Recent Blog Posts

Resources Domestic Violence Victims Can Use to Escape Their Marriages

 Posted on August 15, 2017 in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_domestic-violence_20170816-022611_1.jpgBefore you can divorce your abusive spouse, you might need to get yourself out of your home and into a healthy mental and physical state. You can do this by making use of the resources available to you provided by the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Use its website or call the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline to find a safe way to leave your home and reach your nearest victims’ shelter. Ending an abusive marriage can take time, money, and your mental and physical energy, but it is always worth it.

The Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence

The Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) is a nonprofit organization that provides resources to domestic violence victims throughout Illinois. These resources include grants for organizations seeking to provide resources to domestic violence victims, safety planning for victims, education and outreach for victims, and training for licensed counselors and social workers who work with domestic violence victims.

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Determining If Mediation Is Right for Your Divorce

 Posted on August 10, 2017 in Mediation

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois mediation lawyerIf your marriage has reached the point where divorce is inevitable, do not assume that a lengthy court battle has to be part of your divorce. You and your spouse could be good candidates for mediation, which will make the divorce process less stressful, less expensive, and overall more empowering for you.

With mediation, a divorcing couple works with a mediator, a neutral third party, to reach agreements about their divorce settlement through a series of guided discussions. These discussions cover every aspect of the couple’s divorce settlement, such as the division of their property and how they will handle spousal maintenance. Often, couples who divorce through mediation report higher levels of satisfaction with their divorces than those who divorce through litigation. But mediation is not the ideal solution for all couples. When domestic violence is present in a marriage, mediation is rarely a viable option. Similarly, couples who cannot work together are generally not well suited for mediation. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if mediation is right for you.

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Immigrant Status and Illinois Family Law Issues

 Posted on July 28, 2017 in Family Law

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIn the wake of recent political upheavals, it is becoming common to encounter instances when family law questions and concerns acquire an immigration element. Many U.S. citizens hold dual citizenship or are married to foreign nationals. Their children may also be dual citizens. Given that many issues seem to be unsettled, in terms of the new administration’s policies, it is important to be able to react to ensure your family is protected.

Immigrant Status and Family Law

In theory, immigration law is meant to promote the idea of family unity, but in practice, U.S. immigration law can often separate families of different citizenship. Federal immigration law controls where it exists, but there are many loopholes most often filled by imperfect or inexact state laws that are applied unevenly. For example, a battered spouse may apply under immigration laws to obtain a U visa or status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), but it is state family courts and family law that govern domestic violence cases.

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Child Support Arrearages and Collection

 Posted on July 21, 2017 in Child Support

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIt is decidedly common for a noncustodial parent to be dissatisfied about the amount of child support that a court has ordered them to pay. However, this does not excuse them from paying it, even while a modification may be pending. If you are owed child support by your former spouse, this is referred to as an arrearage, and it must be paid, regardless of what other obligations your ex-spouse may have. In Illinois, there are various ways to collect on the debt.

Penalties for Non-Payment

If you owe child support and fall behind in payments without working out an alternative with your ex-spouse (or the court), the state of Illinois will be informed, and possibly federal authorities, depending on your location and the amount owed. If you attempt to disappear to avoid obligations, there are entities such as the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) which exist to track down deadbeat parents, and you may be penalized more for attempting to shirk your commitments. In extreme cases, you may be jailed under the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act.

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Modification of Existing Parenting Time Orders

 Posted on July 14, 2017 in Child Custody / Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIllinois family courts tend to follow guidelines and case precedent when issuing divorce decrees, especially absent any input from the spouses themselves regarding disposition of issues like parenting time. However, sometimes a parenting plan will need to be modified, and it is important to realize that there are certain requirements that must be followed before a change will be permitted.

Family Court Has Authority

The most important thing to realize going in is that only family courts may make definitive adjustments to divorce decrees - you are welcome to work out an agreement with your spouse as to parenting time or support, but these agreements do not have the force of law. A court will not abide by them unless you have these unofficial agreements added to your decree. It matters, especially if you and your spouse have a tumultuous relationship, because if you become engaged in a dispute and refuse to abide by your arrangement.

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Myths about Domestic Violence in Illinois

 Posted on July 07, 2017 in Family Law

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerDomestic violence is one of the most common issues in divorces, especially when dealing with parenting time questions. Because it is so commonly discussed and dealt with, however, many persistent myths have appeared on the topic. If you do not have the right information when you need it, you run the risk of missing opportunities or information that could help you out of a difficult situation.

MYTH: Domestic violence laws in Illinois only apply to mistreatment between spouses. Fact: The Illinois Domestic Violence Act explicitly states that the laws do not only apply to abuse between spouses. 750 ILCS 60/103(6) prohibits any abuse being visited on “family” or “household members,” which casts the net much wider. Past jurisprudence has included ex-spouses, roommates, co-parents of a child who lives in the home (not necessarily married), and disabled people and their caregivers under this umbrella. Essentially, as long as one or both parties to the abuse can demonstrate a relationship to the home, the law will apply.

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Inching Closer to Divorce

 Posted on June 28, 2017 in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyNo matter the circumstances, ending a marriage can be a heart-wrenching experience. Knowing when to call to quits is especially difficult, especially when you have invested a significant amount of time with your spouse. Some couples pull the plug at the first sign of serious trouble, while others may wait months, or even years, for the warning signs to appear. Even after those warning signs begin to surface, however, many couples have trouble letting go.

Knowing When Enough Is Enough

The key to deciphering if enough is enough begins with asking yourself if the bad has begun to outweigh the good in your marriage. This can be hard to figure out, especially when there is a plethora of good memories hidden between the clumps of bad times that continue to pile up. Ultimately, though, divorce experts believe one of the most glaring tell-tale signs that a marriage is in trouble is when the good times slowly become fewer and farther between. Taking it a step further, ask yourself if you have recently made any of the following observations about your marriage:

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Child Support Lifespan: How Long Is a Noncustodial Parent Required to Pay Support?

 Posted on June 21, 2017 in Child Support

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyFor both the custodial and noncustodial parent following a divorce or separation, understanding child support monetary arrangements is very important, as the arrangements affect both parties and the entire family, often for many years to come. From your personal financial standing and your ex-spouse’s paycheck to the everyday needs of your children, a child support order usually brings about significant financial changes for everyone involved.

How Long Does the Financial Obligation Remain in Effect?

In the state of Illinois, the lifespan of the financial assistance custodial parents receives child support depends on various factors. Generally, the state has some very clear guidelines that help clarify when child support officially ends. First, support is ordered until the youngest (or only) child reaches the age of eighteen or high school graduation, whichever last occurs, which is considered by Illinois law to be the legal age of emancipation. Second, the noncustodial parent may be required to make support payments for as long as it takes to pay off any past-due support. This means that even if the child reaches the age of emancipation, payments may still continue until all past-due support has been paid in full.

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Comparing Divorce Experiences

 Posted on June 14, 2017 in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyJust about everything we hear regarding comparing our divorce to someone else’s is overwhelmingly unanimous - and understandably, accurate. Experts galore emphasize the dangers of comparing our own divorce experience to our friend’s, neighbor’s, or co-worker’s. After all, everyone’s circumstances are drastically different, on many accounts. From finances and settlements to motivators for the split and the portrait of post-divorce life, everyone has their own horror and success stories to share, and two portraits rarely ever look alike.

The Good that Can Come from Comparing Divorce Experiences

While it is true that many negative results can spring from comparing the end of our marriage to someone else’s, like the bolstering of unrealistic expectations and greater emotional turmoil, there are a few benefits to making comparisons that can actually help, not hinder us. It is all a matter of perspective. Before you shut yourself away from conversing with fellow divorcees and turn off the urge to compare your split to your neighbor’s, consider the following:

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Signs You and Your Spouse May Be Good Candidates for a Trial Separation

 Posted on June 07, 2017 in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyBefore resorting to divorce, many couples consider the idea of legal separation, which allows them the opportunity to live apart and test the waters before committing to the decision to officially end their marriage. Research shows that a trial separation can be a wonderful, effective tool, particularly for those who truly do not desire to split up and who would like to repair their marriage.

While there are many advantages to attempting such an arrangement, experts tell us that not every marriage will benefit from a time-out, however. Some marriages simply do not make it, and many separations that are initially intended to serve as a temporary break for both spouses often end up being permanent and inevitably result in divorce.

Is Legal Separation Right for You?

Psychology professionals tell us that trial separations generally work for couples who are realistic about what a time-out really entails, and this means recognizing that it involves a lot of energy, hard work, and willingness on behalf of both parties to make the arrangement an effective one. If you are on the fence about trying legal separation versus diving straight into divorce proceedings, consider the following three signs that may indicate a separation is a good option for you:

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