Law Office of Russell D. Knight

When your family has issues that may lead to litigation, deep-seated emotions can boil over long before you reach a courtroom. Your lawyer can either add to the stress or reduce that existing level of stress. At The Law Office of Russell D. Knight, we provide a personal level of service that will help put you back in control. We will discuss all of your legal options and give you an honest assessment of your case. Contact our office today for a 100% free consultation to find out how we can best help you.

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When a divorce in Illinois is finalized, the parties are issued final orders which both parties must abide by. But, life goes on and things change eventually no matter what the Marital Settlement Agreement or Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time say. Sooner or later, those documents will need to be modified. But how much change is necessary in order for a modification in an Illinois divorce court? The answer is that a “substantial change in circumstances” is necessary to modify most Illinois divorce orders. So, what is a substantial change in circumstances in Illinois? First, it must be…
Lawyers have a peculiar way of charging people. Some professionals will send you a bill at the end of a job and other professionals will require an initial deposit. Lawyers, however, will ask for a retainer before beginning work on a case.  So, what is a retainer in an Illinois divorce case? A retainer for an Illinois divorce lawyer is a sum of money which the lawyer will hold until that lawyer has earned that money.  The money is not an advanced payment, the divorce lawyer holds the money in trust until that money is earned. Holding money in a…
What happens after a Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage is filed? People don’t just cooperate and work together on the divorce. Divorcing parties ignore each other at best and hate each other at worst.  So, how is a divorce supposed to proceed when so much is required of both parties: exchanging discovery, determining parenting time and paying support. In order to get these short term items accomplished, the parties must file motions.  So, what is a motion in an Illinois divorce. What Is A Motion? A motion fills in the blanks of a pending divorce.  A lot…
Showing up to a court date for your divorce is intimidating.  Your personal life is falling apart and now you are expected to resolve the issues in a completely formal and foreign environment: divorce court. Everyone is wearing a suit.  The judge is wearing a robe and sitting at an elevated podium. Your name gets called and details of your life start getting shouted about by people who don’t even know you! Finally, a judge will say something like, “You have 28 days to answer!” What is an Answer in an Illinois divorce? Answering The Pleading: The Response To A…
Outside pressures in life can often affect our most intimate relationships.  Few people have more outside pressures than the members of our nation’s military.  Members of the military have special responsibilities to our society and our society, in turn, creates special rules for the military’s members even when dealing with personal family relationships like divorce. So, how does a military divorce work in Illinois? Jurisdiction And Military Divorce In Illinois Being in the military means being stationed somewhere. Being stationed in Illinois means a member of the military can be subject to the laws of Illinois. A member of…
The point of a divorce is to unwind a couple’s affairs while establishing and memorializing the remaining obligations between the two parties. The “unwind” part is simply the division of the party’s marital assets. The “ongoing obligations” is virtually everything else in a divorce: alimony, child support, parenting time. Even the division of marital debts is really memorializing an ongoing responsibility. So, division of assets in an Illinois divorce is probably the easiest part of an Illinois divorce…except for one thing: The law doesn’t tell us exactly how to divide marital assets.  Instead, Illinois case law points…
They say you should never talk about politics, sex or religion in polite company. Debating some issues only lead to disagreements and hurt feelings. Well, when you’re getting divorced, you already disagree while your feelings are hurt so you might as well discuss uncomfortable issues while you’re at it. So, what happens with religious issues when you are getting divorced in Illinois? The Chicagoland area is a very diverse place. A multitude of religions are practiced within Illinois. These religions usually have elaborate traditions related to both marriage and divorce. For these reasons, it is important to understand how…
Divorce can get ugly.  When divorce  does get ugly, the parties can say cruel and hateful things about each other to their friends and family. Is saying, writing or text awful things just par for the course in an Illinois divorce or can you sue for defamation in an Illinois divorce? What Is Defamation In Illinois? “The offense of injuring a person’s character, fame, or reputation by false and malicious statements. The term seems to be comprehensive of both libel and slander.“ Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014) While it may be interesting to discuss the distinction between libel (written words)…
Everyone knows that the parent who has the child the majority of the time is awarded child support.  But what happens when neither parent has the child most of the time? What if the parents are splitting custody 50/50?  What happens to Illinois child support when the children stay with each parent 50% of the time? How Is Child Support Calculated In Illinois? An Illinois family law court has the power to award child support. “[T]he court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child of the marriage or civil union to…
It’s often said that 99% of divorces end up settling rather than go to trial. But what does that mean? What is the result of a divorce settlement in Illinois? The end result of divorce in Illinois is a series of documents: The Judgment For Dissolution Of Marriage is a document which actually divorces the married party. If there are no children and little to no assets, debts and support obligations, the Judgment of Dissolution can stand on its own and just allocate a few assets, waive maintenance, dissolve the bonds of matrimony, allow a return to maiden names and…
In today’s society, children are not left alone.  Kids just aren’t trusted to be on their own. The concern is rarely the children themselves but outside threats, perceived or real. Still, it is impractical to think that a parent will never ever leave their child alone.  Sometimes a parent has to go to the store, jog around the block, or talk to a neighbor outside.  The wisdom of each absence of a parent from a child is always debatable…until something happens to the child. A child getting hurt, lost or sick because they weren’t supervised is a problem. But, if…
Being a parent in America is expensive.  The first four years are the massive expense of daycare and then 13 years later is the massive expense of college.  Some parents plan for these expenses by saving in advance by investing in 529 college savings plans.  But, no one plans for divorce. So, what happens to a 529 college savings plan in an Illinois divorce? What Is A 529 Plan? 529 plans refer to section 529 of the internal revenue code. “A qualified tuition program shall be exempt from taxation under this subtitle.” I.R.C. § 529(a) There are two kinds…
The Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) is a non-law enforcement agency with investigative powers.  Specifically, DCFS, is required to investigate any reports of child abuse or neglect in the state of Illinois. In the early days of a divorce, it’s been my experience that unhappy married couples will turn to DCFS to resolve disputes regarding children in advance of filing for divorce. DCFS investigations can sometimes escalate the tension in a troubled marriage or provide needed consequences and remedies for unhealthy behavior.  The people who work at DCFS are trying their best to provide safety and…
There’s an old saying: “lucky in life, unlucky in love” which refers to the phenomenon of reasonable, successful people who fall in love with people who are constantly prone to poor decisions. Maybe this odd couple dynamic is what keeps a relationship fun. But, when that relation is fraying the reasonable spouse may be worried about the liability they have due to their spouse’s actions. Specifically, can a spouse in Illinois be sued for the actions of their spouse or even their ex-spouse? Liability For Your Spouse If You Are Still Married In Illinois In Illinois, if you’re still married,…
When a divorce starts, one party files a Petition For Dissolution of Marriage, the other party files an Appearance and a Response To The Petition For Dissolution of Marriage and maybe a Counter-Petition For Dissolution.  Then the parties file their respective Motions For Temporary Relief.  This is all the easy part! Because the next step is…discovery. In an Illinois divorce, discovery is the exchange and search for the relevant records to affirm the parties assets, income and status for the purposes of negotiation and/or evidence for trial.  There are many tools of discovery which the Illinois…
After the initial Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage is filed, the other party is served but before the final trial or prove-up is a long period, called “Discovery” that constitutes the majority of the work in an Illinois divorce.  Discovery is the request of and exchange of relevant documents and testimony that may allow the parties to better reach settlement or be used as possible evidence in a final trial. Both sides in an Illinois divorce will want to determine which of these documents and alleged facts are agreed upon in order to further settlement and simplify trial.…