On August 12, 2016, Governer Rauner signed into law Public Act 99-0764, which will change the manner in which Illinois divorce courts calculate child support. The law will be effective on July 1, 2017 and will modify two sections of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act ("The IMDMA"), specifically 750 ILCS 5/505 and 750 ILCS 5/510.
According to the current child support law, which you can read about here, courts are directed to award as child support certain minimum percentages of the non-custodial parent's net income, regardless of the income of the custodial parent. The new law replaces these minimum guidelines with an "income shares" model, which is already in use in most other states.
Property values in the past few years have plummeted, yet homeowners find themselves paying higher property taxes than ever before. Your property taxes are linked to the fair market value of your home; however, when the fair market value of your home is uncertain, the tax assessment may be inaccurate. Due to the slow-paced real estate market, fewer homes are being purchased, making it difficult to get a fair estimate of what someone might pay for a home in your area, let alone a home similar to yours. Assessors do not have the raw data to work with as they did in the past, so they must refer to outdated information and do the best they can. Therefore, because many homeowners feel they have more accurate information than the assessor, they decide to appeal the assessment of their property.
Illinois Child Support Modification Explained | What is a "Substantial Change in Circumstances" for Modifying Child Support?
When Can Child Support Be Modified in Illinois?
There are several ways that a divorce case can be resolved: litigation, arbitration, mediation, attorney-assisted mediation, collaborative divorce, and cooperative divorce. In this article, we will explain collaborative divorce and cooperative divorce as alternative dispute resolution techniques in marital dissolution cases, and compare the pros and cons of each.
Prior to July 1, 2015, the amount and duration of spousal maintenance awards in Illinois divorces, also known as alimony or spousal support, were determined at the discretion of the court by the judge weighing several factors specifically listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/101, et seq.) (the "IMDMA"). However, in 2015, law was passed that changed this calculation.
According to the new law, the court will weigh these factors to determine whether maintenance is appropriate. However, if maintenance is appropriate, the court is now instructed to use specific formulas to determine both the amount and the duration of the award in most cases. In certain cases, courts are permitted to deviate from the statutory formulas, in which case the divorce court will use the statutory factors to determine the amount and duration of the maintenance award.
In this article, we will provide an in-depth explanation of the factors courts consider in determining whether maintenance is necessary and the amount and duration of alimony payments when the statutory formula is not applied. We will also discuss when the spousal maintenance formula is to be applied and explain the calculations used in the formula.
This article is the sixth in a series of nine articles explaining the Eight Goals of a Good Estate Plan. In this article we will explain estate tax and discuss some tools used to avoid it or minimize it.
What is Estate Tax?
In addition to the taxes that you pay during your lifetime, both the federal and the Illinois state governments require your estate to pay a tax before passing to your heirs. The good news is that both the federal and state estate taxes are subject toexemptions. If the value of your estate is less than the applicable exemption the estate tax in question will not apply. Only amounts over and above the applicable exemption are taxable.
What is a living will? In this article we will discuss using a Living Will to provide for end of life instruction. This article is the fifth in a series of nine articles explaining the Eight Goals of a Good Estate Plan.
In our previous article, we discussed using a Healthcare Power of Attorney to appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are mentally incompetent. A Living Will is a tool used to make the decision, while you are still mentally competent, to terminate life-sustaining treatment in the event that you are in an irreversible vegetative state. The Living Will takes this decision out of the hands of your healthcare agent.
How to Prevent a Guardianship Proceeding Using Healthcare Powers of Attorney | Illinois Estate Planning
This article is the fourth in a series of nine articles explaining the Eight Goals of a Good Estate Plan. In this Article we will discuss using Powers of Attorney to avoid the necessity of lengthy and costly guardianship proceedings if you become mentally incompetent.
What is a guardianship proceeding?
If you become mentally incompetent, whether through injury, disease, or simply old age, your spouse or next of kin cannot simply take over the management of your financial affairs and major life decisions. If your loved one would like to sell your house or access your accounts for your benefit, or check you into a long-term care facility, he or she will not be able to do so unless either:
This article is the third in a series of nine articles explaining the Eight Goals of a Good Estate Plan. In this article we will discuss using a trust to ensure that your estate avoids probate when you pass.
This article is the second in a series of nine articles explaining the Eight Goals of a Good Estate Plan. This article will explain how an estate plan can help you with the first goal of a good estate plan: Appointment of Fiduciaries and Distribution of Assets. For the sake of readability, I have broken this article into two parts. This “part A” will discuss distribution of assets. Next week’s “part B” will discuss appointment of fiduciaries.
A. Distribution of Assets
In Illinois, if an individual dies without a will or a trust, state statute determines what will be done with her assets. This is called dying intestate. When an individual dies intestate, the assets will be distributed in equal shares to the first of the following groups that contains a living member:
This article is the second in a series of nine articles explaining the Eight Goals of a Good Estate Plan.
This article will explain how an estate plan can help you with the first goal of a good estate plan:Appointment of Fiduciaries and Distribution of Assets.
For the sake of readability, I have broken this article into two parts. Last week’s “part A” discussed distribution of assets. This “part B” will discuss appointment of Fiduciaries.
This article is the first in a series of nine articles explaining the Eight Goals of a Good Estate Plan. The next eight articles in this series will each examine one of the Eight Goals of a Good Estate Plan in detail and explain the tools we use to accomplish that goal.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with a road map of the goals and the tools we use for each.
When you sign a contract for the purchase or sale of residential real estate, you will typically have 5 days to review the contract with your attorney in order for your attorney to modify its terms. Check out our previous article, Attorney Modification of Residential Real Estate Contracts, for more on this topic. In this article, we will discuss the top 5 things you should be on the look out for when reviewing the contract with your real estate attorney.
Illinois Probate: What is the difference between independent administration and supervised administration?
The purpose of this article is to explain the difference between supervised administration and independent administration for probate cases in Illinois. For some foundational information about the probate process, please check out the "Further Reading" section below.
Probate cases can be handled in one of two ways: Supervised Administration and Independent Administration. Supervised Administration requires the executor or administrator of the estate to seek court approval for most decisions that he or she makes. Independent Administration, on the other hand allows the executor to potentially appear in court only twice: once at the opening of the probate estate, in order to be appointed executor; and a second time at the closing of the estate in order to file his or her final report with the court, close the case, and be discharged as executor.
In a child custody proceeding, the court will make its determination of custody issues based on the "best interest of the child." The best interest of the child is determined on a case-by-case basis by weighing several factors listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) as well as any other factors that the court finds relevant, including those that have been developed by case law.
The factors listed in the IMDMA are:
A lawsuit is initiated in Illinois when the Plaintiff files a document called a Complaint, stating a cause of action which would entitle the plaintiff from relief from the court, and requesting damages or other relief from the court. The complaint lays out the relevant allegations in the case that would entitle the plaintiff to a claim against the defendant.
After the complaint has been filed, the defendant can either file an Answer, which admits or denies the allegations of the plaintiff and raises any affirmative defenses that would defeat the plaintiff claims; or, the defendant can file a Motion to Dismiss, which states that there is either a defect in the Complaint or some other affirmative matter which requires the court to dismiss the case.
"Why should I have a Healthcare Power of Attorney?" In this Learn About Law podcast & videoblog, Illinois estate planning attorney attorney Kevin O'Flaherty of O'Flaherty Law discusses how to use Powers of Attorney to avoid costly guardianship proceedings in the case of mental competency.
Special Needs Trusts, also known as Supplemental Needs Trusts, are a tool that allow individuals with disabilities to earn income, accumulate wealth, receive gifts and inheritances, and maintain a quality lifestyle while still qualifying for government benefits.
Many government programs for which disabled individuals may be eligible, such as Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and vocational rehabilitation, require that, in order to receive benefits, the disabled individual must have less than $2,000.00 in assets. Most also require that the individual’s income be less than a certain threshold level.
5 reasons to work with an attorney when incorporating your business: Why Should I Use An Attorney to Incorporate My Business?
In a previous article, we discussed the benefits of incorporating. In this article we will discuss why it makes sense to hire an attorney to set up your corporation or LLC.
The purpose of this article is to explain the probate process. Probate is a court case wherein the probate court oversees the administration of an estate in order to ensure proper payment to heirs and creditors. If probate is necessary, your attorney will follow these steps to administer the estate through the probate court. The probate process is slightly different depending on whether the decedent had a will in place at the time of death. If there is a will in place, the estate is called a Testate Estate. If the decedent died without a will, the estate is called an Intestate Estate. This article will deal with probate administration of a Testate Estate. In a future article, I will address the differences between administering a Testate Estate and an Intestate Estate, so please stay tuned.
In civil litigation, the purpose of a trial is for either a jury or the judge to decide facts that are in dispute. If the plaintiff's story differs from that of the defendant, the trier of fact (the judge or jury) must decide which story is more likely to be true, and rule in that party's favor.
However, sometimes a trial is not necessary. Parties file motions for summary judgment, requesting judgment in their favor without a trial, when either there is no dispute as to the material facts, or the other side cannot prove their claims or defenses.
When you sell or purchase a home, your realtor will usually present you with a widely used form contract. The realtor will have the ability to customize that form to fit your needs. The contract will typically provide that each party's attorney will have 5 business days to (1) approve the contract; (2) reject the contract; or (3) negotiate modifications to the contract.
During this 5 day period, the contract is contingent upon attorney approval. If your attorney fails to reject or seek to modify the contract within the 5 day period, the contract will automatically be binding upon you after the 5 day period expires.
If you have fled another country based on a “well-founded fear of persecution” based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, you may be eligible for Asylum in the United States. If you are granted asylum, after entering the United States either legally or illegally, you will be permitted to remain a resident in the United States. Both refugees from outside of the country and individuals who have entered the country illegally are eligible for asylum.
There are two pathways that individuals seeking asylum can follow: (1) Affirmative Asylum; and (2) Defensive Asylum.
In this episode of the Learn About Law podcast & videoblog, Kevin O'Flaherty of O'Flaherty Law discusses when probate is necessary in order to administer the estate of a deceased individual. Probate is typically necessary in Illinois when the decedent owns any real estate or more than $100,000.00 of non-real-estate assets outside of a trust. If probate is necessary, then the executor of the estate must receive Letters of Office from the probate court in order to collect the assets of the estate for the payment of creditors and heirs or legatees. If probate is not necessary, then the executor or trustee can administer the estate immediately with the use of a small estate affidavit.
In this Learn About Law podcast & videoblog, attorney Kevin O'Flaherty of O'Flaherty Law discusses the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy process in Illinois including filing the bankruptcy petition, taking credit counseling courses, preparing bankruptcy schedules, appearance at the first meeting of creditors, and creditors' objections to discharge.
Illinois Law Blog: Learn About Law
O’Flaherty Law is based in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, and Naperville, Illinois. Our team has expertise in many areas of law including but not limited to bankruptcy law, business & corporate representation, civil litigation, criminal defense, estate planning, divorce & family law, immigration; probate, guardianship & elder law; and real estate law. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free consultation, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (630)324-6666.
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Located in Downers Grove, Illinois, O'Flaherty Law serves DuPage County, Dekalb County, Will County, Cook County, Lake County, Kendall County, Kane County, McHenry County Winnebago County in Illinois, as well as the following cities: Wheaton, Naperville, Woodridge, Downers Grove, Darien, Willowbrook, Westmont, Lisle, Oak Brook, Warrenville, Glen Ellyn, Aurora, North Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, Lemont, Joliet, Bolingbrook, Plainfield, Crest Hill, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Northbrook, Highland Park and Chicago.
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