child support, Arlington Heights family law attorneysIf you currently pay or receive child support in the state of Illinois, you are probably somewhat familiar with how your order was calculated. The payments were most likely determined based on the paying parent’s income and the number of children they were meant to support. Beginning last month, however, Illinois courts must now use a new method for calculating support payments—one that most agree is much more equitable than in the past.

An Outdated Model

For many years, Illinois clung to a child support model that traced its roots back several decades to a time when it was much more common for a household to rely on a single income. When the law was first enacted, a divorce typically left the primary wage-earner—usually the husband and father—responsible for assisting the wife and mother with household finances by way of alimony and child support payments. From that perspective, it is understandable, to an extent, that the calculations should be based on the income generated by the sole breadwinner.

Until last month, however, the law was never really updated to reflect the evolving reality of Illinois families. A large number of households today depend on two incomes just to make ends meet. In some situations, both parents choose to work regardless of the family’s actual need. Thus, a child’s quality of life and standard of living is often established on the basis of two working parents. Following a divorce, both parents would almost certainly continue to work, but only the income of the parent ordered to pay child support was considered in the calculation.

Old vs. New

After many years of debate and lobbying by parents’ groups, the Illinois legislature took action last fall. State lawmakers passed a measure to change the method of a calculating child support to a model used in more than three dozen other states. Under the old model, the court was only required to account for the income of the parent with less parenting time, since he or she would likely be the one paying support. The law provided a scale to be used based on the number of children requiring support, starting at 20 percent of the paying parent’s income for one child and ranging up to 50 percent for six or more children.

The new model—known as “income shares”—took effect on July 1, 2017 and requires the court to take both parents’ income into account when determining child support responsibilities. The court must also consider the amount of time the child spends with each parent. The intention is to come up with a figure that is much more equitable than calculations that were made under the old model.

In an upcoming post, we will look more in-depth at the how the new method works. Meanwhile, if you have questions about child support in Illinois, our experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorneys can help you find the answers. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation at Cosley Law Office today.



Posted in Child Support | Tagged , , , , ,

business, Arlington Heights Family Law AttorneyIn some cases, when a couple is seeking a divorce, a family business is one of the assets to be divided. Depending on the method chosen, it can be done very easily, with minimal interference to the company’s day-to-day operations. Before a business can be considered in property division proceedings, however, a business valuation is usually required so that the court can determine just how much the company may be worth.

Business Value and Asset Division

The main problem that many couples encounter when trying to achieve an equitable asset distribution when there is a business involved is that it is quite common for a business to be worth more than all other marital assets. If the company is well established and does brisk business, the bulk of the marital income may come from it. This can be resolved, in most cases, by one of two options. The business can be sold and the spouses will split the proceeds, or a structured property settlement can be established, wherein one spouse is paid the offset value of the business over a long period of time.

Regardless of which method is chosen, the business must still be valued by an expert. If you and your spouse have a good relationship, a full appraisal may not be necessary, but many people choose to enlist an experienced evaluator, usually a licensed appraiser, attorney, or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). It is important to ensure that any evaluator complies with IRS regulations, as an “unsupported” evaluation could lead to an audit down the road, as could a value assigned after a cursory record search.

The Issue of Goodwill

One particularly tricky aspect of business valuation is accurately assessing the worth of what is called business goodwill, also referred to as enterprise goodwill. Goodwill is difficult to define, but an approximation is that goodwill is the value of a business in relation to how highly it is thought of by its customers—in other words, its likelihood of retaining a customer base. Such an intangible can be an asset (in the colloquial sense) in growing a business

Illinois law holds that personal goodwill cannot be considered an asset. Enterprise goodwill can, however, and it is generally valued along with the rest of the assets of the business. Personal goodwill, meaning customers’ likelihood to remain loyal to either or both spouses as owners cannot be quantified accurately enough to count. Also, if both types were counted in terms of business valuation, it is possible to “double dip” or to effectively count goodwill as two assets, when in reality it is only one.

Work With a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney

Business valuation is only one complex step in the process of divorce, and you will need an advocate who can support you at every part of the journey. To get the help you deserve, contact an experienced divorce lawyer in Rolling Meadows. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation at Cosley Law Office today.



Posted in Division of Property | Tagged , , , , ,

Many couples who are considering divorce fear for their children’s well-being. Divorce can be extremely tough on a child, as virtually everything about his or her life may change. A new study suggests that a hostile divorce can even affect a child’s physical health.

Physiological Effects of Divorce?

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh quarantined 201 healthy adults and exposed them to a strain of the common cold virus. They then checked for signs of respiratory distress or illness. Of the study’s participants, some grew up in a two-parent household while others came from divorced families. A portion of those from divorced families came from amiable situations with both parents continuing to have healthy levels of non-hostile communication. Other adults in the study had two parents who never spoke to each other after their divorce, and deep tension persisted in their families.

The results of the study showed that the adults raised amidst a tumultuous divorce were more likely to show symptoms of the virus. Individuals who grew up in two-parent households and those from divorced, yet cordial, households were the least likely to catch a cold from the virus. These findings suggest that it is not the divorce itself which can be harmful to children but the post-divorce relationship between the parents.

Divorce Does Not Have to Be Damaging to Children

Sharlene Wolchik, a psychology researcher at Arizona State University summarizes the results of the study. “When divorce is followed by a new family structure in which parents have high quality relationships with their children, children spend sufficient time with each parent so their relationships can be meaningful and children are not directly or indirectly exposed to conflict between the parents, children can be resilient and thrive despite the stress of divorce.”

If you are considering getting a divorce from your spouse and are concerned about your children, there is hope. Research, including Carnegie Mellon study, suggests that divorce does not need to be detrimental to your child. It is important to follow some rules when navigating the family through the break up. Most importantly, keep fights, heated arguments, and legal disputes away from the children. Try to keep talk about the other parent positive and save complaining for your adult friends or therapy. Keep a predictable routine so that the children know what to expect. Finally, make sure each child has the opportunity to spend quality time with each of his parents.

Seek Legal Guidance

When you are considering a divorce you need an attorney who understands your concerns and knows your needs. At Cosley Law Office, our team is dedicated to helping you find the happier future you and your children deserve. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows divorce attorney by calling 847-253-3100 today.



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