Rolling Meadows family law attorney Illinois taxesWhen Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a proposal for his new tax plan in Illinois, he sparked debate throughout the state. Some praised what Pritzker called the fair tax law, saying it would only tax the rich and provide more money for low to middle wage earners. However, others have pointed to a major flaw in the proposal, and those opposed to it say it is going to hurt one more group: married couples.

The Marriage Penalty Under Fair Tax Law

Traditionally, when a couple jointly files their state or federal taxes, they file in separate tax brackets from those that file individually, allowing them to take advantage of tax savings. However, whenever two earners of the same household owe more taxes by filing jointly instead of separately, it is considered a marriage penalty. The new tax law proposed by Governor Pritzker does not provide different brackets that allow couples to reap more savings. Instead, couples are likely to owe higher taxes.

Under the proposed new tax law, when filing separately, each of the spouses’ first $10,000 earned is taxed at 4.75 percent. The next $90,000 earned is taxed at a rate of 4.9 percent. However, when a couple is married and filing jointly, the very first dollar made from the second income is taxed at an even higher rate of 4.95 percent.

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Palatine family law lawyer, contempt of court, ignoring a court order, child custody issues, parenting planWhen a couple goes through a divorce, both spouses typically assume ongoing obligations under a Court order or private settlement agreement, especially when child custody issues and support are a concern. Reconciling oneself to years of mandatory obligations is rarely easy but is necessary to avoid unpleasant legal consequences. However, the law will not support or ignore individuals who attempt to get out of legally enforceable obligations that commonly are most damaging to the needs of the child and not the former spouse.

Courts have a number of ways to compel action from an individual trying to shirk his or her responsibilities, and the most powerful one is holding someone in civil contempt of Court. While this is principally used as a last resort when other collection and compliance methods have failed (i.e. wage garnishment, property liens, suspension of licenses, etc.), this option is an effective measure to spur action.

What is Contempt?

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Rolling Meadows family law attorney, child custody disputes, child custody decisions, parental responsibilities, parenting timeChild custody is never an easy issue to resolve, even when parents form their own agreement, because the issue is intricately tied to powerful emotions and relationships that are central to the family structure. Settling parenting responsibilities on the heels of divorce becomes even more complex if the Court is asked to decide an arrangement that will govern future interactions.

Sometimes, when parents experience high amounts of conflict, or have legitimate concerns about the child’s welfare, Court intervention is necessary. Because of the importance of child custody, the impartiality of the Judge overseeing the disposition of the case is crucial.

Historically, and according to gender stereotypes, women are traditionally seen as the parent most suited to taking the primary role of caretaker in divorce, with the father receiving much less parenting time comparatively. Recent research into the gender bias affecting the Court system showed that Judges were highly prone to injecting personal bias into child custody decisions that favored the mother, and discouraged the father from taking a meaningful role as caretaker.

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divorce cases, alternative dispute resolution, collaborative divorce, Barrington family law attorney, collaborative law processDivorce does not have the best reputation for promoting civil and cooperative relationships between spouses. Traditional divorce actions pit the parties against each other in an adversarial process that does everything possible to limit — or completely cut off — direct contact. While this can make moving from the marriage easier, both emotionally and physically, the litigation model of standard divorce cases does not prepare the parties for working together over child custody, or allow them to have much a say in the terms of the divorce decree.

In recent years, the legal system has increasingly favored settling divorce cases in less contentious environments due to the practicalities of limited Court resources and also to facilitate a better outcome for the parties. This reduces the likelihood of needing to return to Court to settle additional issues.

A fairly new process in the alternative dispute resolution realm is collaborative divorce — mediation being the form with which most people are familiar— which was formalized into Illinois law this summer and will become effective January 1, 2018. Collaborative divorce is the least combative way to end a marriage, and in fact tries to give the parties a firm foundation for future interactions by teaching them more effective ways to communicate and cooperate.

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parenting plan, Palatine family law attorneyRecent revisions to Illinois law require that parents submit a parenting plan to the Court whenever there is a dispute about the allocation of parental responsibilities, or what was previously known as custody and visitation. Parents can also agree to modify their parenting plan and simply submit the plan to the Court for approval. Whatever the case may be, your parenting plan must address certain concerns that involve your children. Essentially, your plan must contain not only the elements required by Illinois law, but also any provisions that may be unique to your family or important to you.

Parenting Plan Basics

A parenting plan is a written document that sets forth each parent’s legal rights and obligations with respect to the children. The plan addresses the same types of issues that a custody agreement or parenting agreement previously addressed. Rather than referring to custody and visitation, however, Illinois law now only refers to the allocation of parental responsibilities, or how parents will effectively parent their child together. Basic elements of a parenting plan include the following:

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