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IL estate lawyerA will is a legal document for estate planning that states how you want your property to be distributed after you die. It is important to have a will, even if you think you do not have much property worth distributing. Without a will, the state of Illinois will decide how your property is distributed, according to its laws of intestate succession. This may not be the way you would want your property to be distributed.

Estate planning can be daunting. Thinking about death is not something one would normally choose to do. For assistance with your will, an experienced estate planning attorney is worth consulting. An attorney can help you understand your options and create a will that meets your specific needs.

Who Do You Want to Receive Your Property?

This is the most important consideration in making a will. You can leave your property to your spouse, children, other relatives, or any combination of these. It is important to note that you are not limited to leaving property to your immediate family. You can leave property to anyone you want, including friends, charities, or even pets. However, it is equally important to be realistic about how much property you can afford to leave to others.


Can I Modify Custody After Relocating

Posted on in Family Law

IL family lawyerIf you are divorced and want to move to a different area with your child, you are probably wondering whether you can modify your Illinois parenting plan. Yes, modifications might be possible when you want to relocate, but it depends on the specific circumstances.

In Illinois, the court will consider the following factors when deciding whether to change parenting rights after a parent moves:

  • The distance and reasons for the move
  • The child's wishes
  • The parents' ability to continue to co-parent effectively
  • The child's best interests

If you are thinking about moving with your child, it is important to speak with an attorney. A decree modifications and enforcement attorney can help you understand the law and can advise you on whether or not you have a good case.


Geneva, IL child custody lawyerOne of the hardest things about ending a relationship with the other parent of one’s child is the likelihood that, from now on, that child will divide their time between two households. This kind of arrangement can be incredibly difficult for kids and their parents alike. 

Logistical challenges can be tough but, above all, it is the reality that a child cannot see each of their parents – and that each parent cannot see their child – each and every day that renders shared child custody and parenting time arrangements so emotionally wrenching. Thankfully, living in the Digital Age has its benefits. And one of those benefits is the opportunity for co-parents and their children to engage in regular virtual visitation.

What Is Virtual Visitation?

Virtual visitation is the process of connecting a parent and their child when their child is not currently residing under their roof. Video chats, email, texts, phone calls, story time apps, and even simultaneously gaming online can connect parents with their kids, but postal mail and other forms of non-electronic connection can also be part of a virtual visitation approach as well.


What Is a Parenting Plan? 

Posted on in Family Law

Geneva Family LawyerNot so long ago, it was commonplace for one parent to retain sole or primary physical custody of a child, while the child’s other parent received joint legal custody and visitation rights. Nowadays, courts broadly recognize that most children benefit from co-parenting arrangements in which each parent – assuming that they are fit, are eager to act in their child’s best interests, and are capable of healthy co-parenting – benefits from significant parenting time and relatively equal decision-making authority. In order to manage the ins and outs of such arrangements, the courts now insist on the creation of parenting plans in most child custody cases.

Setting Legally-Enforceable Expectations 

Parenting plans function as court orders that govern the terms of a co-parenting arrangement. A family’s particular parenting plan can outline the rights and responsibilities of each parent, as well as forms of recourse available to them in the event of a breach. While parenting plans may be created – as well as modified – by the mutual consent of a child’s parents, these documents and their modifications must be approved by the court to have legal effect. In the event of a contentious dispute wherein parents cannot agree to the terms of an original plan or modification, the court will make a ruling in the best interests of the affected child.

Parenting Plan Terms

Most parenting plans are primarily concerned with a child’s co-parenting time schedule. A family’s plan can outline when a child will reside with each parent, how holidays and special occasions will be managed, transportation between households, etc. However, it is important to underscore that parenting plan terms can address virtually any issue that co-parents deem to be noteworthy enough to be legally enforceable. Many plans, therefore, contain terms concerning virtual visitation arrangements, restrictions on a child’s personal technology use, whether a child will attend religious classes, etc.


Geneva Divorce LawyerThe process of ending a marriage tends to inspire emotional, financial, social, and practical challenges. As a result, it is easy for this period of life to become overwhelming. Oftentimes, individuals who are navigating divorce can get caught up with whatever pressing issue is affecting their experience most profoundly and immediately. Only after time has passed, does it become easier to see that they may have spent a great deal of time missing the forest for the trees in ways that have impacted their future. Therefore, it is a good idea for individuals who are starting to navigate the divorce process to clarify their priorities as soon as they possibly can.

Fighting (Only) the Good Fight

The primary reason why it is so important to set your priorities at the start of the divorce process is that, in doing so, you will be empowered to pick your battles in informed ways. Only you can know whether digging your heels in concerning certain assets, a specific child custody arrangement, detailed parenting plan terms, etc. is worth your time and energy. Once you know which fights are worth fighting, you can direct your efforts accordingly and reserve the remainder of your energy for building the next phase of your life.

Getting caught up in the heat of the moment is understandable during divorce. Yet, it is not a wise approach when someone is capable of a more focused, nuanced approach. It is true that knowledge is power. By knowing what your priorities are, you can exercise your personal power as effectively as possible.


Geneva Family Law AttorneyDivorce can be complicated, especially when kids are involved. In Illinois, the main priority of child custody laws is the well-being of the child. This post is here to give you more information about how child custody determinations work in Illinois.

Understanding Child Custody in Illinois

Child custody refers to the legal responsibility of caring for a child, including making decisions about their health, education, and daily routine. In Illinois, there are two types of custody arrangements: joint custody, where both parents share custody, and sole custody, where one parent has full custody.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act specifies that the "best interests of the child" principle is taken into consideration for all decisions related to child custody.


Geneva Divorce LawyerIn a typical divorce case, the person who initiates the divorce, called the petitioner, serves the divorce petition and summons to the other spouse. The other spouse has the opportunity to participate in the divorce process and have his or her opinion heard regarding property division, child custody, and other divorce issues.

But what happens if you want to get divorced and you cannot find your spouse? Will you be forced to stay married? Fortunately, Illinois law has provisions addressing this challenging situation. You will still be able to get divorced even if you cannot locate your spouse and serve them divorce paperwork, but doing so may be complicated.

Divorce By Publication in Illinois

The term “serving” refers to the act of providing the divorce petition and summons to the other spouse. In some divorce cases, the petitioner simply hands the other spouse the divorce paperwork. In other cases, divorce paperwork is served by a process server or sheriff. However, in order to serve divorce paperwork to the other spouse, you must know where he or she is.


Geneva Parenting Time LawyerWhen married parents divorce or unmarried parents have a child together, they are often subject to a child custody agreement. Life is full of changes, and circumstances may arise in which you need to change your custody order.

The term “child custody” is still frequently used to describe parenting arrangements for unmarried or divorced parents informally. However, Illinois law does not use this phrase. Instead, your custody agreement will refer to parenting time, which is the amount of time each parent spends with the child, and parental responsibilities, which refers to a parent’s decision-making authority. The rules and procedures for modifying parenting time and parental responsibilities depend on a few different factors. Read on to learn more.

Modifying Parenting Time or Visitation

Countless situations may necessitate an adjustment of the parenting time schedule. A parent may get a new job, relocate to a new residence, or go back to school. Sometimes, the child's needs change and the parenting time schedule must be modified to meet these needs.


Geneva Domestic Violence LawyerDomestic violence continues to be a very real issue in Kane County and the rest of Illinois. Victims of abuse, harassment, stalking, and domestic violence include people of all races, income levels, genders, and backgrounds.

If you have been abused by a spouse, family member, or household member, an order of protection can provide legal protection against further abuse. Orders of protection, called restraining orders or protective orders in other states, prohibit an abuser from contacting the victim, coming to the victim’s home, school, or workplace, and contain other provisions, such as giving the petitioner custody of any children.

In this blog, we will discuss when a hearing is required to obtain an order of protection and what occurs during such a hearing.


Kane County High Net Worth Divorce LawyerFinancial disclosure is an essential part of the divorce process. Whether spouses are able to work out a divorce settlement without the court’s involvement, or the case goes all the way to trial, no decisions can be made without complete financial information.

However, some spouses fail to disclose truthful financial data during the divorce. They lie about their income or the sources of income, undervalue assets such as business interests, or fail to disclose property or funds.

If you are getting divorced, make sure you are truthful on your financial disclosure forms. Financial fraud can have significant legal consequences. Additionally, look for warning signs that could mean your spouse is hiding assets or failing to disclose income during the divorce. If your spouse is not truthful about financial matters, it can significantly impact the divorce outcome.


Kane County Family Law AttorneyIf you are in an abusive relationship, you may wonder what getting a protection order can do for you. Many people are unsure of whether court intervention is the right choice for their situation. They worry that securing an order of protection will make the abuser even more angry or otherwise escalate the situation. They do not understand what an order of protection can do for them.

In this blog, we will discuss the legal and practical benefits of securing an order of protection against an abusive partner. For personalized guidance regarding your specific situation, reach out to a Kane County family law attorney.

Emergency Order of Protection

In Illinois, an Emergency Protection Order (EOP) is a court order that is often used to protect somebody from abuse, harassment, or threats of violence. Once an EOP is filed, it goes into effect immediately. Each protection order is tailored to the petitioner’s unique situation. However, EOPs commonly restrict where a person can go and who they can contact. For example, the protection order may prohibit your spouse or partner from visiting your workplace or school. An EOP may even be used to temporarily evict somebody from a shared residence. You may be able to use an EOP to force your spouse or partner to move out of your shared home - even if the home is in his or her name. This can be a very valuable tool for abuse victims that gives them time to gather their belongings and relocate to a safe place.


Kane County Family Law AttornyIf you are getting divorced and you share children with your soon-to-be ex, you will be expected to fill out a parenting plan and submit it to the court for approval. The parenting plan is the document that describes how you and the other parent will raise your child as divorced co-parents.

The parenting plan is extensive, and parents will need to answer questions about how significant decisions will be made, who will take care of the children on what days, how children will be transported between the two homes, and much more. One parenting plan element that many people have questions about is the right of first refusal. In this blog, we will discuss the right of first refusal and how you can use this important right to benefit your co-parenting relationship as well as your relationship with your child.

The Right of First Refusal

When parents fill out their parenting plan, they will need to determine a parenting time schedule. Parenting time is when a parent supervises a child and provides for the child's needs. You may decide that one parent will have the child during the week while the other parent has the child during the weekend. Or, you may alternate weeks. Every parenting time schedule is slightly different because the parents and the child's needs are different.


Kane County Divorce AttorneyFinances affect nearly every aspect of a divorce case, including property and debt division, child support, and spousal maintenance. To properly address these issues and end their marriage, divorcing spouses must provide a full accounting of their wages, property, debts, and expenses. Financial transparency during divorce is not only ethical, but it is also required by law. Spouses who hide money or property, lie about their earnings, or fabricate financial data can face serious penalties and may even be held in contempt of court.

How Do Spouses Misrepresent Finances in a Divorce?

Divorcing spouses who want to gain an advantage in a divorce case may lie about their financial circumstances. For example, a parent who is required to pay child support may report income from one job, but not the “under the table” cash earnings he or she gets from a second job.

Spouses may hide money or property by temporarily transferring the property to friends or family, relocating funds to offshore accounts, or even purposefully overpaying the IRS. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial portfolios often have abundant opportunities to misrepresent their financial situation. They simply adjust the numbers to make their financial situation look bleaker than it actually is. They often do this in hopes of getting a greater share of the marital estate during property division.


Kane County Divorce Mediation LawyerMediation is a dispute resolution process that has become increasingly popular and effective as a method for resolving conflicts during divorce proceedings. If you are interested in divorce mediation, consider contacting a divorce attorney who has experience in mediation. Today, we will review what is most important to know about divorce mediation in Illinois.

The Many Benefits of Divorce Mediation

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution involving the strategic use of a third party to help reach an agreement. The mediator facilitates communication between the parties, helps them explore and understand their differences, and works to find a mutually acceptable solution for all parties. Mediation in divorce cases can have several advantages, including the following: 

  • Cost – Mediation is much less expensive than going to court. Avoiding costly court appearances in divorce mediation can help keep costs down overall.


Kane County Family Law AttorneyIf you have ever watched a television program or a movie that dealt with issues of domestic violence or abuse, you have probably heard the term “restraining order.” The phrase is often used colloquially to describe a directive issued by the court to protect a victim or potential victim from an alleged abuser. This is a source of confusion, however, for many Illinois residents. What most people know as a “restraining order” is actually called an “order of protection” in Illinois. Restraining orders, by comparison, are used by Illinois courts as a form of equitable relief in civil matters.

Temporary Restraining Orders

A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a type of injunction that can be requested by a party in any civil court case. An injunction, at its most basic, is a court order that requires the opposing party to stop doing or to avoid doing a particular thing. A temporary restraining order is often the first step in seeking a permanent injunction. If the situation is serious enough, a TRO can be issued for up to 10 days until a judge can make a ruling on a preliminary or permanent injunction. Violations of TROs are dealt with in civil court and typically incur monetary sanctions and penalties.

Temporary restraining orders can be used in divorce and family law proceedings as well. TROs and preliminary injunctions may be necessary to prevent a party from spending, moving, or disposing of assets, taking a child outside of the court’s jurisdiction, and other destructive or undesirable behaviors.


Geneva Family Law AttorneyIf you are a divorced parent, the state of Illinois requires both you and your former spouse to contribute to your children’s financial needs. Every three years, the state will invite you to review and possibly modify your existing order for child support. But what if a child’s needs or your financial situation change substantially before then? In that case, you can petition the court to have the child support order modified. 

What Qualifies as a Substantial Change in Circumstances?

You may be a good candidate for a child support modification in a variety of situations. Some of the most common include:

  • Your child’s needs have changed considerably since the last order—a new health condition, for example—and you want your ex to help pay those added costs. 


How to Handle a Surprise Divorce Filing

Posted on in Divorce

Kane County Divorce LawyerMost of the time, a divorce is something that both you and your spouse can see coming and make plans regarding how to handle it. On occasion, however, it comes as a surprise. The pop culture scene of the husband or wife being served at their door with divorce papers does still happen in this day and age. If this does happen to you, it is important that you react quickly. If you do not, and your spouse has malicious intentions, you may be put in a very difficult position.

Information Is Key

According to current estimates, as many as two of every three marriages experience issues with hidden assets. If your spouse decides to file for divorce first, it gives him or her the advantage of time in which they may attempt to conceal property or revenue streams. Though there is very little legal advantage to filing first, some spouses do use the element of surprise in an effort to manipulate the proceedings. In addition to possibly hiding assets, some may try “conflict out”—which means meeting with the top-rated divorce attorneys in a certain area, so as to establish an attorney-client relationship, thus leaving the other spouse with no available attorney without a potential conflict of interest.

The most intelligent thing you can possibly do if you are served divorce papers is to gather any and all household information and make sure you have it on hand. Making copies of documents such as tax returns, insurance policies, bank statements and the like can serve you well in the future. By doing so, you may be then able to stop any attempt at concealment. This can also apply to household possessions, as taking an inventory of valuables like jewelry, artwork, stocks, and bonds can help prevent an attempt by your spouse to omit the existence or misrepresent the value of such items.


Kane County Child Custody LawyerAs anyone who has children can attest, it is not easy to be a parent. Parenting is infinitely more challenging after a divorce or breakup, especially if the other parent has been granted substantially more parental responsibilities and parenting time than you have. Under the law in Illinois, you have the right to reasonable parenting time with your child, but exercising that right can be difficult. Additionally, you might have personal issues of your own that have led the court to restrict your parenting time rights. A situation such as this can be extremely challenging, but it is not necessarily a permanent state of affairs, and there are some steps you can take toward getting your full parenting time rights restored.  

#1. Understand the Reasons

According to Illinois law, your parenting time rights cannot be restricted simply because a judge does not like you or the way you are living your life. The court must issue a finding that you or your lifestyle poses serious physical, mental, moral, or emotional dangers to your child, and the finding must be specific enough for you to address the court’s concerns. Common grounds for parenting time restrictions include alcohol or drug abuse issues, concerns regarding instances of physical or emotional abuse, and association with dangerous individuals. Only after you understand why the court has restricted your parenting time can you start taking steps to improve your situation.

#2. Comply With the Restrictions

As you work to resolve the issues that led to your parenting time restrictions, whether they are substance abuse problems, domestic abuse concerns, or your social circle, it is absolutely critical that you comply with any restrictions the court has handed down. If the court has allowed you just one supervised hour with your child each week, make every minute count. Do everything you can to show your dedication to becoming a better person and parent. If you attempt to get around the restrictions, your actions are likely to damage your case, and you could have your parental rights terminated altogether.


Kane County Divorce AttorneyIt is hard to imagine a world without social media, yet these sites have only been around for about 20 years or so. There is no debate over how quickly sites like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have become a crucial part of society, with many users posting much information about their lives on a daily basis. Scroll down any site’s news feed, and you will likely find an abundance of information regarding your family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances—the good, the bad, and the ugly. But, can posting all this personal information have an effect on the outcome of a couple’s divorce or child custody dispute?

Many family law attorneys will instruct their clients to carefully limit what they post to their social media sites and may instruct them to stay away from these sites completely until their divorce case is settled. On the other side of the coin, attorneys also use these sites to gather evidence against the other spouse, and even innocent postings can be spun to cause serious damage to the other side’s case.

Social Media Posts Often Lack Context

It is not uncommon for a person’s social media to be used to call their parenting abilities into question. For example, a person who is a very good parent, completely involved and responsible in their child’s life, might go out with friends one night—something that is a rare occasion for them. A photo of the group of friends out and having a good time at a nightclub and toasting each other ends up on Facebook. Suddenly, that photo is being introduced as evidence in a child custody proceeding in an effort to suggest that the person is an irresponsible parent who drinks too much. As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and without the proper context, such a photo could certainly create a less than flattering impression.


Kane County Divorce AttorneyThe winter holiday season is a special time of year for many of us. Families that celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, or other winter holidays will gather for special meals, the exchanging of presents, and reunions with old friends. As the holiday season continues, many hopeful romantics are making one the biggest decisions of their lives: getting engaged to be married. In fact, Christmas Day is one of the most popular days of the year for popping the big question. If you are planning to get engaged this holiday season, firstly – congratulations! As you plan for your wedding, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Prenuptial Agreements

As you plan for the big day, one decision you and your partner will need to make is if you will sign a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are also called premarital agreements or "prenups.” The purpose of this legal document is to ensure the property and financial rights of each spouse in the event that the marriage ends in divorce. Obviously, planning for a possible divorce before a couple has even gotten married is not exactly romantic. The topic may be uncomfortable to talk about, but prenuptial agreements can be vital in protecting your financial interests and rights.

Even if your current relationship is strong and you believe that the marriage will last, it is important to plan for the worst-case scenario. Having a prenuptial agreement in place can be invaluable during a divorce. It can simplify property division and spousal support decisions, as well as save the couple from tedious negotiations.

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