431 Williamsburg Avenue
Geneva, IL 60134

630-844-8781

Recent blog posts

Posted on in Family Law

Kane County Adoption LawyerAdoption can be a beautiful way to expand your family. When you consider adopting a child in Illinois, there are a lot of choices to be made. Will you adopt after starting as a foster parent, or directly pursue adopting a newborn? Will you work with an agency? And now, will the adoption be open or closed? In the past, nearly all adoptions were closed but there is a growing trend towards open adoption. However you choose to go about adopting, it is important to have a lawyer you trust overseeing the process. 

What is Open Adoption?

In a traditional closed adoption, records about the birth parents are sealed and the child has no contact with them, typically at least until adulthood. In an open or semi-open adoption, however, the adopted child will have some form of contact with her birth parents. Open adoptions may be preferred by birth parents who know they are not prepared to raise a child on their own, but do not want to completely lose contact with the child entirely, either. 

The level of contact between adopted child, adoptive parents, and birth parents can vary quite a bit depending on the terms of the adoption contract. Some adoptive and birth families only exchange occasional letters and pictures. Some live close to one another and visit frequently. It is generally left up to both sets of parents what type of frequency of contact they would like to share. 

...

Kane County Divorce LawyerDivorce is that much harder when there are children involved. Deciding who will get parenting time (formerly called physical custody) and when can be a highly emotional process as well as a complicated legal one. Illinois courts always consider the best interests of the child when allocating parenting time and parental responsibilities. In considering the best interests of a child, courts will be interested in hearing what the child wants -- but the child’s wishes are not dispositive. Children, much like adults, may fail to act in their own best interest. This is why the judgment of the court is the ultimate deciding factor. 

If you are going through a divorce or separation from your child’s other parent, you will want a strong legal advocate on your side. The relationship you have with your child is precious and should be protected by an experienced attorney during parenting time proceedings. 

What is the Importance of the Child’s Wishes? 

When there is a dispute over parenting time and parental responsibility, courts will often appoint a special person called a Guardian ad Litem. The Guardian ad Litem will interview the child alone to get a sense of what the child wants and needs and how living with each parent would affect the child. To determine what arrangement would be in the child’s best interests, the court will take into consideration what the child wants. 

...

Kane County Family Law AttorneyA lot of people in Illinois seek divorce because their marriage has become unsafe as a result of domestic violence or abuse. Any family, regardless of social or economic status, can be affected by violence in the home. As your divorce is processing, an Order of Protection can help keep you and your children safe. An order of protection forces the abuser to leave your home and not harm, or in some cases, even contact you. So who can get this order? If you need an order of protection in Illinois to keep you safe while you divorce your abuser, it may be wise to contact a qualified attorney for help. 

What Are the Requirements to Get an Order of Protection? 

There are two main requirements to get an Illinois Order of Protection. First, you must be a “family or household member” of the person you need the order to protect you from. Fortunately, this definition is pretty broad in Illinois. You do not even need to have been married to the abuser. “Family and household members” include: 

  • Couples - Spouses, former spouses, as well as couples who are dating or were dating can file. 

    ...

Posted on in Family Law

Kane County Family Law AttorneyA Guardian ad Litem is a specially appointed person whose primary goal is to protect the interests of a minor child who is involved in a court proceeding. Most of the time, a Guardian ad Litem is an attorney with special training who effectively represents minor children in family law proceedings. They are often called upon in contentious divorce cases but are also used in some adoptions or other family law matters. If a Guardian ad Litem has been appointed in your family law case, an attorney may be able to help you understand their role. 

When is a Guardian Ad Litem Appointed? 

A judge will appoint a Guardian ad Litem if a court proceeding involves minor children and the judge feels that the children need a trained adult to solely represent the interests of the children. A court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem in: 

  • Contentious Divorce - Parents going through a divorce in Illinois are always encouraged to reach an agreement when it comes to parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities, or other important decisions regarding the children’s upbringing. This is not always possible. If there is a dispute, the court may call upon a Guardian ad Litem to help determine what arrangement would be best for the child. 

    ...

Geneva Divorce MediatorsIn Illinois, it is fairly rare for a divorce to be resolved entirely through litigation. Courts will typically encourage the parties to negotiate an agreement or settlement regarding as many issues as possible, and in cases involving the allocation of parental responsibilities, the court will usually require the parties to attempt mediation in order to create a parenting agreement. 

However, it is not necessary to wait for the court’s order before attempting mediation. You and your spouse may decide from the start of the divorce process that you want to pursue this alternative dispute resolution method. Mediation works very well for many divorcing couples, and it offers a variety of benefits when it comes to addressing all aspects of your divorce resolution.

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

If you and your spouse decide to pursue divorce mediation, together you will meet with a trained mediator who is skilled in the practice of helping spouses find common ground and reach mutually agreeable resolutions regarding issues like property division, child custody, and other divorce matters. The mediator acts as a neutral third party who does not represent either spouse or provide legal advice, but rather guides the spouses through productive negotiations as they work toward an agreement on their own terms.

...

Kane County Family Law AttorneyIn Illinois, many divorced and single parents rely on child support to provide for their children’s needs. Unfortunately, however, many paying parents fail to fulfill their support obligations, leaving the other parent and the child in a difficult situation. If your child’s other parent is not paying court-ordered child support, it is important to take action to resolve the situation, and an experienced family law attorney can help.

Talk to the Other Parent

In some cases, it is worthwhile to try talking to your child’s other parent before taking legal action against them. If you tend to have a good relationship with the other parent and their failure to pay support seems unusual, you might simply ask them to explain what is going on. Perhaps they are going through a time of financial hardship and they intend to make up the missed payments as soon as possible. In this case, the situation may resolve itself in due time, or you may be able to agree on modifications to the child support order that allow the other parent to make payments within their current means.

Get Help From the Division of Child Support Services

The Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) provides many different services for parents who receive child support, including collecting and disbursing payments. If you are unable to resolve the other parent’s missed payments on your own, you can request help from DCSS to collect these payments. DCSS can enforce a number of consequences for delinquent parents, including garnishing wages, intercepting tax returns and casino or lottery winnings, suspending driver’s licenses, denying passport applications, and including the parent on a public list of delinquent parents.

...

Geneva Divorce LawyersThe division of assets can be one of the hardest parts of the divorce process, both because of the financial implications and the personal attachments that each spouse may have to the property. Your home may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about dividing property in a divorce, but you will also need to determine how to handle a variety of different financial accounts including bank accounts, investment portfolios, and retirement accounts. Each of these has its own unique considerations when it comes to dividing them while protecting your interests.

Which Accounts Are Considered Marital Property?

In Illinois, assets are considered to be marital property based on when they were acquired. If you opened or made contributions to a financial account during your marriage, that account is most likely a marital asset and subject to division in your divorce. Importantly, an account does not have to be jointly held in both spouses’ names in order to be a marital asset. However, if you have an account that was funded entirely before your marriage, or funded entirely with non-marital assets like an inheritance, the account may belong entirely to you.

Dividing Different Types of Accounts

Here are some of the most common types of financial accounts that married couples may have, as well as what you will need to consider when dividing them:

...

Geneva Child Custody LawyerWhen parents get divorced in Illinois, one of the most important considerations is how to address child custody through the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. These decisions should be made in the children’s best interests, and this typically means that it is important to maintain stability in the children’s living arrangements as much as possible. However, it is not uncommon for a parent to move to a new location in the years following a divorce. If you or your children’s other parent intends to relocate, it is important to understand what this could mean for your parenting plan.

Parental Relocation Requires Approval

In Illinois, if a parent who has equal or majority parenting time wants to move with their child, they will need to determine whether that move requires approval from the other parent or the court system. The need for approval is based on the location of the child’s current primary residence and the distance of the relocation. If the child currently resides in Cook County, Kane County, DuPage County, Will County, Lake County, or McHenry County, approval is required for a move of more than 25 miles within Illinois. If the child resides in any other Illinois county, approval is required for a move of more than 50 miles within Illinois. Additionally, any out-of-state relocation of at least 25 miles from the child’s current Illinois residence requires approval.

Generally, a relocating parent must notify the other parent of the intended move at least 60 days in advance. If the other parent consents, the move will likely be approved. However, if the other parent contests the relocation, the court will need to consider the child’s best interests to determine whether the move should be approved.

...

Kane County Property Division LawyerFinancial issues are likely to be one of your primary concerns when you get divorced. Decisions about how to divide your marital property will affect the resources available to you after you finalize your divorce. You will also need to be aware of the tax implications of these decisions and the expenses that come with ownership of certain assets. Addressing your marital home can be difficult, since it may be one of your most valuable assets, and both you and your spouse may have emotional attachments to it. By understanding the available options, you can determine the best approach to take as you divide your marital assets.

3 Options for Handling Ownership of Real Estate

If you and your spouse bought your home after you got married, it will be considered a marital asset, even if it was only titled in one spouse’s name. This means that the equity in your home will need to be included in the division of marital property. If either of you owned your home before you got married, it will usually be considered separate property that is not part of the marital estate. However, if the home increased in value during your marriage due to contributions by both spouses (such as using marital funds to pay for home improvements), the spouse who owns the home may be required to reimburse the other spouse for their contributions.

Typically, you will need to take one of three approaches when addressing ownership of your marital home:

...

Kane County family law attorneyDuring a divorce or child custody case, parents may disagree about multiple different types of issues, including how they will share in making important decisions for their children and when children will live with each parent. While parents may be able to resolve these disagreements by negotiating with each other and their respective attorneys or participating in mediation, there are some cases where parents may reach an impasse and be unable to resolve these matters on their own. When decisions about child custody are left up to a family court judge, a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) may be appointed to help determine how to resolve these issues.

Understanding the Role of a Guardian ad Litem

When a judge is asked to make decisions about child custody, they may not have enough information about the case to be able to determine what arrangements would be in the children’s best interests. To gain the necessary information, the judge may appoint a Guardian ad Litem, who is an attorney that will advocate on behalf of the children rather than either parent. A parent may also request that a GAL be appointed during their case.

The GAL will use a variety of methods to gather information about the case. These may include:

...

geneva child custody lawyerIn a divorce proceeding that involves a child, one of the most important and often contested matters that ex-spouses have to settle is the allocation of decision-making responsibilities. While some couples can agree on the allocation of these responsibilities with relatively no issues, others may struggle on certain topics. If you are a parent who is seeking sole decision-making responsibilities of your child, it is imperative to discuss your case with an experienced family law attorney.

What Decision Making Responsibilities Can the Court Allocate?

If the parents of a child cannot agree upon the allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities in writing, the court system will make that determination. With the goal of determining the child’s best interests, the court will consider many factors before granting this privilege to one or both of the parents. According to 750 ILCS 5/602.5, these responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Choice of education

    ...

Posted on in Family Law

       

b2ap3_thumbnail_Layoff-Notice.jpg

       As of March 31, 2020, Governor Pritzker has confirmed that the shelter-in-place order shall remain until at least April 30, 2020.  Regretfully, many people and businesses alike are feeling the financial hardship that COVID-19 has caused to the economy. Moreover, it has led many people to fear that they will not be able to pay their court ordered child support or maintenance as a result of the loss of income and/or employment. 

...

             b2ap3_thumbnail_Stop-Domestic-Violence.jpg

               As humans, we were not meant to be socially isolated. Social isolation is believed to elevate our stress levels and it can lead us to have feelings of loneliness, fear of others, or even negative self-esteem. Currently, in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, considering the mass closures of schools and businesses, instability of employment or employment at home and the tension of the unknown can cause stress to build and lead to increased incidences of domestic violence. Hence, during this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place, domestic violence experts and shelters have expressed deep concerns as to the safety of domestic violence victims, as abusers can use social isolation to gain greater control over their victim, thus increasing the risk of a survivor’s personal safety.

              Per the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (750 ILCS 60), domestic violence is defined as any of the following: physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation (but does not include reasonable direction of a minor child by a parent). In a nutshell, harassment includes behavior that is not reasonable and it causes another emotional distress. Examples of emotional distress include creating a disturbance at a place of employment or school; repeatedly telephoning a place of employment, home or residence; repeatedly following someone to a public place or places; stalking (keeping someone under surveillance by remaining present outside their home, school, place of employment, vehicle or by peering into someone’s windows); improperly concealing a minor child;  repeatedly threatening to improperly remove a minor child from the physical care of a parent; repeatedly threatening to conceal a minor child or threatening physical force, confinement or restraint on one or more occasions.

...

Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_Covid-19-updated_20200320-145152_1.jpgAs we all endure this difficult time of uncertainty and frustration, many questions may come to mind as to the current status of our legal system and its procedures when it comes to pending or new family matters. Hence, we have prepared some basic questions and answers to try and address some of the questions that people may have.

Q.  Are the courts still open and functioning?

           A.    Courthouses in Kane, DuPage, Kendall and DeKalb are still open for EMERGENCY matters only. The courts have issued administrative orders limiting non-essential (non-emergency) matters and rescheduling non-emergency civil matters through April 17, 2020. However, courts have noted that cases may be continued between 30 to 60 days.

...

The Illinois Income Share Model has gone into effect, and as previously discussed in our most recent blog entry, both parents’ gross income must be determined for purposes of calculating their child support obligation. However, the statute now provides for various deductions to be applied to a parent’s gross income before a parent begins their child support calculation. This is important, as we previously discussed in our most recent blog, because a parent’s gross income will help determine a parent’s net income and based upon the total combined available net income of both parents, we will calculate what percentage each parent will be responsible to provide support. Hence, if a parent’s gross income is reduced from the get-go, it will in effect also reduce a parent’s net income therefore potentially reducing a parent’s contribution to child support. Bear in mind that this reduction in child support is not meant to allow parents to evade their child support obligation, rather, it is meant to consider what other obligations a parent may have that affects the available net income the parent has to contribute towards child support.

Pursuant to the Illinois Income Share statute, a parent’s gross income may be adjusted as follows:

...

llinois Income Share Model: How to Calculate Child Support as of July 1, 2017

On July 1, 2017, the Illinois Income Share Model will go into effect and substantially change the way we calculate child support today. Up until July 1, 2017, only the net income of the non-majority parent (or non-custodial parent) is used to calculate child support. Currently, net income is defined as total of all income from all sources minus various deductions such as Federal income tax, State income tax, Social Security, mandatory retirement contributions, union dues, health insurance premiums and court ordered obligations. Once a parent’s net income is calculated, the non-custodial parent pays a percentage of his net income as for child support depending upon the amount of children he or she must support (one child=20%; two children=28%; three children=28%; four children=40%). The new income share model will still rely upon a determination of a parent’s net income; however, the definition of net income will be modified. Moreover, the new model will also consider the income of both parents in determining what share of child support each parent must pay. Moreover, the new law has developed two separate charts: 1) to calculate a parent’s net income and 2) to calculate the amount of child support required for a child (or children) based upon the total combined net income of both parents. Click below to see charts.

Gross to Net Income Conversion Table

...

As of July 1, 2017, Public act 099-0764 will thereby amend section 5 to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (also known as the IMDMA). The IMDMA is the statute or law that specifies and dictates how child support is to be calculated and collected in Illinois along with other provisions as to the support of any minor children that are the subject of a court matter. Regardless of whether a person is facing a Dissolution of Marriage or a Paternity Action, the new law is set to radically change how we calculate child support today.

Currently, child support is calculated by generally considering a non-majority or non-custodial parent’s net income. Net income is generally considered whatever income a parent earns after various deductions are applied such as Federal, State, Social Security and Medicaid taxes. Once a parent’s net income is determined, the parent pays a determined amount of percentage as for child support that is dependent upon the amount of minor children (one child=20%; two children=28%; three children=28%; four children=40%).

...
Illinois state bar association kane county bar association dupage county bar association dekalb bar association
Back to Top