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Figuring out spousal support when divorcing

Some Illinois residents might be curious about how spousal support works. To avoid negative economic consequences after a divorce, a spouse who earns no wages or less wages may be entitled to financial assistance from the other spouse.

When a couple is divorcing, they first must address property division. After a plan for dividing assets and debts is arranged, there is a clearer picture of whether spousal support is needed. Various factors influence the amount one receives like the length of the marriage, the age and health of both partners, lifestyle during the marriage, non-marital assets and whether the couple has minor children. The ability of the spouse providing alimony to pay is also a factor as well as the needs of the recipient.

Guidelines to follow when filing for Chapter 13 protection

While there are several guidelines that must be met to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there is no income limit to do so. However, an Illinois consumer seeking such protection will need to take a credit counseling course as part of the process. It will also be necessary to create a payment plan that is approved by the trustee, the bankruptcy judge, and the creditors involved in the case.

There are debt limits that individuals must stay under if they wish to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. The unsecured debt limit is currently $394,725 while the secured debt limit is currently $1,184,200, although both limits will increase for petitions that are filed on or after April 1, 2019. Debtors are generally required to disclose all sources of income and prove that they have filed state and federal income tax forms for the last four years. Failure to abide by one or more of these requirements may result in a case being thrown out or delayed.

Staying logical when buying a home for the first time

Buying a home is an exciting endeavor, especially for you and other Illinois residents who are buying a house for the first time. In addition to finding the home of your dreams or a house that you can turn into that home, you want to ensure that you do not let your zeal get the better of you.

As a first-time homebuyer, you may be at a slight disadvantage to those who have been through this process a time or two. For instance, you may not know that it is smart of think about the future sale of your home before you even buy it, or that sellers may try to make a space look more functional than it really is.

Divorce and claiming dependents with the IRS

Who gets to claim dependents on their taxes can make a big difference after a divorce in Illinois. The person who claims dependents may also get to claim Head of Household status. Dependent status also impacts who gets the advantages of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. Often, the terms of the divorce agreement will set out who has the right to claim dependents, but where that is not the case, the IRS has rules that it will apply.

In cases where a non-parent and a parent both try to claim a person as a dependent, the IRS will generally side with the parent and reject the non-parent's claim. Where two parents each attempt to claim a child dependent, the IRS will usually grant the claim of the parent with whom the child lived for more time during the relevant year. When the residency factor does not answer the question for the IRS, the IRS will look to income, and the parent with the higher adjusted gross income can typically claim the dependent.

Prenups and other options for protecting a business in divorce

When couples in Illinois get a divorce, they will need to divide their property. If one of the parties owns a business, the situation can become complicated unless there is a pre- or postnuptial agreement that outlines what will happen to the company in case of divorce.

Some agreements establish that the business is separate property. This can eliminate the cost and intrusive nature of valuation. However, other business owners may want the spouse to get a portion of the company's value, which, if it was started before the marriage, might be based on the enterprise's appreciation since the marriage.

Interested parties and contesting wills

Identifying interested parties is a very important consideration in probate litigation in Illinois. The party who starts the contestation of a will may be surprised to discover that the number of interested parties may be significantly higher than initially thought. This is because interested parties are not limited to the parties that are listed in the last will and testament.

When a will is being contested, the family members of the decedent can be either actual parties or interested parties, even if they are not listed as beneficiaries in the last will and treatment. All of the surviving family members, as well as the parties who are listed in the last will and testament that has been filed for probate, are considered interested parties who have the right to participate in the litigation.

Bankruptcy filings may be down for multiple reasons

In September 2010, there were about 1.6 million bankruptcy petitions filed throughout the country. Eight years later, that number had gone down to over 770,000 cases. However, the number of bankruptcy cases was down in Illinois and across the U.S. for a variety of reasons that individuals may not have expected. One theory is that people have fewer assets to protect compared to several years ago. Therefore, they are less likely to file for protection from creditors.

Another theory suggests that it is too expensive for most to file for bankruptcy. One attorney says that she charges $1,500 to handle a Chapter 7 case, and there may another $350 in court costs and other fees. Those who file a Chapter 13 case can expect to pay up to $3,200. It is also possible that there are more bankruptcy filings to come in the future as the economy continues to improve.

Weighing both sides of Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Although we are only a few weeks into the new year, you may already be seeing the futility in keeping your resolution to get out of debt. Like many in Illinois and across the country, the pressure of overwhelming debt may be too much to bear. You may be experiencing many sleepless nights, and even your physical health may be suffering.

Filing for debt relief through bankruptcy is an option you may be considering. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one way to wipe out much of your debt and start over with a clean slate. For many, taking this step allows them to begin immediately to rebuild their credit while learning important skills to manage their money. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy also has its disadvantages, and it is important to have a complete understanding of the process before deciding to take this step.

The pros and cons of LLCs

One of the most important decisions that business owners in Illinois and elsewhere have to consider is how to structure their companies. For some businesses, a limited liability company will be the most effective one. The LLC itself is a cross between a sole proprietorship and a corporation. It is considered its own entity separate from the owner of the business. However, it retains the benefits that can be derived from pass-through taxation.

With pass-through taxation, a company owner will account for any profits or losses on his or her personal tax return. Therefore, there is no need to file a corporate tax return and deal with the possibility of being taxed twice. Those who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States may prefer the LLC structure as there are no residency requirements to own one.

What to do about pensions and 401(k)s in divorce

For Illinois couples who are getting divorced, dividing up a pension plan or 401(k) must be done carefully in order to avoid expensive mistakes. First, it's necessary to have a document called a qualified domestic relations order for each account that must be divided.

The QDRO has to set the parameters for dividing the account. Those parameters must be the same as in the divorce agreement, and the QDRO has to be accepted by the plan administrator. The terms of division should be set out in percentages instead of dollar amounts in case there is fluctuation in the value of the account. Furthermore, the QDRO has to state how the distribution will be made. Divorce is a qualifying event that allows an early withdrawal before the age of 59 1/2 without a penalty, but if the distribution is not rolled into an IRA, the recipient will be taxed on the funds.

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