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Posted on in Divorce

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.

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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.

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Posted on in Divorce

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.

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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.

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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

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