233 W. Wilson Street, Batavia, IL, 60510

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IL divorce lawyerBefore January 1, 2019, divorcing spouses in Illinois could sometimes receive something known as “unallocated maintenance.” While most people are familiar with child support and spousal support (also known as alimony or spousal maintenance), unallocated maintenance was less common. Until the law changed, unallocated maintenance allowed spouses to receive money that could be used for both children and themselves, with certain tax implications.

Recent federal tax laws removing unallocated maintenance as an option may have consequences for individuals receiving unallocated maintenance who want to modify their divorce decree. If you are receiving unallocated maintenance and want to learn more, read on.

Tax Implications of Unallocated Maintenance

Child support payments in Illinois are “tax neutral” - the spouse who makes payments cannot deduct them from their taxes, and the parent who receives payments does not pay income taxes on them. But before 2019, spousal support was tax-deductible and the receiving spouse had to pay income tax. Sometimes, unallocated maintenance was used as an option for combining spousal and child support when one spouse made significantly higher income than the other, simplifying matters and providing tax benefits for the receiving and the paying spouse.

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IL custody lawyer Parents who have busy schedules or frequent changes in schedule may wish to slightly modify their parenting agreement on an ad-hoc basis. If one parent has to work late, he or she may ask the other parent to keep the children for an extra night and take them to school the next morning. Likewise, if extended family comes into town one weekend, parents may agree to switch weekends on a one-time basis so the children can visit with their cousins or aunts and uncles.

As long as both parents agree to make minor changes from time to time, there usually is not a problem. However, frequent or repeated differences in parenting time can put parents at risk because unless a change in the parenting plan has been approved by an Illinois court, it is not legally binding and may even be unlawful.

Risks of Modifying a Parenting Plan Without Court Approval

Parents who struggle to communicate without conflict are at most risk of failing to make minor tweaks and adjustments in their plan from time to time. If you have a spouse who is litigious or who is willing to use the children to rehash old resentment, it is best to adhere strictly to your court-ordered parenting agreement. Failure to do so can result in a spouse who lodges a complaint with a court asking the court to require you to follow the order.

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IL divorce lawyerEvery state has unique property division laws in the event a couple gets divorced. In contrast to 50/50 property division states, Illinois uses a method known as “equitable distribution” in which spouses, sometimes with the help of a mediator or judge, divide their property and debts in a fair manner.

This method makes sense for couples, but it might not work for others. Engaged couples who worry that Illinois’ equitable distribution method would not properly reflect their wishes or circumstances may want to create a valid prenuptial agreement before they get married. If a prenuptial agreement is legitimate, it supersedes state law regarding property division and allows couples to preemptively negotiate the division of property if they get divorced.

Why Would a Couple Create a Prenup?

Although prenuptial agreements used to be financial instruments mainly for the wealthy and legally savvy, they are becoming more and more common. Couples may benefit from a prenup if they fit into one of the following circumstances:

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IL divorce lawyerGetting divorced is never easy, but getting divorced because you found out your spouse was having an affair can be devastating. Emotionally recovering from the broken trust while you are going through divorce proceedings proves to be a major challenge for many spouses, who may justifiably wonder: Does an affair affect a divorce proceeding in Illinois? After all, if a spouse’s infidelity ends a marriage, it may seem like it makes sense for there to be consequences.

But no matter who is responsible for the end of a marriage, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state - meaning that the only reason a couple can give for divorce is irreconcilable differences. Cheating, in and of itself, does not affect the process or the outcome of a divorce. However, behaviors and circumstances commonly affiliated with cheating can affect a divorce.

Can Cheating Affect Custody Arrangements?

Allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time are not directly affected by infidelity. However, if a parent’s new boyfriend or girlfriend poses a risk to the children, this could affect that parent’s ability to spend time with the children. For example, if a new partner has a history of domestic abuse or is a registered sex offender, courts can take this into account when making decisions about a parenting plan.

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IL family lawyerApplying for any kind of order of protection is never easy, and is usually preceded by months or years or terrifying emotional or physical abuse. But the state of Illinois takes the safety of its residents very seriously, particularly when they are children, and has several types of orders of protection available to those who need them.

One of these - a Plenary Order of Protection, or POP - is a long-standing order of protection that lasts much longer than an Emergency Order of Protection or “restraining order.” POPs do require a hearing, but because the hearing is evidence-based and requires the presence of both parties, it can grant victims greater protection.

How Can I File for a Plenary Order of Protection in Illinois?

In order to file for any order of protection, you must bring the appropriate paperwork to your local courthouse. This paperwork is available online and can be filled out in advance. Sometimes a clerk may be available to help you fill out forms, but not always.

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      233 W. Wilson Street
      Batavia, IL 60510

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Illinois State Bar Association Kane County Bar Association
Serving Northern Illinois cities such as Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Batavia, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton, Carpentersville, Dundee, East Dundee, Elburn, Elgin, Geneva, Gilberts, Hampshire, Huntley, Kaneville, Lily Lake, Maple Park, Montgomery, North Aurora, Plato, Sleepy Hollow, South Elgin, St. Charles, Sugar Grove, Virgil, Wayne, West Chicago, West Dundee, Yorkville, Afton, Clinton, Cortland, DeKalb, Franklin, Genoa, Hinckley, Kingston, Kirkland, Lee, Malta, Maple Park, Mayfield, Milan, Paw Paw, Pierce, Sandwich, Shabbona, Somonauk, South Grove, Squaw Grove, Sycamore, Victor, Waterman, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Oswego, Plainfield, Plano, Sandwich, Yorkville as well as Kane County, Kendall County and DeKalb County.
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