Archive for the ‘Illinois law’ tag

Can a Business’ Retained Earnings Be Considered Marital Property?

April 23rd, 2015 at 2:54 pm

retained earnings, division of property, Chicago divorce attorneysIn short, yes. When a couple builds a business together during their marriage, both partners have the right to seek a portion of the business’ value during their divorce.

Retained earnings are the profits that a company makes which are not distributed back to its shareholders. They are the profits that are held onto in a reserve and used for specific goals, such as paying off company debts, or reinvested into the business.

Shares in a company can become a contentious topic among divorcing couples because of the prospect of retained earnings. Retained earnings contribute to a company’s overall value. Shareholders have an interest in these earnings and a say in how they are used. If the court determines that an individual’s shares in a company are marital property, their value must be divided among the spouses. If one’s shares are nonmarital property, the court must determine the spouses’ contribution to the company to determine a fair distribution of their value.

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that property is not necessarily divided exactly 50/50 between divorcing parties. Instead, the division of a couple’s property is done according to a variety of factors, including each partner’s needs and personal resources.

Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property

Generally, all property acquired during a couple’s marriage is presumed to be marital property. This includes the couple’s home, any joint bank accounts, and any businesses that the couple starts together. A business that one partner started before the marriage, but considerably expanded during the marriage with marital money, credit, or labor, may be also considered to be marital property.

When determining whether a company’s retained earnings may be considered to be marital property during a divorce, the following questions must be asked:

  • Are the retained earnings calculated as part of the company’s total value?
  • Are the retained earnings being used for corporate business?
  • How much control does the spouse involved in the business have to pay out the retained earnings as dividends to him or herself?

Whether other individuals are part owners or shareholders in the company and what the couple chooses to do with the business upon their divorce can also determine whether its retained earnings may be divided among the spouses. Some couples choose to sell their businesses and split the profit while others opt to continue them, either jointly or with one spouse buying out the other’s share of the company.

Divorce Attorneys in the Chicago Area

Anderson & Associates, P.C. is proud to serve clients throughout the Chicago area in our five accessible office locations: downtown Chicago, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and Wheaton. To discuss your unique circumstances, call 312-345-9999 to speak with one of the experienced Chicago divorce attorneys at our firm.

Can You Appeal a Divorce Ruling?

April 21st, 2015 at 5:46 pm

divorce appeal, divorce ruling, Illinois Divorce LawyerAn appeal is a request to change the court’s official ruling after the ruling has been made. Any final court decision can be appealed, including divorce decrees. The individual who appeals the court’s decision is known as the appellant, and the other party involved with the appeal is known as the appellee. When an individual appeals a ruling, the case goes to appellate court, rather than back to trial court.

An appeal can be used to challenge the trial judge’s interpretation of the law, admissibility of evidence, or the application of the law to a particular case. An individual may file an appeal once a final order is entered by the trial court. He or she has up to 30 days after the ruling to file a notice of appeal, which communicates the appellant’s intention to appeal the case’s ruling to the court. The right to appeal a divorce ruling is included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

The Appeal Process

The process of appealing a divorce ruling involves multiple steps. It can be a lengthy process and there is the possibility that your appeal will be rejected, leaving the original ruling in place. It is recommended that you work with a knowledgeable divorce attorney to develop and pursue your appeal.

Once you have filed your Notice of Appeal, the next step is to deliver your case’s certified trial court file to the appellate court.  You then will have the opportunity to file your appellate brief, which is your chance to argue in writing why you think the trial court’s decision was wrong. Work with your attorney to develop a well-crafted argument for your position that your divorce was decided incorrectly by the judge. If your former spouse files a response brief, you may then file a reply brief, having the last word about your case before it goes to the appellate court for a decision.

Under some circumstances, the appellate court may request an oral argument for your case. Discuss this possibility with your attorney to determine if you may need one. Once the briefs are submitted and oral arguments are held, you will receive the appellate court’s decision. Ultimately, the appellate court will decide to reverse the original ruling, send it back to trial court to be heard again, or affirm the original ruling

Divorce Attorneys in the Chicago Area

If your divorce was recently finalized and you feel that it was somehow unfairly decided or poorly handled by the judge, consider filing an appeal. Your appeal could be your opportunity to change the court’s decision and get a fairer settlement for your divorce. Contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. at 312-345-9999 or on the web to discuss your case with one of the dedicated Chicago divorce attorneys at our firm. We proudly serve Illinois residents in our five convenient locations: Schaumburg, Orland Park, downtown Chicago, Wheaton, and Northbrook.

 

Child Support in an Illinois Divorce

April 17th, 2015 at 3:14 pm

child support, children of divorce, Illinois family law attorneysWhen a couple with a child divorces, two of the most important issues they have to work out during the divorce process are child custody and child support. Child support is the money paid from one parent to the other to cover the child’s basic needs, such as his or her food, clothing and housing until the child becomes an adult. In some cases, child support may continue even after the child turns 18 years old..

When beginning to analyze a child support amount, the court is required to first consider specific guidelines. The guidelines that the court must use to determine a couple’s child support agreement are included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

The court’s goal is to ensure that your child’s needs are met and apportioning the child’s financial needs between both parents. Generally, a parent of one child can expect to pay 20 percent of his or her net income for child support. This percentage increases with each additional child being supported. However, this is only a starting point– other factors may be considered when determining a child support amount, and a parent may end up paying more or less than this amount depending on what the court finds to be in his or her child’s best interest. This is known as a deviation from the child support guidelines.

Calculating Child Support in Illinois

If the court is going to deviate from the guidelines under law for determining an appropriate amount of child support, it will consider the following factors:

  • Each of the parents’ income and current financial resources;
  • The child’s specific individual needs, including his or her academic or health care needs;
  • The standard of living that the child had before the divorce; and
  • Any financial resources the child may have.

Talk to your attorney about how your individual financial circumstances may affect your child support order. Significant changes in your family’s financial circumstances, such as job loss or retirement, can be a cause to seek a modification of your child support order.

Child Support Attorneys in the Chicago Area

If you are a parent planning to file for divorce in the near future, contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. at 312-345-9999 to learn more about what you can expect from your child support hearing. Our skilled Chicago family law attorneys proudly serve Illinois families in our five office locations: Schaumburg, Northbrook, Orland Park, Wheaton, and downtown Chicago. Do not wait to contact our firm – when you are working through any type of legal issue, it is always in your best interest to be proactive and seek legal guidance as soon as you can.

Which Party Pays for Day Care Expenses in an Illinois Divorce?

April 3rd, 2015 at 5:49 pm

day care expenses, child care costs, Illinois Family Law AttorneyAre you going through a divorce and have young children in day care? Day care expenses are the largest household expense for most parents, according to CNN Money. With the growing number of children in day care, an important topic to discuss with your child support attorney is the responsibility for day care expenses.

Are Child Care Expenses included in Child Support?

report issued by Child Care Aware of America stated average expenses for day care can rival expenses for housing, transportation, and even tuition and fees for college. With the number of children in day care growing, so are the prices of day care. After a divorce, the thought of the expense of day care can be overwhelming, but equally overwhelming can be the idea of having to quit or cut back hours at your job to avoid the expense.

Quitting or cutting back hours at your job is not an option for most parents, especially when you are going through a divorce and your income is being divided. In Illinois, the court will determine what is in the best interest of your child or children. This will include child support, visitation rights, and custody. Day care expenses are awarded above and beyond basic child support. Child support is intended to be used for food, clothing, and the other basic needs of the child.

Who Pays Day Care Expenses?

The judge will determine how much each parent will pay of the day care costs. In most cases, the court will take into account the  cost of the day care, child support, income and financial circumstances of each parent, and if one or both parents are attending school. Costs beyond child support may be split in any proportion depending on the judge’s findings after consideration of the specific facts of the case.

Both parents are typically responsible for paying for day care expenses, but sometimes circumstances change. If you are going through a divorce or want to modify your divorce decree, you need to speak with a Chicago family law attorney. At Anderson & Associates, P.C. our family law attorneys specialize in both divorce and post decree modifications. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from one of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.

Understanding Illinois Visitation Rights

April 2nd, 2015 at 2:59 pm

visitation, visitation rights, Illinois Family Law Attorneys

Every custody arrangement is unique. In some cases, the court elects to award joint custody to both parents. This means that both parents are expected to cooperatively make decisions related to the child’s upbringing, including his or her education, religious training, and other considerations. The court may require parents with joint custody to draft a joint parenting agreement outlining each of their respective responsibilities and establishing an arrangement regarding the child’s time with each parent.

In other cases, the court recognizes that granting one parent sole custody is in the child’s best interest. The custodial parent is responsible for making the important decisions related to the child, and retains primary physical custody. Under Illinois law, the non-custodial parent is granted the reasonable right to visitation with the child.

In some cases, a relative other than a child’s parent may receive visitation rights. This can include the child’s grandparent or sibling if the court determines that such a visitation agreement is in the child’s best interest. Otherwise, this right is generally reserved for the child’s parents. Another relative will be granted visitation rights with a child only if the parents are unreasonable in denying visitation and specific familial circumstances exists, such as where one of the child’s parents is deceased or missing for at least three months.

Restrictions on Visitation Rights

If necessary, the court may impose restrictions on a parent’s visitation rights with his or her child in order to ensure the child’s safety. These restrictions may include:

  • Prohibiting the parent from using drugs or alcohol while in the child’s presence;
  • Requiring that the visits occur in the custodial parent’s home;
  • Prohibiting the visits from occurring in the non-custodial parent’s home;
  • Prohibiting overnight visits; and
  • Requiring that the visits be supervised by a third party.

These restrictions are put in place to protect the child. If a parent violates these restrictions, the court may modify or suspend his or her visitation rights entirely. Examples of reasons why a parent’s visitation rights may be suspended include:

  • If the parent has a history of harming the child. This can be physical harm, emotional harm, neglect, or psychological harm;
  • If the parent is found guilty of a crime against a child; and
  • If the parent is currently suffering from any type of substance addiction.

Chicago Family Attorneys

Call 312-345-9999 to speak with one of the experienced family attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. about your child custody case. We are here to serve you in one of our five convenient office locations in the Chicago area: Wheaton, Northbrook, Orland Park, downtown Chicago, and Schaumburg. Child custody cases can be sensitive and create friction within families. Contact our firm for expert legal advice and representation on this and other difficult family law matters. We will give your case the dedication and attention to detail it deserves.

 

Child Support: Modifying an Order to Meet Evolving Needs

March 19th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

support order modification, child support, Chicago family lawyersFor many couples, and especially those with children, a divorce is more than a legal process used to finalize the dissolution of their marriage. Instead, it represents the starting point for a new family dynamic extending many years into the future. While many of the negotiations and arrangements inherent to divorce proceeding are permanent, such as the division of marital property, others must be drafted with the current situation in mind, and may be adjusted as the family’s circumstances change. A child support order represents a prime example of such an arrangement. 

Establishment of a Child Support Order

At the time of a divorce, or other appropriate point prescribed by law, if a support order is appropriate, the court is expected to follow established guidelines to determine the amount of support must be paid. The non-custodial parent is typically required to pay support based on his or her net income, the number of supported children, and relevant circumstantial factors. Once the order has been entered, the supporting party must continue to meet his or her obligations or risk enforcement action and prosecution.

Changes in Needs or Resources

An order for child support is expected to address the current and reasonably anticipated needs of the child, while taking into account the income and resources of the supporting parent. However, it is very likely that either or both will change over time, potentially resulting in a situation that it is not appropriately being matched by the existing support order. For this reason, the state of Illinois not only permits support orders to be modified, but encourages that they be kept as current as reasonably possible.

The court may consider the modification of a child support order in the following situations:

  • The needs of the child have significantly changed. In addition to normal growth and development, other considerations may impact the amount of financial support required by the child. Examples may include the diagnosis of a serious medical condition, the legal marriage of the child, and acceptance into an elite educational program. The impact to the support order could range from a substantial increase to the complete termination of support.
  • The supporting party experienced a significant change in income. Situations may arise in which the paying parent loses employment or suffers a debilitating injury which negatively affects his or her earning capacity. Conversely, a new position or increased business opportunities may drastically increase his or her income. Depending on the case, ordered support may be increased or decreased.

Recalculation of Support

Once the court determines that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, the modification of a child support order is handled by the court in the same manner as establishing the original order. The same considerations must be made, and with more current income and circumstantial information available, the modified order will be better suited to meet the family’s needs.

If you are subject to a child support order in Illinois and believe the order should be modified for any reason, contact an experienced Chicago family law attorney today. The qualified lawyers at Anderson & Associates, P.C., can help you understand your options and provide you the best in professional legal services. We have offices conveniently located in Wheaton, Schaumburg, Orland Park, Northbrook, and downtown Chicago.