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Mt. Prospect child support attorneyWhen a court orders a parent to pay child support, this is many times done as part of a divorce case. The parent required to pay support typically must begin paying it from the date the order is issued. However, there may be cases in which a custodial parent would ask for child support to be paid for a time period before the order was issued. Usually, these cases involve unmarried parents, although sometimes, a spouse that was at one time married to the other parent may ask for retroactive child support as well. 

Retroactive Child Support for Married Parents

Married parents cannot ask for retroactive child support dating as far back as the child’s birth. The law assumes that during the marriage, both parents were contributing to the support of the child, and as such, child support is not owed for that time. However, there are instances in which a spouse may still ask for retroactive child support as part of a divorce. This may address the period of time before the child support order is issued. In this case, the parent receiving the support for the child can ask for retroactive child support from the date a petition for child support was filed with the court. 

For example, a father may be served divorce papers on February 1. On May 1, the mother may file a petition for child support. After being awarded child support on July 1, she may ask for retroactive support. This would provide support for the two months between the motion and the hearing. A judge has discretion at this point as to whether to award retroactive support or not. 

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Hoffman Estates child support modification attorney

During a divorce that involves children, one parent (typically the non-custodial parent) will usually be ordered to pay child support to the other parent. However, the one constant in life is change. When life changes affect a parent’s employment and the income he or she earns, modifications to child support orders may be necessary. This can ensure that a parent will not be required to make payments that he or she cannot afford, and it can make sure that both parents are continuing to meet their children’s financial needs. 

Since Illinois law takes both parents’ incomes into account when determining child support, if either parent receives a promotion or an increase in pay, the amount of the parents’ child support obligations may need to be recalculated. If you need help modifying your child support order, you should work with an experienced family law attorney.

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Posted on in Divorce

Inverness uncontested divorce attorney

When facing a divorce, most generally want to get the process over with as soon as possible. Unfortunately, ending a marriage takes time. Some of the time waiting for your divorce to be finalized may be out of your control. However, there are some steps you can take to expedite the process. Below are some of the main factors that influence how long a divorce will take in Illinois:

The Residency Requirement and Waiting Period

To get divorced in Illinois, at least one spouse must live in the state for at least 90 days. If you and your spouse agree that irreconcilable differences have led to the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage, you can complete your divorce with no waiting period. If either spouse does not agree to the divorce, irreconcilable differences will be presumed if the two of you live “separate and apart” for at least six months prior to the date of the divorce judgment.

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Arlington Heights spousal maintenance attorney high net worth

Following a divorce, ex-spouses should be able to maintain the lifestyle they enjoyed during their marriage. When one spouse earns a large income, he or she may be required to pay spousal maintenance to his or her former partner. However, a maintenance award is not guaranteed, and this issue often results in contentious battles in divorces that involve a high net worth, particularly when one spouse has a high net worth and the other, on paper at least, does not. 

If you have stayed home to care for children, or if you have been trying to get an education while your spouse has earned the majority of the family’s income, you may be able to receive maintenance (formerly known as alimony) following your divorce. In order to ensure that you receive the spousal support you deserve, you will need to keep the following tips in mind: 

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Posted on in Divorce

Hoffman Estates divorce mediation lawyerWhen getting a divorce, most couples want to get the process over with as quickly and amicably as possible. This is why divorce mediation has become such a popular option today. During mediation, the two spouses sit down with a mediator and work together to come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce. The mediator does not represent either party or make any decisions; instead, he or she is simply a facilitator that encourages the couple to cooperate to resolve issues in a respectful and honest manner. 

There are many advantages to mediation. A couple can complete the process much more quickly than a litigated divorce that means significant savings as well; however, there are also some potential drawbacks to mediation. Before deciding to enter into the mediation process, you should be aware of these limitations. 

The Difficulty of Finding Assets

During a litigated divorce, your attorney has a number of means to determine the full extent and value of your marital assets. During the discovery phase, depositions, subpoenas or other methods may be used to obtain information from your spouse, and questions asked under oath must be answered honestly. This can ensure that all marital property will be discovered, and this process will reduce the possibility that your spouse will attempt to hide any assets from you. During mediation, these resources are not at your disposal. If your spouse is hiding any assets, you will be unlikely to uncover this information during mediation. 

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Inverness divorce attorney for substance abuseSadly, substance abuse is prevalent in the United States and is the cause of many divorces. When one spouse abuses drugs or alcohol, this can make life very difficult for the other spouse. A family may struggle financially because one spouse has used marital funds to buy drugs or alcohol, and the abusive behavior of an addict may cause other family members to fear for their safety. These are just two of the issues that may present themselves in a marriage involving an addicted spouse. 

Before filing for divorce, many people only focus on how different their lives will be once the divorce is finalized. However, it is just as important to realize how substance abuse can affect the divorce process. 

Child-Related Matters

A judge will certainly consider substance abuse problems when determining how to allocate parental responsibility (formerly known as child custody in Illinois). A judge’s main consideration is always what is in the best interests of the child. If a parent has a substance abuse problem, the judge may feel that he or she is not able to properly care for a child. In fact, when the abuse is significant, it could endanger the child. 

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Barrington family law attorney for unmarried couplesWhen relationship issues occur between celebrities or high-profile couples, many people may wonder how the issues these people experience, such as divorce, would play out in their own lives. This was illustrated recently when Brody Jenner and his girlfriend, Kaitlynn Carter, broke up one year after their unofficial wedding ceremony in Indonesia. Many people thought the two were legally married, and the unofficial status of their marriage was not revealed until they split. 

The fact that Jenner and Carter lived together for at least a year would make their union common law in several states. However, since Illinois does not recognize common law marriage, couples who live together in the state may not be recognized as a married couple. Prior to 1905, couples in Illinois could decide to get married without any formal documentation. Today, those in Illinois wishing to marry must meet two requirements: solemnization and registration.

Solemnization

Under Illinois law, marriages are valid if they involved solemnization, in which a ceremony or exchange of vows took place. A solemnization is valid even if the person performing it was not legally qualified to do so. That is, the person marrying the two people does not have to be ordained in any way, and as long as a reasonable person believed the solemnization was legal, it is considered valid in Illinois. 

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Arlington Heights collaborative divorce attorneyWhen a couple chooses to get a divorce, there are many ways they can do so. They can go through litigation, arbitration, mediation, collaborative divorce, or cooperative divorce. These last two options are often confused, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, there are differences between the two, and divorcing couples should understand what those are before deciding what type of divorce to pursue. 

Collaborative Law 

During a collaborative divorce, each spouse will meet separately with his or her own attorney. He or she will outline what he or she wants from the divorce, and the minimum settlement he or she will accept. If both parties agree to pursue a collaborative divorce, they will enter into a Participation Agreement along with their respective attorneys. The agreement states that all parties are committed to the collaborative process and that they will freely and honestly exchange information with each other as they work to reach a divorce settlement. 

After the Participation Agreement is signed by both parties, meetings will begin. During these meetings, both sides and their attorneys will negotiate the terms of the divorce, addressing issues such as child custody and property division. Sometimes, outside experts and advisors are brought in to advise on issues such as finances and child development. 

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Palatine divorce lawyer for emotional issues

When most people think of grief, they think of losing a loved one. However, any major loss can cause a person to struggle with sadness, and divorce is certainly a traumatic event that can lead to this type of difficulty. People going through a divorce experience a wide range of emotions, and everyone processes emotions differently. However, people often progress through several stages dealing with grief, and understanding these stages can help you determine the best steps to take during the divorce process. By working with an experienced divorce attorney, you can understand your legal options and ensure that your rights are protected as you process these emotions. 

Denial

This stage is most likely to occur when one spouse wants a divorce, but the other does not. A person may believe that talk of divorce is just a phase the couple is going through and that everything will soon return to normal. In some cases, denial can be a very helpful emotion, serving as a natural defense mechanism that protects a person from feeling too many emotions all at once. However, even if you believe that your marriage can be saved, you should take steps to protect your rights, including addressing issues related to property ownership or child custody during the divorce process.

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Mt. Prospect divorce attorney for child support and spousalMost people know how much income they earn in a month or a year. Sometimes, however, determining the actual amount of income can become complicated. For example, what if you are an independent contractor, and your income is constantly in flux? Or, what if you are receiving Social Security benefits? These are just two situations in which determining how much income you have becomes tricky. However, your income will play a vital role in divorce proceedings, particularly when finalizing terms regarding child support and spousal maintenance. So, how do you define your income in divorce proceedings? In Illinois, these determinations are based on three different statutes: the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), the Income Withholding for Support Act, and the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). 

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act

The UIFSA governs financial support obligations for divorced spouses who live in different states, and it has the broadest definition of income. Under the UIFSA, income is considered any earnings or property subject to withholding for support. 

To understand this vague definition, you must first determine what income and other property is subject to withholding for support. This is outlined in the Income Withholding for Support Act.

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Barrington child support lawyerA non-custodial parent who is ordered by a judge to pay child support may experience feelings of contempt and hostility toward his or her former partner. These strong emotions do not necessarily occur because a parent does not want to provide financially for his or her children, but they often result from a loss of control over one’s finances. With no way of knowing what those child support payments are being used for, a parent may worry about whether they are actually going toward the daily living expenses of the child or are being used to pay for other costs incurred by the custodial parent. A non-custodial may also wonder why he or she may be required to pay additional expenses as part of his or her child support obligations. So, what does child support actually pay for?

Basic Child Support Obligations

In Illinois, all parents have a legal obligation to provide for their children financially until the time a child turns 18. This support is meant to provide for the basic living expenses of the child, including food, clothing, housing and other basic needs. Essentially, child support payments are meant to provide for the child’s needs in a way that replicates a two-parent household. However, in addition to this basic support obligation, non-custodial parents may also be required to provide additional financial support that meets children’s other needs. 

Additional Child Support Obligations

While a basic child support obligation is meant to provide for a child’s daily living expenses, Illinois law outlines four categories for additional child support above and beyond the basic obligation:

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Mt. Prospect child support attorney wage garnishmentIn Illinois, child support is taken seriously. Illinois law recognizes that all parents are financially responsible for meeting their children’s needs until the children are no longer minors. While ensuring that children’s safety and welfare are protected, the law can place a financial burden on those who must pay support. When non-custodial parents do not pay financial support, the other parent may take measures to ensure child support is paid. 

Non-custodial parents who do not pay child support can be held in contempt of court. However, cases involving non-payment are often resolved before these types of charges are filed, and to ensure that payments are made, the non-custodial parent’s wages may be garnished. The parent’s employer will then be responsible for deducting the ordered amount from his or her wages and making the payments to the custodial parent. However, a parent may wonder how wage garnishment is handled and what will happen if an employer fails to make these payments. 

How Wage Garnishment for Child Support Works

A parent who has not received court-ordered child support payments can petition the court to garnish the wages of the other parent. The amount garnished may address both ongoing payments and any back payments and interest owed. If the court allows the wage garnishment, up to 50 percent of the non-custodial parent’s wages can be deducted from their paychecks. If the non-custodial parent does not have any other support obligations, such as child support or spousal support from a previous relationship, up to 60 percent of his or her wages can be garnished. Additionally, if a non-custodial parent is more than 12 weeks behind on child support payments, another 5 percent can be garnished from his or her wages. 

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Hoffman Estates family law attorney for collaborative divorceIf you are considering divorce, you have likely imagined lengthy legal battles and contentious disputes with your ex-spouse during the process. However, divorce does not have to be this way. Collaborative law is a very effective alternative to litigation in court when trying to finalize the terms of a divorce. Collaborative divorce functions as a middle ground between mediation, in which both parties are very amicable and cooperative, and litigation, where things can become fairly hostile as disputes are argued in court in front of a judge. 

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

During a collaborative divorce, both sides will work together with their respective attorneys to try to resolve all outstanding disputes or legal issues, such as custody of children or division of marital property. In a collaborative divorce, the attorneys for both sides attempt to come to an agreement that is satisfactory for all involved, unlike litigation, in which one side typically wins and one loses. Collaborative divorce places the needs of the couple, and the entire family, front and center. By working together to reach a settlement, a couple can eliminate uncertainty over what a judge will decide, and both parties will have much more control over the outcome. 

How Much Does Collaborative Divorce Cost?

There is no single answer to the question of how much any divorce will cost, whether litigation, mediation or collaborative law is used to resolve disputes. However, collaborative law is often much more affordable than litigation. In a collaborative divorce, experts do not need to testify in court, you will not need to attend multiple court hearings, and you can avoid paying filing fees for petitions or subpoenas. Ultimately, the cost of a collaborative divorce will depend on how long it takes for you and your spouse to come to an agreement on the outstanding issues. Generally speaking though, a collaborative divorce is less costly than litigation. 

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Rolling Meadows divorce attorney missing spouseEven if your marriage has broken down, you may not want to go through the long, drawn-out process of divorce. You know you will have to see your ex in many unpleasant circumstances, and you may want to avoid interacting with him or her altogether. If you are in an abusive relationship, this can be a particularly important issue. 

You may have heard about the possibility of getting a divorce through the newspaper in which you simply publish the divorce announcement and have your marriage dissolved. Is this true, though? Can you really just publish that you want a divorce in a newspaper and have the process finalized? While this may be possible in Illinois, the process of doing so is not easy, and you will have to meet several criteria before you start paying for that ad space. 

What You Need to File Through Publication

In a few rare cases, you can get divorced through a publication in the newspaper in Illinois. Before you do so, you will need to file a petition for divorce with the court, ask the judge to allow you to serve the divorce papers through publication, and then prove why you need to do so. 

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Inverness divorce and child custody lawyerIf you are going through a divorce with children involved, you will also have to go through child custody proceedings. Child custody, which is known as the “allocation of parental responsibilities” in Illinois, is one of the most emotional and hotly contested aspects of any divorce, since there is a lot on the line. In order to give your case the best chance of success in court, you should be sure to know what to do and what not to do. If you are currently going through a custody battle, make sure you avoid making any of the following mistakes that could sabotage your case:

1. Try to Alienate Your Children From the Other Parent

During a divorce, one parent may try to influence the other parent’s relationship with the couple’s children. He or she may not allow the child to call the other parent during visits, or he or she may speak badly about the other parent to the child. While this type of behavior is common in divorce cases, the courts do not view it favorably. A judge will typically view alienation as damaging to the child, and he or she may choose to restrict the parental responsibilities or parenting time of a parent who engages in parental alienation. 

2. Yell at Your Spouse or Children

People sometimes “play dirty” during divorce proceedings, and your ex-spouse may go so far as to record your conversations. If you yell at or belittle your ex-spouse or child in any way, this can have a very damaging impact on your child custody case. While recordings made without your permission are not admissible in court, the mere existence of a record of your behavior can be damaging to your case. The only way to make certain that this type of behavior will not affect your relationship with your children is to never yell at your spouse or children or become violent in any way.

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Arlington Heights uncontested divorce attorneyGetting an uncontested divorce sounds fairly simple. In fact, these are typically the least complicated divorces in Illinois because both spouses agree to the terms of the divorce; however, this type of divorce isn’t always straightforward or uncomplicated. Any couple facing a divorce, even one that is uncontested, is going to have questions. Below are the five most common issues that come up in uncontested divorces: 

Can We Use the Same Lawyer?

One lawyer representing both sides in any legal matter is a major conflict of interest. While both spouses may consult with a single attorney as they proceed with the divorce process, the attorney can only represent one spouse during the divorce proceedings. In order to ensure that both parties’ rights are protected, you and your spouse should use different attorneys that will represent each party’s separate interests. Even during an uncontested divorce, you will need legal advice on the steps to take and an advocate who will stand up for your rights. 

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?

This will depend on the timelines followed in your local family court, which can range from as little as two weeks to up to two months. In addition to the court timelines, there are other factors that will affect how long your divorce will take. These include the court’s schedule and how long it takes:

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Palatine parental responsibility guardian ad litemIf you are going through a divorce, you will likely come across a variety of procedural rules that you will have to follow and many different legal terms you may not have heard before. One of these terms is “guardian ad litem.” Many divorcing couples do not understand the role of a guardian ad litem (GAL) or why one may be appointed by the court. However, this person can play an important part in decisions about child custody, so you will want to be sure to understand how to proceed if a GAL has been appointed.

What Is a Guardian Ad Litem?

In some divorce cases, matters related to the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time may need to be addressed by the judge. When making decisions about these issues, the judge must take a number of factors into consideration, including the home life of both parents, the financial situation of each parent and ultimately, what is best for the child. 

While this information is all very important for a judge to have, he or she will be unable to perform extensive interviews with the parents, the child or other relevant parties, such as teachers, doctors, family members and counselors. To gather the required information, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem who will investigate the case and report the findings to the judge. The GAL will typically prepare a written report, and each parent’s attorney may cross-examine the GAL in court. The judge is not bound by the recommendations made by the guardian ad litem, but he or she will usually take the report into great consideration when making decisions. 

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Mt. Prospect divorce attorney adulteryIn April of 2019, daytime talk show host Wendy Williams filed for divorce from her husband, Kevin Hunter. During the divorce proceedings, Hunter requested a substantial amount in spousal support, as well as child support for the couple’s 18-year-old son, Kevin Junior. Hunter relied on his job as executive producer on Williams’ show for an income, and he was also her personal manager. Now, after being fired from both jobs, he has no source of income. 

This case is interesting, raising several questions. One significant issue involves Williams’ claim that she should not have to pay spousal support because Hunter cheated on her. Those who are divorcing in Illinois may wonder how the state’s laws would address these issues. Does adultery affect the terms of a divorce? 

Adultery as Grounds for Divorce

In Illinois, the only grounds for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” This simply means that there has been a breakdown in the marriage and that there is no hope that the couple will reconcile. This is different than how divorce worked in Illinois historically, as previously, there was once a long list of grounds for divorce, including adultery. 

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Hoffman Estates divorce lawyer for modification of maintenanceThe completion of divorce proceedings has an air of finality. The marriage is officially over, the sometimes long and drawn out divorce process is finished, and both parties can move on with their lives. However, just because a divorce is final does not mean those involved will live by their divorce decree forever. Like everything else in life, the terms of a divorce often change, sometimes years after they were finalized. 

Remarriage is one of the biggest reasons the terms of a divorce will change. When one of the ex-spouses gets remarried, both parties will want to consider how spousal maintenance and child support will be affected.

Remarriage and Maintenance in Illinois

Generally speaking, when a person who is receiving maintenance gets remarried, their former spouse will no longer be required to pay alimony. The only exception is when the two parties have come to another agreement. The person making alimony payments can stop doing so upon the date of the remarriage. They do not have to return to court or ask for an order of termination of support.

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Rolling Meadows family law attorney deceased parent child custody

When parents are divorced, the death of a parent can create a number of difficulties. If the deceased ex-spouse was the custodial parent, this will likely mean that the other parent will have more parenting time with their child. However, it is important to understand how Illinois courts address child custody in cases in which a parent dies. 

The Courts Are Generally in Favor of the Surviving Parent

When a custodial parent dies, and the courts need to reassign custody of children (known as “allocation of parental responsibilities” in Illinois), they will generally give preference to the surviving parent. The court will typically assume that the surviving parent has a greater interest in the care, custody and control of the child than anyone else. This will generally hold true even when another person, such as a grandparent or stepparent, asserts rights over the child. 

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