Spousal Maintenance

Mar 13

Ways to Save Money During a Divorce

saving moneyIf you have decided that it is time for you and your spouse to part ways, there must be some underlying reasons.  That being said, if you are able to work with your soon-to-be-ex through the divorce process, it may end up saving you money, time and aggravation.  There are other ways to avoid high costs for getting divorced.

A good first step when contemplating divorce is by considering the lawyer you need.  There are lawyers with backgrounds in mediation who can work towards a cost effective and timely divorce.  They act as a neutral third party to guide you and your spouse trough the divorce process to a mutually beneficial agreement.

This has the additional benefit of avoiding a litigated divorce where a judge rules over the division of property, custody and support payments.  Coming to an understanding with your ex might be more beneficial because you both know what is necessary to accomplish.  Also, divorces that play out in court can last a long time, be very expensive and tie up your schedule with court appearances.

It will also be important to carefully report your assets and review your exes’ financials.  Honestly reporting your income will eliminate the possibility of being penalized by paying your exes’ attorney fees, fines from the court or even jail time.  An accurate statement of assets will also ensure that you either receive the most amount of support or pay the least.

Closing joint accounts is integral to separate your exes’ purchases from your own.  Otherwise, you could be held responsible for purchases even after the divorce is finalized.  Make sure to remove your spouse as an authorized user on any credit cards you have from your marriage and change any important passwords they might know.

Now that you are making a transition from a combined income to possibly only support payments, create a budget for yourself.  By learning to allocate for your expenses, you will be more financially able to live your new life.  This is a time to get help from family and friends who can ease this transition and think of other cost saving ideas.  Divorce isn’t an easy step in your life but do what you can to limit the stress on yourself.  Contacting a knowledgeable divorce attorney in DuPage County will also ease this burden.

Share This Page
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailby feather

Mar 13

American Taxpayer Relief Act May Affect You Post-Divorce

StaciMost Americans are familiar with at least some provisions of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) that Congress put into effect as of January 1, 2013 in an attempt to avoid the fiscal cliff. What many people may not know, however, is that ATRA may create some sticky financial situations for former spouses once their divorce is final if they fail to take its provisions into account in crafting a settlement agreement.

As recently reported by Forbes, one provision of ATRA significantly raises tax rates for higher income people. Therefore, if you will be receiving alimony following your divorce, you may be pushed into a higher income tax bracket, which now will mean that you owe an increased amount of taxes. In most cases, your periodic alimony payments will be considered to be taxable income by the IRS, and the payments will be tax-deductible for the paying spouse.

In some circumstances, you may be able to structure your divorce settlement to include a single lump-sum payment of alimony, rather than periodic payments, which would result in the payment being neither taxable to you and nor deductible for your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Relying on a single payment for your alimony income for the rest of your life can be difficult, however, and will require some careful financial planning in order to ensure that you have a sufficient income flow.

Child support, on the other hand, is not considered to be taxable income, and child support payments made are not deductible. Although such an arrangement can be difficult to make, there may be some benefit in seeking more child support and less alimony, as opposed to the less child support and more alimony. Again, the best strategy in this situation will depend on your particular financial circumstances and needs.

As the tax consequences of your divorce can be significant, particularly with the passage of ATRA, it would be wise to discuss your situation with a trusted financial advisor, along with your Oakbrook divorce lawyer.  An experienced divorce attorney will be instrumental in helping you make the decisions that best benefit you financially in the future.

Share This Page
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailby feather

Jan 13

Common financial mistakes in Illinois divorces

  Divorce is very stressful for people, mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. People often are not thinking completely clearly when making many decisions during the divorce and often make decisions financially that may come back to haunt them. These mistakes can be easily avoided if people take a few simple precautions.

Lacking Information

In many marriages, it is common for one spouse to handle the family’s finances. In these cases it becomes very easy for the spouse who handles the money to take advantage of the other’s lack of knowledge of their assets, making it possible to negotiate an unfair property settlement.

It is important for both spouses to have an accurate count of all of the assets, including:

  • Real estate
  • Retirement accounts and pensions
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Art, antiques, and other collectibles
  • Vehicles

Each party should also know how much debt the family carries and to whom the money is owed. Each spouse should also know the family’s total monthly income and expenses to determine whether the other may be trying to hide assets.

It is also important to understand the difference between marital and non-marital property, so each spouse is clear on what will be included in the property division. In the simplest form, non-marital property is property that each spouse had prior to the marriage and any gifts or inheritances that the spouse received during the marriage.

Determining what is and is not marital property can sometimes be complicated, however. Appreciation in value of non-marital property can sometimes be marital property and spouses may also mingle marital and non-marital property.

Not Budgeting

Transition to divorced living can be difficult because many people become accustomed to living on two incomes. It is important that people create budgets and stick to them, so they do not find themselves in financial trouble after a divorce.

Not Planning for Long-Term

Many people want to get the unpleasantness of divorce over as soon as possible, but in the rush to complete the matter, they may agree to property divisions that could jeopardize their futures financially. Each spouse should analyze the financial and tax implications of all of the assets that are involved. People should also account for the costs of keeping some of the assets, such as a house. A person should also consider the asset’s liquidity and his or her need for ready cash.

Property division is a very fact-sensitive process and should not be taken lightly. Contact an Illinois divorce attorney for help with your divorce to be sure plenty of thought is put into your asset division. Kathryn L. Harry & Associates can assist you with your divorce and be sure that you start your new life with all that you need.

Share This Page
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailby feather

Jan 13

Berlusconi Agrees to Pay $47 million per Year

According to the Chicago Tribune, the former Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi has agreed to pay his wife $47 million per year in their divorce settlement. It took them over three years to negotiate this staggering deal.

The former PR and his wife Veronica Lario were married for over 20 years before the divorce. She accused him of having an affair with a 17 year old girl when he was 76 years old. Because of this deal, she will be receiving the equivalent of $132,200 daily. The couple also has three children from their marriage, but these children are now grown up. There have been several different allegations of the former PM philandering with other women throughout the duration of the marriage. The breaking point for Lario was when Berlusconi attended an aspiring model’s 18 birthday party. She has also accused him of hiring an underage prostitute, which he has vehemently denied.

In this divorce settlement, no one was blamed for the dissolution of the marriage. Lario had originally asked for alimony in the amount of 3.5 million euros monthly. She also asked for the 78 million euro villa in northern Italy. This settlement did not award her ownership of that villa.

A divorce after so many years of marriage can be very emotional and more than just hard to deal with. A high asset divorce can get especially messy. If you find yourself in a situation facing divorce, you need to seek the trustworthy counsel of an experienced Illinois divorce attorney. This attorney can make the difference between you getting a fair amount of the marital assets and property. Your attorney will also make sure that the interests of your minor children are met through child support. This is not the time to try to do things on your own.

Share This Page
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailby feather

Oct 12

When Spousal Maintenance becomes an Issue

Spousal support is a major concern during the divorce process because most marriages have very defined roles for the husband a wife.  If one spouse was following a career path for 30 years while the other has been managing the household, then it is safe to assume that the earning power for each individual is going to be different.  The state of Illinois takes special care to make sure both spouses can live life to the standards that they are accustomed to after going through a divorce.

There are three types of alimony or spousal maintenance that can be awarded in divorce court.  The first is permanent support which is until death or until the paid party is remarried.  This can be the case if the marriage lasted a long time or the spouse is disabled or past the age to be earning their own wage.  There is also a type of support which is temporary.  It is awarded if a spouse is going to experience a financial hardship due to the divorce until they can recover.  The last kind of support is rehabilitative concerning getting back into the workforce.  This type of spousal maintenance goes towards higher education or job training which helps the divorced party become financially dependent.

For couples in their 50s or 60s, most types of spousal support is permanent.   Considering that once people reach the age of 65, almost 80% have one chronic medical condition and 50% have at least two.  The bad news is that sometimes even a premarital agreement will not protect a healthy spouse from having to pay for the ongoing medical care.  A judge may consider that without the contribution of the healthy spouse that the sick spouse may be financially destitute.  That is why it is increasingly important to have superior legal advice concerning the dissolution of marriage.  If you are considering divorce at an advanced age or looking to protect your future, then please contact an experienced divorce attorney in Oakbrook today.

Share This Page
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailby feather

Oct 12

The Need for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order

Marriages between baby boomers have always been viewed as ideal relationships.  These couples have been together for most of their adult lives and really show devotion for each other.  Even though divorce rates for marriage couples have stabilized over the past several decades, they are on the rise among baby boomers.  Divorce rates among couples over 50 have doubled in the last 20 years, according to a study by Bowling Green State University. The data also shows that during the 90s, fewer than one in 10 people who divorced were 50 or older. Two years ago, that divorce rate for baby boomers compared to others divorcing was one in four.

There are still lessons to be learned by baby boomers about marriage.  Unfortunately, the lesson is concerning protecting yourself regarding retirement assets during a divorce.  Most people do not know that when property is divided in Illinois that it is done according to factors like disparity of earning power, needs for future support and fault in the dissolution of marriage.  This makes Illinois an equitable division of property state.  So, regardless of who made contributions to a 401k plan, it could be allocated to either spouse.

This is where it becomes so important to draft a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO.  This is an order that signifies the payee of the split of a pension plan or retirement contribution plan.  The alternate benefit of setting a designated payment plan is that the payee must pay any taxes associated with the divided income.  If a QDRO is not in place, and your retirement fund is allocated to your ex-spouse, you could be responsible to pay for the taxes as well.  There are many more reasons to file a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, which can be reviewed by your divorce attorney.  Please contact a skilled divorce lawyer in Naperville to have a valuable guide through the difficulties of divorce.

Share This Page
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailby feather

Sep 12

Separation vs. Divorce

Some couples opt for a lengthy separation rather than an immediate divorce in the hopes that the burden and stigma of divorce is lessened, and each party can rebuild his or her own life before it’s made official. Other couples facing the end of a marriage believe that it’s best to divorce immediately, so as not to draw out what could be a long and painful process. A recent study written by Dmitry Tumin, a doctoral sociology student at Ohio State University, found that there are no major differences in the long-term sociological outcomes of either method of divorce, as might have been previously thought. 

This is good news for couples that choose to remain separated instead of divorced. According to the American Sociological Association, a different report published by Tumin found that 15 percent of married couples who undergo long-term separations remain apart, without getting divorced or reconciling.

The socioeconomic factors of choosing divorce or separation run deep. In many poorer families, separation was the best option to avoid the costly fees of divorce. Of the 15 percent of couples who chose to stay in long-term separation, most “tended to be racial and ethnic minorities, have low family income and education, and have young children,” according to the American Sociological Association.

While the survey found that “people who divorced immediately to people who separated first before divorcing,” the profiles of these people who stayed in long-term separations were different. This is most likely due to the nature of a long-term separation, in which the couples are more likely to have contact than those who have been estranged.

The decision to move from a separation to divorce isn’t an easy one, but it could be the best option for you or someone you know who is currently separated from his or her spouse. Don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced Chicago-area divorce attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Share This Page
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailby feather

Aug 12

Fewer Divorces in Later Marriages

 While the number of Americans who get divorced have continued to go up, the divorce rate has actually fallen in recent years. According to a 2011 dissertation by Harvard University student Dana Rotz, “American divorce rates rose from the 1950s to the 1970s, peaked around 1980, and have fallen ever since.” This isn’t, she argues, because Americans have learned to love and hold onto lasting relationships better today than in years past, but because, in part, the median age of marriage has increased. The sociological implications of getting married later lead to longer-lasting relationships.

According to the Huffington Post, the average age of newlyweds are getting older. “Trends show that people are waiting longer to get married. In 1960,” the publication reports, “the average age of newlyweds was 23 years old; in 2009 it was 28.” Pop Goes the Week editor Brian Balthazar told the Huffington Post that a good reason for this is that the generation getting married right now spent their childhood watching their parents or friends’ parents go through nasty divorces. According to the Post, “being older generally means you’re in a better financial situation, have more education under your belt, and are more mature.”

According to a report written by M.D. Bramlett and W.D. Mosher, “59 percent of marriages for women under the age of 18 end in divorce within 15 years. The divorce rate drops to 36 percent for those married at age 20 or older. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 60 percent of marriages of couples ages 20 to 25 end in divorce, while only 50 percent of marriages in which the bride is 25 do.

These are hopeful trends, but the fact of the matter is that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, no matter how old the bride and groom were. If you are interested in seeking a divorce, an experienced divorce lawyer can help you sort out the details. Contact a dedicated Chicago-area divorce attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Share This Page
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailby feather

Aug 12

Prepare Yourself Financially for Divorce . . . Before the Wedding

While there is nothing romantic about looking toward divorce before you are even married, statistics show that it may very well be practical to do so. As per the U.S. Census Bureau, the reality is that about 10 percent of marriages fail within the first five years, and 25 percent of marriages don’t last ten years. Therefore, it is not a bad idea to take some very basic measures in order to keep your finances in order in the event that your marriage doesn’t work out.

A recent article in the Huffington Post recommends that you take three steps to protect yourself and your finances in case of a divorce down the road. First, you should always discuss the issues of debt and credit with your soon-to-be spouse prior to your wedding day. You need to find out about each other’s spending habits, debts, credit, and financial responsibility levels. If, for instance, one spouse has excessive credit card debt that only seems to increase, then it could be a problem for the other spouse, who tries to avoid debt at all costs. Likewise, you should ensure that you maintain credit in your own names, even after your marriage, so that you can more easily qualify for credit if necessary following a divorce.

Next, you should make every effort to protect premarital assets, or assets that you bring into the marriage. Especially in this time of second marriages and waiting until later in life to get married, the potential for one or both spouses to have greater amounts of assets at the time of the marriage is much higher. If you want to protect premarital assets, then you need to keep them separate throughout your marriage, and document their values at the time of the marriage.

Finally, you and your intended should sit down together and work on a financial plan for your life together. If you are both involved in your finances on a regular basis, then you can avoid any surprises about debts or expenses in the event that you do end up divorced.

Taking steps such as these to protect your finances and assets before marriage even occurs can be very helpful if your marriage doesn’t work out the way that you anticipated. However, even if you haven’t always kept a close eye on your marital finances, a well-qualified Oak Brook divorce attorney can make all the difference between leaving you with little or nothing and leaving you in the best position to start your new life. Contact our divorce lawyers in Oak Brook today for if you are contemplating divorce, or if you want more information about your rights regarding marital assets and debts in the event of a divorce.

Share This Page
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailby feather

Jul 12

Going Through a “Good” Divorce

Singer Katy Perry and actor Russell Brand, one of Hollywood’s quirkiest couples, finalized their divorce this month that Brand filed for in December. According to MTV.com, the couple married in India, and split on good terms, despite all the cameras. Brand has been forthcoming about the divorce on Ellen DeGeneres’ Talk Show and on ITV1s “Lorraine” show. Perry has said that she hopes her acceptance of Brand’s filings inspires her fans to move on from divorce.

Not all couples are as lucky to end on amicable terms. Many couples seek therapy at the end of their marriage for help going through a divorce. According to the Independent, “professional counselors no longer necessarily aim to glue you both back together like a broken vase. They want what is best for both of you, and they may help both of you to deal with the divorce in a more rational and civilized way.” This is especially true if one party isn’t quite ready to call it quits.

Having both couples agree with divorce is crucial for going through a “good” divorce. The most important step to take to making the process as amicable as possible is to stop arguing. Even if it’s difficult not to blow off steam to your friends, refraining from discussing the details with shared close friends is important to remember. Not only will most of your friends feel uncomfortable, chances are it’ll get back to your soon-to-be ex.

If children are involved, the divorce must be approached not as an ending, but as the beginning of a new relationship. Working out details about co-parenting can help the overall process go more smoothly, for the children as well as yourselves.

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, contact an experienced Chicago-area divorce attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Share This Page
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailby feather

Main Office:
1200 Harger Road
Oakbrook, IL 60523
Map & Directions
Naperville Office:
1776 Legacy Circle
Naperville, Illinois 60563
Map & Directions