Soffietti, Johnson, Teegen, Argueta & Bawcum, LTD

What couples should know about splitting an IRA during a divorce

The aggregate divorce rate in the United States has fallen over the past few decades. However, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of gray divorces, which refers to divorces involving individuals who are over the age of 50. Illinois residents who are thinking of divorce may want to know how it will affect their IRA.

The process of splitting an IRA is typically straightforward. However, it can become complicated when accounts have had ongoing 72(t) distributions. This may happen when there are cash flow problems or if a person has retired early and tapped into their IRA before turning 59 and a half years old.

Report: Teens no longer the most dangerous drivers

Likely for as long as you can remember, people have regarded teenagers as the most dangerous drivers. The biggest reason is inexperience. A 16-year-old, even one who has gone through all of the proper training, just doesn't have much time behind the wheel. People make more mistakes when doing anything -- cooking, playing sports, playing instruments, etc. -- if they lack experience, and the same is true for driving. The difference is that driving mistakes can take lives.

Well, though all of that is still true, there has been a shift. Some reports now claim that teens passed the title of the most dangerous age group on to a new high-risk group: Millennials.

New tool helps workers limit dangerous movements

Research has found that 35% of injuries that occur in warehouses occur because workers don't understand proper ergonomic practices. However, a company called Soter Analytics has created a product that Illinois warehouse workers can wear to help them learn more about their movements. The product is called SoterSpine, and employees wear it while performing tasks each day. If they are moving in a potentially unsafe manner, the device will beep or vibrate to get their attention.

One key benefit of using this product is that it allows each worker to develop a personalized safety plan. At one company where the product was used, there was a 55% reduction in manual handling injuries compared to the three years before employees started wearing it. According to the CEO of Soter Analytics, workers will be taught by the app how to make changes in how they move throughout the day.

As worker deaths rise, NSC calls on employers to improve safety

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released some of its findings on work-related fatalities in Illinois and across the U.S. It appears that there was a 2% increase in such fatalities between 2017 and 2018, with the number going from 5,147 to 5,250. However, the rate of worker fatalities remained at 3.5% per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in those two years.

Other findings included an 11% rise in work-related suicides and a 12% increase in deaths resulting from non-medical drug overdoses or overconsumption of alcohol. These were not the most common factors, but rather transportation incidents were. They made up 40% of all work-related incidents. Sales workers and truckers saw the most fatalities.

Warehouses pose dangers for workers

Anecdotal evidence suggests that more workers than ever are employed in Illinois warehouses as the online shopping segment continues to grow. To fulfill those millions of online orders received each day, warehouse workers must package, select and ship out the products on demand. With just one company, Amazon, controlling more than 150 million square footage of warehouse space around the globe and many more competitors following, warehouses are in many cases replacing brick-and-mortar retail stores. This also means that there are more full-time workers in warehouses and even part-time workers looking for supplemental income around the holidays.

As warehouses become even more dominant in the retail industry landscape, warehouse jobs may also become riskier. In 2017, 22 workers were killed in workplace accidents in warehouses, double the number who lost their lives only two years before. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that five out of every 100 full-time employees in warehouses are likely to be injured, an equivalent rate to farmworkers. Even the drive toward automation can be dangerous. Autonomous forklifts, robots and other devices may be intended to cut down on human labor, but they can also lead to serious injuries to the workers interacting with them.

These construction site accidents can cause serious injury, death

When working on a construction site, you understand the importance of taking steps to protect yourself from an accident that could cause serious injury or even death.

And while you're successful in doing so most the time, it only takes one mistake by yourself or a co-worker to put your safety at risk.

McDonald's workers sue over dangerous conditions

A lawsuit filed in an Illinois circuit court on Nov. 21 by 17 fast food workers accuses McDonald's Corp. and several of its Chicago area franchisees of placing profits over employee safety. The workers say that a $6 billion project to redesign McDonald's restaurants is making already dangerous working conditions even more perilous. The 'Experience the Future" remodeling program is designed to make McDonald's restaurants more attractive and modern, but the workers say that the lower counters now being installed are making it easier for angry patrons to launch violent attacks.

The lawsuit claims that McDonald's and its franchisees are well aware of the dangerous working conditions in many Chicago restaurants and points out that workers call the city's police department for assistance more than 20 times every day. In recent months, McDonald's workers in Chicago have been violently assaulted, threatened by customers brandishing guns and had food and kitchen equipment thrown at them. One restaurant attack involved a worker who was urinated on by an enraged patron.

Driving tips for winter weather

The holidays are delightful, but the winter weather in Illinois can be frightful. Luckily, there are several things area drivers can do to stay safe on snowy and icy roads, according to traffic safety experts.

First of all, people should avoid driving in winter weather whenever possible. If leaving the house during a storm isn't absolutely necessary, they should stay home and wait it out. However, if they must go out, drivers should remember to slow down and leave plenty of space between their vehicle and the one in front of them. They should also gently accelerate and brake to avoid skidding on slippery roads.

Should you wait to take control of your finances during divorce?

While there are plenty of warnings out there about the consequences you could face if you move money around, hide assets or spend frivolously during your divorce, it is not required that you suspend all efforts to deal with your finances. In fact, if you are getting divorced in Illinois, one of the first things you should do is begin taking the steps to organize and manage your money to prepare for independence again. 

In regards to your finances and the assets you share with your spouse, there are definite dos and don'ts to be aware of. A bit of research can provide you with a reliable list of behaviors to avoid so that you can stay out of legal trouble and effectively strengthen your reputation as someone with integrity. Drawing upon your knowledge of behaviors to avoid, as well as staying honest and respectful throughout your trial may be able to provide your case with evidence that could support a more beneficial outcome for you. 

Continuing coverage with your ex-spouse's insurance

Pending divorce proceedings in Fox Lake offer you the chance to sit and consider those things that will change once your divorce becomes final. One of them may be the association that you have with your ex-spouse’s employer. While that may seem to be a small matter at first, the thought can quickly become alarming once you realize that it may be only through said employer’s group health plan that you are able to afford the cost of healthcare for you and your children. Many in your same situation have come to us here at Soffietti, Johnson, Teegen, Argueta & Bawcum, LTD panicked that they will be with health insurance. Are such concerns valid?

They are in from the perspective that you will need to eventually secure coverage for yourself (either by securing a job with a company that offers such a benefit, purchasing coverage on your own or remarrying one who has coverage). In the immediate, however, protection afforded through the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act allows you to remain on your ex-spouse’s plan for up to three years from the date your divorce becomes final.

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