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DuPage County family law attorneysIf you are thinking about filing for divorce, you may be concerned about the financial implications of such a decision. The process itself can be very expensive is some situations, but you could also be worried about making it on your own, especially if your spouse was the primary wage-earner in your family. To address this concern, you may consider including a request for maintenance with your divorce filing. Maintenance payments, sometimes known as alimony, may be ordered to help offset some of the economic challenges that can be created by your divorce. Such payments are not guaranteed, however, and the court must identify a spouse’s need before ordering it.

Need-Based Considerations

There are many factors that the court will take into account when deciding on the appropriateness of a maintenance order, including the lifestyle that the couple established in their marriage and how the marital property will be or has been divided in the divorce. As you might expect, each spouse’s income must also be considered, but the court will look at more than just how much you and your spouse actually earn. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that the court must also take into account “the realistic present and future earning capacity of each party.”

What Is Earning Capacity and Why Does It Matter?

A person’s earning capacity is the amount of income that he or she has the ability, training, certification, and qualifications to make, regardless of his or her current income. For example, a 19-year-old high school dropout who has been working in fast food restaurants has a much lower earning capacity than a 40-year-old business executive with a master’s degree. Earning capacity may become an issue in a maintenance proceeding, however, when one or both spouses are currently earning significantly more or less than their earning capacity would suggest.

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Wheaton sexual harassment attorneysThe atmosphere in workplaces across the United States has been altered by the influx of sexual harassment accusations in the news. Amid the #MeToo movement, many business owners are eliminating holiday parties. Others are keeping the holiday office party but are not allowing alcohol to be consumed. Opinions about this vary dramatically from person to person, but one thing we can all agree on is that every employee deserves to be treated with respect at their workplace.

Inappropriate Behavior at Office Parties is Not a New Phenomenon

Countless sitcom episodes have relied on holiday office party shenanigans to drive the plot. The holiday office party has become almost synonymous with drinking too much and making a fool of yourself. In television shows and movies, there are rarely consequences for those who make sexual advances toward other employees. However, in real life, unprofessional or sexually-charged behavior during a Christmas party can result in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

A 2010 survey of employees found that 40 percent of respondents admitted to either witnessing inappropriate behavior at a work party or engaging in inappropriate behavior themselves. Nearly a quarter of employees surveyed said that they or another coworker were reprimanded because of an incident at a holiday party. 11 percent of respondents reported that they or another employee had been fired as a result of the misconduct.

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DuPage County family law attorneysWhether you have been divorced for years, or you are only starting the process of ending your marriage, separated parents have many challenges during the holidays. You may feel like it is nearly impossible to get through Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa or other special holidays as a divorced person. However, experts do have some tips for divorced parents which may make your holiday season a little more manageable.

Avoid Bottling Up Your Emotions

Many parents who get divorced are hyper-focused on how the divorce will affect their children. While making sure your children are comfortable is an admirable and important part of being a parent, experts say divorced parents should be careful not to neglect their own emotional needs. Many people experience divorce in a similar way to loss. If you are ending your marriage, you may experience feelings of anger, grief, despair, and even relief. Talking about these feelings with a trusted friend or therapist can help you manage them.

Treat Yourself to Something You Enjoy

The holidays are often thought of as mostly pertaining to children. However, many divorce experts and psychologists encourage adults to get into the holiday spirit if they are able. Treating yourself to a day at the spa, a delicious meal, or simply just relaxing at home can help divorced parents cope with the emotional burden of the holidays.

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Illinois workplace sexual harassment lawyerOver the last year, national news headlines have been dominated by one story after the next about allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other types of inappropriate sexual behavior. While they have different names depending on the jurisdiction, sexual assault and other types of unwelcome sexual contact are criminal acts. Sexual harassment, however, is a different story. By law, sexual harassment is a form of sex-based employment discrimination. While it is still illegal, it is a matter that is handled through state and federal agencies, as well as the civil court system.

Because it is an employment-related matter, sexual harassment is also somewhat easier to recognize and address than acts of sexual violence often are. Sexual harassment can even be prevented and avoided if those who work together are willing to have open and honest conversations about the topic. Depending on where you work, management may be willing to facilitate such discussion. If a formal meeting is not feasible, consider opening lines of communication with your coworkers on your own—regardless of your gender or your previous experience with sexual harassment.

Men and Women Must Communicate

In many cases, sexual harassment is the manifestation of a power struggle. For example, men who have worked with only other men for many years may feel threatened—even subconsciously—by the introduction of a female coworker. Similarly, a person in a managerial position may get a thrill out of flirting or making sexual advances toward a subordinate as a result of the power differential. However, sexual harassment can also occur due to the differences in the perspectives of men and women.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysIf you and your spouse are considering calling it quits, you probably have a thousand questions. One of these questions may be, “How will we divide our property during the divorce?” When two people marry, they not only combine their lives but also their material possessions and wealth. Sometimes untangling marital assets can be a challenging and time-consuming endeavor. However, being educated about what the property division process entails can help you be better prepared and eliminate some of the stress associated with the divorce process.

Separate Property Versus Marital Property

If divorcing couples can, they may decide how to divide their property on their own without court intervention. However, when couples cannot agree on how to divide assets, the court must step in. Illinois divides property based on a system called “equitable distribution.” First, it is determined what property is marital (shared) and what property is non-marital or separate. Generally, marital property includes any assets or funds acquired during the marriage. Non-marital property includes property which a spouse acquired before getting married, as well as certain gifts and inheritances. The court will only divide marital property or those assets which have been commingled.

It is important to note that separate property can become marital property in certain situations. For example, if a husband receives a cash inheritance, it is considered separate property. However, if he deposits the inheritance into a joint bank account with his spouse or uses it for family expenses, the property may be considered to be transmuted into marital property.

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250 W. River Drive, Unit 2A
St. Charles, IL 60174
630-665-7300
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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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