233 W. Wilson Street, Batavia, IL, 60510

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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I Have Just Been Granted Supervised Visitation – What Now?In most divorce and parenting cases, the court wants to keep both parents in the child’s life. What this looks like, exactly, varies from family to family. For parents who both have played an integral role in the child’s upbringing, the court will attempt to split parenting time equitably, though not necessarily equally. Most arrangements will have one parent keep the children throughout the week, with the other parent caring for the kids over the weekend. However, some families do not have healthy enough relationships to have this type of parenting plan. In the instance that a child’s safety is at risk, the court will need to reconsider what these parenting plans will look like. Depending on the details of the situation, the court may grant supervised visitation in order to keep the parent-child relationship alive while protecting the child from potential harm.

Reasons for Supervised Visitation

For parents with a history of neglect and abuse, the court will advocate for the child by not letting them be alone with the parent. Unfortunately, these accusations are not always true — it is not unheard of for one parent to make false claims about the other to restrict their parenting rights. Courts will grant supervised visitation to watch the relationship between the parent and child and assess the child’s safety with the parent. The following are reasons why someone may be subject to supervised visitation with their child:

  • Fear of the parent kidnapping their child from their co-parent
  • Accusations or evidence of physical or emotional abuse
  • A history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Previous inappropriate sexual behavior
  • A mental illness diagnosis
  • Claims that the child feels unsafe when they are alone with the parent
  • Incarceration of the non-custodial parent

How to Handle the Supervision

If you have recently been restricted to supervised visitation with your child, your instinct is likely to fight for you and your child’s rights to be together. While this may seem like an admirable response, it can be taken in the wrong way by the court. The best way to earn your way back into your child’s life, unsupervised, is by respecting the regulations of your current arrangement and working to keep your relationship with your child. It is important that you understand that all of your conversations and interactions with your kids are being recorded throughout your visit — any slip-up can be used against you. It is a good idea to plan activities for your time together since it can be awkward to have a genuine interaction while a third party is present. Having a plan can distract you from the stranger in the room and will also show that you care for your child and your time together. Be sure to monitor your tone and language throughout the visit. You should avoid talking about your former spouse and using crude language. You want to appear to be a good influence for your child, rather than a bitter ex. For your own personal sanity, it may be a good idea to find a friend who you can vent to or even speak with a counselor or other mental health specialist. If you do not take the time to process the arrangement and your feelings about it, you may end up boiling over during your supervised visit.

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