Recent Blog Posts

Determining Child Support Obligations in Illinois

 Posted on July 25, 2016 in Child Support

Illinois child support attorney, Illinois family law attorneyIf you are a divorcing parent in the midst of arranging child support, chances are you are also juggling to manage other parent-child issues that come with separation, such as the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation). The child support you receive is important for the mere fact that it enables you to care for your children after the divorce, but it can also have an impact on your lifestyle with your children as a whole once the family transition is completed.

Receiving a just and reasonable amount of support can ease tension between you and your spouse, which can mean more peaceful interaction during custody and visitation exchanges. In general, the smoother the child support process goes, the better chance you have at experiencing a smoother transition all together. So, how does the state calculate child support amounts? Which factors are considered when determining those amounts?

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Parenting Time: Do Fathers and Mothers Have Equal Rights?

 Posted on July 18, 2016 in Child Custody / Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Illinois child custody laws, Illinois child custody attorneyDivorce and separation can be difficult on the entire family, especially when it comes time to address the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation), as these issues impact the lives of both parents and children. A new lifestyle is born, and new routines are put into place, forcing everyone to adjust and adapt to many big changes at once.

Unmarried Parents Versus Married Parents

One question that often plagues the mind of parents undergoing divorce is whether or not their rights are equal. The subject of father’s rights are particularly concerning, as many children end up residing with the mother after a divorce. Do fathers receive the same rights? Is their desire to participate in the lives of their children taken just as seriously as the mother’s needs and wants?

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What You Need to Know If You Are Sending or Receiving Child Support

 Posted on July 11, 2016 in Child Support

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerWhether you are a non-custodial parent looking to participate in your child’s life or you are the main caregiver in your household, providing and managing financial support for your children following a divorce is important to the well being of your entire family. Thankfully, the state of Illinois offers a plethora of resources for divorcing parents to aid them with the transition.

If You Are Receiving Support

Child support is one topic that raises many questions for parents wading through the divorce process. If you are the parent receiving the financial support, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has made it possible for you to access your case information online and to receive your child support payments electronically, in one of two ways: direct deposit or bank debit card.

With direct deposit, the custodial parent can have support funds sent directly to a checking or savings account of their choice, or they can utilize the debit card option, which involves a special debit card that allows funds to be credited to its account. You can then use that debit card anywhere it is accepted. Think of it as a bank account designed just for your child’s needs.

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Mediation: Why It Is an Effective Tool in the Divorce Process

 Posted on July 04, 2016 in Mediation

Illinois mediation attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerEven the most peaceful divorces can benefit from family law mediation. Whether there are minor or major disputes regarding issues such as finances or the raising of children, the groundwork for any separation is improved when spouses work with a certified professional who can both provide the resources and information needed to ensure the divorce process goes smoothly and help reduce tension at the same time.

Why Is Family Law Mediation Such a Helpful Tool?

  1. It reduces emotional and financial stress.

Divorce can make you go bankrupt - both literally and figuratively. It is not uncommon for spouses who feel hurt or betrayed to experience a lot of hurt and anger toward their partner. These emotions often turn into the desire for revenge, especially where finances are concerned. When consumed or blinded by these emotions, it is easy to lose sight of reality and form unrealistic expectations about how much money you will receive from your spouse or how much you will be responsible to pay following the separation. If you are not careful, this can translate to a lot of money and energy spent on “getting even,” which can sadly lead to serious emotional toll as a result. Divorce mediation helps keep the facts and your perspective in check, providing a professional, civil, organized environment for settling financial and lifestyle matters.

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Paternity: The VAP (Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity) and Why You Need It

 Posted on June 28, 2016 in Paternity

Illinois child custody attorney, Illinois paternity lawyerWhether you are in an unmarried partnership, are in the midst of a divorce, or are planning to re-marry in the near future and share a child with someone else, paternity establishment is important. It ensures your rights as a parent are protected and that your child’s rights are protected as well. Without establishing paternity, your child’s medical and financial benefits might be at stake, and your parenting privileges can be compromised.

The state of Illinois utilizes various methods to help parents establish paternity, including personal interviews, genetic testing, and judicial court hearings, when necessary. However, you can opt to complete something called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (also called a VAP) if you would like to establish paternity in a simple, straightforward manner. This is typically done right at the hospital when the child is born, although a VAP may be completed, signed, and witnessed at any time for any child born to unmarried parents.

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Challenges for Non-Custodial Parents and How the State Can Help

 Posted on June 21, 2016 in Child Custody / Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Illinois social services, Illinois family law attorneyNon-custodial parents (also referred to as NCPs) face a number of challenges during big family transitions such as divorce. Whether you are in an unmarried partnership or are getting ready to go through a divorce or legal separation, if you share a child with someone, chances are you might run into some roadblocks as you navigate the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation).

Parenting Time

Parenting time (also known as visitation) is an important part of building and maintaining a healthy relationship with your child. As a part of the divorce process, it is very common for couples to disagree on lifestyle arrangements for their children. For example, disagreements can arise about everything from religious upbringing and school choices to which parent gets to spend time with the child and how often. Typically, parents work with an attorney, the state, and a mediator to put together a parenting plan, which establishes the groundwork for all these issues and creates guidelines for how the child will be brought up following the separation. This is especially helpful for the child, as it provides structure and encourages a safe, stable environment for them after their parents’ relationship ends. Never-married couples having trouble seeing their children also have options for managing their parenting time. The state’s Access and Visitation Program can help with mediation, counseling, enforcement of visitation orders, and much more.

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Irreconcilable Differences: Common Conflicts that Lead to Divorce

 Posted on June 14, 2016 in Divorce

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerDespite even the greatest efforts, some marriages end in divorce due to deterioration over time while others fade quickly due to inevitable circumstances beyond anyone’s control. Whatever your situation, when it comes time to file for divorce, you will likely come across the term irreconcilable differences, a concept used to describe conflict that is unable to be resolved between two spouses. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, irreconcilable differences are cited as the source for the “irretrievable” breakdown of the marriage. In some states and counties, these differences are also referred to as grounds for divorce.

When the court determines that certain efforts at reconciliation have failed, or that any further attempts at reconciliation in the future are no longer practical or productive, those efforts are no longer considered in the best interest of the family. In short, when both parties have done all they can do to resolve their problems and have reached no compromise or found no solution, their marriage is dissolved due to irreconcilable differences.

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Common Divorce Questions

 Posted on June 07, 2016 in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois divorce processRegardless of the reason for your impending divorce, the challenges set before you as you wade through the ordeal can seem daunting, especially when you are unfamiliar with the steps required to initiate the process. Even the most civil agreement between two partners to end their marriage can prompt a lot of stress due to the overload of incoming information.

You have decided to divorce. So, what is next? What do you need to know? Are you taking the most reasonable course of action? Who can help guide you along the way? Here are three things every divorcing spouse should know:

Legal Separation Is Not for Everyone

Some partners choose to file for legal separation in order to officially live apart but hold on to certain benefits, such as health insurance policies and various financial arrangements. Living apart and filing for legal separation can protect the best interest of both parties while giving them time and space to live apart to examine whether or not divorce is the best option. For some, this is a way to test the separation waters before officially calling it quits; for others, it is merely a transitional stepping stone on the way to a sure-fire divorce. No matter which camp you fall in, one thing to know is that legal separation is just that: a separation. It is not an actual divorce, and it is only a temporary solution.

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Why Does Paternity Matter?

 Posted on May 26, 2016 in Divorce

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois paternity lawsYou may have heard the term parentage used to discuss laws that concern parenting in the world of family law. Parentage laws are also known as paternity laws, and they have continued to evolve in the state of Illinois in order to more accurately reflect and meet the needs of diverse families.

Although the laws change, their purpose and the concept behind them remains the same: Paternity laws exist to govern and protect parents and their rights, as well as the rights of the children and family as a whole. Some issues that Illinois parentage laws touch on include the following:

  • College expenses in child support;
  • Civil unions and gender neutrality;
  • Same-sex adoptions; and
  • DNA testing and its potential effect on the child.

Paternity Protects the Child and Parent

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Three Qualities That Define a Good Mediator

 Posted on May 19, 2016 in Mediation

Illinios family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerDivorcing couples often hear a number of things about mediation as they enter the divorce process. Success stories and horror stories abound. More often than not, though, the success stories far outweigh the disappointing accounts given by co-workers, families, and friends. This is ultimately due to the overwhelming resolution rates that we see among Illinois State divorce cases. The Department of Human Rights reports that their Mediation Unit’s resolution rates are 80 percent for all conferences held. That tells us mediation works, and it can for you, too.

What Makes a Good Mediator?

Resolution rates are not magic, however. They do not exist by chance or luck; they are a direct result of working with a professional, efficient, trained mediator who is well skilled and equipped to produce good results. Here are three qualities that define a good mediator:

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