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DuPage County Family Law AttorneyIllinois has enacted many changes to divorce and family laws in recent years. Child custody is now broken down into two main categories: A parent’s right to make decisions about his or her child’s education, healthcare, and other vital issues is referred to as “parental responsibilities.” The time that a parent spends directly caring for his or her child is called “parenting time.” Read on to learn more about parenting time in Illinois.

Parenting Time Schedules and Parenting Plans

Divorced parents are required to draft a parenting agreement or parenting plan. The plan contains important information about how the parents will divide parenting time and responsibilities. Some parents alternate weeks or months which their children. Others use a 2-2-3 schedule in which the children switch homes every two days and parents alternate who has parenting time on the last three days of the schedule. Sometimes, one parent has the child on weekdays, and the other parent has the child on the weekends.

If parents can agree to the terms of the parenting plan, they can submit one parenting plan to the court for approval. If they cannot agree, each parent can submit his or her own plan to the court and allow the court to make the final decision.

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DuPage County Business Law AttorneyAt their core, most entrepreneurs are dreamers. They dream of starting a business that will provide not only financial security but also personal fulfillment. Starting your own company and expanding it into a thriving business is a feat that few achieve. Many businesses fail within a few years. However, some entrepreneurs rise above the fray and achieve their business dreams. If you are thinking about developing a startup, it is important to explore your options carefully.

Will This Business Be Profitable?

Starting your own company is about much more than making money. A startup allows an entrepreneur to create something of great personal value. However, The bottom line of any business is profitability. You must ensure that your business will be lucrative. It is not enough to have an innovative idea or original product, you must also ensure that you will be able to sell your products and services to customers.

What is My Competition Like?

Over 4 million companies were founded in the year 2020 alone. Evaluating your business’s potential competition is an essential part of developing a successful business. Research businesses that are similar to your startup idea. What will your business offer that other businesses do not? How will your business stand out from the competition?

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Glendale Heights Divorce LawyerIf you are getting divorced, you may understandably worry about the financial consequences of ending your marriage. In some cases, a divorcing spouse is entitled to financial assistance from the other spouse, which is referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support. This financial support, called alimony in other states, can be a major source of financial relief for the recipient spouse. However, it can also be a significant expense for the paying spouse. It is important for every divorcing spouse to understand the role spousal support may play in their divorce.

Who Can Receive Spousal Support?

Some spouses are entitled to spousal support because they have already signed a prenuptial agreement that dictates the amount and duration of support to be paid in the event of divorce. Spouses may also be able to negotiate the terms of spousal support and reach an agreement without the court’s involvement during the divorce process. Spouses also have the right to petition, or ask, the court for spousal support. The court has the discretion to award spousal support or deny the request.

How Much Does a Spouse Pay?

The amount of spousal support a spouse pays is based on the spouses’ net incomes. Illinois law sets for the following spousal support formula: One-fourth of the recipient’s net income is subtracted from one-third of the paying spouse’s net income to find the amount of support to be paid.

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dupage county business law attorneyNon-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are employment contracts between employer and employee that serve as a necessary safeguard to protect business trade secrets. Such trade secrets include proprietary information of the disclosing party and any research or knowledge that is not yet patented or copyrighted. There are two types of non-disclosure agreements: unilateral and mutual. The one-party unilateral NDA is the most common. Unilateral NDAs specify employee confidentiality during and after employment and usually includes an expiration date.

Every NDA is distinctive to the business’ needs. Astutely drafted NDAs are more likely to be upheld by the courts. NDAs with overreaching provisions may be ineffective and subject to litigation. So, it is essential that an NDA is precisely customized to the employer’s needs.

NDAs Help Businesses Thrive and Stay Out of Jeopardy

The benefits of an NDA diminish the real risk of business ruin. Succinct NDAs stipulate what is confidential. NDAs can encompass a myriad of complex agreements and clauses, but the standard unilateral NDA incorporates:

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Villa Park Probate LawyerAfter a person dies, their loved ones will need to sort out their final affairs. The person who was named as the executor of the estate in the deceased person’s will is responsible for filing the will in probate court and overseeing the process of distributing the person’s assets to their heirs. There are a variety of complications that can arise during this process, and in some cases, the deceased person’s family members or other expected beneficiaries may dispute the validity of the will. By understanding the reasons why a will may be contested, executors, beneficiaries, or other involved parties can determine their options for addressing this issue.

Potential Reasons for Will Contests

After a will is filed in an Illinois probate court, interested parties (including beneficiaries, expected heirs, or creditors) will have six months to contest the will. However, there are only a few specific reasons that a will may be contested. Family members or other heirs generally cannot contest a will simply because they are unhappy with the decisions that were made. Instead, the validity of a will may be disputed if a person believes that there is evidence that the terms of the will went against the deceased person’s actual wishes. Reasons that a will may be found invalid include:

  • Someone coerced the deceased person into creating or updating their will - This is known as “undue influence,” and it will generally involve situations where someone in a position of power over the person convinced them to make changes to their will. For example, a nurse who provided daily care for an elderly person may have convinced the person to name them as their primary beneficiary, or a family member who managed a person’s finances may have convinced them to change their will in a way that unfairly benefits themselves or others.

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Addison Child Support LawyerWhen family law cases involve children, including situations where parents get divorced or child custody cases where parents are unmarried, child support will often be a factor. This form of support will ensure that children’s ongoing needs will be met. While parents may expect that child support will be paid by one parent to the other, they may not be fully aware of what child support is meant to address and what types of expenses will be included. By working with a family law attorney, a parent can make sure they understand how the law applies in their situation, and they can ensure that child support orders will fully address their children’s needs.

Basic Child Support and Additional Expenses

Under Illinois law, a statutory formula is used to calculate what is known as a “basic child support obligation” based on the amount of income earned by both parents and the number of children they share. This amount is meant to provide for children’s basic, everyday needs, including making sure they have the necessary food and clothing and providing them with a place to live. After a basic support obligation is calculated, it will be divided between the parents based on the amount that each parent contributes to the couple’s combined income. 

In addition to the basic support obligation, parents may also need to determine how to divide other child-related expenses. There are multiple types of expenses that may need to be addressed, and these will also generally be divided based on each parent’s percentage of their combined income. Applicable expenses may include:

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Lombard Business Formation AttorneyBusiness owners will need to address a variety of legal issues when establishing and operating a business. One of the most important decisions that will need to be made involves how a business will be structured. During the business formation process, owners or partners will need to select the correct type of business entity, meet all legal requirements for registering the business, and ensure that the proper organizational structure, management practices, and reporting procedures are in place. In many cases, structuring a business as a limited liability company (LLC) can provide a number of benefits. By working with a business law attorney, owners and partners can make sure they follow the correct procedures to create and operate an LLC.

Reasons to Choose an LLC Business Structure

LLCs provide many of the benefits of corporations while providing owners with the ability to maintain control over business operations and make changes as needed. An LLC may have a single owner, or multiple partners (known as members) may share ownership. If necessary, new members can be added when a partner purchases an ownership share of the company or steps into a leadership role. Advantages of an LLC include:

  • Protection from liability - In most cases, members of an LLC will not be held personally liable for the business’s debts and financial obligations. This ensures that the personal assets owned by a member will not be at risk if the business experiences financial setbacks or is unable to pay its debts.

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Bloomingdale Prenuptial Agreement LawyerThere are many reasons why a couple may choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement before they get married. These agreements, which are commonly known as “prenups,” will detail how certain issues will be handled if a couple chooses to get divorced in the future. A person who owns significant assets may use a prenup to ensure that they can maintain ownership of these assets in the case of divorce. A couple may also make decisions about whether either party will receive spousal support or how different types of marital property will be divided. While these agreements can be very beneficial, it is important to make sure that an agreement is legally valid and will be enforceable if a couple chooses to get a divorce in the future.

Issues That Affect Enforceability of Prenups

A prenuptial agreement must be created prior to a couple’s marriage, and it will become valid after the couple becomes legally married. To ensure that the terms of an agreement will be followed in the case of divorce, spouses will want to do the following:

  • Consult with an attorney - Each spouse should be able to review an agreement with the help of an independent attorney. This will ensure that they fully understand the terms of the agreement and their rights if they decide to get divorced at a later date. If one spouse chooses not to consult with an attorney, they should provide a written and signed statement waiving their right to receive legal counsel.

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DuPage County Breach Of Contract AttorneysBusinesses often rely on contracts to protect their rights and interests, and these legal agreements can protect them from financial losses if they meet all of their contractual obligations. However, there are many cases where a business may be placed in a difficult position because another party failed to fulfill a contract’s terms. In these cases, a business may pursue a breach of contract lawsuit, and it may seek to recover damages from the other party to address the losses that it experienced because of the breach.

Types of Breach of Contract Damages

When pursuing civil litigation to address a breach of contract, a plaintiff will not only need to show that the defendant failed to meet their obligations under the contract, but they will also need to demonstrate that they suffered harm because of the breach. If a plaintiff proves that the defendant’s actions caused financial losses or other forms of harm, a court may award damages to the plaintiff. These damages may include:

  • Compensatory damages - The defendant may be required to repay the plaintiff for the losses that occurred because of the breach of contract. These may include consequential damages that occurred as a direct result of the breach. For example, if the defendant failed to deliver equipment that the plaintiff had ordered, the defendant may be required to refund any payments made by the plaintiff, and they may also be required to pay for any additional expenses incurred as a result of ordering replacement equipment. A defendant may also be required to pay expectation damages for additional losses that arose because of the breach of contract. For example, the failure to provide equipment may have affected the plaintiff’s ability to perform certain types of work, causing them to lose business from a customer, and the defendant may be required to compensate the plaintiff for these losses.

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DuPage County Estate Planning AttorneyDuring the estate planning process, most people will focus primarily on what will happen after their death, addressing how their property should be distributed among their heirs and how they want to handle the disposal of their remains. However, an estate plan can also address how certain matters will be handled while a person is still alive, including the types of medical care they will receive. Addressing these issues in your estate plan can be important, since it will help your family members avoid uncertainty, and it will ensure that you will receive the medical care and treatment you want, no matter what happens.

Advance Medical Directives in Illinois

Illinois law allows you to create the following types of advance directives to address your medical treatment:

  • Living will - This document addresses what you would like to happen if you become terminally ill and cannot express your wishes regarding your treatment. You can specify whether you want life-sustaining treatment to be provided or withheld or whether you want to receive treatment meant to provide comfort and ease your pain. A living will only applies in situations where you have an irreversible condition that will lead to your death, and any treatment provided would only delay death temporarily. 

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DuPage County Partnership Agreement AttorneyThere are multiple types of business contracts that can provide a business and its owners with legal protections and ensure that a company will be able to operate successfully. A well-drafted partnership agreement is one of the most crucial types of contracts for a business since it will define the relationship between business partners and ensure that they fully understand their rights and responsibilities. When creating a partnership agreement, an attorney with experience in business law and contractual issues can make sure the terms of this contract will protect the partners’ rights and meet their ongoing needs.

Terms of a Partnership Agreement

A partnership agreement should address:

  • Percentage of ownership - An agreement should fully detail each partner’s stake in the company based on the money or assets they have invested. An agreement should also describe how profits and losses will be allocated between the partners, and these allocations will usually be based on each partner’s ownership percentage. 

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DuPage County asset division attorney

Having a child can bring a couple closer together and make them more committed to each other. Unfortunately, child-related matters can be some of the most divisive and contentious issues that can arise if the couple decides to break up. Child custody cases can become heated, with parents turning on one another. This is why it is critical to have a skilled Illinois child custody attorney to represent you.

Addressing Child Custody in Illinois

In Illinois, “allocation of parental responsibilities” is the legal term now used to refer to child custody. In any custody case, the courts will have to decide how parents will share responsibility for making decisions regarding the child (i.e., education, health, and religion) and what percentage of time the child will spend with each parent. All of this information is stipulated in a parenting plan that is ultimately approved by the court.

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DuPage County asset division attorney

When a person gets married, “yours” and “mine” becomes “ours.” Unfortunately, untangling property and debt during a divorce is often one of the most complicated and contentious aspects of the divorce process. Many divorcing couples assume that they can easily divide assets on their own. Armed with a calculator and a cooperative attitude, they begin allocating property only to realize that the process is much more complex than they realized it would be. If you are getting divorced and any of the following factors are involved, you may need professional legal assistance to divide your property during divorce.

Owning Hard-to-Value Assets or Property with Fluctuating Value

Whether you are negotiating an out-of-court property division arrangement or your divorce case goes to court, property cannot be distributed to the spouses without accurately valuing the property. Some assets are much easier to value than others. Determining an accurate value for antiques and collectibles, for example, can be very difficult without a professional appraisal.

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IL estate planning lawyerBeing the parent of a disabled child is a challenging situation in which to find yourself. If you are the parent of a disabled child, one of the most pressing issues you may be facing is how to protect your child’s wellbeing when you are no longer around to care for him or her directly. Estate planning is important for any parent; however, it is especially crucial when your child has a mental or physical disability. A special needs trust is an estate planning tool that can help you ensure that your assets are used for your child’s benefit after your death.

A Last Will and Testament May be Insufficient

If you are like most people, you probably assume that you can simply leave your child funds and property through your will. A last will and testament is a great way to ensure that important family heirlooms are passed to the intended beneficiaries and formalize your last wishes. However, a will alone may be insufficient in some situations. Leaving a lump sum inheritance to heirs is not always the best option. Furthermore, wills must pass through “probate” or the process of legally validating the will before assets can be distributed to heirs. Lastly, a disabled child who receives an inheritance through a will may be ineligible for certain government assistance programs.

How a Special Needs Trust Can Benefit You and Your Child

A special needs trust is a trust used to transfer assets for the benefit of a disabled person. If your child has an intellectual disability or physical handicap that impairs his or her ability to be financially self-supporting, a special needs trust may be right for you.

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DuPage County family law attorneyAccording to Illinois law, divorced and unmarried parents are expected to financially support their children. In most cases, the parent who spends the most time directly caring for the child receives financial support from the other parent in the form of child support. The amount that an Illinois parent pays in child support is largely based on his or her income. If a parent loses his or her income, does he or she still have to pay child support?

Job Loss Does Not Automatically Excuse a Parent from His or Her Child Support Obligation  

Child-related costs including childcare, education, and housing can quickly add up. Most parents rely heavily on the financial support they gain from child support payments to cover child-related expenses. A child’s financial needs do not disappear simply because a parent quits or loses his or her job. Consequently, a parent’s child support obligation does not automatically disappear if he or she is suddenly without income. However, the parent may qualify for a reduced child support obligation through a “Petition for Modification of Child Support.”

The Reason for the Change in Income is a Major Deciding Factor

Per Illinois law, parents may be able to modify the terms of their child support order if a “substantial change in circumstances” warrants the modification. Illinois courts may reduce a parent’s child support obligation if he or she experiences a job loss or significant decrease in income. However, the reason for the decrease in income is a vital factor in the court’s decision. If the parent has voluntarily quit his or her job and makes little attempt to reestablish employment, courts are unlikely to be sympathetic to the parent’s financial predicament. On the other hand, if the parent was laid off, fired, or cannot work because of COVID-19, the court is more likely to award a child support modification.

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Lombard estate planning attorney wills and trusts

If you are thinking about setting up an estate plan, you are already ahead of most of the population. While estate planning is a key part of ensuring that assets are bequeathed to the right heirs, many people neglect this crucial process. Two of the most common estate planning tools are testamentary wills and trusts. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with both of these instruments. The type of estate planning tools that you will need depends on your financial and personal goals concerning estate planning.

A Testamentary Will Allows You to Dictate Inheritance Issues

A testamentary will is a document that states how your property should be handed down to heirs. Your will may also contain directions about funeral arrangements. If you have minor children, you can appoint a guardian in your will who is tasked with caring for your children if you and the other parent pass away. Unlike a trust, a will does not take effect until after your death. A will must be authenticated by the court during probate before heirs can receive their inheritance.

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Carol Stream divorce attorney property division

The merging of two lives through marriage also includes considerable financial melding. Dividing funds and property during a divorce is often one of the most complicated and contentious parts of the divorce process. If you are thinking about getting divorced in Illinois, it is important to know your rights regarding property distribution. You and your spouse may be able to reach your own property settlement or the court may need to intervene. An experienced divorce lawyer can assist with property division negotiations or represent you in court during a trial.

Reaching a Property Division Agreement With Your Spouse

Spouses have the option of deciding their own property division agreement without the court’s input. However, doing so without professional support can be very challenging. It can also result in a settlement that is unfairly biased toward one party. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you and your spouse negotiate property division issues and reach a mutually agreeable solution. During an Illinois divorce, each spouse is expected to submit a full inventory of his or her assets, income, and debts. Some spouses “forget” to include assets or underreport their income. If you have any concerns about hidden assets or financial fraud during your divorce, hiring a skilled divorce lawyer is essential.  

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Glendale Heights divorce attorney parenting time

COVID-19 global pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of most people’s lives. If you are an unmarried parent, divorced parent, or you are considering divorce, you probably have questions about how COVID-related lockdowns may influence child custody issues. In Illinois, the term “child custody” has been replaced by language that better reflects most parents’ parenting situations. “Parental responsibilities” refers to parents’ decision-making authority while “parenting time” refers to the time a parent spends directly caring for the child. Coronavirus can have a dramatic influence on both of these issues.

Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities

Between school closures and concerns over the spread of COVID, more children than ever are attending digital classes remotely. Before the age of COVID, most parents of school-aged children did not have to worry about childcare during school hours. However, now that classes are remote, parents may need to figure out how to adapt. If your child is too young to stay home by himself or herself, you and your child’s other parent may need to work out an arrangement regarding who will watch the child and when. This parenting time arrangement may be dramatically different than the arrangement that you made before COVID-related changes.

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Villa Park family law attorney child support

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused both a health and economic crisis, impacting people in many different ways. Child support payments are an important financial resource for parents who have the majority of parenting time regardless if they are divorced or were never married. However, these payments also represent a considerable expense for paying or “obligor” parents. If you are an Illinois parent who has lost your job or experienced a decrease in income because of coronavirus, you may be worried about paying your child support. Illinois child support orders issued are mandatory. However, parents who experience an unexpected reduction in income may qualify for a reduced child support obligation.

Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support in Illinois

If your employment situation has changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be unsure of how you will afford to pay your monthly bills. One of the most significant of your monthly expenses might be your child support payment. Nonpayment of child support is considered a major offense in Illinois. If you do not pay court-ordered child support, you could face civil and criminal penalties. You could even be held in contempt of court. If you are having trouble meeting your child support obligation, the first step is to communicate this problem to the court as well as your child’s other parent.  

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