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How Will the Federal Tax Reform Law of 2017 Impact Spousal Maintenance?

Kane County Divorce Attorneys Explain How Tax Laws Affect Spousal Support

Under current laws, spousal maintenance (alimony) payments are tax deductible for the spouse paying maintenance, and they are taxable as income to the spouse receiving the payments. This can result in tax savings for the payor, and usually in overall tax savings for both parties. However, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was passed by Congress in December 2017, will significantly change the way spousal support is taxed starting on January 1, 2019.

If you are already divorced and are either paying or receiving support, your tax benefits will not change once this law takes effect. However, if you are considering filing for divorce, it is important that you fully understand your potential tax exposure, whether you will be paying or receiving spousal maintenance. If possible, you may wish to finalize your divorce prior to December 31, 2018 in order to take advantage of the current tax laws.

While some divorces take a short time to be finalized through agreement, there are many instances where litigation and negotiation cause a divorce to take more than a year to complete. Prior to this change in the tax law, divorcing spouses and their attorneys have been able to use the tax deductibility of alimony to the advantage of both parties, which gives the incentive to finalize their divorce through agreement. Since divorcing spouses will no longer be receiving this potential tax deduction, it is less likely that spousal support will be awarded. This may also affect the division of marital assets and the allocation of marital debts.

Contact Our Elgin Divorce Attorneys

It is important to consult with a tax professional during divorce and work with an attorney who can help you understand how to allocate income and assets between divorcing spouses. The lawyers of Goostree Law Group work directly with accountants and financial advisors who can assist with obstacles that may arise when determining spousal maintenance. If you have questions regarding this new tax law and how it could impact you, contact our Kane County or DuPage County office for a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

How is the Amount of Child Support Determined in Illinois?

Kane County Divorce Attorneys Discuss Changes to Child Support Laws

In Illinois, the laws governing child support went through a significant change on July 1, 2017. Previously, the amount of child support was based on a percentage of the paying parent's net income. Illinois now uses an “income shares” model to determine child support that bases the amount to be paid on both parents' gross incomes. Under this model, the amount of support is meant to reflect the amount that the parents would typically have spent to care for their children while they were married, and this amount is divided between the parents based on the percentage share each parent contributes toward their combined income.

When calculating child support, a parent's income may include salary, commission, tips, overtime pay, retirement income, and workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, the new law allows for child support to be reduced in certain circumstances based on the number of days a child stays overnight with a parent each year. If both parents are responsible for at least 146 overnights per year (40% of the time), this is considered a "shared parenting arrangement." In these cases, child support payments will be adjusted based on each parent's actual percentage of overnights.

This new law may affect those who are already paying or receiving child support. To modify child support either upward or downward, it is necessary to show a substantial change in your, or the other party's, financial circumstances. Our divorce attorneys can help you understand whether there is merit to seek a modification for the amount you pay or receive.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

If you are planning to divorce and have any questions regarding child support, or if you want to know about your options for modifying the child support you pay or receive, contact Goostree Law Group for a free consultation at 630-584-4800. With offices in St. Charles and Wheaton, IL, we assist divorcing parents in both Kane County and DuPage County.

How Long Will My Illinois Divorce Take and How Much Will It Cost?

Kane County Divorce Attorneys Explain Process

Over the years, we have been asked questions by nearly every client regarding the length and cost of his or her divorce. The problem is that those are not simple questions to answer. We cannot quote you something that does not have a standard. At Goostree Law Group, we will strive to complete your case as efficiently and as inexpensively as we can.

You may have heard from friends, family members, or neighbors who experienced relatively short divorces that were cheaper in price. No matter what you hear, every divorce case will be different. We excel at providing experts in case issues such as finance, mental health, and taxes. We have a wide variety of law experience in other aspects related to divorce cases such as property division, child support, or child custody.

Our law team has had experience with divorce cases that were very large in scale and involving multimillion dollar businesses. We have also handled cases that are smaller and on a more personal level, such as allegations of abuse or uncontested divorces. At Goostree Law Group, we approach cases with a team approach, which provides clients with the best possible representation.

Consult a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

If you live in the Kane County or Northern Illinois area, please contact us at 630-584-4800 so that we can hear about your divorce or family law matter. We will answer all of your questions and you will get to know your case's attorney. Our main office can be found in St. Charles, Illinois at 555 S. Randall Road, Suite #200. We also have an office in Wheaton, Illinois, where we meet with clients by appointment only. Call us today and we can set up a free consultation.

How Are Parental Responsibilities Determined in Illinois?

Kane County Divorce Lawyers Explain Factors in Determining Responsibility for Children

For a divorced parent, spending time with their children and being able to make decisions that affect their day-to-day life is vital. When we meet with clients regarding child custody, we explain that as of 2016, the term “custody” has been changed to “majority parenting time” in Illinois law. Rather than referring to joint or sole custody, courts now allocate parental responsibilities between parents. These responsibilities consist of making decisions about the education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities of the children.

Illinois Supreme Court rules require divorcing parents to resolve issues related to parental responsibility and formulate a parenting plan within 18 months of the divorce filing, unless there is good cause. If the parties cannot agree on a parenting schedule and how to allocate decision-making responsibility, a mediator will be appointed.

If mediation is unsuccessful, and parents are unable to reach an agreement regarding the allocation of parental responsibility, the court will assign a Guardian ad litem to investigate what is in the best interests of the children. The court may also decide to appoint a custody evaluator or psychologist to make recommendations based on interviews with both parties. Once these interviews are complete and recommendations have been made, the court will decide where the children will reside and how parenting time and parental responsibility will be allocated. Parents are also required to take a mandatory parenting class before their divorce can be completed.

Contact Our Elgin Divorce Attorneys

If you have questions about the methods courts use to determine where children will spend the majority of their time, who is responsible for decision-making, and the parenting time schedule for the non-majority parent, contact Goostree Law Group for a free initial consultation by calling 630-584-4800. We will help you understand your rights and advocate for your family's best interests throughout the divorce process. With offices in both Wheaton and St. Charles, IL, we serve clients throughout Kane County and DuPage County.

Who Pays My Attorney Fees in an Illinois Divorce?

Kane County Attorneys Explain Divorce Payments

When a client starts his or her divorce process, there is one question that we, as attorneys, always receive. What is the cost? People wonder who has to pay the attorney fees and how that works when assets are being divided. Generally, the fees are paid from marital funds, but it depends on you and your spouse’s income. At Goostree Law Group, we can explain how this matter will be handled during your divorce, and answer any other questions that you may have.

The law does not officially require that one of the spouses automatically has to pay for the other spouse's fees to attorneys. Now, if you or your spouse has way more financial resources than the other, then the court may order some financial assistance for the spouse with less money to apply towards fees and related expenses.

The goal of the court is to ensure that both spouses can afford legal representation. Having adequate funds guarantees that the proceedings will be fair. If you are a spouse who believes that you will struggle to afford an attorney, you will need to provide proof that you are not able to pay with any of your own resources.

Contact Our St. Charles IL Divorce Lawyers

If you live in the Kane County or Northern Illinois area, please contact us at 630-584-4800 so that we can hear about your divorce or family law matter. We will take every step needed to answer your questions, and you'll get to know your case's attorney. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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