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As the days get longer, and the air conditioning units start to continuously flip on, more people and their dogs will get outside to enjoy the sun. This article offers legal points to helpmake sure you and your canine friend are law abiding members of the community. Dog Law 101 Your responsibilities as a pet owner: • Under Illinois law, you are legally the owner of an animal if you have rights of property in an animal, keep or harbor an animal, have it in your car, act as the animal’s custodian,or permit the pet to remain on premises you…
Divorcing people have a variety of goals. Some are looking to escape a toxic relationship or a spouse that has been physically or financially unfaithful. Others are bored with their lives and looking for a fresh start. Still, others are simply looking for happiness away from their spouse. Regardless of the origin or motivation behind a divorce, many look to the divorce process to achieve emotional justice. They believe the divorce itself can be used to remedy all of the pain and indignity they suffered at the hands of an insensitive or abusive spouse. But this quest is unfortunately futile.…
Many couples reject the formalities of marriage and instead choose to live together in a committed relationship.  Often referred to as a “common law marriage,” couples who live together do not have the same rights as married spouses. Illinois (like most states) does not recognize common-law marriages. But what happens when unmarried couples decide to break up?  What are their rights or claims against the other? Here is a summary of Illinois law as it applies to unmarried couples: Children Formerly classified as legal bastards, children born to an unmarried couple have historically suffered not only second class legal rights…
In recognition of the World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day on June 1, I wanted to address some of the very real challenges for anyone divorcing a narcissist. According to psychcentral.com, over 158 million Americans suffer from narcissistic abuse. As a divorce lawyer of over 30 years, I have seen patterns of behavior in divorces involving narcissists. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, one thing is certain–a divorce from an abusive narcissist is never pretty! In his book, “The Laws of Human Nature,” the brilliant writer Robert Greene observes we are all, to a certain degree, narcissists but there is a malignant…
The Illinois Adoption Act allows for the termination of parental rights in conjunction with an adoption. In order to do this, there must first be a showing that a biological parent is “unfit,” as defined in the adoption act. While the Adoption Act provides several grounds of unfitness, one of the most prevalent is the parent’s failure to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern or responsibility as to the child’s welfare. If you’re wondering whether your child’s parent may be considered unfit due to his or her failure to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, consider the following questions:…
If you believe that your soon-to-be ex-spouse will be honest about the disclosure and division of assets and income, think again! According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, nearly one-third of U.S. couples filing for divorce engage in financial infidelity. Financial fraud in divorce commonly involves one spouse hiding or misrepresenting assets to tweak the divorce settlement in his or her favor. Moreover, the sting of failing in a relationship can leave couples too stressed to think of such matters. Don’t let money matters take a back seat amidst the emotional drama that unfolds during a divorce proceeding. Use…
Getting a divorce is stressful enough, but having to worry about your fur family as well is unbearable for most. A law effective January 1, 2018, allows Illinois courts to allocate the sole or joint ownership of (and responsibility for) a companion animal of the parties. In determining how to allocate ownership and responsibility of a companion animal, the court can consider the well-being of the companion animal.  Prior to the new law, courts were not explicitly granted authority to consider the well-being of animals when determining who gets them, and thus, animals were allocated as if they were ordinary…
Having a baby is a joyful period in a couple’s life. Yet, in cases of infidelity, abandonment, abuse, or irreconcilable differences between couples, divorce may be the only option. The pain of going through a divorce can leave anyone emotionally distraught, but with pregnancy, the situation gets complicated beyond imagination. If you are an expectant mother heading towards divorce, you have a lot on your plate. Besides experiencing bitter emotions and managing the complicated legal paperwork, the hormonal changes can make it tough for you to remain sane during this period. However, it is important for you to put this…
Divorce is tough on kids; yet, research reveals effective co-parenting can help divorced couples raise independent and confident kids, thereby helping the family navigate future trials and tribulations. Conscious co-parenting can make your kids feel secure and assured of the love of both their parents, encouraging them to easily adjust to your marital split and the new living conditions. The hardest part of a divorce is feeling forced to stay in touch with your ex, who is the other parent to your kids. Use the effective advice shared in this post to partner with your ex-spouse and raise happy and…
Getting a divorce can be complex as well as harrowing. Though most divorce lawyers are experts in their domain, not all are capable of giving an honest opinion about your legal rights. When you hire a divorce attorney, you are entrusting him/her with the most sensitive aspects of your life. Consequently, a divorce attorney should not only be able to understand your personal situation and its effects on your family but also offer sound advice, thereby helping you through this difficult phase. Whether you are facing a mentally-upsetting decision to separate or defending a domestic violence injunction, you deserve a…
Introduction Under longstanding tax law, maintenance was tax deductible by the payer and taxable income to the recipient. By using maintenance, families could shift income from a higher earning spouse’s upper tax rate to the lower earning spouse’s often negligible tax rate. As a result, families had more cash available to divide as part of the divorce settlement. Due to recent changes in federal tax law, original maintenance (or alimony) orders entered after January 1, 2019 will no longer be tax affected. As a result, a valuable divorce planning tool has vanished. This article provides an overview of our former law and…
Regardless of their age, kids are the worst affected during a divorce. Statistics reveal, nearly 50 percent of all American kids witness their parental separation by the age of 16, affecting their physical and emotional state of mind. Sadly, when they are unable to cope with the stress, they display upsetting reactions of shock, gloominess, frustration, and anger. More often than not, divorcing couples become so occupied with their own emotions and the legal paperwork that they barely have the time or the patience to focus on their kids’ feelings. If divorce is imminent, it is critical that you…
When two individuals marry, their intentions are often to live a happy married life and care for each other. However, the soaring divorce rates in the U.S. tell us that the intention of living happily-ever-after is seldom achieved. Furthermore, numerous American couples are enduring a bad marital bond either because they do not want to break up or wrongly believe their relationship is salvageable. If you are in a toxic relationship with your spouse and feel that separation is not the solution, think again! Deciding to go your separate ways isn’t easy; however, staying in an unhappy marriage can have…
By Melissa Rister, CPA, CDFA at Peskind Law Firm There has been a lot of concern and excitement surrounding the new tax laws. Here are several changes that could impact already divorced couples or those considering a divorce in the future:   Net Incomes are changing: Standard deductions have been increased while the deductions for dependents have been eliminated. There are caps on the amounts allowed on common deductions like mortgage interest, state and local taxes paid. Tax brackets and tax rates have changed. All of this amounts to a sometimes significant change in the after-tax or “net income” for…