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4 tips to help you negotiate child custody terms

Negotiating a child custody arrangement isn't an easy task for some parents. This is often the case when the divorce is contentious. Making it through this process is going to take effort on the part of both parents.

One of the most important things to remember is that you have to focus on what's best for the kids when you are trying to work out the parenting plan terms. When you find that the conversation is veering away from this, you can try to get things back on track by thinking about how each decision you make will impact the kids.

An overview of divorce law in Illinois

Many couples in the Chicago area are struggling with the decision about whether to end their marriage. The nature of the divorce process depends largely upon the attitudes of the parties. If they are able to communicate openly and honestly, they may be able to reach a decision on every important issue without asking the judge to make the decision. If, on the other hand, they see every dispute as a weapon to be used to aggravate or harm the other party, the process is likely to be very long and fraught with anger and depression. The courts encourage parties to use processes such as divorce mediation or collaborative divorce in an effort to reduce the emotional stress of a divorce and avoid a court trial.

In the absence of an enforceable pre-marital agreement, a couple's property will be divided in the manner that the court views as fair and equitable. Usually, this rule produces a more or less equal division of the couple's assets, but certain kinds of assets, such as appreciated securities or real estate, may be difficult to divide fairly.

Reaffirming a debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Most people in Indiana and Illinois file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition with the idea that they will ultimately be able to discharge most of the obligations that are causing them financial headaches. Why, then, would anyone want to consider exempting one or more of these debts from the discharge offered by personal bankruptcy? The answer to this question may surprise some people.

The short answer is that the debtor wants to preserve a financial relationship with the creditor. Usually, this wish is motivated by the debtor's desire to retain possession of an asset in which the creditor has a lien or other right to repossess the asset in the event of a default. An order of discharge in a Chapter 7 proceeding does not abolish the creditor's security interest. Rather, it merely absolves the debtor of the obligation to repay the loan. Thus, the issuance of an order of discharge is equivalent to a default by the debtor, and the creditor may, if it wishes, reclaim the asset that was pledged as security.

Truck driver sues candy maker over fraudulent labeling

Professional truck drivers must take required drug tests. The consequences of failing a drug test could be discipline in the form of lost driving time and a possible fine. In a twist on the usual tale, an Illinois-based driver has started a class action lawsuit against the maker of a gummy candy that is alleged to have been mislabeled.

According to recent reports, the driver alleges that the candy caused him to fail a drug test for THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its intoxicating properties. The driver claims that he bought a package of the candy, made by Just Brands USA in Florida, after reading the label that said "No THC." He intended to use the candy to help him sleep and he used it for about two weeks. At that point, the plaintiff was required to take a drug test, which he failed. He thereafter lost his job.

You have rights under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

When you get behind on your bill payments, you will notice that, all of a sudden, you experience a surge of telephone calls. The callers are either your creditors or agents acting on their behalf, urging you to bring your account current.

Of course, it is a rare event indeed when a consumer fails to pay their bill simply because it slipped their mind. In most, if not all, cases of nonpayment, it is due to a lack of funds because of some sort of hardship rather than a faulty memory.

Some caution about special needs trusts

The estate planning device known as a "special needs trust" has become the cornerstone of financial and estate planning for families with a special needs child. Many families have used this estate planning tool with great success, but special needs trusts cannot be viewed as "one size fits all" planning tools. Every situation is different, and every special needs trust must be tailored to the individual beneficiary.

One of the principal concerns of drafting a special needs trust is ensuring that the beneficiary remains financially eligible for a number of government programs that tie eligibility to financial status. In theory, a special needs trust holds assets for the beneficiary without disqualifying the beneficiary from federal aid programs, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. To qualify for these programs, a person cannot own more than $2,000 in assets. A special needs trust transfers enough of the beneficiary's assets to the trust so that the beneficiary stays within this limit.

An overview of child support guidelines in Indiana

One of the most important issues for residents of Northern Indiana who are contemplating a divorce is child support - how much can a non-custodial spouse be expected to pay or how much should a custodial parent expect to receive. The answers can be found in the general statutory language governing child support and in the specific child support guidelines that set the amount of child support based upon the parents' financial situation.

In determining child support, the court must be guided by its findings about what outcome will serve the best interests of the child. The court must first consider the financial resources of both parents - how much can each parent be expected to pay for the child's support and welfare. The second consideration is the child's standard of living if the divorce had not occurred. Finally, the court must look at the real world considerations of the child's physical, mental and educational growth. Child support must, to the extent financially possible, be sufficient to pay the child's basic living expenses and, if possible, health care.

Personal bankruptcy can provide debt relief

Residents of northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana are often told that bankruptcy can protect them from creditors' collection attempts, but the exact mechanism of this protection is not always clearly explained. An understanding of a process called the "automatic stay" can help individuals decide whether filing a petition for personal bankruptcy will provide adequate debt relief and perhaps even save their homes from foreclosure.

The "automatic stay" is an order that is automatically issued by the federal court where the personal bankruptcy petition is filed. The automatic stay tells all creditors to immediately stop, that is, "stay," all efforts to collect debts owed by the bankruptcy petitioner. The order applies to all court proceedings, efforts to collect delinquent payments on credit cards, threats to cut off utility services and any other effort to collect a debt that was owed as of the date on which the petition was filed. The stay also halts foreclosure actions and wage garnishment proceedings.

Tinley Park agrees to settle water lawsuit

One of the most common transactions in city of Chicago and its suburbs is the billing and paying for water usage. These transactions are rarely questioned, and the bills are mostly paid on time and in full. That is, until a group of Tinley Park residents became suspicious of the amounts being charged by the municipal water authority and charged the city with consumer fraud.

In 2015, a Tinley Park resident became suspicious of the amount that the city was charging for water usage. The resident and a local newspaper investigated the matter. The investigation revealed that that the city had installed new meters that operated defectively and overcharged water users. The meters were prone to "spinning," a condition in which the meter's wheels would turn and add to the customer's water bill even though no water was being pumped or even if a refund was owed to the user for erroneous over-billing.

Talking about divorce when you don't have energy to fight

Parents considering divorce know that they are going to have to work out a child custody agreement. The tone for this process is often set early in the split. While the adults know that the children enjoy having both parents at home, there are often reasons why the marriage just won't work.

If you aren't happy in your marriage, it is time to take a look at the underlying cause. There are several things that might signal that the union is truly over and it is time to work on the terms of going your separate ways. Throughout the final period of the marriage and the initial time of the divorce, remember some of these points to try to make things a bit less stressful.


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