Hicks & Spector LLC

Welcome to Hicks & Spector L.L.C. We are a divorce and family law firm conveniently located near the St. Clair County courthouse in Belleville, Illinois. The primary focus of our law firm is the effective representation of clients in family law cases. This includes cases such as divorce, custody modification, child support and more.

Hicks & Spector LLC Blogs

Latest from Hicks & Spector LLC

4 Tips to Save Money on Attorney’s Fees in your Family case

Get Organized

Throughout your case, you will need to provide information to your attorney to assist in your representation.  Information may include financial documents as well as text messages and social media posts.  Do not pay your attorney or their staff to organize your documents into categories and chronological order.  You can save quite a bit of money by organizing the documents before you give them to your attorney.  Also, read the document requests carefully and be sure to provide all of the requested information.  This will save
Continue Reading Save Money on Attorney’s Fees

Who claims children for tax purposes?
You can find the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act at 750 ILCS 5/.  This statute also applies to cases involving children where the parents have not been married. This is a basic overview of family law in Illinois. You should consult an attorney to discuss how the law applies to the facts in your case.
What does your accountant say?
Your accountant will probably tell you that if you have the kids for the majority of the time, then you can claim them for tax purposes.  They are not wrong. That is
Continue Reading Who claims children for tax purposes?

How long will my divorce take?
You can find the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act at 750 ILCS 5/.  This is a basic overview of divorce in Illinois.  You should consult an attorney to discuss how the law applies to the facts in your case.
It depends
This is one of the most frequent questions I am asked.  It requires a typical lawyer answer  -It depends.  There are many factors that contribute to the length of time spent in divorce court.  It is possible to be divorced in just a few weeks.  That is the case if you
Continue Reading How long will my divorce take?

Court and Zoom Conferences

In this strange age of COVID-19 and quarantine, all of us have experienced changes to what we used to consider “normal”.  Adjustments have been made, precautions are taken and we are adapting.  Possibly the most notable change is the shift from direct contact to remote or virtual interaction.  If you had not heard of or used video conferencing before the pandemic, you almost certainly have by now.  Law offices and courtrooms are no exception.  Video conferences are now taking the place of conferences and hearings.

Considering the widespread implementation of remote communication, we could all benefit
Continue Reading Tips and Tricks for Video Conferences

What if my spouse cuts me off financially when I file for divorce?
This is a common concern for families going through divorce.  The Illinois divorce statute (Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act) has a solution.  After you have filed for divorce but before you have all the information needed for a permanent resolution, you can request temporary relief.  The law is set out in 750 ILCS 5/501.  It provides for several types of financial relief.  We will discuss the most common ones below.
Child Support and Maintenance
The court can order one parent/spouse to pay the other an
Continue Reading Temporary Relief during divorce

Remote Learning due to Covid-19
Many parents are starting the school year with the kids at home full-time and doing school remotely.  This presents challenges for all parents and children like balancing working from home while supervising a child’s schooling.  For parents who are divorced or are no longer together, it can be even more challenging.  For example, parents may not be able to agree on whether to do remote learning, a hybrid, or in school.  Parents who have sole decision-making for education can make that call.  However, if parents with joint decision-making cannot agree, they should consult the conflict
Continue Reading Co-Parenting and Remote Learning

Shelter-in-Place, Quarantine and Parenting Time
What is Shelter-in-Place?
The State of Illinois is taking progressive measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Most recently, all state residents have been ordered to stay at home starting 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020 through April 7, 2020.  There are a few exceptions to the Order.  These are limited to individuals working for essential businesses or participating in essential activities.
A comprehensive list of the essential activities can be accessed from the State of Illinois COVID Response Site at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/coronavirus/Pages/default.aspx.
What about parenting time?
The recent stay at home
Continue Reading Quarantine and Parenting Time

29thDec 2019

Right of First Refusal
The court may award a parent the right of first refusal when that parent has been awarded parenting time and it is in the best interest of the child.  Parents may also agree to the right of first refusal. It means that if a parent who has the kids needs a babysitter for a significant period of time, they must offer time with the kids to the other parent before using a babysitter.
The law is set out in 750 ILCS 5/602.3.
When is it in the best interests of the children? 
The idea
Continue Reading Right of First Refusal

20thAug 2019

What is an estate plan?
An estate plan may consist of many parts depending on your needs, goals, and concerns.  Common tools used in an estate plan are Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and life insurance.  An important but often overlooked tool is the beneficiary designation. 

What is a beneficiary designation?
Many assets have an option to name a beneficiary.  The advantage of naming a beneficiary is that the asset passes directly to the beneficiary without the need to go through the probate process.  This means that heirs can often receive the asset intended for them more quickly
Continue Reading Estate Planning

8thJun 2019

Will I have to pay my spouse’s debts in a divorce? 

You can find the law relevant to division of debts in a divorce in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act at 750 ILCS 5/503.  This is a basic overview of debts in divorce in Illinois.  You should consult an attorney to discuss how the law applies to the facts in your case.

Is the debt a marital debt?

Marital debts can be distributed in divorce proceedings.  Generally, a marital debt is a debt incurred by either party during the marriage.  A common example of a
Continue Reading Marital Debt

13thApr 2019

What if I can’t pay my child support? 
Illinois modification of child support court orders
Common Misconception
Many people think that if they lose their job or even go to jail that their child support stops automatically. That is not the case. The child support continues until there is a court order to stop it. Meanwhile, back child support, known as an arrearage, adds up and accrues interest. 
In my experience, the most common reasons to fall behind on child support payments are layoffs, injuries, and incarceration.  It seems really unfair that you would still be responsible to
Continue Reading What if I can’t pay my child support?

14thJan 2019

Mediation in the context of family law
What is mediation?
Mediation is a process where parents and/or spouses meet with a neutral third party (the mediator) to attempt to resolve the issues in their case through negotiation and compromise.  The mediator facilitates the process.  He/She does not take sides or decide the outcome. 
Why mediation?
The purpose of mediation is to keep families out of litigation which can be stressful and expensive. One benefit is that the parties have more control over the outcome of their case as opposed to litigation where the judge decides.  Another benefit is
Continue Reading Family Law Mediation

4thNov 2018

I am not a millionaire.  Do I need a Will?  The answer is Yes!  Everyone should have a Will and Estate Plan.
If you have minor children, it is so important to designate in writing who will take care of your children and the property they inherit until they reach an appropriate age.  If you do not have children, you should make plans for who you want to benefit from your hard work.  Illinois has laws that govern who inherits property if there is no Will, but you can make that choice for yourself if you plan
Continue Reading Last Will and Testament

3rdOct 2018

Adopting a child can be overwhelming but hiring an experienced attorney will help you navigate the process.
A specified adoption is one in which the biological parent(s) hand-picks (specifies) who will adopt his/her child.  Often, a specified adoption involves the cooperation of at least one, but sometimes both biological parents.
If a biological parent’s rights to the adoptive child have been established, he or she is defined as a “legal parent”.  A woman’s parental rights are automatically established at the time of the child’s birth.  A man’s parental rights can be established in one of two ways:
Continue Reading Adoption

2ndSep 2018

Who gets the house?
The house is an important issue for many families going through divorce.  Generally, the house is considered a marital asset if it was purchased during the marriage.  It does not matter whose name is on the deed or mortgage.
There are some exceptions that come up from time to time.  For example, you may have a claim for contribution if you owned a house before marriage and later added your spouse’s name to the deed.  There are always exceptions to the rule.  That is why you should discuss the specific facts of your case
Continue Reading More to Consider in Property Division in Divorce