Recent blog posts

IL estate planning lawyerAs we approach the New Year, all families in DuPage County should recognize that it is the perfect time to consider estate planning issues or to review your estate planning documents. You may have developed your estate planning documents earlier this year, or you may have drafted estate planning materials years ago without considering updating those materials until now. Since you last considered estate planning more generally or created documents, laws have changed and your own personal circumstances may have changed.

We want to discuss some important estate planning issues that you should consider revisiting for 2019. No matter what changes you need to make, an Oakbrook Terrace estate planning lawyer can assist you.

New Tax Law Implications for Estate Planning

The first major change to the law that could have implications for your estate planning strategy is the new tax law that took effect in 2018. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) raised the federal estate tax exemption. Between 2017 and 2018, the estate and gift tax exemption went up to $5.6 million per person from $5.49 million. As such, starting in 2018, a person can leave up to $5.6 million to family members without it being subject to a federal estate tax. Married couples who jointly leave an inheritance to their heirs can double the amount, meaning that up to $11.2 million can be exempt from federal estate tax. The federal tax exemption does not result in a change to the Illinois exemption, which is $4 million for an individual.

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IL divorce lawyer Many families in DuPage County may realize that, once the holidays come to an end, more friends and neighbors are filing for divorce. Indeed, divorce is so prevalent after the holiday season in the U.S. that many commentators have begun to refer to the Monday after the holiday season ends as “Divorce Day,” or the Monday after Christmas break when the flood of divorce emails clogs attorney inboxes. To be sure, divorce filings at the start of the New Year jump by nearly one-third. And this is not only the case in the U.S. Divorce lawyers in the U.K. also see a spike in divorce filings at the start of January.

What is leading so many people to divorce after the holidays? In short, divorce may have notable seasonal peaks, and there are a couple of different reasons for these spikes in divorce filings. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington noted these salient rises in divorce filings at two times of the year and discussed the reasoning behind these trends.

General Seasonal Trends of Divorce

Divorce filings do tend to spike just after the holiday season comes to an end, but to better understand the reason for this, it is important first to consider the reason for seasonal divorce trends more generally. According to the researchers at the University of Washington, rates of divorce filings tend to rise at two different times of the year: just after the holiday season ends and just after summer vacation (typically for kids on an academic schedule) comes to an end.

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IL family lawyerAs you may know, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)—better known as Trump tax reform—will change the way in which spousal maintenance affects taxes. In short, after the new year, the spouse making alimony payments will have to pay more money in taxes, while the spouse receiving alimony payments will have to pay less in taxes. However, a new Illinois law considers these federal tax law changes and makes it so that the spouse making payments is not as adversely affected as she or he otherwise might have been. We will say more about how spousal maintenance is taxed, and then we will talk about the calculations for spousal maintenance after 2019 when both laws (federal and state) will take effect.

How Spousal Maintenance and Taxation Currently Works

Currently, under Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/504), here is how taxation works when it comes to spousal maintenance: the spouse who makes alimony payments (the payor) can deduct the spousal maintenance payments from his or her income prior to paying taxes, while the spouse who receives alimony payments (the payee) must pay taxes on the spousal maintenance payments in the same way that the spouse would pay taxes on other types of “income.”

However, under the TCJA, the new federal tax law, any divorce that is finalized on or after January 1, 2019 will see a major change when it comes to taxing spousal maintenance. For these divorces, the payor spouse will be required to pay taxes on spousal maintenance payments while the payee spouse no longer will have to pay taxes on spousal maintenance payments received. What is the effect of this? In brief, the payor spouse ends up paying more in the long run, while the payee spouse retains more money and pays less in taxes in the long run. Since the payor spouse earns more money than the payee spouse, the payor spouse’s income typically is taxed at a higher rate. As such, taxing the spousal maintenance payments on the payor’s end in most cases will mean that the taxes are higher and the federal government receives more from that payment in taxes.

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IL family lawyerAs families that have newly gone through a divorce in DuPage County know, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) was amended relatively recently to do away with the terms of “ child custody” and “visitation.” Amendments to the law changed those terms to “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time,” which reflect the human relationships that exist between parents and their kids and the differences in family structures.

With those changes to the law, Illinois legislators recognized the need for flexibility in allocating important decision-making tasks about a child’s upbringing, as well as flexibility in terms of regular parenting time or spending time with the child and providing caretaking functions. Currently, the IMDMA says the court can take into account a number of different factors in allocating parental responsibilities, which include parenting time.

However, a proposed bill aims to change the presumptions about parenting time in the state. If House Bill 4113 were to pass, courts would have to begin from the presumption that equal parenting time is the best option for all families. We will say more about the potential effects of this bill and what it could mean for different families in DuPage County.

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Posted on in Business Law

IL arbitration lawyerCommon judicial processes in the U.S., and in DuPage County, in particular, can be problematic for many members of the Muslim community. The American court system functions in a manner that privileges individual rights over collective responsibilities and communities, which can be alienating to Muslims in general and particularly so for members of the Muslim community who are immigrants and are accustomed to different legal, social, cultural, and religious practices. Relying on Muslim arbitration can be one way to handle business disputes and other legal conflicts involving a member of the Muslim community without treading on certain norms that are important to that party.

To learn more about Muslim arbitration, first we want to say more about arbitration generally. Then we will provide you with some background information about Muslim arbitration in the United States.

What Is Arbitration and Why Is It Beneficial?

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Posted on in Business Law

IL business lawyerResolving legal conflicts in business and other areas can be complicated and frustrating for anyone, but the prospect of conflict resolution can feel even more daunting — and potentially biased — for members of the Muslim community. Common legal practices in the West rely on rules and individual responsibility, and as such, lawsuits are routine and necessary. Such practices can corrupt the ethical assumptions and religious or sociocultural practices of persons who do not ascribe to Western norms. All of this is to say that conflict resolution, particularly involving members of the Muslim community, can be complicated in relation to the U.S. judicial system.

Lawyers who regularly work with members of the Muslim community are trained to think outside of the box and to come up with unique solutions to legal and business disputes that arise between and among community members. There are multiple methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and other non-judicial options, for resolving conflicts.

Mediation as a Helpful Alternative for Resolving Conflicts

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Posted on in Business Law

IL business attorneyBusiness disputes arise in many different contexts, from disputes with suppliers or employees to disputes among co-owners of the business. Given that corporate law as it is practiced in the U.S. tends to be very Western and individualistic in its approach, it can be difficult for members of the Muslim community to integrate their own cultural and religious practices into the existing corporate law structures. For example, the practice of taking a business dispute to court can come into conflict with a Muslim business owner’s religious and cultural practices for resolving disputes.

When Western jurisprudence seems to diverge from the principles of Islamic law or Islamic cultural practices more generally when determining the outcome of a business dispute, the parties may consider turning to mediation. A form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), mediation allows parties to a dispute to play an important role in the outcome of the situation all while being flexible with regard to the practices and styles of the mediation space.

How Mediation Can Be Flexible for Muslims Involved in Business Disputes

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IL family lawyerThere are many different reasons that family law conflicts can arise in DuPage County, from one spouse’s desire to file for divorce to difficulty coming to an agreement over a parenting plan after a marriage has been dissolved. Mediation can be extremely helpful for many families and in many different legal contexts. To be sure, there are benefits to mediation that simply do not exist in a courtroom. However, it can be difficult for Muslim individuals and Muslim families to find a mediation model that fits religious and cultural values, as well as the parties’ religious and cultural upbringings.

As such, it is important to work with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney who has experience serving members of the Muslim community. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we are dedicated to providing compassionate and informed counsel to Muslims in Oakbrook Terrace and throughout DuPage County.

Why It Is Important to Consider Mediation for Muslims

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b2ap3_thumbnail_immigration.jpgThe process of applying for citizenship in the United States has always been a long and complex one, but it is becoming more difficult and complicated more recently with political and legal changes taking place. Many Muslims in DuPage County have questions and concerns about the citizenship or naturalization process. Naturalization is the process through which a foreign citizen obtains U.S. citizenship. Sometimes Muslim families in Oakbrook Terrace need help with the naturalization process for a family member who is currently a citizen of another country. In other cases, Muslim residents of DuPage County may be living and working in the U.S. on a visa but want to begin the naturalization process in order to become a U.S. citizenship.

At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we know how frustrating and difficult immigration law issues surrounding citizenship and naturalization can be. We have years of experience serving members of the Muslim community, and we can answer your questions about the naturalization process today.

Determining Eligibility for Naturalization

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IL Muslim attorneyWhen you are facing a significant legal matter, whether it is a family law matter such as a divorce or a business dispute, you want to have an experienced attorney who understands your background and the specific cultural issues that may be affecting or influencing your case. While many lawyers and clients alike do not immediately think about the ways in which cultural or religious differences can impact a divorce case or a commercial law contract, it is important to consider how these differences can influence one or both parties and for everyone involved in the case to respect such cultural differences.

In particular, members of the Muslim community, especially with familial ties to India and Pakistan, tend to have different cultural understandings and practices than the ones that are more typical of Western societies. We want to say more about the importance of cultural awareness and respect in solving legal problems.

Preventing Cultural Bias in Legal Proceedings

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Posted on in Spousal Support

IL family lawyerGetting divorced can take a significant financial toll on any couple or family, especially when just one of the spouses was the primary earner. Whether one spouse stayed at home during the marriage to raise children or simply had a lower earning job, divorce can be extremely difficult when parties begin living on only one income. Alimony, which is known as spousal maintenance under Illinois law, is a term to describe a maintenance payment from one spouse to the other in order to account for substantial differences in income levels as a result of the divorce. Spousal maintenance is not awarded in all divorces, but it is awarded in many of them.

Factors for Awarding Spousal Maintenance in Illinois

In order for one spouse to receive alimony or spousal maintenance from the other spouse, the spouse seeking the maintenance must request it. The first step the court takes when it receives a request for spousal maintenance is to determine whether it is appropriate. In other words, should the spouse who wants maintenance receive it?

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Posted on in Illinois Family Law

IL family lawyerFiling for divorce in DuPage County can be complicated and frustrating when you do not have the help of an experienced lawyer on your side, especially when it comes to the division of marital property. One of the most contentious issues in divorces is property division. Under Part V of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), marital property is divided according to a theory of division known as equitable distribution. This means that all marital property will be divided in a way that the court considers fair—but not necessarily equal—to both parties.

Yet in order to understand how the equitable distribution of marital property might work, it is essential to understand how the court classifies marital property.

Marital Versus Non-Marital Property in Illinois

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IL divorce attorneyWhen spouses decide to get divorced in DuPage County, they will have one of two types of divorce: a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs nearly all divorce issues in the state, including those related to both contested and uncontested divorce. What is the difference between the two types of divorce? In short, a contested divorce is one in which the couple cannot agree to all (or any) terms of the divorce, from financial matters to issues concerning parental responsibilities and parenting time. Differently, an uncontested divorce is one in which both parties not only agree to the divorce itself but also to all of the terms.

An uncontested divorce can be preferable to spouses for many reasons. We will go over some of the benefits of uncontested divorce with you. As we do, keep in mind that even in situations where couples agree to the terms of the divorce, it is still extremely important to have an experienced Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyer on your side throughout your divorce.

What Do Lawyers Mean When They Talk about Uncontested Divorces?

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IL divorce lawyerWhen you get divorced in DuPage County and have an uncontested divorce—or believe you will have an uncontested divorce - then you may have heard about a marital settlement agreement. What is a marital settlement agreement, and why do you need to have one? In short, marital settlement agreements are used when spouses are getting divorced but agree to the terms of the divorce. The marital settlement agreement can clarify how assets, payments, and other financial matters are divided. We will provide you with some additional information about the marital settlement agreement, and then we will give you some examples of what it can contain.

What Is Included in the Marital Settlement Agreement?

Typically, when a couple enters into an uncontested divorce—this means that the couple agrees to all terms of the divorce and the court does not need to make any decisions about financial matters, for instance—then that couple will also enter into a marital settlement agreement.

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Illinois divorce lawyerDivorce is complicated, and many Muslim couples who make the decision to file for divorce in DuPage County wonder if they have really come to the right conclusion. In some cases, divorce seems like the best solution to the marital problems a couple is experiencing, but later on, that couple might decide that it makes sense to try to make the marriage work. Or, other extenuating circumstances might arise that could lead you to want to cancel your divorce proceedings once they have started. Can you cancel a divorce once it starts? And is there a specific point in the divorce process at which the proceedings cannot be stopped?

The short answer is that you can cancel your divorce once you begin divorce proceedings. Yet you should always work with an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer on your case because Illinois divorce law is extremely complicated, and there may be implications that you have not yet considered.

Your Divorce Petition, Fees, and Other Costs

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Illinois divorce lawyerWhen you are filing for divorce in Oakbrook Terrace, it can be frustrating to think about property division and to have concerns about your spouse receiving a majority of the assets or money in a divorce. Many husbands want to know more specifically if their wives will be able to get all of their money in a divorce. In almost all divorce situations in Illinois, property is divided in a way that is fair to both parties. Keep in mind that “fair” does not mean “equal.” As such, one of the parties might end up getting more of the marital assets than the other based on factors in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

We will explain more about how money and other assets in the divorce are divided, and how a wife could seek additional money from the marriage by asking for spousal maintenance.

Concept of Marital Property and Equitable Distribution

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Illinois family lawyerThere are many situations in which a wife wants to file for divorce, but the husband controls all of the money thereby making it difficult for the wife to afford an Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyer to help with the case. For wives in DuPage County who want to file for divorce but have been stay-at-home parents throughout the marriage, or for another reason the husband controls the marital assets, it is important to know that there may be options to obtain attorney fees from the husband.

The dedicated family law advocates at Farooqi & Husain Law Office are committed to providing counsel for members of the Muslim community throughout DuPage County, and we can speak with you today about paying for your divorce when your husband controls the family’s finances.

Temporary Relief and Petition for Attorney Fees

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 Illinois family lawyerFiling for divorce in Oakbrook Terrace is never an easy decision, but divorces often become more difficult and contentious when there are children from the marriage. In many cases, we work with mothers who want to get divorced and have serious concerns about whether their current husbands will be able to see the children after a divorce. There are numerous reasons to want to prevent your husband from seeing your children after the divorce is finalized.

For example, maybe your husband has indicated a desire to turn your children against you or has made negative remarks about you to your children in the recent past. Or, for instance, perhaps you have concerns about your husband’s ability to provide a nurturing home due to his heavy work schedule and lack of interest in parenting throughout the marriage.

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there is a presumption that parents will share in both parental responsibilities and parenting time. We will say more about how these matters are involved in the question of whether you can stop your husband from seeing your children after a divorce, and what factors the court uses to make such decisions.

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Illinois business lawyerWhat happens when owners or shareholders of a corporation have a business dispute? Does the dispute always result in litigation, or are there ways to manage disputes so as to avoid litigation entirely? Board of directors disputes happen more often than people might expect. In order to do what is best for the business, it is important to get these disputes settled as quickly as possible and to get back to work on the goals of the business.

What Does a Board of Directors Do?

Before we discuss options for handling board of directors disputes, it is important to understand exactly what it is that a board of directors does in a corporation. Setting up a corporate board of directors is one of the first steps when creating a corporation. The individuals who make up the board of directors have a number of different duties, including but not limited to:

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Illinois business lawyerWhen you go into business with another person in DuPage County, you may have entered into a partnership. However, there are many different kinds of business structures, and disputes among business owners are handled differently depending upon the type of business structure you have. To understand the different options for handling partnership disputes, it is important to learn more about partnerships generally. Then, we will explain the different ways that a partnership dispute can be addressed and how a DuPage County business law attorney can help.

What Is a Partnership and How Do Partnership Disputes Arise?

A partnership is a business structure that is owned by two or more individuals. There are two different types: general partnerships and limited partnerships. General partnerships are those in which the partners equally take responsibility for the business, meaning that they share debts and business obligations. Limited partnerships are a bit different in that they have general partners and limited partners. The general partners have similar obligations as partners in a general partnership, but limited partners typically invest in the company without having any control over it (or liability for it).

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