Hicks & Spector Family Law Blog

Latest from Hicks & Spector Family Law Blog

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…
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…
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…
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…
4thNov 2018 I am not a millionaire.  Do I need a Will?  The answer is Yes!  Everyone should have a Will and Estate Plan. Children 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…
3rdOct 2018 Background 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:…
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…
9thJul 2018 Property and Debt distribution is addressed in 750 ILCS 5/503.  This blog is an overview of property disposition in Illinois. What is property for purposes of divorce in Illinois? Property encompasses real property usually in the form of a house.  It also includes personal property like vehicles, boats, jewelry, furniture and appliances.  Other examples are retirement funds, pensions, stocks and bank accounts. Debts and liabilities also fall under property disposition in 750 ILCS 5/503. Marital vs. Non-Marital-An Important Distinction Marital property and debts are distributed in a divorce.  Non-marital property and debts are not.  The court presumes that…
20thMay 2018 What is relocation? For most counties in Illinois, a parent with the majority of time or equal time relocates when that parent moves from his/her primary residence to another residence in Illinois that is more than 50 miles away or a residence in another state that is more than 25 miles away.  In certain counties in the Chicago area, a parent with the majority of time o equal time relocates if he/she moves more than 25 miles away. Step One A parent who wishes to relocate must first send written notice to the other parent.  The notice must…
22ndApr 2018 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. Jurisdiction A person may file for divorce in Illinois if he or she has resided in Illinois for at least 90 days.  The court can address parenting responsibilities/custody if the children have been here at least 6 months.  To address support and property, both spouses must reside in Illinois unless there is an agreement. Grounds The only…
8thApr 2018 Background Our futures are filled with uncertainty, especially when it comes to our financial situations.  Whenever a child support obligation is involved, many support-paying parents worry about his or her ability to continue making payments. Fortunately, the Courts understand that money and finances cannot be predicted or guaranteed.  So, child support obligations can be modified if parents prove that there has been a substantial change to his or her or the child’s circumstances since entry of the previous support orders. Substantially Changed Circumstances There are many changes that might be considered so substantial that a modification of the…
24thMar 2018 As of January 1, 2018, the court can consider the well-being of pets and award joint or sole ownership and responsibility to the parties in a divorce.  Pets are considered property in a divorce.  They fall under 750 ILCS 5/503(n).  The court can determine ownership and responsibility on a temporary basis pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/501. Marital Asset The law only applies to marital pets.  That means acquired during the marriage.  This could be a gray area for couples who got the pet together before they were married. Companion Animals The statute refers to pets as “companion animals”. …