Family & Divorce

As a parent pursuing child support following a separation or divorce, it is not uncommon to encounter various roadblocks. The process can bring all kinds of questions and concerns to the surface, and parents will need answers to these questions sooner rather than later. They need to know how much support they qualify for, how that support will be provided, and the certainty that funds are not only available but reliable on an ongoing basis. Additionally, those paying support are entitled to know how their obligations are calculated and what is expected of them by law. Income Shares Approach…
No matter what kind of relationship you share with your child’s mother or what your living arrangements will be after your child is born, it is important to understand a father’s rights and how to avoid jeopardizing yours. If you wish to be involved and have a say over parental matters in the future, the first step is to be aware that in Illinois, you are only considered the legal father if you are married to–or have entered into a civil union with–the mother at the time of birth. This means that your relationship with your child from the moment…
The very idea of estate planning can be frightening for many people, as it is not easy to confront the realization that nobody lives forever. Drafting an estate plan that includes a will, trusts, and other documents requires you to look past the end of your own life. While the difficulties associated with estate planning are understandable, it is critical to have an estate plan. If you were to die without a will or other estate plans, most of your property would probably be subject to the intestate succession laws of Illinois. What Does “Intestate” Mean? A particular asset is…
Feelings of anxiety and stress are common for any couple which is moving forward with the dissolution of their marriage. A divorce can be a complex matter which can have a lasting effect on everyone involved. Going into a divorce, most people are unfamiliar with the steps involved, the legal requirements that must be met, and the length of time needed. Dissolving a marriage is never fun, and you may want to get your divorce over with as quickly as possible. However, there are certain factors that can cause the divorce process to go on longer, and so working with…
It has been said that nothing is certain but death and taxes; this rather sardonic depiction of life is credited to one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. What is also almost as certain is if you find yourself in a legal jam, you need a lawyer. It is important to know that all lawyers are not the same, and this is true even for those who limit their practice to areas such as divorce and family law. Statistics show that over 22 percent of first marriages end up in divorce in less than five years, and 53 percent…
On June 19, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rendered its decision that the city of Chicago violated the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay provision when it continued to hold cars belonging to individuals who had filed for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. [1] This decision was the result of a consolidated appeal of four bankruptcy cases which arose when Chicago refused to return vehicles impounded for failure to pay multiple traffic tickets.  The City argued that in ordered to properly maintain their lien on the debtor’s vehicles and ensure payment of the fines, the City needed to…
Back in 2004, Illinois passed what is known as the Gender Violence Act in an effort to deter violence directed toward women.  Since its inception, the Gender Violence Act has undergone little change. It classified gender-related violence as a form of sex discrimination and allowed a person who had been subjected to gender-related violence to bring a civil action for monetary damages, injunctive relief, or other appropriate relief. [1]  However, on May 17, 2019, the Third District Appellate Court handed down a decision seriously expanding the scope of the Gender Violence Act. In Gasic v Marquette Management, the Court…
Oftentimes in the stress of a divorce proceeding, a key member of the family is overlooked: a beloved pet. As of January 1, 2018, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was amended to give the courts additional guidance when considering furry – or sometimes not so furry – friends. This amended law specifically applies to companion animals, not service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Either spouse may now file a petition for temporary allocation of sole or joint possession of a companion animal. If the court finds the companion animal is a marital asset, which is…
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…
While some people have the good fortune of being born into a family with significant wealth that was amassed several generations ago, most others work extremely hard to accumulate the assets and holdings that comprise their estate. As far as your estate is concerned, you have likely put in many hours and made responsible decisions to earn what you currently own. With this in mind, you have every right to decide what will be done with your property after your death. It is important to remember that while you do have the right to make estate planning choices for yourself,…
Stephanie Tang shared insights on family law major legislative changes and cases in the Southern Illinois University Law Journal Summer 2019 issue. Through this article, Stephanie helped family law practitioners and judges stay up-to-date on the most significant legislative changes to statutory amendments in four areas of family law following the 2016 overhaul to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. She also provided a summary of select family law-related cases from 2017 to 2018. Stephanie is an associate at Kogut & Wilson. She represents individuals in all aspects of family and matrimonial law proceedings and strives to provide…
On Wednesday August 21st, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 1090, making Illinois only the second state to prohibit landlords from evicting tenants solely because they are living in the U.S. illegally.[1] The bill also prohibits landlords from reporting or threatening to report a tenant’s immigration status to authorities as a means of intimidation, in retaliation for exercising their rights as tenants, or to force them to agree to move out.  The law does not prevent landlords from enforcing existing terms of the lease or evicting tenants for permissible reasons, only from doing so based on immigration…
Marriage is not for everyone; however, there are those people who enter into marriage believing they can make it work and last a lifetime. Unfortunately, even for those couples who give it their best, they may ultimately decide to divorce. Indeed, most recent statistics available show that more than 22 percent of couples marrying for the first time end up divorcing in less than five years, while 53 percent of all marriages dissolve by the 20-year anniversary. Although divorce proceedings are usually carried out in court, litigation is not always necessary to legally terminate your marriage. Alternative Dispute Resolution…
In a divorce, child-related issues can prove to be contentious, and disputes may arise over child support obligations. Whether raising a child with an absent parent or within an antagonistic relationship, single parents have long faced significant challenges when it comes to child support here in Illinois. While new state laws that went into effect in 2017 aimed to better protect the well-being of children in need, they also made support matters more complicated for many families, due to new calculations that the courts now use to determine financial responsibility. Regardless of the specific amount of support, the custodial…
Last month New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill officially banning religious exemptions for vaccinations.  The law was passed after states across the U.S. saw the largest measles outbreak since 1992 and since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000. [1] In fact, just this year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that 1,148 cases of measles have been confirmed in 30 states.  This is up from 372 cases reported in 2018 and 120 reported in 2017.  New York seems to have been hit the hardest by this recent epidemic, reporting 550 confirmed cases…
In many divorces, the marital home is one of the most valuable assets of the parties. There are three general possibilities in what to do with the marital home in a divorce: 1.) Spouse A keeps the house; 2.) Spouse B keeps the house; or 3.) The parties sell the house. In scenarios 1 and 2 above, the spouse not getting the martial home generally has to execute a deed after the divorce is over that awards their interest in the house to the other spouse. The transfer usually takes place through a Quit Claim Deed. The other issue is…