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Bloomington Divorce Blog

Divorce and your financial future

80442519_S.jpgIllinois residents who have made the hard choice to get divorced must wrestle with many challenging steps through the process of reaching a final settlement. For families with children, certainly determining when each parent will have time with the kids may be one of the hardest elements of a divorce. When it comes time to focus on financial matters and how to split assets, emotions may run high as well especially when the topic of how to split debt arises.

Money Management International explains that if a particular debt is in one spouse's name only, that debt main remain the sole responsibility of that person. Any debts with both spouses listed, however, may need to be split just like assets. A mortgage or credit card account are two common examples of joint debts.

What is a divorce coach?

42150021_S (1).jpgEven if you opt for a collaborative process rather than litigation, divorce in Illinois can be a difficult process to navigate. A collaborative divorce requires both you and your spouse to hire an attorney to represent you. However, there are tasks involved in the process that are beyond the purview of a divorce attorney to perform. A divorce coach serves a different function than an attorney in a divorce proceeding, providing you with personalized encouragement, guidance and motivation throughout the process as an independent third party.

Divorce Magazine cites the American Bar Association in defining a divorce coach as someone who takes your particular needs, concerns and interests into consideration to help you make the best decisions for your future during the divorce process by means of a flexible, goal-oriented approach. You can identify the areas that you need help with during a divorce and ask your divorce coach to help you specifically with those issues. 

Singer jailed in Cook County over child support arrears

18433345_S.jpgIf asked, most divorced parents in Bloomington might say that they have no issue with paying child support. Even if they happen to harbor resentment towards their ex-spouses, they may understand that their child support payments are not meant for their ex-spouses' benefit, but rather to assist their children. Sadly, disputes between former spouses may ultimately lead to accusations of one withholding child support as a form of punishment. 

That is the accusation being made by the wife of singer R. Kelly. She claims that he has intentionally withheld this $20,000 per-month child support payment as a way of getting back at her. All told, Kelly allegedly owes almost $200,000 in child support arrears. He recently spent three days in a Cook County jail as a result of the missed payments after a judge ordered his arrest following him missing a scheduled payment deadline. 

Taxes and alimony agreements and modifications

35569836_S.jpgThis tax season is the first year that residents in Illinois will be filing returns based on a majorly revised tax code. The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has taken full effect and for divorcing or divorced couples, this law has ushered in some significant changes that you should be aware of.

As explained by MarketWatch, taxation for spousal support payments is getting a lot of attention these days. Historically, the person who received alimony was required to claim the money as income on their federal tax return. This meant that they were solely responsible for the income tax payments on those funds. In addition, the person who was ordered to pay alimony was able to deduct the amount from their return. This deduction often softened the blow for people required to pay spousal support.

Relocating following your divorce

65125308_S.jpgWhile a divorce can certainly introduce a lot of uncertainty into your situation, one inevitability you can count is your life continuing on. That may include new personal or professional opportunities that may prompt you to relocate. This can cause pose quite a challenge to your current custodial situation. You moving away from Bloomington will impact every member of your family, from your ex-spouse potentially needing to change their expectations in terms of custody and visitation to your kids having to re-establish themselves in new neighborhoods and schools. Such complexities cause many to come to us here at the Stange Law Firm questioning what is needed to keep their relocations from becoming family catastrophes. 

The first thing you need to understand are your legal requirements. Per Illinois' Compiled Statutes, the state considers "relocation" to be any of the following: 

  • Moving a child to a new residence that is more than 25 miles away from their current home
  • Moving a child to a new county that is more than 50 miles away from their current residence 
  • Moving a child to a new state that is more than 25 miles away from their current residence 

Dealing with your mortgage in a divorce

108804284_S.jpgIf you and your spouse in Illinois are contemplating a divorce and you own a home together, you are likely wanting to know how to best deal with the house. If you have young children, you may well feel a strong emotional pull to keep the house so the kids do not have to move. You might want to do this whether you stay in the house with the kids or whether your spouse stays there with the kids and you move somewhere else.

Despite the understandable desire to keep a home, it may not be the right financial decision and certainly is one that requires care to avoid potentially serious financial consequences. If you end up leaving the home, you will want to ensure you are not financially liable for it, unless that is part of your overall divorce settlement. As explained by Bankrate, even if your divorce decree stipulates that your spouse must make the mortgage payments, if your name remains on the loan, you can still be held responsible for this debt.

The importance of dads in children's lives

38167587_S.jpgDespite shifts in people's attitudes and changes in societal awareness, many men in Illinois may remain very concerned about their ability to stay connected to their children during and after a divorce. The role of fathers in children's lives is essential and it is important that a parenting plan or custody agreement take this into account for the good of the kids.

As explained by Fatherly, a leading digital brand for dads, there is an increasing amount of scientific exploration happening into the impact on children of having fathers actively involved in their lives. A dad does not need to be married to a child's mother for the child to gain benefits from his participation in their life. Kids with involved dads have a reduced risk of aggressive behavior, experiencsing psychological problems, engaging in risky sex, struggling with obesity and even of becoming homeless.

Renowned model agrees to child support obligation

40164835_S.jpgMost in Bloomington may recognize the need for divorced parents to pay child support in order to ensure that their kids are well-cared for. Yet the amount that is actually needed may often become a hot topic for debate. Many may think that all that should be required in child support is what is needed to meet a kid's basic needs (e.g., food, clothing, shelter, health care). they often may base that number of what their individual frames of references are. For this reason, news of the large amounts that divorcing celebrities are ordered to pay on child support often seem astonishing. 

Take the recent case of popular male model Jeremy Meeks. As part of his recent divorce settlement, he agreed to pay his ex-wife $1,000 per month in child support. While at first that may not seem to be such an exorbitant an amount, perceptions may change when one learns that the couple shares only one child together. Child support is typically not the sole obligation of one parent, either. Most state calculation formulas require each parent to contribute a portion of the ordered obligation equal to the percentage they contribute to the family's income. Thus, Meeks' ex-wife may likely also be paying her portion. 

Will you be awarded alimony?

44098653_S.jpgAs you prepare for you divorce proceedings in Bloomington, one thing you may be hearing from multiple sources is how (if your ex-spouse was the primary income earner in your home) you will be entitled to alimony. This assumption is likely due to many perceiving alimony to be some form of punishment that is inflicted on one side of a divorce case. In reality, however, alimony is only meant to be a temporary source of assistance, and this is only if the court deems it is even needed. 

So how are you to know if alimony will even be considered in your case? Section 5.504 of Illinois' Compiled Statutes says that the court considers the following factors when determining whether to award alimony: 

  • Yours and your ex-spouse's income, assets (including those apportioned to each of you in the divorce) and any liabilities your divorce settlement has left either of you with
  • Each of your individual needs
  • The realistic and present earning capacity of each you (as well as any impairments or obligations that might impair either of you from securing gainful employment)
  • The duration of your marriage and the standard of living you achieved while still together
  • Any sort of public or private assistance (including disability and retirement) either of you may qualify for
  • Any sacrifices or contributions you made to your ex-spouse in helping to support their career

Charges await man who fled due to unpaid child support

58238255_S.jpgGiven the deep love that most parents in Bloomington likely have for their children, the willingness to pay child support may never be an issue. The ability to, however, may be a different story. Oftentimes, one circumstances can change from those the enjoyed when their child support obligations were first determined. Yet unforeseen obstacles such as the loss of a job, a reduction in working hours or other financial considerations may ultimately make meeting one's child support obligation virtually impossible. When such a scenario arises, however, some might fear petitioning the court to have their payments reduced for fear of being viewed as not wanting to support their kids. 

One obligated to pay child support should not, however, accrue a series of arrears by letting payments lapse thinking that they will repay them later. Such action can leave one facing consequences similar to those that an Ohio man is being forced to deal with. Local authorities were trying to serve him with a warrant for unpaid child support, yet a panicked and took off, leading police on a pursuit that ultimately ended in his arrest. He now faces several other charges on top of those stemming from his unpaid child support. 

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