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West Dundee, IL847-428-7725
St. Charles, IL630-200-4882
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Carpentersville estate planning wills attorneyIt is important to make a last will and testament when you are planning your estate. A will ensures that your family members will be the legal owners of any property or assets you wish to pass on to them. It also explains any other wishes you might have for what should happen after your death. Personal items, real estate, and vehicles are the most common assets to include in a will. However, wills may also include provisioning for guardianship of children, investments, or business assets. 

Preparing your will is a necessary part of planning for what happens after you die, but not everyone has a chance to make those choices. If a person passes away unexpectedly and has not made a will, the government will need to get involved. 

Intestate Wills

If a person dies without creating and executing a last will and testament, their estate will pass to their family members through a process called “intestate succession.” The state will handle the provisioning of the deceased’s estate to their spouse or heirs. Before the intestate succession process can proceed, the estate will be used to pay for any debts the deceased acquired during their life. The process for intestate succession in Illinois is laid out below: 

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West Dundee divorce lawyerDivorce can happen because of money, extramarital affairs, growing apart, and many other reasons. As the American people’s viewpoint on marriage has evolved over the past few decades, it may seem as if more people are getting divorced than at any time throughout the country’s history. There are a variety of reasons for this idea, including the facts that people are living longer, more people are cohabitating instead of getting married, and expectations of marriage have changed, especially in the last 40 to 50 years. 

What Do the Numbers Say?

The perception that more people are getting divorced now than ever before is not strictly the case if we look at the statistics on divorces per capita: 

  • In 1970, the divorce rate was 14.9 divorces and annulments per 1,000 married women. 
  • In 2015, the divorce rate was 16.9 divorces and annulments per 1,000 married women.

These two numbers are fairly similar, but in order to fully understand the history of the divorce rate, there is a middle number which needs to be examined.

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Posted on in Divorce

Algonquin divorce mediation attorneyIn the days leading up to your first divorce mediation session, you may not know what to expect, and you may be nervous about what lies ahead. One way to quell your nerves is to learn more about what mediation is like and how you can proactively prepare for success.

Proper preparation may help you reduce the number of mediation sessions your case will require and make the process go more smoothly. Our office recommends planning in the following ways:

  • Get your financial documents in order. Before your first mediation session, you should compile all financial documents that describe your income, assets, and debts. This documentation should be thoroughly organized, making it easy to locate relevant information during mediation. Also, creating a spreadsheet or index of these documents is extremely helpful during the course of mediation.
  • Plan a budget. Closely related to the step above, it is also important for you to create a budget for your divorced life, describing your income and expenses and what financial resources will be required to meet your family’s needs. Be sure to include expenses for children, medical insurance and related costs, housing, and transportation. 
  • Prioritize your desires and concerns. It is important to think about what you want your life after your divorce to look like. Are there certain marital assets that you want to keep? What do you want to see happen with cars or houses? How do you expect child custody and child support to be handled? You need to determine what areas you feel strongly about and what areas you will compromise on. It often helps to write these thoughts and ideas down on paper and be prepared to discuss them rationally during mediation.
  • Get your emotions under control. A mediation session is not the place to rehash fights or past hurtful events. It is a time to handle the legal terms of your divorce. Some couples find it helpful to go to counseling before and after mediation sessions, so that they can address the emotions that often come up when dissolving a marriage.  

Find a Kane County Divorce Mediator You Can Trust

Another way you can ease your nerves is by hiring a mediator that you feel confident can help you address your legal issues and help you reach a satisfactory resolution. Our firm’s mediators are trained, certified, and have decades of mediation experience. 

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Carpentersville spousal support lawyerThe federal government’s recent tax reform bill, which was passed in December 2017, could have a major impact on divorcing couples. Under the new plan, alimony payments in divorces that are finalized after January 1, 2019 will not be tax deductible for the payor or be counted as income for the payee.

Tax and legal experts say that this will make divorce more expensive and will likely hurt the spouse receiving alimony. Alimony, the term used by the federal government, is also called spousal maintenance or spousal support in Illinois.

Taxes and Spousal Maintenance

If alimony is awarded in a divorce case, it will be paid by the higher-earning spouse to the other spouse for a finite period of time. In some cases, maintenance is ordered on a temporary basis between filing for divorce and the finalization of the divorce process, and the divorce decree will specify the amount of maintenance payments and the duration that payments will last after the divorce has been completed. Often, alimony is paid to the spouse who cares for children and cannot work outside the home.

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Carpentersville divorce debt division attorneyA recent study has found that 13% of divorced people with student loan debt cite this debt as the cause of their divorce. Traditionally, financial concerns have been a common reason for the dissolution of a marriage, and it appears that student loan debt is a new aspect of this issue.

Student loan debt acquired by either spouse may present complex considerations in your divorce case. It is advisable that an attorney review your case to make sure that these and other debts are handled properly during your divorce proceedings.

Student Loan Debt Reaches New Highs

While not as commonplace in older generations, student loan debt has been increasing in recent years. Both the number of borrowers and the amount borrowed have significantly grown. More than 44 million people in the United States have student loan debt, and it is estimated that the total amount of this debt is $1.5 trillion. Those graduating college in 2017 left school with an average of $39,400 in student loan debt.

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Kane County child support attorneyNational Child Support Awareness Month was established in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, with the purpose of ensuring that all children have the financial support they need. This month is a great time to review Illinois law on this subject as well as the purpose behind child support payments. In the context of a divorce or family law case, child support can be a contentious issue that may require the help of experienced counsel. In addition, Illinois child support laws have recently changed, and an attorney can explain your rights and obligations under the current laws.

Recent Changes to Illinois Child Support Law

As of July 1, 2017, Illinois follows the income shares method of determining child support. The income shares formula considers the average costs to raise a child for a family at a similar income level to what the couple had during their marriage. If there are two incomes, they are added together, and the total child support obligation is based on this combined income. Next, each parent's portion of the obligation is calculated based on the percentage that they contribute to the combined income. Typically, The parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time will receive child support payments from the other parent.

Illinois was the 40th state to adopt the income shares model. Previously, only one parent’s income was used in calculating child support. The income shares model is praised for its fairness by experts. It should be noted that child support orders entered before July 1, 2017 will stay the same unless a parent can demonstrate that a significant change in the family’s circumstances requires a modification.

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West Dundee divorce mediation lawyerIf you like the idea of getting a divorce without the courtroom drama, you may be interested in mediation. With mediation, you will limit the time you spend in court and in front of a judge. Many people leave the mediation process feeling more in control of their divorce with more ownership over the decisions made.

Mediation Basics

Mediation is a process by which a divorcing couple meets with a neutral mediator to work out the details of their divorce and related matters, such as property division, spousal support, and issues relating to children of the marriage. This typically takes place over the course of several meetings. Once an agreement is reached, it is submitted to the court and will become binding on the parties.

Is Mediation Right for You?

Mediation may or may not be a good fit for you. For mediation to be successful, both you and your spouse must be willing to cooperate with each other and work to reach agreements and compromises that are mutually beneficial. If you and your spouse are not able to work together throughout the mediation process, litigation may be necessary to resolve any outstanding issues.

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West Dundee divorce parenting time lawyerOne of the biggest concerns for divorcing parents is how no longer being married will affect their relationship with their children. Because both parents will likely be granted some parenting time and parental responsibilities, it is true that parents will probably see their children less than they did when they were married.

There are many misconceptions about how a court will determine these legal issues related to children. Many parents believe that a judge will assign the most parenting time to the parent who is the better person. For example, one may think that a parent who had an affair or a parent who has less money may not get as much parenting time.

This is not the reasoning that a court will use to determine parenting time, however. According to Illinois law, parenting time is determined based on what is in the best interests of the children. What is good for the parents or what is fair for the parents is not what the court will look at. By law, the courts must base decisions on what is best for the children.

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West Dundee divorce attorneyWhen it comes to who begins the divorce process more often, the statistics are clear -- women overwhelmingly are the party that is more likely to pull the plug on a marriage. A survey of more than 2,000 heterosexual couples found that women initiated nearly 70 percent of divorces.

Why Women Initiate Divorce More Often

Psychologists say that this figure mirrors what they see in their own practices. Typically, it is the woman who complains of dissatisfaction with their marriage. The man is more likely to express that he is troubled by his wife’s negative feelings about the relationship. However, the man also often says that he is fine with the state of the marriage and that he would prefer to ride out any trouble spots in the relationship.

In addition, married women report lower levels of “relationship quality.” This may have something to do with the fact that women are expected to take the man’s last name and are often responsible for the bulk of the housework and childcare.

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Elgin divorce attorneyGoing through a divorce can be a trying and emotionally draining time for anyone. Dealing with the logistics of a separation, from the division of assets to the allocation of parental responsibility, can represent unprecedented challenges. In many cases, those going through the divorce process can struggle with substance abuse, mental fatigue, and complete emotional exhaustion. 

While divorce represents a difficult challenge in anyone’s life, there are ways in which you can limit the emotional toll on you and your family. With that in mind, here are four helpful tips that can help you and your family cope during the divorce process. 

Self-Care Tips During Divorce 

As you work to separate your life from your ex-spouse, emotions are constantly fluctuating, and there are no shortages of unavoidable challenges. Still, there are some simple tactics that can help limit the emotional hardships you and your family face during a divorce:

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