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Recent Blog Posts

How Are Mortgages or Auto Loans Handled in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

 Posted on August 17, 2022 in Bankruptcy

McHenry County bankruptcy lawyerDebts can cause a great deal of stress and financial difficulty for a family, but bankruptcy can offer a way out of these situations. However, anyone who is considering bankruptcy may wonder how different types of debts will be handled and whether filing for bankruptcy could result in the loss of his or her property. The elimination of secured debts, such as a home mortgage or auto loan, will typically lead the lender to pursue foreclosure or repossess the collateral used to secure the debts. To avoid this, a debtor may need to determine how they will be able to become current on his or her payments while eliminating other debts.

For debtors with secured debts, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often the preferred option. This type of bankruptcy will require a person to make ongoing payments toward a repayment plan for several years, and if he or she can continue making payments toward secured debts, he or she will be able to retain ownership of his or her property. Missed payments, late fees, and other amounts owed to a lender may be included in a repayment plan, which will allow a person to become current on these loans. Chapter 13 offers some other benefits as well that may reduce the amount of a person’s debts and help him or her maintain financial stability in the future.

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How Can I Stop Conflict over Custody Issues During Summer Vacation?

 Posted on May 18, 2022 in Divorce

illinois child custody lawyerWhile most parents getting divorced in Illinois include specific plans for the summer months in their parenting plan, scheduling conflicts are still common. Parenting is a difficult responsibility that requires flexibility and cooperation, but this is not always easy when you are working with an ex-spouse as a co-parent. Fortunately, with careful planning and communication, conflict during summer break can be minimized and even avoided altogether. 

Be Flexible But Set Reasonable Boundaries 

One of the best parts about summer vacation is that many children do not have school, allowing the entire family extra freedom. Even for parents who are not particularly spontaneous, opportunities for fun activities are likely to arise last minute, making flexibility important. However, constantly changing agreed-upon plans can also be a source of enormous stress, especially for parents who struggle to communicate. It is important to know when you have plans set in stone, when you can allow yourself and the children some wiggle room to make last-minute plans, and when to say no to an ex who wants to change plans.

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Will I Be Required to Turn Over Assets in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

 Posted on March 17, 2022 in Bankruptcy

kane county bankruptcy lawyerDebt is an issue that affects people throughout the United States, and there are many reasons that a person may struggle to repay the debts he or she owes. For example, a person may experience financial difficulties due to being laid off from his or her job, or a family member may suffer from a serious illness that leads to unexpected medical expenses. While most people will do everything they can to make ongoing payments toward their debts, this can sometimes become impossible. If a person misses payments or defaults on a loan, creditors may begin taking action to collect the amounts that are owed. 

People in these situations may be considering bankruptcy, which will allow them to eliminate certain types of debts and regain financial stability. In many cases, a person will pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, since this will allow debts to be discharged fairly quickly. However, this type of bankruptcy may require a person to turn over certain assets that he or she owns. Those who are considering this option will need to understand what types of assets may be liquidated during bankruptcy and what exemptions may apply.

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Is Legal Separation a Potential Alternative to Divorce?

 Posted on February 08, 2022 in Legal Separation

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_605213087.jpgMarriages can break down for many reasons. In some situations, a spouse may wish to get a divorce because of issues such as infidelity or abuse. The spouse may believe that ending the marriage would be best for everyone involved. However, there are many cases where a couple may be experiencing relationship issues because of disagreements about how their children should be raised, arguments about financial matters, or simply because they feel that they are no longer compatible. If a couple is unsure about whether divorce is the best choice, or if they wish to remain married for other reasons, legal separation may be a better option. This may allow a couple to take steps on the road to divorce while they determine whether their relationship can be repaired, or it may work as a more permanent solution that provides benefits for both parties.

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Are Loan Modifications an Alternative to Bankruptcy?

 Posted on November 28, 2021 in Foreclosure

mchenry county foreclosure defense lawyerHomeowners who have encountered financial difficulties may struggle to pay their ongoing expenses, including mortgage payments. Those who have defaulted on their mortgage after missing one or more payments may have been contacted by their bank, or they may have been notified that a foreclosure will occur if they do not make up the missed payments. In some cases, bankruptcy may be the best way to respond to a foreclosure notice. Bankruptcy may provide a homeowner with options to address outstanding debts and ensure that he or she will continue making mortgage payments. However, loan modifications may be another option that will allow a homeowner to make up missed payments and to continue making affordable payments in the future.

Mortgage Loan Modifications

The terms of a mortgage are not set in stone, and a bank or lender may agree to update these terms. In fact, it is often in a lender’s best interests to do so, since the foreclosure process is likely to result in financial losses, and lenders will often prefer to make arrangements that will allow them to continue receiving regular payments. 

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How Are Retirement Benefits Addressed During an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on September 18, 2021 in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_350203016.jpgIf you have chosen to get a divorce, you will need to address multiple types of financial issues, as well as the legal matters involved in dissolving your marriage. The process of property division can often become complicated, especially if you and your spouse own multiple and different types of property and assets. Retirement benefits are an issue that sometimes can complicate this process, and determining how to divide these assets correctly can ensure that you will have the financial resources you need later in life.

Retirement Accounts, Pensions, and QDROs

Generally, any retirement benefits you or your spouse earned or contributed to during your marriage are part of the marital estate. They will need to be divided alongside your other marital property. These benefits may include retirement accounts provided by an employer, such as a 401(k), or an individual retirement account (IRA), as well as pension benefits earned while you were married.

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What Are Some Clues that a Spouse is Hiding Assets During an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on May 08, 2021 in Divorce

mchenry county famliy law attorneyIf you are getting divorced in Illinois, you and your soon-to-be spouse will be asked to file a financial affidavit with the court. You will be expected to list information about your income, expenses, debts, and assets. Unfortunately, some spouses lie on their affidavits in an attempt to gain a financial advantage during a divorce. Lying about finances during divorce not only is unethical, but also, it is also unlawful. Divorce issues such as property division and child support should be based on accurate, up-to-date financial data. If you are getting divorced, make sure to watch out for signs of hidden assets and other forms of financial fraud.

 

Keeping Financial Information a Secret

Per Illinois law, you have a right to an equitable portion of the marital estate. This means that you have a right to a fair share of any assets that were accumulated during the marriage. This may include bank accounts, retirement funds, business revenue, profits from investments, and more. One clue that your spouse may attempt to cheat you out of your fair share of the marital estate is a sudden increase in secretive behavior. Rerouting mail to a P.O. box, hiding tax returns and other financial documents, changing online banking passwords, and refusing to discuss finances with you, may all be signs of deception.

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COVID-19 Update

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Uncategorized

Below is a brief summary of the various COVID-19 programs available to individuals and businesses during this difficult time.  This is simply to assist you in determining which program might apply to you.  All of the information was gathered from other second-hand sources, so I did the best that I could to make it easier to wade through the vast amount of information out there.  I hope this is some help to you.

Sincerely,

Colleen G. Thomas

U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan

  • Up to $2 million loan amount
  • Only when determined by SBA that cannot qualify for a private loan
  • Up to 4% annual interest rate (3.75% small businesses)
  • Up to 30-year loan term

CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program

  • Loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program
  • Keep on the payroll for 8 weeks

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Am I Eligible for a Loan Modification in Illinois?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Bankruptcy

Illinois loan modification lawyerYou may take out loans to purchase various items throughout your lifetime, such as a car, a house, or to pay for your child’s college tuition. A loan modification involves modifying the terms of an existing loan, typically to make it more affordable for you as a borrower who might be in danger of defaulting, sometimes due to a scheduled rate increase or a job loss. For instance, you might want to pursue this route to avoid foreclosure on your house. It is important to note that a loan modification is not the same as refinancing a mortgage. In certain situations, you may also be allowed to file for bankruptcy. By combining these efforts, or by simply electing one of these options, you may be able to keep your home by lowering mortgage payments, avoiding default, and obtaining a way out of debilitating debt. A skilled lawyer can help ensure you take the correct legal steps to secure a promising financial future.

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How Can I Obtain a Legal Separation in Illinois?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Legal Separation

McHenry County legal separation lawyerThe decision to divorce is not an easy one to make for many people, especially if a couple has been married for a long time. In certain situations, spouses may opt to try a legal separation before officially divorcing. Following an order of legal separation, estranged spouses will agree to live independently of each other, separating both their physical residences and their finances. The couple will remain legally married, and neither spouse can remarry unless they get a divorce.

As the old adage says, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” For some partners, living apart allows them time to work on their marital problems. However, they may also find that they are thriving on their own and enjoy living separate lives. If you are considering which option is best for your situation, it is important to know the legal requirements for legally separating in Illinois. In the state of Illinois, some of the same issues that are addressed in a divorce will need to be resolved in a separation.

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