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How Child Support Can Help Pay for CollegeA parent’s financial responsibility to their child does not always end when the child turns 18. Many children need help to pay for their continuing education after high school, whether that is attending a community college or a four-year university. Because of this, child support payments can continue after a child turns 18 so that both parents are helping pay for college. However, the child support payments will end if you do not take action. You must file a court motion to extend child support for college expenses and explain how much support your child will need from the paying parent.

What Does College Child Support Cover?

Illinois normally uses an income shares table to calculate how much both parents should pay towards child expenses. When continuing child support for college, you need to present the expenses that you expect to pay for your child’s education, such as:

  • Tuition and fees to attend the college
  • Room and board, which can include off-campus housing
  • College application fees
  • Textbooks and other required materials
  • Healthcare coverage
  • Living expenses for when the child is living on their own, even if college is not in session

As a condition for ordering continued child support, the court may require the student to make a good-faith effort to limit expenses. For instance, the child may need to choose the less expensive college when deciding between multiple colleges that will provide equitable opportunities.

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How Planning Can Prevent Financial Mistakes in Your DivorceIt is vital to have a financial plan when you are creating a divorce agreement, including your budget for after the divorce and which assets you most need from your marriage. Your income as a single adult will be lower than what you had as a couple, and some expenses will become your sole responsibility to pay for. A smart divorce agreement will help you transition into a more stable financial situation. Conversely, a poorly planned agreement may leave you at a financial disadvantage. Here are three financial mistakes that can hurt you after your divorce:

  1. Overlooking the Cost of Real Estate: Marital homes and other real estate are among the most valuable properties in a divorce, but they are also among the most expensive to keep. Any residence or building that you own comes with property taxes, utility fees, and maintenance costs. Many homeowners are also still paying the mortgage on their house. Your home or other real properties may be worth keeping after your divorce, but you must include the related costs in your budget.
  2. Not Considering Growth Potential: There are multiple ways of calculating the value of marital properties. One way is to consider whether a property has the potential to increase or decrease in value over time. Common examples include businesses, financial investments, and collectibles. You may regret letting your spouse keep these properties based on their current value, only to watch them increase in value in a couple of years. However, there is also risk involved if properties do not increase in value at the projected rate or decrease in value. The marital properties that you keep in your divorce should be a mix of those with growth potential and value certainty.
  3. Taking Short-Term Gain at a Long-Term Cost: Your immediate financial concern during a divorce is how you will support yourself, but you should still consider your long-term financial goals. Your retirement plan is a good example. You can withdraw money from your plan in order to compensate your spouse for letting you keep a valuable marital property. However, you are taking away from the money you need to support yourself later in life and may incur fees or taxes for making an early withdrawal. The long-term value of some assets can be more important to you than the short-term benefits of selling them.

Contact a Barrington, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer

The division of property is more than trying to get the most valuable assets from your marriage. A Barrington, Illinois, divorce attorney at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, will make sure you have a strategy when negotiating your agreement. To schedule a consultation, call 847-381-8700.

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Adjusting Your Retirement Plan Because of DivorceDivorce can throw your retirement plan out of whack, particularly if you have been investing in your retirement benefits for a long time and are closing in on your target retirement age. The value that your retirement benefits have increased during your marriage is included in your division of property, meaning that your spouse may receive part of your benefits. Younger divorcees have time to make up the retirement money that they lose without having to drastically change their retirement plans. Older divorcees must make important decisions about whether they will adjust their retirement plans.

Ways to Adjustment

People often calculate a specific amount of money to regularly contribute to their retirement plan in order to have enough money to retire by a certain age. Divorce can throw off those calculations by draining money from your retirement savings and decreasing the amount of income you have available to contribute towards retirement. You will be individually responsible for more of your living expenses and may have to pay spousal maintenance and/or child support. There are multiple ways that you can adjust your retirement savings plan after divorce, including:

  • Increasing the percentage of each paycheck that goes into your retirement plan
  • Changing the amount of money that you plan to save by the time you retire
  • Deciding to retire at an older age in order to have more time to save for retirement
  • Making more aggressive investments that have a high risk and reward

Protecting Your Retirement Plan

You may not need to make major adjustments to your retirement plan if you can hold onto most of your retirement assets during your divorce. Protecting your retirement benefits requires planning ahead or being flexible during divorce negotiations. If your spouse has a retirement plan of comparable value to yours, you could agree to each keep your own retirement savings. You can give your spouse other valuable properties, such as your marital home, in exchange for you preserving your retirement plan. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can state that retirement savings will be defined as nonmarital property.

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Ways to Divide Parenting Time in Your DivorceDivorced parents share parenting time with each other in most cases because their children benefit from having a strong relationship with both parents after a divorce. For a court to give all of the parenting time to one parent, the other parent would have to be a danger to the children or show complete disinterest in seeing the children. There are many different ways that parents can divide parenting time – from one parent receiving a vast majority of the time to an even split of parenting time. Each division has its own implications for creating a parenting schedule and financial factors, such as child support and taxes.

80-20 and 70-30 Divisions

Illinois law presumes that children benefit the most when one parent has a majority of the parenting time because:

  • The children have a primary residence and neighborhood that they call home.
  • Frequent transportation between parents’ homes is more disruptive.

Giving one parent a majority of the parenting time may be sensible in your situation if one of you is more available to be with the children or more capable in a caretaking role. A 70-30 division of parenting time would work if you want to split your parenting schedule between weekdays and weekends. An 80-20 division would likely have the children spending every other weekend with their nonresidential parent, which may make sense if a parent has a busy work schedule or lives far enough away that seeing the children every week is impractical.

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Protecting Your Digital Information During DivorceCybersecurity should always be a priority because of the sensitive personal information that we have on our digital devices and on the internet. Think of the damage that someone could do to your life if they had unfettered access to your computer or knew the passwords to your private accounts. If you have not made an effort to strengthen your cybersecurity, during your divorce is a good time to start. Your spouse – not an anonymous hacker – may be the person most interested in accessing your digital information. You cannot rely on the same security methods as during your marriage.

Passwords

You should change the passwords or personal identification numbers for accessing your digital devices and accounts, even if you never shared them with your spouse. There are several reasons to do this:

  • Your spouse may have seen your passwords written on a piece of paper or within a digital file;
  • Your passwords should not include any personal information that your spouse may be able to guess; and
  • Your spouse could have learned an encrypted password if they had access to your digital device.

Knowing your passwords could allow your spouse to spy on your private messages and access your individual financial accounts. It might not even be illegal if you shared a password with them and never changed it. A two-factor authentification process is a simple way to improve your password security. The account will notify you if someone attempts to log in from an unrecognized device and will send an authentification code to your phone or email.

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