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Four Questions to Ask When Considering Keeping Your Home After DivorceIf someone asks you whether you want to keep your house after a divorce, your initial reaction may be to say “Of, course.” People invest a lot in their marital homes, both financially and emotionally. It may seem overwhelming to lose your home on top of your marriage. Keeping your marital home is just one option during the division of property. In some situations, you may benefit more from letting your spouse keep the house or agreeing to sell it. Here are four key questions that may help you decide what to do with your marital home:

  1. Can You Afford the Home on Your Own?: If you keep the home, you will likely transfer the deed and mortgage to your name only. You will be solely responsible for paying your mortgage, property taxes, utilities, and home maintenance. Spousal maintenance could help you if you qualify, but you will still bear a larger financial burden for the home than when you were married. You must assess your income and other assets to determine whether you can afford those expenses.
  2. What Will You Give Up for the Home?: Illinois equitably divides marital properties between spouses during a divorce. If you receive the marital home, you will need to give your spouse other marital properties of similar value. Real estate is often the most valuable property in a divorce. You must decide whether keeping the home is worth the other marital properties you will lose in exchange. Selling a home is the only way to equally divide its value between you both.
  3. How Valuable Is Your Home?: Owning a home is an investment that can change in value. During the divorce, you will assess the value of your home as if you were preparing to sell it. The reputation of your neighborhood and the condition of the home will both affect the value. Housing market conditions will also play an important factor. It may not make sense to sell your home if you are unlikely to receive full value for it.
  4. Do You Need a Home of That Size?: Keeping a family home is most practical when your children are living with you. They need space and may benefit from staying in a familiar home. A family home may be more than you need if you will be living alone. You could save money by selling your home and using the proceeds to purchase a downsized home.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Lawyer

What to do with your marital home is one of the most important property decisions you must make during a divorce. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can assess your financial situation to help you make an informed decision. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Can Workers’ Compensation Cover Cosmetic Surgery?Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to pay for medical treatment for your work-related injury. When a claim is filed, insurance companies often argue with workers about whether injuries are related to the work incident and whether the treatment is necessary for recovery. Cosmetic surgery is a gray area in workers’ compensation that may not seem like it would fall in the category of necessary treatment. However, a scar from an injury can degrade your quality of life, making corrective treatment appropriate as a workers’ compensation expense.

Disfigurement

An injury or a related medical procedure can leave a permanent visible mark, known as a disfigurement. In terms of workers’ compensation law, disfigurement is cosmetic damage to the body that does not affect your ability to perform your work. Visible scars and lost teeth are common examples of disfigurement. Insurers often argue against paying for corrective surgery on a disfigurement because they believe it goes beyond the treatment that is necessary to physically function. However, a disfigurement can affect your quality of life and, by extension, your work performance:

  • Scars on normally visible places of the body can cause embarrassment and distress; and
  • A scar may cause pain or itching, which a cosmetic surgery could fix.

Receiving Compensation

It may take several months after your injury to determine whether you have a disfigurement. Surgery may leave a scar, and you need time to see whether your scar will heal. Whether your disfigurement qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits and how much you receive depends on the size and location of the disfigurement. Surgery to correct a small scar may not be covered, but an arbitrator or the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission may award you additional compensation for cosmetic surgery if you have a noticeable scar on your:

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Illinois Police Warn of Danger from Trucks that Bypass Weigh StationsThe Illinois State Police is responding to what it believes is a significant number of truck drivers who avoid the mandatory weigh stations along Illinois highways. Officers are stationed near weigh stations, watching for trucks that do not pass through the weigh stations or violate other traffic laws. “Operation ByPass” is currently focused on Illinois State Police District 5, which includes Grundy, Kendall, and Will counties. Drivers across Illinois are at risk of personal injury from being in a crash with a commercial truck that is over the weight limit.

Problems with Overweight Trucks

Illinois requires trucks to go through weigh stations because a truck that is over the weight limit could cause damage to bridges and overpasses. The maximum allowable weight depends on the number of axles and the length between them. No truck is allowed to weight more than 80,000 pounds. Overweight trucks are also dangerous to other drivers on the road and can increase the risk of accidents. Because of their size and weight, trucks normally have more difficulty:

  • Maneuvering;
  • Making wide turns;
  • Coming to a quick stop; and
  • Maintaining control when going downhill.

These driving problems increase as a truck gets heavier. When a truck is over the weight limit, its response time will be slower than other drivers normally expect from a truck.

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What Recreational Marijuana Will Mean for Illinois ResidentsIn a long-expected move, Illinois is on the verge of becoming the 11th state in the U.S. to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The new law, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, shows that Illinois is changing tactics from criminalizing marijuana to creating a regulated industry. As with alcohol and tobacco, the state will control marijuana possession and use, with violations likely resulting in fines. Here are answers to common questions about how Illinois will regulate marijuana possession:

  1. Who Can Possess Marijuana?: Marijuana possession will be limited to adults age 21 and older. Illinois residents will be allowed to possess as much as 30 grams of marijuana in leafy form, five grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC infused in a product. Non-residents will be allowed to possess as much as 15 grams of marijuana.
  2. Where Can You Use Marijuana?: Marijuana use will not be allowed in public places, including most businesses and places of work. Local governments will be able to decide whether they will allow marijuana use inside marijuana dispensaries. Marijuana use will mostly be limited to private residences.
  3. Who Can Grow and Sell Marijuana?: You are not allowed to grow marijuana in your home unless you are a medical marijuana patient. Marijuana sales will be restricted to licensed dispensaries, similar to the medical marijuana dispensaries. This is how the state will try to keep the industry under control and generate revenue.
  4. How Will the Change Affect Those Previously Convicted?: People previously convicted for possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana will be able to petition for a pardon from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. If you are pardoned, the Illinois Attorney General could expunge the conviction from your record. State’s attorneys on the county level will also be allowed to expunge convictions.
  5. What Else Should You Know?: It will still be illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. However, Illinois must determine how it will measure whether someone is impaired by marijuana. Unlike blood alcohol, traces of marijuana can remain in your body for weeks after use.

Contact a Crystal Lake Criminal Defense Attorney

After the law goes into effect, Illinois residents and law enforcement will need time to understand the limits of Illinois’ recreational marijuana policy. This may result in people being charged when they have not actually violated the law. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can contest an unjust drug charge being brought against you. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

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Should Divorced Parents Share a Child’s Birthday Party?A child’s birthday is a special event for the entire family, but divorced parents are often unsure whether they should still celebrate it together. Parents want their child to enjoy the party, and tension between the divorced parents could ruin the event. You should each have your own birthday party for your child if you have a hostile relationship with your co-parent. A parenting plan can determine which of you hosts the child on his or her birthday each year, and the other parent can hold a celebration on another day. If your relationship is amicable, you should still consider whether a shared celebration would be best for your child:

  1. What Does Your Child Want?: Do not assume that your child would prefer you both at the same celebration. Seeing you together after the divorce may be uncomfortable, and your child may be excited to have two birthday parties. If old enough to decide, you should ask your child what he or she would prefer. Make sure you do not frame the question as choosing between parents. Present it as two equally fun options.
  2. Could Your Child Misinterpret You Being Together?: A younger child may have difficulty understanding why you chose to divorce and whether it is permanent. Celebrating a birthday as a family may give him or her false hope that you are getting back together. It may be better for your child to have separate birthday parties during the first few years after your divorce so as not to confuse him or her about your relationship.
  3. Do You Get Along with Your Former In-Laws?: It is common for your extended family to want to participate in birthday celebrations, particularly with younger children. You may have an amicable relationship with your co-parent, but your relationship with his or her parents may be different. You should also consider whether your own family gets along with your co-parent and his or her family. It may be best to keep the families separate, whether that means having separate parties or limiting the family members who can attend.
  4. Where Will You Hold the Party?: It could be awkward to attend a party at your co-parent’s home or to host your co-parent at your own home. A simple solution would be to pick a neutral site for the party, such as a park, restaurant, or recreational facility.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

It is important to continue to celebrate special events with your children, but fitting it into your parenting schedule can be difficult. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can create a schedule that allows you to spend holidays and birthdays with your children. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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