Zuba & Associates, P.C.

Rockford Illinois Legal Blog

The increase in joint child custody

For the majority of the 1900s, divorced fathers in Illinois and the rest of the country who wanted to share child custody did not have many options. Family courts tended to favor mothers almost exclusively by giving them full custody. However, during the last three decades, an increasing number of divorced fathers have been able to obtain shared parental custody. According to one associate law professor, the manner in which the family courts have evaluated child custody over the last few decades have changed.

One type of child custody is legal custody, which gives the parent complete control over the decisions regarding the health care, religion, well-being and education of the children. The other type of child custody is physical or residential custody, which is where the children reside at night. Although divorce laws differ in each state, joint legal custody is the starting point that is routinely used by the family courts, and shared residential custody is not only strongly considered, but also encouraged. Having residential custody divided into equal halves is typically uncommon because of logistical issues, and the division of residential custody still tends to favor mothers.

Travelers survey explores reasons for driver distraction

Illinois drivers may be intrigued by the results of a Travelers survey that questioned more than 2,000 consumers and executives on the subject of distracted driving. The results have been gathered into the 2019 Travelers Risk Index, which was recently released to the public.

The most-cited distracting activities were sending texts or emails (44 percent of respondents), using social media (23 percent) and taking pictures or recording videos (22 percent). Thirteen percent said that the habit of reading texts and emails would be hard to break while 11 percent expressed a similar opinion for sending texts and emails.

Finding the best way to split the family business

When an Illinois couple goes through a divorce, they will likely have to deal with a lot of strong emotions. Still, there are a number of practical issues that require attention. Among these is determining what to do with shared family assets. Some assets may be easy to sell and divide among the divorcing parties. Other assets, such as a shared business, may require more effort to divide.

One of the first challenges that a divorcing couple has to address is how much the company is worth. Since the answer to this question will determine, in part, how much each party stands to gain financially, it's good to have this investigation done by an impartial third party.

What to know about homes and divorce

There are many disputes that may arise during a divorce in Illinois or anywhere else. One of those disputes may revolve around what to do about the family home. It is possible that one person will want to sell while the other will want to keep it. A key benefit to selling a home is that it allows each person to get a fresh start both mentally and financially.

The proceeds from the sale may make it easier to pay bills on a single income or to buy or rent a new place to live. Selling a home also means that there is no need to make a large mortgage payment or put money toward maintaining the property. That can be a compelling reason for a person to put aside his or her ego and not try to win the house in a settlement out of spite.

Claiming dependents when the parents aren't together

Illinois residents and others may be able to claim their children or others as dependents on a tax return. However, if a couple has been divorced or lives together despite not being married, it isn't always clear who gets to do so. The IRS does have a set of rules that it uses to determine who gets the credit if there is a dispute. It is important to note that the IRS settles disputes after a return is filed.

Typically, the first person to submit a return with the claim gets the financial benefit of doing so. The next person who submits a return claiming that same dependent will have a return rejected. Generally speaking, a child's parents will get to claim a son or daughter before anyone else does. If both parents claim a child as a dependent, the IRS will look at who had the child most often during the year.

Staying safe around drunk drivers

Illinois motorists will want to consider the following tips if they ever find themselves sharing the road with a drunk driver. First, it is important to know the signs of drunk driving. These include turning too wide, making sudden or illegal turns, zigzagging on the road, driving too slowly and stopping abruptly.

Defensive driving is necessary when around drunk drivers. This means being ready to take quick, evasive action. One should keep a safe distance from the suspected drunk driver or let the driver pass one by. If the driver is about to collide head-on with one's vehicle, one must pull over, stop, flash the lights and honk the horn.

What to do in the aftermath of a car accident

The first thing a person in Illinois should do after a car accident happens is to stay calm and see whether there are any emergencies. If the accident has not happened in a place where the vehicles need to be moved, they should be left where they are, so police can document their positions.

If there are no emergencies that need to be attended to, the next step is to take pictures and write down what happened. Special attention should be paid to skid marks and any damage. Witness names, accounts and contact information should be noted, including that of other individuals involved in the accident. Other people's accounts should be recorded neutrally and without argument even if they contradict a person's own experience of the accident.

Truck crashes, fatalities have increased for 3 straight years

Illinois motorists should know that fatal truck accidents in the United States increased in 2015, 2016 and 2017, according to new data released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The information was presented in January at the 2019 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

In addition to an overall rise in deadly truck crashes, the FMCSA reported that the number of fatalities involving large trucks, the number of fatal work zone crashes involving one or more large trucks and the number of large truck occupant deaths also increased each of the last three years. It should be noted that 2017 is the most recent year for which data is available.

Common factors often lead to divorce

There are a number of reasons why couples in Illinois may decide to divorce, especially as every relationship is unique. Oftentimes, multiple contributing factors lead to a marriage ending. Some people may separate somewhat amicably after growing apart over the years. In other cases, extramarital affairs or other breaches of trust can play a significant role in ending the marriage.

A recent study polled people who had participated in a premarital program to enhance relationship communication. Fourteen years later, a number of those participants had chosen to divorce and were contacted to determine the factors that led to their separation. The most common cause cited, by 75 percent of respondents, was somewhat self-evident: a lack of commitment to the marriage. Some people said that they had never had romantic feelings for their partner while others said that those feelings had changed or diminished over time. Almost 60 percent of participants said that infidelity was a factor in their divorce. While sexual infidelity was often the primary issue that led to a separation, it was also a final blow to for many unhappy relationships.

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Rockford, IL 61107

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