Court Orders Retired Father to Pay Same Level of Child SupportLosing your job and being forced into retirement normally qualifies as a change of circumstances that will allow you to reduce your child support payments. The recent decision for In re Marriage of Verhines shows that a court will consider more than income to determine a parent’s child support obligation in high-income cases. The Illinois appellate court said that there were unique circumstances in this case as opposed to a normal request for child support relief.

Case Background

A 65-year-old divorced father of a teenage son initially requested a reduction of his child support payments in December 2015 after his forced termination from his previous position as an executive at a packaging company. The father was paying $3,043 per month based on his previous income but effectively entered retirement because he was unable to secure another full-time executive position at his age. A trial court reduced his child support payments to $1,700 per month, claiming that the father’s income was $78,000 per year and that he could not be expected to withdraw from his retirement benefits to maintain the same level of child support payments. He had previously taken $400,000 out of his retirement account to pay for personal expenses.

Decision Reversal

An Illinois appellate court recently overturned the trial court’s ruling and reinstated the original child support amount. The appellate court said that the trial court’s decision ignored key factors and used faulty logic:

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Finding a Job After Your DivorceDivorce leaves you little choice but to re-enter the workforce if you were not employed during your marriage. You may receive spousal maintenance on the condition that you try to become self-supporting. You need your own source of income anyways because maintenance payments may not give you enough money to live comfortably. Finding a job can be a difficult and sometimes frustrating experience, particularly if you have been unemployed for several years. You must prepare for the job search process to find ultimate success.

Determine Your Career

Looking for a job starts with knowing what job you want and how to present yourself as a qualified candidate. It may not be as simple as re-entering the career field of your last job because job requirements can change in just a few years. Before you apply for jobs, you should:

  • Discuss your job search goals with a career counselor;
  • Determine whether you need to update your job skills with continuing education;
  • Identify which jobs best match your strengths and skills; and
  • Update your resume to reflect your most recent experience.

Understand the Application Process

If it has been years since you last looked for a job, you will notice that the application process has changed drastically. Most employers post their openings through online job listings and require you to submit your application electronically. Finding and applying for jobs online is convenient, but the process makes it difficult for you to stand out from other candidates. The keys to the online application process are:

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Should You Keep or Sell Your Vacation Home During Divorce?Owning a second home can complicate your high asset divorce. If you want to keep the vacation home for yourself, you will need to give up other valuable marital properties in return. Neither of you may want the property because you cannot foresee getting the same use and enjoyment out of it after you are divorced. Some divorcing couples choose to sell their vacation homes and divide the proceeds. You must weigh the positives and negatives when deciding whether to keep or sell a second home.

Keeping the Home

The financial and emotional value in owning a vacation home may be greater than what you could actually receive in a sale. By keeping the home, you have the option of sharing use of it with your former spouse or renting it to other vacationers. Your enjoyment from the home is also a valid reason to keep it. However, you should consider the practical cost of owning the home:

  • Can you afford the continued upkeep of the home, including months when it is unoccupied?;
  • Can you afford to pay property taxes on more than one home?
  • Will you be making mortgage payments on two homes?;
  • If sharing ownership, will you be able to work out a shared schedule with your former spouse?; and
  • Will you use the home enough for it to be worth keeping?

Selling the Home

The money you receive from selling your vacation home can compensate both of you for your lost assets and income after your divorce. You will save money on property upkeep and taxes, as well as avoid the headache of figuring out who will keep the home and which other properties you should exchange for it. However, you should not rush to sell your home without considering the consequences:

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Five Reasons to be Thankful for Your DivorceWhen reflecting on what you should be thankful for this holiday season, you may not immediately think of your divorce. Ending your marriage can cause stress and sadness, but a well-executed divorce should leave you in better shape than you were before. Here are five reasons you can be thankful for your divorce:

  1. You Are Free from Your Marriage: Your marriage should be a source of comfort and relief, but an unhappy marriage will instead add to your stress. You can become emotionally exhausted from having frequent arguments with your spouse or trying to avoid starting one. You may not realize how your marriage affected your mood until you get divorced.
  2. Your Children Have a Better Home Environment: Living with two unhappy parents can traumatize your children more than you getting divorced. Witnessing your unhealthy marriage upsets your children and warps their expectations about adult relationships. As a single parent, you can focus on being a better parent and helping them grow up to be healthy adults.
  3. You Are Learning About Your Own Strength: You may have avoided divorce because you were afraid of living on your own. Would you be able to support yourself and care for your children without your spouse? How would you handle being single again? Divorce makes you learn about yourself outside of the context of your marriage. You have probably learned that you are a stronger and more capable person than you thought.
  4. You Can Pursue Your Own Interests: Your marriage may have limited your willingness to take chances or explore your personal interests. Now, you can pursue your interests without worrying about what your spouse thinks or whether you are shirking your marital responsibilities. You can work towards a new career, pick up a fun hobby, redecorate your home or relocate yourself to a new area.
  5. You Have Another Chance at Happiness: Divorce does not guarantee that you will have a more fulfilling life or find someone new to spend your life with. However, you knew that your marriage was making you miserable. After a divorce, you have an opportunity to start anew and find happiness. You at least have more hope for a better life than when you were married.

Contact a St. Charles, Illinois, Divorce Attorney

We can all be thankful that the law allows us to get a divorce if we feel stuck in an unhealthy marriage with little chance for improvement. A Kane County divorce lawyer at Goostree Law Group can guide you through the divorce process and towards a beneficial resolution. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

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When Cohabitation Can End Spousal MaintenanceSpousal maintenance payments in a divorce agreement often have a set duration, based on how long the spouses were married. In Illinois, the maintenance payor can petition to terminate the payments before the end date if the recipient has remarried or is living with someone else in a de facto marriage. Determining whether someone has remarried is straightforward, but the two sides may disagree about whether the recipient’s cohabitation is fulfilling the same role as a marriage.

Weighing the Evidence

Cohabitation becomes a de facto marriage when a spousal maintenance recipient is in an intimate relationship that includes financial support or codependency. Illinois law refers to it as living with someone on a resident, continuing conjugal basis. Illinois courts use six factors to determine whether cohabitation reaches this status:

  • The length of the relationship;
  • How often the cohabitants are together;
  • What type of activities the cohabitants do together;
  • How connected their financial affairs are;
  • Whether they vacation together; and
  • Whether they celebrate holidays together.

Recent Case

In the case of In re Marriage of Walther, an Illinois appellate court granted a man’s request to terminate spousal maintenance payments because his former wife’s cohabitation with another man qualified as a de facto marriage. The woman began seeing her new romantic partner while she was separated from her husband and moved into an apartment near him during her divorce. After the divorce, the woman slept at the man’s house on a regular basis for about a year. Her daughter moved into the man’s house about halfway through that period. The woman and her daughter eventually relocated to a new apartment after the man’s sister kicked them out of the residence. The appellate court cited several factors that pointed to this relationship being a de facto marriage:

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 200
St. Charles, IL 60174

 630-584-4800

 1770 Park Street, Suite 205
Naperville IL 60563

 630-364-4046

 400 S. County Farm Road, Suite 300
Wheaton, IL 60187

 630-407-1777

Our Illinois divorce attorneys represent clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County, including Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, Virgil, Lily Lake, Aurora, North Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Gilberts, Millcreek, Maple Park, Kaneville, LaFox, Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Bristol, Newark, DeKalb, Sycamore, Naperville, Wheaton, West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Oak Brook, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Schaumburg, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Plainfield, Sandwich, Yorkville and many other cities.

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