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failure to pay child support, Palatine child support attorneyThe divorce is finalized and child support, and custody orders are in place. Your ex has always been sporadic about making child support payments — some are on time, others are late. Yet the late payments are double what is required in order to make up for the missing payments. However, months have passed since you have received a check, and your ex will not return your calls.

What can be done to enforce payment, and what are the potential ramifications for your ex-spouse?

Illinois Child Support Enforcement

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cohabitation and alimony payments, Palatine Spousal Support AttorneyAwarding alimony to stay-at-home parents that terminates when their youngest child turns 18, or when they remarry — whichever comes first — is not an uncommon action by the Court. Not wanting to lose alimony payments, however, some decide to never marry again and intend on receiving the alimony payments for the duration of their entire lives.

But what if a spouse who receives alimony moves in and establishes a relationship with a new partner that is akin to marriage, minus the official papers? Can alimony be terminated?

Modification of Palatine Alimony Award Based on Cohabitation

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million dollar child support, Illinois divorce attorneyThe newest twist in the divorce of a Chicago hedge fund owner and his wife is her alleged request for $1 million a month in child support for their three children. To all but the most wealthy families (and even to most of them) $1 million per month seems excessive. But it raises the question, if child support is based on statutory guidelines, how can one parent request a certain amount of support, and what would it take for the Court to award it?

Children of Divorce Entitled to Same Lifestyle

Child support is based on a statutory formula that takes into consideration the net income of the obligor (the parent paying support) and the number of children to be supported. Once the Court determines the obligor’s net income, he/she must pay a percentage of his/her monthly net income based on the number of children he/she has. For example, an obligor with three children must pay 32 percent of the monthly net income.

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online document prep, divorce attorney, Palatine divorce attorneyThere are a variety of online companies that offer document preparation and do-it-yourself forms for couples going through a divorce or needing assistance with child custody issues. These sites promise to save users significant amounts of money in attorney fees and to resolve their issues amicably and without protracted litigation. However, document preparation sites are a poor substitute for the advice of a qualified, experienced legal professional.

Listed below are suggestions to consider before deciding to handle any family law issue on your own.

Individualized service. Every divorce is different. However, document preparation sites approach divorces the same way. These sites offer a simplified approach—users check a box to select and draft legal documents. Yet many people do not understand all of the issues that must settled in a divorce. Additionally, if users neglect to check an appropriate box, the proper forms will not be suggested, and they may find themselves in Court months or years later to resolve an issue they never knew they had.

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business valuation, Palatine divorce attorneyMany couples, especially those with a high-net worth, own a business that is not only their largest asset, but their sole source of income. When these couples divorce, difficult issues arise such as how to value the business, whether it should be sold or divided and, if divided, which spouse should receives the business and how should the other spouse be paid for his share.

Illinois Business Valuation

In order determine the division of assets in a divorce, the assets must first be assigned a value. However, determining the value of a business is not as easy. For an investment account, you simply look at the balance on any given day, or for a vehicle, you can look up the Kelley Blue Book value.

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child-related expenses, Palatine child support attorneyIf you have children, getting divorced means you are never truly free of your ex. The child custody and child support agreements mean you will, at minimum, be dealing with your ex when it comes to exchanging the children for visitation and dealing with support payments.

Yet while those child support payments are determined by a statutory formula based on the parents’ income, deductions and the child custody schedule itself, there are several other child-related expenses that an agreement does not always cover. Hence, this means a lot of unnecessary friction that can often land parents back in court.

Payment of Child-Related Costs: There is an App for That

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gay and lesbian parents, Palatine adoption attorneySame-sex marriage has been legal in Illinois since June 2014. Hence, gay and lesbian couples who choose to raise a family together now have an easier road to parenthood — whether through adoption or conception of children following marriage.

Same-Sex Stepparent Adoption in Illinois

Since passage of the new law, Illinois same-sex couples who have children following their marriage, whether biological or adopted, may place each partner’s name on a birth certificate. This is a change from prior law, when only a biological parent’s name was permitted to be listed.

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marital home, Palatine divorce attorneyIf you have been following the divorce saga of Illinois’ richest man, hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin, you may have read that his wife recently filed Court documents alleging that Griffin plans to end her exclusive occupancy of the couple’s marital home and will no longer pay upkeep costs.

While many of us cannot relate to the lives of the very wealthy, the case raises a question that comes up almost every time when meeting with a client for the first time — who gets to live in the marital home during the divorce?

Temporary Relief for Possession of Marital Home

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divorce and social media, Palatine family law attorneyFacebook. Twitter. Instagram. If you have access to a computer or smartphone, you most likely have an account on at least one social media site. They are a great way to connect with far-flung family and friends, post photos and updates about what is going on in your life, and even vent now and again. However, if you are involved in a divorce or child custody case, what you post on social media could negatively impact the outcome of those cases.

Many people believe that what they post on social media is a private interaction between them and 350 of their closest friends. And while there are privacy settings users can put in place to restrict non-friends or followers to see their photos or read their updates, many people’s pages do not employ these privacy settings. In fact, 80 percent of attorneys report combing through social media sites for evidence that can be used against the opposing party. Hence, even if your accounts are set to private, family, friends or even members of private online groups may be sharing information with your significant other.

Stories often surface of friends sharing the details of a husband’s life with his soon-to-be ex-wife. Members of online parenting groups may even share the information a mom posts with her soon to be ex-husband. Therefore, be smart about what you post.

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enforce property claims, Palatine division of assets attorneyTaboos regarding cohabitation are quickly becoming passe as many of today’s couples are opting to live together before – and sometimes in lieu of – marriage. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, unmarried couples comprised 45 percent of all U.S. households in 2010. But until recently, unmarried Illinois couples who ended a relationship had no rights to enforce property claims against an ex-partner, or otherwise divide assets, due to their unmarried status.

Blumenthal v. Brewer: Allowing Property Claims against Unmarried Ex-Partner

In Blumenthal v. Brewer, the Chicago couple had been in a committed relationship for 26 years. They lived together, commingled assets, and raised three children. In all ways, they acted as a married couple. Yet they were unmarried due to same-sex marriage being illegal in Illinois. Brewer, an attorney, had stayed home for several years to raise the children. Her partner, however, built a lucrative medical practice. At the end of the relationship, Blumenthal’s net worth was $500,000 more than Brewer’s.

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division of assets, Palatine divorce attorneyMy spouse and I have been married 15 years. I want to get a divorce, but I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past 10 years. I have no money, and everything is in my spouse's name. I do not know how I will be able to start over from scratch.

Questions similar to the one above are often posted to social media and divorce-related websites, and understandably, those in these situations are concerned. When it comes to divorce, there is a difference between marital and separate property, and separate property is not involved in the division of property. But simply because one spouse's name is not on a title does not make it separate property.

Property Division in Illinois Divorce

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce later in life, Palatine divorce attorneyThe decision to divorce, regardless of a couple's age or length of marriage, is a difficult one. Recent studies show that the rate of divorce among couples age 50 and older have doubled in the past two decades; in 2009, one out of every four divorcing couples were over the age of 50. In fact, a host of high-profile celebrities have split up over the past year, after decades of being married. This publicity sheds light on the fact that couples who have been together for a long time are not always guaranteed a life together forever.

What causes a couple who has been together a long time to finally call it quits?

The children are gone. The oft-heard refrain among unhappily married couples is: “We’re staying together for the sake of the children.” Once the children are out of the house — or even longer, as some couples stay together for the sake of their adult children — the glue that held a marriage together is gone, and couples are left with nothing more to do than head to divorce court.

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child support payment, child support guidelines, child support modification, child support order, Palatine family law attorney, stepparent’s income, child supportFollowing a divorce, chances are high that either you or your spouse will re-marry. However, if you and your ex-spouse had children, and there is a child support order involved, is it possible for the custodial parent to obtain an increase in the original child support award based on the new spouse's income?

Calculation of Illinois Child Support Payment

The Court determines the value of a monthly child support an obligor (the parent ordered to pay child support) must pay based on a child support guidelines adopted by the Illinois legislature. Although there may be slight variations, a typical child support award is a percentage of an obligor’s net income, with the percentage being determined by the number of children he or she is financially obligated to support.

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child support orders, college expenses, college expenses and divorce, educational expenses, Nicholas W. Richardson, Palatine child support attorneyMost parents hope that their children attend college or vocational school after high school graduation, and many want to help their children pay expenses associated with earning that higher education. But with 57.4 percent of all Illinois high school graduates going directly to college, are parents required to pay for their child’s college education? Or does their child support duty end when the child turns 18?

Support for Non-Minor Child’s Educational Expenses in Illinois

In most Illinois child support orders, the obligor parent (the one ordered to pay support) is no longer required to make payments once his or her child graduates from high school or turns 19. However, in some instances, the Court can order child support payments to be paid toward a child’s educational expenses, including college or other professional training.

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Posted on in Division of Property

divorce and taxes, Palatine divorce attorney, property division, tax issues following divorce, child support, alimony, tax return, income tax returnAfter months — or even years — of legal wrangling, your divorce is finalized and you and your ex-spouse are now free to move on with your lives. However, if either of you were ordered to pay alimony, or if there are children involved, there are tax issues related to the divorce to which you need to be aware. In fact, you may need to revisit these issues as circumstances change.

Common Tax Issues Faced by Couples Once a Divorce is Finalized

Filing status. Your marital status on December 31 determines your options regarding filing status for tax purposes. If your divorce is finalized before the end of the year, you may want to file as head of household rather than as a single person. You can file as head of household — and get a bigger standard deduction — if you had a dependent living with you for more than half the year and you paid more than half of the upkeep on the marital home. An attorney and accountant can advise you whether it is to your advantage to file as head of household or as an unmarried person.

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dividing pensions, division of assets, Palatine divorce attorney, property division, retirement assets, social security benefits, SSI benefitsAll divorce cases involve a division of assets, whether it is an even 50-50 split or a different ratio that the Court decides is equitable based on the circumstances. When dividing pensions and other retirement assets, a non-owner spouse can choose to either receive property in an amount equal to his or her portion of the benefits at the time of a divorce, or as a monthly distribution when the owner-spouse becomes eligible to receive it. However, what happens when one spouse contributes more money to Social Security instead of an employer-sponsored pension?

Division of Pension and SSI Benefits

Employers generally withhold a portion of an employee’s salary for Social Security benefits. These benefits are paid as a monthly benefit once an employee reaches federal retirement age. Similar to a pension, money earned during a marriage is withheld from an employee’s paycheck and held for later distribution.

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Posted on in Child Support

establish paternity in Illinois, Palatine paternity lawyer, legal paternity, baby's legal father, birth certificate, child support order, establish paternityPaternity is a term used to describe the relationship between a father and his child. Legal paternity is established by law, and it gives a mother the right to seek child support from her child's father. Additionally, a father then has the right to seek custody and visitation.

In Illinois, when a married woman gives birth, her husband is the baby’s father. Or, if a mother is married at the time of conception, her ex-husband is assumed to be the child’s father. In both scenarios, a husband or ex-husband’s name is placed on a birth certificate and is therefore considered a baby’s legal father.

However, when a mother is not married at the time she gives birth, a father is not automatically considered a legal father — even if the couple is in a long-term relationship and there is no doubt the man is the child’s father. In these scenarios, a father must first establish paternity in order to become a child’s legal father and have his name placed on the birth certificate.

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Palatine child custody attorney, traveling out of town, children of divorce, Illinois child custody, child custody, out-of-state travel, divorced parents, holiday travel, divorce and the holidaysThe holidays are here, and for many families that means traveling out of state — whether to visit family or to simply get away from the cold Illinois winters and spend time on the beach. But if you are divorced and have a child custody agreement, can you continue to travel out-of-state with your children during the holidays? The answer is yes – but only if the other parent agrees.

Out-of-State Travel with Illinois Children

Illinois law requires each parent who is part of a child custody agreement to retain the other parent’s consent before traveling out of Illinois with the children for vacation. Parental consent is not required for in-state travel.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce case, divorce file, Illinois divorce records, Palatine divorce attorney, public documents, sealing Illinois divorce records​Illinois divorce records are public documents. Any person who walks into a Courthouse, and is willing to pay, can access and photocopy all documents contained in a divorce case. Additionally, all documents contained in a divorce file — pleadings, financial disclosures, exhibits — are fair game and can be viewed; however, you can have the Court seal these records for compelling reasons.

Sealing Illinois Divorce Records

If you are going through a divorce, there are a number of reasons why you may want your divorce records sealed. Several reasons include the following:

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handling the holidays, Nicholas W. Richardson, Palatine child custody attorney, children of divorce, divorce trends, child custody, Illinois divorce attorney, holidays and divorceWhether a family celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just the winter season, the holidays will be very different following a divorce. However, it does not mean that the holidays will be impossible. In fact, certain steps can be taken to help keep everyone happy.

Have a Detailed Child Custody Agreement

The first and most important suggestion for handling the holidays after divorce is ensuring a child custody agreement specifically deals holiday arrangements. There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. A decided schedule will depend entirely on the circumstances of each individual family.

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