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Getting a divorce can be one of the saddest, most contentious, and bitter processes that a person can ever experience. At least, that is the usual assumption when it comes to getting divorced. It is undoubtedly true that many divorces involve lots of anger and unpleasantness, particularly when children are involved. However, what if there was a way to get divorced that was not quite so terrible? 
There is a divorce process that can end things in an amicable way that will leave both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse feeling heard and respected once the divorce is finalized. This process
Continue Reading What is an Uncontested Divorce in Illinois?

For many spouses, divorce mediation or other methods of cooperative divorce may be preferable to a prolonged courtroom battle. Divorcing spouses who use mediation may be able to save substantial time, money, and stress. However, alternative dispute resolution tactics may not be effective – or even worth trying – for every set of spouses. The process requires cooperation and a certain level of emotional maturity to succeed. Both spouses must be willing to make compromises with one another. Both spouses must be able to commit to participating in mediation or negotiation efforts.
While you and your spouse need not be
Continue Reading When Divorce Mediation May Not Work

For most parents, their greatest concern in a divorce is not who keeps the living room furniture, but rather, how much time they will get to continue spending with their children. Seeing the other parent obtain sole child custody is often a parent’s worst fear. If your spouse is threatening to pursue sole custody, or to keep the children from seeing you, you should know that this result is highly unlikely unless there is genuine evidence that you are harmful to the children. If no such evidence exists, courts in Illinois immensely favor a parenting time arrangement that allows both
Continue Reading What to Do When Your Spouse Threatens to Seek Sole Custody

Many recently divorced parents find it helpful to leave the area where they resided during the marriage to seek a new beginning elsewhere. Relocating can have a wonderful effect on the mental health of a newly divorced parent, particularly if the divorce was very challenging or the marriage itself was harmful. However, in Illinois, a parent cannot simply pack their children’s belongings and relocate to a faraway area without first obtaining permission from the court. Parental relocations are not automatically granted if the other parent objects. If your former spouse resists the relocation and has been allocated any parenting time,
Continue Reading Important Considerations Before Planning to Relocate With Children

In Illinois, spouses have the option of legally separating rather than divorcing. Legal separations is an option for spouses who feel that they no longer want to live together as a married couple and would like legal recognition of their separation, but also do not want to divorce. Divorce and legal separation have some commonalities, but a few major differences. After a legal separation, you remain legally married, but may largely live as if you are divorced. As in divorce, you and your spouse will be able to formally divide marital property and create a parenting plan if you
Continue Reading Divorce or Legal Separation – Which is Right For You?

Most people are familiar with the term “mediation” but may not know exactly what working with a mediator looks like. In an Illinois divorce case, understanding the mediation process is essential for setting realistic expectations and pursuing successful negotiations over your divorce settlement. If you are considering divorce and want to know more about whether a mediator could help you, read on to learn more about what working with a mediator is like. 
What Does a Divorce Mediator Do? 
Before a divorce can be finalized, spouses must reach an agreement about property and debt division, spousal support
Continue Reading What Does the Divorce Mediation Process Look Like? 

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that spouses cannot give specific reasons for getting divorced other than “irreconcilable differences.” Even ugly or distasteful behaviors such as infidelity and domestic violence will not give one spouse preferential treatment during divorce proceedings. That being said, judges are very sensitive to the physical and emotional danger that domestic violence can cause to spouses and children, and there are protections available to victims of domestic violence. If you are thinking about getting divorced from an abusive spouse, here are some ways you might expect your divorce to be different. 
Getting an Order of
Continue Reading What Can I Expect From a Divorce if My Spouse is Physically Abusive? 

The best interests of the child is the backbone of not only the family law system but, ethically, society as a whole. Notwithstanding abuse or neglect, parents generally have certain rights, including the right to parenting time.  However, the situation becomes much more complicated when paternity of a child is unknown. The complexities and nuances of sensitive issues like paternity can be painful, humiliating, and frustrating to both the mother and the father, and most especially, the child.  A  family law attorney can advocate for parentage rights.
Establishing Paternity
Three ways in which paternity is established include the following:

  • A


Continue Reading Paternity Disputes in Cook County

Negotiating education expenses for a child in a divorce decree can be contentious, especially if the divorce is acrimonious. In Illinois, child support usually ceases once a child is 18 years old and graduates from high school. After child support obligations cease, some divorced parents may still need to pay higher education expenses. Effective January 1, 2016, Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act affirms that divorced parents may be required to contribute to their non-minor child’s post-high-school education and living expenses. 
Contingent to the divorce decree, the college contributions that each parent and child are
Continue Reading Child Support and College Education Expenses in Chicago

The LGBTQ+ community has historically struggled to attain equality. Not so long ago, a spouse of a same-sex couple did not even have the right to visit an ill or dying partner in the hospital.  Unless there was a written agreement, the homemaker or domestic partner of a same-sex couple was not eligible to inherit the estate of a deceased breadwinner.  Instead, the estate would be liquidated and divided among blood relatives, even if the relatives were estranged. Effective June 1, 2014, Illinois recognized same-sex marriage. Same-sex spouses can get married and, if the marriage does not work out, they
Continue Reading Same-Sex Marital Rights and Divorce in Cook County 

In the United States, one in three women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence. Due to fear, embarrassment, or shame, domestic violence incidents are underreported, so the actual statistics are probably higher. The abused, of course, have nothing to be ashamed of as they hold no culpability for the perpetrator’s behavior. 
Domestic violence does not discriminate and affects all races, creeds, sexual orientations, and educational and socioeconomic backgrounds. A domestic violence attorney can help victims obtain orders of protection to help safeguard them from abusers.
Domestic violence devastates families and is detrimental to society. It comprises
Continue Reading Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection

 Divorce and child custody arrangements can be traumatic for a child, but uprooting a child from one city or state to another can elicit another host of traumatizing challenges. Motives such as employment advancement or a better educational opportunity might be a compelling reason for parental relocation. Still, the child’s best interest should remain at the forefront of any life-changing decision. According to Illinois law, a parent with 50 percent or more parenting time is permitted to relocate the child without permission from the other parent or the court, so long as the relocation does not exceed a specific
Continue Reading Parental Relocation Disputes

 Legal separation is an alternative to divorce, offering the disputing spouses space, security, and time to evaluate their marriage. Although not a surefire precursor to divorce, like divorce, legal separation also requires a court order. To seek a legal separation, married spouses must live apart and address parental responsibilities, child support, and spousal support. Divorce can be emotionally strenuous and financially draining. Legal separation might be a viable solution as it can prepare families for the finalization of divorce or give them a chance of reconciliation.
Similarities and Differences between Legal Separation and Divorce
In a legal separation,
Continue Reading Ten Advantages of Legal Separation

Divorced and unmarried parents still need to provide financial support to their children. In Illinois, this is accomplished through child support payments. Many parents are confused about their child support rights and responsibilities in Illinois. They do not know how much payments will be or who will receive payments. Parents also have questions about what to do when a parent is not paying child support. Whether you are unmarried, divorced, or intend to divorce soon, it is important to understand how child support is handled in Illinois.
Calculating the Amount of Support
Divorcing spouses are able to reach their own
Continue Reading Child Support Basics for Parents in Illinois

As a parent, grandparent, or other individual tasked with caring for children, an accusation of neglect or abuse can be shocking and offensive. If you have been accused of neglecting your child, you may be unsure of how to respond to the situation. You may be full of questions. Will I be investigated by the DCFS? Will I lose custody of my kids? Will I go to jail? This type of uncertainty is normal. The best thing to do in a situation like this is to work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer experienced in defending against accusations of
Continue Reading I Was Accused of Child Neglect. What Next?

Many spouses are awarded alimony, or spousal maintenance, both during and after an Illinois divorce. Yet while alimony used to be nearly ubiquitous for women, who were generally the spouse responsible for raising children, Illinois law has changed to reflect the fact that women are often at least as active in the workforce as their partners. 
Among other modifications that modernized the law, there is now no guarantee that a wife will get either full custody or spousal maintenance after a divorce. However, if one spouse would be at a significant financial disadvantage after a marriage ends, a
Continue Reading Do Wives Always Get Alimony After an Illinois Divorce?