Posted on in Family Law

Illinois family lawyerMany grandparents and parents are familiar with the term “grandparents’ rights,” but do not fully understand it as a concept. It does not mean that grandparents automatically have the right to spend time with their grandchildren or seek custody of them by the virtue of being grandparents. What it means is that under certain specific circumstances, grandparents have the right to petition the court for visitation with their grandchild. Grandparents’ rights vary from state to state, but they exist in some form in every state. They are an important part of family law, the legal area that governs family relationships.

Circumstances Under Which Grandparents can Sue for Visitation with a Child

In Illinois, grandparents may file petitions for visitation with their grandchildren if an “unreasonable denial of visitation” has occurred. This could be in conjunction with a child’s parents’ divorce, the issuance of a parenting plan, or because there is a reason why the parent through whom the grandparent would access the child cannot facilitate their relationship. This could be because the child’s parent is incarcerated, deceased, legally incompetent, or has been reported as missing to law enforcement. Typically, it is easier for grandparents to be granted visitation rights when one of the child’s parents is unavailable to maintain their relationship with the child.

When both parents are present in a child’s life, a grandparent may seek visitation when the parents are separated, divorced, or in the process of divorcing if at least one of the parents does not object to the grandparent having visitation. If both object, the grandparent’s request is denied.

In order to have court-ordered visitation with a grandparent, a child must be at least one year old.

...

Illinois family lawyerWhen the court enters an order, all parties named in the order are required to comply with its terms. Your divorce settlement likely included a few orders, such as a parenting plan, a property division order, a child support order, and a spousal maintenance order. Willfully refusing to comply with one or more of these orders is an act of contempt of court. It is important to note that in order for an action to be contempt of court, the offender must willfully, knowingly violate his or her court order. Failure to comply with a court order for reasons beyond the individual’s control is not contempt of court.

Any refusal to comply with a court order is contempt of court. Following a divorce, the following actions may be deemed contempt of court. Penalties for refusing to comply with a court order include fines, wage garnishment, and the suspension of your driver’s license.

Failing to Make Required Payments

If you are required to pay child support or spousal maintenance, you must pay the amount that your order requires you to pay when you are required to pay it. If you feel your former partner or your child’s lifestyle has changed to the point that your original support amount is no longer necessary, discuss the possibility of having your order modified with an experienced lawyer. This is also what you should do if you can no longer afford to make your required payments.

Failure to Comply with Your Parenting Plan

...

Illinois family lawyerThe short answer is yes, boys and girls generally react to their parents’ divorces in different ways. Like nearly every other question about divorce, though, a more accurate answer is that every case is different, and every child is different, so a parent cannot expect his or her child to react to his or her divorce in a specific way based solely on the child’s gender. Instead, a child’s gender can be used as a guideline to anticipate the way he or she might react to the divorce process and a way to understand why the child feels the way he or she does.

Your Child Is More than His or Her Gender

There are a lot of factors that can play a role in how your child will react to your divorce, such as:

  • Your child’s age;
  • Your child’s gender;
  • The circumstances of the divorce; and
  • Your child’s personality.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Child Psychology found no difference between how adolescent boys and adolescent girls react to their parents’ divorces. This could be because in general, divorce has less of an impact on adolescents than it has on younger children.

In younger children, though, there are notable gender differences in how children react to divorce. Boys are more likely than girls to react to their parents’ divorces with anger and aggression. Girls might suppress their feelings and aim to please their parents and other adults around them. Some gender differences can be traced to how boys and girls are often socialized differently, while others are due to the realities that many divorcing families face. One of these realities is that often, mothers have larger shares of parenting time after divorces than fathers, which can foster stronger relationships between mothers and daughters and make it easier for girls to recover from the difficulty of divorce.

...

Illinois divorce lawyerUnder some states’ laws, individuals may waive their right to seek spousal maintenance in their divorces. When an individual or couple chooses to waive this right, they typically include it in their prenuptial agreement. Illinois is not one of these states. In Illinois, spousal maintenance is a right just like child support is a right. However, there are limits to this right. Unless the couple agrees to it, a judge cannot order unallocated spousal maintenance after their divorce. In other words, a judge must include a specific dollar figure in a couple’s spousal maintenance order.

How Is Spousal Maintenance Determined in Illinois?

On January 1, 2015, Illinois’ current spousal maintenance law went into effect. This formula replaced the older way of determining spousal maintenance, which was a set of factors that courts could consider at their discretion to determine an appropriate maintenance amount and period of time over which it would be paid. Now, spousal maintenance is calculated according to a formula that takes both partners’ gross incomes and specific percentages of each to determine an appropriate maintenance amount, not unlike Illinois’ child support formula. The spousal maintenance formula is as follows:

Thirty percent of the higher earning spouse’s annual income minus 20 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s annual income equals the annual maintenance amount.

This formula is not applied to all cases. When a couple’s combined income is $250,000 per year or higher, the court may deviate from the formula to determine an appropriate maintenance amount. If the difference between the figures for the partners used in the formula plus the recipient’s gross income is more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income, the maintenance amount is reduced to put it at 40 percent of their combined income.

...

Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyerAs a parent, there is a lot of pressure on you to keep any “negative” thoughts about parenthood to yourself. But the truth is, raising children is hard. This is backed up by statistics: in any marriage, the couple’s satisfaction in the marriage declines during its first few years. For couples with children, this decline is twice as steep as the decline childless couples face.

This does not mean you should forgo parenthood. What it means is that having children can put an immense pressure on your marriage and if you are not proactive about anticipating child-related conflicts and resolving them in a healthy manner, this pressure can push you to divorce.

Children and Divorce Statistics

There are many different factors that can impact a couple’s likelihood of divorcing. Some of these factors have to do with the couple’s children and their positions on raising children:

  • Having daughters increases a couple’s chance of divorcing while having sons reduces it. Unmarried couples who have a son are more likely to marry than unmarried couples who have a daughter, and when a couple has two daughters, their likelihood of divorcing is 43.1 percent versus 36.9 percent if they have two sons;
  • When a woman wants a child more strongly than her spouse wants a child, the marriage is twice as likely to end in divorce as a marriage where the couple wanted children equally; and
  • Parents of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are 22.7 percent more likely to divorce by their child’s eighth birthday than parents of children without ADHD.

Overcoming Child-Related Conflicts in Your Marriage

...

Posted on in Family Law

Illinois divorce lawyerThere are many ways to add a child to your family. Some couples conceive and birth biological children while others adopt children from the foster system, through private adoptions, and from other countries. When an individual with children marries, whether for the first time or after a divorce, his or her spouse may adopt the children and become their legal stepparent. This is known as a stepparent adoption.

A Child Cannot Have Three Legal Parents

One of the most important points to understand about stepparent adoption is that a child cannot have three legal parents. Although many children and adults refer to a parent’s spouse as their stepparent, a stepparent only has legal rights to a child if he or she completes the stepparent adoption process, which is only possible if the child’s other biological parent voluntarily gave up his or her parental rights or if these rights were terminated by the court. Otherwise, a parent’s spouse can build a strong relationship with a child, but without the legal rights that come with being an actual parent.

When a biological parent voluntarily terminates his or her parental rights, he or she no longer has any right to parenting time with the child. He or she also cannot be required to pay child support, nor can he or she seek child support from the child’s other parent.

Completing the Stepparent Adoption Process

...

Illinois divorce lawyerStatistically, an individual’s second or subsequent marriage is more likely to end in divorce than his or her first marriage. There are a few reasons for this. Although every marriage and by extension, every divorce, is unique, the same patterns and conflict sources tend to appear in second and later marriages across demographic groups.

It is not impossible to have a lasting second or subsequent marriage, but it does often take more work than a first marriage requires. Below are three common issues that drive remarried couples to divorce.

People Enter Second Marriages with More Baggage

Marriages end for a lot of reasons. A few common reasons include:

  • Poor conflict resolution skills;
  • Infidelity;
  • Poor communication skills;
  • Domestic violence;
  • Financial conflicts;
  • Conflicts about how to raise their children; and
  • Different lifestyle expectations.

Sometimes, a marriage ends primarily because of one partner’s behavior, like prioritizing his or her career over the family or behaving in a controlling manner toward his or her spouse. In other cases, a marriage breaks down because of actions on both partners’ parts. In any case, an individual who does not take the time to truly change his or her behaviors and thought patterns that led to the breakdown of his or her first marriage will likely repeat these patterns in a later marriage. This, coupled with a more dismal view of marriage and relationships that one can develop after a divorce, often spells trouble for second and subsequent marriages.

...

Posted on in Divorce

Ililnios divorce lawyerCertain jobs and career paths are correlated with a higher rate of divorce than others. These are not necessarily the most physically stressful jobs like construction, nor are they jobs that tend to keep individuals away from home for prolonged periods of time, like the military. Many of the jobs cited as having a high divorce rate are jobs that are mentally exhausting and put employees into positions where they are in close physical contact with others, either clients or colleagues.

There are many factors that increase or decrease a couple’s likelihood of divorcing. Each partner’s career is only one of these factors. The couple’s education and income levels, whether they have children, how old they were when they married, and the income disparity between the partners are also indicators of whether a marriage will end in divorce.

Which Careers have the Highest Divorce Rates?

The following five careers are statistically the top five for divorces:

  • Dancers and choreographers;
  • Bartenders;
  • Massage therapists;
  • Gaming cage workers, the employees who handle financial transactions in casinos; and
  • Extruding machine operators, the workers who perform repetitive tasks on assembly lines.

Other careers linked to high divorce rates include professional athletes, switchboard operators, and individuals who work as nurses and home health aids.

...

Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyerFew couples head straight for divorce when their marriages become difficult. Instead, many try to work out their difficulties and rebuild their marriages into healthy relationships. Couples have different reasons for wanting to remain married. Some want to raise their children in an intact family, others are uncomfortable with change or worry about the financial burden of a divorce, and many still do love their spouses and do not want to end their marriages.

There are effective and ineffective ways to fix a marriage. Below are a few strategies that many couples think will work, but nearly always backfire and accelerate the end of the relationship.

Moving

Some couples move to new cities and states as a way to save their marriages because they feel it will be a fresh start for their relationship. But in many of these cases, the couple simply brings the issues they had in their old home to their new one, and old patterns rear up again and drive them apart. Moving to a new place can make a marriage stronger, but only when the move is an active, affirmative choice made by both partners. When it is an attempt to move away from old difficulties, those difficulties have a way of finding the couple again.

Minimizing Conflict

...

Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyerOnce you determine that your marriage is over, you have a lot to do before and after you file for divorce. One important step is to start working with an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure that your rights and interests are protected and promoted through the divorce process.

The other steps you take before you file for divorce can make a big impact on your divorce’s progress and its ultimate outcome. During your initial consultation with a lawyer, talk about what you can do to streamline the divorce process. Every divorce is unique, but most benefit from taking the following actions:

Separate your Finances and Create Preliminary Property Division Plans

Your marital assets and debts will need to be divided between you and your spouse in your divorce. You can let the court handle the division process on its own or you can be proactive and make your own property division choices. This latter route generally enables the couple to retain greater control over how their property is divided.

One of the simplest steps to take before your divorce is to divide your bank accounts and credit card debt on your own. Transfer the balances on your joint credit cards to separate cards and close the original accounts. You can also do this with checking and savings accounts.

...

Illinois divorce attorneyIn a divorce, the couple’s marital assets are not the only thing that has to be divided. Their marital debts, too, must be divided according to the doctrine of equitable distribution. Just like marital assets, most debts accrued during a couple’s marriage are considered to be property of both parties. In a divorce, the court consider a variety of factors, such as each partner’s income and contributions to the marriage, to determine an appropriate way to divide these debts.

Examples of Marital Debts

Marital debt can include:

  • The outstanding mortgage on the couple’s home;
  • Debt owed on joint credit cards;
  • Student debt for education pursued during the marriage;
  • Medical debt; and
  • Outstanding debt on financed vehicles.

Dividing Debt According to Equitable Distribution

Even if a specific debt was accrued primarily for one partner’s benefit, such as medical bills for one spouse’s treatment or student debt for his or her degree, both partners are liable for it during and after their divorce.

...

Illinois divorce lawyerWhat was once known as legal custody is now known as parental responsibilities. This is the right to make decisions on a child’s behalf that impact the child’s lifestyle and future. Under Illinois law, a parenting plan must touch upon all of the following subjects and state which parent is responsible for making decisions in each subject area. Both parents can be named in one or all subject areas, granting them both the right to make decisions and requiring them to work together in their child’s best interest:

  • Education;
  • Healthcare;
  • Extracurricular activities; and
  • Religious upbringing.

There are many competing philosophies on education and even among married couples, parents can disagree about the best course of action for their child’s education. If you find yourself disagreeing with your former spouse’s thoughts and choices regarding your child’s schooling, keep the following in mind:

If You Share the Responsibility to Make Choices About Your Child’s Education, You Have to Work Together

When you share parental responsibilities with a former spouse, you have to cooperate for your child’s sake. Making decisions about moving a child to a different school, keeping him or her back a year, handling behavior problems in the classroom, and discussing issues related to your child’s learning disability or need for an individualized education program (IEP) can be stressful.

Take yourself and your feelings about your former partner out of the equation and focus solely on your child’s educational needs. Use concrete facts like progress reports and report cards to guide your conversations with your former partner. Remember that sometimes, a parenting plan needs to be altered to give a child the best chance for academic success.

...

Illinois divorce lawyerIn an Illinois divorce, the couple’s assets must be divided equitably. This is only possible when both partners are transparent about the assets they own and the assets’ values.

Sometimes, dishonest individuals use their partners’ lack of knowledge about their marital assets to try to keep the assets out of the property division process and leave the marriage with more than their fair share of these assets. If you are thinking about doing this, stop that train of thought. You should not try to hide assets from your former partner in your divorce, and this is why:

Your Former Spouse Can Find the Assets You Hide

If your spouse has a feeling you are hiding assets, he or she can uncover them through some detective work with his or her lawyer and/or a forensic accountant. There is no “safe” way to steal assets from your marital pool – whether you think you can hide assets by transferring them into a custodial account for your child, having a friend “hold” your assets in their account for you, or making cash purchases to liquidate the money in your joint accounts, your spouse can always trace your steps and find the money if he or she is willing to do so.

Your Unwillingness to Cooperate with the Court Can Haunt You Later

...

Illinois divorce lawyerYou cannot separate education from a child’s life. Think it like trying to extract a career from an adult’s lifestyle and perception his or her role in society. When you first meet somebody, one of the first questions you ask is “what do you do?” For a child, school is what he or she “does.” Because of this, a child’s academic needs are considered heavily when the court develops an appropriate parenting plan for him or her. And although child support orders are created using a formula, special academic needs can force the court to deviate from this formula.

Child Support can be Used to Cover School Expenses

For most children, school expenses include:

  • School supplies;
  • School clothing; and
  • Occasionally, field trips and other special events.

In some cases, a child needs far more support for his or her education. This can be the case when a child attends private school and needs parental support for tuition and uniforms of when the child has a severe mental or physical disability that requires him or her to attend a specialized school.

Your Child’s Academic Needs Are Considered when Your Parenting Plan Is Developed

...

Illinois divorce lawyerDomestic violence is far more than hitting and other forms of physical violence. It can involve psychological and emotional manipulation to maintain control over the victim. In many cases, emotional and psychological abuse occur alongside physical abuse. Other forms of violence, such as financial control and sexual abuse, can also be present.

Below are four forms of psychological abuse that can go unnoticed because they tend to be subtle. Look at the examples provided for each to help yourself determine whether psychological abuse is happening in your household.

Triangulation

Triangulation is a manipulation meant to pit two parties against each other or control the flow of information between two or more parties. It is the use of a third party to relay information to another individual when there is no reason to involve the third party, thus making a “triangle” of communication.

Examples of triangulation include:

...

Illinois custody attorneyLife rarely keeps us in one place forever. You might be offered a new job opportunity, get accepted to your dream school, meet a new partner, or face financial and personal conditions that make moving away not just an option, but the ideal course of action for you. Before you had children, decisions like this were easy to make. With children, they are far more challenging. And when you have a parenting plan for your child, moving can require court approval.

Not all proposed moves require court approval. A parent can move across town or within a small radius without getting permission from his or her former partner or the court. It is only when a proposed move is far enough that it would require altering an existing parenting plan that the parent cannot simply pack up and go.

Determine How Far You Can Move without Permission

In Illinois, where a parent currently resides determines how far they can move without his or her former partner’s consent or court approval. For parents in Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Lake, and Will counties, this limit is 25 miles from their current residence. For parents in all other Illinois counties, the limit if 50 miles. These limits apply to inter and intrastate moves, except for when a move is both out of Illinois and at least 25 miles from the child’s current residence.

Get Your Former Partner’s Consent to the Move

...

Illinois divorce lawyerWhen a couple cannot stand to be around each other, they are often advised to file for divorce. But a divorce is not feasible in all cases. When there is a barrier to a couple divorcing, whether that barrier is their cultural or religious beliefs about marriage, their financial situation, or just their own perspective of the marriage and the prospect of ending it, legal separation can be a useful way to detach from each other without actually ending the marriage. Some legally separated couples do go on to divorce while others remain content living singly while legally separated. Still, others use their separation as a time to reflect on their marriage, repair the issues that drove them apart and find ways to be a successful couple.

Below are four common reasons why Illinois couples choose legal separation.

Your Religion Prohibits Divorce

Many religions prohibit divorce. Sometimes, individuals’ personal convictions make divorce an unattractive, or even unacceptable, option. For individuals whose religious or philosophical beliefs make divorce a taboo subject, legal separation can be a way to exit an unhealthy marriage without actually violating these beliefs.

You Are Not Sure if You are Ready for a Divorce

...

Illinois divorce attorneyWhen a pregnant woman is subjected to domestic violence, she is not the only one who can suffer an injury. The fetus she is carrying at the time of the abuse can suffer in many different ways, some of which do not manifest until after birth.

Pregnancy is stressful for any couple. Sometimes, this stress drives individuals to behave in ways they never behaved before. When violence is already part of a relationship, a pregnancy can cause the violence to become more frequent or more severe. Below are various ways domestic violence can harm a fetus and eventually, a newborn and infant. If you or somebody you know is in an abusive relationship, pregnant or not, it is important that you or the victim exit the relationship safely.

Miscarriage and Stillbirth

Extreme violence can kill a fetus, which can result in a miscarriage or stillbirth. These events can be psychologically traumatizing for a mother. Miscarriages can also put women at risk of suffering physical injuries like excessive bleeding and infection.

Injuries to the Fetus

...

Illinois custody attorneyWhen a divorcing couple has children, a child support order and parenting plan are part of their divorce settlement. But what if one or more of the couple’s children are still in the womb? The court cannot create a child support order or parenting plan for a fetus. These can be established after the child’s birth, at which point the child’s legal parentage becomes an important issue to consider if he or she is not actually a product of the marriage. When the child is the product of the couple’s marriage and the parents intend to establish a parenting plan for him or her, it can be easier to wait until the child is born to complete the divorce process. However, this is not required in Illinois like it is in a few states.

A Baby Born to a Married Woman or a Woman Married at the Time of Conception Is Legally the Spouse’s Child

Legal parentage is not the same thing as biological parentage. When a woman who is currently married or was married at the time of conception gives birth, her spouse is automatically the baby’s legal parent, regardless of whether the spouse is the child’s biological parent. This can create difficulties in cases where another man fathers a married woman’s child.

A non-biological legal parent who does not want to be the child’s legal parent must terminate his or her parental rights, which is easier to achieve with the aid of an experienced family lawyer. Conversely, an unmarried biological parent must establish his parentage to become his child’s legal father, which can be done in a few different ways.

Applying Illinois’ Parenting Time and Child Support Laws after Birth

...

Posted on in Child Support

Illinois child support lawyerWhen a child support order is created, it is created to provide for the child’s needs effectively based on his or her parents’ income level. It is rare for a child support order to remain appropriate until the child turns 18, the point at which most child support orders terminate. If you are currently paying or receiving child support and your order no longer covers your child’s needs, you can modify your child support order.

Child Support Orders Are Eligible for Review Every Three Years

In Illinois, a child support order can be reviewed every three years to determine if it still meets the child’s needs without creating an undue burden on the child’s parents. During this review period, you and your former spouse have the right to request a modification to your order. After requesting a modification, the court reviews your request to determine whether it is appropriate and applicable.

If you receive child support enforcement services from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, you must prove that a modification would result in a difference of at least 20 percent of your current child support amount and one created with an updated application to state guidelines during this review period.

If an Immediate Change Is Necessary, You Will Have to Prove Why It Is Necessary

...

Recent Blog Posts

Categories

Archives

Contact Us

How Can We Help?

NOTE: Fields with a * indicate a required field.
*
*
*
AVVO LL BV