Naperville Law Blog

Single people and estate planning

Illinois residents who do not have any children and who may be nearing retirement should still strongly consider preparing an estate plan. There are various legal documents single people should have to ensure that their wishes are honored in the event that they become unable to make decisions for themselves or after they die.

A health care proxy and a power of attorney are two documents that can prove useful while people are alive. People can use the documents to give a trusted person the authority to make important medical and financial decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated. As the documents are no longer valid when someone dies, it will be necessary to also include either a will or a trust, or perhaps both, in an estate plan.

Claiming children as dependents on taxes

Every year, a number of couples file for divorce in Illinois. Couples with minor children often both want to claim the children as dependents due to the fact that claiming dependents will allow the taxpayer to claim the head of household deduction and tax credits such as the Child Tax Credit, the Child Dependent Care Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. The Tax Cuts and Job Act eliminated the personal exemption after 2018 but compensated for that by doubling the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000.

When more than one person is claiming a dependent on their taxes, the IRS has certain rules that must be followed. Parents take precedent over others who claim children on their taxes if there are competing claims. When parents both file to claim minor children as dependents on their taxes, the parent who has the children for most of the tax year has the right to claim them. After divorce, this would be the custodial parent.

Making careless divorce mistakes can jeopardize your future

If you are about to go through a divorce, you undoubtedly want the process to be over as quickly as possible. However, there are many factors to consider and some you would be wise not to rush. A whole new chapter is about to open in your life, and you do not want careless mistakes to jeopardize your future financial security. 

Here are four mistakes to avoid, especially if you are facing a high-asset divorce.

How social media and texting can help divorced parents

Social media has gotten a bad reputation over the years, especially when it comes to the younger generation. This should come as no surprise to Illinois residents who see social media as a fertile ground for cyberbullying and encouraging social isolation. Nevertheless, social media has made it easier for people to connect and stay in touch.

One area where modern technology, particularly social media and texting, has done much good is that of parent-child relationships. It has been particularly helpful in cases when the parents are divorced. Social media and texting allow parents and their kids to stay in touch, even when they are living far apart. In turn, this has allowed the parents to be aware of what's going on in their children's lives while also letting the kids know that their parents care about them. By offering a medium in which parents and their children can have consistent communication with each other, social media and texting are vital for helping families recover from divorce.

Who could be interested in a probate proceeding

During a probate hearing in Illinois, a will may be challenged. The person or entity challenging the will needs to know who the interested parties to that document may be. Generally speaking, anyone actually listed in the will is going to be an interested party. Typically, a spouse, parent or other family member will be included in the document. However, there could be other interested parties that aren't so obvious.

For example, all of a deceased's surviving family members can be considered interested parties. Furthermore, anyone listed on a previous or alternate copy of a will could be interested parties for purposes of a legal challenge. It is critical that all interested parties be found because they have the right to get involved in any proceedings related to the challenge. Whoever is tasked with defending the challenge may also need to identify interested parties to a probate proceeding.

Appreciation of separate property will matter during divorce

When you are facing divorce, the subject of marital versus separate property will come up during the property division phase.

Distinguishing between the two types sounds simple, but if your separate property has appreciated during the marriage, a portion of that increase may go to your soon-to-be ex.

Monika Blacha earns Super Lawyers honor

Blacha Law Office in Naperville, Illinois, announces that attorney Monika M. Blacha has been selected for inclusion in the 2019 Super Lawyers list in Illinois. This is her sixth Super Lawyers selection, Ms. Blacha was selected to Rising Stars: 2010, 2013 and 2014; She was selected to Super Lawyers in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

What property division looks like in an Illinois divorce

In a divorce, you not only lose your spouse but also much of your property. Everything from big assets to everyday belongings undergoes division between the two of you. This process can often be contentious and complex. Your spouse may even try to hide assets from you.

If you two can cooperate, you can decide on how to split your marital property through mediation or collaborative law, which will save you time and money. Otherwise, the court will decide based on Illinois laws of equitable distribution.

The new future of divorce planning in America

As 2018 draws to a close, news about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 saturate media. New laws affecting divorce planning are around the corner.

If you are already divorced, you may worry about how TCJA will affect your current child support and alimony. If you are thinking of getting a divorce, you may wonder why the topic of divorce timing is in the news.

Basics of child relocation after divorce

If you are divorced and your children live with you, you must abide by the terms of your court-ordered custody agreement. If you decide that you want to relocate with your children, you cannot do so without the approval of the court.

If your ex-spouse does not contest your decision to move with your children, you can relocate with the court's approval. However, if your ex does oppose your relocation, which is often the case, you will face a court hearing in which your ex will likely present a case for why you should not relocate. This may make your task decidedly more difficult.

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