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When Can You Reduce or Terminate Spousal Maintenance?Spousal maintenance payments are reviewable and modifiable after a divorce unless you expressly say in the agreement that they are nonmodifiable. As the payer, there may come a point when you need to reduce the maintenance payments or terminate them. When are you allowed to modify and when can you eliminate your payments? How would you make this change? Some maintenance agreements have a designated review date, during which the court can decide whether to extend or adjust payments. You can also file a petition for modification of spousal maintenance, in which you must prove that a change in circumstances allows you to reduce or terminate your maintenance payments.

When Can You Reduce Payments?

Modifications to spousal maintenance most often occur because of a change in income for one of the parties. For instance, you may have lost your job or your pay may have been significantly reduced. While you still have some income, you can no longer afford the same maintenance payments while also paying for your living expenses. Another example is if your former spouse gets a new job that increases their income. It is no longer necessary for them to receive the same amount of maintenance because their ability to support themselves has increased. The court will decide whether to grant your modification request based on what it deems to be appropriate for your situation.

When Can You Terminate Payments?

You may be able to stop your spousal maintenance payments altogether if one of the following circumstances applies to your case:

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What Are Retail Employees’ Rights to Workers’ Compensation?Though they may not have the most dangerous job, retail employees have a high rate of work-related injuries. You are less likely to suffer a catastrophic injury while working at a retail store than working for a construction company, but labor studies suggest that retail workers have a higher injury rate than construction workers. If you have suffered an injury from retail work, you have the right to request workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and missed pay from the time you are forced to take off from work. Your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Retail Injuries

Many retail stores require their employees to perform physical tasks that can result in injury. For example:

  • A customer has spilled a drink or tracked water into the store, and you slip on the liquid because you did not notice it.
  • The repetitive strain from lifting heavy objects causes chronic muscle pain.
  • You accidentally cut yourself with a knife while opening a box.
  • You are involved in a forklift accident while working in the stockroom.
  • You are hit by a car while collecting shopping carts from a parking lot.

It does not matter who was at fault for your injury or whether you could have avoided the injury. If you are injured while you are working for your employer, you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

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Protecting Yourself from Injury While Riding Your BicycleAs the weather continues to improve and the daylight hours extend, more people will be enjoying rides on their bicycles – whether they are going somewhere or looking for recreation. In many situations, cyclists will be sharing the roads with cars. Cyclists know that they are more vulnerable to severe injury if they are involved in an accident with larger vehicles. While a cyclist can file a personal injury lawsuit against a driver who was at fault for the accident, it is always better to try to prevent injury. Here are four safety tips for riding your bicycle this spring:

  1. Using Safety Equipment: Illinois does not have a state law that requires cyclists to wear helmets. Some municipalities have their own requirements, but they may only apply to minors. All cyclists should wear helmets, as well as bright clothing if riding during the day or reflective clothing if riding at night. Bicycles should have reflectors, a front light if you plan to ride at night, and a bell or horn to alert others.
  2. Inspecting Your Bike: If this is the first time you have ridden your bicycle in months, you should look over your bike to see that it is still in working order. Check your breaks, handlebars, and seat so that they are both functioning and comfortable to use.
  3. Obey Traffic Laws: Bicycles must comply with traffic signs and signals in the same way as any other vehicle on the road. The smaller size and increased maneuverability of a bicycle tempt some cyclists to ignore stop signs or traffic lights, which puts them at increased risk of causing an accident. Cyclists have the added responsibility of staying as far to the right as possible and using arm signals when they are turning or stopping.
  4. Practice Defensive Riding: Drivers of motor vehicles may have more difficulty seeing bicycles and may not be expecting to encounter a bicycle on the road. Cyclists can protect themselves by staying aware of other vehicles and assuming that the drivers do not see them. Watch out for hazards in the road and behave predictably.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

Cyclists involved in crashes can suffer serious or even fatal injuries. Taking every reasonable precaution may not prevent an accident if the driver was negligent. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will help you gather evidence to prove that the driver is liable for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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How Serious Is Driving with a Suspended License?Illinois can suspend or revoke your driver’s license for a number of reasons. Your license will be suspended if you commit three moving traffic violations within 12 months. Some driving offenses require an immediate suspension, such as driving under the influence. You can even lose your license for not paying child support. Being legally prohibited from driving is a major inconvenience if you are trying to hold down a job or go about your daily life. Some people are tempted to drive anyway, believing that it is unlikely that they will be caught. However, driving with a suspended or revoked license is a serious offense that can make your current situation much worse.

Penalties

Being caught while driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license can be a petty offense, misdemeanor, or felony, depending on your circumstances:

  • Most violations are a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by as long as a year in jail and a fine of $2,500.
  • The violation is a traffic citation if your license was suspended for failing to pay parking tickets or child support.
  • The violation is a Class 4 felony if you have previously been convicted for driving with a suspended license or if your license was suspended for DUI or reckless homicide.
  • A second violation when your license was suspended for DUI or reckless homicide is a Class 2 felony.

In addition to these penalties, the suspension period for your driver’s license will be extended by the same amount of time as your original suspension.

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Divorce Rates Continue to Decline in Illinois, U.S.When it comes to citing the divorce rate in the U.S., it is popular to claim that half of all marriages end in divorce. It suggests that divorces are on the rise and that the institution of marriage is crumbling. While there was a point starting in the 1970s when divorces suddenly increased, it has been about 40 years since the divorce rate was at its peak. Most divorce studies agree that the supposed 50 percent divorce rate is no longer accurate – if it ever was. Statistics point to two marital trends in the U.S.: The divorce rate is going down, but so is the marriage rate.

Looking at the Trends

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report on marriage and divorce rates from 2008 to 2018. The report calculated its rates by counting the number of women who were married or divorced for every 1,000 women age 15 and older. According to the report:

  • The national marriage rate decreased from 17.9 in 2008 to 16.6 in 2018
  • The national divorce rate decreased from 10.5 in 2008 to 7.7 in 2018

Illinois actually went against the national trend. While its divorce rate decreased about the same amount as the national average, its marriage rate increased slightly. As compared to the other states, Illinois has one of the lowest divorce rates and a marriage rate that is almost exactly the same as the national average.

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