Lombard Office
630-426-0196
Wheaton Office
630-426-0196
Text Us Now
630-426-0196
Recent blog posts

Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney child custody

If you are a parent who is considering divorce or you are unmarried and about to become a parent, you probably have questions about child custody. In Illinois, child custody has been replaced by the more modern terms “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” Parental responsibilities refer to a parent’s authority to make major decisions about the child’s life such as where the child will attend school. Parenting time, formerly “visitation,” is the actual time that a parent spends caring for his or her child. Parents are asked to outline the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time in their “parenting plan.” Parents who cannot agree on parenting plan issues have several options.

Working Out an Agreement with Help from a Family Law Attorney

Understandably, parents often have strong feelings about child custody issues. This can make it hard for parents to discuss child-related issues rationally or to even consider compromising. If you find yourself in this situation, a family law attorney who has experience with child custody disputes can be a valuable resource. Your attorney can help you negotiate the elements of the parenting plan and may also have ideas that you had not considered.

...

Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney child custody

Drug and alcohol addiction is a huge concern throughout the United States, including in Illinois. Substance abuse problems such as alcoholism and opiate addiction have destroyed thousands of families. Other addictions such as gambling or shopping addictions can also have a devastating effect on a marriage or family. If you are thinking about legally ending your marriage, and your spouse suffers from an addiction, you may be worried about how your spouse’s addiction may affect your Illinois divorce.

Put Your Health and Well-Being First

If you are like many people who are married to a drug addict, alcoholic, or another type of addict, you have probably spent a great deal of time trying to help your spouse. You may have talked to your spouse about getting rehabilitative treatment, attending support groups, or going to counseling for his or her addiction. You likely spent months or years trying to help your spouse beat the addiction. Once you decide to end the marriage, you may need to learn to put yourself first. Divorcing someone with an addiction will likely be an emotionally exhausting experience involving a fair number of legal complications. That is why it is very important to make your mental health and well-being a priority during this difficult time.

...

Arlington Heights, IL family law attorney prenuptial agreement

If you are engaged to be married, you may be interested in learning about prenuptial agreements. Although they are often the subject of misconceptions and misunderstandings, prenuptial agreements are valuable legal tools that can serve a variety of purposes. A prenuptial agreement or “prenup” is a legal contract that describes spouses’ property rights and responsibilities. Signing a prenup means entering into a legally binding contract so it is important to educate yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of prenuptial agreements before agreeing to one.  

How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Benefit Me?

Prenuptial agreements are often associated with celebrity weddings or last-minute marriages. People may even assume that a prenuptial agreement is only necessary if a couple believes that the marriage will fail. However, more and more people are starting to realize that these myths are untrue and that prenuptial agreements can benefit them in many ways. Prenuptial agreements are becoming especially popular among the millennial generation.

...

Arlington Heights, IL family law attorney DCFS investigation

Child abuse and neglect are serious problems in the United States. Sadly, it is estimated that almost 700,000 children are abused every year in the United States. However, an allegation of child abuse is not true simply because someone accuses a parent of abuse. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is the governmental agency tasked with investigating claims of child abuse in Illinois. If you are being investigated by the DCFS after being accused of mentally, physically, or sexually abusing your child, there are several things you should do.

Keep Calm and Comply with the Investigation

If you have been accused of hurting your own child, you may be offended and dismayed. You may be furious with the accuser or shocked that he or she would make such an allegation. However, it is important to keep your emotions under control. Lashing out at the person who accused you or at the DCFS staff will only make your situation worse. Comply with the DCFS’s investigation. An investigator may visit your home, interview you, and speak with your child’s doctor, teacher, relatives, or other adults in the child’s life. The DCFS’s job is to investigate the allegations and determine if there is evidence that suggests that the allegations are true.

...

Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney co-parenting

If you are a parent who is recently separated or is planning to divorce, you probably have concerns about the upcoming holiday season. You may be especially concerned about how your children will deal with the holidays. Between COVID-19 concerns, remote learning at school, and your divorce, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to make the best of the situation. Fortunately, there is a good deal of research about how to alleviate the stress caused by divorce and the holidays.

Make Detailed Holiday Co-Parenting Plans

Divorcing parents in Illinois must submit a “parenting plan” that describes how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be allocated to each parent. If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court may determine a suitable plan for them. If you have not yet filed for divorce, you may not have any formal parenting plans in place. In order to reduce the chances of conflict and confusion during the holidays, make a plan with your spouse ahead of time about how you will share custody. Include the days and times that the children will stay with each parent, how the children will be transported between homes, and other relevant information.

...

Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney parenting time

If you are a parent who is facing a breakup or divorce, you may struggle with the idea of splitting custody with your child’s other parent. When you are used to seeing your child on a daily basis, the thought of seeing him or her a limited number of days can be heartbreaking. In Illinois, divorcing parents are required to create a “parenting plan” that outlines arrangements for parental responsibilities and parenting time. One of the provisions in this plan is the “right of first refusal.” This provision may enable you to enjoy additional time with your child during the other parent’s absence.

Requiring Your Child’s Other Parent to Contact You Before Contacting a Babysitter

Parenting time, previously called visitation, refers to the time a parent spends directly caring for his or her child. If a parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time responsibility because of a vacation, work obligation, or another reason, that parent may choose to hire a babysitter or ask a relative to watch his or her child. This can leave the child’s other parent frustrated and upset. The right of first refusal refers to a parent’s right to be informed about parental absences and given the opportunity to “refuse” additional parenting time. For example, consider a situation in which a mother has the children Monday through Friday and the father has the children on the weekends. The mother will be out of town on a work trip Monday and Tuesday. Because the parents’ right of first refusal provision dictates it, the mother is required to inform the father that she is going out of town and ask him if he wants to keep the children on Monday and Tuesday. If the father cannot watch the children those days, the mother is free to hire a nanny or find different childcare arrangements with other family members.

...

Arlington Heights, IL family law attorney prenuptial agreement

If you and your soon-to-be-spouse are thinking about creating a prenuptial agreement or “prenup,” there are several things you should keep in mind. Prenuptial agreements, when formed correctly, are legally binding contracts. These documents can address issues such as spousal maintenance or alimony, property rights, division of property and debt, and several other issues that will arise if the marriage ends in divorce. Prenuptial agreements are especially beneficial in situations involving individuals on their second marriages, blended families, or spouses with a large discrepancy in wealth. However, if a prenuptial agreement does not meet certain criteria or contains mistakes, it may not be legally enforceable.

Problems That Can Invalidate a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement that is executed correctly is a contract that spouses are bound to by law. However, some mistakes can render a prenup virtually useless. Some of the issues that lead to a prenuptial agreement being invalid include:

...

Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney child support

A divorce may require that child support payments continue for years after a married couple separates, and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) has the power to modify child support orders so that they reflect any changes in Illinois law and personal circumstances. Although divorce settlements may require a spouse to pay both spousal support and child support, any modification passed by the DCSS does not apply to spousal support orders. 

Spousal support may also be eligible for modification, but you would have to bring that up with a different department. Navigating the complexities of the Illinois family court system can be challenging, so do not hesitate to reach out to a family law attorney with plenty of experience helping clients modify child support orders.

...

Arlington Heights, IL family law attorney DCFS investigation

In March 2020, the State of Illinois banned all visitation between parents and children in the DCFS system with the intent of keeping kids and parents healthy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitation guidelines have changed over time, and if you are a parent who plans on visiting your child anytime soon, it is important to stay up to date with the evolving DCFS coronavirus guidelines. For any remaining questions regarding family law and the DCFS, consult a knowledgeable family law attorney in your area.

DCFS COVID-19 Guidelines 

Initially, all in-person visits between parents and children through the DCFS were banned. Remote visits were still allowed. For a couple of months, many parents were separated even from newborn children. This policy was heavily criticized, and as COVID-19 guidelines have evolved in the last few months, the ban has been lifted as well. However, there are some new rules to follow if you are planning for an upcoming visit. 

...

Posted on in Divorce

Arlington Heights divorce attorney QDRO

Retirement savings are some of the most valuable assets people can have, and dividing them during a separation or divorce can be complicated. Even with a precise division of assets defined in your divorce agreement, tax implications prevent that money from being dealt with properly. To get around this hurdle and ensure that a retirement account holder or provider can issue payments without the payee being penalized, you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO.

When Is a QDRO Necessary? 

A QDRO can apply to child support, alimony, or property rights, but divorcing couples use them frequently to instruct a retirement plan provider on how to adhere to the division of assets outlined in your divorce agreement. For this reason, many retirement plan providers have their own QDRO forms that you can submit. Most people will use these standard forms, but if the division of the account is complicated, you may want to draft your own QDRO. Regardless of whether you take advantage of existing forms or draft your own QDRO, you should enlist the help of an experienced divorce attorney to fully protect your interests.

...

Arlington Heights, IL domestic violence defense attorney

Domestic violence is a serious offense, and Illinois law treats it accordingly. One of the worst elements of the COVID-19 pandemic is how stay-at-home restrictions have led to a rise in domestic violence cases. Many people who relied on the flow of everyday life before COVID-19 to help avoid abusers now find themselves in dangerous situations. However, not all domestic abuse claims are true, and you should be prepared to develop a strong defense if you are accused of domestic violence. Whether an accuser does not fully understand the scope of domestic violence law in Illinois or he or she is making false accusations, the outcomes can still be serious. A domestic violence attorney who is well-versed in all aspects of family law will increase your chances of winning your case, so begin working with one as soon as you can. 

Worldwide Domestic Violence Rates 

Domestic violence rates have risen not just in the United States, but across the globe. For example, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, domestic violence hotlines in Spain experienced an 18 percent increase in calls. French police reported a 30 percent increase in domestic violence rates in April. The term “Intimate Terrorism” was coined to reflect experts’ observations that during prolonged confinement, abusers are using nearly the same tactics people would use when holding others hostage. Even the divorce proceedings that many victims were relying on to get them out of these dangerous environments were delayed because of the pandemic. 

...

\Arlington Heights divorce lawyerMany divorce settlements include terms for spousal support, where one former spouse provides financial support to the other until they can fully support themselves. Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, can be made in regular payments or a lump sum. The terms, either agreed to in mediation or ordered by a judge, are legally binding. There are a few ways that a court will enforce a failure to adhere to your alimony payment schedule. If your ex falls behind on spousal maintenance payments, contact a divorce attorney before acting.

Enforcing Court-Ordered Spousal Support

Before bringing your case to court, you should try to communicate with your ex-spouse to find out if there are any circumstances preventing him or her from making payments. Common reasons include the recent loss of a job, illness, and injury. If your former spouse is willing to cooperate, you can form an agreement until he or she is capable of catching up with the payments. For instance, you both could suspend alimony payments until the paying-spouse returns to work. You should have an attorney draft this agreement. Informal contracts can lead to misunderstandings and difficulties in court if you need to opt for that route.

If your ex-spouse refuses to make support payments or fails to adhere to any new agreement you made due to his or her income reduction, you can take the issue to court. Failure to follow a court order means the court will hold the offender in “contempt.” In this case, you would file a motion for enforcement or contempt of court. To ensure that you eventually receive your support payments, a judge may garnish your former spouse’s wages, bank accounts, or tax returns. You may also explore alternatives like increasing the duration of support or adding interest to future payments. Continuous non-compliance could result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Courts issue significant fines and jail time for these offenses.

...

Arlington Heights prenuptial agreement lawyerAlthough it is not pleasant to think about right before your wedding, a good number of marriages will end in divorce. Because of this reality, planning for that possibility could save you a lot of trouble in the future. Of course, if you and your soon-to-be spouse never end up separating, your prenuptial agreement (prenup) will not weigh you down in any way. However, if you do file for divorce and do not have a prenup, settling the terms of your separation will be a lot more difficult than it needed to be. 

What Can a Prenuptial Agreement Do for My Marriage?

The basic idea of a prenuptial agreement is to decide, in advance, how a couple will divide property and assets upon their divorce. Although you create a prenup before marriage, it does not take effect until the date that you get married. If you end up in court for divorce litigation without a prenup, a judge can decide how to divide your assets between you and your spouse.

There are plenty of reasons to get a prenuptial agreement. Maybe you own a business that you built well before your marriage: a prenup will help ensure that it remains yours in the event of a divorce. Perhaps you own property or you have funds set aside for children from a previous marriage: a prenup can help you keep those in your possession. Although it sounds unappealing to have these discussions with your spouse right before your wedding, the legal agreement can ease a lot of stress and any underlying concerns about what you will do if your marriage does come to an end.

...

Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney child support

When divorcing or unmarried individuals have children together, one parent is typically ordered to pay child support to the other. This helps fairly divide the costs of raising the child and ensures that the child receives the same level of financial support that he or she would have received if the parents were married. The parent with the majority of parenting time, often called the custodial parent, is the recipient of child support while the parent with less parenting time is the payor of child support. However, things can become more complicated if the payor parent has more than one child support obligation.

Income Shares Method for Calculating Child Support

Illinois currently uses the Income Shares method to determine child support. This calculation method differs significantly from the way Illinois previously calculated child support. Instead of child support payment amounts being based solely on the supporting parent’s income, the Income Shares model takes both parents’ incomes into account. First, each parent’s net income is determined. Next, the parents’ combined net income and the number of children needing support are used to determine the “basic support obligation.” This is the total amount of support the children should receive from both parents. This total is then divided between the parents based on each parent’s percentage of the combined net income. In situations involving shared parenting, meaning each parent has the child for 146 or more nights a year, each parent’s parenting time is also factored into child support calculations.

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneysThe Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is the agency responsible for investigating allegations of child neglect and abuse. If someone accuses you of harming a child, the DCFS may conduct an investigation to determine the validity of the accusations. The investigation is used to find evidence of child abuse or neglect, determine whether or not the child is at risk of further harm, and find ways to help the family via services in their community. If you have been accused of child abuse or neglect, you could be facing both criminal charges and significant child custody-related consequences. It is possible that your child may even be removed from your home. For help managing DCFS investigations and child custody concerns, contact an experienced family law attorney.

Responding to Accusations of Child Neglect or Child Abuse

Tragically, millions of children are abused and neglected every year in the United States and across the globe. In many cases, intervention by governmental organizations like the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services may save a child’s life. However, not every accusation of child abuse or neglect is credible or well-meaning. In fact, some parents who are involved in custody disputes may make false claims of abuse or neglect in an attempt to sway their child custody case. If you have been falsely accused of harming your child, you may understandably feel shocked and outraged. However, it is important to remain calm and comply completely with any DCFS investigations that may be initiated.

What Happens During a Child Abuse Investigation?

When a report is made to the DCFS about a child who is potentially in harm’s way, the agency will dispatch a child protection investigator to evaluate the veracity of the concerns. A DCFS investigation is not the same thing as a criminal investigation, but DCFS agents often work very closely with the police.

...

Arlington Heights divorce lawyerAfter years of unhappiness and frustration, you and your spouse finally took the necessary steps toward dissolving your marriage. The process was not easy—few divorces are—but you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is possible to be happy again, and your post-divorce reality offers the opportunity for you to reclaim your life and your health. In accordance with the law, the terms of your divorce are formally recorded as part of the judgment of dissolution of marriage. Going forward, it is the responsibility of both parties to remain in compliance with the judgment, which, as a court-issued directive, is enforceable with legal action. If your spouse is failing to keep up his or her end of the arrangement, though, it may be up to you to take control of the situation.

Common Reasons for Needing Enforcement

Every divorce is different, of course, as the challenges facing an individual couple are the result of their own unique circumstances. However, certain aspects of a divorce judgement are more likely than others to be the source of non-compliance. Spousal maintenance and child support obligations, along with concerns regarding parenting time, commonly create issues when one spouses refuses or is unable to comply with judgment. There may also be complications in completing the division of property process as, in many cases, the transfer of assets from one party to the other may take place over the weeks and months following the divorce.

Try to Communicate

When your ex-spouse is failing to comply with your divorce agreement, you have option of going right back into court with a petition to enforce the order. For child support issues, you may have other alternatives as well, but filing in court is certainly one of them. However, turning immediately to legal action may not set a desired precedent for your life after divorce. It may be better to try to discuss the issue with your ex-spouse, if he or she will communicate with you. You may find that there is a justifiable reason for his or her actions and that finding a resolution may be possible, either between the two of you alone or through mediation. On the other hand, if communication is not possible, the courtroom may be your only recourse.

...

Arlington Heights divorce attorneysWhile the term “narcissist” is often used to reference a person who is very self-absorbed, it may also refer to an actual psychological condition. People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) often believe that they are superior to other people, require constant attention and praise, and engage in manipulative or controlling behavior.

If you are considering divorce and you are married to a narcissist, the road ahead will likely be filled with challenges and frustrations. Fortunately, you do not have to face these challenges alone. An experienced family law attorney can help you end your marriage as quickly and efficiently as possible while ensuring that your rights are fully protected.

Keep Copies of Communication and Financial Documents

Narcissists often lie, so having evidence of the real facts of your case is essential. Your spouse may attempt to hide assets or even purposely waste assets in order to reduce the property your receive in the divorce. Make copies of financial records such as tax returns, bank statements, retirement account statements, and credit card statements. Also, save emails, text messages, and other communications between yourself and your spouse that show his or her true nature. Evidence like this is extremely useful in proving your side of the case during your divorce proceedings.   

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneystepparent adoption occurs when a stepparent wants to adopt his or her spouse’s child. The legal difficulties associated with a relative adoption such as a stepparent adoption are often much different than other types of adoptions. If you are interested in adopting your spouse’s child, speak with a family law attorney experienced in relative adoption cases to get the guidance you need.

Obtaining the Other Parent’s Consent

Many stepparents view their spouse’s child as their own. If you are a stepparent considering adoption, you have probably developed a strong relationship with your stepchild. However, in the eyes of the law, stepparents do not have the same legal rights and responsibilities that a biological parent has. Children can only have two legal parents. In order to adopt your spouse’s child, the child’s other parent may need to consent to the adoption. If the other parent agrees to the adoption, his or her parental rights are terminated, and the stepparent has the opportunity to assume those parental rights.

If the child’s other parent does not want to terminate his or her parental rights, the court will determine whether or not the parent’s parental rights should be terminated involuntarily. For example, if the other parent has been absent from the child’s life for a significant amount of time, the court may terminate the parent’s parental rights through a verdict of abandonment. A parent may also be deemed “unfit” and loose his or her parental rights due to:

...

Arlington Heights divorce lawyersWhen you got married, did you and your new spouse move into a home that one of your already owned or did you find a new house? Have you purchased a new home since your marriage?  The answers to those two questions could directly impact the division of property process should you and your spouse ever divorce.

Prior Ownership

According to the law in Illinois, all assets that were owned by either spouse prior to the marriage are considered individual property and are not subject to division upon divorce. Determining ownership is fairly easy for smaller items. For example, if you paid cash for a washing machine before you got married, you own it. Larger purchases and investments are a bit more complicated. Let’s assume that you made a $25,000 down payment on a house, for example, but you are only 15 years into a 30-year mortgage. Technically, the mortgage lender still owns about half of the house.

If you and your spouse moved into a home that you had already paid off at the time of the marriage, the house, in all likelihood, would not be considered marital property. If, however, you were still paying the house off for the first several years of the marriage, the funds used to pay off the mortgage were marital funds. Thus, the house, or at least a portion of its value, must be accounted for during the division of property.

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneyDivorce involving children can be stressful regardless of the situation, but divorce involving parents who disagree on child custody issues can be especially difficult. In Illinois, the term “child custody” has been replaced with the “allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” Divorcing parents are expected to agree on a strategy for how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be managed after the divorce in their official Illinois “parenting plan.”

However, many parents do not see eye-to-eye regarding this plan. Parents may disagree on which parent will make major decisions about the child’s life and upbringing, the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, household rules, and more.  If you are in a contentious child-related legal dispute, the following tips may help you to cope.

Avoid Sharing Too Much Information on Social Media

Many people make the mistake of oversharing on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Although these may seem like the perfect places to air grievances against your soon-to-be-ex, doing so will likely worsen the drama surrounding your child custody dispute. In addition to causing later feelings of embarrassment and regret, sharing details about child custody matters online may also influence the case. Even if you decide to delete what you posted, other people can still save a copy of what you wrote and use it against you during any legal proceedings.

...
Illinois State Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association DuPage County Bar Association Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners
Back to Top