Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

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815-666-1285

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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

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What to Consider When Allocating Parenting Time

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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.

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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?

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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. 

The parent with the majority of the parenting time receives child support payments from the parent with less parenting time. The parent with the majority of parenting time is expected to make his or her share of the financial contributions by caring for the child and meeting the child’s daily needs. 

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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. 

Once a man signs the form, he is officially the child’s parent in the eyes of the law. The father may also be subject to a child support order. Both parents are responsible for providing for the child, including medical care and can be liable for child support payments if they later separate. In a case where you are not sure who the biological father is, you should not sign the VAP. Paternity in this case should be determined by genetic testing.

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