Family & Divorce

In recent years, there has been a great deal of public debate about the power and authority given to police officers in various situations. Among these concerns is the issue of conducting a search for illicit drugs, unlawful weapons, or other illegal items. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution promises American citizens the right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” of their homes, papers, effects, and persons. The same amendment also specifies that all warrants must be based on probable cause and must describe in detail “the place to be searched and the persons or things…
During the divorce process, one of the most important items for both parents to agree to is a parenting plan that addresses parenting time and parental responsibilities. This agreement may come about through negotiation, mediation, or other collaborative methods between you and your spouse, or it may come in the form of a court ruling issued by a judge, but in either case the terms are legally binding. In the months and years following your divorce, if you find that your ex is failing or refusing to honor the agreement, you may need to pursue the legal enforcement
In 2016, the way in which Illinois courts determine child custody was changed substantially. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA ) now calls child custody “the allocation of parental responsibilities,” and visitation is now referred to as “parenting time.” Divorcing parents must fill out a “parenting plan” document which states each parent’s parenting time and parenting responsibilities, as well as certain child-related rights and requirements. Reaching decisions about these issues can be challenging – especially in the midst of a contentious divorce. In some cases, the court will make decisions about parental responsibilities and…
After your divorce proceedings are finalized and all the dust settles, it can sometimes still feel as if you have marital obligations to your former spouse. Spousal support is often a requirement for divorced couples, and if you share children, you will continue to communicate and see each other in the years to come. Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is the financial support from the higher-earning spouse to the other. Oftentimes, these payments are made monthly and the allotted amount is determined and mandated by the court. All spousal support agreements vary, both in amount…
Under Illinois law, if you are a married woman and you have a baby, your husband is legally presumed to be the father of your child. However, if you have a child while you are unmarried, you may assume that the father’s willingness to help raise the child is sufficient to ensure that your son or daughter has the support necessary for a comfortable life. However, without taking action to establish legal paternity, you may run into issues as time goes on. In many cases, establishing paternity is easy to do, and it provides significant benefits for mothers, fathers,…
You do not have to be materialistic to become sentimental about a loved one’s possessions or to feel slighted by the contents of his or her will or estate plan. In fact, even the most down-to-earth people may feel a sense of injustice when a will or trust appears to have been altered, coerced, or otherwise manipulated. The good news is that if you have the right information and the right resources, you may be able to contest the will and put things right again. Grounds for Contesting a Will While any “interested party” may contest a will (siblings,…
Adoption is a great option for many people who are thinking about a new addition to the family. There are many different types of adoption, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In many cases, when a child is adopted from an agency or directly from another person, the parents can choose whether the adoption will be open or closed. According to the Donaldson Adoption Institute, most (around 95 percent) adoptions in the U.S. now involve some degree of openness. The choice to pursue an open adoption is a personal one, but it can provide benefits to both the child…
It does not matter if you were married for two years or 20 years — getting a divorce is a painful and demanding process no matter how long you were together. When you get married, you plan to spend the rest of your life with that person and perhaps raise a family together. A divorce causes you to undergo major life changes, losing your companion, lover, co-parent, and friend. A divorce can also cause you to undergo a great deal of stress, as divorce almost always causes a restructuring of the housing arrangements, household responsibilities, and finances. If you have…
Business ownership is a key asset that you must include in your divorce. Even if you started your business before you married, the amount that your business increased in value during your marriage will likely be part of your marital property. Calculating the value of your business is a vital step because it will affect how you divide other marital properties. If you wish to maintain complete ownership of your business as part of your divorce, a higher valuation may force you to compensate your spouse with more assets. Business valuation for a divorce can be complicated and requires professionals…
When a married person decides to develop an estate plan, the person’s spouse will almost always be involved in the process. But, what happens if you are ready to start making a plan for the future and your spouse is not? You know your spouse better than just about anyone else does, so you probably realize that nagging him or her about it will probably not work. Begging or threatening is not likely to be successful either. There are, however, some things you can do to start the estate planning process despite your spouse’s reluctance. In doing so, you…
For couples that have children together, there are many decisions that must be made in a divorce. These decisions can be made during mediation or collaboration, or a judge can make the final determination during litigation. Mediation and collaborative law allow the couple to retain control over the process and come to an agreement that is best for both of them. During these processes, the couple will have to create a parenting plan, and there are three very important terms to include within it. Parental Responsibilities and Child Custody Child custody is the issue that most people know to…
Before your marriage, you and your partner may have given significant time and consideration to the creation of a prenuptial agreement that clarifies each of your interests in and control over marital and non-marital properties. A thoughtful prenuptial agreement can be useful not only to smooth the process of a possible divorce but also to reduce uncertainty and increase comfort throughout your marriage. However, you may find in the years following your marriage that your original prenuptial agreement is insufficient or no longer relevant to your current situation. In this case, you may want to consider legally amending it. Reasons…
If you and your spouse are considering divorce, you may have questions about how your living situation will influence the divorce timeline. COVID-19 has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. In fact, for many spouses contemplating divorce, moving to a new home is simply not a possibility right now. You may have wondered, “Can I get divorced if my spouse and I are still living together?” Illinois divorce requirements have changed significantly over the past several years, so it is important to understand these requirements if you plan on ending your marriage. Mandatory Separation Period for Illinois Divorces…
If you are planning to divorce, you may have questions about how you can protect your rights and reach a divorce settlement that is reasonable and fair. You may want the legal protection and support that comes with hiring a lawyer but are worried that bringing lawyers into the equation could make your divorce more adversarial. Whether your worries are accurate or not, there is an option in Illinois that allows divorcing couples to work with attorneys under a non-adversarial process. Collaborative divorce, or a divorce resolved by means of collaborative law, is an alternative resolution method that has…
The COVID-19 crisis has placed many businesses and their employees in difficult financial situations. Some businesses have had to close or limit their hours of operation, and many employees have been laid off or had their work hours reduced. While some government relief programs have provided aid to those who have been affected by these issues, many people are continuing to experience financial difficulties. A recent executive order may provide some help in this area by allowing employers to defer some of the taxes withheld from employees’ pay. Social Security Tax Deferral In August of 2020, President Trump issued an…
When you get a divorce in Illinois, you can expect the court to ensure a fair distribution of marital property. However, you may have additional concerns about your ability to support yourself financially after your divorce, in which case you should explore the possible option of spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony. Spousal maintenance is not a required part of every Illinois divorce resolution, but it may be awarded in cases of need. Am I Entitled to Spousal Support in Illinois? If you and your spouse are willing to cooperate throughout the divorce process, you…