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Posted on in Divorce

Naperville divorce and taxes attorneyCouples will need to work out many issues during the divorce process, including child custody, division of assets, spousal maintenance, and/or child support payments. In addition to addressing the legal issues involved in dissolving the marriage, these decisions will also affect each party’s income taxes for that year and going forward. If you are considering divorce or have already begun the divorce process, it is important to understand how the decisions made will impact you when it is time to file your taxes. 

Filing Status

Married couples can report their income, exemptions, deductions, and credits on one tax return by selecting the “married filing jointly” status on their tax return. Couples will often pay less taxes if they file jointly instead of separately. If you are separating from your spouse, and the divorce has not been completed as of December 31st, you can still file your taxes as “married filing jointly” for that year. In the year in which the divorce decree is final, you will no longer have the option of filing jointly. If you and your significant other are still in an amicable relationship during the divorce process, you may wish to consult with a financial advisor to determine if you should take advantage of the ability to file jointly while you still can. 

Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, or alimony, is a common element of many divorce proceedings. For divorces completed prior to December 31, 2018, maintenance is deductible on a tax return for the payor and must be reported as taxable income for the payee. For divorces finalized on or after January 1, 2019, that “divorce subsidy” will no be longer available. 

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Naperville child custody lawyer parenting planWhen you get a divorce in Illinois, and you have children, you are strongly encouraged to come to an agreement with your spouse about how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be divided between you. The court does not decide these things for you unless you and your spouse cannot come to a mutual agreement (known as a parenting plan), but leaving the decision up to a judge is not always in your family’s best interests. Often, the court will order mediation to assist you and your spouse in coming to an agreement about a parenting plan, which must be filed with the court no longer than 120 days after a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities is filed. Creating a parenting plan can be tedious, but having all of the right elements in your plan will ensure success when implementing it following the finalization of your divorce.

Court-Required Parenting Plan Elements

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, there are certain things that must be addressed in a parenting plan. The plan can contain other information pertaining to the care of the children, but it must at least address the following issues:

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Aurora divorce attorneyJust like people, divorces come in all shapes and sizes. There are multiples types of divorce that are recognized in Illinois, including mediated divorce, collaborative divorce, and litigated divorce. Each type of divorce has its own pros and cons, and each type can be right for the right couple. If you choose the right divorce for your situation, you can save yourself and your family an unwanted headache.

Mediated Divorce

In a mediated divorce, a third party is brought in to act as a mediator to help the couple come to a divorce agreement. The mediator is responsible for identifying issues that need to be resolved and helping both parties come to an agreement. Benefits of a mediated divorce are plentiful, and this type of divorce can:

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Naperville divorce and family law attorneyWhen a couple goes through divorce, the whole family is affected. Often, there are children involved in divorces, and because they are still developing physically and emotionally, they can be strongly affected by a divorce. While not every child is the same, and each child will react differently, there are some general tendencies that happen in children of specific age groups. Understanding how your child may react to the news of a divorce can help you comfort them through this tough time.

Infants

Even though infants are not completely aware of the situation, they do notice and react to the increased tension that a divorce can bring into a household. A stressed infant can exhibit symptoms such as:

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce mediatorEnding a marriage is a complicated process, requiring spouses to separate nearly every aspect of their combined life and partnership. During divorce, couples must resolve a wide variety of legal issues, including how to divide marital assets and debts, how to allocate parental responsibility, and whether one spouse will pay spousal maintenance or child support to the other. Disagreements over these issues are likely to occur, and resolving these disputes in court can result in a great deal of financial strain and emotional difficulty. Luckily, there is another solution: mediation.

Successful Divorce Mediation

During mediation, spouses will work together with an impartial third party who will help them address and resolve the outstanding issues in their divorce. Mediation is completely confidential, and the decisions spouses make are only binding if both spouses agree to them in writing.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting planWhen parents decide to end their marriage, they must resolve a number of issues related to their children in order to complete their divorce. The decisions they make will be set down in a parenting plan that will be incorporated into their divorce decree. In Illinois divorce cases, a parenting plan should include:

  • Allocation of parental responsibilities - Illinois law identifies four areas of decision-making responsibility for children: education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities. A parenting plan will specify whether each of these areas will be shared between parents or allocated to one parent.
  • Parenting time - A parenting plan should contain a specific daily schedule for the time children will spend with each parent. It should also specify how holidays will be divided between parents, along with provisions for how parents will divide vacation time during the summer, winter, and spring breaks from school.
  • Transportation - Parents should determine who will be responsible for transporting children between their homes, to school, or to other activities and include these agreements in the parenting plan.
  • Communication - A parenting plan may include provisions defining when a parent may contact their children during the other parent’s parenting time.
  • Right of first refusal - Parents may wish to agree that if one parent will not be available to care for children during their scheduled parenting time, they must contact the other parent and give them the option of caring for the children before making other arrangements for child care.
  • Contact information - The parenting plan must include both parents’ home addresses and phone numbers, as well as the names, addresses, and phone numbers of their employers. The parenting plan should specify children’s residential address for purposes of school registration, and it should require parents to notify each other about emergencies, health issues, and travel plans.
  • Relocation - A parenting plan should include a requirement that a parent will notify the other parent at least 60 days before moving to a new home.
  • Future modifications - A parenting plan should specify that parents will use mediation to resolve proposed changes to the allocation of parenting time or parental responsibility. The plan may also include provisions for how modifications will be made if certain events occur.
  • Other provisions - A parenting plan can include any other decisions made between parents to protect children’s best interests or encourage parents’ cooperation in raising their children. For instance, it may state that parents are prohibited from drinking alcohol or using drugs during their parenting time.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Illinois law requires parents to submit a parenting plan (either together or separately) within 120 days of filing a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities. If you need help reaching an agreement on any parenting issues during your divorce, the attorneys of Anderson & Associates, P.C. can work with you and your spouse to resolve outstanding issues and create a parenting plan that protects your rights and meets your children’s needs. Contact a Wheaton divorce lawyer today by calling 630-653-9400 to arrange a free consultation.

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Wheaton divorce preparation attorneyThe end of a marriage is a difficult prospect for many people to come to terms with, but getting out of a relationship that is no longer working is often best for everyone involved. However, determining the best path to take and understanding the issues that must be resolved during divorce can be a daunting prospect. If you are considering divorce, or if you are ready to begin the process of ending your marriage, be sure to take the following steps:

  1. Understand your options - Are you ready to end your marriage as soon as possible, or would you prefer legal separation while you attempt to repair your relationship? Will you be able to resolve issues amicably through mediation, or do you expect any contentious disputes to arise? Are you able to reach an agreement regarding parental responsibility and/or parenting time? Addressing these issues will help you know what to expect during divorce and ensure that you are prepared to meet your legal requirements.
  1. Get your finances in order - Be sure you fully understand your finances, including the income you earn, the assets you own, the expenses you must pay, your credit card debt, and any other relevant aspects of your situation. Open bank accounts and credit cards in your own name, giving you complete control of your own finances. Document your assets and valuable possessions to ensure that they will be divided equitably during divorce.
  1. Consider your living situation - Will you or your spouse continue living in your marital home, or do you plan to sell the house? Will you be able to continue living together until the divorce is finalized? Do you know where you will be living, and will you be able to pay expenses such as rent and utilities? Answering these questions will help you prepare for success in your newly single life.
  1. Set rules for communication - Your relationship with your spouse is probably already strained, and communication with them will likely only become more difficult during divorce. Creating rules for when and how you will contact each other and what is appropriate to discuss can help you avoid emotional conflicts and reach a resolution to your divorce more effectively. Work on keeping communication brief and businesslike, avoiding arguments over who is to blame for the failure of your relationship.
  1. Determine how to talk to children - Telling your children about your divorce can be difficult, but ideally, both parents should talk to children together, letting them know that the divorce is not their fault and that you will always love them, no matter what. Before having this conversation, it is a good idea to speak to your spouse to ensure that you are both on the same page and agree to keep children out of any conflicts between you.
  1. Speak to an attorney - Even if your divorce is amicable and you expect to be able to reach a resolution with minimal conflict, you should work with a divorce lawyer to draft a settlement that meets the legal requirements for dissolving your marriage. This will ensure that no unexpected issues arise and provide you with a legal framework for any disputes that may come up in the future.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

While divorce can be complicated, proper planning and preparation will allow you to reach a favorable resolution. At Anderson & Associates, P.C., our attorneys can help you meet your legal requirements and negotiate a favorable settlement while ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process. Contact our Wheaton divorce lawyers at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Wheaton spousal maintenance lawyerDivorce can cause a great deal of upheaval in a person’s life, and the prospect of single life can be especially stressful someone who earns less than their ex-spouse or who has chosen to care for children rather than work outside the home. Fortunately, Illinois law allows a lower-earning spouse to receive maintenance (which is also known as alimony) from their ex-spouse which will provide them with a standard of living that is close to what they enjoyed while they were married.

Calculating the Amount and Duration of Maintenance Payments Under Illinois Law

On January 1, 2018, a few recent changes to Illinois law went into effect, making some adjustments to the statutes governing spousal maintenance. The formula used to calculate the amount of maintenance in Illinois is now used when spouses earn a combined income of less than $500,000 (this was raised from $250,000), and the methods for determining the duration of maintenance were also updated.

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorney, divorce process, divorced spouses, divorce decree, divorce and financesWhen spouses end their marriage through divorce, their lives are often thrown into upheaval. As they work to find new living arrangements, divide marital property, determine whether child support or spousal support will be necessary, and allocate parental responsibility and parenting time, they often struggle to get their finances in order during this chaotic time.

If you are in the midst of the divorce process, you should take steps to get a clear and complete picture of your financial situation, which will ensure that you are able to avoid difficulties as you work to move on to the next phase of your life. Consider the following tips to help prepare for financial success after divorce.

Be Ready for Big Changes

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DuPage County divorce attorney, Illinois Eavesdropping Act, cybersecurity, Wheaton divorce lawyer,divorce processIn today’s connected world, nearly everyone carries a powerful electronic device with them everywhere they go, leaving a trail of information as they browse the Internet, send email, connect with people on social media, make phone calls, and send text messages. While we expect to maintain our privacy when communicating in this fashion, we often relax our security when we are around close family members. 

During divorce, spouses may take advantage of this relaxed security and attempt to access their former partner’s email or social media accounts, monitor what they do on their computer, or read the text messages on their phone, all in hopes of gaining information they can use to gain an advantage in divorce proceedings. While it may be tempting to try to access a former spouse’s information in this manner, you should be aware of how the law addresses these types of acts.

The Illinois Eavesdropping Act

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