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When people get married, they join their lives…at least on an ongoing basis. There are still items from their past that will always remain with them. Whether it is a keepsake or an entire house, what you bring into a marriage you get to take out of the marriage after a divorce. There is a big exception, however. If a property from before your marriage or outside of your marriage gets mixed up with a property your spouse owns or owns jointly with you, that property will be deemed to have been “transmuted” into marital property and will, thus,…
Divorce law is funny in Illinois. We say “dissolution of marriage” instead of “divorce,” we say “maintenance” instead of “alimony,” and we say “body attachment” instead of “an order for arrest.” A body attachment is a big deal! A body attachment is an Illinois court saying, “if you don’t follow our rules, we will lock you up until you do.” The court does not have an absolute power to lock people up, however. There are strict rules that an Illinois divorce court must follow if it wishes to put someone in jail. What Leads Up To A Body Attachment…
Divorce is difficult. Divorce is even more difficult when the parties to divorce have children. In theory, parents should be able to look past the issue of their divorce in order to remain partners in parenting. For lots of parents, that’s exactly what happens. Some parents can separate their enmity for their ex-spouse from their love for their children. Other parents, simply can communicate effectively with their ex-spouse and therefore cannot coparent. While the parents cannot communicate with each other, they still want to foster a loving relationship between themselves and their children. In this case, the only option is…
A tax deduction is an allowance whereby the IRS allows you to reduce your total taxable income by a certain amount because of some event. By allowing tax deductions, the United States tax code is encouraging certain behavior by removing the tax penalty associated with that behavior. For example, the interest on a mortgage payment or the expenses of running a business are all tax deductible. Maybe the government cares after all? The law regarding tax deductions and expenses is as follows: “In the case of an individual, there shall be allowed as a deduction all the ordinary and necessary…
“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” – Warren Buffett.  Lots of people have followed Warren Buffet’s advice by saving and investing so their money can earn them an independent income one day. These investments generate interest, dividends and other kids of income. However, even the wisest investor will have a personal life and, sometimes, that means divorce.  How is interest, dividend and other income treated in an Illinois divorce? Asset Division In An Illinois Divorce Assets that generate income are divisible in a divorce if the assets are marital property. After the designation of…
In almost every Illinois divorce financial documents will be exchanged between the parties. This exchange always includes the parties’ taxes, which may have been filed together. The tax return usually tells 90% of a divorcing party’s financial story in regards to income. Understanding a spouse’s income may not be possible by reviewing their income tax returns alone. When those taxes were prepared, the preparer used other documents in order to know how to fill out the parties’ 1040 tax return. If the spouse had an income it likely came from a job. The spouse’s employer provided the spouse with…
A house is a peculiar asset in an Illinois divorce. A house is usually the biggest asset and the biggest debt that two married people share. Moreover, a house’s mortgage is usually the biggest monthly expense the parties share. Furthermore, the house is where the parties and their children live. The house is the setting for all the memories, good and bad, of a marriage. But, divorce happens…and the following must occur: assets and debts have to be divided while both parties have to find a place to live. So, who gets the house after an Illinois divorce? Who Gets…
A marriage with a homemaker is often a symbiotic relationship where everyone is happier for it…until they’re not. After a divorce, there can be no further cooperation. The homemaker either has to get a job, request alimony, child support and/or a greater share of marital assets. During an Illinois divorce, stay at home parents, homemakers and their spouses face special considerations as their lawyers and the divorce courts try to rebalance their now separate lives. Homemakers and Maintenance (Formerly Known As Alimony) In An Illinois Divorce In almost every case involving a homemaker or stay at home parent, there will…
Diversification is the investment strategy whereby holding a variety of assets creates a greater long-term return because the variety reduces risk. In addition to thousands of tradable stocks and bonds, the average investor may also own real estate. The advantage of owning real estate as an investment is that you can borrow to buy the real estate (creating a higher return), the interest on that loan is tax-deductible, the calculated depreciation is also tax-deductible and, if the property is rented, there is rental income. The downsides to owning property are that the property must be physically maintained, the property tax…
Tax returns are a record of an individual’s income that are presented to the United States federal government. If the tax returns are not complete and factual, the filer can face a myriad of penalties and possible criminal prosecution. So, tax returns are an extremely reliable source of information in an Illinois divorce. Understanding a tax return is something that every divorce litigant and divorce attorney needs to be familiar with. One of the first things to happen in an Illinois divorce is the exchange of initial financial documents. The first initial financial document is the financial affidavit.…
People get divorced but it is rarely their last relationship. “Love is waiting for you,” I’ll joke with my clients during the darkest hours of the divorce process. A year later, I’ll see them on the street with their new boyfriend or girlfriend. Getting into a new relationship either during or after a divorce is healthy for everyone involved but it can affect issues of support and parenting time after an Illinois divorce. While most people acknowledge that mere dating is inevitable, parties to a divorce can get uncomfortable when their ex begins living with someone else. Under Illinois divorce…
In the United States there are thirteen different unions that represent railroad workers with a total of over 140,000 members. These railroad workers do not pay social security taxes. Instead, they pay taxes to a separate fund administered by the Railroad Retirement Board, an independent government agency. The Railroad Retirement Board issues annuity payments to railroad workers when they retire in lieu of social security. In an Illinois divorce, pensions are divisible but social security is not. So, what happens to railroad pensions and benefits after an Illinois divorce? What Happens To Most Pensions In Illinois After an Illinois divorce,…
Almost all states allow property brought into the marriage to remain non-marital. Thus, divorce law allows the person who brought the property into the marriage to take that property out at the end of the divorce. Illinois is no exception.  The rules for determining what assets have remained non-marital throughout the course of a marriage are far more strict in Illinois than in other states, however. The concept of “tracing non-marital assets” or “tracing non-marital contributions” may be common in other states like Florida. In Illinois, hardly any tracing is allowed as commingling pre-empts tracing claims. But, if…
Mortgages typically consume 25 to 33 percent of a household’s total income. A mortgage is usually a household’s biggest expense. Additionally, mortgages are usually tied to a household’s biggest asset, the marital home. Failure to pay a mortgage means a married couple’s biggest asset is at risk of foreclosure. For all these reasons, the mortgage payment needs to be addressed during Illinois divorce proceedings. So, who pays the mortgage during an Illinois divorce? Is The Mortgage A Marital Debt? In regards to debt, in the Illinois divorce process, the first step determining whether a debt is “marital”…
Children are a blessing…but sometimes their timing is way off. When you’re going through a divorce and you get pregnant or your spouse gets pregnant, your divorce gets a lot more complicated.  Still, that baby is coming and can be dealt with in your Illinois divorce. In Illinois the law doesn’t say much about pregnancy during a divorce. “Virtually everything about a dissolution of a marriage is statutory” In Re: Marriage of Jeffrey D. SKELTON, 5-04-0262. “[T]he State of Illinois has no [statutory] provision [that deals with pregnancy during a divorce]” In Re: Marriage of Jeffrey D. SKELTON, 5-04-0262. In…
If you do something wrong in a court case, you could be held in contempt of court.  What is contempt in an Illinois divorce case? The definition of contempt is broad. “The act of demeaning the court, preventing justice administration, or disobeying a sentence of the court.” Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014) In Illinois courts can use contempt proceedings for basically any reason. “A court is vested with inherent power to enforce its orders and preserve its dignity by the use of contempt proceedings.” People v. Warren, 173 Ill. 2d 348, 368, 671 N.E.2d 700, 710 (1996). The reason for…