Zuba & Associates, P.C.

Rockford Illinois Legal Blog

Making these mistakes after a crash could cost you your claim

Remembering what to do - and what not to do - after a crash isn't always a simple task when adrenaline and tensions are running high. But what you do at the scene of an accident can be vital to your case. Failing to take action could hurt your chances of successfully pursuing a claim.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid after you've been in a motor vehicle accident.

Divorce and dividing 401(k) funds

One of the most highly disputed issues that divorcing couples in Illinois may address is the division of 401(k) funds. These types of retirement accounts, like other forms of pensions, have their own set of rules that should be followed in order to avoid consequences such as high tax bills, large penalties and unintended distribution.

Individuals who are entitled to a portion of a workplace retirement plan established by an ex-spouse must use a qualified domestic relation order to obtain their share of the plan. This legal document is necessary whether the retirement plan is classified as a traditional pension or a 401(k).

The benefits of planning for divorce in advance

Just as someone puts a seat belt on even though he or she is not planning to get into an accident, people should prepare and plan for getting divorced. Illinois residents may be able to protect assets from creditors or property division by creating a prenuptial agreement. It may also be possible to do so by keeping assets in a separate account. As a general rule, separate property refers to anything a person owned prior to a marriage.

It may also refer to certain types of property that were inherited during a marriage. However, it is important to note that separate property could become joint property if safeguards are not put in place. For instance, using funds from a joint account to maintain an asset owned before a marriage could make it marital property. This is known as commingling of assets.

Judge can order arrest when parents don't pay child support

Many Illinois parents pay child support to the custodial parent on a timely basis. Other noncustodial parents, however, fail to meet their support obligations. When this happens, the custodial parent may need to take legal action to force payment.

They do this through a child support warrant, which is an order issued by a judge for the arrest of the noncustodial parent. In order for the judge to issue the arrest warrant, the deadbeat parent must be behind in payments for a long time, owe a substantial amount of child support or have skipped town and cannot be found.

Even if it is legal, driving and smoking in Illinois is a no-no

Being pulled over by the police after having a few hits is not the time to try and remember what your high school chemistry teacher said about units of measurement. By the time you figure out how much five nanograms of TCH is it could be all over. In the state of Illinois, five is the magic number that is all it takes to be charged with driving under the influence.

Tardy to the party

How joint custody may benefit parents and children

Parents in Illinois might wonder what the best custody arrangement is for their children. Studies show that the most beneficial arrangement for children in most cases is joint custody. However, parents may not pursue this arrangement because of common misconceptions.

Parents might believe that children's lives will be needlessly disrupted by having to go back and forth between their parents' homes. However, in interviews, children have expressed a desire for this arrangement over not being able to see both parents frequently. Even parents who would consider joint custody for older children might be concerned that infants may be too young for the kind of arrangement. Many people believe that infants form an exclusive bond with their mothers, but research shows that babies bond with both parents. Therefore, there can be joint custody even with toddlers and infants.

The Illinois ignition interlock device program

Illinois residents lose their driver's licenses for six months after being convicted of DUI for the first time, but they may seek to have their driving privileges reinstated after 31 days by obtaining a Monitoring Device Driving Permit. Obtaining a MDDP involves installing an ignition interlock device, and Illinois also requires cameras that are used to ensure that breath samples are provided by the offender and not a friend, relative or acquaintance.

Approximately 12,000 Illinois residents currently have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles, and the technology is monitored by the Secretary of State's office. The devices automatically send out an alert when they are tampered with or individuals attempt to drive after consuming alcohol. Those convicted of drunk driving may seek to circumvent the program by driving another vehicle, but doing this can result in Class 4 felony charges.

Vengeance should not be the focus in divorce

Illinois residents facing the fallout from a marital split could be tempted to use the legal process as a method of getting revenge against a misbehaving spouse. The emotional turbulence and acrimony of a failed marriage can make a public airing of grievances against someone seem attractive. However, there are important factors to consider. Aside from the financial implications of paying lawyers many thousands of dollars to wage a paper war, there is an emotional and mental health aspect to consider for both the adults and children of a marriage.

While there are numerous reasons to avoid a quest for vengeance, the most compelling is child welfare. Anytime parents go to war, children are caught in the crossfire between people they love and respect. Seeing parents attack and tear down each other is destructive to a child's self-esteem and emotional health. While the marriage may be ending, the maternal and paternal relationships are ongoing and must be nurtured from all sides in order to facilitate the healthiest adjustment to post-divorce life.

House Bill 4113: What’s at Stake in Illinois Equal Parenting Bill

Illinois is joining 35 other states in seeking equal parenting for divorced couples. House Bill 4113 contains proposed changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act which would allow courts to initially award divorcing couples equal custody of their children.

Defendants unable to pay bail are more likely to plead guilty

More than one in five people behind bars in America have not been convicted of a crime. These alleged offenders throughout Illinois and the rest of the U.S. sit in jail while they await trial. The nation's system of cash bail has been criticized by social advocacy groups for being unfairly harsh on poor defendants, and a study conducted by researchers at Harvard, Stanford and Princeton seems to add weight to these claims. The researchers scrutinized tax and court records to determine how pretrial detention affected the outcome of criminal cases. They found that pretrial release decreases the likelihood of a guilty verdict by 14 percent.

Unless they pose a threat to the community or are considered to be a flight risk, those accused of committing crimes are usually able to avoid incarceration while they await trial by posting cash bail. However, posting even modest sums can be difficult or impossible for poor defendants. According to the study, individuals who are incarcerated while their cases are pending typically earned less than $7,000 in the 12 months before they were arrested.

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Zuba & Associates, P.C

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6067 Strathmoor Drive
Rockford, IL 61107

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