College Costs and Child Support

Despite being a topic of debate and discussion for years now, college tuition has yet to become any more reasonable. In fact, it now costs twice as much to attend college today than it did 20 years ago. This issue is an especially serious one in Illinois, where enrollment is dropping and pensions to staff and faculty are coming due.

What exactly does this information mean for you and your child support decree? Well, it means that you could end up paying at least a part of your child’s college expenses. Many divorce decrees in Illinois make use of something known as a reserve clause that states that each parent in question agrees to pay some money towards the child’s post-secondary education. If the custodial parent makes the decision to file a petition before the child turns 18 to have the noncustodial parent help pay for education expenses, chances are good that a judge will enforce the aforementioned reserve clause.

Section 513

In the state of Illinois, the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states in Section 513 that a judge has the ability to order the noncustodial parent to pay additional support to help cover college expenses. This includes money to help cover college tuition, various college fees, food and housing, transportation, and living expenses incurred while the child is on leave during summer and spring breaks.

 

With the above said, it is important to note that there is a limit to what someone can reasonably be expected to pay. Expecting parents to cover the cost of a private apartment, for example, is unreasonable. Instead, their obligation to pay housing expenses ends at the cost of a dorm room with at least one roommate and a full-time meal plan at the University of Illinois. The same can be said of things like transportation fees, which do not include a requirement to splurge for first class plane tickets or a car when a bus ticket would work just as well depending upon the child’s situation.

Finally, parents can be required to provide their child with living expenses during semester breaks even if the child is living at home. Note that there is little guidance when it comes to whether or not the child must be working and actively contributing to these costs in order to justify ordering the parent to pay.

Post-secondary Support

An Illinois judge will help calculate exactly how much money the child in question is entitled to as well as how much each parent pays. There are different factors to consider when determining the amount each parent can pay, including their respective financial resources, the child’s financial resources, and the child’s academic performance. If the child is continuously on academic probation due to failing to attend classes and there are no extenuating circumstances causing these absences, for example, then it is possible the parents of said child will either be found to have no requirement to pay or will be made to pay less.

The aforementioned factors are not exhaustive, and judges are able to consider any and all factors they believe to be relevant to their decision.

Are you facing the prospect of helping your child pay for their college education? Make sure to reach out to the experienced attorneys at Abear Law Offices at 630-904-3033 for more information!

Divorce and Taxes: What You Should Know

Divorce is not an easy process to undertake. It’s one that impacts nearly every facet of your life, in fact, and that is perhaps most true when it comes to finances. In any divorce case there tend to be significant financial issues that can arise. These might take a variety of forms, including disputes regarding things like spousal support to the division of your marital property. As the dissolution of your marriage continues forward, then, it should come as no surprise that you might encounter significant financial struggles. Some of the most common of these are related to taxes and how you should file them as a result of your divorce.

Thanks to a new tax law set to go into effect on December 31st, 2018, divorcing couples could see some dramatic changes to the way they file taxes as well as spousal maintenance in the coming year. Let’s look at the change and how it stands to impact you.

Income Tax Returns

One of the main tax concerns that arises because of divorce is filing income tax. Married couples who file jointly are often eligible for tax deductions and breaks that are simply not available to single individuals. That means that, just as you must adjust to filing your tax return as an unmarried individual once more, you should also look at what deductions or tax breaks you have been receiving while married that you can no longer count upon now that you are divorced. Some of these might include:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Mortgage Write-Offs

Spousal Maintenance and the New Tax Law

In addition to the issues described above with income tax returns, the new tax law will also impact the way in which spousal payments can be deducted. Before the change, it was possible for the spouse paying support to deduct the amount from their income on their tax return while the individual receiving the support had to include the money they received as income on their own tax return. Under the new tax law set to go into effect on December 31st, 2018, however, this process changes. Spouses paying support will no longer be able to count the payments as deductions and the individuals receiving them will no longer have to count them as income.

 

As you can see, the new tax law stands to significantly impact many individuals currently making and receiving spousal support payments. Some might find this change to be beneficial, however many individuals will find themselves confused and put out by the news.

 

At Abear Law Offices, we understand how you feel. We can work with you to help ensure you not only file your taxes correctly under this new law, but also that you are treated fairly throughout the divorce process itself. For more information, contact us today and speak to one of our experienced staff members!

Dangerous Divorces: Digital Threats Could Impact Your Safety

Even in the best of cases – the situations where both parties in a marriage are on agreeable terms and are in agreement regarding the important decisions to be made – divorce can be a rough situation. Unfortunately, sometimes it is far worse than that. While stalking is not necessarily present in all divorces, it is a distressingly common issue in relationships that have some element of abuse to them. And thanks to new technology and the rise of digital devices, it is now easier than ever to keep tabs on someone.

If you are in the middle of a divorce or are attempting to leave a dangerous or abusive marriage, then you should be aware of the threat that technology could pose to your safety. An experienced attorney can help keep you safe in these situations.

GPS Technology

GPS is a form of technology that tracks your location. It is particularly prevalent in smartphones and other smart devices, but there is also a plethora of small, standalone devices that can be used without your knowledge. If these are slipped into your purse, your jacket, or your car, just to give a few examples, then someone could keep tabs on your location even without access to your computer or smartphone.

You should know that the use of trackers is, in large part, illegal. That means that there are very few situations in which it is legally justifiable to use them, and if your spouse is attempting to use them to track your location, you might be able to pursue charges. It should be noted, however, that in certain situations, your spouse might be within their rights to use such a device. A vehicle that is co-owned might be an exception as your spouse is also an owner of the car and might be entitled to track the vehicle’s whereabouts. To avoid this, it is advisable to avoid using anything that your spouse might be legally able to track.

An attorney can help you determine which items these may be and how you can keep your location safe.

Spy/Monitoring Applications

In addition to GPS technology, an increasing number of individuals are turning to applications that “spy”, or monitor, another’s actions. Some of these can monitor your private text messages, your social media activity, and even your emails and spending. These applications can be installed on smartphones, computers, and tablets.

If you think that your spouse is employing the use of these applications, stop using the devices immediately and reach out to your attorney. They will be able to guide you through the next steps, whether that means giving the devices in question to law enforcement to look for evidence of the monitoring applications or something else entirely.

Experienced Divorce Lawyers in Illinois

If you are in need of a divorce attorney, reach out to Abear Law Offices today! Our experienced attorneys can help. Use our contact form for more information!

Domestic Violence and the Holidays

The holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year. People spend significant amounts of money on gifts for their relatives and prepare for elaborate holiday events. Unfortunately, the holidays are not ideal for all families, as many suffer from domestic violence almost every day, even on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

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What Can Go into a Prenuptial Agreement?

The American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) was asked about prenuptial agreements, or prenups, in 2013, and almost two-thirds (63 percent) of those surveyed stated that they had seen a significant rise in their use in recent years, especially by women.

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Specific Types of Debt in Illinois Divorce

Many couples generally understand that when they divorce both their assets and their debts are divided equitably between them. Equity is not the same as equality; it is more related to fairness, which means that you may be asked to pay a debt that your spouse is not able to, because it will cause you less hardship. However, there are certain types of debt that must be handled in more specific ways, and it is important to understand what those may be.

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Protecting Professional Practices in Asset Division

During a divorce, asset division is almost always the most complex and fraught part of proceedings, if only because both spouses are very invested in fairness. However, the process can take on an even more personal bent if one of the marital assets is a spouse’s professional practice—as a doctor, dentist, attorney, and the like.

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Problems with Children and Parenting Time

During the long Thanksgiving weekend, families often have plans to spend time together—go bowling, shop at a local mall, eat at a restaurant, etc. Yet when a couple is divorced, there may be days when one parent desires to see his or her children but the children do not have the option to stay with him or her due to the divorced couple’s parenting plan.

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