McHenry county bankruptcy attorneyAnyone can encounter unexpected financial problems that can put him and his family in a difficult position. This has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused millions of people throughout the United States to lose their jobs or suffer health-related setbacks that have affected their income or resulted in large debts. A family that has struggled to pay ongoing expenses may be concerned that it may face foreclosure if they default on their mortgage. Fortunately, homeowners may be able to receive relief through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. By filing for bankruptcy, homeowners may eliminate certain types of debts and avoid losing their homes.

Addressing a Mortgage During a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

First, filing for bankruptcy will place an automatic stay on any collections by creditors. This will put a halt to foreclosure proceedings that have been initiated by a lender, giving a debtor the necessary breathing room to determine his options. He can then determine what types of debts will be included in his bankruptcy and create arrangements that will allow them to maintain ownership of his home.

During the process of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a repayment plan will be set up in which a person will pay back some of his debts throughout a period of either three or five years. Once the debtor makes all required payments, he will no longer be required to repay the balance of any unsecured debts that were included in the plan. In addition, any creditor who failed to file notice of its claim will not be required to be paid at all.

Depending on a homeowner’s circumstances and his disposable income, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can also provide other advantages. If the debtor has missed any mortgage payments, these payments and any related penalties or fees may be included in the debtor’s repayment plan, allowing him to pay these amounts in full over time and come current on his mortgage. In some cases, such as when a person owes more on his mortgage than his home is actually worth, a second mortgage may be removed as a lien on the house and converted to an unsecured debt to be paid through the plan.  The remaining balance that is not paid through the plan would be discharged at the conclusion of the bankruptcy.

Contact Our Kane County Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you are struggling with overwhelming debts that have caused you to be concerned about the possible loss of your home, you will want to work with a lawyer to understand how bankruptcy can provide you with relief. At Thomas Law Office, we can help you determine the best available options for avoiding foreclosure. We will work with you to make sure you will be able to complete the bankruptcy process successfully. Contact our McHenry County bankruptcy attorney today at 847-426-7990 to get the legal help you need.


Posted in Chapter 13 Banruptcy | Tagged , , , ,

McHenry County foreclosure attorneyThe COVID-19 pandemic that began last year caused not only a health crisis but an economic crisis as well. Falling behind on mortgage payments can happen, especially if one’s hours are reduced or he lost his job completely. Missing housing payments can lead to financial hardship and foreclosure.

The U.S. government extended the moratorium on foreclosures through June 30, 2021. The policy also extends the mortgage forbearance window until the end of June and provides up to six months of additional mortgage payment relief for the 2.7 million Americans who are already benefiting from it. There are additional forms of assistance that may help avoid having to go through a foreclosure on your home.

American Rescue Plan

Any reduction or loss in income can make it difficult for many people to come up with the money for essentials, such as food, utilities, and mortgage payments. It is important to note that not everyone is covered under the current forbearance policy. The program only applies to mortgages that are government-backed, which makes up approximately 70 percent of existing single-family home mortgages. Since private-market mortgages are not eligible for the new relief, there may be additional extension of the forbearance and stimulus payments.

Forbearance allows homeowners to reduce or pause their mortgage payments for a period of time, but it does not eliminate the debt entirely. Homeowners will still have to pay back what they owe after the forbearance period ends. The policy was originally created to keep Americans in their homes in an effort to prevent evictions and foreclosures, which could possibly increase the spread of coronavirus.

Contact a Kane County Foreclosure Lawyer

Financial relief from the government may help some homeowners avoid foreclosure during the COVID-19 crisis. At Thomas Law Office, we are committed to helping Illinois residents keep their homes amidst these uncertain times. Attorney Colleen Thomas has more than 16 years of experience representing clients in bankruptcy and foreclosure matters, including complex cases. Our knowledgeable and dedicated McHenry County foreclosure attorney will guide you through the latest legislation that may impact your housing situation. Call us today at 847-426-7990 to schedule a confidential consultation.



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

Kane County divorce attorney child supportCOVID-19 caused a global health crisis in addition to an economic downturn. In Illinois, non-essential businesses closed to stop the spread of the contagious virus. As a result, many people found themselves out of work or facing reduced hours and income. Depending on the industry, some companies have permitted their employees to work remotely from home. Similarly, many schools have switched to e-learning, with teachers and students participating online through video conferencing apps such as Zoom or Google Meets. With everyone adjusting to this new normal, divorced parents may be wondering if they can modify their current divorce orders for child support and child custody and visitation (now referred to as the allocation of parenting time and decision-making). Under Illinois law, it is possible to request changes to these types of orders in certain situations.

Child Support and Spousal Support Orders

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a divorce is finalized once a judge issues the official court order, which is commonly known as the decree or judgment. This legal document sets forth asset and property division, spousal maintenance (alimony), and child support. However, after a significant amount of time, the orders may not be appropriate or adequate for the current situation. For instance, if one parent suffers a job loss due to COVID-19, that will likely cause a substantial change in income. If the unemployed parent is making child support or spousal maintenance payments to the other parent, he or she can petition the court for a temporary order modification to reduce that amount. In addition, if the unemployed parent is the recipient of child support and/or maintenance, then that parent may petition the court for an increase in support.

Child Custody Orders and Parenting Time Schedules

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, most essential employees still have to work outside of the home, including those in the healthcare, government, and construction fields. However, if an essential employee has younger children who typically attend daycare during the day, many childcare facilities might be closed. If the other parent is furloughed or working remotely and can manage to have the children stay at his or her home during the day, both parents may mutually agree to temporarily change their parenting time schedule. In some cases, a parent who suddenly finds himself or herself out of work may find new employment out of state and then relocate, which could impact the existing allocation of parenting time. As for any order that involves children, a judge will always base his or her decisions on what is in the children’s best interests when making decisions regarding an order for modification.

It is important to note that as part of Illinois’ COVID-19 executive orders, transporting children to and from each parent’s house for parenting time is classified as essential travel. However, if any family or household member is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, he or she should follow the recommended CDC guidelines. This means, notifying the other parent and possibly quarantining for 10 days depending on his or her risk exposure and underlying health issues.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted our way of life for the past year. If you have questions about modifying your current divorce agreement or orders, The Thomas Law Office can help. Our skilled legal team provides high-quality legal representation with personal attention. Our compassionate Kane County divorce lawyer will work with you to find solutions that fit your unique situation. To learn more about our services and how we can assist you, call us today at 847-426-7990 to schedule a private consultation.



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

McHenry County bankruptcy attorneyThe word bankruptcy may bring about feelings of financial ruin or destitution. However, more people file for bankruptcy than you might expect, especially during these uncertain times. A lot of people have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic since many non-essential businesses are closed. There are remedies when it comes to resolving financial problems. Bankruptcy has many advantages, such as reducing or eliminating your debts. It can also protect your home from being foreclosed on and keep bill collectors from constantly contacting you. However, there can be long-term consequences to your credit score, which may hinder your ability to take out loans in the future. It is important to understand the bankruptcy process to determine if it is a viable option for you.

Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Individuals typically file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is primarily used for businesses. Most people file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is also known as a straight bankruptcy or a liquidation. The court designates a trustee who has the authority to sell your property and use the profits to pay back any creditors, upon which the debts are discharged. However, certain types of property that are considered essential or necessities can be exempt from liquidation, such as a vehicle, clothing and household items, tools of a trade, pensions, and a home’s equity.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is slightly different in that it uses a court-approved plan for you to repay all or part of your debts over a three- to five-year period. Depending on the circumstances, some debts may still be discharged. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help if you are a homeowner and want to avoid foreclosure as long as you can make scheduled payments. Specific types of debts or financial obligations do not apply to bankruptcy, including child supportspousal maintenance, student loans, and certain tax obligations.

Considerations Before Filing

Before you can even file for a bankruptcy petition, you are required to complete a credit counseling session and obtain a certificate. The financial counselor typically reviews the situation and offers tips for creating a reasonable budget and ways to manage debt.  When submitting a bankruptcy petition, you must submit important financial information, including income, debts, and assets. A means test form also determines if your income is low enough to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If it does not fit the parameters, you will have to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. Regardless of the type of bankruptcy you use, it can be the best way to obtain a fresh start on the road to financial recovery.

Contact a Kane County Bankruptcy Lawyer

Although you may be apprehensive about filing for bankruptcy, it may be your best option for overcoming your financial troubles. At the Thomas Law Office, Attorney Colleen Thomas has more than 16 years of experience representing clients in bankruptcy matters. Our dedicated McHenry County bankruptcy lawyers understand the complex nature of bankruptcy laws and the profound impact they can have on your future. In addition, Colleen Thomas will review your case and discuss options other than bankruptcy, so you can determine which route is best for you.  To arrange a confidential consultation, call us today at 847-426-7990.



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

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 bankruptcy attorneyGetting a divorce can be stressful, not only emotionally, but financially as well. If one spouse did not work during the marriage, the thought of being on his or her own can be particularly daunting. In some marriages, one spouse may have dissipated or hid assets, or even accumulated a significant amount of debt. In addition to property and assets, any marital debt will need to be divided equitably in an Illinois divorce. If you are struggling to make ends meet, filing for bankruptcy before your divorce may put you in a better financial situation in the future. However, although the Illinois divorce court can determine issues such as child custody, parenting time, child support, and spousal maintenance, it cannot divide property in the bankruptcy estate. In some cases, bankruptcy proceedings can delay the division of property in divorce proceedings.

What Are the Different Types of Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process that essentially allows an individual who has any debts that are more than his or her assets to start over financially. The debts can be reorganized to make them easier to pay, such as dividing the debts into smaller amounts that can be paid over a longer timeline. In other situations, the debts may be eliminated completely.

In Illinois, there are four legal types of bankruptcy that involve consumers, but most people file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 (liquidation) or Chapter 13 (reorganization). In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debts are paid by the profits from the sale of the property, and any outstanding debts are completely erased. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debts are reorganized into a repayment plan that is affordable.

Equitable Distribution of Property and Debts

Under Illinois law, any property acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution. That means the marital property will be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. This applies to the obligation for the marital debts as well. For example, if a couple has a large credit card debt or significant car loans, those obligations will be divided between them but may not be distributed equally. However, both spouses may be responsible to pay off the creditors according to the purchase agreement or loan even if the debt is allocated to only one spouse in the divorce settlement.

Each divorce is unique, so couples should consider the potential advantages of filing jointly for bankruptcy before filing for divorce. This will depend on whether or not both spouses qualify for bankruptcy as well as the type of debts that are owed. It is also important to note that certain kinds of debts cannot be forgiven. A skilled attorney who knows divorce and bankruptcy laws can help explain the legal options that are available to divorcing couples.

Contact a McHenry County Bankruptcy Lawyer

A divorce can have a significant financial impact on both spouses. In some scenarios, filing for bankruptcy can help alleviate some of the stress due to money issues. At the Thomas Law Office, Attorney Colleen Thomas has more than 25 years of experience representing clients in divorce and family law matters. Our seasoned Kane County bankruptcy attorneys understand the complex nature of bankruptcy laws and how they impact divorce cases. Call our office today at 847-426-7990 to schedule your private consultation.




Posted in Bankruptcy, 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
  • 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 the 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 , , , , , ,