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marriage, dissolution of marriage, same sex marriage, same sex divorce, Illinois divorce lawyerThere was a time when divorce, same sex marriage and same sex divorce, civil unions and their dissolution, asset distribution, and a host of other family law related issues were non-existent or, at the very least, were very rarely discussed. That is not the case anymore, and the question remains: what has led to this progressive level of thinking? There is not a single encompassing answer, but the changes are occurring rapidly.

Divorce

Divorce was a rare occurrence at one time, and it seems likely that education, technology, and shifting beliefs have all attributed to the increase in divorce rates across all age ranges. Many married couples are still finding a way to make it work, but others choose to opt out.

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domestic violence IMAGEDomestic violence is a very unfortunate and very dangerous reality for some individuals, including some children. Those who turn to violence as a means of control and power over others do not care about gender, age, or mental capacity. Anyone can fall victim to domestic violence and anyone can take the necessary steps to free themselves from the tyranny of another in domestic violence situations.

Orders of Protection

In Illinois, orders of protection and restraining orders are codified under the Code of Criminal Procedure. When domestic violence occurs, those actions are criminal in nature and significant punishments can and often do accompany the actions. For you, as the abused, an order of protection can save you from the violence that you are experiencing or have experienced in the past. 725 ILCS 5/ Article 112 A-11.1 can offer you some guidance on what the courts will look at in determining if certain crimes are crimes of domestic violence.

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business valuation IMAGEDivorce is never a pleasant endeavor. The issue of who gets what is ever present during any and all negotiations, and included with that difficulty is the very real possibility that the parties to the divorce are less than cooperative with each other, as they often harbor significant animosity. Add to all that the difficulties in dividing property, especially if that property is a business operated by the couple or one of the spouses to the marriage, and the task of divorce becomes even more complicated. Determining whether that business is marital property and its value are a paramount concern.

Valuation of Your Business

The first concern in valuing a business that is potentially subject to property division laws is to determine whether the business is marital or nonmarital property. If the business is determined to be nonmarital property, then it remains the possession of the spouse who owns it. Of course, there is the possibility that the business was started prior to the marriage but there has been an increase in value which may be considered marital property. In Illinois, 750 ILCS 5/503 deals with disposition of property, and can assist you in determining what may and may not be considered marital or nonmarital property

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The cost of health insurance is one of the many factors to consider when contemplating divorce.  According to a 2012 study by the University of Michigan, approximately 115,000 women lose their private health insurance every year due to divorce. Under the Affordable Care Act, or as it is colloquially known, Obamacare, however, divorce could decrease health insurance costs.

  health insurance & divorce IMAGECurrently, individuals and couples within a particular income range can receive Obamacare subsidies that lower the amount they spend monthly or reduce their out-of-pocket costs for copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. Married couples have their incomes counted together for the purposes of determining their eligibility for Obamacare subsidies. In contrast, couples that live together without getting married have their incomes evaluated separately. For example, a married couple from New York recently announced that they might file for divorce to qualify for Obamacare subsidies. Nona Aronowitz and Aaron Cassara related to The Atlantic that a divorce could save the couple thousands of dollars in health insurance costs.  Nona, a freelance writer, and Aaron, who works in the film industry, earn more than $62,000 a year. The couple’s yearly income places them over the 400 percent of the federal poverty level cutoff to qualify for Obamacare subsidies.  However, if the coupled divorced and chose instead to simply live together, they would qualify for the subsidies and save thousands of dollars a year. Moreover, even if Nona and Aaron’s combined income fell below 400 percent of the federal poverty level, the subsidies for which the couple would be eligible might be worth less than subsidies for which they would be eligible as unmarried, cohabitating individuals. While Kane County couples are unlikely to consider divorce to increase their eligibility for subsidies to purchase insurance, couples contemplating divorce should think about the health-related implications of their divorce.  Other Health-Related Concerns in a Divorce Aside from health insurance costs, there are other health-related considerations for those contemplating or in the midst of divorce.
  • Insurance premiums: A temporary court order could be required to make sure that all health insurance premiums get paid as usual.

  • Long-term-care coverage: If a couple already owns long-term-care insurance together, they need to research what happens to their coverage in a divorce.

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Divorce is never easy, and the steps immediately following the announcement of divorce often involve the most difficult part of a failed marriage. More strenuous, perhaps, than even the interminable arguments, broken hearts, and feelings of guilt or responsibility for “the end,” are the endless hours of litigation in a courthouse in which the person who once knew you best brings to light, in public, your worst. Divorce doesn’t have to be this way, according to the Huffington Post. Imagine, a recent report in the Post suggests, a car accident in which the at-fault party immediately admits guilt, forks over payment for repair, and opts out of involving lawyers and insurance agents. Divorce can be the same. In order to make this happen, at least one party in the marriage needs to be entirely willing to accept all blame and suggest potential first steps toward moving forward in separate lives. This could mean laying out a co-parenting plan, suggesting many different options that would work best for both of you. It also means carefully considering and deciding on a proper settlement that your soon-to-be ex-spouse would agree to without haggling. “When thinking about your offer,” suggests the Post, “consider whether you would accept the same offer if presented to you.” This not only ensures your partner that you’re serious about the divorce, but that you’re interested in preserving the relationship to some extent. Taking these pre-steps can lead to a divorce settled out of court, which is easier for everyone, but does not negate the need for a qualified and experienced divorce attorney. A divorce attorney can help to draft a Marriage Settlement Agreement, and can also be helpful later on if any mediation problems arise. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, contact a dedicated Illinois divorce attorney today. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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