Elmhurst divorce lawyer alcohol substance abuseAlcohol and drug abuse are issues that affect millions of people across the United States, and substance abuse is often a factor in the breakdown of a marriage. Studies have shown that there are nearly 25 million people in the U.S. who are in a marriage in which a spouse is an alcoholic or drug addict, and around 7% of divorces are the result of substance abuse issues.

If your spouse has issues with substance abuse, you will likely want to do everything you can to help them receive the treatment they need and salvage your relationship. However, sometimes divorce may be the only option, especially if your and your children’s safety and financial security are at risk. If you are planning to divorce a substance-abusing spouse, you should be aware of the following concerns:

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

While your spouse’s substance use may be one of the primary reasons for the breakdown of your marriage, you do not need to demonstrate this in order to file for divorce. In Illinois, the only reason, or “grounds,” necessary for divorce are irreconcilable differences. A petition for divorce will simply state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and attempts at reconciliation would not be in the family’s best interests. Raising the issue of substance abuse when filing for divorce may only complicate the process, so it is best to speak with your attorney about how to address these issues during the divorce process.

Child Issues

The safety and well-being of children is of paramount importance during divorces involving substance abuse. During and after divorce, both parents will typically be granted parenting time with children, so if you believe your children are at risk while in the care of your ex-spouse, you should take steps to protect their safety. Gather information and evidence demonstrating your spouse’s dangerous or risky behavior regarding your children, and speak to your attorney about whether it would be appropriate to request restrictions on your spouse’s parenting time or ask for them to participate in a rehabilitation program or drug testing as part of your divorce agreement.

Financial Issues

Substance abuse can lead to a variety of financial difficulties in a marriage, especially when an alcoholic or drug addicted spouse spends marital funds supporting their addiction or has difficulty maintaining employment. When planning for divorce, you should begin protecting your financial assets by opening your own bank accounts or credit cards, ensuring that you will have the resources you need to support yourself. Speak to your attorney about your spouse’s dissipation of marital assets to support their habits, and be sure to understand how their employment status will affect issues such as spousal maintenance and child support.

Contact a Skokie Divorce Attorney

If you are considering divorce, and your spouse struggles with substance abuse, the attorneys at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC can help you understand your rights and work with you to make sure your family’s safety and financial security are protected throughout the divorce process. Contact a Lincolnwood divorce lawyer today at 312-605-4041 to schedule a consultation.




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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce laws,Sweeping tax reform legislation was passed by the United States Congress in December 2017, with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act representing the largest change to the federal tax code in the past three decades. The changes implemented in this bill will have an impact on people across the country in a wide variety of ways, and both individuals and organizations are still working to determine how they will be affected. One area of this bill that divorcing spouses should be aware of is a major change to how spousal support (alimony) will be taxed.

Taxes on Spousal Maintenance

When spouses divorce, one spouse may be required to pay maintenance to the other spouse, allowing them to maintain a lifestyle similar to what they enjoyed when they were married. This is usually the case when one spouse earns a higher income or when a spouse has chosen to devote their time and energy to the family rather than to further their career. Prior to the tax reform bill, the spouse paying maintenance would deduct the amount of these payments from their taxable income, and the spouse receiving maintenance would pay taxes on these payments.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act now treats maintenance the same way as child support is treated. That is, it will no longer be tax-deductible for the paying spouse or taxable for the receiving spouse. This change will go into effect for divorces which are finalized after December 31, 2018.

How This Change Will Affect Divorcing Couples

Under the previous law, divorcing couples were often able to work together to determine how to allocate child support and maintenance in a way that resulted in the lowest possible tax burden for both spouses. Tax-deductible maintenance may have allowed the paying spouse to be in a lower tax bracket, providing more income to be shared between the spouses. Since the tax reform bill has eliminated this deduction, a paying spouse’s net income may be lower, resulting in smaller maintenance payments.

Spouses who are considering divorce or who have begun the divorce process may wish to finalize their divorce before the end of 2018, so that they may take advantage of the benefits of tax-deductible maintenance while it is still available. Also, spouses who have a prenuptial agreement regarding maintenance that one spouse will pay in the case of divorce may need to update their agreement to ensure it follows the new tax law.

Contact a Skokie Divorce Lawyer

If you have any questions about how the tax reform bill will affect your divorce, the attorneys at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC can give you the answers you need and work with you to make sure your financial interests are protected as you complete the process of dissolving your marriage. Contact an Elmhurst divorce attorney today at 312-605-4041 to schedule a consultation.





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Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,Divorce can be a complicated process, requiring some difficult decisions as couples work to separate the many aspects of their lives that have become intertwined over the course of their relationship. While making these decisions, disagreements often arise over issues such as the division of marital property and the allocation of parental responsibility, but if spouses are able to work together to reach a mutually beneficial outcome, they can avoid the costs and stress of litigation.

Many couples today are turning to methods of alternative dispute resolution to settle divorce matters, and one method that is becoming more popular is collaborative divorce (which is also sometimes called collaborative law). In August of 2017, the state of Illinois formally recognized collaborative divorce when Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Collaborative Process Act, which will take effect on January 1, 2018.

The Collaborative Process As Defined By Illinois Law

When spouses use collaborative law, they and their attorneys work together to resolve outstanding issues in divorce or other family law matters. The Collaborative Process Act makes several provisions for how this process should be carried out, including:

  • Collaborative law can be used to settle any dispute or issue that arises under Illinois’ family or domestic relations laws, including marriage, divorce, legal separation, property division, allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time, spousal support, child support, adoption, paternity, and prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.
  • At the beginning of the collaborative process, the parties will sign a collaborative process participation agreement that states their intention to resolve their disputes through collaborative law, describes the nature and scope the matters to be resolved, identifies the parties’ attorneys, and states that the parties will discharge their attorneys if they are unable to reach a resolution through the collaborative process.
  • The law states that “voluntary informal disclosure of information related to a matter is a defining characteristic of the collaborative process.” This means that the parties should provide each other with any information requested in a timely manner while they are working to reach an agreement. If necessary, they can specify the scope of information disclosure in the collaborative process participation agreement.
  • When the parties reach an agreement, they will conclude the collaborative process and submit their agreement to the court. If they are unable to agree on every matter, they may submit a partial resolution and specify which matters still need to be resolved through other methods. The collaborative process can also be terminated by either party with or without cause, and it will also be terminated when a party’s attorney is discharged or withdraws from representing their client.
  • Communication between parties during the collaborative process is considered confidential and is not admissible as evidence or subject to discovery unless both parties agree to disclose any of this information.

Contact an Experienced Collaborative Divorce Attorney

If you are looking to resolve the outstanding issues in your divorce, collaborative law is a great way to do so while avoiding costly court battles. If you need help reaching an amicable agreement in your divorce, the attorneys at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC can represent you in the collaborative process and make sure you meet all your legal requirements as you work to finalize your divorce. Contact an Elmhurst divorce lawyer today at 312-605-4041 to schedule a consultation.




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Illinois child support attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,Choosing a religion for a child can be a contentious issue. This is especially true when the parents divorce or seek a court order for custody at an early age before a child has begun participating in religion.

However, a child’s religion can also come up as the child grows older and religion becomes more meaningful and demanding. For example, religious practices can interfere with parenting time and may also determine where a child will be schooled. A parent who practices the same religion as the child may request extra visitation for any number holy days, or sending a child to a religious camp may take away time from a parent.

Illinois Family Law on Religious Upbringing

The law provides the general framework on this issue, although each case is different and results can be somewhat unpredictable.

The law defines religious upbringing as:

  • The choice of religion or denomination of a religion;
  • Religious schooling;
  • Religious training; or
  • Participation in religious customs or practices.

The law first states that if the parties agree in writing on the religious upbringing of the children at issue, the court will honor that agreement. If the parties cannot agree, the court will determine the issue of religion in the best interests of the child in the following manner:

  • The court will look to see if there has been an expressed or implied agreement between the parties on the issue in the past.
  • If there is no express or implied agreement, the court will look at the parents’ past conduct on the issue.
  • The court will not allocate any aspect of a child’s religious upbringing if it determines that the parents did not have an express or implied agreement or there is insufficient evidence to prove a course of conduct that the parties had been participating in.

Contact a Skokie Child Support Attorney

No matter what stage of parental responsibility proceedings you are in, our attorneys can help. If you are just setting out to reach an agreement with your ex, our firm can ensure that you leave with a workable solution for your family.

If you have had a custody order or informal arrangement for years but find yourself fighting with your ex over your child’s religious upbringing, our lawyers can bring years of family law experience to determine what paths may be available to you.

Just because you retain a lawyer does not mean you will end up in court. It is possible to reach an agreement among all interested parties without retaining experts, calling witnesses and leaving the ultimate decision up to a judge.

Cal the accomplished Elmhurst, IL child support lawyers of Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC at 312-605-4041 to schedule your first meeting today.




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Illinois child support attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,In July 2017, a revision to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) went into effect, completely redefining the way child support is calculated when parents divorce. Gone is the simple method of the past, in which the amount of support was based only on the income of the paying parent and the number of children being supported. Illinois now uses an “income sharing” model which considers the combined income of both parents and divides support between parents based on what percentage each parent contributes to the combined income.

Child Support in Cases of Shared Physical Care

When determining child support under the new law, courts will use tables provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to determine the amount that parents would have spent to support their children had they not divorced, then this amount will be divided between the parents based on each parent’s percentage share of their combined income. However, in cases of shared physical care, additional calculations are required to further divide the support obligation between the parents based on the amount of parenting time each parent has with their children.

Shared physical care occurs when children stay overnight with each parent spends at least 40% of the time or 146 days per year. In these cases, the amount of the parents’ financial obligation will be multiplied by 1.5. Each parent’s portion of this obligation will then be multiplied by the other parent’s percentage of overnight stays with their children. The resulting amounts will be offset, and the parent who has the higher obligation will pay the other parent the difference between the two amounts.

Calculating Shared Physical Care Obligations

For an example of how to calculate child support in shared physical care situations, we will look at the case of Tom and Michelle, who have two children. Tom makes a gross income of $3,000 per month, and the children will stay with him 175 days each year. Michelle makes $2,000 per month, and the children will stay with her 190 days each year.

First, the basic support obligation is calculated using the HFS Gross to Net Income Conversion Table and Income Shares Schedule. At their combined net income of $4,131 per month, the obligation for two children is $1,294. With a net income of $2,384, Tom’s percentage share of the combined income is 57.7%, so his portion of the obligation is $746.64. With a net income of $1,747, Michelle’s percentage share is 42.3%, and her portion of the obligation is $547.36.

Each parent’s portion of the obligation is multiplied by 1.5 to determine their shared physical sSupport obligation. Tom’s portion is $1,119.96, and this amount is multiplied by Michelle’s percentage of time with the children (190/365, or 52.1%), resulting in $483.50. Michelle’s portion of the obligation is $821.04, and multiplying it by Tom’s percentage of time with the children (175/365, or 47.9%) results in $393.28.

The final shared care child support obligation is determined by subtracting the smaller figure from the larger figure. Subtracting Michelle’s figure from Tom’s figure results in $90.22, which is the amount of child support that Tom will pay to Michelle each month.

Contact an Elmhurst Child Support Lawyer

If you need help determining how the new child support law will apply to your divorce, the family law attorneys at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC can answer your questions and advocate for your family’s best interests throughout the divorce process. Contact a Skokie child support attorney today at 312-605-4041 to schedule a consultation.




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hidden-assetsDuring divorce, both spouses have a right to equitable division of marital property. While this does not necessarily mean that everything will be split 50/50, each spouse is entitled to a fair and equitable portion of the assets that the couple own. However, divorcing spouses often try to hide assets from each other in hopes that they will not have to share monetary funds or other property with their spouse. This is especially common in cases of high net worth divorce.

If you suspect that your spouse may be concealing any money or property, you should look in the following places to find out whether there are any hidden assets:

  1. Tax returns – You should obtain a complete copy of your joint tax return, which can help you get a full picture of your spouse’s income, any interest or dividends they earned, and the deductions they have taken. In some cases, a spouse may over-pay the taxes they owe, allowing them to receive a larger tax return after the divorce has been finalized.
  2. Bank accounts – Be sure to review the complete statements for any joint bank accounts. Look for transfers to the accounts of friends or family members, or to accounts that have been created in children’s names.
  3. Business expenses – Spouses who own a business often use them to hide assets. They may pay a salary to a nonexistent employee or delay signing contracts or charging clients for services until after the divorce. Be sure to review business bank statements and income and expense reports to look for any discrepancies.
  4. New purchases – Spouses often use marital funds to purchase physical assets such as artwork or collectibles and then under-report the value of these items when dividing marital property. Look for any recent purchases that your spouse has made, including antiques, furniture, or jewelry.
  5. Fake debt and purchases – A spouse may claim that they owe money to a friend or family member or make payments to other people for nonexistent products or services. Then, after the divorce has been finalized, these people will transfer the money back to your spouse. Be on the lookout for any suspicious payments or loans.

Contact a Lincolnwood Divorce Lawyer

Attempting to hide assets during divorce is a serious offense that comes with major consequences, including fines and possible jail time. If you suspect that your spouse is concealing money, property, or other assets, the experienced attorneys at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC can help you receive your fair share of your marital property. Contact a Skokie divorce attorney at 312-605-4041 to schedule a personal consultation.





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Illinois child support attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,When parents end their marriage in divorce, the parent who retains primary custody of the couple’s children usually receives child support from the other parent. For the past several decades, the law in Illinois determined the amount of these child support payments using a straightforward calculation. The paying parent would be obligated to pay a percentage of their net income based on the number of children being supported. However, this method no longer addresses the financial realities of many families, since both parents now typically earn an income and contribute to their children’s care.

Illinois recently modified its child support law to reflect these changing realities, and these changes went into effect on July 1, 2017. Under the new law, child support obligations will be based on both parents’ incomes, and the amount of parenting time and parental responsibility each parent has will also be taken into account.

Calculating Child Support under the New Law

The first step courts will take to determine the amount of child support is to establish each parent’s net income. This is done using a Gross to Net Income Conversion Table, which is provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The parents’ individual net incomes will be added together to determine a combined net income, and each parent’s percentage share of that combined income will be calculated.

For example, if Mark earns a gross income of $3,500 per month and Karen earns a gross income of $2,500 per month, and Karen is the custodial parent of one child, the table shows that Mark’s net income is $2,752 and Karen’s net income is $2,073. Their combined net income is $4,825. Mark’s percentage share of this income is 57%, and Karen’s percentage share is 43%.

The parents’ combined net income will be used to determine a basic support obligation, which is the amount that parents at that combined income range would typically spend to care for their children. An income shares schedule, which is a table provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, will be used to find the amount of the basic support obligation. Each parent’s percentage share of the combined income will be applied to the basic support obligation to determine the amount that they are responsible for.

Using the example above, the basic support obligation for one child at the combined income of $4,825 is $926. After applying each parent’s percentage share to this amount, Mark’s portion of the basic support obligation is $527.82, and Karen’s portion is $398.18. Since Karen is the custodial parent, it will be assumed that she will directly use her portion of the obligation to care for the child, and Mark will pay Karen $527.82 in child support each month.

In some cases, additional calculations may need to be made to further divide the amount of the basic support obligation based on the number of overnight stays the children have with each parent. This occurs in cases of shared physical care, in which children stay overnight with each parent for 146 days or more in a year.

Contact a Skokie Child Support Attorney

The new Illinois child support law can have a major impact on your finances following your divorce. If you want to learn more about how to determine the amount of child support you will pay or receive, you should get in touch with the family law attorneys at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC. We will answer your questions, help you understand your rights and obligations, and advocate for you throughout the divorce process. Contact an Elmhurst child support lawyer at 312-605-4041 to schedule a consultation.





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Divorce and spousal illnessWedding vows are easy to say when the day is beautiful and everything goes according to plan. When people make the statement “I promise, in sickness and in health,” they usually envision a common cold, in which their significant other looks miserable and needs some extra attention, tissues, and soup. However, the intention behind this statement is much deeper. What if something unimaginable happens to the person standing in front of you? Will you love them through the countless hospital visits, the emotional meltdowns, and the monumental medical bills? Unfortunately, when it comes down to it, the stress can become too much to handle, and many marriages end in divorce.

The Statistics

A 2015 study followed over 2,700 marriages for almost two full decades, making a note of every divorce, illness, and death. The study followed couples in which one of the partners was at least 51 years of age when the study began. A few of the results were as follows:

  • 32% of the marriages resulted in divorce,
  • 24% of the spouses became a widow or widower,
  • Divorce was more common for younger couples,
  • Divorce was 6% more likely if the wife was sick, and
  • There was no change in divorce rates if the husband was sick.

Possible Explanations

Many researchers believe the results of this study were due to the men being from an older generation in which boys were not educated to become caregivers like girls were. Women naturally tend to be more nurturing, and the expertise women have in this area may also cause them to expect more from their partners, only to find disappointment. Also, men often are not good multitaskers by nature. They can focus well on one task at a time, whereas women have the ability to juggle multiple tasks. If the wife becomes ill and unable to work, men must then learn to become the primary breadwinner, manage the household, preserve the finances, and act as a caregiver, all at the same time.

Life And Death Choices Make People Re-evaluate

Becoming chronically ill forces many individuals into depression. Unfortunately, between the illness and all of the added stressors that it brings, many spouses begin to analyze how good their marriage was before the diagnosis. If the partnership was mediocre or unstable, illness typically does not add anything positive to rekindle the fire that drew them together. However, a divorce may jeopardize health insurance benefits and the financial capabilities of the ailing spouse. Tough questions such as these are best presented to an Elmhurst, IL divorce attorney. Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC is available to assist you in your case. Call us today at 312-605-4041 to schedule your initial consultation at one of our four convenient locations.




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divorce process, Elmhurst divorce attorney, file for divorce, preparing for divorce, divorce and financesPreparing for divorce is often an overwhelming task, especially when the end of your marriage seems to have happened suddenly, without much warning. Although many marriages tend to dissolve slowly, over time, some end abruptly. This can result in couples having to scramble around at the last minute and attempt to sift through a list of tasks that must be addressed in order to finalize the separation.

Preparation Basics

Whether you sense your marriage is coming to end, have already discussed the idea of separating with your spouse, or have been blindsided by the rapid unraveling of your relationship, it is time to hunker down and get to work. Preparation is key for any undertaking as vast as the divorce process. The earlier you begin planning, the better off you will be. Even if your divorce is sudden, however, there are still a number of steps you can take in order to make the separation experience as efficient as possible.

Consider four ways every divorcing spouse can get organized in preparation for the filing process:

  1. Collect your financial records. Undoubtedly, money is one of the very first areas most divorcing spouses feel the urge to address when their separation is imminent. Understandably, what you do—or do not do—with your assets has the power to significantly impact your lifestyle after the divorce. Therefore, it is crucial to do what you can to secure your financial security. Your very first course of action should be to collect all joint and personal financial records. Take inventory of your debts, earnings, and budget information. Have it on hand and ready to go so you have a clear financial snapshot as you meet with your attorney and financial planner.
  2. Route your personal mail. Even if you are unsure of what your living arrangements will be post divorce, it is helpful to establish a new mail arrangement beforehand, in order to begin separating your confidential, personal mail from your shared residence. Opening a post office box is helpful, especially if you have yet to relocate to a new home.
  3. Set up separate bank accounts. Another step you can take to get ahead of the divorce game is to immediately open your own separate checking and savings accounts in your name, as well as a credit card in your name. This will give you a chance to establish your own credit and show you where you stand in terms of the funds you have to provide for yourself. It will also give you a good picture of what you possibly need to save or how much you are able to spend on legal services and fees.
  4. Gather all important benefit information. Along with collecting your financial records, it is also crucial to gather any benefit information under your name. For example, you will want records of your life and health insurance policies, as well as any living will or health directive information. Begin a list of any modifications that may be necessary, such as beneficiary changes or updating retirement account designations.

This is by no means an exhaustive checklist for an impending divorce, but tackling these basic tasks can help you get a head start on the process and help you feel more in control as you move forward. To access the resources you need and secure proper legal representation, speak with a knowledgeable Elmhurst, IL divorce attorney today. Call Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC at 312-605-4041 for a one-on-one consultation.




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property division, ElmhurstIn high-asset divorces, one issue that parties can run into is the division of uncommon assets. Company stocks are a type of asset that some couples will have to divide.

Stock division can be complicated, which is why you may wish to gain an understanding of this issue at the outset of your divorce.

Types of Stock

There are two types of stock that may be at issue in your divorce: stock options and restricted stock.

  1. Stock Options. A stock option is the right to purchase stock at a certain price for a certain period of time (usually years). Many employees are given stock options as part of a compensation package. The idea is that in several years the employee can purchase stock at the agreed-upon rate, which would be lower than the current valuation.

  2. Restricted Stock. This is company stock given to employees; however, the employees are restricted from selling it until certain conditions are met. Conditions include working for a set number of years at the company, for example.

How Stocks Are Valued

The issue with stocks is that at the time of the divorce the stocks do not have a set worth. Stocks only have a set worth when they are sold.

It may be possible to value the stocks, and the spouse that receives the stocks in the settlement can buy-out the other spouse’s interest. Some spouses may wish to agree to deferred distribution. Under this “wait-and-see” method, the parties would divide the stocks’ worth when the stock is ultimately sold. Typically, the employee spouse will retain the right to determine when to sell the stocks.

Issues with Hiding Stock

Sometimes spouses will attempt to hide stock ownership. While this is illegal, it can happen in contentious cases.

Stocks can be easily concealed because they often do not show up on pay stubs or W-2 forms. A skilled lawyer will be able to find stock ownership, however, by using all mechanisms allowed under discovery law. If necessary, a forensic accountant may be brought in to review your spouse’s finances and look for assets that may not be initially reported.

Contact a Skokie Property Division Attorney

Property division requires special attention to detail as well as keeping in mind the broader picture of settlement negotiations. Many divorcing spouses are surprised to find out what types of property they are entitled to as part of divorce proceedings.

If you are going through a divorce, we advise you to speak to a lawyer so you can understand what rights and obligations a court may determine you have. In many cases, it is foreseeable what a property division may entail.

Call the experienced Elmhurst, IL divorce lawyers of Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC at 312-605-4041 to set up your initial meeting today.



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