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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
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Recent Blog Posts

How Divorce Affects Your Taxes

 Posted on January 09, 2015 in Family Law

taxes during divorceAs a married individual, you have the right to file your taxes jointly with your spouse. This brings various benefits, such as opportunities for greater charitable deductions and a shorter, less stressful filing process.

When a couple begins the divorce process, however, issues related to filing their taxes can arise. Although they are technically still married as they work out the terms of their divorce, many couples find it difficult to discuss how they will file their taxes and avoid doing so. The discussion of tax filing can also become just another headache to work through during a process that is already stressful for both parties.

If your divorce is not finalized by December 31st., you are considered to be married for that year and may file your taxes jointly, separately, or separately while still claiming married status. You may also claim "head of household" status if you qualify.

Head of Household Status

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Parental Child Abduction

 Posted on January 07, 2015 in Child Custody

parental child abductionIt is possible for a parent to abduct his or her own child. In fact, any instance where a parent keeps, hides, or outright takes his or her child from the child's other parent without court authorization may be considered to be parental child abduction. The laws outlining child abduction in Illinois are outlined in Chapter 720 of the Illinois Criminal Code. When a child is illegally taken out of the United States, the Office of Children's Issues, part of the United States Department of State, is tasked with investigating the case and helping reunite the child with his or her parent.

If your former spouse has taken or kept your child from you in excess of his or her authorized parenting or visitation time, you may have the right to charge him or her with child abduction. Conversely, if you have taken your child from your former spouse beyond your allotted time together, you could potentially face child abduction charges.

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Keeping Yourself Safe with an Order of Protection

 Posted on January 05, 2015 in Family Law

order of protectionYou do not deserve to live in fear of harassment or violence. If your current or former partner makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe with his or her frequent harassment or threats, you have the right to file an order of protection against him or her

An order of protection is a court-ordered requirement that the offender avoid all forms of contact with his or her victim. The individual who files for the order of protection is known as the "petitioner" and the person against whom it is filed is known as the "respondent." It is a criminal offense to violate an order of protection and can result in fines or jail time for the respondent.

How to Obtain an Order of Protection

In Illinois, any individual who wishes to file an order of protection may do so with the circuit court of the county where he or she resides, the county where the respondent resides, or the county where the abuse occurred. Three different types of orders of protection are available to Illinois petitioners:

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Domestic Violence: Get Out Now

 Posted on October 14, 2014 in Divorce

domestic abuseYour marriage is no place for violence or abuse. If you have experienced any type of emotional, physical, or mental abuse from your spouse, you have the right to leave your marriage and seek a healthy, happy life for yourself. If you are in immediate danger of any type of violence against yourself or your children, get out now. The Illinois Domestic Abuse hotline is 1-877-863-6339. It is free, multilingual, and available to you 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Once you have safely left your spouse, the next step is to seek a restraining order against him or her or possibly a divorce. An experienced attorney can help you with both of these issues. You do not deserve the abuse – when your marriage becomes hostile, it is time to leave.

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986

In 1986, the Illinois Domestic Violence Act was passed. Under this act, police are required to respond to any report of abuse by a member of the victim's family or household. This includes current and former spouses, parents, children, former boyfriends, girlfriends and fiances, stepchildren, caretakers for individuals with disabilities, current and former roommates, and individuals who have a proven or alleged child in common with the victim.

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Modifying Your Child Support Payments

 Posted on October 10, 2014 in Child Support

child support modificationLife has its ups and downs, and its feasts and famines. When your financial circumstances change, everything in life changes with them. That includes child support payments.

If you are currently paying child support to a former spouse and you have recently experienced a layoff, disability, medical issue, retirement or other life-altering financial upheaval, you could be able to have your child support requirement modified. If you think a child support modification is right for you, you should contact an experienced attorney immediately for help.

Reasons to Seek Child Support Modification

When your new financial demands put a strain on your ability to make the child support payments that were part of your original settlement, seeking modification may give you some relief and hope for the future. The following are examples of reasons why a parent may seek to modify his or her child support requirement:

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Child Custody Evaluations: What to Know and How to Prepare

 Posted on October 07, 2014 in Child Custody

child custody evaluationCreating a custody arrangement is a key part of the divorce process for any divorcing couple that has children. Unless there is a compelling reason for only one parent to continue to be in the children's lives, such as their other parent's incarceration or history of domestic abuse, the court tries its best to develop custody arrangements that allow children to spend quality time with both of their parents after the parents' divorce. Parents are the most important role models in their children's lives, and a strong parent-child relationship leads to benefits later in life, such as higher self esteem, better communication skills, and a lower chance of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the court plays a vital role in determining a family's custody arrangement.

Although it is ideal to develop a rudimentary custody plan with your spouse before taking your case to court, this option is not always feasible. When parents cannot work together to create a workable custody plan, the court might require the family to undergo a custody evaluation. If your family goes this route, the family attorneys at our firm can help you prepare your custody evaluation.

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What to Look For in a Divorce Attorney

 Posted on October 02, 2014 in Collaborative Divorce

dupage divorce attorneyWhen you are beginning the divorce process, everything can seem convoluted and confusing. It can be overwhelming to decide on one divorce attorney over another in the sea of seemingly thousands of attorneys who are eager to take your case. How can you know which attorney will help you reach the divorce settlement you are looking for rather than spending your time and money with little to show for it? There is a lot to consider when you're looking to hire a divorce attorney, so we put together a checklist to help you through this process.

What Are His or Her Credentials?

Credentials are key for a successful divorce attorney. Does the attorney you're considering hiring have a history of misconduct, unprofessional or unethical behavior, or a record of losing cases and unsatisfied clients? Word-of-mouth references can give you some insight to an attorney's career, but the best information is the information you will find through speaking with each candidate individually. Do not be afraid to ask a prospective attorney about his or her professional history. Can he or she explain any past difficulties and how he or she overcame them? Without becoming too personal about previous clients, ask your prospective attorney about his or her strengths and weaknesses when advocating for clients and how he or she plans to minimize those weaknesses.

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Valuing Your Business During the Divorce Process

 Posted on September 30, 2014 in Business Valuation

divorce business valuationWhen a couple divorces, their shared property, income, and assets are usually divided between them. This can include a business that the couple created during their marriage or one that one of the spouses owned prior to the marriage, but continued to build while he or she was married. In many cases, each partner may have contributed at least something to the business and in some, it could have been both partners' sole source of income.

Every business is unique and there is no uniform way to divide a jointly-owned venture between two people. This is why it is important to educate yourself about business valuation and work with an experienced divorce attorney who has handled such divisions before.

Factors to Consider During Valuation

There are four important factors that come into play in a business valuation. They are:

Applying for Widow’s Social Security Benefits Following Divorce

 Posted on September 29, 2014 in Divorce

SSA Widow BenefitsSome disabled former spouses who apply for benefits from the Social Security Administration have an opportunity to increase the monthly benefit amount to which they are entitled following divorce. Spouses who are unable to work because of a disability may be able to collect Social Security disability payments. This would be based on earning records of the former spouse in certain, limited circumstances.

Lower income or non-earning former spouses may be eligible to collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments on a former spouse's earnings record if they meet the following criteria:

  • The higher earning spouse has died;
  • The lower earning spouse has a disability-related impairment that makes him or her unable to sustain gainful employment;
  • The former spouses were married for more than 10 years;
  • The lower earning spouse is unmarried;
  • The lower earning spouse is at least 62 years old; and

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Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents

 Posted on September 24, 2014 in Child Support

Children of DivorceThis month many of our clients and their families will share in the experience of changing their schedules to accommodate back to school season. While heading back to school poses significant changes for most families, single-parent households may be hit even harder. Divorced parents may find more stress from having to work with former partners to agree on children's extracurricular schedules and decide who covers what expenses. As such, below are a few tips for divorced parents to survive this back to school season.

Find a Routine that Works for You and Stick to It

This directive works for managing your child's homework schedule, social schedule, and bed time. It also pertains to coordinating a schedule that works for you and your former partner concerning child pick up, drop off and transportation schedules, and other issues that may arise.

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