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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Most divorces in Illinois are governed by one to three documents: a Judgment For Dissolution Of Marriage, A Marital Settlement Agreement and/or an Allocation of Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities.

95% of these final divorce documents will be entered into by agreement. Agreements will be enforced as written in an Illinois court.

“[S]ettlement agreements are binding absent a finding of unconscionability.” In re Marriage of Stoker, 2021 IL App (5th) 200301

Agreements in divorce are subject to contract law for the purposes of enforcement. Contract law can sometimes modify even an agreed order. This means that a court
Continue Reading Severability In An Illinois Divorce Agreement

After an Illinois divorce is over…it is not really over. Everything in a divorce order can be enforced later in the same Illinois divorce court. Additionally, virtually everything about a divorce order in Illinois can be modified in that same Illinois divorce court.

The world is not static and neither are the lives of the divorced. When a substantial change in circumstances happens in either parties’ lives, one party will file to modify the Marital Settlement Agreement or Allocation of Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities. If not modified, the other party will fail to meet their obligations under
Continue Reading Res Judicata In An Illinois Divorce

Family law is fraught with emergencies: holiday trips that have been thwarted, medical procedures that need to be done, money frittered away with no hope of recoup.

If you and your spouse, ex-spouse or ex-spouse-to-be, cannot communicate effectively about the day-to-day goings on of your lives…an emergency motion may be the vehicle for communication.

Furthermore, upon receipt of an emergency motion, you will have limited time to prepare for and defend against the emergency motion’s allegations.

What Is A Motion In an Illinois Divorce?

At the end of your divorce case, final documents such as a Judgment of Dissolution
Continue Reading How To Respond To An Emergency Motion In An Illinois Divorce

Dividing marital assets in an Illinois divorce is not done with a pure 50/50 split analysis. Illinois courts divide marital assets in “just proportions.”

“Just proportions does not mean strict equality but only an equitable division.” In re Marriage of Albrecht, 266 Ill. App. 3d 399, 402 (Ill. App. Ct. 1994)

Illinois courts consider multiple factors when weighing those “just proportions” for the purposes of dividing marital assets.

Illinois divorce courts “shall divide the marital property without regard to marital misconduct in just proportions considering all relevant factors, including:

the dissipation by each party of the marital property” 750
Continue Reading Irretrievable Breakdown Of A Marriage And Dissipation In Illinois

In Illinois, there is only one grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences.

“The court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage [upon] the making of the finding:…Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.” 750 ILCS 5/401

Irreconcilable differences are “persistent and unresolvable disagreements between the spouses” Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)

It is very easy to prove irreconcilable differences in an Illinois divorce. During the prove-up hearing which
Continue Reading Irreconcilable Differences In An Illinois Divorce

Illinois divorce law can be confusing. The most confusing element of the Illinois divorce process is probably the discovery process.

Discovery is the “compulsory disclosure, at a party’s request, of information that relates to the litigation” Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)

Discovery is largely accomplished through a variety of different discovery requests: notices to produce, interrogatories, requests to admit, depositions, subpoenas, etc.

The opposing sides in Illinois litigation are expected to resolve discovery amongst themselves without the court’s help.

“Cooperation between counsel and good-faith efforts by them to resolve disputes without judicial intervention
Continue Reading What Must Be Filed Regarding Discovery In An Illinois Divorce

Divorce is contentious. Often, divorce so contentious that one party to the divorce requests that the other party no longer contact or communicate with them via an order of protection.

There are two types of orders of protection: criminal and civil petitions for order of protection.

Civil orders of protection are prosecuted in divorce court by the party with the petition (and/or their lawyer). A civil order of protection puts the issue of abuse front and center with the judge that will be deciding all the other issues in the case.

If you have a legitimate petition for an
Continue Reading Criminal Orders Of Protection In An Illinois Divorce

On the TV show “Columbo”, the detective and show’s namesake would shuffle around after his initial inquiry, finally say “one more thing…” and then get his final point in…whereupon the case would be solved. Columbo pretended to be a fool when, in fact, Columbo had played the interviewed party for a fool!

Well, a lot of divorce lawyers do the exact same thing in court. A divorce lawyer will appear in a status call or some other kind of hearing and then chime in, “Oh yeah, one last thing judge…dad has a Faberge egg and we want to sell it.”
Continue Reading Oral Motions And Sua Sponte Orders In An Illinois Divorce

Divorce is expensive. Even starting to get divorced is expensive.

In Cook County, Illinois you are required to pay $ 388 to file a Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage. On the other side, in Cook County, you are required to pay $ 250 for an appearance if your spouse has filed a Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage.

The county court system in Illinois is not a charity. Illinois courts operate based on fees paid by the people who file pleadings and motions.

Those Illinois divorce court fees can be waived if your income meets certain minimum levels.
Continue Reading How To Not Pay Filing Fees In An Illinois Divorce

Whenever a celebrity’s child support amount is announced in the news, the child support always seems absurdly high. Kelly Clarkson pays her ex-husband $ 45,601 in child support. Nick Cannon pays $2.2 million dollars a year to the mothers of his nine children.

Celebrities do not live in Illinois. So, celebrities are not a useful guide to what the actual upper limits of child support are in Illinois. What is the cap on child support in Illinois?

How Is Child Support Calculated In Illinois?

“The court shall determine child support in each case by applying the child support
Continue Reading What Is The Cap On Child Support In Illinois?

Kids do dumb stuff. Sometimes the consequences of a child’s poor decision are so bad that a parent becomes liable for their child’s actions in Illinois. Illinois law acknowledges that parents have a responsibility to supervise their children.

The Illinois Parental Responsibility Act

The Illinois Parental Responsibility Act governs a parent’s financial obligation to victims of a child’s bad behavior.

“[T]he…purpose of the Illinois Parental Responsibility Act is two-fold: (1) to compensate innocent victims of juvenile misconduct that is willful or malicious; and (2) to place upon the parents the obligation to control a minor child so as to prevent
Continue Reading Can A Parent Be Sued For Their Child’s Actions In Illinois?

Curfew is “[a] regulation that forbids people (or certain classes of them, such as minors) from being outdoors or in vehicles at certain hours.” Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)

Like my mother always said, “Nothing good ever happens after midnight. So, be home by then.”

Illinois has a state curfew statute and numerous local municipal citations that govern curfew regulations.

“Illinois curfew law properly further[s] the State’s valid interest in protecting its children.” Village of Deerfield v. Greenberg, 550 NE 2d 12 – Ill: Appellate Court, 2nd Dist. 1990

“The [Illinois curfew] statute proceeds upon the basic assumption that when a
Continue Reading When Is Curfew For Children In Illinois?

People move a lot of money around during an Illinois divorce. Sometimes, parties to a divorce even move real estate around. It is not uncommon for a divorce litigant to suddenly sell real estate to his brother and declare, “that house was always really my brother’s, anyways.”

Unfortunately, there is no “automatic stay” that keeps Illinois divorce parties from selling or disposing of possible marital property.

Therefore, each spouse has to put the world on notice that any real estate that either spouse owns may be subject to a future division in their pending Illinois divorce.

This formal notice
Continue Reading Lis Pendens In An Illinois Divorce

There are very few contested facts in an Illinois divorce. In fact, there are really only two sets of facts that matter, financially, in an Illinois divorce: the parties’ respective incomes and what assets will be marital property.

W2s, Tax Returns and paystubs quickly establish what the incomes are for 90% of divorce litigants.

Marital property has no government mandated seals of approval. Instead, every Illinois divorce court must determine what will be deemed marital property in an Illinois divorce. The purpose of deeming a particular property as “marital” is so that property may be divided between the parties.
Continue Reading What Is Marital Property In An Illinois Divorce?

Illinois divorce law is peppered with phrases that you kind-of/sort-of think you might already understand. “No-Fault Divorce” is one of those legal terms where you presume it means that neither spouse needs to show adultery, domestic-violence, or abandonment in order to get divorce…but you might not be 100% sure. So, you look up “what is no-fault divorce in Illinois?”

A no-fault divorce is “[a] divorce in which the parties are not requires to prove fault or grounds beyond a showing of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or irreconcilable differences.” Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)

In the old days,
Continue Reading No-Fault Divorce In Illinois

Getting an order of protection in Illinois is not difficult.

“A petition for an order of protection may be filed only: (i) by a person who has been abused by a family or household member” 750 ILCS 60/201(b)(1)

“A petition for an order of protection shall be in writing and verified or accompanied by affidavit and shall allege that petitioner has been abused by respondent, who is a family or household member.” 750 ILCS 60/203(a)

“If the court finds that petitioner has been abused by a family or household member…an order of protection prohibiting the abuse, neglect, or exploitation shall issue”
Continue Reading Self-Defense And Orders Of Protection In Illinois