Hicks & Spector Family Law Blog

Latest from Hicks & Spector Family Law Blog

Contested Divorce Process

What is the process for completing a contested divorce?  One of the most common questions that we receive is in regard to the possible steps that are involved in completing a contested divorce.  Our flowchart on this page shows the potential steps that you may encounter when completing a contested divorce in Illinois.  While every divorce is unique, in Illinois each contested divorce must follow the required steps in the process. 

Each case is different.  We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your individual legal needs.  Contact us if you are facing divorce.  We have the
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Hicks & Spector L.L.C. offers a flat fee option for certain types of divorce. 

What is a flat fee for divorce? 

You pay one amount at the beginning of the process and no further payments are needed.  Each case varies in complexity.  The attorney will quote the flat fee based on your individual case.  Typically, the fee is between $2,500.00 and $3,500.00. 

What is an uncontested divorce?

If you and your spouse have a full agreement on all terms of the divorce, we call this an uncontested divorce.  This means you agree to divorce, agree on all terms regarding the
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A revocable living trust is a legal document that is used to manage an individual’s assets during their lifetime and distribute them after their death. The trust is created by the grantor, who is the person who owns the assets, and the trustee, who is the person responsible for managing the assets in the trust. In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of a revocable living trust and how it works.
Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust

  • Avoid Probate
  • A revocable living trust helps to avoid probate, which is the legal process of settling an individual’s estate after
    Continue Reading Revocable Living Trust: A Comprehensive Guide

    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
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    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
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    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