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Washington Illinois Family and Real Estate Law Blog

Parental alienation can be incredibly harmful for everyone

When parents in Illinois are staring down a divorce, the thought of how their relationship change will affect their own relationships with their children can be daunting and terrifying. In situations where a couple has vehement anger toward each other, parental alienation may be a very real risk. While it may not appear to affect anyone besides the children of the parents, this damaging "solution" to bitter battles can actually be incredibly harmful to everyone involved. 

According to Psychology Today, the damaging cycle of parental alienation occurs when one parent seeks to abolish the relationship between their children and their own former spouse to solve their own issues and desires. As such, the children lose out on what could be a healthy and productive relationship with their other parent and are often given false information to lead them to believe that the alienation is the fault of the other parent. Parents who are enduring this trauma are better off remaining surefooted in their efforts to be a committed and loving parent, and being firm about their desire to maintain a relationship with their children, as well as their accessibility when the children decide to come around if they do. 

Learning how to prevent legal issues in real estate

The real estate industry in Illinois is full of competition with people strategizing on many different levels to get their properties bought and sold. As with any other industry, legal issues can sometimes ruin a potentially promising sale if inadequate measures are taken to protect both parties from the start of transactions. 

Preventing legal issues from becoming a problem when buying and selling properties is something that people can achieve by taking their time in carefully documenting each transaction. If people encounter an issue with someone involving their property, they can first attempt to work it out cordially before immediately resorting to legal intervention. Often, with an informal, but respectful discussion, people may be able to smooth over a problem before it escalates into something more serious. 

Can an unsecured creditor collect debts when you sell your home?

If you plan to sell your Illinois home for a profit so that you can pay off any outstanding debts you have incurred, you may want to think twice. While selling your home is not a bad idea, know that you may not be in control of the proceeds once your home does go off the market. This is because a creditor may have already claimed dibs on your property.

According to SF Gate, there are several ways through which a creditor may collect its dues from the sale of your home. One such way is by filing a lawsuit against you. The first step a creditor will usually take after exhausting all other collection methods is to file a lawsuit. If the judge rules in the creditor's favor, he or she may grant the creditor a civil judgment that allows the creditor to levy your bank account, garnish your wages and attach a lien to your real estate. It is the lien of which you want to be wary.

How to find assets your spouse may be hiding in divorce

Divorce is a difficult and complex process, especially when it comes to finances. Money-related issues are some of the most hotly contested matters in Illinois divorces, and it may be impossible for the two spouses to come to a reasonable agreement out of court. If you are facing the prospect of a contentious divorce, you may be wondering how you can protect your financial interests. 

In some high asset and highly contentious divorces, one spouse may attempt to hide assets from the other. By moving money around, selling off valuable assets and keeping the cash, and doing other things to hide money, it can ultimately affect your final divorce order. It is in your interests to know how to find hidden assets and pursue a fair property division settlement.

Is your inheritance subject to distribution in divorce?

Because Illinois is an equitable distribution state, divorce judges typically split marital assets in as fair a manner as possible. "Fair" does not always equate to "50/50." However, like in community property states, a family law judge must first decide if an asset is marital or separate before including it in the property division proceedings. Because the courts consider an inheritance an asset, the judge presiding over your case must treat it as he or she would a bank account, a home or a couch, beginning with labeling it as marital or separate.

According to FindLaw, an inheritance differs from a typical asset in that it does not matter whether you acquired it before or after your union. That said, the courts typically consider inheritances as separate property and therefore keep them out of the property division proceedings. This is true regardless of when a person received his or her bequests.

What expenses does child support cover?

There is a gross misconception amongst the general public and newly divorced individuals that child support should only cover the necessities such as food, clothing and shelter. However, the courts award child support to ensure that children of divorce enjoy the same standard of living post-divorce as they enjoy before becoming "children of divorce." If you and your spouse have recently parted ways, and if you want to know what child support does and does not cover, know that Illinois courts do not provide a cheat sheet or any other materials to guide you. FindLaw, however, does.

According to FindLaw, child support covers a broad range of expenses, including but not limited to education, childcare, medical care, college expenses, transportation, entertainment and extracurricular activities. It also covers a child's most basic necessities.

How easements work

People in Illinois who are looking to buy a home will need to carefully evaluate not only features like the condition of the home, square footage and list price but also some things that may not be quite as obvious. An easement is one of these things. Seemingly simple, an easement can be something that becomes problematic when not properly understood. 

As explained by Zillow, one of the most common types of easements is that which grants other parties access onto a homeowner's property. The access is granted for the purpose of accessing another home or other location like a park, a trail or a beach front. This is called a right of way easement. 

Who can put a lien on my home?

If you try to sell your home in Illinois, you may run into trouble if there is a lien on it. A lien is a claim to your property because you owe a debt. A creditor may put a lien on your home to ensure you pay back your debt, and if you do not, the creditor could take your home as payment. If you have a lien on your home, you cannot sell it without paying off the debt tied to the lien. You should not get too worried, though. Not just anyone can place a lien on your home, and even if they have a right, they must go through legal means to do so.

According to the Daily Herald, the only people who can place a lien on your home are those who have done work or otherwise contributed to the value of your home. For example, contractors and suppliers could place a lien if you do not pay them. Other creditors, though, usually cannot put a lien on your property.

What are seller disclosure requirements in Illinois?

If you plan to sell residential real estate in Illinois, there are certain legal requirements of which you should be aware. One such requirement is your obligation to inform potential buyers of any material defects via the Residential Real Property Disclosure Report. This is per 765 ILCS 77 – Residential Real Property Disclosure Act

As defined by the act, a material defect include cracks or bulges in the basement; reoccurring leaking problems; leaks or defects in the roof, ceilings or chimney; issues with any aspect of the plumbing system; unsafe conditions with the drinking water; defects with the well or well system; unsafe levels of asbestos, lead or other hazardous materials on the premises; insect infestations; and boundary lot line disputes, among other problems. You can find the full list of defects within Section 35 of the act.

How does standard of living affect spousal support?

It is common knowledge among the general population and Illinois courts that married couples enjoy certain financial advantages that disappear once that couple gets divorced. One such advantage is the fact that the couple only has to maintain one household. That means there is only one rent or mortgage to pay, one electricity bill to pay, one garbage bill to pay, etc. When couples stop cohabitating, the cost savings of shared expenses vanish, which can put a huge financial strain on both parties. To help ease the burden, Illinois courts may attempt to establish a marital standard of living and adjust the alimony or spousal support award accordingly—but not always.  

According to FindLaw, the courts will typically only use the established standard of living to determine alimony if there is a huge disparity in each parties’ incomes, which is typically the case among the rich and famous. For instance, say either you or your spouse makes $10,000,000 a year and the other has a side hobby that brings in $25,000 a year. Your shared annual living expenses total approximately $5,000,000. In this case, the courts may award the lesser earning spouse $4,975,000 in alimony to help him or her or you maintain the standard of living you enjoyed while married.

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    -Donna Jones Craig Jim Maloof Realtor

  4. The Essig staff are courteous and helpful, and the attorneys are professional and knowledgeable. They are very efficient, with prompt turn-around times on title orders and real estate closings. I would highly recommend this office to others!

    -Donna Jones Craig Jim Maloof Realtor

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