Soffietti, Johnson, Teegen, Argueta & Bawcum, LTD

Is my spouse hiding assets?

It's tough to hear, but many spouses attempt to hide assets during a divorce. When assets are hidden, they'll fail to be included among marital property, which the court divvies up equitably among both spouses. Forbes offers the following tips on how you can locate any assets your spouse may be concealing. 

It's best to begin your asset search as soon as possible. Once the divorce is in progress your spouse may have already begun concealing documentation and other paperwork regarding assets. that's why it's a good idea to take an accounting of your finances and things you own before actually filing for divorce. However, if you fail to act quickly enough there are still methods you can use to locate any marital property that's not being listed. 

Protect yourself at work with these ladder safety tips

Your profession may call on you to use a ladder day in and day out. For example, if you're a roofer, climbing up and down a ladder will soon become second nature.

As helpful as a ladder can be on a job site, it's also a big safety risk. Here are five ladder safety tips to follow at all times:

  • Inspect your ladder before use: Don't assume that your ladder is in good working condition. Instead, inspect it for damage or defects, such as rust or missing rungs, before taking the first step.
  • Place the ladder on firm and level ground: Where you place your ladder is every bit as important as what you do once you're on it. Firm and level ground gives your ladder a solid base for bearing your weight.
  • Don't carry heavy loads: You can carry some items on a ladder, such as lightweight tools, but heavy loads are a no-no. Carrying a heavy item increases the risk of being pulled to the ground below.
  • Watch where you set the ladder: For example, if you set your ladder too close to vehicle or pedestrian traffic, you run the risk of someone or something knocking into it while in use. Do your best to place your ladder in an area that's out of the way.
  • Maintain three points of contact: You have four points of contact, including two feet and two hands. Maintaining a minimum of three points of contact at all times will enhance your safety.

What is defensive driving & does it prevent accidents?

Safe driving prevents accidents from occurring, but it also saves you money in rising insurance costs and fines for traffic violations. Making defensive driving habits a priority is one way to ensure a safe experience on the road, both for yourself and for other drivers. Esurance explains what exactly defensive driving entails and how it benefits you and other motorists. 

Defensive driving includes many different tactics to reduce your risk of a crash. For instance, if you notice an erratic driver ahead, keeping a safe distance is a must in the event the motorist makes a sudden maneuver. In the same token, you should also remain fully alert and aware of the actions of others while driving. Never assume that another vehicle will take the proper steps to reduce accidents or dangers. Even if you have the right-of-way, it helps to take a defensive approach when it comes to the actions of others.

Weighing whether to cash out your portion of a 401k

Your divorce in Fox Lake will inevitably bring with it many changes. These changes can often place a heavy financial burden on you (even with the prospect of you receiving a property division settlement looming). The need to secure housing, complete job training or go back to school to increase your earning potential may be staring you in squarely in the face. One possible solution may be to use the money you have coming from your ex-spouse's 401k. Many come to us here at Soffietti, Johnson, Teegen, Argueta & Bawcum, LTD asking if they should consider cashing out those funds immediately. 

Typically, if you withdraw funds from a retirement account early, you are required to pay a tax penalty (which can be up to 10 percent of the withdrawal amount, on top of income taxes). Yet according to information shared by, a divorce is one of the rare instances where a withdrawal can occur without incurring a penalty. That is because the court issues a Qualified Domestic Relations Order that authorizes payment to be made to an alternate payee (you). Thus, you can conceivably take that money now and only have to pay income tax on it. 

Is it always legal to turn right at a red light?

Making a right turn at an intersection while the traffic light is red is common in everyday driving. Yet sometimes turning right on a red light is not legal. Conducting an illegal turn can pose legal problems for a driver down the road, particularly if the turn results in an auto accident that causes injury. To maintain safe driving, an Illinois resident should know the ways state law forbids right turns on a red light.

According to Illinois law, a posted sign can supersede the legality of turning right on red. In some circumstances, law enforcement may place a sign at the intersection that warns drivers not to make a right turn while the light is red. A driver should maintain proper vigilance while approaching any intersection, including taking note of any signs that are posted at the intersection.

Understanding the attractive nuisance doctrine

As the heat of the summer months set upon us in Waukegan, you know that it is only a matter of time before the kids start clambering to get out and go swimming. Whether your local swimming destination is a neighbor's backyard or a community complex, you concern over your children's safety is the same. You understand that they are often naive to the dangers a pool can pose. Many have come to us here at Soffietti, Johnson, Teegan, Argueta & Bawcum, LTD after having gone through the turmoil of experiencing a child's drowning or swimming injury and wondering whether any legal recourse might be available to them. 

If you have been forced to endure the same scenario, then you will be happy to know that you may indeed be able to seek compensation under the attractive nuisance doctrine. Per the Cornell Law School, the attractive nuisance doctrine assigns liability to property owners whose land contain artificial attractions that (despite being dangerous) can be appealing to young children. This legal principle was initiall referred to as "the turntable doctrine" in that its first applications were in cases where kids were playing on railroad turntables. However, recent years have seen swimming pool accidents become one of the primary areas in which the attractive nuisance doctrine is employed. 

Planning your divorce can help protect your business

When business owners get divorced, their spouses often have a valid claim to a portion of the business's value as a part of their divorce settlement. If an owner doesn't approach the divorce process with clear priorities and careful planning, they may lose their business entirely, which is rarely a good outcome.

It comes as a surprise to many people that business's qualify as personal property, just like a vehicle or a family home, although businesses are much more complex and difficult to value. If you are a business owner with divorce in your future, now is the time to begin building a divorce strategy to help ensure that you protect your priorities and land on your feet once the dust settles.

Types of workers' compensation benefits

If you are like most people in Illinois, you do not go to work every day expecting to get hurt. However, a job-related accident and resulting injury can happen at any time, in any type of industry or job. When these events do occur, it is important that you know what type of benefits may be available to you and your family.

As explained by the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, there are multiple types of financial benefits available to you via the workers' compensation program. If you die due to a workplace incident, your surviving spouse and children may be eligible for survivors' benefits. If you live but your injury prevents you from working for some period of time, you may receive financial compensation.

Prepare for your divorce by listing assets

Most people who get married in Illinois do not plan to divorce. Couples set up their home, travel, collect art, open joint bank accounts and move forward in the next phase of life. However, if the writing is on the wall and divorce seems imminent, you can prepare for a smooth separation and protect your assets. At Soffietti, Johnson, Teegen, Argueta & Bawcum, LTD, we often assist clients with family law matters, including prenuptial agreements, divorce and child custody.

According to Worthy, Inc., when it comes time to divide the assets, the court considers which are marital property and which are separate. Begin preparing by examining current assets that may include the following:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Retirement accounts such as IRAs, pensions and 401(k)s
  • Home, vacation and rental properties
  • Vehicles
  • Jewelry and art
  • Family practices and businesses

Family of man killed in cell phone robbery recovers nearly $800K

In 2017, Trinidad Javier Bueno Sanchez of North Chicago hoped to buy one of his daughters a dress for her school prom. With a large family to care for, money was tight. But, he had an idea. He placed an ad on "Offer Up," a social media app where users can buy and sell items, to sell his Apple iPhone for $450.

Someone responded to the ad and arranged to meet Bueno Sanchez at the local Meijer grocery store to make the exchange. Neither Bueno Sanchez nor his family could have predicted what happened next.

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Fox Lake Office
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Fox Lake, IL 60020

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