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Orland Park Child Support Lawyer

Financial circumstances can change dramatically from the time a couple divorces through when their children turn 18 years old. One or both parents may get new jobs or become unemployed. Either parent may get a raise or take a pay cut. Any of these factors, along with numerous others, can affect the parents’ levels of responsibility for providing support for their children. 

In addition, something may happen that changes the needs of a child and leads to their care being either more or less expensive. Child support may be modified or even eliminated completely, depending on the circumstances.

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Tinley Park bankruptcy attorneyThe word “bankruptcy” has a lot of negative connotations, but when your debts are piling up, and there is no relief in sight, bankruptcy may indeed be your best option. It can be a great stress relief to get your creditors off your back and start fresh. However, the process can also be confusing, especially for those who have never been through it before. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you decide which type of bankruptcy works for you (typically Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 for individuals) and guide you through the entire legal process.

Chapter 7

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a debtor may end up wiping their liability slate clean. Usually, this works for those with large credit card debt or medical bills and not enough income to cover the expenses. Although part of the process includes a liquidation of the debtor’s assets, some assets can be exempt, and an attorney can help you determine which assets you may have. Often, debtors do not have anything else of significant value, so their bankruptcies fall into the “no-asset” category. 

The discharge for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy often only takes a few months, and the filer can move along without any more creditors calling them. The downside, of course, is the impact on the filer’s credit score, and the fact that the bankruptcy will remain on his or her credit report for 10 years. Still, most people can apply for and receive credit within that time period. They may be required to pay higher interest rates or have lower credit limits.

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Oak Forest estate planning lawyer power of attorneyWhen planning your estate and drafting a will, sometimes it will be necessary to create a power of attorney as well. How do you know when it is needed or whom you should choose? Although you may be doing well now, there may come a time as you get older or face unexpected medical issues that you will no longer be able to take care of your own bills and properties, and you may not be able to make decisions about your own personal care. At that time, it will be of utmost importance to have someone you trust to take care of these things for you.

What Does a Power of Attorney Do?

A power of attorney can be vital in protecting you and your assets. When you create a power of attorney agreement, you will name an agent who is authorized to make decisions for you, but your agent will only have as much power as you have laid out for him or her. In other words, you can choose for your agent to simply take care of your bills and property if you are somehow incapacitated, or you can opt for him or her to have more power, such as the authorization to give gifts or set up trusts on your behalf. 

You may also select a power of attorney to take care of your healthcare needs. Adults may create a power of attorney to name an agent who can manage their medical care and personal needs if they become incapacitated or unable to make their own healthcare decisions. As with a power of attorney for property, a power of attorney for healthcare can limit the decisions your agent can make or provide them with general authority to meet your needs.

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Posted on in Divorce

Orland Park divorce lawyersDivorce often brings intense conflict and emotional stress that most people have never experienced before in their life. When a marriage fails, the disappointment and strain that accompany the divorce process can be overwhelming. Spouses are left to ponder a future without one another amidst worries about child custody, child support, visitation, spousal maintenance, the division of marital property, and more.

This stress is compounded when spouses are unable to work together to craft a divorce agreement and instead fight over the related issues in a courtroom. While many people who go through divorce litigation have no other alternative, others – even on less than cordial terms – can avoid court through collaborative divorce.

What Does Collaborative Divorce Mean?

Similar to mediation, collaborative divorce is when spouses reach agreements on the elements that go into a divorce decree through joint cooperation. Unlike mediation, which utilizes a neutral party that works together with spouses, collaborative divorce involves the spouses and their respective attorneys. The most critical facets are addressed in four-way, face-to-face sessions, while lesser items can be negotiated through the parties via phone or email.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorneysIt can be one of the worst feelings for an unsuspecting spouse who receives notice that the person they are married to has filed for divorce. Even if you had previous suspicions that they were not engaged in your relationship like they once were, nothing truly prepares you for the day the devastating news arrives.

If you were blindsided by your spouse’s divorce filing, you might be asking yourself what you can do to preserve your marriage, and whether you can fight it in court. The hard truth is – attempting to do so would likely be a costly waste of time.

Fighting Divorce in Illinois

The bottom line is that while it takes two people to get married, it only takes one willing spouse to get a divorce. Marriage is a legal contract entered into by a couple, but both parties do not have to agree to end the agreement.

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Posted on in Divorce

Orland Park alimony attorneyA tax policy related to divorce and in place for seven decades will end at the end of this year as part of the federal tax overhaul of 2017. For divorces after Dec. 31, those who pay spousal maintenance can no longer deduct alimony payments from their taxes. Also, maintenance recipients will no longer declare alimony as taxable income. 

Because this change to the tax code is expected to reduce the amount of money divorced couples have on hand to split between them, divorce lawyers say they have seen a noticeable increase in filings as the year-end deadline approaches.

How Alimony Works with New Law

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1917 that alimony was not tax deductible, a rule that changed in the 1940s. The new law will pay a small portion of the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts scheduled over the next decade, with $6.7 billion added to the U.S. Treasury.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois paternity lawyersPaternity is the legal and biological relationship between a child and a father. In Illinois, you must establish paternity for a father’s name to appear on a child’s birth certificate, and if you need to set up the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly custody), child support, and parenting time (formerly visitation) if the parents are unmarried, divorced, or not in a civil union.

To establish a child’s eligibility for health and life insurance, Social Security benefits from a disabled or deceased parent, veteran’s benefits, or an inheritance, paternity must be certified. Sometimes this is done easily, while other circumstances prove difficult. For either scenario, an experienced family law attorney can help.

Establishing Paternity in Illinois

When a couple or two uninvolved individuals agree that paternity is certain, they can complete and file the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). You can get this form through your county clerk, health office, an Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services aid office, or via the IDPH website. For proper submission, the VAP must be signed in front of a witness who is age 18 or older.

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Illinois alimony lawyersIn divorce, spouses sometimes require an additional influx of income supplied by their ex-spouse as they restart on their own. In Illinois divorce cases, this was once referred to as alimony or spousal support but is now called spousal maintenance.

During the divorce process, spouses who will pay maintenance and those who will receive it often wonder what amount they can expect. Starting January 1, 2019, a change in Illinois law will impact that figure. To ensure you either receive or pay the justified amount, you need a skilled family law attorney, like those at Anderson and Associates, P.C., who can serve as your advocate throughout your divorce proceedings.

Here is a look at how spousal maintenance will be figured starting at the beginning of next year:

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois adoption attorneysThe decision to adopt a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences imaginable. It can also be one of the more complicated and time-consuming processes you ever go through.

Adoption is a legal process that requires careful planning and adherence to procedure. For adoptions through the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), they require you to obtain an adoption lawyer approved by their agency, like those at Anderson and Associates, P.C. You do not have to worry about fees, as DCFS pays for the applicable attorney costs so you can focus on the new addition to your family.

How Long Does Adoption Take?

DCFS facilitates more than 1,500 adoptions a year. Following an initial screening and in-home visit, the first step in adoption is to become a licensed foster parent, so a child can legally be placed with your family. Licensure typically takes one to two months, then DCFS works to match a single child or siblings with your family. Once that placement is complete, final adoption approval by DCFS and the court usually occurs after six months.

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Posted on in Divorce

Orland Park mediation attorneysWhen divorce goes from probability to certainty for a couple, thoughts of a prolonged court battle and potential financial difficulties often come to mind. For soon-to-be-ex spouses who want to avoid those scenarios, mediation is a potential solution that can also foster a positive partnership moving forward.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a voluntary process that lets couples discuss and plan their futures in respectful joint cooperation. By using a trained divorce mediator, you can achieve a divorce settlement that benefits both parties while maintaining control throughout. It is available for married couples and domestic partners, regardless of income level or if children and custody are involved.

Intense emotions are understandable during divorce. You do not have to be 100 percent amicable to go through mediation. You simply need to enter into the process willing to negotiate in good faith. 

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Posted on in Bankruptcy

Orland Park bankruptcy lawyerWhile no one wants to declare bankruptcy, there are cases in which it can be the best choice for a family’s long-term financial well-being. Despite the stigma that is attached to bankruptcy, it can help a person or family get a fresh financial start, allowing them to escape a difficult financial situation that may have occurred through no fault of their own, but simply because of bad luck.

If money issues have created an inescapable burden, Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide relief for those who qualify. A bankruptcy attorney can tell you if either of those options might work for you, or if you should go another route.

Should I File for Bankruptcy?

Divorce, loss of employment, sizable medical bills, potential home foreclosure, and unmanageable credit card debt are common reasons why people declare bankruptcy. However, before you consider taking this step, you will likely want to exhaust all other possible avenues.

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Illinois bankruptcy lawyersLike most things in life, bankruptcy can be either a negative thing or a positive thing - it all depends on how you handle it. There are certain things that you can and cannot do when filing for bankruptcy. Violating bankruptcy laws can result in criminal charges, meaning you could be subject to up to five years in jail and $500,000 in fines. If you want to make your bankruptcy process a good one, be sure to avoid making these costly mistakes:

1. Lying or Attempting to Hide Assets

The number one thing you should not do when filing for bankruptcy is lying about factors that could make or break your ability to declare bankruptcy. When reporting your assets, income, or debts, you should be completely honest or you could face criminal charges and your bankruptcy case will be dismissed. To file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to go through what is called a “means test” which examines financial records, income, expenses, and your debt to determine whether or not you qualify. Lying or hiding assets so you pass the means test is not good.

2. Increasing Your Credit Card Debt

This is another no-no when filing for bankruptcy. You may think that bankruptcy will relieve you from all of your credit card debt, but typically, credit card purchases that are made within 90 days of filing for bankruptcy are not included in the bankruptcy relief. This means that you will be responsible for paying your creditors that money.

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Orland Park prenuptial agreement lawyersTalking about prenuptial agreements used to be a taboo topic of conversation - if you loved and trusted each other, why were you planning what you would do during a divorce? Nobody can predict the future and in the case that things do end up going south, you want to make sure that your assets are protected. In recent years, prenuptial agreements have been becoming more and more popular as the average age of marriage has been becoming later. If you are wondering whether or not a prenuptial agreement is right for you, consider these reasons for getting one:

1. You Have Been Married Before

One of the most popular reasons why couples consider prenuptial agreements is because one or both of them has been married previously. Whether you did not come out on top in the divorce the first time around or you have spousal obligations from that marriage, a premarital agreement can contain provisions about support obligations or other assets.

2. You Have Children

Going along with a prior marriage, if you have children coming into a marriage, you should seriously consider a prenuptial agreement. Whether the children were from a previous marriage or from a person other than the person you are marrying, the agreement can contain clauses about child support and what will be left to your children if you die.

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Tinley Park estate planning and divorce lawyerDivorce comes with a long, long list of things that you need to do and items that you need to give consideration to. If you are getting divorced, one of the things that you should be thinking about is your estate plan and what the end of your marriage means for that plan. You are most likely going to need to change some things in your estate plan, but what should you be looking for? Here are three things that you should review and update following your divorce:

1. Power of Attorney

A power of attorney for finances allows another person to manage your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself. You and your spouse probably have executed a power of attorney at some point, but you should revoke this as soon as possible, as it may give your spouse access to your assets. This can be particularly important if the divorce is not going to be a smooth one. In addition, you may have executed a power of attorney for healthcare which named your spouse as a health care proxy, authorizing them to make healthcare-related decisions for you if you are unable to do so. You will likely want to revoke this authority as well following your divorce.

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Oak Forest divorce lawyer for dividing marital propertyDivorce affects your entire life, from your living situation and daily routine to your finances. Under normal circumstances, finances can be a headache, and in the case of a divorce, they can be even more frustrating. Your assets and finances are a big part of your divorce settlement, and because of that, you will probably have a few questions. Who should take the house? Who gets the antique dining table in your home? How will you divide your retirement funds? These questions can be daunting, but they do not have to be impossible to resolve. With a little research and advice from a knowledgeable divorce lawyer, you can make the best decisions for your family.

The Family Home

During divorce, the easiest thing to do is to sell your house if you or your spouse do not have a particular attachment to it. By selling your house, you can your spouse can split the profits and carry on with your lives if you have equity in your home. If one spouse wants to keep the home, you will have to figure out if you can afford to keep it, and the home will need to be refinanced to remove the other spouse from the mortgage. Either way, you should get a proper valuation of your home so you know what you are dealing with.

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Palos Heights divorce lawyerDivorce is not uncommon; depending on which reference you are using, the divorce rate in the United States is reported to be anywhere between 40 and 50 percent. With that number in mind, you would think that more people would understand the ins and the outs of divorce, but many topics still seem to be misunderstood by most people. Here are three widely accepted “facts” of divorce and the truths behind them:

1. If One Spouse Is at Fault for the Divorce, They Will Be Penalized

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) only recognizes “irreconcilable differences” as the grounds, or reason, for divorce. No-fault divorce only requires a spouse who files for divorce to state that their marriage has irretrievably broken down, without requiring them to provide a reason. The IMDMA states that decisions about property division and spousal support cannot be made with regard to any sort of marital misconduct. So in short, unless a spouse is dissipating marital property in an affair (such as by using marital funds to buy gifts for a paramour), adultery or other reasons one spouse is at fault will likely not affect the legal aspects of a divorce.

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Tinley Park contested estate attorneyWhen someone dies and leaves a will, that will is probably going to end up going through probate, the legal process of proving, settling, and finalizing the will. The vast majority of wills go through probate without incident, but every once in a while, a will is contested for its validity. Typically, the person who is contesting the will is unhappy with the will in some way and attempts to have the will thrown out. 

Who Can Contest a Will?

In Illinois, a person must have “standing” to contest a will, meaning that they must be affected in some way by the will. The person must have a direct, financial, and existing interest that would be negatively affected if the will were to be accepted by the court.

According to the Illinois Probate Act, those wishing to contest a will must file a petition with the court within six months of the will being admitted to probate in order to have their petition heard. Any petitions filed after the six-month period will not be considered.

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Tinley Park estate planning lawyerNobody wants to think about their death. It is not an enjoyable idea to consider, and it is even less pleasant to discuss. Even though the topic is never fun, it is important that you begin planning for your family’s financial future as early as possible. Having a sound and solid estate plan can help you and your family have peace of mind by knowing that the future is well planned for. Here are some common estate planning mistakes that people make:

1. Not Having an Estate Plan

Statistics show that more than half of Americans have not made a will or plans for their finances after they die. Estate planning is not just financial planning--you are also planning for your own health and well-being. It also means that you are providing your loved ones with an organized inheritance and less stress when your time comes.

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Orland Park estate planning lawyer probate processMost people do not know a lot about probate until a loved one dies, and the ones that do know about it think that it is a long and frustrating process. While the probate process can indeed be lengthy, it does not have to be frustrating or complicated. 

What Is the Probate Process?

Probate is the legal process that a deceased person’s estate goes through to be properly distributed to heirs and designated beneficiaries. Typically, a person’s property is distributed according to the deceased person’s last will and testament, but if there is no will, property is distributed according to state law. During the probate process, the following steps are taken:

1. File the Will in Probate Court and Notify Beneficiaries

The probate process begins when a petition is filed in the local probate court to place the will into probate and appoint an executor of the estate. If the deceased person did not have a will, the petition will ask the court to appoint a person as an administrator for the estate. The notice of the hearing must be given to all beneficiaries, which allows them to contest the will in court if they object to the terms of the will. The notice should also be published in a newspaper in the county in which the petition was filed. 

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Cook County bankruptcy attorney Chapter 7 Chapter 13When people get in over their head with debt, the laws of the United States have provided legal options to help. Bankruptcy is a legal way for people to be released from liability for their debts. The bankruptcy process occurs in a court with a judge and a court trustee who will examine the ability of the person to pay their debts and decide whether or not their debts should be discharged. There are two different types of bankruptcy that the majority of bankruptcy cases are filed as: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The majority of bankruptcy cases in the United States are filed as Chapter 7 bankruptcies; these accounted for 63 percent of cases in 2015. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what you usually think of when you think of bankruptcy--all of your debts are discharged if you are granted a bankruptcy under this chapter.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are able to keep exempt property, which can include:

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