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Recent Blog Posts

What is the Cost of a Divorce?

 Posted on September 30, 2016 in Divorce

Getting a divorce is difficult in many different ways. It changes the lives of everyone involved, causing stress, grief and a host of other negative emotions. In addition, divorce is also expensive. Court costs, lawyer fees and other expenses can add up quickly, making the situation even more trying for both parties. Below are some of the most common questions about the cost of divorce.

What costs are involved in divorce?

When you divorce your spouse, you may pay:

  • Attorney fees
  • Court costs
  • Mediation fees
  • Parent education expenses
  • Fees related to changing ownership of property (refinancing, title transfer, etc)

How much would it cost to get a divorce without a lawyer?

It may possible to purchase a divorce kit on the internet and represent yourself for under $100. In this case, you will also need to pay any costs not including in this amount, such as the cost of parenting education classes. However, unless your divorce case is extremely simple and you are on good terms with your spouse, choosing to represent yourself may not be the best decision.

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Parenting Course Required in Divorce Cases

 Posted on May 11, 2015 in Child Custody

The state of Illinois recognizes that many children may experience negative short-term and long-term effects related to their parents' divorce. To help mitigate the impact, parents with minor children who file for divorce are required to attend and complete a class. DuPage County offers a helpful summary of the parent education requirement and information about enrolling in the mandatory class.

What is the Law?

The Illinois Supreme Court requires that all parents involved in a divorce or paternity case complete a 4-hour parenting course. The parenting course is designed to educate parents about likely reactions by their children to visitation and custody arrangements. It also provides information that the parents can apply in easing the adjustment for minors. During the classes, parents are taught about common methods that children of different ages express emotions, like anger and confusion, following a divorce.

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Taking Action to Modify a Child Support Order

 Posted on May 04, 2015 in Child Support

Watching your child grow and develop is among the most sublime experiences a parent will ever know. It follows, however, that changes in growth and development also affect the child's needs in many areas, including physical, emotional, mental, and educational requirements. A child of divorced or unmarried parents may have had such needs considered during the initial establishment of a child support order, which, consequently, may require updating.

In addition to the evolving needs of the child, a support order may also need to be updated as the result of other situational changes surrounding the family. Understanding the need for modification, though, begins with a clear comprehension of how a child support order is determined in the first place.

Income and Other Factors

Under Illinois law, child support is based primarily on the income of the party ordered to pay support. While income is the primary basis, the court may also consider a number of other circumstantial factors in creating an order that addresses the needs of the child while remaining cognizant of the parents' needs and resources.

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Understanding Visitation Laws in Illinois

 Posted on April 27, 2015 in Child Visitation

Any situation involving unmarried or divorced parents can certainly be difficult. Cases in which the relationship between the parents is contentious and bitter are even more challenging. Regardless of the comfort level between the adults, however, every child deserves a relationship with both parents. Under Illinois law, visitation is one of the means by which a parent may seek to foster such a relationship.

Joint Custody or Sole Custody

In a post-divorce or unmarried parent situation, the court may elect to grant joint custody to both parents, based on an arrangement for shared parenting responsibilities and decision-making. However, such an agreement is not always possible or in the best interest of the child. When it is not, the court will grant custody solely to one parent, leaving that parent responsible for the daily decisions related to raising the child. The law, in such cases, expressly recognizes the right of the non-custodial parents to "reasonable visitation," based on the assumption that parental involvement is nearly always in the child's best interest.

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Legal Paternity Establishes a Father’s Rights and Responsibilities

 Posted on April 20, 2015 in Family Law

Each year, more than one third of all children born in the United States are born to unmarried parents. While certain cities and states deal with higher out-of-wedlock birth rates than others, the numbers indicate that, nationally, nearly 1.5 million sets of parents must legally establish paternity for their child in order for the child's father to be granted parental rights as set by law. With those rights, obviously, comes responsibilities as well, as establishing legal paternity also requires the father to contribute to the support of the child, often in the form of financial child support.

Paternity in Illinois

Under Illinois law, legal paternity converts a "putative," or alleged, father of a child to the child's legal father, with full parental rights and requirements. Statutorily, there are several ways in which a father's legal status can be secured:

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Calculating Child Support Order in Illinois

 Posted on April 13, 2015 in Child Support

calculating child support, support orders, Oak Brook Family LawyerIf you are an unmarried or divorced parent, there is a strong possibility that you are now or will soon be subject to an order for child support. Illinois laws, like those in other states, may require either, and in some cases, both parents to contribute financially to the support of their children. With rare exceptions, the parent who does not maintain primary physical custody is generally required to pay support to be calculated as prescribed by law.

Child Support as a Percentage of Net Income

The basic formula used by the court for calculating child support orders takes into account two factors. The first consideration is the payor's net income, which is determined as his or her total income minus allowable deductions, such as taxes, Social Security, mandated retirement contributions, union dues, insurance premiums, previous support orders, and other appropriate expenditures. Secondly, the number of children being supported must be considered. The minimum amount of support to be paid will generally be:

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Mediation: A Lower-Stress Divorce Solution

 Posted on April 06, 2015 in Divorce

divorce mediation, alternative dispute resolution, Illinois Family Law AttorneyFor many couples, deciding to end their marriage is among the most difficult choices they will ever have to make. Divorce inevitably brings with it a wide variety of emotions and the process itself may be wrought with challenges. An increasing number of couples, however, are finding that there may be alternatives to a hotly-contested divorce played out over several months in litigation, especially for those who may be able to work together. Often, mediation can provide the opportunity to reduce the stress of divorce, while meeting the needs of all parties involved.

What is Mediation?

Couples who seek mediation in their divorce typically do so based on a commitment of cooperation to provide the best post-divorce situation for themselves and their family. During mediation, both spouses meet with neutral third party, or mediator, to work out the details of their divorce. In certain situations, spouses may choose to hire their own legal counsel for the mediation process, but many cases are negotiated without separate attorneys. Once an agreement is reached with the help of the mediator, it is turned over to the court for approval and completion of the divorce.

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Determining Spousal Maintenance Obligations

 Posted on March 24, 2015 in Spousal Maintenance

spousal maintenance, spousal support, Oakbrook Divorce AttorneysLast year Illinois enacted a new law to simplify the process of calculating spousal maintenance payments, sometimes known as alimony. Previously, the law did not provide courts with standardized guidelines for determining a party's maintenance obligations. That meant, under the old approach, courts considered maintenance on a case-by-case basis with inconsistent results. The new calculation is a two-step process, whereby the court:

  • Subtracts 20 percent of the receiving spouse's income from 30 percent of the payor's income to find the amount of maintenance to be paid; and
  • Calculates the length of the maintenance award based on the duration of the marriage.

This relatively simple mathematical process reduces much of the uncertainty associated with alimony.

Step One: Are You Entitled to Maintenance?

First, the court must decide if one spouse is entitled to receive spousal maintenance after the divorce. The court is required to consider a number of factors, such as:

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Adopting Your Spouse’s Child

 Posted on March 17, 2015 in Child Custody

child custody, parental rights, Illinois Family LawyerIn Illinois, it is possible for you to become your spouse's child's legal parent by adopting him or her after you marry his or her parent. This is known as a stepparent adoption. Stepparent adoptions, like other types of adoption, are covered under a state law known the The Adoption Act.

Adopting your spouse's child involves a very different process than adopting a child through an agency or a private adoption and in most cases, it is a much easier process to complete. If the child's other parent is involved in his or her life, he or she must consent to the adoption. Additionally, there are certain obligations that you must fulfill to complete the process.

The Stepparent Adoption Process

The stepparent adoption process can take as little as 30 days if all parties cooperate with the court. Unlike other types of adoption, a home study is not usually required to complete a stepparent adoption.

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Domestic Violence: Know the Signs and Get the Help You Need

 Posted on March 10, 2015 in Domestic Abuse

domestic abuse, order of protection, DuPage County Family LawyersDomestic violence can be deadly. An estimated 1,300 deaths are attributed to domestic violence every year in the United States. In addition to these deaths, approximately two million injuries are reported to be a result from this type of violence every year. Domestic violence transcends racial, socioeconomic, religious, and regional boundaries. Although domestic violence is commonly portrayed as being perpetrated by males against their female partners, individuals of either gender in both same- and opposite-sex relationships can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you are not alone. Call the Illinois domestic violence hotline at 1-877-863-6339 to get help from an expert who can guide you toward one or more of the organizations in your area that serve victims of domestic violence. After you have done so, consider filing for an order of protection against your partner and speaking with an experienced family attorney to begin the process of ending your marriage.

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