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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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