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Inverness parenting time attorney for marijuana useAs of January 1, 2020, marijuana is legal in Illinois for both medical and recreational use. However, even though the possession and use of this drug is no longer a criminal offense, people who have gotten a divorce and have at least partial custody of their children should think carefully before using marijuana. Irresponsible use of drugs or alcohol could negatively affect the amount of time you are able to spend with your child. 

How Marijuana Use May Affect Parenting Time and Parental Responsibility

In Illinois, child custody is referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities, and visitation is referred to as parenting time. When determining how much time each parent will spend with their child, the court will consider what is in the child’s best interests. If one parent is concerned that the other parent is using marijuana when the child is in his or her care, this issue can be brought to the attention of the courts, and the parent may ask for a modification of the parenting plan. For example, a parent may ask that the other parent’s parenting time be reduced or that the parent be prohibited from using marijuana during his or her parenting time.

Understanding this issue is important for anyone who currently has parenting time with a child. Sometimes, a bitter ex will tell the court that a parent is using marijuana excessively around the child as a means of obtaining a greater allocation of parenting time. A parent may claim that the other parent’s use of marijuana is endangering the child, and the other parent may be required to prove that he or she has not acted in a way that has harmed the child.

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Inverness parenting plan attorneyAfter getting a divorce as a parent, you and your ex-spouse will typically have to work together to co-parent your children. This can be difficult, particularly if the divorce was bitter or messy, and there are still feelings of resentment. However, it is best if you are able to work together with your ex-spouse as peacefully and respectfully as possible. Not only will everyone benefit from this cooperation, but it can help you demonstrate that you are willing to put your children’s interests first, which may work in your favor if you need to modify the terms of your parenting plan in the future. Here are some ways you can encourage ongoing cooperation between co-parents after getting divorced:

Solve Problems Together

Although you and your ex-spouse have agreed to work together as co-parents, this does not mean that any hurt or anger that built up during the divorce will just go away. However, you will still need to be able to cooperate to meet your children’s needs and address any problems that may arise. When working to resolve these issues, you should try to put your feelings about your former spouse to the side and focus on how the two of you can reach a solution that will provide for your children’s best interests. 

Maintain Open Communication

Communication about what is going on in children’s lives is one of the most important factors in successful co-parenting. By keeping your children the focal point of every conversation, the two of you can ensure that you understand their needs and are prepared to address any ongoing concerns. This will also allow you both to remain informed about what is going on in your children’s lives, including any medical or educational matters that you and your ex-spouse both need to be aware of. 

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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 divorce attorneyParental alienation during divorce is more common than many people think. One study has found that parental alienation plays a part in 11 to 15 percent of all divorces. For the parent being alienated, this can be devastating and frustrating. How does one prove the other parent is attempting alienation of children? Is there anything a parent can do about this? 

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to interfere in his or her children’s relationship with the other parent. This commonly happens during and after divorce, although sometimes it may even begin to happen towards the end of the marriage. 

A parent may commit alienation by telling their children that the other parent does not really love them or does not want to see them. However, alienation is not always so obvious. Sometimes, one parent will simply speak negatively about the other parent in front of the children, such as by blaming the other parent for the divorce, for financial difficulties, or for any other problems the children are experiencing. Over time, children may believe what they hear and start to pull away from the parent they are being alienated from. 

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Barrington child custody lawyerEven those who do not regularly follow celebrity news may have heard about the breakup of Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson. Aside from the entertainment aspect of the story, people may be curious about the legal effects of the breakup and how similar matters would be handled in Illinois. Since the couple has a child together, the question of how child custody and child support will be handled may be on some people’s minds.

Child Custody for Unwed Parents in Illinois

When a child is born to a married couple in Illinois, the husband is assumed to be the father of the child. However, that is not the case when the parents are unwed. If unmarried parents break up, the parentage of the child will need to be legally established before decisions can be made about child custody.

Parentage is established in one of three ways in Illinois. The easiest way is for both parents to complete a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) in which they both agree the man in question is the biological father of the child. If the parents do not agree to submit a VAP, a court may order DNA testing to establish that the man is the child’s biological father, and an Order of Paternity will be issued. In addition to these options, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services may also conduct paternity testing and enter an Administrative Paternity Order.

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Inverness child custody attorneyIn a perfect world, all children would live with both parents in a safe and loving home. However, this stable and supportive situation does not exist in all families, and children can end up splitting their time between parents, living solely with one parent, or being cared for by relatives.

Child custody, referred to as parental responsibilities under Illinois law, legally and traditionally rests solely with the parents. Parents are presumed to be fit, and efforts are made to keep children under their parents’ care. For a variety of reasons, however, parents are sometimes unable or unsuitable to take on this responsibility, and in these cases, a safe and stable alternative must be found that protects the best interests of the child. The road to achieve custody rights as a non-parent can be difficult, but not impossible.

Challenges to Custody

The biggest challenge any non-parent will face when seeking to assert custody rights is whether he or she has standing to bring the matter before the court. Standing refers to the petitioner’s ability to maintain a legal case. With non-parents, standing will only be found if the child is not in the physical custody of either parent (step-parents and grandparents do not necessarily need physical custody to gain standing if certain conditions are met). The person caring for the child must have obtained possession by consent, acknowledgment, or acquiescence of the parents, and the arrangement needs to be more than temporary.

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Arlington Heights prenup lawyerMarriage naturally intertwines a couple’s social and financial lives, and these matters must be untangled in the event of divorce. This is no easy task, especially in light of equitable property division, a legal model that ensures both spouses receive a fair share of marital property following divorce. Under this standard, spouses can expect to divide marital assets in roughly equal measures, regardless of which spouse provided the resources to acquire the property in the first place.

While the contributions of both spouses need to be recognized in a divorce, a spouse who has substantial assets coming into a marriage or the potential to become a high-earner may have reasonable concerns about protecting his or her interests if the marriage does not work out. In these cases, a couple may choose to use a prenuptial agreement to address the resolution of financial issues in the event of divorce or another designated event, such as the death of a spouse.

Planning for the possible end of a marriage before it has even begun may appear pessimistic, but a prenuptial agreement serves an important purpose, and it can make the divorce process faster and simpler by sorting out complicated issues in advance. Importantly, this need is not limited to couples in a particular stage of life at the time of their marriage, as both younger and older couples can benefit from prenuptial contracts.

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Schaumburg divorce lawyer college expensesDivorced parents rightly assume that their obligation to pay child support ends when the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school. Financially supporting a child until he/she is legally able to engage in full time employment makes sense from a practical and legal perspective; however, many children go on to attend college and obtain a degree, causing them to incur the sky-high cost of a college education in America.

Unless a child receives a full scholarship that covers tuition, room, board, books and other expenses, the financial assistance of their parents is often necessary to help pay for their college education. Paying for college is a struggle for many parents, and divorced parents face the added pressure of juggling this cost while maintaining separate households. 

While educational expenses for primary-level instruction are included in child support formulas, college expenses are not. If a parent wants to ensure that the other party helps cover the costs of a child’s college education, they will need to file a petition requesting contribution toward college expenses. 

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Posted on in Spousal Support

Hoffman Estates family law attorney, enforcing alimony, maintenance payments, Illinois spousal support, divorce and financesFormer spouses who receive alimony, or maintenance, are often cast by society as greedy and lazy, using this support to avoid becoming employed and self-sufficient. What many people fail to understand is that alimony is rarely a permanent form of financial assistance, and the vast majority of recipients need that money in the short-term to get their lives in order after a divorce. Recipients count on this money as a major part of meeting financial obligations, and suffer huge detriments when it is not paid.

Payors sometimes feel resentful over this obligation, and some choose to sidestep the responsibility by failing to pay the required amount. Alimony awards are legally enforceable, and the party denied rightful payment has the ability to petition a Court to force compliance. Usually, any penalties associated with violations are limited to additional financial outlay; however, in more extreme cases, criminal charges are possible.

The former head of the Chicago Board of Trade, Patrick Arbor, fled the country five months ago to avoid paying the alimony and property settlement award ordered in a divorce from his wife of 17 years, and was recently arrested by Boston Police when he re-entered the country, though quickly released when Illinois authorities declined to extradite him. While the circumstances of this case are somewhat outside the norm, it does illustrate seriousness of flouting Court-ordered obligations.

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discovery in divorce, Hoffman Estates family law attorney, divorce process, divorce requirementsWhen couples think about divorce, they usually focus on the emotional and financial repercussions of the decision and leave the procedural and legal requirements to a divorce attorney. Spouses generally have an idea about the need to produce and submit certain documents to the Court so the case can proceed. However, they may not realize that the other side is also entitled to request, and if necessary forcibly demand, the production of information as a routine part of divorce. This process is referred to as discovery, and typically takes the most time, resources and expenses to complete. In fact, this step is a necessary prelude to negotiation; therefore, any meaningful advancement of a divorce petition hinges on successfully completing this part of the process.

In an unusual move, a California U.S. Representative is seeking to depose a representative in Ohio in connection with his divorce case, which includes allegations of adulterous behavior. Given how integral discovery is to the progression and completion of a divorce case, understanding how this process works and the underlying purpose is an important part of moving through this transition as seamlessly as possible.

The Purpose of Discovery

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allocating parental responsibilities, Hoffman Estates family law attorney, parental rights, temporary custody order, emergency temporary custody orderTaking care of a child’s needs during the divorce process is challenging and not always easy to ascertain. If the parents are experiencing a high amount of conflict, this can compound and complicate how a parent should approach protecting his or her child from negative consequences. Depending on the source of the conflict, requesting a Court implement a temporary order allocating parental responsibilities (how Courts now refer to child custody matters) may be necessary to protect the child’s wellbeing. In addition, emergency motions governing parental access and/or authority over the child may also be filed if there is an immediate threat to the child’s health or safety.

While not uncommon, requests for temporary custody arrangements are not a standard practice in divorce cases, and Courts will expect to see some basis for such a request, and ideally, some agreement on the terms. Actress Jennifer Hudson is currently battling over custody of her son, and recently agreed to give her ex-fiancé temporary custody due to her work-related travel schedule that left the father as the primary caretaker, in spite of a previous protective order for physical and emotional abuse.

Consider the following information regarding how Courts evaluate requests for temporary custody, and how these orders can influence the terms of the final child custody.

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Posted on in Division of Property

Hoffman Estates family law attorney, dividing debt, debt and divorce, marital debt, marital propertyOne of the perks of marriage is sharing and receiving benefits from a spouse’s property and income. However, this can become a huge negative when a couple divorces.

In addition to dividing marital assets, a divorcing couple is also expected to divide marital debt. Deciding how to handle these obligations can be tricky, and both parties may benefit from settling property division before a divorce is finalized, or at the very least, via a private agreement.

If the Court gets involved in deciding this issue, Illinois follows the equitable division of marital property system in divorce. Equitable division requires Courts to determine the fairest way to split a couple's marital property by taking into account a variety of factors set forth in Illinois statute. In practical terms, this may mean the division is not equal. Moreover, as the division concerns marital debt specifically, how the debt was accumulated can greatly influence how a Court decides to allocate that debt.

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Posted on in Divorce

filing for divorce, Hoffman Estates family law attorneyThe process of divorce, from beginning to end, is different for everyone. Few couples rarely jump to ending a marriage at the first sign of trouble. However, couples who enter divorce must decide at some point that the marriage is not salvageable. Legally dissolving the relationship may be the best decision.

Once the decision to divorce is made, the hardest part of the process may seem over, yet filing a divorce petition and proceeding through the legal system is not as seamless as one may think. First, one must determine where he or she is eligible to file for divorce, and in which specific courthouse to file the papers. Someone seeking divorce cannot simply walk up to any Court in the state to file the necessary documents. At the very least, residency and venue requirements must be satisfied before a Court will accept a person's petition for divorce.

Residency and venue issues are the gateway to starting the divorce process. Yet while these issues are straightforward for most couples, others may have reason to challenge the opposing party's claim. Consider how to establish residency and determine venue for purposes of divorce, as well as when someone may want to dispute these issues.

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