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These last few years have seen a flourish of changes, both large and small in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).  The most recent changes to the IMDMA affecting the maintenance provisions are the result of recent changes to the tax code by the Trump Administration.  In the past, maintenance or alimony payments were deductible by the payor on his or her individual tax return and were included as income on the…
A new law takes effect on January 1, 2019, in Illinois, protecting visitation rights for the family members of elderly adults. Before this new law takes effect, guardians have effectively had the unilateral authority over visitation privileges and could prohibit, without recourse, family members and others from visiting with their elderly loved ones in another family member’s care. I have witnessed the unfairness of a family member taking control of a parent to the exclusion…
Anyone who is contemplating a divorce, is in the process of obtaining a divorce, or is recently divorced should think about estate planning. If you are still married, your spouse is considered your heir. So, an untimely death before your divorce is finalized will result in your spouse receiving some or all of your estate. If you are recently divorced, your ex-spouse may still receive a portion of your estate unless you make changes to…
Beginning January 1, 2018, Illinois Judges have the authority to consider the well-being of pets in a divorce action.  In the past, pets and companion animals, unlike service animals, were treated as property in a divorce (like furniture for instance), and rules for dividing property were applied to pets. Pet owners, however, often view their furry friends as part of the family.   The new law treats pets more like part of the family. Judges may…
We recently published an article addressing the proposed legislation contained in House Bill 4113. HB 4113 would impose a starting presumption of 50/50 parenting time when it comes to child custody. “Child custody”, of course, is no longer a relevant term in the state of Illinois. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) has eliminated the notion of “child custody” and replaced it with the term, parenting time. In a “custody” dispute, parenting…
In a previous article, Carolyn Jansons discussed the roll of a Guardian Ad Litem in a custody case. In this article, I will provide some advice regarding how to work with a Guardian ad Litem in your custody case. As discussed in the previous article, a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is an integral component of the judicial system when it comes to custody cases. GAL’s are the eyes and ears of the court. For…
The process of determining custody of minor children in a divorce or a paternity situation often involves a Guardian ad Litem. What in the world is a Guardian ad Litem, and why is one needed, is the topic of this blog piece. Begin armed with information and understanding is essential to be able to navigate the custody process with some peace of mind. In addition to the parties and their attorneys, Guardians Ad Litem (GALs)…
A Power of Attorney is a document by which one person (the principal) can appoint another person (the agent) to act on the principal’s behalf in regard to financial and property matters (Property Power of Attorney) and health care and personal matters (Health Care power of Attorney). In other words, one person (the principal) can appoint another person (the agent) to do things for himself or herself that otherwise only he or she (the principal)…