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:

Effective Communication

All mediators are required to be excellent communicators. After all, it is their duty to help facilitate a civil, safe meeting between two divorcing partners to discuss and negotiate the terms of their separation. Listening skills are crucial, but being able to effectively communicate the concerns and needs of each spouse to everyone present during the meeting is a must.

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Illinios family law attorney, Illinois child support lawyerWhen it comes to seeking and securing child support for divorcing families, there is a lot Illinois can do to ensure parents receive the financial assistance they need. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services can implement an Income Withholding Notice to require the non-custodial parent to pay funds consistently and in a timely manner, as well as locate the non-custodial parent and confirm paternity, if necessary. If child support payments fall behind or if the non-custodial parent fails to pay, the DHFS may even exercise its right to suspend the delinquent parent’s driver’s license, revoke their professional license(s), or place a lien on their personal property.

McMahon Cracks Down

Despite these efforts to obtain child support funds, there are still voids that need to be filled. Many single parents must rely on state funding and local social service providers to fill the gaps. Sadly, it’s been some time since there’s been a state budget to fund these collection efforts. Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon is doing everything in his power to turn this around and fight for the funds that Kane County parents so desperately need. His goal is to earn as many dollars as possible to reduce single parents’ reliance on state assistance programs.

While the county’s child support division is funded by a combination of both state and federal funds, the unit has not received money from either since last summer. With no state budget and the division operating at a deficit on a continual basis, Kane County is being forced to put new plans into place to address the problem head on.

McMahon’s strategy includes asking county officials for an emergency loan. This is by no means a long-term solution, but will potentially put some pressure on Kane County taxpayers to help fund the unit’s collection efforts. McMahon is also willing to consider suing the state in order to hold it accountable to its part of the deal. He plans to meet with county board members to talk about possible litigation against the state in the near future.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois divorce lawsAlthough partners may always choose to live apart without legally separating, the formal arrangement of legal separation has its advantages for spouses looking to protect their best interests when a divorce is imminent. Not only does official legal separation help define lifestyle and financial boundaries for a separating couple, it also gives the couple space to spend some time apart and consider whether or not divorce is the best solution.

If you or your spouse are not yet committed to filing for divorce, legal separation is a temporary, alternative avenue that allows you to explore your options and set the parameters for your split. To file for legal separation in Illinois, you will need to keep the following requirements in mind:

  • You and your spouse must be separated and already living apart when the court action is initiated;
  • If you are the one seeking the legal separation, you must provide a statement that you are not the one at fault for the separation;
  • You may not marry anyone else during a legal separation until the dissolution or marriage or divorce is resolved and final;
  • You may not claim any rights to property or possessions at a later divorce hearing, after the date of the judgment of legal separation has passed; and
  • To begin the legal separation procedure, you must start by filing a petition with the Clerk of the Circuit Court

Once you file the petition with the Clerk of the Circuit Court and declare that you are not at fault for the separation, you are required to wait for a sheriff’s deputy to deliver a summons to your spouse. Your spouse will then have the opportunity to respond and at that point, the case is brought before a judge. The judge will decide whether or not all issues between you can be resolved, and if so, help set the groundwork for your agreements.

Acquainting yourself with the general requirements for a legal separation is the first step in filing and beginning the process. Should you have more questions as you consider legal separation, you can benefit from having an experienced, professional Kane County family law attorney by your side to help direct and guide you to ensure your case is handled both thoroughly and efficiently. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 today for a free consultation.

 

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Posted on in Child Support

Illinios child support laws, Illinois family law attorneyNavigating the world of divorce can be tricky, especially when you are attempting to understand your rights and working to ensure the children you share with your spouse are properly provided for after the separation. You have many tasks to sort out, including the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation).

While these factors are crucial to setting up the guidelines and boundaries for your family’s new lifestyle post-divorce, filing for child support is one of the most important processes you will encounter as you wade through the transition. Filing for child support allows you to secure and maintain consistent, dependable funds for your family’s care.

Here are some common concerns you might have as the custodial or non-custodial parent:

1. Where Does the Money Come from?

Illinois generally collects child support funds from the noncustodial parent’s employer. Pay is deducted directly via income withholding. The law allows the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to withhold a certain income dollar amount on a continual basis, including any dollar amount to account for past-due support, until it is paid in full.

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Illinois child custody attorney, Illinois family law attorneyAs of the of January 1, 2016, Illinois law refers to child custody as the allocation of parental responsibilities. The concept behind the term child custody still remains the same, however. Divorcing parents work together with the court and an attorney to create new lifestyle arrangements for their children and determine who is responsible for making what decisions for them. The agreements include everything from where the child will live, who they will live with, and how the child’s education, extracurricular activities, and religious practices will be managed.

Asking for Parental Responsibilities

The filing process for allocation of parental responsibilities will vary from county to county, but throughout Illinois you can expect to go through the following steps:

  • Obtain legal representation and file the petition;
  • Make an appointment for a case management conference (This must be done no later than 90 days after you file the petition); and
  • Serve the other parent the filed petition with a summons.

After you complete the initial first stages of the process, you await a response from the other parent. If they fail to respond, the next step is to ask the court for a default judgement.

Create a Parenting Plan That Suits Your Family’s Needs

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Posted on in Child Support

Illinios child support lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyFiling for child support can feel like just another task to pile on top of the already overwhelming divorce process. As a newly single parent, you face the challenges of caring for your children in the midst of the separation, and understandably, you want to make sure they continue to be provided for despite the changing circumstances.

Here are some common questions you might have as you begin to file for child support in Illinois:

How Can I Locate the Non-Custodial Parent?

For some divorcing parents, circumstances might arise that prevent you from knowing the whereabouts of the other parent. This can mean a lot of unease when it comes to seeking child support, but thankfully, locating the non-custodial parent is one of the services the state can offer you. They can also help confirm paternity, as well.

What Is a Typical Hearing Like?

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyWhether your decision to end your marriage has been a mutual one or a tough conclusion you’ve had to make all on your own, divorce is never easy. Even amicable separations can bring about a lot of headache when it comes time to take legal action. Both partners must come to an agreement on how assets should be divided, who will take ownership and responsibility for what, and if children are involved, parenting time (visitation) and child support must be arranged and agreed upon.

If you live in Illinois and have recently come to the conclusion that it is indeed time for you and your partner to file for divorce, here are some basics to help you get started.

The Statutes

As you begin to seek representation and commence the divorce process, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with the state’s divorce statutes. These written laws explain the guidelines for dissolution of marriage and how they are defined. For example, Part IV of The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act covers everything from Irreconcilable Differences to Legal Separation. While the legal jargon can be hard to digest and is best read through with an experienced attorney, the statutes clearly and specifically lay out what you need to know. You can find these laws via the Illinois General Assembly government website (www.ilga.gov).

State Requirements

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Illinois child custody laws, Illinios family law attorneyWhen you lose an allocation of parental responsibilities case, it can feel like you will only rarely see your child. However, there are many things you can do to increase your time with your child. It often starts with maintaining a positive relationship with the other parent. Even if the court has decided it is not in the child’s best interest for you to be the primary caretaker, that does not mean you do not have a vital role to play in your child’s life.

Right of First Refusal

Under Illinois law, when the child lives primarily with one parent, the other parent can ask the court for the “right of first refusal” when childcare is needed. This means that before the child is put in daycare, the other parent should be given the chance to be with their child instead.

This situation can benefit everyone involved. You and the child get to spend more time together, and the other parent saves on childcare costs. This arrangement works best when the two parents have an amicable relationship and both parents are willing to be flexible and put the needs of their child first.

Sharing Carpool and Taxi Duties

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyOne of the most technically difficult parts of a divorce can be the dividing of the marital property. Before the work of dividing the assets can even be started, the assets must receive a valuation.

How Marital Property Is Divided

Illinois considers all property, with a few exceptions, acquired after the date of the marriage to be marital property. Unless the two sides come to an agreement on their own, a judge is required by law to divide the property equitably. This means studying all the relevant factors and dividing the property fairly. This does not necessarily mean the property is divided equally.

How Much of the Value of an Asset Is Marital Property?

Some assets, such as a business or retirement account, may have been acquired before the marriage. However, most likely any increase in value to these assets after the date of the marriage may be considered marital property.

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Posted on in Child Support

Illinois child support attorney, Illinois family law attorneyDivorce is a daunting, emotionally draining process for anyone, but when children are involved, the additional task of seeking and obtaining child support adds a whole other element of stress to a couple’s plate. As a parent undergoing divorce, you want to make sure your children have everything they need to thrive and succeed while ensuring your family’s best interests are protected in wake of the separation.

The Facts

The state of Illinois has laid out some clear, helpful instructions for parents who need to apply for child support, and state assistance in this area is efficient and plentiful. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, here are some facts that will help acquaint you with the process:

  • Child support services are offered to children who live both in and outside of Illinois state;
  • Parents applying for child support are not required to receive public assistance;
  • The Department of Healthcare and Family Services can help establish paternity for your child or help locate the non-custodial parent, if needed; and
  • Child support services are provided by Illinois state at no cost to you.

Securing Financial Support

One of the biggest worries parents have when preparing to seek child support is wondering whether or not financial assistance can be obtained and then reliably sustained over a period of time. The good news is the state has many methods to ensure financial support is collected and that the rules for collection are enforced.

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emotional support, Kane County divorce lawyerDivorce can have long-lasting effects on the entire family. Issues such as allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody), child support, and parenting time (visitation rights) all need to be addressed as the divorce process is underway, and the emotional toll on everyone involved can be incredibly overwhelming.

The state of Illinois is also aware of these effects, and thankfully, the state legislature encourages certain practices to help ensure the children in the family are receiving the emotional support and attention they need during such a tough, transitional period.

Divorce Education Benefits the Whole Family

The Kids in a Divorcing Society program—also simply referred to as "KIDS"—is an educational program provided by Kane County for parents undergoing divorce. The goal of the program is to help equip parents with the tools they need to learn how to best restructure their families in a way that minimizes the negative emotional impact on their children before, during, and after the divorce is finalized. The KIDS program teaches the parent coping skills for re-entering the world as a newly single parent, and also benefits the child long-term by empowering and arming the parent with positive, effective parenting techniques.

Some helpful topics the program will cover:

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Posted on in Family Law

new illinois family law 2016, kane county divorce lawyer

New Divorce, Parentage and Family Law statutes become effective on January 1, 2016. The changes are immense and reflect the most significant shift in family law since the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was instituted in 1977. As news reports of the new laws hit the internet, there is both information and confusion. Clients are beginning to ask: how will this affect my case? Former clients who have been divorced for years or are having their alimony or support amounts reviewed are asking: will this change the amount I pay or receive?

Our firm is studying the new laws, strategizing about how to best help our clients, and implementing changes for the first of the year. Our office will be closed on Thursday, November 5, 2015, as all of our attorneys will be attending an all-day seminar on the new laws.

I had served on committees which drafted proposed legislative changes, and testified before the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on the custody law changes. Our firm will incorporate that knowledge in advising clients on the new allocation of rights and responsibility laws which replace our former custody laws.

The new maintenance and child support laws provide for complex calculations in determining how much each side will pay or receive.

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