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child custody, Illinois family lawyer, divorce, Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois child custody lawChild custody and support cases are often decided in conjunction with a divorce case. Others are heard on their own, either because the parents never married, or because the issue of custody was not originally addressed when the couple divorced. Regardless of the circumstances of how the case came to be in the court, all child custody cases involve the same rules of law.

First Things First

In order to hear a child custody case, the court must have jurisdiction to do so. This means that the court must be legally allowed to make decisions pertaining to the parties involved in a case. This may be an issue particularly for parents who live in different states. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) puts forth the rules to follow on this issue. In the state of Illinois, a court can hear a child custody case if:


child support IMAGEFollowing a divorce or separation by parents, a court in Illinois may grant sole physical custody to one party. This parent is usually referred to as the “custodial”parent, and the non-custodial parent will usually still have visitation rights. In most cases children will spend far more time with a custodial parent, and that parent will have more obligations to provide proper care.

 In most situations, the court will also order the non-custodial parent to pay child support to their former partner to help cover childcare expenses. This is logical, as the custodial parent will likely be paying out much more in expenses for child-rearing, and the child support payments will help balance the costs between both parents. But is it possible for the court to order the custodial parent to pay child support to the non-custodial parent? Yes, at least according to an important Illinois appellate family law case last year.  Child Support Decision

Late last year, an Illinois Appellate Court issued an opinion in the case of In re Marriage of Turk. The case originally involved a court order that required a custodial father to pay the non-custodial mother $600 per month in child support. The court was influenced by the fact that the father earned roughly $150,000 per year while the mother earned $10,000 or less.

 The father appealed the decision, arguing, in part, that the relevant Illinois child custody law (Section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the Act) (750 ILCS5/505) did not allow the court to order the custodial parent to pay support to the non-custodial parent.

There were many ancillary issues discussed by the court in it opinion. However, with regard to the possibility of an award of child support to the non-custodial parent, the appellate court found that it was within state law for the father to be ordered to pay child support. The court noted that this step might be appropriate when both parents have significant parenting time (though not necessarily equal), both incur significant childcare expenses, and there is sizeable income disparity between the two parties.

 Ultimately, the court ordered the matter back to the trial court for procedural problems with the calculation of the exact child support award. However, the precedent was set in this appellate district for non-custodial parents to receive child support in certain cases.  Complex Child Support Issues As this case demonstrates, child support matters in Illinois can become quite complex, with determinations hinging on many different factors. In addition, Illinois courts are not exactly clear on the different facets of these issues, such as child support obligations of custodial parents. As always, it is critical to have the tailored advice of a family law attorney to understand your options. For help in DuPage County or surrounding suburbs contact Davi Law Group today.
uncontested divorce IMAGEAspects of the divorce process often breed disputes.  The division of property can present issues if one spouse feels like they deserve more or because some assets are difficult to divide.  Children are also a sticking point in most divorce cases as it can be difficult to agree on custody and child support.  Other possibly contentious issues include spousal support. An uncontested divorce is when these issues are settled without the help of the divorce court.  Both spouses come together to agree on these issues by themselves. This process can allow a divorce to be settled quickly and for a lot less money than a drawn out court battle.  That is because most of the heavy lifting is done by the husband and wife. The process begins like any other divorce.  One spouse files the petition with the divorce court.  Then the citation is served to the other party in the divorce.  As long as the respondent agrees to the uncontested to the divorce or fails to disagree to the divorce, then the uncontested divorce can proceed.  The proposed divorce agreement will be reviewed and approved by a judge who will make sure the final decree is equitable to each spouse and follows certain guidelines for child support and the division of property. An uncontested divorce can be increasingly tricky when there are children from the marriage.  It may be easy to agree to a custody or visitation agreement.  Yet, there are things that are harder to review and agree to.  One aspect that might be missed is planning for college or other education costs.  It is also important to provide health insurance for your children, but who will pay for it is determined in the divorce. Rather than leaving anything to chance, have a legal professional guide you through your uncontested divorce.  Contact an experienced divorce attorney in Wheaton today who can verify the fairness of your uncontested divorce.

Posted on in Divorce
child protectionThe effects of divorce can be devastating for any family.  For children, the massive change in their lives might temporarily lose trust with the people they count on the most.  Obviously, as children get older and more independent, a divorce is not as difficult to deal with.  As challenging as this transition can be for kids, if the parents no longer get along then divorce might be the only option.  Each parent should take an interest in protecting their kids during a divorced, which is easier if you follow some guidelines. 1. Seek an amicable resolution to your divorce Mediation or collaborative divorce processes are often easier and quicker than a litigious divorce.  That is especially the case when deciding contentious issues like child custody, child support, and other aspects that need to be settled.  Child custody, for example, is decided by determining what is in the best interest of the children.  That often means that the children will be brought in front of a judge and asked questions about their desires.  No child wants to see their parents fight for custody so seek an amicable solution instead. 2.  Keep your children out of the conflict There is a sense of uncertainty when children share time between two households.  Rather than enforce that awkwardness, seek to smooth over it.  Do not try to pit your child against their other parent or ask them for information about your ex.  Instead seek to surround them with a comforting environment and have the best time you can with them. 3.  Communicate clearly with your ex You both will need to have an active role in your child’s development if you are sharing custody.  While you might not wish to speak much after your divorce, it is essential to create a co-parenting agreement.  During a time of upheaval like a divorce, it is important for kids to have structure.  Speak with your ex about expectations, rules, and other goals that you would wish to accomplish. Before filing for divorce consider how to make it easier for your kids.  Getting the advice of a legal professional can help you overcome any concerns you may have about the process.  Contact an experienced family law attorney in Warrenville today.

marriageMarriage is a risky proposition, considering that about half end in divorce.  Just as you protect yourself from risks by having insurance, you can do the same for your marriage.  A prenuptial agreement can act like an insurance policy for your union and any assets you would want to keep in the event of a divorce.  Nancy Dunnan, a financial advisor in New York City, states that “marriage is not just an emotional and physical union—it’s also a financial union.  A prenup and the discussions that go with it can help ensure the financial well-being of the marriage.”  These agreements have become more popular in the past couple of years. A survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers shows that 63 percent of divorce lawyers have noticed an increase in the number of couples creating prenups over the last three years.  Forty-six percent of the lawyers surveyed also noted that more women are initiating the prenup discussion.  AAML President Alton L. Abramowitz had this to offer as a possible explanation.  “I think people have become much more conscious of the availability of prenuptial agreements and there’s a greater emphasis on protecting either premarital assets that may increase in value, or assets that may increase in value during the marriage primarily because of the efforts of one spouse because of their career.” Asset protection is not the only issue that can be covered in a prenuptial agreement.  These contracts can also outline how debts and assets are divided in a divorce which is important because of the volatility of the real estate market and economy as a whole.  They can also include how an inheritance or other assets that was acquired before a marriage are divided during a divorce.  Spousal support is another typical topic that can be included in a prenuptial agreement.  If you have additional questions or would like to create a prenup for your marriage, contact an experienced family law attorney in DuPage County today.

Even once child custody is determined, for a divorced couple who both want the best for their children, sharing schedules and determining visitation can be a challenge. This becomes all the more difficult if the custodial parent decides that he or she is going to move out of state. In some cases, a move out of state could be beneficial for the children (if the non-custodial parent consistently fails to follow through or is a threat to the ex-spouse), but in most cases moving out of state presents a whole new set of challenges for a divorced couple. In Illinois, if the custodial parent wants to leave Illinois, he or she must first go through a specific court procedure to determine if the move is indeed in the best interest of the child. No custodial parent is allowed to leave Illinois permanently without going through this procedure. In order to make this possible, according to DivorceSource.com, the first step a custodial parent must take if he or she wants to leave Illinois is to “file a petition with the court requesting permission to remove the children from the state.” From there, the court will require “psychological examinations of the parties and the children (and possibly others)… and it is difficult to obtain a prompt hearing.” This means that the custodial parent will need to prepare for the move well in advance—it’s not a decision that can be made lightly and requires months of preparation. According to DivorceSource, “removal will only be approved if it is in the best interest of the children.” There are several factors that the court will consider, according to DivorceSource, which include but are not limited to:

  • that quality of life will improve for all parties involved
  • why the custodial parent wants to move
  • why the non-custodial parent doesn’t want the other to move
  • how drastically the move will effect the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights
  • whether a realistic visitation schedule can be reached

If the non-custodial parent has spent significant time with the children and has proven to be an active part of the children’s lives, obtaining approval for the move may be more difficult. If you or someone you know has custody questions such as this, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois family law attorney today.

Image courtesy of renjith Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted on in Divorce
With a backlog of over three million dollars owed in back child support, Illinois officials are making every effort to get this money collected, even if it means going after a person’s casino winnings. If passed, House Bill 2843 will allow garnishments of monies won gambling. The winnings of parents who have not paid back child support would be turned over to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, who would then distribute the funds to the custodial parents. PamIn addition to garnishing wages,Illinois has the authority to withhold certain services in the attempt to make parents who avoid their responsibility to pay up. For example, he or she may not be allowed to renew a driver’s license or other professional or sportsman licensing until back child support is paid. It is estimated that if House Bill 2843 is passed, $1 million will be distributed to custodial parents. Some say this amount is small in comparison to the $3 million owed, but it is a start, according to child support advocates. In a perfect world, both parents work together in the best interest of the child or children. Unfortunately, measures have to be in place to ensure custodial parents get help from the ex-spouse. Far too often, there is one parent raising the children. When ex spouses do not pay court ordered child support, the custodial parent may have to compensate by working longer hours, which ultimately affects the child. If you are considering divorce or are a custodial parent who is owed back child support, get your questions answered by calling a qualified Illinois Child Support attorney. He or she will work hard to ensure your interests and your children’s interests are protected. The meet and greet consultation is free.

Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young at Freedigitalphotos.net

The process of getting a divorce is very involved.  You will review topics such as child custody, spousal support, and division of property.  The good news is that there are multiple options to achieve your desired result, each with various benefits and harms. The first kind of divorce is DIY or do-it-yourself.  This is not a recommended decision unless there are very specific circumstances.  The marriage should be relatively new, with no children, and a small amount of assets and debts to divide.  Having a limited amount of decisions to make might make a DIY divorce an acceptable option. The second option is mediation, which employs a neutral third party to guide the two parties into an agreement.  The best aspects of this type of divorce are that it is easier on your loved ones, your wallet and your privacy. The bad part is that there is no guaranteed outcome to this method.  If the negotiations fail or are unfavorable, then the whole process could be repeated. The third available choice is collaborative divorce.  Unlike the mediation process which employs a third party, the collaborative law process allows each person to have their own lawyer.  As opposed to a neutral guide, each lawyer will seek to provide the best option for their client.  The benefit of this type of divorce is that it is quicker and cheaper than a litigated divorce but it is still subject to review by a divorce court.  Yet without the benefits of discovery, all the assets and debts acquired in a marriage are voluntarily disclosed in a collaborative divorce, which can lead to an unfair resolution. The last option is a litigated divorce, which is also the most popular kind.  This often brings images of courtrooms and juries to mind, but that's not necessarily the case.  Most litigated divorces end with an out-of-court settlement.  It is also a preferred method because only one party needs to decide to file for divorce.  If you have found that divorce is the best option for your family, please contact a skilled divorce attorney in Wheaton who can be your advocate. image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

A Hayward, WI, man may find that probation stipulations put on him, for past due child support violations, by a family court judge could make it difficult for him to get a date. John J. Butler, 28, must reveal within three minutes of meeting any female that he is a convicted felon and has unpaid child support. According to this article, Butler has been ordered not to father any more children until all his past due child support is paid. Butler owes $23,000 in back child support for his two children. He earlier pleaded guilty to felony charges of failing to pay support for more than 120 days in 2011. According to WEAU News, he also has a long history with the courts, including cases involving drugs, domestic violence, and drinking and driving. The judge said Butler must maintain full-time employment, pay his child support, undergo counseling and stay sober. Other family court judges have handed down similar stipulations in back child support cases. Corey Curtis, a 44 year-old Racine, WI father owes $90,000 in back child support. Curtis has nine children with six different women. At his recent sentencing for bail jumping and failure to pay child support, a judge told Boyle he was not allowed to have a tenth child until he can afford to take care of the nine he already has. If you are having a difficult time collecting child support that is owed to your children, contact an Illinois family law attorney to see what legal options may be available to you and your family.

Lamar Odom is probably best known as the husband of Khloe Kardashian’s and star of their show called “Khloe & Lamar”.  He also plays forward for the professional basketball team, the Los Angeles Clippers.  His busy schedule doesn't allow him to get much sleep especially taking late night flights to get to opponents   Unfortunately, he decided to fall asleep outside a courtroom in Manhattan on March 5th. After meeting with his lawyers and his former girlfriend’s lawyer, Odom laid down on a hard courthouse bench to catch a little sleep.  He was asked by a courthouse officer if he was OK.  When he didn't immediately sit up, he was ordered to do so, according to reports. He was in court for a modification to his child custody agreement with his former girlfriend of over a decade.  At issue in this modification are concerns about child support and custody of his 9 year old daughter Destiny and 5 year old son Lamar Jr. who he had with his former girlfriend Liza Morales.  Odom has been trying to make these modifications since 2010. The parents will also have to review whether or not these children can be filmed by camera crews for Khloe and Lamar’s show.  While this is not a typical issue to review in a custody case, each custody case can present different issues.  It is important as a co-parent to have agreed-to plans to raise your child with an ex. When making these decisions, it is important to have a guide that has experience with the intricacies of custody and support issues as well as other aspects of family law.  Contact a skilled family law attorney in Wheaton to fight for custody of your kids.

Posted on in Child Support

NOTE: As of July 2017, the law governing child support in Illinois has changed. Please see our Child Support page for more information.

In a divorce that includes children, the court will try to decide a fair amount of child support that should be paid to the custodial parent.  The amount can be changed if the financial situation of the non-custodial parent changes over the course of the child’s life.  But it is important to have a basic understanding of how child support is figured. The factors that help determine the amount of child support are as follows.  The needs of the child which is meant to include expenses such as medical insurance, day care, education and other major expenses.  It also considers the financial situation of both the custodial and non-custodial parent and their abilities to support themselves.  The standard of living that the child could have enjoyed if the parties were married is a general factor that is considered as well. The court will look at the net income of each parent when it decides upon a support amount.  That is the full amount of income minus tax deductions, health insurance premiums, and other reasonable expenses that are necessary for life.  In cases were net income isn’t known, it will be up to the court to decide on a realistic support amount. There are minimums that are used as benchmarks when deciding child support.  If there is one child, the child support should be at least 20% of the net income.  For two children, the percentage goes up to 28% and then to 32% for three children.  It does meet a cap at 6 or more children which requires half of the net income of the non-custodial parent. If you are considering divorce when you have children then it is important to have a basic idea of how child support is figured.  There are additional opportunities to seek post decree modifications to existing child support payments.  If the non-custodial parent has a considerable change in income, then a petition may be in the best interests of the case.  Contact a skilled divorce attorney in Wheaton who can work with you through your divorce or as new issues arise. Image courtesy of: Freedigitalphotos.net

Posted on in Divorce
Most people have a good idea of what a divorce is, but it can be as diverse as the types of people involved.  Sometimes children are the main focus of a divorce while exes sort out custody and support.  Other times the division of property takes a center stage, especially when large assets like businesses are involved.  There are also different types of divorce. At the basic level, a divorce is a legal proceeding which ends a marriage.  As Illinois is a no fault state, the grounds for divorce is merely the existence of irreconcilable differences.  There are also requirements that must be met such as a separation of at least 6 months.  But divorce has an opportunity of being much more. There are also religious divorces.  Each major religion has a specific ceremony that allows the person to remarry in the faith.  An annulment is the legal process that allows Catholics to remarry in the church.  In Judaism, the process is a GET or religious divorce which allows orthodox or conservative Jews to remarry. There are also psychological divorces.  This is when either one spouse or both can move on from the relationship. People who can’t take this step can drag out the divorce process for as long as possible.  While the legal process may be settled, sometimes exes can continue to fight about child custody, child support and other things that can be modified after the divorce decree. If you intend to seek a divorce from your spouse, it is important to understand everything at stake in a divorce.  It is a journey that begins with a filing at a local court but the actual process may take years after the final court date.  If divorce is the best option for you and your family, please contact an experienced divorce attorney in DuPage County. Image Courtesy of: Freedigitalphotos.net

StaciThe Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that 17-year-old rap star Keith Cozart, aka Chief Keef, has been sued for child support and other expenses related to the birth of a now 14-month-old child. The lawsuit seeks a current child support order from Chief Keef, as well as retroactive child support, health insurance coverage, medical expenses, daycare expenses, and attorney’s fees for the lawyer hired by the child’s mother. Keef reportedly signed an acknowledgement of parentage of the baby girl, who was born in November, 2011. The mother of the child is now also 17 years old. When contacted for comments, Keef’s representative did not return calls. Chief Keef recently released his first album, “Finally Rich,” that had been widely anticipated by the public. However, Keef has become notorious in recent months for his legal woes rather than his musical talent. Just last week, a Cook County judge sentenced Keef to 60 days in a juvenile detention facility for a probation violation. Keef had allegedly violated the terms of his probation stemming from a gun conviction by appearing in a music video holding a firearm. When a child is born out of wedlock, a father has the option of signing a document at the child’s birth acknowledging his paternity, or later undergoing DNA testing through a legal action to formally establish paternity. Once paternity is established, court orders such as child support, custody, and visitation can be established if requested by one or both parties. Even though Keef is currently incarcerated, he is only scheduled to be incarcerated for a relatively short period of time, which means that he is likely to be ordered to pay child support for this child in the near future. If you or a loved one is sued in a paternity or child support action, you need to ensure that you are aware of your legal rights and that appropriate orders are established. With the assistance of a skilled child support lawyer, you can ensure that your rights and interests are sufficiently protected.

Posted on in Child Support

Illinois has an extensive network of agencies and departments to aid families seeking child support for children living both in and out of Illinois. To qualify for child support services, a person does NOT have to apply for or receive public assistance—taking advantage of the child support services offered by the state does not fall under the auspices of entitlement programs in any way.  According to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services, the department is set up to help any family “collect the basic support your family deserves at no cost to you.” This includes (but is not limited to): establishing paternity, locating the non-custodial parent, obtaining or modifying a child support order, deducting support form unemployment insurance benefits, securing medical insurance for the children, and helping to collect past due child support. The department can set up court dates if need be, but hiring a family law attorney is up to the family. According to the Department, the best way to collect past due child support is income withholding. “The division receives daily information about employment from state and federal partners to track newly hired employees within the state.” Other ways that the division can collect support include (but are not limited to): intercepting federal and state income tax refunds and lottery winnings, placing liens on real property, freezing bank accounts, and contacting the Secretary of State to attempt to suspend an Illinois driver’s license. With all these services available to anyone, regardless of income, there’s no reason that any family seeking child support in Illinois shouldn’t be able to get what they deserve. Determining child custody, however, is something that has to be settled in court and is best done with an experienced family law attorney. If you or someone you know requires child support assistance, contact a dedicated Illinois family lawyer today. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When Christopher and Angela Isit paid Christopher’s child support to his ex-girlfriend in Mississippi, neither thought anything of it, but complicated interstate laws and deduction processes have made Isit’s payment records a big mess, according to the Chicago Tribune. For most of the time that they were making payments, according to the Tribune, “the payments were automatically deducted from his paycheck,” and then sent to Mississippi and then forwarded to Isit’s ex-girlfriend. In 2009, Mississippi told Isit that he was $900 behind on support payments, and because “a new child support order was issued in Illinois, he began paying extra each week—sometimes as much as an additional $95.” He willingly paid it, and thought nothing of it. Yet two years later he realized that for those two years he had been grossly overpaying his child support, because “the money was bypassing the state of Mississippi,” as Illinois was depositing the money directly into the ex-girlfriend’s account. By July of this year, Mississippi consequently reported that Isit “owed more than $5,100 in child support,” and began “pursuing the alleged shortfall by intercepting his federal tax return.” Illinois has a comprehensive state information program on child support, but especially when parents live in different states, one parent not with the children, child support law can be complicated. This is true whether the parents were ever married or not. Sometimes, as is the case with the Isits, it can be even messier if a certified divorce lawyer never took a close look at the child support proceedings. If you or someone you know has to wade through the murky waters of interstate child support, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois family law attorney today. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Non-payment of child support can have far-reaching consequences that a lot of non-custodial parents sometimes fail to think about when they stop making the court-ordered payments. Court ordered civil penalties can be exposed, and in severe cases, even incarceration. In Illinois, some other consequences include driver license or other professional business license suspension, assets seized, withholding of income tax refunds and lottery winnings and derogatory credit rating report. One other consequence that may also arise is public perception and reputation, especially if the person who owes the child support holds political office. The issue of non-payment of child support was one that was raised in the recent election for the U.S. House of Representative for Illinois, 8th Congressional District seat. Current Rep. Joe Wash was running for re-election against challenger Tammy Duckworth. In September 2011, Walsh’s ex-wife filed motions against him in court for back-child support. According to a report in the Chicago Sun Times, the congressman owed over $100,000 in back support for his three children. The couple finally reached a settlement in April 2012, but no details of the settlement were released. Duckworth raised the issue in the recent campaign, including releasing an ad that referred to Walsh as a “deadbeat dad”, shining a spotlight on the issue that hadn’t been in the media since April. It was a reminder that Walsh had not paid child support for years, claiming to be broke, yet had given his own re-election campaign $35,000. Duckworth received the endorsement of Chicago’s major newspapers and she won the election. Since filing for divorce in 2002, Walsh’s ex-wife had gone to court over and over again seeking the court-ordered child support payments her husband never paid. After years of only making partial payments, he stopped making any payments at all in 2008. If your children’s parent is not making court-ordered child support payments and has fallen in arrears, contact an Illinois family law attorney today.

Kimberly Buffington-Quaid has filed for legal separation, and according to the Los Angeles Times, a divorce is on its way. The couple has been married for eight years and had already planned to divorce in March. The original divorce filing stated that “the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities ... that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” However, earlier this year, the divorce proceedings were called off by Buffington-Quaid as the couple tried to fix their relationship. Kimberly, a former real estate agent, is Dennis Quaid’s third wife and they have two 4-year-old children together, a son and daughter. Kimberly is seeking sole physical custody of the kids, with joint legal custody and visitation for her soon to be ex-husband. Quaid also has other children from previous marriages. Child custody matters can be highly emotional and sensitive for both parents and children. In Illinois, custody decisions are done in the best interests of the child which means that, for example, the child’s wishes, physical safety and welfare, and ties to community are taken into account. The parents’ preferences are considered as well.  It is best to contact an experienced family law attorney to reach a solution that is satisfactory to all parties involved. Your divorce may not necessarily involve children, but all the same, a skilled divorce attorney can help in protecting your rights, assets, property and more. If you are contemplating filing for divorce or have been served with divorce papers, please contact a dedicated divorce attorney in Illinois as soon as you can.

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