Category Archives: Uncategorized

Unmarried Couples and “Palimony” in Illinois

In some states, it is possible for individuals in unmarried couples to be awarded alimony. Known more commonly as “palimony”, this functions like traditional alimony where one party pays support payments to another after the end of a relationship. In Illinois, palimony is not recognized. This was established in 1979 by the Illinois Supreme Court. It is worth noting, however, that this decision has recently come under question.

A recent appellate case involving two domestic partners (known as Eileen and Jane) dealt directly with the question of “palimony”. When one partner, Eileen, argued to retain the sole title of the home the couple shared prior to the dissolution of their relationship due to her years spent as a single mother during the relationship, the other, Jane, argued that this was tantamount to awarding Eileen palimony. Since palimony is not recognized in Illinois, Jane argued that this request should be denied.

The trial court initially handling the case agreed with Jane, but Eileen appealed. She argued that legislative and judicial changes in the state of Illinois have actually supported palimony claims and that her case should be more carefully considered. The appellate court ultimately agreed with Eileen, and held that the changes in public policy over the nearly four decades since the law was initially established have made it possible to uphold the idea of palimony. It then directed lower courts to consider Eileen and Jane’s claims.

Note that while this is a significant decision on the part of the appellate court, it doesn’t mean that palimony is now recognized in Illinois. The only way that happens is if the Illinois Supreme Court makes the decision to reverse their precedent or if every single appellate court in the state chooses to recognize these claims. In the meantime, it might be helpful for unmarried couples to remember that they can always enter cohabitation agreements instead of relying on palimony after a relationship ends.

A cohabitation agreement is a contract between partners that establishes the financial obligations and rights of each party should the relationship come to an end (via joint separation or death). These agreements generally include provisions guiding the division of separate and joint property, property ownership rights, household expenditures, and parental roles, if applicable. This can provide a good option for unmarried couples should their relationships end, although it should be noted that cohabitation agreements do not dictate custody arrangements. Regardless of what is stated within them, either party is able to petition the courts for custody.

If you’re in a long-term, unmarried relationship and would like to ensure that your responsibilities and rights are upheld, making the decision to enter into a cohabitation agreement is a good option. The attorneys at Abear Law Office can help! Reach out to us today for more information.

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!

Prenuptial Agreements on the Rise for Millennials

Forty years ago, 8 in 10 people were married by the age of 30. Last year, that same number applied to people getting married at the age of 45.

In today’s world, millennials often postpone marriage until they are financially secure. Moreover, during their marriage planning process, they are more likely to protect their assets by establishing a prenuptial agreement in the event of a divorce.

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New Child Support Calculation Model Could Further Complicate Illinois Family Court Process

Illinois made numerous changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) at the beginning of 2016. Now, with barely any time for families to adjust, lawmakers have made additional changes to a specific family court matter. This time around, it is a change to how child support is configured. Perhaps these alterations are meant to complement the numerous child-related changes made back in 2016, but what they may do is confuse families and create a potentially sticky situation for the children themselves.

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Spousal Maintenance in Illinois

Spousal maintenance is an important aspect of the divorce process, and those beginning the divorce process would be wise to become familiar with the topic. You may have heard spousal maintenance referred to as alimony or spousal support, and all names refer to the same idea of payments being paid to one spouse from the other spouse after divorce.

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Types of Co-Parenting Relationships

Are you stuck in an unhappy marriage but worried about the impact a divorce could have on your children? You are not alone. Many parents remain in unhappy marriages to spare their children the pain of divorce. While this may seem like a noble choice, it is often misguided. In fact, in many cases, children fare far better with separated parents compared to married parents in an unhealthy relationship. Why is this?

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Pope Francis Calls for Softer Stance towards Divorced Catholics

For those practicing Catholicism, divorce can be difficult. According to the Church, marriage is an unbreakable bond, and in the eyes of God, those who divorce without receiving an annulment and then remarry are living in sin. Additionally, Catholics who divorced and remarried through a civil ceremony are not eligible to receive communion, leaving many divorced and remarried Catholics across the world feeling rejected by the Church. Catholics who do divorce and remarry commonly seek out another Christian denomination instead.

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Children and Divorce: How to Help Your Child Work through Your Marital Breakup

Divorce is hard for families. Amid discussions of property division, alimony, new living arrangements, and changing relationships, children can feel like they have lost control of their lives. This can lead to feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, and even regret and guilt for some children. During this difficult time, your children need your support more than ever. Be there for them as you and your spouse work through your divorce and move forward with your changed lives.

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Child Support Modification in Illinois

If you can not afford to make your child support payments, do not simply stop paying. Failure to pay your child support can lead to fines, loss of your driver’s license, wage garnishment and other monetary seizures, and even jail time. As a parent, you are legally required to financially provide for your child.

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Knowing the Grounds for Divorce – Part 2

Fault

It is simply a reality of modern life that marriages sometimes fail. Couples who marry with the best intentions often find themselves facing a divorce when, for whatever reason, the relationship breaks down. In many cases, there is not just a single underlying cause for the divorce, but the combination of numerous smaller issues. Like most states, Illinois law has provisions in place to allow for divorce in such a situation without assigning fault to either spouse.

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