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McHenry County Family Law Blog

Celebrity violates divorce order in attempt to get child custody?

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Illinoisans love their kids. They want to be there to watch and help their children as they grow up. But when the mother and father cannot get along, that often means one parent will primarily be the person who gets to watch and help the child grow up. That seldom sits well for the parent who misses out. Take, for example, the former Gossip Girls actress, Kelly Rutherford.

Rutherford married Daniel Giersch. The marriage soured, but not until after the couple had two girls, one eight years old, the other five. Following the divorce, a court awarded child custody to Giersch. He then took the girls to France.

Tax repercussions of alimony

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When Illinoisans get divorced, it causes ripples across each spouse's life. There are the ripples people expect, like resolving child custody and splitting the marital assets. And then there are the ripples that people often overlook, like the tax effects of paying alimony. Below are a few explanations on how alimony affects Illinoisans' federal tax returns.

Federal tax law considers only certain payments from one ex-spouse to another as alimony. Several requirements must be met, for such payments to be alimony for tax purposes. The spouses must not file a joint tax return. One spouse pays the other in cash (including checks and money orders). The payments are received by the other spouse. The payments are not described as something other than alimony by the separation or divorce agreement. The spouses do not live in the same household. The payments can stop if either spouse dies. And the payments are not treated as a property settlement or child support.

Experienced Illinois divorce attorneys know the family law system

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When Illinoisans say "I do," they expect it to last. But no matter how good their intentions, or how great their effort to make it work, not all marriages can last forever. Life happens, people change, circumstances shift, difficulties pile up. When the strain of life becomes too great, relationships sometimes snap.

And, just as the strains of life may slowly pile up one by one, so too can a divorce take a long time. Divorce takes time because the process requires unwinding two lives. That requires resolving a litany of issues, many of the utmost importance. For example, couples may need to figure out property division, child custody, child support, spousal support and more.

How does the military aid child support?

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Many Illinoisans serve in the military. That calling is an important one, but with it comes unique challenges. For instance, many service members serve extended deployments overseas. These deployments can strain families and prompt family law problems, especially for Illinois service members who owe child support.

Fortunately, Illinois service members and their children do not need to handle these issues on their own. One source of support is called the Child Support Program (and is also known as the Title IV-D Program).

What is a judge's role in child-custody cases?

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In an ideal world, when Illinois parents split it up, they can make a responsible, mutually beneficial decision about who should get the kids and to what extent. But that consensus is seldom easy to reach. The couple care about their kids and want to spend time with them. At the same time, the couple is usually splitting because of serious, often emotional problems. Together, each parent's desire to have the kids, and their problems with each other, make it difficult for them to resolve child custody on their own.

Enter the court system. It will make the decision when the couple cannot. In doing so, a judge will oversee the case and ultimately determine how child custody is divvied up. That decision will be made by looking at the best interests of the child. That is, the judge will consider a variety of factors that can be loosely categorized as developmental categorizations, how the divorce may affect development, special considerations and parenting considerations.

Celebrity chef getting divorced

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Illinoisans may have heard that another celebrity marriage may be coming to an end. According to reports, Bobby Flay, a celebrity chef, and Stephanie March, one of the stars of "Law and Order: SVU," have separated and are in the process of filing for divorce.

What caused the 10-year relationship to end? Allegations of infidelity, apparently. In 2010, Flay was linked to January Jones of "Mad Men" fame. That year, Jones had a fender-bender. Right after, Flay showed up on the scene. That coincidence sent tongues wagging. Eventually, the gossip reached March, who questioned her husband about the timing.

How does bankruptcy affect child support?

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Imagine the following scenario: an Illinois couple has a child together. They split up; one parent gets custody of the child, and the other pays child support. A few years later, the parent paying child support falls on hard times and files for bankruptcy. What effect does the bankruptcy have on the parent's child-support obligation?

Good question. But before answering it, let's look at how court orders (such as a child-support order) are usually treated. Normally, parents must pay. If not, they will land in serious legal hot water. Their wages may be garnished, their licenses taken and their passport frozen.

Moving can cause a child custody battle

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When an Illinois couple marries, they normally commit to living in the same place. But, if they split, that commitment no longer applies. That means the couple may move miles, states or even countries away. No problem, right? Sure, unless the couple had a kid together. In that case, the move can become a major child custody issue, because the move may mean that only one parent gets to see the child on a day-to-day basis.

When that happens, the couple needs to reconsider their current child custody arrangement. If they cannot agree on their own, then a court will need to enter the mix. If so, the court will decide how to divvy up child custody based on the best interest of the child.

Does Illinois still recognize same-sex civil unions?

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It has been more than a year since same-sex marriages first started being legally performed in Illinois, but there is still a lot of confusion about the new laws and how they affect previously existing laws about marriage and domestic partnerships. Some same-sex couples who legally formed civil unions before same-sex marriage was legalized may wonder whether their unions are still binding, or whether they automatically converted into marriages

The answer to the first question is yes. The answer to the second question is no.

Addressing interstate child support issues

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In Illinois and elsewhere, when parents split a gaggle of issues can arise. One of those is child support. Usually child support follows statutory guidelines that require the parent who does not live with the child (that is, the noncustodial parent) to pay child support. The amount will be determined through a child support formula. If the noncustodial parent fails to make good on the obligation, the state may be able to step in and force payments by garnishing wages, taking tax refunds and more.

But what happens when a child lives in Illinois while the noncustodial parent lives in a bordering state? What happens when that parent fails to meet their child support obligation?