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Remarriage Can Affect Child Support PaymentsParents who divorce are required to create a child support agreement in order to share the cost of child-related expenses. Illinois currently uses an income shares model that determines how much each parent should pay based on their proportionate incomes. If a parent’s income makes up 70 percent of their combined incomes, that parent will pay 70 percent of the child support obligation. Either parent can request a modification of the child support order, based on a significant change of circumstances, such as: 

  • A change in a parent’s income;
  • A change in the expense of raising a child; or
  • A child becoming a nondependent.

In certain situations, child support may be modified when one parent remarries.

Available Income

Illinois will not include the income of a new spouse when calculating a parent’s child support obligation. A stepparent is not required to financially support a child, and combining the incomes of a biological parent and stepparent would effectively force the stepparent to do so. A new spouse could affect a parent’s ability to pay their child support obligation. A parent may claim that a child support obligation is unreasonable if it does not leave them with enough money to pay for their own living expenses. Illinois courts have the discretion to deviate from the child support formula to create affordable payments. Remarriage changes a parent’s available income because spouses will combine their incomes and share their expenses. A new spouse could pay for a parent’s living expenses, freeing the parent’s income for other expenses. In such a situation, the other parent could request that the remarried parent pay child support based on the normal calculation.

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How to Address Divorce with Casual AcquaintancesLike it or not, your divorce is not something you can keep secret for long. You know you need to tell your family and closest friends about it. You may try to avoid discussing it with more casual and impersonal acquaintances, but those people may hear rumors about your divorce or figure out something is wrong. Most people know that it is rude to pry into the personal life of someone who is not a close friend. You can plan how you will respond to people who do ask about your divorce:

  1. Consider the Context: You do not need to tell anyone about your divorce unless you know that it will affect them. For instance, your boss at work may need to know if your divorce will impair your ability to complete your work. Co-workers may need to know if you will be unable to complete your work, but you do not have to tell them that you are getting divorced. People who you do not work or socialize with do not require any notice about your divorce.
  2. Coming Up with a Speech: What do you do if a casual acquaintance asks if you are getting divorced or related questions? There is no reason to lie to them, but you should not have to talk any longer than is necessary to make your point. You may be familiar with the idea of an elevator speech – a brief, rehearsed speech often used when introducing yourself to a business networking contact. You can create an elevator speech for explaining your divorce. The key components of your speech could be confirming your divorce and explaining that you do not want to discuss it any further because it is a private matter. If the person asks if they can help you, tell them that you appreciate their concern and will let them know if you need help.
  3. Sparing the Details: Your divorce elevator speech should not include any details about why you are getting divorced or how the process is going. Very few people need to know this information, and sharing details will likely create an awkward situation. A casual acquaintance may mention that they have gone through a divorce themselves. It is your choice whether you want to continue discussing the general topic of divorce. A co-worker who has gone through a divorce may have good advice on how to balance work and divorce. However, you should still not feel compelled to share details about your divorce while it is still ongoing.

Contact a Naperville Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is a personal decision that can have public effects. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you manage the stresses of your divorce. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Financial Infidelity Can Destroy Trust in MarriagePeople usually associate infidelity in a marriage with having a romantic affair. There are other ways that spouses can lie to or hide things from each other that are just as hurtful. One way that is receiving increased attention is financial infidelity, which is when a spouse has secret financial accounts or debts. Financial infidelity is not only a betrayal of trust, but it also puts the unaware spouse at financial risk. In some cases, the betrayal may be serious enough that the spouses choose to divorce.

Understanding Financial Infidelity

Digital technology makes it easy for someone to create secret accounts or conduct financial activities without their spouse knowing. The person can control everything remotely and hide records. As with most lies, the truth comes to light usually when the lying spouse feels compelled to confess or the unaware spouse discovers evidence of the secret finances. There are several reasons why a spouse may have secret assets or debts:

  • The assets could be paying for a romantic affair;
  • The spouse may have an addiction, such as gambling, shopping, or substance abuse;
  • The spouse may have obtained the money illegally; or
  • The spouse may be siphoning away money because they are preparing to leave the marriage.

Regardless of the reason, financial infidelity affects both spouses because they are both liable for debts accumulated. Even if there are no debts, the money diverted to the secret account could have been used to pay for marital expenses, child expenses, or retirement savings.

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Creating a Parenting Agreement for Your Special Needs ChildParents of children with special needs must consider the many ways that a divorce will affect their child, as well as how having a special needs child will affect their divorce. The type of special need can determine how you explain the divorce to your child, as well as the details of your parenting plan and child support. Your divorce agreement may need a plan for how you will share responsibility for your child for the rest of your lives.

Emotional Needs

All children need special attention and emotional support when their parents are getting divorced. However, parents must use extra care when explaining divorce to a child with cognitive disabilities. You know what your child is capable of understanding and how he or she reacts to change. You may need to explain the divorce multiple times and in a way that he or she comprehends. Your child may still not understand the divorce until he or she sees the result. You can be prepared for a bad reaction to the divorce, but your child may still surprise you.

Parenting Time

It may be impractical to have a normal shared parenting schedule, where each parent has the child for a few days during the week. If your child has physical disabilities, you must consider:

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Can a Divorce Court Order You To Sell Your Home?Deciding what to do with your marital home is one of the most important decisions you will make during your divorce. Will one of you keep the home or will you sell it and divide the proceeds? What is your home’s value? What properties will the other spouse receive if one of you keeps the home? Your divorce negotiations may stall if you cannot come to an agreement on answering these questions, forcing you to take the matter to trial. Among its options, the court can order you to sell your marital home if it decides that a sale is the only way to equitably divide the property.

Recent Case

In the Illinois case of In re Marriage of Hamilton, the wife in a divorce appealed a lower court decision that forced her to sell her marital home and rental home. The lower court ordered the sale of the homes because neither party presented their actual value. Without that information, selling the homes was the only way for the court to ensure that their value was divided equitably. The former wife cited four reasons why she believed the court erred in this decision:

  • Her former husband had testified to the estimated value of the homes;
  • She had presented tax assessment notices for the properties;
  • The marital home had sentimental value because it had belonged to her family for 90 years; and
  • Remaining in the marital home would have been in the best interest of their daughter.

The appellate court rejected these arguments and upheld the sale. Property valuations need to be current and based on proven facts. The husband did not cite how he reached the estimated values of the homes. The tax assessments were three years old and likely did not include inspections of the homes’ conditions. The sentimental value of the home can be part of a court’s decision but does not prevent it from ordering a sale if that is believed to be the best solution.

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Four Ways Divorced Moms Can Feel Safe at HomeGetting a divorce may remove some of the security you feel from living with another adult. Single mothers, in particular, may worry about protecting themselves and their children from outside threats, including an abusive former husband in some cases. How much you fear for your safety may depend on where you live and your natural inclination towards fear. There are several actions that single mothers can take after a divorce to help themselves feel more secure:

  1. Update Home Security: An order of protection creates a legal consequence if your former spouse comes to your home but does more to discourage than prevent. To prevent a home invasion by any party, you can install a home security system and get in the habit of locking up your house. You should change your locks and security codes to prevent your former spouse from entering your home without permission. You can also install motion-sensitive outdoor lights to help you see what is going on outside and alert you to movement.
  2. Keep Your Marital Status Private: Your home may be more enticing to potential intruders if they know that only one adult is living there. It increases the likelihood that your home will be unoccupied. Social media makes it easier for strangers to learn about you and your children, including your newly single status and your schedule. Be private with this information by not posting it on social media.
  3. Rely on Your Neighbors: A trusted neighbor is a good resource for both preventing danger at your home and helping you when danger occurs. By developing a relationship, you can ask them to keep an eye on your home and your children if they are home alone. In the event of an emergency, your children can know to seek safety at a neighbor’s home.
  4. Learn About Home Safety and Self-Defense: There are classes that can teach you what to do in the event that someone attacks you or invades your home. Taking a self-defense class can give you the confidence to subdue or evade an attacker. Police can help you create an emergency plan for a potential home invasion, including where you can hide or escape after calling the police.

Contact a Naperville Divorce Lawyer

You may need to take greater responsibility for the safety of yourself and your children after divorce. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can tell you how your divorce agreement can help keep you safe. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Disproving Paternity Does Not Always Terminate Parental ObligationsIllinois presumes that the husband is the legal father to any child conceived or born during the marriage. The legal father has a right to parental responsibilities and an obligation to contribute to child support in the event of a divorce. The presumed father can declare the non-existence of a parent-child relationship if he learns that he is not the biological father. If the court grants the action, the man can ask to terminate his legal obligations to the child. However, terminating your parental responsibilities takes more than claiming that the child is not yours.

Time Limit

You must file a petition to terminate your paternity within two years of learning that you may not be the father. The two-year time limit can start at any point, as long as you had no reason to doubt your paternity before learning the relevant facts. For instance, an Illinois court recently approved a man’s petition to terminate his parental obligations when his former wife told him that he was not the father of their 12-year-old daughter. A DNA test proved this to be true, and, after hearing testimony, the court believed that the man had not previously known that he was not the father.

DNA Testing

A genetic test is the surest way to determine whether you are the biological father of a child. Illinois law instructs courts to grant DNA testing when either parent or child requests it. However, the court has the right to deny a DNA test if it believes that it is against the best interest of the child for reasons such as:

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Divorce Can Drain Productivity at WorkGoing through a divorce will distract you from your normal work responsibilities. A divorce requires too much time and effort for you to avoid this reality. What you are capable of doing is trying to minimize the effect and preventing it from hurting overall productivity in the workplace. According to research, the average business loses more than $80,000 worth of productivity each year because of employees going through a divorce. You may be able to save some of this lost cost by recognizing how your divorce is affecting your work and taking measures to remedy it.

Cost of Divorce

Your divorce may occasionally force you to be absent from work, which will naturally make you a less productive worker. Some meetings and court dates cannot be scheduled around your work, and you may need to devote more time to your parental responsibilities as a single parent. When you are at work, you may have less energy or be distracted by thoughts of your divorce. Your employers can anticipate a temporary downturn in your productivity and availability. Hopefully, they will understand that this is unavoidable because of your personal situation. However, some employees allow their divorces to hurt workplace productivity in ways that are unacceptable, such as:

  • Being absent without notice;
  • Making mistakes or poor decisions;
  • Not completing work assignments; or
  • Distracting other workers because of their stress or poor attitude.

Solutions

You can help your employers accommodate your needs during your divorce by communicating with them. Let them know that you are going through a divorce and how that may affect your availability. You are likely not the first employee who has divorced, so your employers may know what to expect and how to handle the situation. You can do your part to minimize the effect your divorce has on your employers by:

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How Sexual Assault Charges Affect DivorceSexual assault and rape can exist in the context of a marriage or other relationship. Marriage does not entitle your spouse to have sex with you against your will. Unfortunately, some people do not protect themselves because they do not know it is a crime or they are afraid to lose their marriage. If your spouse is sexually abusing you, you have the right to request an order of protection against your spouse. You should also consider whether you want to divorce your spouse and how your sexual assault allegations may affect the divorce.

Order of Protection

Before you start the divorce process, your first priority is to protect yourself from continued sexual assault and possible retaliation from announcing your decision to divorce. Some victims leave their spouses and find refuge with a family member, friend, or women’s shelter. However, you have the right to force your spouse to leave by filing for an order of protection, also known as a restraining order. The first step is to request an emergency order of protection from the court, which will immediately restrict your spouse from contacting you or your children. The emergency order can last as long as 21 days and can be extended with an interim order of protection. Eventually, the court will hold a hearing to judge the validity of your allegations and determine whether to grant a more permanent order of protection.

Divorce

You can start planning for your divorce after you have received your emergency order of protection. Because Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, your allegations of sexual assault have no bearing on whether the court will grant your petition to divorce. Your divorce will be approved as long as your spouse is served notice of your petition to divorce and you claim irreconcilable differences. Once the divorce process has started, pending or proven sexual assault charges can affect how your divorce agreement is settled:

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Staying Connected in a Long-Distance Parenting SituationA long-distance parenting relationship after a divorce is difficult for both parent and child because there is no substitute for the everyday contact that they normally share. Depending on the distance between them, the parent may see the children only a couple times a month. As a long-distance parent, you may fear losing your connection and intimacy with your child. Though your situation is less than ideal, your parenting plan can help you maintain your relationship with your children:

  1. Regular Contact: Calls and messages will replace much of your in-person parenting time with your children. You can treat your phone or video calls with your children similarly to parenting time. Schedule set times during the week when you can talk to your children, much like when you have days that the children stay with you. This does not preclude you from talking to your children outside of these set times, but it is comforting to them to look forward to a time when they are certain they can talk to you.
  2. Your Visits: It may be too burdensome to expect your children to always come to you for your in-person parenting time, especially if it would take hours of travel time. You can see them more regularly if you are able to travel to them for their visits. You can plan activities that you will do with your children, but it is also important to have a private area where you can be alone with them. Your accommodations could be a hotel or a nearby family member’s home.
  3. Longer Stays: Most long-distance parents schedule the dates when they will host their children during a time of year when the children can stay for a week to a month. This most commonly occurs during the summer break from school, though shorter visits are possible during breaks in the middle of the school year. Short visits feel more like special occasions when you are excited to see each other. A longer, uninterrupted visit allows you to establish a normal routine with your children, which is a more natural and healthy way to continue your relationship.

Contact a Naperville Divorce Attorney

You will need to modify your parenting agreement if either you or your co-parent are relocating after your divorce. You must carefully plan your parenting time because the effort that each visit requires will give you less flexibility in your schedule. A DuPage County divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you negotiate a revised agreement with your co-parent. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Should You Sell Your Family Business During Divorce?Business owners have three options when their business is a marital property that is subject to division in a divorce:

  • One spouse can retain full ownership by buying out the other spouse’s ownership interest or giving up other marital properties;
  • Both spouses can be co-owners of the business; or
  • They can sell the business and split the proceeds as part of the divorce.

The third option is usually the least popular because selling a business may be giving up your livelihood. There are some situations where selling a business is a viable option, but you still must consider the complications of doing so.

Receiving Fair Value

You want to be well compensated if you choose to sell your business and lose a source of income. Before presenting your business to potential buyers, you will need to assess your business’s value, including its potential for growth. With an estimated value, you will know what a fair asking price is for your business. Unfortunately, other factors may drive down what you can receive for your business. A downturn in the economy as a whole or in your industry may decrease the number of potential buyers and how much money a buyer will want to spend. You may need to keep your business if you cannot find a buyer willing to pay fair value.

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Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Prenuptial AgreementThe purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to save you time and stress in the event that you divorce. Mistakes in your agreement can make the divorce process more complicated instead. Imagine your frustration if you learn that the agreement is unenforceable because of the way you created it or a provision in it. You may end up renegotiating your division of property and spousal maintenance. A fully enforceable agreement could be just as frustrating to you if you realize that it leaves you at a disadvantage. You would need a legal reason to discard a valid contract. Despite the possible problems, there are many couples who benefit from having a prenuptial agreement when they divorce. There are four mistakes that you should avoid when creating an agreement:

  1. Do Not Rush: You should give yourself weeks to months to create your prenuptial agreement. You need time to consider what you want from the agreement and to examine it before you approve it. You may feel tempted to hurry through the process because the idea of getting divorced makes you uncomfortable. However, you will wish you had taken the time to understand the agreement if you end up using it.
  2. Do Not Withhold Information: A prenuptial agreement can be invalid if one of the parties lied about or withheld financial information that would have changed the agreement. This is usually a valuable premarital property that someone hid. If your future spouse knew about the property, he or she may have asked for a greater share of marital assets. Parties can also withhold information about debts that could become a marital obligation in a divorce.
  3. Do Not Use the Same Lawyer: At first glance, it may seem practical to share one family law attorney when creating a prenuptial agreement. You are on good terms with each other and share the same goals. However, you each need your own attorney to look at the agreement and make sure that it is fair to you. You should choose your own attorney to ensure that he or she is independent of your partner.
  4. Do Not Sign Anything You Are Uncomfortable With: You are not obligated to approve a prenuptial agreement before your marriage. If something in the agreement seems wrong or confusing, ask your attorney to explain it to you. Your future spouse is not allowed to pressure you into signing, such as presenting an agreement the day before your wedding. Creating an agreement under duress would make it invalid.

Contact a Naperville Family Law Attorney

A prenuptial agreement is a complicated document, much like a divorce agreement. You need an experienced DuPage County family law attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., to create a valid agreement that is fair to you. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Five Common Questions About Divorce MediationMany spouses are turning to divorce mediation as an alternative to the lengthy and costly process of divorce litigation. Mediation involves the two spouses directly negotiating the terms of their divorce, with an impartial mediator guiding them through the process. By working together, the spouses can reach a mutually beneficial agreement without the vitriol that can come with litigation. You may be considering mediation for your divorce but are unsure whether the process is right for you. Here are the answers to common questions about divorce mediation:

  1. Is Mediation Only for Amicable Divorces?: Mediation works best when both spouses can cooperate with each other, but it can still work even if you and your spouse have a contentious relationship. Part of the mediation process is teaching you how to reach an agreement in spite of your differences. The mediator is there to help defuse unproductive arguments. The most important requirement for mediation is your willingness to communicate and behave reasonably.
  2. Is a Mediator the Same Thing as a Divorce Lawyer?: Many mediators are practicing family law attorneys, but their role as a mediator is different than that of an attorney. An attorney represents one side in a case, while a mediator is a third-party observer and advisor to the mediation process. Many spouses share the cost of hiring a mediator, while individually hiring their own attorneys who they can consult with outside of the mediation.
  3. Do I Still Need to Appear in Court?: If your mediation goes well, you will have two court appearances: filing for a dissolution of marriage at the start of the process and submitting your divorce agreement for approval at the end of the process. The court must review your agreement to confirm that it adheres to the state’s divorce laws and is not blatantly unfair to one party.
  4. What Happens If Mediation Fails?: The mediation process will end if you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse on part of your divorce settlement. Your case will likely move directly to litigation afterward. However, the mediation process may not have been a waste if you were able to agree on some parts of your divorce settlement.
  5. Is Mediation Faster and Cheaper than Litigation?: If successful, mediation could be a faster and less expensive process for you. You are saving time by having more-efficient negotiations and avoiding numerous court appearances. Saving time will also save you money on court fees and legal expenses. However, failed mediation could be slower and more costly because you will have used both mediation and litigation.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Mediator

When hiring a divorce mediator, you need to find someone with knowledge of divorce law and training in the mediation process. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce mediator at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can explain the mediation process to you. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.

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How to Reclaim Your Last Name During DivorceChanging your last name after your divorce is an empowering step that helps signify your disconnection from your husband. You have little reason to keep his name unless you want to share the same last name with your children. The process for changing your name can be fairly simple and quick if you want to revert to your maiden name. However, the name change will affect many aspects of your life, and it will take time to make all of the necessary updates.

Name Change Process

As part of your divorce agreement, you can decide to change your last name back to your maiden name, which the divorce court will approve. Taking on a completely new last name is a separate process that may take more time. If you did not reclaim your maiden name during your divorce, you can still change your last name after the divorce by:

  • Filing a petition to change your last name;
  • Publishing a notice in a local newspaper about your hearing to change your last name; and
  • Attending the hearing to decide whether to allow your name change.

Your name change hearing will likely be simple and without much argument. The purpose of the hearing is to make sure you do not have fraudulent motives to change your name and to give others the opportunity to object to your name change, which is rare.

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Continuing to Live with Your Ex After DivorceLeaving your marital home after your divorce can be difficult for both personal and financial reasons. Personally, you may no longer be living with your children and will see them less often. Financially, you will need to pay for a new home after previously investing in your marital home. If you think it would be easier to continue to live in your marital home with your former spouse, understand that there is a precedent for this living arrangement. However, you will need to settle legal issues and figure out how you can live separately within the same home.

How It Works

Divorcees who stay in the same home choose their own living areas where they can have privacy from each other. They can create a schedule for when they will use common areas, such as the kitchen. As part of the divorce agreement, they can clarify who is responsible for:

  • Upkeep of the home;
  • Purchasing food;
  • Paying bills; and
  • Deciding on changes to the home.

If they have children in the home, they will need a parenting agreement to determine when each parent will be responsible for the children. The schedule may look similar to one that the parents would have created if they were living separately.

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Illinois Court Rejects Father's Relocation PetitionA co-parent who wishes to relocate with his or her children bears the burden of proving why the move is in the best interest of the children. There can be several reasons why children may benefit from relocating, such as:

  • Better education;
  • A more diverse community;
  • Proximity to family members;
  • A higher standard of living; and
  • Employment opportunities for the primary parent.

However, the court must also consider how the relocation would affect the other parent’s rights. Regularly visiting each parent is often of the greatest benefit to the children. A court may reject a relocation petition if it is unconvinced that the children will be in a clearly better living situation than they are currently.

Recent Example

In the case of In re Marriage of Fatkin, a divorced father asked to relocate his two children from Illinois to Virginia. The father, who had a greater share of the parenting time, had not found full-time employment where he was living and wished to move into his parent’s home in Virginia Beach, where he grew up and had a job waiting for him. He cited several ways that his children would benefit from the move:

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Marriage-to-Divorce Ratio Reaches Highest Level in DecadeThere are several formulas that researchers use to try to better understand the divorce rate in the U.S. The crude divorce rate compares the number of divorces to the total population, which can skew the number because it includes people who cannot marry. The refined divorce rate compares the number of divorces to the number of married women, giving a more accurate total. There is also the marriage-to-divorce ratio, which compares the number of divorces to the number of marriages. The National Center for Family and Marriage Research recently released a study that states that there were 2.2 marriages for every one divorce in the U.S. in 2017.

What Does It Mean?

It is common for there to be more marriages than divorces in a given year, even during periods when the divorce rate is considered high. The 2.2 marriage-to-divorce ratio is the highest that the National Center for Family and Marriage Research has recorded since it started the study in 2008, though it is still well shy of the estimated 3.0 ratio in 1970. Other facts to keep in mind include:

  • Illinois’ 2.55 ratio was the 10th highest marriage-to-divorce ratio in 2017 amongst the 50 states and the District of Columbia;
  • The District of Columbia had by far the highest ratio at 5.87, followed by Hawaii at 3.42 and Alaska at 3.26;
  • Maine had the lowest ratio at 1.34, followed by Alabama at 1.38 and Rhode Island at 1.53; and
  • Nearly half of the states saw their ratios increase from 2015 to 2017, while a quarter saw their ratios decrease.

Formula Limitations

Comparing the number of marriages to the number of divorces in a given year does not tell you how likely it is that the marriages will end in divorce. Most of the divorces involved people who were married in previous years, meaning that the married and divorced groups are not directly comparable. The formula also cannot reliably tell you whether the rate of divorce has increased from year-to-year. Theoretically, a spike in the number of marriages in a year could increase the marriage-to-divorce ratio even if the number of divorces remains consistent.

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Obtaining Health Insurance After Gray DivorceYour medical needs and their related expenses increase as you approach the age of becoming a senior citizen. This means health insurance is a vital issue during a gray divorce, a term that describes divorce between spouses that are age 50 and older. You need continued coverage, but it may be more expensive for you than for younger people who are divorcing. You must consider your health insurance expenses when negotiating your divorce agreement.

Coverage Change

Getting older typically means more frequent visits with doctors. You are also more likely to need an expensive medical procedure and be prescribed regular medication. Losing your health insurance would be devastating to your personal finances because you would be paying those expenses out-of-pocket. Getting divorced may change how you receive and what you pay for your health insurance. If you are already on Medicare, you can continue with that coverage. Otherwise, you will need to sign up for:

  • Medicare coverage;
  • Spousal Continuation Coverage;
  • Coverage through your own employer; or
  • Individual coverage through the health insurance marketplace.

Medicare

You will qualify to receive Medicare once you turn 65 but may be charged a premium for the coverage if you have not worked 40 quarters during your career, which is roughly 10 years. If your former spouse worked the requisite number of quarters, you can receive benefits from his or her Medicare plan, as long as you:

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Determining Child Support With an Inconsistent IncomeIllinois calculates the percentage of child support that each parent owes based on their comparative net incomes. The parent who earns a greater income will pay a proportionate share of the child-related expenses. However, child support can be more complicated when one of the parents has an income that varies by month, due to:

  • Working overtime;
  • Receiving bonuses; or
  • Working for a commission.

Extra pay is part of a parent’s net income but usually not included in the child support calculations. How do you ensure that your co-parent is paying a fair amount of child support when he or she cannot give a consistent monthly income? There are three methods of dealing with this:

  1. Calculating the Average: You can add your co-parent’s income from a period of several months and determine his or her average income, which becomes the basis for the child support payments. This is the simplest method because you are establishing a consistent income amount. However, it can be the least accurate depending on how much your co-parent’s income fluctuates. You may need to revisit your child support payments if his or her monthly income greatly deviates from the past average.
  2. Monthly Supplements: Your co-parent may have a base wage that he or she receives each month. You can use that amount as your co-parent’s base monthly income and supplement it each month with any additional pay that he or she receives. This method requires more work because your co-parent must submit his or her pay statements each month. Your child support contributions will reflect your respective incomes, but you are trusting that your co-parent is providing you with accurate information.
  3. True-Up: You can use the third method in conjunction with either of the first two methods. With a true-up, your co-parent provides the pay statements and W-2 income form from the previous year to determine what he or she should have paid in child support for that period. If your co-parent underpaid you, he or she must reimburse the difference. If your co-parent overpaid you, he or she will receive a credit towards future child support payments. You and your co-parent must have a good level of communication and trust for this method to work.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Illinois determines your child support obligation based on the expected cost of raising your children. Allowing your co-parent to exclude income is taking resources away from your children. A Warrenville, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can make sure that your co-parent is contributing an appropriate amount to your parenting expenses. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111. 

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Should You Become Your Parent's Guardian?Your parents may reach a point in their old age that they are no longer able to make decisions about the important matters in their lives. Ideally, you will prepare for this possibility with them by creating a power of attorney for healthcare and finances. If you do not have these documents, you can request adult guardianship for a parent. If granted, the guardianship will allow you to manage your parent’s finances and decide how to proceed with medical treatment and living arrangements. However, you must consider the potential consequences before applying for adult guardianship:

  1. Will Your Parent Contest It?: It can be infuriating for an adult to cede the ability to make his or her own decisions. Your parent may have enough self-awareness to fight your attempts to take control of his or her life. Of course, this does not mean that your parent is mentally fit, but you may end up in a bitter court battle to obtain guardianship. Your parent may feel humiliated by the evidence that you present to prove that he or she needs a guardian. No matter the court’s decision, your relationship with your parent may be strained.
  2. Will a Family Member Contest It?: Just because your parent needs a guardian does not mean that it will automatically be you. Your other parent will be the first option to make important decisions, as long as he or she is capable of doing so. If your other parent is also mentally unfit, you may need to contest his or her decision-making powers. Your siblings may vie for guardianship over your parents and contest your attempts to take control. Ideally, you can share the responsibility with your siblings, but they may be unreasonable and unwilling to give up any power.
  3. Is Guardianship Necessary?: Becoming the legal guardian of your parent is a costly and time-consuming process. Before starting, you should question whether your parent needs a guardian in this situation. Being confused at times does not mean that he or she is incapable of making important decisions. By talking with your parent, you may get him or her to agree to take your advice on matters without requiring your legal authority.

Contact a Warrenville Family Law Attorney

Before applying for guardianship of your parent, you should check whether your parent already has documents related to the power of attorney. A DuPage County family law attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you obtain guardianship if you need the legal authority to make decisions on your parent’s behalf. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-393-3111. 

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