability, your spousal SSDI benefits will not be affected unless you were married for fewer than 10 years.

How Do Child Support and Alimony Affect SSDI Benefits?

SSDI benefits can be garnished for child support or spousal support if those court-ordered payments are not being provided in a timely fashion to the receiving spouse. Whether you are the party with the condition or you are the party that is receiving SSDI benefits as a former spouse, your SSDI payments can be redirected to the other party to ensure that support orders are fulfilled.

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IL divorce lawyerThere are generally two types of custody: shared custody (also called joint custody) or sole custody. Shared or joint custody of a child occurs when both parents have legal decision-making responsibilities about that child. Sole custody is when only one parent has that decision-making capacity—only that single parent can decide where the child lives, what their child’s daily schedule looks like, where they go to school, and more. These two types of custody, joint and sole, are the only two that are typically discussed. If sole custody is awarded to a parent, the other may be given visitation rights, but these should not be confused with custodial rights. However, there is another type of custody that you may or may not have heard of.

What Is Split Custody?

In rare circumstances, a judge may see fit to separate two minor siblings by placing one child with the father and the other child with the mother. This will only be done when there is evidence supporting that this decision is in the children’s best interests. For example, if a 13-year-old brother has made life for his 9-year-old sister extremely difficult for year after year, there may be a benefit to separating the two when their parents get divorced. The level of physical or emotional abuse, however, must be extreme for a judge to agree to split custody. After all, studies have shown that separating minor siblings is often detrimental to their well being and that many children report feeling like they had “lost a part of themselves”. Having the support, companionship, and stability of a sibling is a great help to children whose parents are getting divorced. Having a sibling helps children adapt to new and frightening situations, and to manage the anxiety and depression that divorce brings.

What Constitutes Sibling Abuse?

Abuse is common among siblings and is most likely even more commonplace than spousal abuse or child abuse. Abuse consists of either physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or a combination of the three. Determining the severity of the abuse can be hard to pinpoint and will need to be evaluated by professionals before a decision can be made regarding split custody.

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IL divorce lawyerThe new tax law that went into effect at the start of 2019 harms women in a variety of ways. From lower spousal support payments to higher taxes due to children not qualifying as a deductible, the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” can have serious consequences for women and men getting divorced in 2019, and those who are planning to modify an agreement as well.

Alimony Is No Longer a Tax-Free For the Payee

Under the new tax rules, spousal support is no longer tax-deductible for the spouse who pays it. While the new law gets rid of the rule that made alimony as taxable income for the lower-earning spouse, the fact that it is not tax-deductible for the paying spouse means that there is overall less money for the lower-earning spouse.

Tax Deductions for Having Children

Tax exemptions reduce a spouse’s taxable income. The previous tax law included a $4,050 exemption for each dependent, which the new tax law has entirely eliminated. This means that many single mothers will have a taxable income equivalent to $4,050 more than in years past, which can have serious negative consequences. For a mother with two children, her taxable income will now be $8,100 greater. On the other hand, the child tax credit was doubled from $1,000 to $2,000 under the new law, and more families will now qualify because the income thresholds have been significantly reduced. To qualify for the child tax credit, the child must have lived with that parent for at least half of the year. While a parent can now receive up to twice the amount as before under the new law, the significant increase in taxable income due to child tax deductions means that many single mothers may have to stretch the budget even diligently.

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IL divorce lawyerMost divorces take a number of months to finalize—six months to a year is common. During this time, one of the spouses typically moves out of the house, as continuing to live together is too much strain on the couple as well as the children. During this time, temporary orders of custody and support can be provided by the court. One of the most important and useful court orders is temporary alimony, referred to as bridge the gap alimony. This money helps the lower-earning spouse pay bills and expenses during the divorce process.

Bridge the Gap Alimony Can Pay for Rent

If the lower-earning spouse moves out of the home, they either have to rely on family and friends to house them, or they will be forced to rent an apartment or house. The average Hinsdale apartment, which is just 1,100 square feet, comes with a price tag of $1,400 per month in rent. A larger apartment or house can easily double that cost. The median rental cost (including houses) in Hinsdale is $3,500. Bridge the gap spousal support can help the lower earning spouse afford to pay rent for a suitable house or apartment that matches the lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to during the marriage.

Similarly, bridge the gap alimony can be used to pay for the mortgage if the higher-earning spouse does not jointly own the property in which the lower-earning spouse is living. The wealth of each spouse weighs heavily on all alimony decisions. If the higher-earning spouse is much wealthier than the lower-earning spouse, a court may find it reasonable for the higher earning spouse to cover the mortgage during divorce with bridge the gap alimony.

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