dividing the family business, Will CountyWhen a couple is going through a divorce, one of the most difficult parts of the process is often asset division—especially if a family business is involved,. The intricacies of evaluating a business can make the process of property division quite complex.

If possible, having clauses in your business agreement to deal with this can help avoid problems down the road. However, if it is too late for that, the next best option is to be as familiar as possible with how business valuation actually works.

Before Going into Business

Two scenarios can occur in terms of business interests and marriage. The first, more common situation is that your spouse does not work with you in the business. Yet by virtue of you owning equity in the business, he or she may be entitled to a stake if you divorce. Even though a business you start before marriage is technically nonmarital property, it has a high chance of becoming marital property, given the nature of Illinois law. Personal effort from one or both spouses can be seen as contributions not from the individuals, but as contributions from the marital estate, which does make it marital property.

If it is possible, it is a good idea to insert clauses in your articles of incorporation or in a prenuptial agreement signed by both spouses that would dictate the disposition of the business or at least the procedure to follow by which the business can be liquidated. This will save time and trouble in the event of a future divorce. Obviously, if you are already in the midst of a divorce, however, it is too late for such an initiative.

As Business Partners

If you and your spouse are business partners, the options are somewhat different. It can be as straightforward as one spouse buying out the other, and thus receiving fewer assets in the division phase of the divorce (given the value of the business is likely to outstrip most other marital assets). If a buyout is not an option, due to shareholders or some other factor, the other option for many couples is simply to continue as before, especially if your relationship remains somewhat amicable.

The general rule in Illinois is that if spouses cannot agree on the disposition of the business, the court may have the right to divide it if it is marital property. However, given that the closure or sale of a business may affect far more than just the individual owners, every effort will be made to keep the business in one piece. The future of the business is an interest that has to be balanced against the principle of equitable distribution—ideally, the business can be retained as is or sold as one entity, so that fewer people are affected.

Contact a Knowledgeable Attorney

The goal for most couples during asset division in a divorce is to conclude the process as fairly and efficiently as possible. Having a family business as a marital asset can be confusing and difficult without the right knowledge and experienced legal professionals to point the way. A skilled Will County divorce attorney can help suggest the best way to move forward. Contact us today to set up an appointment.



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spousal maintenance, DuPage CountyThere is a prevailing misconception among many that spousal maintenance is always awarded in Illinois divorces, and this is simply not the case. Multiple questions and factors go into determining whether a grant of maintenance is appropriate, and sometimes the answer may go against a husband or wife who may actually be in need. Hence, if you are going through such a case, it is a good idea to consult a lawyer knowledgeable on this subject.

Statutory Factors

Several factors are taken into account by judges when determining whether spousal maintenance is necessary, either during or after divorce proceedings. The list may seem to split hairs, but given the amount of assets that most couples have, and the complexity of disentangling most couples’ lives, it is necessary to investigate every issue. Factors include (but are not limited to):

  • The income and current assets of each spouse (if possible, including marital assets already divided);
  • Each spouse’s current and future earning potential;
  • If there are children, the issues surrounding support and care-taking—in other words, who may have to take reduced work in order to adequately care for the children, thus making less money;
  • Whether the spouse seeking maintenance may have to update his or her skills or education in order to find a job in his or her field after time away for child rearing;
  • Each spouse’s tax burden after the divorce (sometimes, the tax burden on those receiving significant marital property can be very high); and
  • Any other issue that the court “expressly finds to be just and equitable.”

Be advised that Illinois’s maintenance statute specifically states that no regard will be paid to marital misconduct in determining whether maintenance is appropriate or not. This is not because Illinois jurisprudence holds that such issues should be irrelevant, but rather because to take marital misconduct into account would extend divorce proceedings to an untenable degree, and because so often, allegations of misconduct cannot accurately be proven in a satisfactory way beyond each spouse’s word against the other’s.

Prenuptial and Other Agreements

One other factor that courts will consider in determining whether maintenance should be awarded is the existence of a prenuptial agreement (or any postnuptial agreements executed by the parties). It is extremely common in Illinois, and many other states, to dispose of spousal maintenance issues in a prenup, or at the very least, to stipulate that the relevant family court will be the venue to consider such issues if they arise. This can occasionally cause problems if only because the couple’s finances or other situations in their lives may have changed between then and the time of the divorce. Yet generally, it saves time and trouble for the couple if nothing fundamental has changed between then and now.

Sometimes, though it is rare, a separation agreement will also contain language that deals with spousal support. Legal separations are not used much longer in the state of Illinois, since the requirement to have specific grounds for divorce has been abolished, but some people prefer them. However, if a couple is of the planning sort, they may choose to try out a legal separation, complete with maintenance payments for the spouse who is deemed to need them. If either of these agreements exist, a family court will almost certainly take them into account when trying to decide the issue of maintenance.

Ask a Skilled Attorney

Sometimes, getting spousal maintenance, at least for a while, can make the difference between solvency and bankruptcy, especially if you have children or have not worked in years. Contacting a knowledgeable attorney can help to set your mind at ease and to develop a clear plan for what you want moving forward.

The dedicated Will County divorce attorneys at Kezy & Associates are ready, willing, and able to help you with your spousal maintenance questions and can assist you as you move forward. Call us today to set up an appointment.



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who gets the house, Will CountyWhen a couple gets divorced in Illinois, property division is usually the most hotly debated issue, especially if there are no children involved. More than any other asset, the marital home is the asset most often debated and argued over. While each case is different, family courts do tend to take certain specific factors into account in determining who has the most equitable claim to the house.

Are There Trends?

While it is common to assume that the wife will receive the marital home in any divorce, this is more a stereotype than truth in this day and age. In reality, the marital home is one large asset amongst many. Hence, its disposition will be similar to any other asset’s, at least if decided by the court. Moreover, a long list of factors is weighted depending on the nature of the case, including how long the marriage has lasted, both parties’ incomes, both parties’ desire to retain the home, and what other assets have been awarded to each spouse.

While the days where a wife would automatically receive custody are generally a thing of the past, it is more likely that a primary residential parent may retain the home, because children are presumed to do better (in terms of both school and overall mental health) when allowed to remain in the same school and locality during their studies.

Studies even show that moving repeatedly may cause long-term developmental harm, in certain situations. If the primary residential parent is granted the marital home, however, it may not save the family from eventually moving anyway.

Will the Finances Work Out?

Despite the very real reasons why someone might choose to fight to keep the marital home, it is important to remember that it is an asset, as is any other property involved in your divorce. If you choose to retain the marital home, you will be choosing to give up on other assets, in order to preserve equity between you and your spouse.

Illinois law mandates that marital property be divided under the principle of equitable distribution, meaning that each spouse must receive as close to an equal share of the marital property as is possible. If you are awarded the marital home and the equity therein, there may be a significant cash value in just those two assets.

The home is also not just valued by its equity—a good family court judge will take into account that maintenance, repair fees, and cleaning are also part of the home’s value or lack thereof. Houses do not hold their value very well and can depreciate at a fairly rapid rate. However, instruments like bank accounts or retirement savings do not generally depreciate at all. Because of this, the equity in your home might not be sufficient to allow you to sell it at anything but a loss.

Ask a Knowledgeable Attorney

No one wants to spend time embroiled in a lengthy and contentious debate over property. If you are confused or concerned about the division of your assets during divorce, consulting an attorney is a good idea. A skilled Will County divorce attorney can help you determine what the best option may be in our case. Contact us today to set up an initial appointment. Call 708-518-8200.



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probate process, Orland Park Estate Planning AttorneyWhen a loved one passes on, it is hoped that the valuables collected over the course of his or her lifetime are passed down to others—children, siblings, friends—without contention. However, an unfortunate reality is that, in many cases, the court system has to get involved to determine who inherits a deceased individual’s assets. In Illinois, it is the probate court’s job to preside over this process.

Is Probate Court Always Necessary?

Probate courts are not always necessary for the distribution of assets. Conditions that require the use of a probate court include a deceased individual with assets totaling over $100,000, who owns his or her assets solely instead of jointly. There are assets, however, that do not require a probate court. Assets include the following:

  • Assets held in trust;
  • Assets owned in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety;
  • Assets subject to beneficiary designation; and
  • Real estate subject to an Illinois transfer-on-death deed.

Understanding whether the estate of a deceased loved one will have to go through probate court is a legal question that an Orland Park estate planning attorney can help you understand. When the total value of a deceased person’s estate is less than $100,000, a probate court is not necessary.

My Deceased Loved One Had a Will.  Is Probate Still Necessary?

It is likely that even though your deceased loved one drafted a legally sound will, probate proceedings still may follow his or her death. The party responsible for a probate proceeding is the individual named in the will as executor of the estate. If your loved one had no will, then an interested party must step up and ask the court to be appointed as administrator of the estate.

How Does Probate Begin?

Probate proceedings begin with the filing of a will by the executor. In most cases, executors hire a Will County estate planning attorney to file the additional paperwork needed to initiate a probate proceeding. Notice must be sent out to the remaining heirs of the deceased. Notice will also be sent out to potential creditors of the deceased.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

In most instances, the probate process is a litany of legal paperwork filing with the court. Hiring a knowledgeable Will County estate planning attorney can streamline the process. However, if heirs fight over the will or how the assets are dispersed, it can become a lengthy and contentious legal process.

If you are preparing to engage in the probate process after the death of a loved one, do not do so alone. The dedicated and relentless estate planning attorneys at Kezy & Associates are proven Will County probate litigation lawyers prepared to take your case on and fight for your rights and pursue your interest. Contact our Orland Park office at 708-518-8200 for your free consultation.



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cost of adoption, Orland Park Adoption AttorneyThere are few things more beautiful than adopting a child. No matter what age, opening the doors of your home to one in need is a heartwarming and joyous occasion. When considering adoption, it is important to understand the process and how much you will likely have to pay to adequately prepare.

The adoption process can either be fairly straightforward, or a complex legal landscape for hopeful parents. Preparation, execution, and patience will go a long way when you are considering pursuing an adoption. However, the prospect of adding a family member to your household makes the entire process worth it. It is best to be well informed and advised to help make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Types of Adoption

There are several types of adoptions available in Illinois. Knowing the type of adoption in which you are interested can provide insight into how much money the process is likely going to cost you. Types of adoptions available include the following:

  • Domestic Waiting Child Adoption – Referred to as special needs adoption;
  • Domestic Infant Adoption – Adoptions involving parent’s who voluntarily give up their parental rights;
  • Inter-County Adoption – The most complex type of adoption process;
  • Family Adoption – Where the adoptive parent is a relative of the child; and
  • Step-Parent Adoption – Where one parent relinquishes his or her parental rights and consents to the adoption.

Most adoptions through a private agency are going to require that the adoptive parents pay fees. Often, these fees are for the parents attorney’s service. Generally, the price range from the start of the adoption process until its conclusion is between $15,000 and $35,000.

State Sponsored Adoptions

A state-sponsored adoption is a unique kind of adoption. State sponsored adoptions involve children who the state deems available for adoption because the parenting rights of their biological parent’s have been involuntarily terminated.

State sponsored adoptions will cost the adoptive parents fees and expenses associated with the administrative process. Those monies are many times reimbursed by the state or through a tax incentive or credit. The money associated with raising and providing for the adopted child is largely generated through the taxes the state of Illinois receives.

Thinking About Adoption?

With the various types of adoptions and their accompanying processes, it is important to use a compassionate and knowledgeable Orland Park adoption attorney to help guide you through the process. The staff at Kezy & Associates have the experience and a proven record of assisting clients with their family law needs. Contact our Orland Park office at 708-518-8200 to schedule your free consultation today.



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child support law, Orland Park Child Support LawyerThe method used to calculate child support in Illinois is about to undergo a massive change. Starting July 2017, courts will adopt a different method for determining the amount of child support each parent is responsible for contributing.

The calculations will no longer be based on a fixed percentage of a non-residential parent’s income. Moving forward, the courts will use an “income sharing” model used by various other states.

What is an Income Sharing Model?

Under current Illinois law, the amount of money a non-residential parent has to pay for child support is calculated using a fixed percentage of that parent’s net income. For example, if there is one child involved, the non-residential parent would be obligated to pay 20 percent of his or her net income. However, calculating child support in this manner produced results that were counterproductive to the best interest of the child in many cases.

Under the new law, set to take effect this July, the courts will first determine how much money would be spent on childcare if that child was living in an intact home. Once the courts have determined how much money would be spent on that child, the court will then factor in other variables including but not limited to:

  • The educational needs of the child;
  • The financial needs of the residential parent;
  • The amount of parenting time each parent spends with the child; and
  • The type of employment of each parent.

Changes to Income Calculations

Another change in the law is how the courts define income. The new law will now explicitly count spousal maintenance (alimony) that has been ordered by the court as income for the purposes of child support allocation. In the case that one parent is unemployed or underemployed, the courts will then use 75 percent of the most recent United States Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Guidelines as a presumption of that parent’s income.

Will There Be Set Guidelines for Me to Anticipate What I May Have to Pay in Child Support?

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services has been tasked with developing the new guidelines to help people anticipate what they may be required to pay in child support. Those guidelines have not yet been released; however, what is known is that there is a minimum obligation of $40.00 a month that will be ordered by the court.

Can I Modify My Existing Child Support Agreement Under the New Law?

If you would like more information regarding the modification of your existing child support agreement under the new law, your knowledgeable and dedicated Orland Park child support lawyer can help. Contact Kezy & Associates to speak with Attorney Mark L. Kezy to discuss your options and map out a plan for success. Call 708-518-8200 today and schedule your free consultation.



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power of attorney, Orland Park Elder Law AttorneyLife often times comes full circle. When we are young, our parents make our decisions for us. They look out for our best interests and, in many cases, help us manage our money. As adults, we may have to step up and provide the same support to our parents that they provided to us in our youth.

When an elderly loved one is unable to make sound judgements about what is in his or her best interests, a power of attorney or a guardianship may be appropriate. Therefore, knowing the differences between the two are important. Speaking with your Orland Park elder law attorney will help you determine which is more appropriate for the needs of your elderly loved one.

Power of Attorney (POA)

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows a person to act on behalf of another when it comes to financial or health care decisions. Each type of POA comes with different responsibilities. For example, when you are appointed as a financial power of attorney you may be responsible for managing your elderly loved one’s money, investments, or social security benefits.

If you are appointed as a medical power of attorney, then you may be responsible for making decisions regarding your elderly loved one’s medical care. This can involve making decisions about what medical care he or she does and does not receive. Additionally, those decisions may include approving, denying, or withdrawing from medical treatment.


If you notice that your elderly loved one has lost his or her ability to make decisions that serve their own self interest financially or medically, then it may be time to start thinking about guardianship. This does not mean that your elderly loved one is making decisions of which you do not agree. Rather, through mental defect or another cause, he or she lacks the mental ability to make informed decisions in his or her life.

In order to become a guardian for your elderly loved one, you will first have to go to court and have him or her declared legally incompetent. However, this should not be done lightly. When you become a guardian for another person, it means that you are responsible for managing his or her decisions regarding finance, living arrangements, and medical conditions.

Filing for a guardianship can be a daunting task. If you are considering petitioning the court for guardianship, you should consult your Will County elder law attorney. The process of being granted guardianship is time consuming and may be contentious if there are competing views about the necessity of a guardianship or disagreements about who should be appointed.

What Kind of Lawyer Will I Need?

Your skilled Will County elder law attorney will be able to help you navigate your way through this process. Attorney Mark L. Kezy has nearly three decades of experience representing his clients’ interests, and guiding them through some of the most legally complex and emotionally charged moments of their lives. Contact Kezy & Associates at 708-518-8200 and speak to our knowledgeable and compassionate elder law attorney. Your initial consultation is free and our staff is eager to get to work protecting your rights as well as your peace of mind.




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collaborative law, divorce, Orland Park Divorce AttorneyThe divorce process can be one of the most legally complex and stressful events in the life of a family. For some couples, they want their divorce to end as quickly as possible. Others, for various reasons, want to see what can be a vicious legal fight drag on for as long as possible.

Collaborative law, however, is a method outside of a traditional divorce that can facilitate a divorce in a cost effective and more amicable way.

Why is Collaborative Law Effective?

In order for a divorce to go as smoothly as possible, maintaining a cooperative working relationship both during and after a divorce helps divorcing couples, especially when children are involved. There may be complex issues that need to be sorted out during a divorce, and a healthy approach can make the entire process less emotionally taxing. Additionally, it may be in the best interests of any children involved.

Who Gets Involved in Collaborative Law?

Each party in a divorce will have his or her own lawyer who provides legal advice and ensures that the party’s rights are protected. In addition to each party’s individual representation, there are often times other kinds of professionals who assist in helping the process run smoothly. Other professionals that may be involved in the divorce process include:

  • Child Therapists;
  • Tax Professionals;
  • Divorce Coaches; and
  • Financial Advisors.

These professionals are there to work for your immediate best interests as well as the best interests of future interactions you may have with an ex-spouse.

What if Collaborative Law Does Not Work?

In the event that a collaborative divorce does not work out, and you and your spouse decide to go another route, you can withdraw from the process at any time. If you withdraw, you will likely have to start from the beginning with an experienced and compassionate divorce lawyer.

Collaborative law is an option for couples who are willing to work through their personal differences and not get bogged down in the smaller details that can make litigation in divorce court extremely expensive. However, there are circumstances that can make collaborative law not the best option. For example, if one spouse has a history of emotional abuse or substance abuse, collaborative law may not be equipped to handle those kinds of issues.

Collaborative Law or Contested Divorce?

Each divorce is unique, with different circumstances, financial stakes, and varying levels of emotional tension. If you are considering divorce and would like to discuss your options, contact our skilled Orland Park divorce attorney to schedule your free consultation. Attorney Mark L. Kezy is a compassionate and dedicated divorce lawyer who has a respected and proven track record representing his clients through some of the most emotionally trying times of their lives. Call at 708-518-8200 today.



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divorce, Orland Park divorce attorneyThere is often no escaping the emotional toll divorce takes on us as we move through the process. Even under ideal circumstances, the end of a marriage brings with it multiple challenges for each party, making it a mentally exhausting experience from start to finish. While it is nearly impossible to avoid all of the potential challenges of a divorce, there is an element of control that you possess which allows you to manage your reactions and how we respond overall to the transition. Controlling what you can has the power to significantly alter your perception—and ultimately the outcome—of your divorce experience.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

For the sake of your well-being and that of your whole family, start exploring ways to work smarter, not harder, when it comes to successfully making it through your divorce. The moment you decide to call it quits, any efforts you make to reduce the conflict and tension can pay off now, and in the long run. Research from the American Psychological Association has identified certain actions and mindsets that can actually increase the emotional hardship of divorce. As the end of your marriage unfolds, it is recommended you avoid:

1. Neglecting self-care: During stressful life changes, it is especially crucial to make sure you are maintaining healthy eating habits, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and reaching out for the emotional support you need. A lack of self-care will quickly erode your immune system, your ability to cope, and your overall mental and physical health, making it much more difficult to manage the changes brought on by the transition.

2. Repeatedly exposing your children to the conflict: Research suggests that exposing your children to the conflict between you and your spouse increases their risk of experiencing greater psychological and social problems. The more you involve them in the divorce upheaval, the more they will struggle to adjust to the changes happening in your family, and their struggle will inevitably become your struggle as the days and months carry on.

3. Treating the divorce like a battle: A long history of research shows that communicating and cooperating are key to promoting a peaceful, successful divorce experience. Handling the split in a defensive or aggressive manner can delay conflict resolution and may prevent it all together. Consider mediation, which is an organized, efficient way to reach a settlement. It allows you to conduct negotiations in a neutral environment under the guidance and assistance of a professional. The APA tells us that research proves mediation can generate greater emotional satisfaction and be beneficial for both spouses and children.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the legal implications of your divorce and the emotional hurdles that come with them, you are not alone. The National Survey of Family Growth found that 20 percent of first-time marriages do not last longer than five years, and 48 percent of all marriages dissolve within 20 years—numbers that imply many have walked the same path at some point in their lifetime.

Speaking with a skilled Will County divorce attorney can help you gather the resources you need to protect your rights and create a smoother divorce journey. Call Kezy & Associates today at 708-518-8200 for your free, confidential consultation.




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custody, Orland Park family law attorneyPreviously, a post on this blog discussed some of the most common pitfalls for parents in the midst of a contentious child custody battle. Now known as the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois, such cases are typically very stressful for all involved. There are, however, a few more missteps you should take care to avoid as you strive to be the best possible parent to your child.

#6. Disparaging the Other Parent and Using the Child as a Spy 

In general, Illinois family courts prefer to have both parents present and active in the child’s life. For this to occur, it means that both parents must strive to create a respectful co-parenting relationship. Putting the other parent down in front of your child does not help the situation in any way. In addition, disagreements between co-parents should never be discussed in front of the children.

You should also avoid employing your children as spies in the other parent’s household or trying to extract information about the other parent from them. If the court determines that you are doing so, it can be used against you as cause to change or reject your proposed agreement.

#7. Being Unprepared

While you and the other parent are negotiating a more permanent arrangement, the court will likely issue a temporary custody plan in the meantime. Family court judges like to see that parents are trying to find solutions that improve their children’s lives. Do not go into court without a plan in place for the following common issues:

  • How the work schedules of the co-parents will accommodate the needs of the children and logistical requirements of the parenting plans;
  • Transportation plans and emergency back-up plans; and
  • Proposed child care considerations.

#8. Failing to Keep Detailed Records

It may be important to keep a log of how your parenting plan is being implemented. If the other parent fails to meet his or her obligations, talks negatively in front of the children, or otherwise engages in inappropriate behavior, it should be noted with dates and times. Writing this information down will enable you to provide examples in the event you are called to testify in court. This kind of accurate documentation will lend much greater legitimacy to your testimony.

#9. Failing to Comply With Court Directives

Judicial orders require 100% compliance. There are no exceptions. A parent who violates an order from the court puts him- or herself at risk for fines, sanctions, and possibly jail time. If a situation arises where your ability to comply with an order may be compromised, you need to notify the court immediately and make good faith efforts to comply anyway.

#10. Trying to Handle the Process Without an Attorney

Cases involving the allocation of parental responsibilities are complex, and an experienced Orland Park family law attorney has the skills and tools to help you achieve a positive outcome. To learn more about how our firm can assist you, call 708-518-8200 for a free consultation today.





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