Kane County child custody lawyer for parallel parentingAlthough couples typically do not enter into marriage thinking they are going to get divorced down the road, it can and does happen. Whether two people have been married a few years or a few decades, life circumstances can change, impacting their relationship. Sometimes, partners simply grow apart, or one spouse may have an extramarital affair. In many contentious divorce cases, a couple may want nothing to do with each other once the ink dries on their divorce decree. However, if a couple has children, they may struggle to share child custody if they are unable to communicate with each other in a civil manner. In these cases, parents may choose an alternative parenting plan. Parallel parenting is a type of arrangement where divorced co-parents have limited contact with each other. Depending on the situation, it may work better than the typical co-parenting option.

Agreeing to Disagree

In a divorce, if the ex-spouses do not see eye to eye on various issues, they can agree to disagree, so to speak, but still be involved in their children’s lives. By choosing a parallel parenting plan, they can avoid a lot of arguments and unnecessary stress and make sure they are not putting pressure on their kids. This may mean the only contact between parents will be through written communication, such as text messages or emails, with no face-to-face or telephone conversations.

Communicating with each other is important when considering the logistics of how and when kids will travel between each parent’s house. Similarly, both parents can support their children by attending their sporting events, band concerts, or theater productions, but they do not have to ride there together or sit by each other.

The parallel parenting style removes the focus away from the parents and places it solely on what is in the kids’ best interests. A few of the main advantages of parallel parenting include:

  • Less conflict between ex-spouses
  • More productive communication
  • Improved relationships between the children and parents

In some cases, parents may assume different decision-making responsibilities, such as one parent being responsible for educational decisions and the other for children’s medical care. They may agree on major decisions regarding children’s upbringing but have separate routines, rules, and discipline styles in each household. Parallel parenting can provide a foundation for cooperative co-parenting, allowing parents to build a new relationship in which they work together to meet their children’s needs.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney

A divorce can be a very stressful experience, even if it is a mutual decision between two spouses. There are many issues that will need to be addressed, especially if you have children together. At The Thomas Law Office, we have proven success in representing the best interests of our clients. Our seasoned and compassionate McHenry County divorce lawyer will help you and your spouse come to an agreeable resolution on child-related issues. To arrange a confidential consultation, call us today at 847-426-7990.




Posted in Child Custody, Divorce | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

McHenry County divorce attorney spousal maintenanceWhen two people decide to legally end their marriage, it can dramatically change their lifestyle. If one spouse earned a high salary and the other partner stayed home to raise their children, for example, this can impact the divorce settlement. In Illinois, maintenance or spousal support, which was previously called alimony, refers to payments made by one spouse to the other after a divorce to allow both spouses to live at a standard similar to what they enjoyed while married. Typically, spousal support is awarded in cases where there is a significant difference between the spouses’ incomes. If a couple cannot come to an agreement on their own regarding spousal maintenance, the court may intervene. A judge will look at several factors when determining if this type of financial support is appropriate.

What Are the Determining Factors?

The purpose of awarding maintenance is for each spouse to be in an equal (or somewhat equal) financial situation after the divorce. When making this determination, a judge must review each spouse’s income, taking into consideration child support obligations and whether the requesting spouse actually needs financial assistance. In general, the court will look at the following factors when making a decision about maintenance:

  • Both spouses’ income and any property awarded in the divorce settlement

  • A spouse’s need for support

  • The current and future earning capacity of each spouse

  • Any hindrance to the potential earning capacity of the spouse requesting maintenance

  • The standard of living during the marriage

  • The duration of the marriage

  • The amount of time the spouse requesting maintenance will need to become self-supporting

  • Each spouse’s age and physical and emotional health

  • The tax consequences of property division in the divorce

  • A spouse’s contributions to the other spouse’s education or career advancement during the marriage

What Is the Duration of Spousal Support Payments?

Depending on the circumstances, the court can order payments for a definite or indefinite period of time. Typically, maintenance will last for a certain percentage of the length of the marriage, with the percentage used being defined in Illinois law.

In some cases, the court will order permanent or indefinite spousal support. This typically occurs in marriages that lasted at least 20 years, but indefinite maintenance may also be awarded if a spouse is unable to support himself or herself after the divorce due to illness, advanced age, or other health conditions.

What Is the Formula for Calculating the Amount of Maintenance?

The formula used to calculate spousal support in Illinois is as follows: (33.3 percent of the payor’s net annual income) – (25 percent of the payee’s net annual income) = the yearly amount paid. However, maintenance, when added to the payee’s income, cannot cause a spouse to receive more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income.

Contact a McHenry County Family Law Attorney

Just like with marriage, every divorce is unique, so each settlement will be different depending on the circumstances of the case. In some cases, maintenance will be awarded to one of the spouses. If you believe spousal support will be a factor in your divorce, it is important to understand your rights. At the Thomas Law Office, Attorney Colleen Thomas has more than 25 years of experience representing clients in divorce and family law matters. Our dedicated and compassionate McHenry County maintenance lawyer will advocate on your behalf to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call us today at 847-426-7990 to schedule your private consultation.






Posted in Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce, McHenry County Divorce Lawyer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Below is a brief summary of the various COVID-19 programs available to individuals and businesses during this difficult time.  This is simply to assist you in determining which program might apply to you.  All of the information was gathered from other second-hand sources, so I did the best that I could to make it easier to wade through the vast amount of information out there.  I hope this is some help to you.




Colleen G. Thomas



U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan

  • Up to $2 million loan amount
  • Only when determined by SBA that cannot qualify for a private loan
  • Up to 4% annual interest rate (3.75% small businesses)
  • Up to 30-year loan term


CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program

  • Loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program
  • Keep on the payroll for 8 weeks
  • Money used for payroll (75% of the loan amount), rent, mortgage interest, or utilities
  • Apply through existing SBA lender or FDIC lender
  • Loans may begin processing April 3
  • Program available through June 30
  • Available for all SBA qualified employers, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons
  • No loan fees
  • Can maintain or quickly re-hire employees
  • Forgiveness reduced if employees reduce or wages decrease
  • Loan maturity, if not forgiven, is 2 years at 1% interest
  • Can borrow up to 2.5 times the average monthly payroll costs
  • Cannot be used for employees with over $100,000 salary
  • https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp
  • Above link gives application form and what information is required when going to your bank to apply


U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan

  • Loan advance of up to $10,000.00
  • Businesses currently experiencing temporary loss of revenue
  • Funds available within 3 days of successful application
  • Loan advance will NOT need to be repaid


U.S. Small Business Administration Debt Relief

  • SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of 6 months
  • SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of NEW 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to 9-27-20


SBA Loans

  • 7(a): Loans up to $5 million for working capital, expansion/renovation, new construction, purchase of land/buildings, purchase of equipment/fixtures, leasehold improvements, refinancing debt, seasonal line of credit, inventory, starting a business
  • Express: Loans up to $350,000 for a maximum of 7 years.  36 hour approval time.  Same uses as above
  • 504: Designed to foster economic development and job creation/retention.  Use for acquisition or refinance of fixed assets
  • Microloan: Non-profit lenders to underserved markets


Families First Coronavirus Response Act

  1. Paid Sick Leave
  • Full-time employees receive 80 hours of paid sick leave at the regular rate of pay if the government or Dr. advised quarantine (or caring for one), experience COVID symptoms and getting a diagnosis, or caring for a child whose school has closed
  • Employers with 500 or fewer employees
  • Maximum pay is $511 per day
  • Dept of Labor has the authority to exempt small businesses with less than 50 employees if jeopardize the viability of the business.


  1. Paid Family Leave
  • A parent needs to care for a child whose school/daycare is closed
  • First 10 days may be unpaid or use other accrued paid leave available
  • Remaining leave time above 10 days at rate of 2/3 of employee’s regular rate of pay
  • Maximum $200 per day/$10,000 total paid leave
  • Employers with 500 or fewer employees
  • Employees must have been employed for at least 30 days before the leave began
  • Begins April 2, 2020


Unemployment Benefits

  • Available to employees who are unable to work due to COVID closure at work
  • Available to employees who qualify for paid sick leave or paid family leave if not collecting the same or it has expired
  • No one week waiting period
  • Receive up to 39 weeks of benefits
  • Receive an additional $600 per week for up to 4 months
  • Online filing schedule according to last name: A-M, must file on Sunday, Tuesday, or Thursday; N-Z must file on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday
  • No filing between 8 pm and 10 pm
  • Claims are back-dated to the date of termination of employment
  • Available to self-employed or independent contractors


IRS Employee Retention Credit

  • Employer less than 100 employees, then all employee wages qualify for the credit, regardless of whether the employees worked
  • Credit capped at first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits
  • For wages paid or incurred from March 12, 2020, to January 1, 2021
  • Receive a refund of the payroll tax credit for 50% of up to $10,000 in qualified wages
  • Employer whose operations were fully or partially suspended due to government shut-down order
  • OR employer whose gross receipts declined by more than 50% compared to the same quarter in prior year
  • IF take a Paycheck Protection Program Loan, then NOT eligible


IRS Payroll Taxes Deferred Payment

  • All employers and self-employed persons may defer the 6.2% employer share of Social Security Tax for two years: 50% due December 31, 2021, and 50% due December 31, 2022.
  • Not available if took a Paycheck Protection Program Loan


IRS Additional Tax Changes:

  • Business Expense Deduction limits increased from 30% to 50% for 2019 and 2020 tax years
  • Retail Tax immediately deductible and can amend prior year filings
  • Carry net operating losses from 2018, 2019, and 2020 tax years back 5 years. Taxable income limit removed
  • Alternative Minimum Tax can be accelerated to recover credits from prior years and claim resulting refund


Individual Benefits

  1. Rebate to every individual of $1,200 plus $500 per qualified child
  • Must meet qualified child definition
  • Must meet the adjusted gross income limit
  1. Waive 10% early retirement withdrawal penalty
  • Withdrawal from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020
  • The regular income tax that remains due can be spread over three years
  • Permitted to replace the withdrawn funds over three years to avoid income tax
Posted in Uncategorized |

Illinois loan modification lawyerYou may take out loans to purchase various items throughout your lifetime, such as a car, a house, or to pay for your child’s college tuition. A loan modification involves modifying the terms of an existing loan, typically to make it more affordable for you as a borrower who might be in danger of defaulting, sometimes due to a scheduled rate increase or a job loss. For instance, you might want to pursue this route to avoid foreclosure on your house. It is important to note that a loan modification is not the same as refinancing a mortgage. In certain situations, you may also be allowed to file for bankruptcy. By combining these efforts, or by simply electing one of these options, you may be able to keep your home by lowering mortgage payments, avoiding default, and obtaining a way out of debilitating debt. A skilled lawyer can help ensure you take the correct legal steps to secure a promising financial future.

The Terms of the Loan

Typically, any type of loan comes with terms that outline how and when it should be paid by the borrower. Here are a few examples of the terms that can be amended through a loan modification:

  • Adjusting the interest rate to a fixed percentage
  • Changing the principal amount borrowed
  • Modifying the duration of the loan
  • Altering the monthly payment
  • Temporarily suspending loan payments
  • Adding the past due balance on the back end of the loan

Qualifications for a Loan Modification

A modification changes the terms of a current loan. It does not require the same level of credit rating that may be needed for refinancing, but you must show that you have enough income to make the altered payments, even if they are lowered. You may qualify for an Illinois loan modification on your mortgage if:

  • The value of your home has decreased and is worth less than what you owe on your loan.
  • You have a poor credit rating and are locked into a high interest rate.
  • You are struggling to make your mortgage payments due to financial hardship.

An experienced lawyer can review the key elements of your mortgage, your financial standing, and your home’s appraised value to see if you are a good candidate for a loan modification.

Contact a McHenry County Loan Modification Lawyer

Life can throw curveballs, such as a job layoff or an unplanned illness or injury. Sometimes, a change in circumstances can lead to financial trouble. If you or someone you know is having a difficult time making payments on a loan, it is crucial that you seek professional legal guidance to explore your options. For more than 20 years, the Thomas Law Office has helped clients keep their homes by avoiding foreclosure. Our dedicated Kane County loan modification attorneys will review the terms of your loan to see if you are eligible for a modification. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 847-426-7990.




Posted in Bankruptcy | Tagged , , , , ,

McHenry County legal separation lawyerThe decision to divorce is not an easy one to make for many people, especially if a couple has been married for a long time. In certain situations, spouses may opt to try a legal separation before officially divorcing. Following an order of legal separation, estranged spouses will agree to live independently of each other, separating both their physical residences and their finances. The couple will remain legally married, and neither spouse can remarry unless they get a divorce.

As the old adage says, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” For some partners, living apart allows them time to work on their marital problems. However, they may also find that they are thriving on their own and enjoy living separate lives. If you are considering which option is best for your situation, it is important to know the legal requirements for legally separating in Illinois. In the state of Illinois, some of the same issues that are addressed in a divorce will need to be resolved in a separation.

Advantages of a Legal Separation

A legal separation is more than just a couple living in different homes. In a legal separation, decisions regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, child support, and spousal maintenance will all need to be made, just like in a divorce. Property division may only be made if the parties agree. A legal separation agreement will need to be prepared. This legally binding document can be especially beneficial for any children the couple had together, since it provides for their well-being. For a parent who stayed home to raise kids, spousal support can help him or her financially while he or she seeks employment or goes back to school.

Depending on the situation, a legal separation may make more sense for some people than a divorce, since staying married in the eyes of the law can have several benefits, including:

  • Spouses can continue to receive health insurance, social security, and pension benefits.
  • Divorce may not be preferable due to religious reasons.
  • A couple may not be ready for the permanence of divorce.
  • A couple may continue to file income taxes together, saving on tax liabilities.

Filing for a Legal Separation

To obtain a legal separation in Illinois, you must be living apart from your spouse when you file a Petition for Legal Separation with your local circuit court. Even if one spouse does not reside in Illinois anymore, the other spouse can request a legal separation in the Illinois county in which he or she lives. Some of the other stipulations for filing for a legal separation include:

  • One of the parties must have resided in Illinois for at least 90 days prior to filing the petition.
  • Any children involved must live in Illinois for at least six months (with some exceptions).

Once the petitioner files for separation through the court, the respondent can reply to the petition by voicing his or her defenses or wishes. A judge will then review the case at a hearing and decide whether to grant the legal separation. The judge may make decisions regarding allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, child support, or spousal maintenance. However, a judgment of legal separation will not include any terms regarding property division unless they are agreed upon by both spouses.

Contact an Illinois Legal Separation Attorney

Divorce is a major step for any couple, since it legally terminates the marriage. In some cases, spouses may not be ready for that, and they may choose a legal separation first. The Thomas Law Office has handled numerous divorce and legal separation cases and can help you understand your rights and work with you to create a separation agreement that meets your needs. Call our skilled McHenry County family law attorney today at 847-426-7990 to schedule a consultation.



Posted in Legal Separation | Tagged , , , , , ,

McHenry County bankruptcy attorney chapter 7 13There are many ways a person can build up debt that he is unable to repay. An individual may accumulate multiple high-balance debts, such as a mortgage, auto loans, medical bills, or credit cards. Whether it is due to poor luck or decisions that did not work out as planned, when a person gets in over his head, he has the option to file for bankruptcy.


Bankruptcy allows a person to have a second chance if he no longer has the resources to repay his debts. While there are benefits to bankruptcy, such as the forgiveness of some debts, it will negatively affect a person’s credit score and his ability to borrow money in the future.


There are two common types of bankruptcy available to individuals, and each one has different requirements and regulations:


  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: This method of bankruptcy will discharge most outstanding debts. Some debts, such as student loans or obligations to pay child support or spousal maintenance, cannot be discharged. When filing for Chapter 7, a person’s non-exempt assets will be liquidated by the bankruptcy trustee to pay off some of his debts. Some examples of assets which are exempt are tax-exempt retirement accounts, necessary clothing, educational texts, and prescribed health aids. In some cases, a filer may be able to maintain ownership of a home and/or a car that is below a certain value. This method provides a clean slate and fresh start by eliminating most debts.


  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: With this option, a payment plan will be set up in which the filer will pay off some of the debts over a period of time. This can be a good option a person who does not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or who wants to avoid losing her home or other assets. A payment plan will follow either a three-year or five-year schedule, and once this plan is completed, most remaining debt will be discharged. If a person cannot finish the payment plan, she may still be able to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7.


Contact an Illinois Bankruptcy Attorney


When filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is essential to work with a skilled attorney. Our experienced McHenry County bankruptcy lawyer will answer your questions, help you understand your options, and work with you to complete the bankruptcy process successfully.  Moreover, she will give you individual attention on each step of your case to make sure that your interests are adequately represented. Call our office at 847-426-7990 today to learn how Colleen Thomas can help you address your debts and begin that fresh start you so desperately need.




Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Banruptcy, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy | Tagged , , , , , , ,

McHenry County minor guardianship lawyerWhen a baby is born, the parent of that child has the immediate authority to make decisions on behalf of that child. Formal adoption of a child will also grant the same parental ability. However, unfortunate circumstances sometimes require the child to be cared for by someone who is not a biological parent, such as the death of both parents. In these cases, a guardian is appointed to care for and make parental decisions on the child’s behalf.


What Is a Guardian?

When both parents are unable to care for their child, a guardian will be appointed to step into the parental role. A guardian does not have to be related to the child, but the guardian must be 18 years or older and a resident of the United States. A potential guardian must not have any legal disability preventing the ability to care for the child or a felony conviction that would endanger the child. In most cases, the circuit court appoints a guardian. The difference between adoption and guardianship is that guardianship ends when the child turns 18 years old.


Legal Steps for Guardianship

If you are trying to become a temporary or permanent guardian, a petition must be filed with the court. A Guardian ad Litem will be appointed by the Court to investigate whether the child requires a guardian and whether you are an appropriate person to appoint as guardian. Then, a hearing date will be set, and instructions to notify the parents and the family of the child will be given. During the hearing, the Guardian ad Litem will speak to the judge assigned to your case, and you and any objectors to the guardianship will be heard as well. A judge will order the guardianship after a hearing under the following circumstances:

• Both parents are deceased.

• The parents are unwilling or unable to provide for the child.

• The child has been abandoned by a parent with no intention of return.

• The parents consent to the guardianship.

A couple of weeks after the hearing, Letters of Office will be sent by the probate clerk, providing certified proof of your guardianship over the child.


Contact a McHenry County Family Law Attorney

If you are seeking guardianship of a child, you are most likely acting in the best interest of a child you love. The guardianship process can seem daunting, so it is best to speak to an experienced family law attorney who can explain your legal rights. To make sure the child receives the support he or she deserves, contact a knowledgeable Illinois family law attorney to learn more about the guardianship process. Call our offices at 847-426-7990 today to find out how we can help you achieve your goals.



http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075500050HArt%2E+XI&ActID=2104& ChapterID=60&SeqStart=12100000&SeqEnd=14300000

Posted in McHenry County Family Law Lawyer | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Carpentersville foreclosure defense lawyerIf you are struggling to make your mortgage payments, the threat of losing your home can be a terrifying thought. After a mortgage is in default, the lender can sue to have the right to sell the property in what is known as a foreclosure sale. Throughout the United States, more than four million people have lost their homes to foreclosure since 2007. If you are facing the potential foreclosure of your home, you should be sure to understand the procedures that will be followed and the legal options available to you.


The Foreclosure Process

When a mortgage has not been paid, a lawyer from the lending institution may begin a lawsuit by filing a complaint in court. After that, a summons and complaint are delivered by a process server or a sheriff. The summons is a notification of the case being filed. Within 30 days of receiving the summons, you must either file an answer and court appearance or a motion of your own.


A status date is stamped on the complaint itself. This is the first court date if neither party files a motion to be heard prior to that date. During the status hearing, the bank’s lawyer will update the assigned judge regarding the status of the property. At this time, you may be able to request mediation, during which you and a representative of the lender will meet with a mutual third party to discuss loss mitigation. This means that options other than foreclosure can be discussed, and you may be able to work out an arrangement that will allow you to stay in the home through solutions such as a repayment plan or loan modification. There are also options in which you may be able to sell the home without going into foreclosure.


Following the status hearing (or sooner if the lender files a motion to be heard earlier), a court date for Motion for Judgment and Sale will be set. If you are working with the bank to reach an agreement, then you may be able to ask for additional time from the court to respond to this motion. After the entry of a Judgment for Foreclosure, there is at least a 90-day period (and sometimes more) in which it may still be possible to negotiate with the bank or sell the home in a non-foreclosure sale.


If the 90-day period ends with no further action, the home will be sold at an auction. If the home is sold, then a court date will be set for the judge to approve the final sale of the property. If the sale is approved, then you will face eviction from the property, and unless a final appeal is put forward, you will have 30 days to vacate the property. Extensions may still be filed at this time, but they are sparingly granted.


Contact an Illinois Foreclosure Defense Lawyer

Foreclosure can be a living nightmare for a family. If you are facing foreclosure, you should work with an attorney to negotiate with your lender and determine if you will be able to keep your family home. Contact an experienced McHenry County foreclosure attorney today at 847-426-7990.




Posted in Bankruptcy, McHenry County Bankruptcy Attorney | Tagged , , , , ,

McHenry County prenup attorneyAlthough prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are often associated with the benefits they may provide during the divorce process, not all of their perks are related to divorce, or even legal separation. While you are blissfully planning your upcoming nuptials or are happily married, you may find the idea of a prenup or postnup unromantic or unappealing. However, these types of contracts do not doom your marriage to failure. Marriages that begin with such contracts often have a more open and honest beginning, which can create a stronger foundation for a long-lasting union.


These are some of the primary benefits that many couples enjoy when they create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement:


Open Communication Before You Say “I Do”

Finances are often a hot topic during divorce cases, especially when it comes to hidden debts or assets. Many people enter into marriage only to discover that their new spouse has thousands of dollars in student loan debt. When you add that to the price of a potential mortgage and the wedding expenses themselves, there may be little left with which to begin a family. A discovery of this magnitude can put a strain on any union and alter the dynamic of a family, forcing spouses to adjust their goals and expectations for their marriage.


When you begin your marriage speaking openly about finances, you also create an open flow of communication about what each party expects regarding family roles, assets, debts, and other essential factors. Discussing these issues and determining how to address them if your relationship ever ends can help you protect yourself from catastrophic surprises, and it may even help avoid the possibility of divorce.


Protection For Your Children

If you have children from a prior relationship or expect to have children in the future, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can protect their interests. Creating a marital agreement allows you to designate inheritances or other benefits for your children in the case of divorce or death, ensuring that they will have financial security no matter what happens.


Now is also an excellent time to generate an understanding about parenting time, child support, and other parenting decisions, should the marriage result in divorce. The end of a marriage can be an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved, including the children. While a prenup or postnup cannot be used to make legal decisions about child custody or child support, discussing these issues when creating a marital agreement can help reduce animosity during an otherwise tumultuous divorce.


A Proven Illinois Family Law Attorney Can Help

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can offer other potential benefits, including providing understanding about the rights and obligations of each spouse before marriage, protecting your assets, and preserving your business. Even if your marriage never ends in divorce, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement offers the opportunity for an open discussion, which can create a stronger marriage all around. At Thomas Law Office, our experienced McHenry County prenup attorney can answer your in-depth questions and help you to create an agreement that gives your marriage a strong foundation and protects you in the case of divorce. Call our office today at 847-426-7990 to schedule a consultation.





Posted in McHenry County Family Law Lawyer, Prenuptial Agreements | Tagged , , , , , ,

Kane County bankruptcy and divorce lawyerFor many families today, divorce and bankruptcy tend to go hand-in-hand. Every situation is different, but divorce may occur as a result of financial strain, or a separation may result in economic pressure for both spouses. Regardless of what starts the struggle, both divorce and bankruptcy can be emotionally complicated. However, if you plan ahead and understand the legal issues you must address, this will help the process proceed more smoothly and result in less of a strain overall. Typically, couples choose one of two options:


Option 1: File for Bankruptcy First

Filing for bankruptcy first offers many benefits. For instance, you and your spouse can file for bankruptcy jointly, which saves money and may increase the number of exemptions you are allowed to take. Additionally, if one spouse is the sole breadwinner of the household, you have a higher likelihood of qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which eliminates most unsecured debts, will help you get out of high car payments, and can reduce the fight over finances during divorce.

Once the bankruptcy process is complete, most of the concerns about a couple’s debts and assets will have been settled, making the process of property division easier. If you choose to file for bankruptcy after divorce, not only must you reach an agreement regarding debts and assets, but creditors may still attempt to collect on any joint debts, which can result in further contention between ex-spouses. Also, one spouse may choose not to file for bankruptcy, thus creating a situation with a non-dischargeable obligation owed to the other spouse.


Option 2: File for Divorce First

In other situations, it does not make much sense to file for bankruptcy first. Perhaps you and your spouse are unable to communicate with each other to determine how to liquidate your assets. Maybe you did not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which frequently leaves Chapter 13 as the only option, requiring that both spouses follow through with a payment plan for three to five years. If either side does not follow this plan, the bankruptcy case will be dismissed. Additionally, due to the pending payment plan of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may not divide any assets until the completion of this plan. Finally, if one spouse will be paying child support or spousal maintenance, it is often beneficial to complete divorce proceedings first to have an accurate understanding of the financial situation after the divorce. For example, a requirement to make regular support payments may make it impossible to continue with a bankruptcy payment plan.


Work With a Skilled Bankruptcy and Family Law Attorney

Every family’s situation is unique. At the Thomas Law Office, our McHenry County divorce and bankruptcy attorney will thoroughly analyze your situation and help you determine the best order to complete these processes. We have experience guiding clients to success in both divorce and bankruptcy, and we can provide you with the legal help you need during this trying time. Call us today at 847-426-7990 to schedule a consultation.





Posted in Bankruptcy, Divorce | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,