233 W. Wilson Street, Batavia, IL, 60510

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Posted by on in Divorce

Kane County divorce attorneyIf you have ever watched a television show or movie depicting divorce, you may have seen dramatic courtroom scenes depicting divorce lawyers arguing facts in front of a judge. However, the vast majority of divorce cases are settled outside of court. If you are planning to divorce, you may be unsure of what to expect. Educating yourself about the divorce process and speaking with a skilled divorce attorney are two important ways to ensure that you are as prepared for your impending divorce as possible.

Issues that Must Be Addressed in an Illinois Divorce

Undoing the legal marital relationship is often more complicated than people realize. Before the divorce is finalized, the couple must reach an agreement about the terms of their divorce. They will need to determine how to divide marital property and debt, what to do with the marital home, and figure out the ownership of vehicles, furniture, and other personal property. If the couple has children, they will need to fill out and submit a “parenting plan” describing the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. In addition, Spousal maintenance (alimony) is another issue that may need to be decided on. If the couple can reach an agreement about the terms of their divorce, they may design their own divorce settlement and present it to the court for approval. Once the court approves the settlement, it is formalized into a legally binding court order.

When a Divorcing Couple Cannot Reach an Agreement

Divorcing couples who are unable to agree on property division, child custody, spousal maintenance, and other divorce issues have several options. Many couples are able to negotiate a settlement with help from their attorneys. Others attend family law mediation and discuss the unresolved divorce issues with guidance from a certified divorce mediator. However, there are some cases in which litigation cannot be avoided. Your divorce case may go to trial if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement about one or more divorce issues. Litigation may also be necessary if one of the spouses refuses to be honest and forthcoming about his or her income, assets, business revenue, or other financial matters. Issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and child abuse may also prevent the spouses from being able to reach a resolution outside of court.

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Kane County divorce attorney spousal maintenanceIf you are considering divorce, you may have questions about alimony. Typically called spousal support or spousal maintenance under Illinois law, alimony is only ordered in certain situations. If you and your spouse agreed to spousal maintenance in your prenuptial agreement or another marital agreement, the court will most likely uphold this agreement. However, if there is a question as to the prenuptial agreement’s validity or enforceability, the spousal maintenance agreement may not be legally binding. In the absence of a valid marital agreement, spousal maintenance is awarded on a case-by-case basis.

Financial Support for Divorcing Spouses

Spousal maintenance is usually awarded by Illinois courts when there is a significant difference in the spouses’ financial situations. You may be entitled to spousal maintenance if you sacrificed employment advancement or educational opportunities for the betterment of the marriage or family. You and your spouse have the opportunity to negotiate your own arrangement for spousal maintenance; however, if you cannot reach an agreement, the court will make a decision for you.

When determining whether to award spousal maintenance to a spouse, Illinois courts consider:

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Kane County divorce attorney order of protectionEnding a marriage is difficult in any circumstance. However, ending a relationship with someone who has physically, emotionally, mentally, or financially abused you may seem impossible. If you have been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of your spouse, you should know that there are legal protections available to you during your divorce. An Emergency Order of Protection is similar to a restraining order and may offer you, your children, and even your pets the legal protection you need when leaving an abusive spouse.

Domestic Violence Often Escalates When a Victim Tries to Leave

Most abusive relationships follow a similar pattern. At the beginning of the relationship, the abuser is generous and kind. However, as the relationship progresses, he or she becomes more demanding and controlling. This control often evolves into physical violence or psychological manipulation. Many abusers become enraged when their victim tries to end the relationship or leave their shared home. In fact, The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that 75 percent of injuries caused by domestic violence occur when a victim tries to leave the relationship. If you are thinking about leaving your abusive spouse, having a plan in place to protect yourself is crucial.

Obtaining an Emergency Order of Protection

In Illinois, an Emergency Order of Protection may be granted on an “ex parte” basis. This means that the subject of the protection order, or “respondent,” does not need to be present or even aware of the protection order for a judge to grant it. An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) is a legal court order that prohibits an abusive person from threatening, harassing, or abusing the person who requested the order, or “petitioner.” An EOP may prevent the respondent from coming within a certain distance of the petitioner, his or her children, or his or her home, work, or school. An EOP may also require the respondent to surrender any firearms or move out of the marital home. If the respondent violates any of the terms of the EOP, he or she faces immediate arrest and criminal charges. If you are afraid that your spouse will become violent when you tell him or her that you want a divorce, an EOP can provide legal protection against retaliation. An EOP is also an important step in creating a record of your spouse’s abusive or threatening behaviors. The EOP or any violations of the EOP may be valuable sources of evidence during child custody decisions and other aspects of the divorce process.

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Posted by on in Child support

How Can I Change My Child Support Order? Child support payments allow divorced or unmarried parents to effectively split the costs associated with raising children. In Illinois, the amount a parent pays in child support is largely based on the difference between the parents’ net incomes. When there is a significant change in a parent’s financial circumstances, the needs of the child, or in the way the parents divide parenting time, a child support order modification may be necessary. However, changing your child support order is not always as simple as it may seem.

Calculating Child Support Payments in Illinois

Illinois child support orders are determined using the Income Shares method. First, the parents’ individual net incomes are added together to find the combined net income. The combined net income is then compared to a chart created by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to find the “basic child support obligation.” This figure represents the total financial support for which both parents are responsible. The basic child support obligation is allocated to the parents based on their respective shares of the combined net income. In shared parenting situations, meaning each parent has at least 146 overnights with the child each year, the amount the obligor parent pays in child support is reduced by his or her allotment of parenting time.

Do I Qualify for a Child Support Modification?

Illinois courts do not grant child support modifications for just any reason. You will need to show evidence that the modification is warranted. Illinois law states that a child support order may be eligible for modification if:

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Can I Still File for Divorce in Kane County Amidst COVID-19?With COVID-19 and social distancing orders still duly present throughout the U.S., especially in Illinois, many families have spent months together in close-quarters. For some, this time in quarantine has brought spouses and their children closer than ever. For others, the time together has only reaffirmed their thoughts of filing for divorce. Because the pandemic came on so suddenly, with businesses closing their doors at a moment’s notice, those who were considering divorce or were even in the middle of divorce proceedings may have had to put their plans on hold for the past few months.

Luckily, attorneys were deemed essential workers and many law firms remained open, either physically or virtually, to continue working with clients. Courthouses, including Kane County courts, closed for a period of time to protect their employees and avoid infecting those coming in and out of the courthouse for their legal proceedings. As Illinois public health orders have progressed from one phase to the next, the Kane County courthouses have reopened at limited capacity.

Reopening Plan

The 16th Judicial Circuit, also known as the Kane County court system, announced its first phase of reopening on June 1, 2020. Though the court reopened on that date, all jury trials were suspended until August 3, 2020. This date has now come and gone, but most family court cases are continuing to happen on a remote basis. These remote proceedings are occurring over Zoom, with each spouse’s attorney present and a judge logged in as well. Common divorce proceedings and parenting determinations are being performed over Zoom, but more contentious proceedings, such as domestic violence cases, may be brought back to the courtroom.

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