Family & Divorce

You went into marriage with every intention to have it last forever. However, as things have turned out, you now find yourself contemplating a divorce but you are not sure if that is the route you want to take. Couples who find themselves in this situation, namely, those who are not sure whether to divorce or not, usually start by at least physically moving out of the home. Physical Separation Is Not Legal Separation. Legal separation has a special meaning besides being physically separated. In order to be considered legally separated, you must have a court issue an order in…
Maintaining good mental health is just as important as maintaining good physical health. Nearly 20% percent of the population struggles with maintaining their mental health, and, until recently many looked down upon an individual for seeking treatment for mental health issues. [1] In recent years, access to treatment for mental health issues has become a growing concern for both the national and the Illinois government. In 2013, the Illinois State Legislature developed a five-year plan to improve access to mental health treatment for all residents. [2] Recent statistics indicate that the plan has been successful, as Illinois was recently ranked…
Illinois has recently enacted one of the most far-reaching cannabis legalization laws of any state in the country. The law will become effective January 1, 2020, contains provisions for the expungement of cannabis-related offenses. Over the past decades, hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents (and non-residents) have been arrested for cannabis-related offenses and, as a result, have arrest records that have affected their lives by negatively impacting their ability to gain admission to educational institutions, ability to obtain employment, secure professional licensing and in a variety of other ways. Recognizing the harm that these offenses have had on the lives…
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…
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that, as of 2011, 11.4 million married-couple households, or 21 percent of all married-couple households in America had at least one spouse born in another country. About 13 percent (7.3 million) of households had two foreign-born spouses, and 7 percent (4.1 million) had one native-born and one foreign-born spouse. With those numbers likely going up, along with it comes serious implications involving children, especially those involved in legal separation or divorce. Taking Children Out of the Country Generally, taking a minor child outside the country is not an issue if you have proper documentation…
Illinois is an “equitable division” state, which means the judge presiding over your case will determine what is fair when dividing marital property between you and your spouse during a divorce. However, the judge does not arbitrarily decide what is fair and equitable. Rather, the judge must follow factors provided under Illinois law which are listed below.    What Constitutes Marital Property? Marital property under Illinois law means all property, including assets and debts, acquired by either spouse subsequent to marriage with very few exceptions. By this definition, property acquired prior to marriage is not included, except in certain special circumstances.…
If you’ve ever received a letter from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) you’ve likely wondered to yourself, why is this happening, what do I do now, and what effect is this going to have.  Sherer Law Offices is here to answer your questions and try to provide you with some clarity during a tumultuous time. DCFS investigations usually begin with someone making a call to the abuse and neglect hotline. [1] The person who answers the call will then decide whether the reporter makes sufficient allegations to warrant an investigation.  Further, the hotline operator must determine…
With a divorce comes many difficult emotions and questions about the future. Whether it be concern over child-related issues, where to live, or finding a job, a lot of people fear the unknown. This can be an uneasy time, and especially for a spouse who was a stay-at-home parent or who relied on his or her partner’s income. There are laws that govern the financial support an ex-spouse may be able to receive after the end of the marriage. One spouse may be entitled to receive spousal maintenance payments, but it is important to understand how eligibility for spousal support…
It is no secret that adoption is expensive. Many families wish they could adopt but simply cannot afford the additional expenses that are tied to adoption. According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, private agency adoptions can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000. This price tag does not include any of the costs associated with raising a child, which can steer couples hoping to start a family away from considering adoption. Foster care adoption is the most financially-friendly option available to potential parents. In many cases, the adoption gets funded by the state, with few fees involved aside from an attorney’s…
Inheritance is an event that eventually happens in the life of many. When a family member becomes deceased, or even a close friend, an individual may inherit a piece of their deceased family member’s or friend’s estate. The inheritance can be through the probate process in probate court where a Last Will and Testament existed. In other instances, there might be a non-probate transfer of inheritance. This can come by way of life insurance or other assets, like bank accounts, that have payable on death or transfer on death designations. With real estate, there might even be a beneficiary deed.…
While many people assume estate planning only involves drafting a will or other estate planning document which dictates how assets are distributed upon an individual’s death, this is only one of many types of estate planning instruments which can benefit you. An advance directive, also referred to as a living will, medical directive, or advance decision, is a type of legal document which specifies how decisions should be made on behalf of an individual who is incapacitated by illness or injury. Read on to learn about how incapacity is defined for the purposes of these types of decisions in…
I frequently receive phone calls from people who want to bring their elderly parent in to execute a Power of Attorney (also called an “advanced directive,” or “POA”).  Let’s say the call is from a Son in this case.  Dad, now in his late 80’s, conveniently put off any estate planning for all these years:  no will, no trust, no advance directives, even refusing to do so after Mom passed years ago.  Son knows what Dad wants, and also knows that his sister, or maybe Dad’s caregiver, has “borrowed” money from Dad in the past, or has an eye on…
I frequently receive phone calls from people who want to bring their elderly parent in to execute a Power of Attorney (also called an “advanced directive,” or “POA”).  Let’s say the call is from a Son in this case.  Dad, now in his late 80’s, conveniently put off any estate planning for all these years:  no will, no trust, no advance directives, even refusing to do so after Mom passed years ago.  Son knows what Dad wants, and also knows that his sister, or maybe Dad’s caregiver, has “borrowed” money from Dad in the past, or has an eye on…
When a company reaches a certain level of success, the business owner will often turn the business into a franchise. Some of the most well-known brands in the world such as McDonald’s, Planet Fitness, and 7-Eleven are franchises. While there can be a certain level of risk in franchising your business, doing so is often the best way to spread your brand and make your business even more successful than it already is. Turning your business into a franchise is not a decision to take lightly, however. Read on to learn tips experts say will help you avoid pitfalls as…
Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that works for many couples seeking to end their marriage but wanting to skip the typical divorce proceedings. This type of alternative resolution becomes somewhat of a conversation between the spouses and a mediator. After the mediator explains the process, they will act as a neutral third-party. The session will typically last a few hours as a group, followed by the mediator meeting with each party individually to speak with them. This will allow the spouse to tell them anything they feel that they left out or any information that they felt…
Members of the Millennial generation, who are now aged 23 to 38, are more likely to want a prenuptial agreement than prior generations. They are also more likely to approach the idea of a prenups as partners rather than as one wealthy person trying to protect his or her assets. Why is this, and what are the benefits of a prenup for younger couples? Millennials Are Starting Marriage Differently Millennials are more likely to seek a premarital agreement than their parents and grandparents due to their age and status at the time of their marriage. Millennials are marrying later, which…