All posts by Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS ARE MISSED?

Divorced parents often rely on child support payments in order to cover essential child rearing costs, such as child care, clothing, food, education, and recreational activities. When a noncustodial parent fails to make the required child support payments, the children and custodial parent suffer.

Under Illinois law, child support is determined by using a formula which takes into consideration both parents in census, the number of children needing support, as well as a number of other factors, including but not limited to: child care costs and health insurance allocations, and college expenses.

What Happens If Child Support Payments Are Missed?

If a parent fails to meet his or her child support obligations, arrearage will accrue child support. Child support arrears include interest on each and every missed payment. Child support nonpayment may also result in a suspension of the parent’s driver’s license if the child support arrearage exceeds 90 days of support.

When a court orders a parent to make payments on past due child support, it can order a large down payment on the balance due to be paid within a short period of time and an accelerated payment schedule on the balance.

What Should I Do If I Haven’t Received Child Support Payments?

If you have not received the necessary child support payments, you can file a petition with the court requesting that the other parent show the court why he or she should not be held in contempt for the failure to pay child support. If the other parent cannot show sufficient reason for the missed child support payments, the court may enter an order of contempt, accelerate child support payments, and include child support arrears. In some cases, the court may also award attorney’s fees to the petitioning parent.

What Should I Do If I Become Unemployed and Can’t Make Child Support Payments?

If you have a child support obligation and become unemployed, it is your responsibility to file a motion with the court to reduce your child support obligation until you find new employment.

How Can We Help?

At Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC, our Chicago child support attorneys help parents obtain the child support that they and their children deserve. We also help parents who are unable to afford their child support payments obtain a modification to the existing child support order so that they can avoid child support arrears, & court penalties.

Should you have any questions about Illinois child support arrears or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Business Immigration, Litigation and general Business Law services.  Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.

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EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION LAW IN ILLINOIS

11597904_s (1)Illinois is an equitable distribution state. During the property division process, assets are divided between divorcing spouses in a fair and equitable manner. Unlike community property states where each spouse receives half of the marital estate during their divorce, there is no set rule that states each spouse will receive half or 50%. 

Factors that affect marital property 

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, courts takes into account a variety of different factors during the property division process that impact what each spouse receives in the settlement. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • How much each spouse earns and the individual separate property owned by each spouse
  • The financial needs of each party
  • How much income each spouse is capable of earning in the future
  • Any emotional, physical or age-related impairments that could compromise each spouse’s earning potential
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage

The court is also permitted to consider any other factors that they deem just and equitable to divide a couple’s property. For example, a wife chose to stay home with her children throughout the course of her eight-year marriage to raise her two young sons. Her husband, who is a mortgage broker, makes approximately $400,000 a year. During the division process, the court awards her 60 percent of the marital property and the husband receives the other 40 percent. Because the wife’s earning capacity is limited, she receives the larger portion of the estate.

In comparison, a husband and wife decide to divorce after three years of marriage. Both of them are employed and they do not have any children. Since both spouses are capable of providing enough income to support themselves individually, the court’s only stipulation is that they must each pay half of the $20,000 of debt accumulated during their marriage.

The division process 

When dividing the marital estate, the court goes through a valuation process to determine which property and debts are considered marital or separate. After this process is complete, a monetary value is assigned to each asset or debt. Finally, the court divides the assets between each spouse.

The equitable distribution process is often one of the most challenging aspects of divorce for couples. Since all marital assets are subject to the court’s discretion, it is difficult to predict the outcome of how the property will be divided. Couples who are concerned about how their assets will be split up may benefit from consulting with a divorce attorney who can provide guidance and more information about the process.

 

Should you have any questions about marital property or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Business Immigration, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

I’M NEVER GOING TO DIE AND OTHER BAD SUCCESSION PLANNING IDEAS: PART II OF A SUCCESSION PLANNING SERIES

What is your plan for retirement? If you are like the majority of the other 30 million small business owners in the U.S., your business is the majority of your retirement plan. Whether your plan is to sell the business to a third party or transition ownership to your employees, odds are the majority of the funds you and your family are counting on when you retire are tied up in your business.

Here’s the problem: most small business owners start thinking about succession planning in their 60s, when they are facing retirement. Not only is this too late, but the vast majority of owners fail to consider what will happen if they die or a disability stops them from being able to run their business before retirement. Selling your business in a fire sale is not the best way to ensure financial security for your family.

 

WHEN TO START THINKING ABOUT SUCCESSION PLANNING?

 

Succession planning is not only for those over the age of 60. In fact, odds are waiting until you are ready to retire is too late for many options. A recent study by CNBC and the Financial Planning Association found that the only thing harder for small-business owners than emotionally letting go is actually finding a buyer. Only 28 percent of the business owners surveyed were successful in selling their business. According to CNBC, 10 million small-business owners plan to sell or close their businesses over the next 10 years as a means to fund retirement. There won’t be enough buyers to go around.

Let’s look at this from another prospective: compare transitioning your business to negotiating a lease. Let’s say your business has out grown its current space and you are looking to relocate. If you start looking for new space well ahead of your current lease’s expiration date, you are in the driver’s seat. Landlords will be throwing concessions at you (reduced rent, rent abatement, build-out costs, etc.) because they know they have competition and they want to lock you into their space. But what if you had waited until a few months before you have to vacate your current space? Now you’ve lost your leverage. There are only a handful of spaces that can accommodate you on short notice and those landlords know they have you over a barrel. They won’t be making any concession for you – they’ve got you right where they want you.

The same is true for succession planning. Try selling your business when you are facing retirement – the buyer knows you need out, and they will use that against you. The same is true even if you are planning to transfer the business to your current employees. You may have waited too long and that key employee you were counting on gave up and left for another company.

SHOULD YOU CLOSE OR SELL YOUR BUSINESS WHEN YOU RETIRE?

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index indicates that a little more than half of all business owners say they are not ready to quit working or sell their business. Roughly the same amount of people stated that they are concerned that they will not have enough money to retire.

It is not easy to make the decision to sell or close a business, especially one that someone has spent a lifetime building. Any Illinois business attorney knows that the process can be complex and emotional. However, business owners should think about their exit strategy well before their targeted retirement date. When a business has substantial assets, selling the company can fund retirement. However, if a business is no longer profitable, closing the doors may be the best option.

SUCCESSION PLANNING – CHOOSING TO SELL

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the most important part of selling a business is correctly drafting the sales agreement. The document should include the names of the parties involved as well as the following:

  • A list of the assets that will be sold as well as any inventory included
  • The purchase price and payment terms
  • A covenant not to compete
  • Any pertinent background information

Owners who are already thinking about their retirement should plan for flexibility so the sale of the business can take place during a strong market. As an Illinois business attorney would recommend, this can improve the odds of getting the best possible price for the company. Waiting until the last minute to make the sale can lead to a rushed decision, fewer buyers and much less revenue. Investopedia recommends using the funds from the sale of a business to fund a simple IRA, a simplified employee pension IRA or other retirement options.

SUCCESSION PLANNING – CHOOSING TO CLOSE

Some owners may decide that closing a business is the best option. A sole proprietor may do this at any time. However, someone involved in a partnership, corporation or limited liability company will have to consult with other owners to dissolve the business.

The Small Business Administration advises that anyone who is considering closing doors should consult with professionals, including accountants, attorneys and business brokers. Failing to take the right legal measures can result in tax liability. When closing, an owner will have to cancel any licenses and permits that are no longer needed. Even the business’ name registration can be canceled with the local government.

Deciding what to do with a business after retirement is not something that should be taken lightly. Anyone who is weighing their options should consult with an Illinois business attorney.

 

Succession planning is for all ages, business shapes and sizes. Planning ahead is the best way to ensure financial security for not only you and your family, but your employees who would be out of a job themselves if you were suddenly not there to run the business.

Should you have any questions about succession planning, selling your business or other retirement matters that may affect your business, or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Business Immigration, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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COOK COUNTY ENCOURAGES FINANCIAL MEDIATION FOR DIVORCING COUPLES

shutterstock_170150738For many couples going through divorce proceedings in Illinois, financial issues are often controversial and can cause a lot of contention. In today’s economy, money matters can impact many facets of an individual’s life and as such many divorcing spouses feel as though they have to fight in order to get the assets they feel belong to them.

In an attempt to alleviate some of the disagreements caused by financial issues during a divorce, Cook County its mediation rules include financial mediation. In the past, Cook County required divorcing couples to undergo mediation for issues regarding children, such as parenting time, allocation of responsibilities and removal. Cook County now encourages couples to also seek court-appointed mediation for contested discretionary issues.

Financial issues that may require mediation

The mediation services in Cook County go beyond the parenting-related issues that are covered by Family Mediation Services. Discretionary mediation may be ordered by a judge for issues including the following:

  • Property division
  • Maintenance
  • Child support
  • Financial Discovery

The court will consider the financial ability of a couple to pay for mediation services for financial issues, since the couple is required to pay the mediator’s fee. 

The benefits of financial mediation 

When it comes to effective alternative solutions for divorce, mediation has been a long-standing choice for some time. Couples who want to avoid an adversarial process that ends up in litigation often choose to use a mediator. When a couple chooses to use financial mediation, they are often better able to control the outcome of their divorce proceedings. The courts in Cook County have found that couples who receive financial mediation are better able to come to an equitable and fair conclusion that is often easier to swallow that a court order.

The role of a mediator 

The professional chosen to serve as a mediator for a divorcing couple can be assigned by the court or may be selected by the couple. The mediator is to serve as a neutral third party who can provide legal information and educated recommendations to help encourage a settlement. During a divorce, spouses often question the claims of the ex-spouse in regards to finances, but with a mediator some of the issues that would have caused a case to go to litigation can be resolved through financial mediation.

Cook County’s rules for mediation does allow for attorneys to attend services. Obtaining legal counsel may be beneficial for spouses who have been ordered to obtain financial mediation in order to ensure that any resulting settlements are fair to both parties.

Should you have any questions about financial issues regarding mediation or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Business Immigration, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

CONGRATULATIONS SARAH THOMAS – NFL OFFICIAL

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC congratulates Sarah Thomas! Sarah is not only the first female NFL full-time official (since 2015) but she is also now the first female on-field playoff game official. WPD is a certified woman-owned law firm and are proud to see her in a non-traditional role. Another great role model for young women!

READ MORE about Sarah Thomas: https://bit.ly/2QMjfM3