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Peoria Legal Blog

The emotional consequences of amputation

Near Peoria, there are a number of narrow highways in rural areas where motorists often go at higher speeds. All of these elements can be a recipe for disaster for other drivers in the area. Whether someone accidentally drives off the path or crashes into another vehicle, these conditions can lead to a serious car accident that could have long-lasting effects on the motorists involved.

Many large-scale crashes have resulted in one of the drivers losing their limbs in the process. This forces the victim to make severe changes in their lives while adjusting to their missing arm or leg. One part of the process many do not consider is how emotionally devastating it can be for the individual. Several health professionals recommend that victims receive psychological help if they experience any of the following issues:

Prenuptial agreements are more beneficial for some relationships

The use of prenuptial agreements has increased in Illinois and throughout the country in recent years as they have become less controversial. More people understand the reasoning behind working out an agreement about property and financial contingencies on the front end of a marriage rather than enduring protracted litigation and additional legal expenses at the end. Contrary to what some believe, having a prenuptial agreement in place doesn't mean the parties are expecting to end in disaster. Having a prenuptial agreement is more akin to an insurance policy than anything else.

While these agreements are worthy of consideration for all couples, some categories of individuals are more likely to benefit from a prenuptial agreement than others in the event of a marital demise. If one party comes into the relationship with substantially more assets than the other, it is a good idea to think about a prenuptial agreement. Most people fail to consider the possibility of being saddled with a partner's overwhelming debt, so if one person has a substantial debt load, a prenuptial agreement should be considered. If a party owns his or her own business, having an agreement in place that protects it from litigation and being treated as marital property is strongly recommended.

Baby boomer divorce on the rise

A growing number of older people in Illinois and across the country are choosing to divorce. While many people still think of divorce as a young person's phenomenon, baby boomers' divorce statistics continue to rise. Since 1990, the divorce rate has doubled among people 50 and older. At the same time, that rate has tripled for people aged 65 and above. Divorce has become more socially acceptable and generally supported, but there are many factors that can play a role in older people opting to end their marriages.

Families that are comfortable with divorce may be more likely to have divorced members. Studies show that the daughters of divorced parents are 60 percent more likely to end their own marriages while the sons of parents who split are 35 percent more likely to do the same. It also has been revealed that people of any age who have been divorced before are more likely to do so again. Therefore, older couples who have remarried are 2.5 times more likely to choose to separate than those who are still in their first marriages. In addition, people who have been married for a relatively short time are more likely to split than those who have stayed together for decades.

How divorce is affecting older couples

When older couples in Illinois end their marriage, they may face some particular financial challenges. Divorce in this age group is on the rise, with three times as many people aged 65 and older getting divorced compared to 1990 and two times as many who are 50 and older.

However, these people could be dealing with financial instability as a result. In 2014, a study by the Government Accountability Office for the Senate Special Committee on Aging found that a single person 65 and older requires 79 percent of the income to maintain a household compared to a couple. Older people may also be more vulnerable to poverty after divorce, and this disproportionately happens to women. They have an 80 percent higher likelihood of living in poverty at the age of 65 or older compared to men.

Divorced women and their retirement

People in Illinois may already be aware that getting a divorce can have a significant impact on their current and future financial well-being. However, divorce seems to affect women more negatively than it does men. According to one 2008 study, divorced women tend to experience a drop in income by over a fifth while men actually experience a rise in their income by nearly a third.

While divorced women seem to bear the brunt of the negative impact of leaving a marriage, a study that was conducted by researchers at the Center for Retirement Research has shown that the long-term financial state, such as during retirement, of the divorced women may fare better than never marrying. The important factor in their long-term financial health is getting the home in the divorce.

Dealing with Bitcoin during a divorce

When Illinois couples decide to divorce, assets often need to be identified and disentangled. With the rise of cryptocurrencies, a new layer of complication has been added to the already-complex process of understanding marital assets. These digital currencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, often offer a high level of anonymity. They have also witnessed a sharp upswing in value, and what began as a small investment may now be worth many times the initial outlay.

While cryptocurrencies are highly valuable, they can also be highly volatile. Their valuation can shift sharply on a daily basis, making it difficult to assess them in combination with other marital assets. In addition, the secrecy built into the structure of many of these currencies means that it can be easier for a spouse to hide assets. Assets held in Bitcoin can be hard to trace and confusing to value because the valuation can shift on a regular basis. Since the anonymity of cryptocurrency is part of its appeal, it can have the downside of serving as a haven for people who want to hide assets.

Preparing for a divorce: child custody and parenting arrangements

The decision to separate from a partner, regardless of how long the relationship has lasted, is a very personal one. Many couples experience a variety of emotions when the decision to separate has been made. This often leads to inadequate preparation. However, it's important to note that being prepared can make the divorce process much easier for Illinois couples.

Recent studies show that some couples are more likely to divorce when they have a close friend, relative or colleague who separates from a spouse. In fact, when a friend has been divorced, a couple is up to 75 percent more likely to separate. This may be because they feel they can separate and still live a satisfying life, or it may be because they know they will receive the support they need if they choose to separate.

Are residents in short-staffed Illinois nursing homes safe?

Illinois nursing homes are facing a staffing shortage at the worst possible time. With an increase of patients and fewer employees on the clock, there is a significant threat to patient safety.

A recent report states that 280 nursing home facilities in Illinois are under-staffed. The data for this report was gathered by Medicare and analyzed by Kaiser Health News. Medicare is interested in staffing levels because they can be indicative of neglect, and if cited for neglect: the facility’s Medicare funding may be at risk.

Tax law changes may affect divorce settlements

People in Illinois who are considering divorce may want to consider how 2017's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could affect the separation process. In 2015, over 600,000 taxpayers deducted alimony payments from their annual tax returns. Due to changes in the law, however, people who finalize their divorces after 2018 will no longer be allowed to deduct alimony payments from their taxes. In addition, the recipient will no longer pay taxes on the income. These changes will reverse nearly 80 years of legal practice on taxation and spousal support.

In 1942, the Revenue Act established that alimony payments would be tax-deductible to the payor and taxable to the recipient. In many ways, this arrangement was mutually beneficial because it enabled recipients to receive a larger amount of spousal support each month and also provided a tax benefit to the paying spouses. This tax system helped to conclude many divorce negotiations successfully. Lots of wealthy people have been rushing to complete high-asset divorces in 2018 in order to avoid the changed tax implications with alimony.

Divorce may be more complicated for business owners

Dividing marital property can be a contentious issue in any Illinois divorce. If one of the couple's assets is a business, however, it can be especially complicated. Company owners who are approaching divorce should determine how much the business is worth and how to divide that value. An issue that's all too common is one spouse being deceptive in regard to reporting income.

Generally speaking, there are three approaches to a business valuation. The process can be based on income, assets, or the market. The approach that is appropriate varies from case to case, but each of them begins with the company's financials. In many cases, valuation professionals are brought in to review business records and accounting documents. If discovery is not properly handled, critical information can be missed and the value of property may not be fairly divided.

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