Category Archives: Family Law

IL divorce lawyerThere is a common misconception that prenuptial agreements only benefit the wealthy. News stories of high profile divorce cases openly discussing existing prenuptial agreements only serve to perpetuate and reinforce this error. While affluent Americans do experience substantial benefits, having the protection of a prenuptial agreement is arguably more valuable to the working class citizens.

Although it is not the most romantic idea, if you have an upcoming marriage, you will want to consider creating a prenuptial agreement, and here is why:

Marriage Is a Legal Agreement

Although the thought of marriage being a legal agreement is a sobering realization, those who understand and appreciate this reality fare better in the unfortunate event of divorce. Before the wedding begins, everyone is confident love that will never end; yet, the United States has a notorious divorce rate of nearly half of all unions. In Illinois, once you are married, everything is owned jointly, from the money you make in your business to the house you buy and everything in between. During a divorce, everything is subject to an equitable marriage division, or as close to 50/50 as possible, unless you have a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise. For some, losing half of their assets is financially devastating.

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IL family lawyerPaternity is the legal establishment of fatherhood, one which can be biological, but a blood relation is not necessary. Establishing paternity is a legal process of recording a legally bound relationship between a father and a child. There are several advantages to creating such a link, from developing a connection to obtaining child support. Find out how establishing paternity can benefit you.

A Father’s Perspective

Whether you are related by blood or by love, there are many benefits to creating a legal tie between father and child. The process enables a father to have parental rights over the child or children in question. Paternity offers benefits to both the father and the child, including:

  • The development of a father-child relationship;
  • Request parenting time or visitation;
  • Child entitlement to health insurance, social security, support, pensions and veterans’ benefits;
  • Travel rights;
  • Changing the child’s last name;
  • Influence over life decisions;
  • Inheritance options;
  • Access to any medical background; and
  • A sense of identity and belonging.

A Mother’s Point-of-View

Sometimes, a mother needs to establish paternity between the potential father and child, even when a father is unwilling to cooperate. To do so, a mother must go through the process of successfully proving that the man is the biological father of the child. A mother may wish to do so for the following reasons:

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IL divorce lawyerIf your divorce finalized on or before December 31, 2018, anyone paying alimony can claim spousal maintenance expenses to receive a tax deduction. Additionally, the recipient of the alimony will declare their payments as taxable income. However, new laws swept the nation affecting divorce judgments and modifications as of January 1, 2019. Here is how the new rules will affect you.

The Party Making Payments

If you finished signing the divorce settlement last year, the new tax laws do not pertain to you. Anyone just tying up the loose ends of their divorce or making modifications this year need to know that, going forward, any alimony paid is no longer tax-deductible.

How much you spend is also different with new calculation guidelines. Previously, maintenance payments were calculated by subtracting 20% of the recipient’s gross income from 30% of the gross income of the payor, capping out at 40% of the total combined gross income of both parties. One new change uses net income rather than the previous gross income standard. Today, a spousal maintenance payment is calculated by subtracting 25% of the recipient’s net income from 33.33% of the payor’s net income.

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IL divorce lawyerYou’ve heard it said that “timing is everything.” The same idea is true for divorce. Although sometimes you have no control over when your marriage comes to an end, you can control the speed in which you file and obtain information. Divorce timing plays a large part in tax filing, but it also can give you a slight advantage during the proceedings. Find out more about filing when the time is right for you:

Make the First Move

Waiting for your spouse to file for divorce first is one of the worst mistakes you can make. There are legal benefits to being the one to initiate the process. Filing first can give you better terms from the very beginning. When a judge issues the temporary order regarding support or custody, the one who files typically has more control of the situation, allowing you to be in control while the divorce is still pending. Filing first also allows you to determine the end date of the marriage, which can protect you from any potential unnecessary expenses from a hostile ex-spouse.

Tax Considerations

When it comes to tax time, whether you file jointly or separately depends on the date you sign the divorce agreement. Typically speaking, filing a joint return usually works to your advantage and saves money. However, in some cases, you might be eager to register separately, because even if your divorce decree states that your spouse is liable for all taxes, the IRS still can hold you accountable. There are also tax consequences when dissolving a family business as a part of the property division. In fact, most tax considerations are based on the timing and duration of events throughout the year. Based on the IRS rules:

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are considering divorce, there are a few things you must consider completing before heading to court to file. Performing these tasks before initiating allows you to be better prepared and more confident throughout the process. Not only that, but your advanced preparation will shorten the overall divorce proceedings, lessening stress for you and your family. Consider these behaviors:

Be Sure You Want Divorce

It is ill-advised to send divorce papers if you do not know for sure you want a divorce. Once you address those documents, it becomes difficult to reconcile a relationship after, even if you change your mind. Be sure to exhaust every other avenue before taking that leap.

Decide Your Parenting Time Goals

Except under extreme situations, you and your spouse are likely to split custody. Sit down and review work schedule, school schedule, and other obligations and create an arrangement that you would like. If you build one that also allows for time for your ex to spend with the children, they are more likely to agree to the terms.

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