Multi-Family Adjustment in Child Support

multi family adjustmentIllinois law governs the method of calculating child support in a dissolution or parentage proceeding. The method of calculating child support was modified in July 2017. Since then, parties and attorneys alike have been adjusting to the new method of determining child support.

One of the interesting points of the July 2017 changes to child support calculations is something called the multi-family adjustment. This adjustment allows for a deduction when determining a party’s income for child support purposes based on the fact that they have other children whom they support.[1]These other children can be children from a prior or a subsequent relationship.

There are two types of multi-family adjustments. The first type is for those with an order to support another child. In cases where a party has a court order to support another child, the amount of support being paid for the other child is deducted from that party’s net income calculation because the person paying child support is credited for their payments towards their other child’s support.[2]

The second type of multi-family adjustment is for those without an order to support another child. When a person is supporting another child or children but there is no court order requiring such, there are standard deductions taken from the supporting party’s income in order to account for that support.[3]This comes up most often in cases in which parties have separated and one party has entered into a relationship with another person, had another child and is still in a relationship with the other parent of the subsequent child. In these cases, although the parent is supporting the subsequent child in a two-parent household and therefore not paying child support, they are still given credit for the funds they must use to support the subsequent child.

Because the multi-family adjustment can make a significant impact to any child support determination under Illinois law, it is important to inform your attorney if either you or the other party have any children from prior or subsequent relationships.

If you have any questions about how the multi-family adjustment for child support may effect your case or other child support or family law issues, please contact Sherer Law Offices at shererlaw.com or 618-692-6656.

The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult with an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, emails, and communications.  Contacting our offices does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not send any confidential information to us unless and until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Past results do not guarantee future results. Every case is different and is decided on its own merits. Any testimonials or endorsements regarding services do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. 

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.

[1]750 ILCS 5/505(3)(F)(I)

[2]750 ILCS 5/505(3)(F)(I)(i)

[3]750 ILCS 5/505(3)(F)(I)(ii)

Changes to the Illinois Car Seat Law in 2019

Illinois car seat lawThe new year will bring changes to the Illinois laws regarding child safety seats. As of January 1, 2019, Illinois will require up to age 2 to be secured in a rear-facing car seat, unless the child weighs more than 40 pounds or is taller than 40 inches.[1]  This amendment to the Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner in August of 2018.  The amendment is intended to ensure the safety of children riding in cars and educate parents on the risks of using improper car seats.

Previously, Illinois only required drivers to use an approved safety seat for children under 8 years of age, but did not specifically require a rear-facing seat for children under the age of 2.  The new law brings Illinois into compliance with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Recommendations on car seats. Children needing a rear-facing car seat may sit in a rear-facing only car seat or in a convertible car seat that is installed to be rear-facing while the child is using it.

The AAP recently issued an updated policy statement recommending children remain in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, as research has revealed this to be the safest position for children in the event of an accident.[2]   Their report was supported by biometric research, crash simulations, as well as data collected from some European countries, which have required young children to ride in rear-facing car seats for several years.

Their research has shown that placing children in rear-facing car seats protects children’s head, neck and spine in ways front-facing car seats cannot.  This is primarily because the hard shell of the rear safety seat is designed to absorb most of the crash force if a car is in an accident.  When riding in a forward-facing seat, although the child’s body is appropriately restrained, the child’s head can jolt forward during a crash, possibly leading to spinal, head, and neck injuries.  In fact, one study has shown rear-facing car seats for children between 12-24 months are approximately 532% safer than forward-facing seats.[3]

While the act requires all children under the age of 2 to ride in rear-facing car seats unless the child weighs more than 40 pounds or is more than 40 inches tall, it also requires all children under the age of 8 to be properly secured in a United States Department of Transportation approved child restraint system. This means that children between the ages of 2-4 must use a car seat with a harness restraint, and children over the age of 4 may generally use a belt-positioning booster seat.  Weight and height requirements remain for each type of car seat, and you should always follow the car seat system that is in line with your child’s current height and weight.  It remains the parent or guardian’s responsibility to provide any driver transporting their children with an appropriate car seat.  First time violators will be fined $75, and second time violators with be fined $200.[4]

Illinois offers programs to help you with the proper installation of car seats. The Secretary of State’s office offers educational presentations regarding basic car seat installation and information regarding child passenger laws.[5] There are also car seat fitting stations throughout the state, which provide car seat inspections by certified child safety seat technicians.[6] Further, most local fire departments will help you install child car seats in order to ensure the proper installation.

For more information and help regarding this or other traffic matters, please contact Sherer Law Offices at (618) 692-6656.

The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult with an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, emails, and communications.  Contacting our offices does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not send any confidential information to us unless and until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Past results do not guarantee future results. Every case is different and is decided on its own merits. Any testimonials or endorsements regarding services do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. 

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.

 

[1]625 ILCS 25/4

[2]https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Updates-Recommendations-on-    Car-Seats-for-Children.aspx

[3]https://wereparents.com/illinois-car-seat-laws-2018/

[4]https://herald-review.com/news/local/public_safety/new-illinois-law-kids-under-must-be-in-rear-facing/article_c9300a39-10ca-5e89-beb8-2bb37ec37eb4.html

[5]IOffice of the Illinois Secretary of State, “Child Passenger Safety Requirements,” https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/childsafety.html (accessed Nov. 30, 2018).

[6]Id.

Pet Visitation In The State Of Illinois

pet visitationIt is common knowledge that when parties divorce, they have to figure out how to share time with their children and divide their personal property, among other issues. However, one thing that may not be regularly considered, except perhaps by some pet lovers, is determining which party will keep a pet.

On a temporary basis, Section 501 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act permits either party to request, on a temporary basis, sole or joint possession of and responsibility for a companion animal, or pet, that is owned jointly by the parties.[1] In determining who should get possession of the pet, the court considers the well-being of the pet.[2]

Illinois law also provides a provision for determining ultimate ownership of pets at the finalization of a divorce. Section 503 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that if the court finds a companion animal of the parties to be a marital asset, the court will allocate sole or joint ownership of and responsibility for the pet.[3] Again, in making this determination, the Court is to consider the “well-being” of the companion animal.[4] It is important to note here that the definition “companion animal” does not include service animals.[5] Because of the nature of their work, service animals remain with the individual who requires their service.

Prior to 2018, family pets were simply treated as property to be divided up between the parties at the time of divorce. In fact, in 2015, the First District Appellate Court decided a case, In re Marriage of Enders,  in which the trial court had entered an order temporarily granting “joint custody” of the parties’ dogs.[6] However, the wife denied the husband visitation of the dogs and he filed for visitation of the dogs prior to the final trial.[7] The trial court found that, despite the order granting joint custody, the husband had no visitation rights under the law at that time and the Appellate Court affirmed such.[8] The Appellate Court’s reasoning in 2015 was that under the Animal Control Act the wife was the “owner” because she was the one who “keeps or harbors” the dogs and has them in her care.[9] Interestingly, the EndersCourt warned that awarding pet visitation “would only serve as an invitation for endless post-divorce litigation,” citing a New York Supreme Court case.[10] Despite this warning, Illinois changed its laws in 2018 to allow for sole or joint possession of pets, as described above.

Because these changes to the statute are still relatively new, we do not yet know how courts will treat ownership of pets going forward.  There are many questions that will be answered in the coming years as the courts clarify the role of pet visitation and ownership in a divorce proceeding. Some of these questions include, how will the Court determine the “well-being” of the animal, will parenting plans need to be prepared for the schedule of the animals, will the parties have to agree on a course of treatment if an animal is sick or injured, and many more.

If you have any questions regarding pet visitation, divorce, or other legal matters, please contact our office for help at shererlaw.com or 618-692-6656.

The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult with an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, emails, and communications.  Contacting our offices does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not send any confidential information to us unless and until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Past results do not guarantee future results. Every case is different and is decided on its own merits. Any testimonials or endorsements regarding services do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. 

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.

[1]750 ILCS 501(f)

[2]Id.

[3]750 ILCS 503(n)

[4]Id.

[5]Id.

[6]In re Marriage of Enders, 48 N.E.3d 1277 (1stDist. App., 2015).

[7]Id.

[8]Id.

[9]Id.

[10]Id.

2019 Changes to Illinois Maintenance Laws

changes to Illinois Maintenance lawsStarting January 1, 2019, the Illinois maintenance guidelines are undergoing changes that may impact your pending divorce.  Under both the current and new maintenance guidelines, the law sets out certain calculations to be used in determining the amount of maintenance. These calculations apply when the gross annual income of both parties is less than $500,000.00 and the person who will be paying the maintenance is not under an obligation from a prior relationship to pay child support, maintenance, or both.[1]  In cases where a party is already obligated to pay child support or maintenance from a previous relationship, or when the gross annual income of the parties is more than $500,000.00, the court will determine the amount of maintenance, if any, by looking at things such as the parties’ age, health, work history, length of marriage, and other factors.

Under the current 2018 guidelines, maintenance is calculated by taking 30% of the payor’s grossannual income minus 20% of the payee’s gross annual income. Regardless of the calculation, the final maintenance amount is not to exceed 40% of the combined gross income of the parties.

However, this calculation will change after December 31, 2018.  The calculations to be used when the parties’ combined gross annual income is under $500,000 have undergone some significant changes. Starting January 1, 2019, maintenance will now be calculated by taking 33 and 1/3% of the payor’s net annual income minus 25% of the payee’s net annual income.[2]

Another major change for maintenance payments beginning in 2019 is that maintenance payments will no longer be deductible for the payor and the payee will no longer claim such payments as income tax.  Keep in mind, however, that if your maintenance order was entered prior to January 1, 2019, the old tax rules will apply, unless you later agree otherwise. This means that the payor will still be entitled to deduct those payments and the payee will be required to claim the payments as income, unless the parties expressly agree otherwise.

For more information and help regarding a divorce, maintenance obligations, maintenance tax consequences, or other matters, please contact Sherer Law Offices at (618) 692-6656.

The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult with an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, emails, and communications.  Contacting our offices does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not send any confidential information to us unless and until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Past results do not guarantee future results. Every case is different and is decided on its own merits. Any testimonials or endorsements regarding services do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. 

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.

[1]750 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/504 Effective until January 1, 2019

[2]750 ILCS 5/504 Effective January 1, 2019

Can I Be Required to Pay for College and Post-Minority Support After My Divorce?

pay for collegeIs Post-Minority Support Unconstitutional?

Divorcing with college-age children may lead to the inevitable question of who will pay for college expenses of the child. In Illinois, Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act controls this question. Section 513 provides that the Court may require either party to contribute to the educational expenses of a child over the age of 18. These educational expenses may include tuition and fees, housing expenses, medical expenses, living expenses of the child, and the cost of books and supplies. The important thing to note here is that this section says “may,” because parents are not required to contribute the post-secondary expenses of their children with the same certainty as when the child is under the age of 18.

This statute has been challenged in the past and found to be constitutional. Specifically, in 1978, the Illinois Supreme Court decided a case challenging the constitutionality of Section 513. The Court said the statute was constitutional and discussed their belief that children of divorced parents were less likely to receive assistance from their parents for college education than children of married or single parents.[1] In 1988, the Second Appellate District said that this rationale also applied to cases where the parents had never been married. [2]

The reasoning behind these 1978 and 1988 cases may seem outdated now. In Illinois the “average” family, statistically, is no longer a two-parent married household, in fact in 2011 only 46% of children under age 18 lived in a two-parent married household. [3]

A recent DuPage County case brought these changing norms to light when it again challenged the constitutionality of Section 513. [4] In this case, Yakich v. Aulds, both parents were ordered to pay 40% of the college expenses for their daughter and the daughter was ordered to pay the final 20%. However, the mother paid the daughter’s portion of the expenses.  The father, Yakich, argued that parental decision-making with respect to college contribution exists for married persons, but this input ends for non-married couples, and he was therefore unable to give meaningful input into his daughter’s college decision-making process. He further argued that because of this lack of input, non-married parties can be forced to bear a burden with respect to their child’s college expenses when they had no say in where their child went to school or how much tuition cost. This obligation, he argued, does not exist for parties who are married or single, who are not required to contribute to their children’s college expenses, violating the equal protection clause. The Court largely agreed with the father in this case and found that divorced or never married parents are not provided the same input and ability to educate their children as married persons are permitted. Further, because the Court found that there is no rational basis for this difference, it determined that equal protection was denied to the father in this case and Section 513 was unconstitutional as applied to him.

This case does not completely abolish Section 513, as it only decided regarding one specific situation.  However, it puts this statute on the chopping block if other Courts were to agree with the Yakich v. Aulds Court and find other circumstances in which a party being required to pay college expenses would be unconstitutional.

TheYakich v. Auldscase is currently on appeal. We will keep this blog updated when the higher courts give their ruling.

The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult with an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, emails, and communications.  Contacting our offices does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not send any confidential information to us unless and until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Past results do not guarantee future results. Every case is different and is decided on its own merits. Any testimonials or endorsements regarding services do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. 

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.

[1]Kujawinksi v. Kujawinski, 71 Ill.2d 563 (1978).

[2]Rawles v. Hartman, 172 Ill.App.3d 931 (2d Dist., 1988).

[3]Yakich v. Aulds, 15-F-651 (DuPage Cnty May 4, 2018) (citing Livingston, Gretchen “Fewer than Half of U.S. Kids Today Live in a ‘Traditional’ Family,” PewResearch Center, December 22, 2014, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/22/less-than-half-of-u-s-kids-today-live-in-a-traditional-family.

[4]Yakich v. Aulds, 15-F-651 (DuPage Cnty May 4, 2018).

 

The State Of Illinois Turns 200

Illinois2018 marks the 200th anniversary of Illinois’ statehood, as well as the creation of our Supreme Court. With this milestone in mind, Sherer Law would like to take the opportunity to step back and reflect on our history and some on the great legal minds who have shaped our State.

On December 3, 1818 Illinois was promoted from a United States territory to the 21stState to join the Union.  However, in order for Illinois to be granted full statehood status, we first had to adopt our own constitution.  Our constitution shaped our current judicial system, creating our Supreme Court and providing for trial and appellate state courts to be created.[1]Originally, our Supreme Court consisted of a Chief Justice and only three Associate Justices.

The first Illinois Supreme Court Justices were appointed by the General Assembly, commissioned by the Governor, and elected for life. In 1848, our constitution was changed to require that the Supreme Court Justices would be elected by popular vote for a term of service.[2]  In 1870, our appellate court system was established. This was composed of circuit court judges appointed by our Supreme Court.

Currently, our Supreme Court is presided over by 7 Justices: Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier and Justices Robert R. Thomas, Thomas L. Kilbride, Rita B. Garman, Anne M. Burke, Mary Jane Theis, and P. Scott Neville Jr.  Each of whom will serve a 10-year term before being up for reelection. [3]

Many of the changes to our judicial system over the past 200 years are due to some of the great legal minds who have called Illinois their home.  Most of us will be familiar with the famous attorney and legal crusader from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, our 16thPresident of the United States. In fact, four of our Presidents have roots in Illinois.  Ronald Reagan, the only U.S. President born in Illinois; Ulysses S. Grant, who lived with his family in Illinois for some time; and Barack Obama, also an attorney, who lived and taught in Illinois.

George Leighton, a Federal District Court Judge who passed away this year, was another great legal mind from the state of Illinois.  Mr. Leighton was the son of immigrants, and he himself never graduated high school.[4]  He was forced to leave before graduation in order to work on an oil tanker to help provide for his family.  Nevertheless, he continued to study independently and eventually received his college diploma from Howard University.

From there he entered Harvard Law School in 1940.  His schooling was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the United States Army and was awarded the rank of Captain and received a Pacific Service Metal and a Bronze Star. After he completed his service, he returned to Harvard Law School and earned a Bachelor of Laws in 1946.

After graduation, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he fought to desegregate juries and schools, represented those who could not afford an attorney, and advocated for people facing the death penalty.  On December 19, 1975, President Ford nominated him to serve as a judge for the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois.  He served as a judge until retiring on November 30, 1987 and returning to private practice.  The Honorable Judge Leighton continued to work as an attorney until retiring at the age of 99.[5]After he passed away on on June 6, 2018, he was fittingly laid to rest in Arlington Nation Cemetery.

[1]http://www.idaillinois.org/cdm/ref/collection/isl2/id/167

[2]https://ballotpedia.org/Judicial_selection_in_Illinois

[3]http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/SupremeCourt/meetsupremecourt.asp

[4]http://www.jonathanpollard.org/2001/100501c.htm

[5]https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/obituaries/ct-met-george-leighton-dies-20180606-story.html

The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult with an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, emails, and communications.  Contacting our offices does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not send any confidential information to us unless and until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Past results do not guarantee future results. Every case is different and is decided on its own merits. Any testimonials or endorsements regarding services do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. 

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.

Divorce: How to Break it to the Kids

break it to the kidsOne of the worst parts of getting divorced is when you have to break it to the kids. Depending on how old the kids are and how much the marriage has deteriorated, they may have already guessed what’s happening, but you should still broach the subject carefully. We’ve come up with some tips to help.

Do It Together

It’s always hard to do things with your soon-to-be ex, but it’s important to remember that you will both continue to be parents, so this is a good time to start practicing how to raise the kids as a divorced couple.

Plan Ahead

There’s no way to map out exactly how a conversation will go, and you can’t expect it to happen just the way you plan it, but you can foresee some questions (maybe even objections) and decide how you’ll address them. Because you and your partner should have the conversation with your kids together, you should also complete the planning stage together. It’s important that you both agree on how and when to broach the subject, as well as the kind of language you’ll use. The words you choose to use can make a big difference, so it’s important that you decide carefully, agree on it beforehand, and stick to the plan.

Talk to Everyone at Once

If you have more than one child, be sure to talk to all the children at the same time. This is not a situation to deploy the “divide and conquer” strategy. While it might be tempting to try to talk to just one child at a time, in reality that will just lead to confusion for them and emotional exhaustion for you, since you’ll have to have the same tough conversation multiple times. It will also give them a chance to talk about it amongst themselves before you have a chance to talk to each of them, which will lead to rumors and fear.

Answer Any Questions

They’re bound to have questions: where will they live? Who will they live with? Will they still see both parents? Will they still be a family? It’s important to address all these questions and any others they might have in order to reassure them that your decision to end the marriage has nothing to do will your love for them.

Be Prepared for Multiple Conversations

It will take a while before they’ll be able to fully digest what you tell them and what it might mean for them. Be prepared for them to come back later with more questions and be open to answering all those questions. Just keep in mind the first rule of talking about divorce with the kids: do it together. You might not both be in the same room when one of your kids asks you about the divorce, (they’ll likely feel more comfortable talking to one parent than the other), just remember the words and language you and your partner decided on and continue to abide by that plan. You should also keep your partner in the loop about any questions or concerns your children are having, just as they should keep you abreast of anything that one of the children might approach them with after the initial conversation.

The attorneys at Sherer Law Offices have been providing legal representation for real estate cases, criminal cases, and all types of family law for more than 25 years. Our experienced divorce attorneys will take the time to really listen to your unique situation so that they can plan strategies that can best protect your best interests. 

The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult with an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, emails, and communications.  Contacting our offices does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not send any confidential information to us unless and until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Past results do not guarantee future results. Every case is different and is decided on its own merits. Any testimonials or endorsements regarding services do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. 

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.

What Does Divorce Look Like if You’re Over 50?

divorce over 50We all thought our lives would be set by the time we hit our 50s – that we would have it all figured out. But life doesn’t work that way. No matter what our age, there are always things that can surprise us, and that can include divorce.

Is Divorce the Same at Any Age?

Yes and no. The laws don’t change, but where you’re at in life has a significant effect on divorce proceedings. For example, one or both of you might have established careers and have compiled significant financial assets, all of which will have to be taken into account when dividing marital property.

If you have kids and one of you stayed home to raise them instead of working outside the home, that will have a significant effect on the spousal support the court will award. The parent that stayed home will find it hard to get a job because of both their age and how long they’ve been out of the workforce, so it’s possible that spousal support will be their only form of income.

Retirement

If you’re in your 50s, you’re probably starting to think about retirement – or you might even be one of the lucky few who managed to retire early. The reduced income you have in retirement could affect the amount of spousal support you have to pay, assuming you didn’t retire early (before age 65).

Social Security

If one spouse stayed home to raise the kids and take care of the house, they won’t have much Social Security of their own because they weren’t paying Social Security for all those years they weren’t in the workforce. In some cases, the court might award them a portion of their ex-spouse’s Social Security income, but only if they’re over the age of 62, have not remarried, the marriage lasted for at least ten years, and at least two years have passed since the divorce was finalized.

In general, retirement funds, such as 401k plans, IRA plans, and pension plans are considered marital assets if the parties contributed to the funds during the marriage, though there may be exceptions to this rule for things such as inherited IRAs or other inheritance or gifts.

Pension Plans

Pension Plans are also considered marital property (if earned partially or entirely during the marriage) and the Court typically awards each spouse a percentage of the pension plan.  A pension is divided though a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), in which case the pension plan administrator will send the payments directly to each spouse when the plan participant qualifies to receive same. This ensure payments to each party in the proper form and amount and allows each party to be taxed only on his/her portion of the benefits.

Survivor’s Benefits

You also might want to consider trying to negotiate for survivor benefits. Most pension plans give their workers the option of reducing their retirement benefits for themselves during their lifetime so that more can be paid to their spouse after the employee’s death. This is especially common in cases where the wife stayed home while her husband made the money  or the wife earned far less than the husband during the marriage.  Women tend to live, on average, seven years longer than men. That makes for a substantial amount of survivor’s benefits, so it’s worth it to at least try to get it included as part of your retirement division agreement.

No matter what stage you’re at in life when you and your spouse decide to split, you need a qualified family law attorney on your side – someone who will listen to your story and come up with the best solution for your needs.

The attorneys at Sherer Law Offices have been providing legal representation for real estate cases, criminal cases, and all types of family law for more than 25 years. Our experienced divorce attorneys will take the time to really listen to your unique situation so that they can plan strategies that can best protect your best interests. 

What if You Discover Hidden Assets During Your Divorce?

hidden assetsIn a 2014 survey, one in three people admitted to “cheating” financially on their spouse. It could be anything from hiding bills from their spouse to lying about how much money they make or how much debt they have, to something as big as hiding assets from their spouse. But everything tends to come out during a divorce, so what do you do if you’re in the middle of divorce proceedings and you suddenly discover hidden assets?

Tell Your Lawyer

If you hired a good divorce attorney, your attorney will attempt to find any hidden asset(s) during the discovery phase of the divorce proceedings. You will work closely with your attorney to review the financial discovery from the other party to see if anything appears off or suspicious.  If the attorney finds anything suspicious, they’ll know the next best steps to take from there. It could be anything from asking the judge for more time for the discovery process to filing a motion to have your spouse held in contempt of court. There are many reasons people hide money and assets during a divorce, but it’s against Illinois law, and depending on the circumstances, people who do so risk contempt of court and even perjury if they lied under oath about the hidden asset. That means they may have to pay some hefty fines and might even serve some jail time.

If you happen to find out about the asset on your own (for example, if you find a misplaced bill or bank statement), then the first thing you need to do is inform your lawyer so they can determine the next steps to take.

Look for the Warning Signs

If you think your spouse may be trying to hide money from you or the divorce court, here are some things to look for:

  • Overpaying taxes – some people do this so they can collect a large refund after the divorce has been finalized.
  • Delaying raises or bonuses – some people ask their employers to hold off on raises or bonuses until after their divorce is final. If your spouse had mentioned they were expecting a raise or bonus that never came and they suddenly stopped talking about it, that would be something to investigate.
  • Putting property in someone else’s name – if it looks like they gave away a lot of money or sold an asset for much less than it was worth, that’s suspicious behavior that should be investigated, especially if the person who now “owns” it is a friend or family member of your spouse.
  • Suspicious business holdings – if one of their business accounts suddenly received a large amount of cash, they could be using it to try to hide money they don’t want to get divided up in the divorce.

Regardless of the methods used to hide money or assets, doing so is always against the law and can come with severe penalties in an Illinois divorce court. Whether your spouse is trying to hide assets so they don’t get divided up along with the rest of the marital property, or so they don’t go into the child support and/or spousal support calculation, you’ll need an experienced Illinois divorce attorney on your side.

The attorneys at Sherer Law Offices have been providing legal representation for real estate cases, criminal cases, and all types of family law for more than 25 years. Our experienced divorce attorneys will take the time to really listen to your unique situation so that they can plan strategies that can best protect your best interests. 

How to Handle an Ex Who’s Also Your Roommate

ex who’s also your roommateMoving in together is an exciting time. You’re full of love and can’t wait to spend as much time together as possible.

But breakups are the exact opposite. Whether the separation is because of betrayal and mistrust, or just hurt feelings, your ex is usually the last person you want to see. Alternatively, maybe you do still want to see them, even though you know it’s not good for you. Either way, continuing to live with your ex can make it hard to move on, even if doing so is a financial necessity. To make it a little easier, we’ve come up with six tips on how you can handle an ex who’s also your roommate:

  • Set Boundaries

This is especially important for living expenses and household chores. Where you may not have kept track of who did what when you were a couple, one person leaving all the bills and/or work to the other after a breakup can lead to resentment, so set boundaries ASAP. Who’s going to pay which bills and who’s responsible for which chores?

  • Sleep in Different Rooms

This is a big one, for obvious reasons. Even if you’re sleeping in separate beds, sleeping in the same room is still very intimate, which is why you need to stop doing it as soon as you break up. If that means one of you sleeps on the couch, so be it. To keep things as equal as possible, you can even try to take turns sleeping on the couch, assuming your relationship is still strong enough to handle that kind of negotiation and you can both agree to a schedule and stick to it.

  • Don’t Bring Dates Home

Just don’t do it. You may have moved on, but they may not. Or they may be trying, but seeing you with someone else could set them back. It might be hard to talk (or even think) about dating when you’ve just broken up, but it’s best that you and your ex talk as soon after the breakup as possible about if/when you can each bring dates home.

  • Stop Doing Things Together

This can be tough if you’ve lived together for a long time and have an established routine. For example, you used to cook together, stop. The same goes for cooking for them or letting them cook for you. Once you’ve broken up, you’re both responsible for your own meals.

And certainly don’t drink together. While “grabbing a drink” might sound harmless, it can quickly lead to one or both of you overindulging, which can result in fighting and that just makes everything worse.

  • Set a Move-Out Date

Finally, you need to decide as soon as possible who’s moving out and when. Are you both moving out? Is one staying and the other leaving? If you bought a house together, that can make the situation even more complicated. Regardless of the obstacles, you need to find a way to work through them so you can live apart and start moving on with your separate lives sooner, rather than later.

  • Divide any property you have together.

This is where legal help may be needed, as jointly held assets between non-married couples may have to resort to filing legal action to divide that property.  Whether it’s a house, a car, or other items of property that are in joint names, you should speak to an attorney who is experienced in filing partition suits in the event you and your ex cannot agree on the division of your property.

The attorneys at Sherer Law Offices have been providing legal representation for real estate cases, criminal cases, and all types of family law for more than 25 years. Our experienced divorce attorneys will take the time to really listen to your unique situation so that they can plan strategies that can best protect your best interests. 

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