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Vernon Hills Illinois Family Law Blog

How to handle cryptocurrency assets in a divorce

Some people in Illinois who are getting a divorce may suspect a spouse of hiding cryptocurrency assets. This can be particularly easy to do if the cryptocurrency is purchased directly and then moved offline. However, penalties for hiding assets in a divorce could include getting fewer marital assets and going to jail for contempt of court.

Even when a person purchases cryptocurrency through an online exchange, which is less difficult to trace, the process of finding it can be costly in time and money. Many experts lack experience in cryptocurrency although one certified financial forensics accountant reported finding $100,000 in cryptocurrency assets that a man did not report by examining bank statements.

Social media: The new normal in divorced parent-child relationships

Many parents worry about "screen time." But the same technological advancements that give moms and dads pause may also be helping divorced families to bond more effectively.

A recent study published by the Journal of Family Issues looked at data culled from almost 400 divorced men and women and their relationship with children between 10 and 18 years old. Researchers concluded that ongoing communication ranked as a primary factor in fostering close relationships.

Changes to spousal maintenance in Illinois

Legal changes over the past years have affected the way spousal support or maintenance is calculated in Illinois. Maintenance, once known as alimony, is a post-divorce payment from one spouse to the other to help provide a financial equalizer, especially when there is a significant earning disparity between the parties. Before 2015, maintenance payments were awarded at the discretion of the court, taking into account a range of factors such as each party's income and property, their respective earning capacities and the length of the marriage.

While the basis for this model was sound, it often resulted in widely disparate decisions from one case to another. Therefore, the Illinois legislature revised the laws relating to spousal maintenance for couples earning $250,000 each year or less by determining a formula for spousal maintenance that applies to these couples. In 2018, that was expanded to encompass couples earning $500,000 or less each year.

Illinois ranks in the lowest divorce rates in the U.S.

As March rapidly approaches, lawyers see a decrease in divorce cases due to the end of “divorce season” – a period between January and early February where the divorce rate spikes across the country.

Despite the end of divorce season, some lawyers may have more business than others according to a recent study. Researchers at the University of Washington observed current patterns for divorce in the United States and found which states have the highest and lowest divorce rates.

Major reasons why people choose divorce

There are a number of reasons why people in Illinois may decide to end their marriage, but some are more common than others. One study examined people who had participated in a premarital communication program but later divorced; they were asked about the reasons for their divorce 14 years after their original involvement with the program. The study aimed to understand what kinds of issues contributed most to their decision to separate.

The vaguest answer was also the most common, as 75 percent of respondents cited a lack of commitment as a reason for their divorce. There were many reasons that contributed to that feeling, including a loss of romantic or sexual attraction. Some couples grew apart over the years, while others may have married more due to social pressure than true desire. Another 59 percent of respondents said that infidelity was a major factor in their decision to divorce. Even when people already had a poor marriage, physical cheating was often the last step toward separation. In some cases, the affair itself was the primary issue while in other cases it reflected a broken relationship.

Illinois law changes how child support is calculated

The average child support payment in the United States is $430 a month. This means that a parent could pay up to $92,880 to support a child to adulthood. However, a new Illinois law introduces new variables that could determine how much a noncustodial parent actually pays. These variables include the custodial parent's income and how much time a child spends with the noncustodial parent.

For some parents, this could mean saving hundreds of dollars a month compared to their current payments. Under the old system, support payments were based on a percentage of a noncustodial parent's income. Those percentages ranged from 20 percent for one child to 50 percent for those who had six or more children to support. The money that a parent saves now may be used to help pay a child's college or other future expenses.

Parenting after a divorce

Illinois couples who are going through divorces and who have minor children need to recognize that courts are changing how they view the roles of both parents. In the past, women were normally given primary custody of their children while the men were left with limited visitation. Now, however, courts are recognizing the importance of both parents and providing men with more time with their children.

Parents will need to continue to get along for the benefit of the children. Children should never be involved in their parents' disputes with each other, and the parents should refrain from talking badly about the other parent in front of their children or to them.

Changing tax rules for divorce in 2019

The dawn of the new year in 2019 will also mean the introduction of new tax rules that could significantly affect Illinois couples planning on divorce. The end of 2018 will also be the end of alimony tax rules that have remained settled for decades; while the change will not affect couples who have already finalized their divorce, it will apply to everyone who ends their marriage moving forward. Many people are concerned about how the changing treatment of alimony could affect the potential of a divorce settlement.

Under the current rules, spousal support payments are tax-deductible for the payer. In addition, the recipient pays taxes on the alimony at his or her tax bracket, usually representing a lower rate. This leads to significant tax savings for a number of high-income couples going through a divorce. However, this will change; under the 2019 rules, spousal support payments will no longer be deductible for the payer, and the recipient will receive the income tax-free. Many fear that this will make divorce settlements far more difficult to resolve, as a significant incentive for generous alimony has been eliminated.

What can pet parents do during a divorce?

Many couples embrace their role as “pet parents” with the family dog or cat. However, the dynamic can be complicated when the pet parents decide to break up – especially after walking down the aisle.

What can couples do to prevent a messy divorce and keep their furry friend in their life? Couples could agree to draft a prenuptial agreement before getting married, which includes arrangements on pet custody. Or they may have to go through a division in time with the pet after divorce proceedings begin.

How parallel parenting can help prevent conflict after divorce

When parents in Illinois get a divorce, they might know that the ideal is a cooperative, communicative co-parenting relationship. However, despite these good intentions, in some cases, there may simply be too much conflict for this to be successful. Since research has shown that seeing conflict between their parents is usually the most damaging element of divorce for children, parents may still be able to provide a healthy environment of sharing custody and visitation by avoiding direct contact.

This is sometimes known as parallel parenting, and it will require extensive planning in order to make sure that parents do not need to check in with one another regularly. They will still need a way to share information, so they might agree to share calendars or only communicate using email. In contrast, a successful co-parenting relationship usually includes a great deal of communication.

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Gauthier Family Law

Gauthier Family Law
945 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 170
Vernon Hills, IL 60061

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