Ciesla Beeler Lawyers

Kathryn L. Ciesla and Jennifer Cunningham Beeler have more than a combined 30 years of experience advising and representing clients on a variety of matters related to family law, custody (allocation of parental responsibilities), support (maintenance and child support), mediation, estates and trusts, probate, guardianships, business law and litigation. Our extensive background allows us to provide effective strategies and cost-effective solutions that meet our clients’ goals.

Latest Articles

After the death of a family member, the process of settling the deceased person’s estate can be expensive and time-consuming. With proper planning, most or all of a person’s estate can be settled without having to go through the probate process. Probate is a court supervised procedure in which a deceased person’s executor or administrator makes arrangements to pay any of the person’s debts, dispose of assets like real estate, bank accounts, and personal property, and disburse assets and funds to the person’s heirs. Probate is necessary if assets are being distributed according to a will, or according to the…
It may already be in your divorce decree.  It has been tested several times as to its constitutionality, and has been found to be correct.  Courts in Illinois have the ability to require divorced parents to contribute toward their child’s college education expenses. So how do we determine who pays for college after a divorce? In making such a determination, courts consider some of the following factors: Financial circumstances of both parents The child’s financial resources, including savings, scholarship funds, and grants The standard of living if the parents had not separated The child’s academic performance. Before ordering a parent…
Few people look forward to having to visit a lawyer. In most cases, having to hire a lawyer means you are involved in a stressful, contentious process, especially when you are getting a divorce. Fortunately, it does not have to be that way.  A collaborative divorce is a process which allows the parties to work together through all aspects of a divorce without battling in court.  The end result is a self-determined written agreement for parenting, finances and property allocation, with fully informed guidance along the way.     How Does it Work? In a collaborative divorce, both parties have their own…
I frequently receive phone calls from people who want to bring their elderly parent in to execute a Power of Attorney (also called an “advanced directive,” or “POA”).  Let’s say the call is from a Son in this case.  Dad, now in his late 80’s, conveniently put off any estate planning for all these years:  no will, no trust, no advance directives, even refusing to do so after Mom passed years ago.  Son knows what Dad wants, and also knows that his sister, or maybe Dad’s caregiver, has “borrowed” money from Dad in the past, or has an eye on…
I frequently receive phone calls from people who want to bring their elderly parent in to execute a Power of Attorney (also called an “advanced directive,” or “POA”).  Let’s say the call is from a Son in this case.  Dad, now in his late 80’s, conveniently put off any estate planning for all these years:  no will, no trust, no advance directives, even refusing to do so after Mom passed years ago.  Son knows what Dad wants, and also knows that his sister, or maybe Dad’s caregiver, has “borrowed” money from Dad in the past, or has an eye on…
The law in Illinois governing what was formerly called child custody and visitation underwent a significant revision in 2016. The terms “custody” and “visitation” eliminated  in favor of “allocation of parenting time and responsibility” or a parenting plan. Parenting Plan All parties to a divorce or parentage action in Illinois are required to submit a “proposed” parenting plan to the court. If the parties can reach an agreement, they may submit one parenting plan – if not, each parent is required to submit their separate plan. A parenting plan will include two parts: First, the plan will include a schedule…
The law in Illinois governing what was formerly called child custody and visitation underwent a significant revision in 2016. The terms “custody” and “visitation” eliminated  in favor of “allocation of parenting time and responsibility” or a parenting plan. Parenting Plan All parties to a divorce or parentage action in Illinois are required to submit a “proposed” parenting plan to the court. If the parties can reach an agreement, they may submit one parenting plan – if not, each parent is required to submit their separate plan. A parenting plan will include two parts: First, the plan will include a schedule…
There are three types of people who come to an initial consultation for divorce in our office.  The first type is someone who has already, firmly, made the emotional commitment to divorce.  They are ready to sign, ready to get that divorce on file.  The second type is there much more reluctantly.  They have been served with a summons, or their spouse has told them that they have seen an attorney.  They know the divorce is inevitable, but they are leagues behind the other spouse in being emotionally prepared for what is ahead. The third type of potential divorce client…
There are three types of people who come to an initial consultation for divorce in our office.  The first type is someone who has already, firmly, made the emotional commitment to divorce.  They are ready to sign, ready to get that divorce on file.  The second type is there much more reluctantly.  They have been served with a summons, or their spouse has told them that they have seen an attorney.  They know the divorce is inevitable, but they are leagues behind the other spouse in being emotionally prepared for what is ahead. The third type of potential divorce client…
What are “grounds”?     Prior to 2016, Illinois allowed both fault and no-fault as grounds for divorce. Previous fault grounds for divorce included adultery, physical or mental cruelty, abandonment, drug or alcohol addiction, imprisonment for a felony, and impotence. In 2016 all fault grounds for divorce were eliminated. This left irreconcilable differences as the only ground, or reason for a divorce. Many other states also follow this model, making the divorce process simpler and less to blame for both parties. Even before the fault grounds for divorce were eliminated, the relative guilt or responsibility of either party for the breakup…
What are “grounds”?     Prior to 2016, Illinois allowed both fault and no-fault as grounds for divorce. Previous fault grounds for divorce included adultery, physical or mental cruelty, abandonment, drug or alcohol addiction, imprisonment for a felony, and impotence. In 2016 all fault grounds for divorce were eliminated. This left irreconcilable differences as the only ground, or reason for a divorce. Many other states also follow this model, making the divorce process simpler and less to blame for both parties. Even before the fault grounds for divorce were eliminated, the relative guilt or responsibility of either party for the breakup…
One of the most common questions divorce attorneys hear from their clients is whether they will be able to collect, or how much they will have to pay, for spousal support (also called “maintenance,” and formerly called “alimony”). Suddenly, the family’s income must support two households instead of one. This can be particularly concerning for a spouse who has been out of the workforce while raising children, or for a person whose income is significantly lower than the spouse’s.  While spousal support is still an important aspect of any divorce case, Illinois is among the majority of states that has…
One of the most common questions divorce attorneys hear from their clients is whether they will be able to collect, or how much they will have to pay, for spousal support (also called “maintenance,” and formerly called “alimony”). Suddenly, the family’s income must support two households instead of one. This can be particularly concerning for a spouse who has been out of the workforce while raising children, or for a person whose income is significantly lower than the spouse’s.  While spousal support is still an important aspect of any divorce case, Illinois is among the majority of states that has…
Nearly every parenting agreement has a provision for “reasonable” communication with a child. After all, before the divorce, you were able to talk to your child every day in your home. It certainly seems reasonable to be able to hear about a good test grade or field goal, or say good night when your child is with the other parent. So your parenting agreement may contain a more generic clause about daily telephone, text, or Facetime contact, or have a more specific directive that a parent can call between the hours of 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. It all falls under…
Nearly every parenting agreement has a provision for “reasonable” communication with a child. After all, before the divorce, you were able to talk to your child every day in your home. It certainly seems reasonable to be able to hear about a good test grade or field goal, or say good night when your child is with the other parent. So your parenting agreement may contain a more generic clause about daily telephone, text, or Facetime contact, or have a more specific directive that a parent can call between the hours of 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. It all falls under…
Can I get the money we paid for his student loans back when we divorce? Are her student loans my responsibility after we divorce? According to Experian’s State of Student Loan Debt report from August 2017, the average student loan debt in 2017 was $34,144 per borrower. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that there are more than 44 million Americans – at least 13% of all U.S. consumers – with an outstanding student loan obligation. It is not just the Gen X or Millennials with these student loans – Baby Boomers from age 50 to 70 carry…