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 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.

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneysFor a couple with children, a divorce or separation can be particularly challenging. In addition to the difficulties inherent to every other marital dissolution, such as property division and alimony, divorcing parents are also faced with the prospect of sharing parental responsibilities. As with most aspects of divorce, the court can and will determine arrangements for dividing these responsibilities, but only if necessary. Illinois courts and the law much prefer that divorcing parents reach an agreement of their own, as a negotiated arrangement is more likely to be followed than one simply imposed by a judge. Drafting a parenting plan that works well for you, your spouse, and your child is a vital part of the divorce process for parents.

Decision-Making Authority

Your parenting plan must clearly lay out the rights and responsibilities for both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse regarding your child. Recent changes to the law in Illinois have eliminated the concepts of sole and joint child custody, so the two of you will need to decide who will be responsible for what, especially regarding significant issues like education, health care, religious training, and extracurricular activities. One of you may be responsible for all significant decisions, they may be split between you, or you may choose to make all such decisions together—presuming that communication is strong enough to facilitate cooperation.

Other Considerations

A workable parenting plan will also need to include some type of method for determining each party’s parenting time. Whether you decide to follow a strict schedule or use a more flexible arrangement, you are both entitled to time with your child. You will also need to decide which of your homes will be used for school enrollment and other custodial-type purposes. Your plan should also include, if appropriate, the right of first refusal regarding alternative child-care needs.

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneyStatistics regarding the prevalence of abuse and domestic violence are shocking. One in three women and one in four men have been physically abused by a spouse or significant other according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Of course, domestic violence does not only involve physical abuse. Verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, stalking, psychological manipulation, gaslighting, and controlling a person through threats and intimidation are also forms of domestic violence. If you are considering divorce, and your spouse has abused you either physically, mentally, financially, or otherwise, there are several considerations you should keep in mind.

Filing for an Order of Protection

The foundation of most abuse involves the abuser’s desire for power and control. Sometimes, when a victim of abuse decides to leave an abusive partner, the abuser realizes he or she is losing that control and becomes even more violent. If you are planning to leave your abusive spouse, you may want to obtain an order of protection, sometimes referred to as a restraining order. An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) is a legally-binding court order that prohibits an abusive or potentially abusive person from coming within a certain distance from or contacting the person who requested the order. An EOP can be obtained at your local county courthouse and lasts for up to 21 days. If you require protection after this period, you may petition the court for a Plenary Order of Protection which lasts up to two years. The order may also instruct the abusive person to stay away from your children. If you obtain an EOP against your spouse and he or she violates the terms of the EOP, you can call the police and have him or her immediately arrested.

Child Custody Concerns and Reaching a Fair Divorce Settlement

Domestic violence can have a significant impact on the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. Illinois courts make all child-related decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests and will never place a child in a dangerous situation. This means that if your spouse has a history of violent behavior, his or her parenting time is likely to be limited. The court’s primary goal is to ensure that your children are safe and that their best interests are served. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you petition the court to give you full parental responsibilities. A lawyer is also an invaluable asset when it comes to reaching a fair property division arrangement and requesting spousal support, or alimony.

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneysDomestic violence touches the lives of countless families in Illinois and across the United States. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that nearly 40 percent of Illinois women and over 25 percent of Illinois men have been the victim of intimate partner physical abuse, sexual abuse, or stalking. On a national scale, one out of every 15 children are exposed to domestic violence every year. Being witness to domestic violence can dramatically impact a child’s wellbeing. Consequently, Illinois courts heavily weigh accusations of domestic violence when making determinations about child custody and parenting time.

The Effect of Domestic Violence on Children

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 describes domestic violence as abuse as well as “interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.” Domestic violence can include physical violence, threats, psychological manipulation, intimidation, gaslighting and more. When children witness a parent physically or mentally abusing the other parent, it has a profound effect on them. Children who are witness to domestic violence are much more likely to experience depression, anxiety, verbal, motor, and cognitive issues, aggressive behavior, insomnia, and other problems.

Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities

Illinois courts make all child-related decisions based on what is in the child’s best interest. A court will never assign custody or parenting time to a parent who is a danger to the child. In some cases, a judge may allow a parent who has been accused of domestic violence to have limited parenting time or supervised parenting time. The court may also require the transfer of the child to take place in public. If you are a parent who has been the victim of domestic violence at the hands of your spouse and you are divorcing, it is crucial that you notify the court of the abuse. If you are worried that your spouse will be a danger to your children, you can petition the court to get sole parental responsibility of your child. Speak with a divorce lawyer experienced in cases involving domestic violence so that you and your children’s rights will be fully protected during the divorce process.

...

Rolling Meadows family law attorneysAdopting a child can be one of the most rewarding decisions a person ever makes. There are several different avenues for adoption available to Illinois residents. These include private adoptions, adoptions through an adoption agency, foster child adoption, stepparent adoption, international adoption, and more. In some circumstances, the parties involved in an adoption may choose to have an “open adoption.” In an open adoption, the birth parent or parents continue to have contact with the child even after the adoptive parents have become the legal parents of the child.

Benefits and Drawbacks of an Open Adoption

Before recent decades, nearly every child or infant adoption was a closed adoption. Once the adoption was finalized, the birth parents did not have contact with the child or the adoptive parents. Closed adoptions are still common in international adoptions but are increasingly less common with other types of adoption. When an adoptive family decides to have an open adoption, they may be able to develop a positive relationship with the birth parent or birth family. This can be hugely beneficial to the child as well as the adults involved. The child may also enjoy a better sense of identity and understanding of who he or she is than might have been the case in a closed adoption.

However, an open adoption is not right for every family. Maintaining a relationship with the birth mother after the adoption can be an extremely challenging process. You may often feel uncomfortable and unsure of how much information you should share with the birth family. If a biological parent has lost custody of a child due to neglect, abuse, or major substance abuse problems, it may not be wise to have an open adoption. As a general rule, if continued interaction with a birth family is not in the child’s best interests, a closed adoption may be the more appropriate choice.

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneysThe state of Illinois believes that children deserve to benefit from financial support from both of their children. If your child’s father refuses to pay child support, there are several things you need to know. First, in order to request a child support order from the Illinois family court system, your child’s father must be formally established. There are several ways to accomplish this. Secondly, only child support orders established through the court can be legally enforced. Illinois courts do not have the authority to enforce informal child support orders. If you need help establishing paternity or child support or enforcing a current child support order, a qualified family law attorney can help.

How Do I Officially Establish Paternity?

If you and the child’s father were not married at the time your child was born, the state does not assume paternity. In such a situation, there are three ways that you can establish paternity. First, you and the father can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and file this document with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). However, if your child’s father does not admit that he is the father of your child, you may not be able to convince him to sign this document. The second way to establish paternity is to pursue an Administrative Paternity Order through the DHFS. Lastly, you can request an Order of Paternity to be established through the court. The father may be required to submit to DNA testing in order to establish that he is indeed the biological father of your children.

How Do I Get Child Support After Paternity Has Been Established?

After the legal relationship between your child and your child’s father is established, you will be able to pursue child support through the DHFS. If you already have a child support order but your child’s father is not paying, he faces several serious consequences. Child support nonpayment in Illinois is punishable by wage garnishments, property liens, driver’s license suspension, and more. In extreme cases, a father who does not pay court-ordered child support can be sentenced to jail. For help establishing child support for the first time or enforcing a current child support order, contact a family law attorney who is experienced in handling child support nonpayment issues.

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneysIf you are a parent who shares parental responsibility, or custody, with your child’s other parent, you know how challenging and complicated a shared parenting arrangement can be. A joint parenting arrangement can become even more complicated when a parent plans to move away. If the parent with the majority of parenting time moves a great distance away, the other parent may worry that he or she will not get to see his or her child. Fortunately, a parent who is subject to a shared parenting arrangement cannot relocate a significant distance without input from the child’s other parent.

Defining “Relocation” Under Illinois Law

Illinois parents can only dispute a move if it meets the definition of “relocation” according to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. There are three different situations that can constitute relocation:

  • The parent lives in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, McHenry County, Will County, or Lake County and is planning to move more than 25 miles away.
  • The parent lives in another Illinois county and wants to move to a residence that is 50 miles or more away.
  • The parent wants to move outside the state of Illinois to a residence that is more than 25 miles away.

If the relocation meets the above criteria, the parent planning to move must notify the other parent at least 60 days before the move. They must also provide the other parent with the new intended address.

...

Rolling Meadows family law attorneyThe law in Illinois requires divorcing parents to submit a plan for how they intend to care and provide for their children. Parenting plans include provisions for how child custody, officially called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois, should be managed, as well as several other child-related concerns. One part of Illinois parenting plans that often gets overlooked is the “right of first refusal.” Read on to learn what the right of first refusal is and how you can include directions about extra parenting time in your parenting plan.

Maximizing Parenting Time With Right of First Refusal Provisions

If you are a parent who is getting divorced, you may worry that you will not get to spend as much time as you want to with your child once the divorce is finalized. Parents who are used to seeing their children every day can understandably have a difficult time adjusting to a parenting schedule where they see their children less often. The right of first refusal refers to the right that parents have to spend time with their children when the other parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time obligations.

For example, imagine that your child’s other parent goes on a business trip during one of the weekends that he or she is assigned parenting time. Instead of the parent calling a babysitter or other individual to care for the child in his or her absence, the right of first refusal can require the parent to ask you if you are able and willing to care for your child during the business trip. If you “refuse” the extra parenting time, then the other parent would be permitted to hire a babysitter or find alternative childcare.

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneysIssues of family law, including divorce, parental responsibility concerns, and child support, can become extremely contentious and stressful.  Too often, the opposing parties become so focused on “winning” or proving a point that they lose sight of the real matters at hand. This can be especially tragic when children are caught in the middle, as they often become collateral damage when they should be the primary focus.

If you are in the midst of an ongoing legal struggle, there is, unfortunately, no quick fix. But despite being a popular Hollywood cliché, you may choose to take some inspiration from the spirit of the Christmas season. Perhaps, instead of continuing to find ways to “win,” consider proposing a more cooperative approach to settling your differences. For many families, mediation may be just the solution they need.

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is used in a variety of applications under the law. In general, the process involves opposing parties meeting with a third party facilitator called a mediator, who is often also a trained attorney. With the mediator’s guidance, the parties discuss and negotiate the various aspects of their case, eventually working toward a mutually agreeable compromise. Civil courts encourage would-be litigants to seek mediation and to reserve the courtroom for those who simply cannot work out their differences any other way.

...

Arlington Heights divorce attorneyHas your marriage reached the point where it is no longer a healthy part of your life? A marriage can deteriorate for many reasons, but according to Illinois law, there is only one legal basis for divorce. Thanks to changes to the state’s family law statutes several years ago, a divorce can only be granted on the grounds that irreconcilable differences have pushed the marriage beyond the point of repair.

Understanding Irreconcilable Differences

When Illinois permitted fault-based divorce, such grounds were fairly straightforward. They included behaviors like adultery, repeated mental or physical cruelty, abandonment, and other actions that were easy to understand, even if they were difficult to prove during a divorce. Irreconcilable differences, on the other hand, are rather vague. In fact, there is no single definition of irreconcilable differences contained in the law. Instead, the phrase is understood to mean that the spouses are no longer able to remain in a marital relationship with one another.

It is important to realize that the actions that were once grounds for a fault-based divorce could be contributing factors to a couple’s irreconcilable differences. If your spouse cheated on you, for example, that could be enough for you to recognize that the marriage is broken and cannot be fixed. On your divorce paperwork, however, you will need to cite irreconcilable differences instead of adultery.

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneyAs you go through the divorce process, you and your spouse will have many issues to consider and address. For example, you must decide how you will divide your marital assets, make arrangements regarding your children, and think about how you will manage your post-divorce life. In many divorce cases, the issue of maintenance—also known as spousal support or alimony—can be challenging, as it is not easy to “put a price” on the end of your marriage.

You might be perfectly content to allow the court to make decisions about maintenance, but it is important to keep in mind that you have the right to develop an agreement with your spouse that meets both your needs while keeping the court out of the decision-making process.

Cooperate and Communicate

Frankly, divorce is never easy, but more and more couples today are approaching the process with a spirit of cooperation. It is not uncommon for both spouses to reach the mutual conclusion that they would be better off apart than they would be if they stayed married. The spouses still care about one another, however, and have no desire to cause one another unnecessary stress by dragging out the divorce process. With a similar attitude, you and your spouse could develop a spousal maintenance arrangement quickly and efficiently.

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneysIf you are a parent who is thinking about getting a divorce, you likely have many concerns regarding your children. You may worry about how the children will adjust to a two-home arrangement or how they will take the news of the divorce. You may also worry about how much time you will get to spend with your kids now that you must share parenting time with your children’s other parent.

It can be incredibly difficult for parents to transition to a more limited parenting arrangement after they have been highly involved in their children’s lives on a daily basis. Fortunately, there is a way to make sure parents have the maximum amount of parenting time possible through the “right of first refusal” provision.

Illinois Parenting Agreements

Parents who plan to share custody of their children in Illinois must complete a parenting agreement or parenting plan. In this agreement, you and your child’s other parent will write down your plans for how you will share parental responsibilities (formerly called custody) and parenting time (formerly called visitation.) You must also make note of how major decisions about the children’s lives will be made and how parents will communicate with the children during the other parent’s allotted parenting time. There are also several “rights” which parents must agree upon, including the other parent’s right to be informed about travel plans, healthcare issues, emergencies, and other important concerns in the children’s lives. Lastly, parents must address the right of first refusal.

...

Arlington Heights family law attorneysIf you are thinking about filing for a divorce from your spouse, you will eventually need to know how to do so. Even if you and your spouse are in total agreement that a divorce is necessary, you are likely to have many questions about the divorce process.

Depending your circumstances and the dynamic of your relationship, you and your spouse may very well have spent many months preparing for your divorce—both logistically and emotionally—but the divorce does not formally begin until one of your files a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides rules regarding who is eligible to get divorced in the state and where to file your petition.

Illinois Residency

You qualify to have your divorce handled in the state of Illinois if you or your spouse have been a resident of the state for no less than 90 days prior to the filing. If you or your spouse were stationed in Illinois as part of your military service, your time in Illinois would count toward the residency requirement.

...

Arlington Heights divorce attorneysWhen a married couple decides to divorce, they have two options for property division: the couple can decide how to split their marital estate or the courts can make this decision. Usually, court intervention is reserved for couples who cannot come to an agreement about how assets and debt should be divided. Illinois courts use a methodology called “equitable distribution” to fairly divide assets and debt between the parties in a divorce.

When one spouse wastes or recklessly depletes marital funds, this is referred to as “dissipation.” If you have concerns that your spouse has dissipated assets, you may be able to recover the cost of these assets during property division.  

What Are Dissipated Assets?

In the realm of family law, the term “dissipation” generally means to waste by misuse or to spend extravagantly. The Illinois Supreme Court has defined dissipation as one spouse using marital funds for purposes not related to the marriage while a marriage is in the midst of an “irretrievable breakdown.” Not just any spending is considered dissipative; the spending must take place during a certain timeframe. The superfluous spending must be substantial, not beneficial to the marriage, and it must take place after the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage has begun. This “breakdown” is generally considered to be the time when the couple has ceased attempts at reconciliation and when divorce is inevitable.

...
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