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Can Parents Agree on Child Support Without the Court’s Involvement?

 Posted on August 11, 2022 in Divorce

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.

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The Right of First Refusal Can Be an Important Part of Your Illinois Parenting Plan

 Posted on July 28, 2022 in Divorce

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. 

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Do I Still Have to Pay Spousal Support if My Ex Moves in With Somebody?

 Posted on July 13, 2022 in Divorce

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. 

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What Property is Considered Separate in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on June 27, 2022 in Divorce

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:

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What to Consider When Allocating Parenting Time

 Posted on June 13, 2022 in Child Custody in Illinois

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.

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What to Expect From Mediation in an Illinois Divorce

 Posted on May 16, 2022 in Mediation

joliet divorce lawyerFor couples who are considering a divorce but would like to avoid a sometimes-lengthy divorce court process, mediation may be the answer. Mediation may allow the couple to work out their divorce in a less confrontational and more collaborative setting. Through mediation, couples can negotiate all the terms of their divorce, including child custody, division of property and assets, division of debt, and spousal support. Even though the goal of mediation is often to avoid divorce court, it is still essential to have an attorney who can prepare you for the mediation process and help you advocate for your rights and interests.

Benefits of Mediation

The mediation process has several benefits for couples who can set aside their differences and work together to reach a settlement.

  • Saves time and money – Working with your spouse through mediation can generally take less time than going through divorce court. Time can be saved in planning for negotiations and avoiding the wait to get on a court’s docket. Less time also means it is a less costly option.

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What Impacts My Child Support Payments in Illinois?

 Posted on May 04, 2022 in Family Law

joliet child support lawyerIn any divorce involving children, each parent’s financial support for the child’s needs will be a significant factor in the proceedings. To ensure fairness, Illinois uses the income shares method to determine a parent’s level of child support. It is based on a proportion of the parents’ combined net income. Our attorneys have experience in child support cases and can determine the appropriate levels that you and your spouse should be expected to contribute to your child’s daily and long-term needs.

Factors in Income Shares Method

The basis of the income shares method is the combined net income of both parents. In cases of unemployment or underemployment for one or both spouses, the court can estimate their potential income and use that amount as the basis for the rest of the calculations. To determine the level of basic support that the child or children need, the court will include the costs of food, clothing, education, transportation, medical costs, personal care needs, and other daily expenses. The basic support amount will then be correlated to a monthly cost based on the parent’s net income using a formula developed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Each parent will contribute to the monthly basic support expenses based on their proportion of the combined net income. The greater a parent’s share of the combined income, the greater level of support a parent is expected to contribute. 

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What is a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity Form in Illinois?

 Posted on April 25, 2022 in Family Law

plainfield paternity lawyerEstablishing paternity creates the legal father-child relationship. Confirming paternity is the first step in ensuring that a child will receive the financial support that they need through child support. It is also the first step in establishing the legal rights and responsibilities of the father. For unmarried couples in Illinois, paternity can be established by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. However, if this is not possible, paternity may be established through an Administrative Paternity Order or an Order of Paternity through the court system. If you are involved in a paternity case, as either the mother or the father, it is important to work with attorneys who can represent you and your case effectively. 

How a VAP works

A VAP is a legal document that establishes the paternity of the child of unmarried parents. It is available to be filled out at the hospital after a child is born and can be completed at the same time as the birth certificate. If the parents prefer to take the form home to read and then complete it, it must be filled out and signed in the presence of a witness who is at least 18 years old. It can be filed at any time after the child is born. 

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Seven Common Reasons for a Post-Divorce Modification

 Posted on April 18, 2022 in Divorce

joliet divorce lawyerAs children get older, jobs are found and lost, and living situations change, the original agreements that you reached after your divorce may need to be changed too. The settlement that you and your spouse agreed to can be legally amended through mediation, negotiation, or litigation. Based on the reasons for the change, there may be changes to payments for child support or spousal support, or changes to child custody and visitation arrangements. We can work with you to determine whether pursuing a modification is the appropriate action and how best to pursue the action. 

Common Reasons for Post-Decree Modification

Here are seven common reasons why modifications are needed after a divorce:

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What Are My Adoption Options in Illinois? 

 Posted on March 31, 2022 in Adopted Persons

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_205333231.jpgAdding another member to your family through adoption is a life-changing decision. Many considerations are factored into the adoption process to ensure a child is adopted into the right permanent home. Parents in Illinois looking to adopt can do so in various ways, including private adoptions, adopting through an agency, or adopting as a secondary family member. Suppose you are looking to adopt a child into your home. In that case, it is a good idea to hire a family attorney who can help prepare you for the legal investigation and navigate your family through the processes. 

Becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent 

Parents can take two key avenues to bring a child into their home. The first way may be through foster care. Children who have been separated from their families or removed from their homes may be in state custody and placed into foster care. That child's welfare team will look to place a child with a temporary family who can promote that child's best interest while preparing to move the child into a permanent home through adoption. A foster parent is responsible for:

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