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Kane County alimony lawyerCalculating spousal maintenance (alimony) in Illinois can be somewhat complex. The amount of maintenance payments will be based on the incomes of both spouses, and the duration that these payments will last is based on the length of the marriage. To get an idea of how maintenance is calculated, it is best to consider an example. The below figures, importantly, are reflective of a spousal maintenance calculation for couples whose total income is less than $500,000.

Step 1: Calculate 30% of the Payor’s Income

In this example, the payor’s income is $200,000 per year, the payee’s income is $40,000 per year, and the couple was married for seven years and seven months prior to divorcing. Thus, the total income is $240,000, falling under the $500,000 cap (above which maintenance is determined on a case-by-case basis). The first thing to do is to calculate 30% of the payor’s income; 30% of $200,000 equals $60,000. 

Step 2: Subtract 20% of the Payee’s Income from the 30% of the Payor’s Income

Next, calculate 20% of the payee’s income and subtract this figure from the 30% of the payor’s income. 20% of $40,000 is $8,000, and subtracting this amount from $60,000 equals $52,000. Here, we pause to make sure that adding this $52,000 to the payee’s income of $40,000 (making a total of $92,000) does not exceed 40% of the spouses’ combined income. 40% of $240,000 equals $96,000, so a maintenance award of $52,000 per year is appropriate.

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Elgin spousal maintenance lawyerWhen a couple decides to end their marriage and get divorced, one spouse is often at a financial disadvantage. Whether this is because they have chosen to be a homemaker rather than pursue a career, or simply because they earn a smaller income, they may struggle to make ends meet. In these cases, the law provides them with the ability to receive payments from their former partner which will allow them to maintain a similar standard of living to what they enjoyed while they were married.

In Illinois, the guidelines for determining maintenance (which is also known as spousal support or alimony) are a factor of the parties’ joint income. In matters of maintenance, there is a payor (the person paying out the maintenance) and a payee (the person receiving the maintenance). There is also an important line of demarcation: $500,000. Maintenance award formulas differ, depending on whether the parties’ income is below this figure or not.

A Forty Percent Cap May Complicate Maintenance Calculations

Starting on January 1, 2018, a maintenance award where the parties’ joint income is less than $500,000 annually should equal 30% of the payor’s gross income minus 20% of the payee’s gross income, with the caveat that the award, after being added to the payee’s gross income, cannot be greater than 40% of the parties’ combined gross income. To make this formula more tangible, let us consider an example: 

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Kane County wrongful death lawyerIt is hard to lose a loved one, even if they die from natural causes after having lived a long and meaningful life. When someone’s time is cut short, however, the pain, loss, and grieving is magnified – especially when death has been caused by another’s negligence or intentionally bad conduct. Besides the immense grief and realization that nothing can bring a loved one back, many individuals and families must deal with the stark reality of the loss of support, both financial and emotional, provided by the work, income, and participation in family responsibilities of the lost loved one. When grief is coupled with tenuous financial straits, survivors of the wrongful death of a family member can seek compensation from the person or entity responsible. 

Defining Wrongful Death in Illinois

In general, a wrongful death occurs whenever an individual is killed because of someone’s intentionally wrongful or negligent conduct. More specifically, in the precise legal language of Illinois state law, “whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages,” the individual or entity (e.g. business or other institution) that caused the death may be held liable in a wrongful death suit in civil court.

Eligible Survivors of a Wrongful Death Victim

Only certain close relatives are eligible to seek compensation under the state’s wrongful death statute. These relatives include:

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Elgin car accident property damage attorneyThe legal term “damages” refers to harms and losses that a person suffers because of someone else’s actions or negligence. These adverse effects can occur in a variety of situations, and depending on the nature of the damages suffered, an appropriate “measure” of these damages is ascertained and applied, and the party who has suffered losses can seek compensation for their damages from the person who was responsible. 

Following an automobile accident, damages typically include the losses a person experiences due to personal injuries (including medical bills, lost income, reduced earning capacity, ongoing rehabilitation, and pain and suffering), as well as vehicle damage caused by the negligent or intentionally wrongful conduct of a driver. However, in some cases, additional damages may apply. 

When Damages Suffered Go Beyond Personal Injuries and Vehicle Damage 

It is expected that property damage and personal injuries will be suffered in a high-speed collision between vehicles. However, what is under-discussed and seldom forecasted are the potential damages to valuable property or goods being stowed in a vehicle. 

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Elgin estate planning and asset protection lawyerThe start of a new year is an appropriate time to devote focus to ensuring that your finances are in order for both the short and long term. This due diligence requires that you give adequate consideration to every resource capable of aiding you and your family in the protection of your assets. Besides savings accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s, and investments in the stock market, estate planning is a tremendous resource in matters of asset protection. Devoting time now to careful estate planning focused on finances related to your business, health, and family can make all the difference in the future, allowing your intentions with regard to your assets to be followed correctly.

How Assets May Be at Risk

Three primary risks faced by assets are:

  • Government taxation
  • Commingling of business and personal assets
  • Capacity-related issues

As you may be aware from following recent political and legislative news, estate taxes are a subject of ongoing debate. Until recently, the federal exemption limit for estate taxes was roughly $5.6 million. This limit has been doubled under the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, thereby prompting appropriate adjustments in individual estate planning. Importantly, however, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act concerns the federal exemption. Sound planning also requires that one account for the Illinois state level estate tax exemption, which is currently limited to approximately $4.0 million.

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Kane County breach of contract attorneyThe new year is a time of busy planning for individuals and businesses all over the Chicago area, from downtown to South Elgin. Part of that planning, of ensuring that you and your business are able to meet your goals and obligations, is being able to count on the faithful execution of agreements entered into. 

When you are in the business of supplying or receiving any type of goods or services, you know that the promises you make to vendors, customers, or businesses anywhere in the chain of retail or commerce are often contingent on the meeting of contractual obligations – the keeping of legally binding promises – by third parties. When you or your business suffers due to the breach of a contract by another party, legal recourse is available to you. 

Money is the Measure of Legal Damages

Monetary damages and legal damages are synonymous. These are the most common type of remedy when there is a transaction-based breach of contract by a manufacturer, distributor, lender, partner, employer, employee, or other party of a transaction. 

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Elgin severe personal injury attorneyIllinois law allows personal injury victims to seek compensation from the individuals or institutions responsible for harms and losses suffered. Sometimes, the computation of this compensation, termed “damages” by the law, is relatively straightforward. When an arm is broken in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, there are the costs of having the car repaired and the bone re-aligned and set in a cast, as well as pain and suffering, and any lost income due to missed work during any necessary rehabilitation. 

Such consequential damages are designed to make things right – to allow an injury victim to be in (theoretically) as good of a position as they would have been had the negligence and subsequent accident never occurred. However, other personal injury scenarios – especially more severe injuries with long-term consequences – are not so easily translated into a clear and fair award of legal damages.  

When Money Alone Cannot Restore a Victim to a Pre-Accident Position

Sometimes, tragically, the consequences of an accident are so dire that no award of financial damages can truly restore a personal injury accident victim to the position in life he or she occupied prior to the harm they suffered due to someone else’s negligence. Severe injuries, such as those involving permanent paralysis or brain damage, must be viewed with a long lens to truly grasp the long-term consequences. 

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Elgin workers' comp lawyer seasonal employeesIt can be tough being a seasonal employee in the retail industry. Low wages, expedited training, long hours, holiday shifts, and sometimes less-than-friendly relations with tenured employees are all part of the reality of the seasonal employee. Whether they are saving extra holiday shopping money for a special someone or simply working hard to pay rent and utilities, these employees are a valuable part of the U.S. economy. 

When a seasonal employee is injured on the job, the damage resonates beyond even a given workplace. Importantly, seasonal employees need to know that they are eligible for compensation for work-related injuries just the same as year-round workers. 

Workers’ Compensation Protects Injured Workers in Illinois 

The retail industry can be quite lucrative for retailers, especially during the busy holiday shopping season. However, the increase in traffic and activity during this time is no excuse for a business to in any way relax or take shortcuts in its duty to maintain a retail environment that is safe for both customers and employees. This is true for both seasonal and non-seasonal employees. 

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Kane County slip and fall injury lawyerWith snow falling in the Chicago area and temperatures fluctuating in the precarious area just above and below freezing, ice will be forming on streets and sidewalks throughout the region. This slick, slippery substance poses a real danger to pedestrians, whether they are enjoying holiday shopping and activities or are simply trying to get to and from work. 

A slip-and-fall on ice can occur when you least expect it, sending you off balance and unprotected to the cold, hard ground below – sometimes while holding groceries or shopping bags and thus unable to stabilize yourself. First, there is the shock and surprise. Then, pain begins to set in. And in the worst cases, there is the realization that you have broken a bone, suffered nerve damage, or injured your spine. 

It is one thing if ice has been allowed to form on your own front walk, but when ice is allowed to form on a business’s entryway area, that is a different matter altogether. If you have suffered a slip-and-fall injury on an ill-maintained business entry, exit, or sidewalk area, the property owner or manager may be held liable for the damages you have suffered.

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Elgin special needs trust lawyerThe holiday season is a time to think of giving – of summoning the charitable impulses and good intentions that bring out the very best version of oneself. It is a time to be grateful for life’s blessings and to reach out and help those who are less fortunate. In doing so, estate planning is a powerful resource in helping others, whether they be family, friends, charities, or individuals in need in a local, regional, national, or global community. 

Estate planning is synonymous with wills and trusts. With regard to the latter, it is possible to create a special needs trust to benefit a disabled individual in your life.

A Trust is a Powerful and Flexible Asset Management Tool 

A trust is a legal agreement that designates both an individual to assume the role of “trustee” and one or more individuals as “beneficiaries.” A trustee will manage your property on behalf of designated beneficiaries at the time of your death or, if you become incapacitated, while you are still living but are no longer able to manage your property on your own. 

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Elgin personal injury attorney interpersonal conflictsThe 2017 holiday season may feature some contentious arguments, whether they occur over a family dinner table or during gatherings at neighborhood bars and restaurants. The reason: the nation’s intense political polarization. While most family and friends will be striving to avoid the subject of politics while enjoying the holidays, or even explicitly agreeing to refrain from discussing the subject, it may nonetheless creep into conversation – especially as wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages flow. 

The same is true at bars and pubs when old friends who are in town to visit their respective families meet to reconnect. When a good time devolves into hostile grievance-making – so much so that words beget actions and a personal injury is suffered – legal recourse may be required to obtain compensation for damages. If you have suffered personal injuries in a dispute that turned from verbal to physical, or if you were caught in the fray as a bystander, it is essential to secure the services of an experienced attorney who can advocate for your legal rights.

Battery Is an Intentional Harmful or Offensive Contact 

If you have been struck with a punch in or around a bar or, heaven forbid, in the home of a family member or friend, you have been the victim of battery. Battery is both a crime and what the civil side of the law terms a “tort.” As such, battery is both prosecutable in a criminal court and subject to litigation for compensatory damages in civil court. 

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Elgin divorce attorney division of marital propertyDivorce can often come as a terrible shock, especially if you believe that the breakdown of your relationship was not your fault. In many cases, divorcing spouses may believe that they are entitled to a greater share of property if their former partner had caused the marriage to fail. However, couples in Illinois should be aware of how the law deals with the division of marital property during the dissolution of a marriage. 

In Illinois, affairs, adultery, lies, physical or emotional abuse, and being a bad parent – which are all types of marital misconduct – are not considered during the division of marital assets and debts. As unfair as this stipulation may seem (especially if you are the victim of this type of misconduct), it is the law in Illinois. Importantly, however, you are entitled to a fair and equitable division of marital property. 

Marital Property is Subject to a Fair and Equitable Division During Divorce in Illinois

So, you may understandably inquire with no small degree of urgency, what is considered in an Illinois divorce if marital misconduct is not? The answer: a multi-factor criteria, applied proportionately on a case-by-case basis. 

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Elgin estate planning lawyer trust administrationFor most people in the United States, it takes hard work and smart planning to save money and build assets throughout their lives. The effort and thoughtfulness does not stop there, however, if you intend to ensure that your family, loved ones, or valued charitable organizations will see the maximum benefit of your work and planning for the longest possible duration. Estate planning is a necessity for protecting your assets and realizing your intentions with regard to the distribution of your assets, whether during your lifetime or after your death. 

Just as you trust an accountant to assist with the finances of your business, a tax professional to assist with personal or business taxes, and investment experts to grow your assets at the pace and risk level which is right for you and your family, you can rely on an estate planning attorney to create a legally binding will or trust and follow the proper procedures for administering your estate.

Details are Many in Matters of Trust Administration

Much of the process of estate planning is concerned with transferring your assets to your heirs smoothly, without conflict, and with the minimum taxation allowed by law. It is a simple idea – you want your family, loved ones, and favorite charities to benefit as much as possible. While your intentions may be straightforward, however, the legal requirements for creating and administering a trust to transfer your assets to your heirs can be quite complex. 

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St. Charles truck accident attorneyThe presence of large trucks on Illinois roads and highways may be a source of anxiety for some drivers, especially in November as thousands travel to and from Chicago to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Whether you are taking I-55 down to St. Louis, driving west on I-80 to the Quad Cities, going about your daily commute, or dealing with increased holiday-related traffic, you may breathe a little less easy when driving alongside a semi, trailer, or other large, sight-limiting truck. When your worst fears about truck-packed lanes are realized, resulting in a truck accident in which you suffer personal injuries, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to assert your legal rights.

Truck Accident-Related Personal Injuries May Be the Result of Negligence

Accidents involving a large truck on the complex network of highways and streets in the Chicago area often involve a variable not present in ordinary car-to-car collisions: the existence of an employer/employee or employer/independent contractor relationship. In simple terms, the driver of a truck may be on the job, transporting goods or en route to receive them for his or her employer. The reason why this added dimension may be of relevance to an accident in which personal injuries result is that it bears on whether the driver, employer, or both parties are liable for financial damages arising from the injuries, property damage, pain and suffering, and any lost income due to missed work you have suffered as a result of the accident. 

Negligence, the breach of a duty owed that causes damages, is a common cause of truck-related and other accidents. In truck accidents, the relevant question is who is liable for the negligence which caused the accident. In the case of truck accidents, this is often dependent on whether the driver is an employee working with assent, for the benefit, and under the control of an employer, or if they are an independent contractor. 

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St. Charles car accident lawyerWe are in the midst of autumn, and the holiday season is fast approaching. To many people, these holidays are a great time to celebrate the true meaning of family and friends. To others, there is great worry that something tragic, such as an automobile collision, could happen to them or their loved ones. Car accidents can happen at any time, but they occur more often during the holidays. Here are some other statistics about car accidents that you should be aware of: 

When Do Car Accidents Typically Occur?

It makes sense to think that most car accidents would occur during the late night on weekends, since that is the time that many people go out drinking, and some may drive while under the influence of alcohol. However, data from the Illinois Department of Transportation shows that the majority of accidents occur on Friday between noon and 7:59 pm. Other key statistics include:

  • In 2015, the most recent year for which data was available, there were 11,330 car accidents in Illinois that occurred on rural roadways between noon and 3:59 pm, and 14,597 car accidents between 4:00 pm and 7:59 pm.
  • In the same year, there were 65,418 car accidents reported in Illinois that happened on urban roadways between noon and 3:59 pm, and 68,344 car accidents between 4:00 pm and 7:59 pm.

How Many Crashes Take Place in Illinois?

In 2015, there were 313,316 car accidents that occurred in the State of Illinois. 21 percent (65,744) of these crashes resulted in injuries, whether minor, serious, or critical, and less than one percent (914) of crashes were fatal. On average, there were 858 accidents each day, and nearly three of these accidents resulted in fatalities. More than 10 people were injured every hour in car accidents.

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Elgin car accident attorney bad weatherAutumn, some Chicagoans contend, is either a remarkably brief season or one that actually starts weeks prior to the first day of fall in September. Splendorous yellow and red leaves appear on tree-lined streets, Lake Michigan changes from a hub of activity to a mere inlet of water in the blink of an eye, and Chicago area children from Elgin to Edgewater enjoy final strolls along the outdoor areas of the city’s zoos and gardens.

Weather in the Chicago area is mighty, and it takes a toll on the city’s streets and highways. As the old joke says, there are only two seasons in Chicago: winter and construction. However, rush hour traffic on streets slick with rain or snow and ever undergoing repairs is no laughing matter. Car accidents happen and, sadly, injuries result.  

Negligence is a Common Cause of Car Accidents No Matter the Season

When a car accident, especially one that results in property damage and personal injuries, happens on a Chicago area road or highway, it’s not nearly enough to chalk it up to inclement weather and somehow just “move on.” No, responsibility must be taken for the damage done. Insurance claims must be filed, vehicles must be repaired or replaced, injuries must be attended to, and police reports must often be made. 

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St. Charles workers' comp attorney fatal injuriesEvery time we see traffic cones, narrowed lanes, and road construction signs on an Illinois highway, we understand the risks faced by the workers who keep the state’s traffic flowing safely. Similarly, when we observe construction cranes over the stunning downtown Chicago panorama from Grant Park or the Art Institute, we can imagine the dangers inherent in the work of those who keep the city growing. Beyond construction, city or state police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians all regularly face danger in their work. 

In some professions, risk abounds. When the unthinkable happens – when a loved one is lost while on the job – Illinois Workers’ Compensation can provide some financial support for their survivors. Nothing can bring back your loved one, but workers’ compensation can keep an already unbearable situation from spiraling into further despair due to the loss of income, medical bills, and funeral expenses.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act Governs Eligibility

When an Illinois worker is injured on the job, the type of benefits the employee is eligible for are typically referred to as “disability benefits.” These benefits cover not just medical bills and lost income stemming from the workplace accident, but also any lost earning potential that the worker has suffered as a result of any physical or mental impairment caused by the accident.  

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Kane County divorce lawyer for irreconcilable differencesJust as soaring temperatures in summer months correlate with increased conflict on a global scale, the season also seems to lead to increased cases of divorce. August, which is often hottest and most humid month, is the time of year when divorce filings peak. But why is this the case?

August and March are Peak Months for Divorce Filings

Researchers at the University of Washington analyzed data about divorce filings to determine the times of the year in which divorces are most common. They suggested a possible reason for the high number of divorce filings in August: unhappy vacations. 

Vacations and holidays are, unfortunately, illuminating of marital fissures that have passed the point of healing. One of the researchers, a professor of sociology, pointed out that vacations often represent a final opportunity for a couple to heal their marriage, allowing them to get away from the residence and daily routines where discontent has been sown and make an attempt to communicate and have fun in a conducive vacation environment.

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Geneva Estate Planning Charitable Trust AttorneyYou have worked hard your whole life, learning the value of a dollar and a day’s work from a young age. Perhaps you started your own neighborhood lawn care business in your teenage years, worked as a lifeguard at the city pool, or bagged groceries at a local store, setting about to secure your position in the world. Later on, you received a college education and pursued a career, putting in the work, day by day, week by week, month by month. 

That, as you know so very well, is the way most Americans support themselves, provide for their families, and save for the future. After many years of labor, you deserve an enjoyable retirement, as well as the opportunity to contemplate a meaningful distribution of your assets when the time comes. 

In addition to bequeathing financial assets, personal property, and real property to loved ones, you may wish to benefit a favorite charitable institution. Charitable causes are many – secular, religious, healthcare-related, devoted to the stewardship of our planet, working in the interest of socioeconomic equality, and so much more. If one or more charities are of great personal importance to you, the question, then, is how to ensure that they will indeed benefit from the resources you intend for them to receive. The answer to this question is estate planning.

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Kane County car accident wrongful death lawyerThe event of a fatality on Illinois’ roads and highways is a grim reminder of the frailty of human life and the probabilities yielded by our vastly complex transportation network. Millions of Illinois residents travel by car, truck, bus, elevated trains, Metra, Uber, Lyft, and by foot every day. Tracking this universe of movement is astonishing – if you have ever seen a time-lapse video of city traffic, with the lights of vehicles and other methods of transport zooming through metropolitan areas at blinding speed, you have gotten a glimpse of the sheer scale of modern transportation.

In these millions of vessels traveling through urban, suburban, and rural networks are human beings of all types – young, old, male, female, and all races and ethnicities. With such an intricate web of traffic, accidents are a statistical inevitability. Within this group of outcomes, tragically, are accidents that result in fatalities. We see it every day on the evening news, and even though it happens frequently, it can still seem shocking and unreal. 

We think a driving fatality will never affect a loved one, until it actually happens to us. While this is gruesome to contemplate, it has become a necessary fact of life for many people. If you have lost a loved to a fatal accident on an Illinois road or highway, you know this. While nothing can ever bring back your loved one, a wrongful death legal claim may account for damages you have suffered.

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