Share Your Experience

five star review
X
Blog
Lombard Office
630-426-0196
Wheaton Office
630-426-0196
Text Us Now
630-426-0196
Recent blog posts

DuPage County divorce lawyer

The difficulties that accompany divorce can be vast, leaving you to face a major learning curve as you navigate your life without your ex-spouse. From new living arrangements and daily routines to possible career changes and less quality time with your children, divorce in the family unleashes a whole range of uncomfortable emotions for everyone involved. Eventually, though, the healing process begins, and with time and experience comes the ability to adapt to post-divorce life. 

Paving the Way for Recovery

Psychologists remind those grieving from a divorce that human beings are incredibly resilient, but research also shows just how hard the recovery stages of the loss can be. The divorce process looks different from person to person, and each separation has its own set of challenges and heartaches. If you feel you are having an exceptionally hard time kick-starting the healing process, or if you feel stuck in the attempt to move on with your life, experts recommend the following:

...

Lombard estate planning attorneysThere are many reasons and situations that require an update to your estate plan. Divorce is one of the most common and potentially catastrophic situations. Unfortunately, it is also easy to overlook or forget. There are many loose ends to tie up once the divorce process is complete, and with more to manage, estate planning can easily slip through the cracks. Unfortunately, if something does happen to you before you have made changes to your estate plan, assets may not go to the people and places you had hoped. Do not let this happen to you. Learn what and when you should update in an estate plan after divorce.

Changing Your Beneficiaries

If you have a 401K, IRA, or other retirement plan, the beneficiary listed on your policy should be checked upon completion of the divorce. Of course, you may have to split some of your savings with your former spouse, but the remaining amount should go to you. If you do not want the remainder to go to your ex upon your passing, and he or she is listed as the current beneficiary, it is important that you change this in your policy. Alternatively, if you wish your spouse to be listed as a trustee for your children, ensure the policy and your other estate planning documents reflect this wish.

Updating Your Powers of Attorney

If you are like most people, you probably have your spouse listed as your power of attorney (the person that acts and makes decisions for you in the event of incapacitation). Now, it is possible to keep your spouse as your power of attorney, but few divorces end quite that amicably. Instead, you might want to consider naming a close friend, a sibling, a parent, or an adult child. Make sure they are someone you can trust to carry out your wishes.

...

DuPage County family law and divorce attorney

When it comes to the end of a marriage, there may be no such thing as an easy divorce. Even couples who remain civil and separate amicably do not escape the end of the relationship without experiencing hurt and pain. Having to let go of someone you loved, possibly still love, and shared a home and a life with can be irrevocably damaging, regardless of the circumstances. Still, some divorces are flat-out toxic from start to finish and result in ongoing conflict and heated legal battles. A contentious divorce is undeniably the most taxing kind, as it takes a toll on the whole family mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Minimizing Divorce Stress 

Spouses can disagree about nearly everything in a contested divorce case, from the division of assets and debts, to spousal maintenance (alimony), to child support and parenting time. If you find yourself in high-conflict divorce and cannot manage to find middle ground on any topic, you may not be able to change the relationship dynamic, but you do have some power over how you handle the inevitable stresses of the divorce process. Psychology experts recommend the following activities to lighten your burden during this difficult transition:

...

Lombard estate planning attorneysWhen most people think about the concept of estate planning, they tend to think about money and “things.” Of course, there is nothing wrong with this thought, as estate planning does require a person to decide which beneficiaries will receive what property when the person dies. Property and debt considerations, however, are only part of the estate planning equation, especially if you have children who are under the age of 18. With the help of a qualified attorney, your estate plan can include your wishes regarding how your children will be cared for if something happens to you.

Guardianship Considerations

It is not easy to even ask the question, but what would happen to your children if you were, all of a sudden, out of the picture? Your spouse would most likely take on additional responsibilities for your children if you are married, but what if you are single or divorced? Or worse, what if you and your spouse were to die in the same tragic accident? Unfortunately, the realities of life are often extremely cruel.

If your children were suddenly left without any surviving parents, the court would be responsible for appointing someone to the role of guardian. In most situations, the court would choose a close family member, such as a grandparent, uncle, aunt, or someone else with whom your children already have a relationship. The court would do everything possible to make a decision based on serving the best interests of the children. However, you know your own family better than any lawyer or judge ever could, which means that you are in the best position to make such decisions for your children.

...

DuPage County child support modification attorney

As a parent pursuing child support following a separation or divorce, it is not uncommon to encounter various roadblocks. The process can bring all kinds of questions and concerns to the surface, and parents will need answers to these questions sooner rather than later. They need to know how much support they qualify for, how that support will be provided, and the certainty that funds are not only available but reliable on an ongoing basis. Additionally, those paying support are entitled to know how their obligations are calculated and what is expected of them by law.

Income Shares Approach

Whether discussions about support arrangements have turned tense between you and the other parent, or you simply feel overwhelmed as you begin your attempt to secure the means needed to care for your child, consider the following tips to better understand the “Income Shares” method in the state of Illinois:

...

DuPage County paternity lawyer

No matter what kind of relationship you share with your child’s mother or what your living arrangements will be after your child is born, it is important to understand a father’s rights and how to avoid jeopardizing yours. If you wish to be involved and have a say over parental matters in the future, the first step is to be aware that in Illinois, you are only considered the legal father if you are married to--or have entered into a civil union with--the mother at the time of birth. This means that your relationship with your child from the moment he or she is born will greatly revolve around where you stand legally on paper. 

Immediate Actions You Can Take to Protect Your Rights

There are some actions you can take to establish paternity in order to make sure your rights as a father are not violated. Below are some of the first steps in becoming legally recognized as the father of your child: 

...

Lombard estate planning attorneysThe very idea of estate planning can be frightening for many people, as it is not easy to confront the realization that nobody lives forever. Drafting an estate plan that includes a will, trusts, and other documents requires you to look past the end of your own life. While the difficulties associated with estate planning are understandable, it is critical to have an estate plan. If you were to die without a will or other estate plans, most of your property would probably be subject to the intestate succession laws of Illinois.

What Does “Intestate” Mean?

A particular asset is deemed to be “intestate” if there is no direction specified for how the asset will be disposed of following the owner’s death. Jointly owned property is not usually intestate because the ownership of the joint property will generally transfer to the other owner or owners. Likewise, an investment account that has named beneficiaries or a transfer-on-death clause is not an intestate asset. The named beneficiaries will receive the funds in that account when you die. However, if you are the sole owner of an asset and you have not established legally enforceable instructions on handling the asset upon your death, the asset will be treated as intestate property.

Intestate Succession Laws

The laws governing intestate succession in Illinois are contained in the Illinois Probate Act. Intestate property allocation will depend on your specific circumstances, including your surviving spouse, any children, and other family members. Intestate succession can become extremely complicated, however, as the law provides for a wide variety of possible situations.

...

DuPage County estate planning attorneyWhile some people have the good fortune of being born into a family with significant wealth that was amassed several generations ago, most others work extremely hard to accumulate the assets and holdings that comprise their estate. As far as your estate is concerned, you have likely put in many hours and made responsible decisions to earn what you currently own. With this in mind, you have every right to decide what will be done with your property after your death.

It is important to remember that while you do have the right to make estate planning choices for yourself, decisions such as these will affect others. The choices you make in your estate plan will almost certainly impact your loved ones and close family members. That impact could be negative, positive, or neutral, depending on your unique circumstances and how you manage them.

Avoiding Unfounded Assumptions

A recent study conducted by Fidelity Investments found that an alarming number of aging individuals are not on the same page with their adult children when it comes to the topic of estate management. For example, Fidelity discovered that adult children tend to believe that their parents’ estates are worth far less than they actually—about $280,000 less on average. Additionally, the study found that nine out of ten parents plant to presume that one of their children will serve as executor of their estate. More than 25 percent of adult children, however, had no idea about their parents’ expectations.

...

Lombard, IL child support lawyer

In a divorce, child-related issues can prove to be contentious, and disputes may arise over child support obligations. Whether raising a child with an absent parent or within an antagonistic relationship, single parents have long faced significant challenges when it comes to child support here in Illinois. While new state laws that went into effect in 2017 aimed to better protect the well-being of children in need, they also made support matters more complicated for many families, due to new calculations that the courts now use to determine financial responsibility. Regardless of the specific amount of support, the custodial parent relies on that money for expenses related to the upbringing of his or her child. In some cases, a parent may need to take legal action to collect the payments that are due.

Assistance for Obtaining Child Support Payments

If you currently find yourself in a situation where you are in need of child support but are not sure where to turn for answers, rest assured there is assistance available to help you. Here are a few examples of how an attorney can help secure the resources necessary to raise your child alone:

...

Lombard, IL adoption attorney

The decision and privilege to pursue adoption is an exciting, gratifying path when you desire to expand your family. More than ever before, today’s adoption services offer new parents opportunities to share their life with a child who is in need of a good home. However, adoption proceedings are complex and require serious preparation in order to navigate them successfully. For the sake of all parties involved, it is important to understand the legal aspects to make the adoption experience as seamless as possible.

Know Your Rights

It is not uncommon for new parents to feel instantly overwhelmed the moment they begin the adoption process. From selecting an agency to the application and paperwork, it can be difficult to know where to start. One of the most important ways you can get off on the right foot is to inform yourself of your basic rights as a new adoptive parent. What do you have a say over? What resources are available to you? Should you run into roadblocks, what rights do you have to protect your best interests?

...

Lombard estate planning attorneysWhen the average person thinks about the concept of estate planning, they tend to think about wills, trust funds, inheritances, and other methods for passing assets down to the next generation. While these images are not really incorrect, they do not tell the whole estate planning story. In fact, there are many good reasons to create an estate plan that have almost nothing to do with possessions or money.  With this in mind, estate planning is an important consideration for any family, regardless of their wealth or overall net worth.

Reason 1: Privacy Considerations

Unless you plan ahead, Illinois law will likely require your estate to go through probate. Probate is the legal process through which an estate is settled when there are no alternative plans for doing so, and the process can be unpredictable, time-consuming, and cumbersome. You should also know that probate proceedings are usually matters of public record, which means that your affairs are available to be reviewed by the public at large. Through estate planning, you can minimize the effects of probate or even avoid it completely, thereby keeping your family’s personal matters private.

Reason 2: Minor Children

If something were to happen to you tomorrow, who would care for your children? If you answered, “My spouse,” let’s take the hypothetical situation a step further. If something were to happen to you AND your spouse tomorrow, who would care for your children? While you might have an idea regarding which family members might step up to help, it is important to have plans for your children’s care recorded in your estate plan.

...

Lombard estate planning attorneysHave you ever sat down with a member of your family and helped him or her apply for government-funded assistance programs? If so, you have probably seen firsthand that many of these programs have eligibility criteria that often include limits on income and owned assets. These requirements, in most cases, were established in order to ensure that those with the greatest need were served by these programs. However, the limits have also created unintended consequences for many people.

Such is often the case when an individual who receives benefits through Social Security, Medicaid, or other income-based programs is named as an heir in someone else’s will. It turns out that even a one-time transfer of property—which is generally what happens in inheritance situations—could have an effect on the heir’s eligibility to continue receiving benefits on which he or she may rely.

Understanding Government Aid Programs

Government assistance programs are virtually everywhere in today’s world, but many of them have been around for decades. Some even trace back to the “New Deal” measures of the 1930s, which were originally designed to help Americans who were most devastated by the Great Depression. As anyone who pays attention to politics can attest, government benefit programs are topics of constant debate and controversy, as legislators rarely agree on the future or the funding of such programs. Very few people, however, deny that these benefit sources are useful for those who are truly in need of medical care and financial help.

...

Lombard estate planning attorneysAs we all know, not all marriages stand the test of time, and a divorce can be a messy undertaking. In previous posts, we have discussed in a fair amount of detail how a divorce can affect a person’s already existing estate plan. In most cases, the divorce will nullify any provisions that pertain to the person’s spouse. But, did you know that the terms of a divorce settlement agreement could create obligations for a person to meet in his or her estate plan in the future? A recent ruling by an Illinois appeals court shows how such a thing could happen.

A 33-Year Old Divorce Agreement

In the case in question, a couple got married in 1963, had six children together, and got divorced in 1982. As part of their divorce settlement agreement, which was entered as part of their divorce judgment, each party agreed to create a will that left 50 percent of their estate to be divided equally among their six children.

In 2014, while suffering from a bone marrow disorder, the husband executed a new will and restated a trust, of which his new spouse was named a co-executor and co-trustee along with another person. The husband died three months later.

...

Who is the Legal Parent in Egg Donation Cases?Modern technology has assisted with the creation and growth of many families. Originally, natural conception and adoption were the only two options available to those who wish to have children or increase the size of their existing family. While adoption is a great option for couples to use, some parents wish to have a biological connection with their child and care for them through conception as well. Thankfully, medical advances have allowed families to have children through in vitro fertilization (IVF) using donor eggs. Egg donation is a treatment for infertile women who wish to physically bear a child. While this is not a brand new technology, it has continued to improve over the years. According to data from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), there was a 50.7% success rate for live births using donor eggs in the U.S. in 2017, proving that this version of IVF is a valid option for many families.

Requirements of the Recipient and Donor

For obvious reasons, IVF egg donation is not a parent’s first choice when trying to create a family; however, it is a good option for those who need help doing so. The process can cost a significant amount of money and involves a fair amount of medical treatments. This form of IVF is typically used for women with diminished egg quantity and quality. These include women with: 

  • Premature ovarian failure;
  • Poor response to ovarian stimulation;
  • Poor egg quality;
  • Low antral follicle counts on ultrasounds;
  • High day 3 follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels; and/or
  • Advanced age.

Donors have a long list of requirements that they must meet before they are eligible. Females must be between the ages of 21 and 29 and be a U.S. citizen or have the legal right to work in the U.S. There are many health qualifications that must be met. The women must have a healthy BMI, no reproductive abnormalities, two ovaries, an excellent family health history, not be using any form of birth control and be a non-smoker/drug user. The woman must also have some form of college or trade/vocational certification.

...

DuPage County estate planning attorneysThere are almost countless ways that drafting a last will and testament can benefit you and your loved ones. With that in mind, it may surprise you to learn that only about 40 percent of Americans currently have a will or other estate planning document in place.

There are many reasons that people choose not to create a will. Some may not understand exactly what the purpose of a will is. Others may inaccurately assume that only wealthy people need a will. Perhaps the biggest reason that people procrastinate estate planning is because it deals with what happens if they become incapacitated or pass away. Although it can be an uncomfortable subject to consider, it is very important for everyone to have a will – regardless of wealth or age. When someone dies without a will, it is often their surviving loved ones who are most negatively affected.

You Relinquish Control Over Significant Financial and Personal Decisions

Even if you are not wealthy, you still own property and items which have value to you. Drafting a will allows you to decide how property, including sentimental items or family heirlooms, is divided among heirs. Without a will, your property is assigned to heirs according to Illinois state laws regarding intestate succession. It is very unlikely that the items most important to you will end up with the individuals you wanted them to unless you specify this in a will, trust, or other estate planning document. If you pass away without a will, your surviving loved ones will be forced to guess how you wanted your property to be distributed. This can be especially burdensome for people who are grieving a loss.

...

When Can I Adjust My Parenting Plan?In every divorce involving children, parenting plans must be formulated. Parenting plans, commonly known as custody arrangements, divide responsibilities between each parent. They define responsibilities such as the time each parent is scheduled to spend with their child, who should be the one taking the child to medical visits, and which house the child will reside in. These are just a few of the many responsibilities required of a parent as well as those that are defined under parenting plans. While parenting plans are legally in place until the child turns 18 years old, it is almost impossible for them to last that long without a need for adjustments – situations change and so do children’s needs. 

Which Situations Warrant an Adjustment?

As with any legally-binding contract, there must be legitimate proof that an adjustment is necessary. Judges do not simply change parenting plans for the convenience of the parent. There are certain situations that will allow, and even prompt, judges to modify a family’s arrangement. The following are common examples:

  • The child is not safe, especially in their residence;
  • A parent is moving or relocating;
  • The child is older and has asked for adjustments to be made;
  • A parent’s work schedule has changed, affecting their ability or flexibility to care for the child;
  • The family’s situation has changed, specifically their financial stability; and/or
  • Their current arrangement is not being followed.

Some families have a combination of the circumstances mentioned above, while others have different reasons altogether. Regardless, each decision is situational and is dependent on the child’s best interests.

...

DuPage County estate planning attorneyAn unexpected illness or injury can happen to anybody. If you have been diagnosed with a serious health concern, you may worry about how medical decisions will be made if you cannot make them yourself. For example, if you fell into a coma, how would doctors know what type of medical treatment you do and do not consent to? In situations like these, a power of attorney for health care, or medical power of attorney, can allow you to choose a trusted representative who will make medical decisions on your behalf.

Responsibilities of a Medical Power of Attorney

Most people want to have a say in the types of medical treatment they do and do not wish to undergo. If you are worried that your health issues may worsen and you will not be able to speak for yourself in the future, consider choosing a representative through a healthcare power of attorney. This representative, called an agent or health care proxy, should be a person who you trust to follow your directions regarding medical treatment and care.

Your agent has the responsibility of working with doctors, surgeons, and other medical staff to ensure that you are only receiving the treatment that you have agreed to. Generally, a durable power of attorney for healthcare gives an agent the authority to make decisions on your behalf regarding medication, diagnostic tests, nutrition and hydration, surgery, and life-prolonging procedures like artificial ventilation and tube feeding. You will be able to more specifically define your agent’s decision-making authority when you fill out the healthcare power of attorney form.

...

DuPage County estate planning attorneyThe world of estate planning can become quite overwhelming for many people. Not only does estate planning force you to confront your own mortality, there is also a vast array of estate planning instruments for you to choose from. It can be difficult to know for sure what types of estate planning tools and documents will best allow you to reach your personal and financial goals. Two of the most common types of estate planning instruments are a last will and testament and a trust. While these tools can achieve similar goals, there are several importance differences between a will and a trust.

The Benefits of Drafting a Will

You may be surprised to know that only about 40 percent of Americans have a will, trust, or other estate planning document in place. When drafting a will, you must consider how your assets will be distributed to beneficiaries upon your death. Understandably, it can be very difficult for people to make plans for after they pass away. However, creating a will allows you to be in control of how your property is disseminated. You worked hard to earn the property that you have, so it is only fair that you should get to choose how it is distributed and who will receive it. Perhaps even more importantly, creating a will saves your surviving loved ones from the burden of having to guess how you would have wanted your property to be passed down.

Differences Between a Trust and a Will

A trust is similar to a will in that it allows you to dictate how your property is distributed to beneficiaries. However, a trust differs from a will in that it gives another party, called a trustee, the authority to manage your assets for the benefit of your beneficiaries. There are many different types of trusts which could benefit you and your family depending on your unique circumstances. These include a revocable trust, irrevocable trust, special needs trust, testamentary trust, charitable trust, and many more. Unlike wills, trusts are not required to go through probate, the court process which confirms the validity of the will and supervises the distribution of property. Probate is a state court proceeding which means that anyone can access information regarding the deceased person’s property, liabilities, beneficiaries, and more. Families who wish to keep this information private often use a trust in order to avoid probate.

...

How Do I Know If My Loved One Needs a Legal Guardian?Minors are accustomed to having a legal guardian who makes large decisions for them. While they may have some say in the matter, the final decision is left to the older party. Unfortunately, some individuals must experience this more than once in their life. Older people or those with disabilities often have to allow a legal guardian to take on the “official” responsibility of legal decision-making. Being the party taking on the guardianship responsibility can be emotionally and physically taxing, but recognizing that your loved one needs help could save them from making irreparable legal decisions.

Signs That Your Loved One Needs Help

Guardianships are most commonly issued when someone has a mental disability or when someone’s age affects their clarity of mind. However, just because a person has mental disabilities does not mean that they should have a legal guardian. The purpose of legal guardianship is to make legal decisions for another person when they have the inability to do so. Thus, potential guardians should evaluate their loved one and their ability to engage in the decision-making process. The Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission suggests answering the following four questions to gauge your loved one’s mental capacity for making decisions:

  1. Do they understand that a particular decision needs to be made?
  2. Do they understand the options available in any given decision?
  3. Do they understand the consequences of each available option?
  4. After making the decision, are they able to properly inform appropriate parties?

My Loved One Needs Help, But Can I Be Their Guardian?

There are regulations on who can act as a legal guardian to ensure that the individual’s best interests are upheld. Any individual who is over the age of 18, has a “sound” mind, has not been convicted of a serious crime, and is deemed acceptable by the court is eligible to be a legal guardian. Potential guardians must be able to provide the court with proof of an active and suitable course of action for the individual. In some cases, agencies may be appointed as legal guardians – excluding banking institutions and those providing residential services to the individual. Whether private or public, agencies can often provide more active guardianship than the individual’s loved one since they do not have the same emotional ties to the individual. However, family or friends can make the best guardians in some cases since their desire to make good decisions for the individual has a personal connection behind it. 

...

How Does Remarriage Affect Child Support Payments in Illinois?Child support laws vary from state to state, especially in situations where one spouse remarries. Illinois uses an income shares model to calculate how much each parent must contribute to child support. The parents’ combined net income and the number of children will determine their combined child support obligation. Then, each parent will pay a percentage of the obligation that is proportionate to their percentage of the combined incomes. For example, a parent who makes $70,000 of a $100,000 combined income would pay 70 percent of the child support obligation.

The parent who has a majority of the parenting time will receive child support payments from the other parent, regardless of who has a greater income. However, a minority parent with a lesser income is not required to pay as much towards the children’s expenses as the majority parent with a greater income. The equation can change in a shared parenting agreement, which Illinois defines as each parent having at least 146 days with the children during the year. There are also situations in which a parent can request a modification of the child support payment. 

How Does Remarriage Tie In?

Illinois allows a parent to petition to modify child support when there is a change of circumstances that affects either:

...
Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Back to Top