Category Archives: Family Law

DuPage County parenting plan lawyerOne of the most important things you must come to an agreement about when you get a divorce is how your children will split their time between you and the child’s other parent. In the state of Illinois, all divorcing couples who have children together must come to an agreement on their own about a parenting plan, attend a mediation session to help them come to an agreement or have the judge make decisions about the parenting plan if you and your spouse cannot come to one any other way. A parenting plan will set out the future of your co-parenting relationship and while it is not set in stone, you should aim to include all of the necessary items in your plan the first time around.

Holidays and Other Special Dates

Though the basis of your parenting plan will be dictating when each parent spends time with the child, you should make sure that plan includes different holidays and other special dates that might be fought over. Be sure to include all holidays that you may want to spend time with your child -- not just the major ones. Christmas and Thanksgiving are highly-contested holidays, but if you also want to make sure you get an equal amount of time on holidays like Easter and Valentine’s Day, be sure to write that into your parenting plan.

Travel and Vacations

If you and your spouse know that you each will be going on planned vacations, you should be sure to include provisions about that in your parenting plan. Vacations can disrupt the normal parenting schedule, so you should agree in advance how much time you need to plan the vacations prior to leaving.

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Courts Allow Extension of Spousal Maintenance After Payment Period ExpiresParties in a divorce can schedule spousal maintenance to end after a set number of months or years, often determined by the length of the marriage and the recipient’s ability to support him or herself. The recipient can petition to extend the maintenance past the end date, but the payor is likely to contest the effort. In the recent case of In re Marriage of Wojcik, an Illinois man appealed a trial court’s decision to award permanent maintenance to his former wife on the grounds that:

  • She should not have been allowed to file the petition for an extension after her scheduled maintenance payments had expired; and
  • She is capable of supporting herself if she puts an honest effort into finding employment.

The appellate court disagreed with the man and upheld the maintenance payments.

Background

The two parties were married for 27 years before filing for divorce in 2005. At the time of the divorce, the couple had one minor child that required child support. The husband was making $386,000 in annual income, while the wife was re-entering the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for most of her marriage. The divorce agreement stated that the husband would pay $13,500 per month in unallocated family support, which is a combination of child support and spousal maintenance. These payments would continue for 60 months, at which point their child would reach the age of maturity. After the 60 months had expired, the wife filed for spousal maintenance. The court ultimately awarded her $5,700 in monthly maintenance for an indefinite period and $239,400 in retroactive maintenance.

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Hinsdale IL high net worth divorce lawyerIt does not matter whether you have $100 in your bank account or all of the money in the world -- divorce is just as tough, both emotionally and financially, whether you are rich or poor. Many people think that couples who have more money tend to have an easier time if they get divorced, but that is not actually true. If anything, these couples experience just as much, if not more stress than couples with fewer assets. High net worth couples getting a divorce have a lot at stake, which is why it can be so emotionally and financially demanding for them. Here are just a few mistakes you should try to avoid if you have extensive assets and you are getting a divorce:

1. You Attempt to Hide Assets From Your Spouse

This mistake is a big no-no. Hiding assets from your spouse is not only rude, but it is illegal. When you enter into the divorce process, you are required to disclose all of your marital assets, which can be anything from checking and savings accounts to retirement accounts to vehicles and jewelry. Bottom line, do not try to hide assets from your spouse and his or her lawyers -- they will find out and you will pay for your actions.

2. You Forget About Tax Implications

Taxes are not something on most people's minds when they are getting a divorce. You are mostly focused on the here and now -- not what you will be paying in the future. Forgetting about tax implications is a costly mistake. Take spousal support for example -- currently, the person who pays it can deduct it from their taxes, and the person who receives it must report it on their taxes. This changes next year though, where the payor cannot deduct it, and the payee does not have to report it. Either way, tax implications can have a role in decision-making during your divorce.

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DuPage County spousal support attorneyThere are a multitude of things to think about when you are getting a divorce -- where the kids will live, which one of you will remain in the family home and how you will transition to single life. If you are like most people, taxes are not very high on your list of priorities. Even so, a divorce can have a big impact on your taxes -- especially in this coming new year. In January 2019, the new tax laws will finally be put into full effect and will mean some big changes for the way divorced couples handle their taxes.

Newly-Divorced Couples Will See an Impact on Their Taxes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was passed in December 2017, will go into full effect in 2019. The new tax code will affect about half of all Americans. In the context of divorce, the new law will affect the taxes of those who pay and receive spousal support.

This new law will be the first change in 77 years to taxes affecting spousal support. Couples who finalized their divorce before December 31, 2018 will follow the current rules on who pays taxes on spousal support. Couples whose divorces are finalized on or after January 1, 2019 will follow the new set of rules on paying taxes on spousal support.

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Christmas Parenting Schedule May Require You to SacrificeThe holidays are supposed to be a happy time for your children, but your divorce has the potential to make it depressing for them instead. When arguing about parenting time on Christmas, it is easy to forget that you should base your decision on what will make your children the happiest, which may be different than what makes you the happiest. You will likely need to make sacrifices and compromises in order to give your children the best holiday experience that you can.

Holiday Schedule

Disputes about holiday parenting time often come down to which parent will have the children on Christmas. You both want to spend at least part of the day with your children, but trying to equally divide your parenting time puts more stress on them. It may be best for your children for one of you to make a bigger sacrifice than the other, such as allowing your co-parent to have the children for the entire day. You should consider:

  • Which home the children are more comfortable in;
  • Which of you is better equipped to create an enjoyable holiday experience;
  • Which other family members will your children be able to see by staying with one of you;
  • How much time your children would spend traveling between homes if you divided the parenting time; and
  • Whether the parental exchange will be too exhausting for your children.

A teenager may be mature enough to help you decide whether to share parenting time on Christmas, but you should make the decision on your own in most cases. Asking a child to decide is putting pressure on him or her to pick a parent.

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