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IL family lawyerIf you are an unmarried parent or a parent who will soon divorce, child-related concerns like child custody and child support are likely top priorities. Child support can be an extremely important source of income for the receiving parent and a significant expense for the paying parent. Many parents wonder if they can work out a child support arrangement on their own, without the court’s involvement. They may want to negotiate a child support agreement that is different than what the court would order or simply do not wish to deal with the court system.

Handshake Child Support Agreements Are Not a Good Idea

Parents who are no longer in a romantic relationship but are still on good terms with each other may wish to set up an informal, handshake agreement regarding child support. For example, an unmarried mother may ask the father to pay a certain amount of money to her directly each month instead of setting up a child support order through the court system.

The issue with this type of informal arrangement is that it is not legally binding. The court cannot enforce a child support order that was not established through the court. Even if you and the child’s other parent are on good terms now, that may not always be the case. Your child deserves to have financial support from both parents and setting up an official child support order through the court is the best way to do this.

Parents Cannot Waive the Right to Child Support

Illinois considers financial support to the child to be the child’s right, not the parent’s right. So, parents cannot simply agree not to pay child support. In the majority of cases, Illinois courts determine child support based on the Income Shares formula, a calculation method that uses both parents’ net incomes. The court may deviate from the child support guidelines if using the guidelines would be “inequitable, unjust, or inappropriate.”

If the parents agree to a support payment amount that differs from the guidelines described in Illinois law, the judge will only approve this agreement if the parents can prove why following the guidelines is inappropriate. Ultimately, the court will enact the child support arrangement that is in the child’s best interests.

Contact a Joliet Child Support Lawyer

The Will County family law attorneys at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. can help you with child support, parenting time, parental responsibilities, divorce, and much more. Call our Joliet office at 815-666-1285 or our Plainfield office at 815-733-5350 for a free consultation.


will county parenting plan lawyerWhether you are in the process of filing for an Illinois divorce or modifying your parenting plan after many years of co-parenting your minor children, creating an arrangement that works for both parents and the children usually takes some work. In your agreement that discusses your parental responsibilities and parenting time schedule (known as your “parenting plan”), there are many areas that must be addressed. For most parents, the more specific they can be, the less room there is for debate or conflict once the plan is put in place. One concept that may benefit some parents is the “right of first refusal” - to learn more about this idea, read on. 

The Right of First Refusal and Your Parenting Plan 

Parents are frequently unable to care for their children because of work, healthcare appointments, or social activities. When parents are still married, they can easily rely on each other or speak with a babysitter or family member about providing coverage. After a divorce, however, it can be more difficult to secure childcare. 

One way to manage this is by using the right of first refusal, which requires parents to seek supplementary childcare from each other before asking someone else. Parents can stipulate the circumstances under which they will ask each other for help, as well as provide details about how children will be dropped off and picked up. If parents live far away from each other or do not get along well, they may only want the right of first refusal to kick in when one of them needs to be gone for at least 24 hours. Parents who live nearby and have no issues being flexible and friendly could call each other for coverage at any time. 

Some circumstances make the right of first refusal an unwise or even dangerous idea. You do not have to include the right of first refusal at all if your spouse is abusive, manipulative, or can only have supervised visitation with your children. You also do not need to include the right of first refusal if you simpy do not feel comfortable with a flexible arrangement that would potentially put you in regular contact with your ex. 

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Will County Parenting Time Lawyer

Knowing the full range of options is the first step towards creating a parenting plan that works best for your family. To learn more, schedule a complimentary case review with one of the Plainfield, IL parenting time attorneys at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.. We place great importance on your priorities and are happy to negotiate a parenting time agreement with your spouse or go to court if necessary. Call us today at 815-666-1285



plainfield spousal support lawyerDuring the divorce process, the two parties will sign off on a divorce agreement which may include terms for spousal support payments as well as child support, child custody, visitation agreements, and other issues. As circumstances change in the months and years after a divorce, modifications to the agreement can be pursued by either spouse. Modifications may be necessary due to changing financial circumstances or the remarriage or cohabitation of one of the spouses. An experienced family law attorney can help determine whether to pursue a modification and work with you through the process.

Reasons for a Modification

Under Illinois law, if the spouse receiving spousal support payments begins living with a partner, he or she forfeits his or her right to spousal support. The payor must file a motion with the court to prove cohabitation and terminate support. Spousal support immediately ends upon the remarriage of the spouse who is receiving payments. Any payments made past the marriage date are to be reimbursed to the paying party. 

There are other reasons why a modification to the divorce agreement can be pursued, including:

  • Either spouse has a significant change in their financial resources due to a new job, loss of a job, or other factors

  • One of the parents relocates, in cases involving children

  • The educational needs of a child or children have changed

  • The medical needs of a child or children have changed

  • There are allegations of abuse or neglect against one of the parents

  • The child or children have changed their parental preferences as they have matured

Changes to the divorce agreement can be made through mediation, negotiation, or litigation if necessary. Not all the changes above may warrant a modification, and we will advise our clients on the benefits and risks of filing a modification. We are prepared to work with you to determine the most appropriate course of action to arrive at a new agreement that meets your best interests. In many cases, an agreement can be reached between the spouses. However, we will aggressively advocate for our clients in court when necessary.

Contact a Will County Post-Divorce Modification Lawyer

To ensure that you are paying or receiving the appropriate amount of spousal support, or for any other divorce-related issues, contact a Plainfield divorce attorney at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.. We can help you navigate through the sometimes-confusing world of post-divorce modifications. Call our office at 815-666-1285 to set up a free consultation today.


joliet divorce lawyerThe first step that most couples take during the divorce process is to begin negotiations on who will receive what assets and property after the marriage is dissolved. However, it is helpful to understand what property is considered joint property and subject to division, and which is separate and will remain with each individual. Illinois law provides definitions of whether property is marital or separate. Disagreements between divorcing couples over what is joint and separate property is common, so it is essential that you work with an experienced property and asset division lawyer to protect your interests.  

Marital Property and Separate Property in Illinois

Generally, all property that the couple acquired during their marriage is considered joint marital property and subject to equitable division during a divorce. To be considered separate individual property owned by just one spouse and not subject to division, the property must fall into one of these categories:

  • Property that was acquired by one spouse before the marriage

  • Property that one spouse acquired as a gift or through an inheritance

  • Any property that was acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage or through a gift or inheritance

  • Property that the couple agreed to specifically exclude from the marital estate in an agreement signed by both of the parties, typically a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

  • Property that one spouse acquired after the couple had legally separated

  • Any judgment or property obtained by judgment that one spouse received in an award from the other

Any increase in value by any of the properties listed above is also considered separate property unless that increase can be attributed to the work of the other spouse. In that case, the other spouse may receive reimbursement for their contribution to the increase.

If property or proceeds from the sale of property that was separate are mixed with marital assets, for example, they were deposited into a joint checking account, the property or assets are considered commingled and become marital property and subject to equitable division.

Contact a Joliet Martial Asset Property Lawyer

For legal help during your divorce, including the division of marital property, contact the Will County divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.. To schedule your free initial consultation, call our office at 815-666-1285 today. Receiving your fair share of marital property and assets is incredibly important. We can provide you with the guidance to reach a solution on property and asset division during negotiation or mediation, but are prepared to fight for your interests in court if necessary.


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joliet child custody lawyer Divorce is difficult for everyone in a family, and children face unique challenges. They will have to adapt to life between two homes in many cases. When a couple with children is divorcing in Illinois, they must develop a court-approved parenting plan that addresses how responsibility for decisions about their children will be shared and a plan for the children’s living arrangements. When developing this second part, also known as the allocation of parenting time, some decisions must be defined. 

Parenting Time Schedule

Parents getting divorced will need to address:

  • How parents will share parenting time - If the children’s time between the parents is split relatively equally, with each parent having at least 40 percent of the nights each year, they are considered to have shared parenting arrangement. This split can influence how child support is calculated but does not change any other rights or responsibilities of the parents.

  • What the schedule for parenting time looks like - This will cover which specific days each child is residing with each parent. It can be determined on a formula basis or day-by-day on a calendar.

  • How the basic logistics of splitting the children’s time will work - It is helpful for the parents to work out details like transportation between homes, the preferred method of communication between them, and other essential details. This will help avoid future conflicts.

  • What happens if the plan needs to change - Unless there has been a significant change to the circumstances of either parent or the children, you are required to follow the original court-approved plan. However, your plan can include room for flexibility and allow for certain types of changes if both parents approve them.

Parents are encouraged to work together to develop the entire parenting plan, but the court must approve it. If they cannot agree, they may each develop their own plans, which are then submitted to the court for consideration, resulting in a court-developed plan.

Trust a Will County Family Law Attorney

If you need assistance through your divorce, including the development of a parenting plan and the allocation of parenting time, the Joliet parenting plan lawyers of Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. can help. Our experienced attorneys will keep the needs of you and your children first. Call our office today at 815-666-1285 for a free consultation.


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