Archive for the ‘Chicago family law attorney’ Category

Family Law Updates 2016: Illinois’ “Modern Family” Bill

April 30th, 2015 at 6:36 pm

bill 57, modern family bill, Illinois Family LawyerCurrently, all issues related to marriage and divorce, including child custody, child support, and the division of a couple’s property are addressed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. This Act, though comprehensive, dates to the 1970s and many feel it is insufficient for the challenges and cultural trends that twenty-first century families face. To address these issues, lawmakers drafted Bill 57 to amend the state’s existing divorce laws. The bill passed in the Illinois House, but then died in Senate with no vote in 2014. In 2015, however, the proposed law was passed by both parts of government and was officially enacted on January 1, 2016.

The main goal of the bill was to avoid creating feelings of “winners” and “losers” in child custody agreements. Rather than establishing parental roles in terms of custody, the bill allows for the “allocation of parental responsibilities” in relationship to the child. Similar to the procedures currently in place for determining child custody, responsibility for decision-making and other parental obligations would be divided between the parents according to the best interest of the child

Changes in Senate Bill 57

The most significant change to Illinois’ current custody law in Bill 57 is the elimination of the delineation between joint vs. sole custody. Under this bill, each parent is assigned specific parenting tasks. This is intended to encourage both parents to remain involved in their children’s lives and limit litigation over minor disputes between parents

Critics have pointed out that the changes included in Bill 57 do not sufficiently address the realities that dual-income families face. Although in theory, parents affected by Bill 57 will share childcare duties, the Bill still allows one parent to be given the majority of parenting time while the other pays child support to him or her. This can not only create skewed parenting schedules for children, but fail to require parents to make equal financial contributions to their child’s well being.

Another important change included in Bill 57 is the removal of the requirement that divorcing couples prove grounds for their divorce. This portion is meant to acknowledge that in many cases, marriages fail simply because of differences in personality and goals. It also eliminates the right of an individual to sue his or her former spouse or the former spouse’s lover for committing adultery and destroying the marriage.

Divorce and Family Attorneys in the Chicago Area

If you are considering divorce, you should know how the laws regarding child custody and support affect your situation. Contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. at 312-345-9999 to discuss these changes with one of the experienced Illinois family law attorneys at our firm. We proudly serve Illinois families in our five office locations in Schaumburg, Northbrook, Orland Park, Wheaton, and downtown Chicago.

Can a Business’ Retained Earnings Be Considered Marital Property?

April 23rd, 2015 at 2:54 pm

retained earnings, division of property, Chicago divorce attorneysIn short, yes. When a couple builds a business together during their marriage, both partners have the right to seek a portion of the business’ value during their divorce.

Retained earnings are the profits that a company makes which are not distributed back to its shareholders. They are the profits that are held onto in a reserve and used for specific goals, such as paying off company debts, or reinvested into the business.

Shares in a company can become a contentious topic among divorcing couples because of the prospect of retained earnings. Retained earnings contribute to a company’s overall value. Shareholders have an interest in these earnings and a say in how they are used. If the court determines that an individual’s shares in a company are marital property, their value must be divided among the spouses. If one’s shares are nonmarital property, the court must determine the spouses’ contribution to the company to determine a fair distribution of their value.

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that property is not necessarily divided exactly 50/50 between divorcing parties. Instead, the division of a couple’s property is done according to a variety of factors, including each partner’s needs and personal resources.

Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property

Generally, all property acquired during a couple’s marriage is presumed to be marital property. This includes the couple’s home, any joint bank accounts, and any businesses that the couple starts together. A business that one partner started before the marriage, but considerably expanded during the marriage with marital money, credit, or labor, may be also considered to be marital property.

When determining whether a company’s retained earnings may be considered to be marital property during a divorce, the following questions must be asked:

  • Are the retained earnings calculated as part of the company’s total value?
  • Are the retained earnings being used for corporate business?
  • How much control does the spouse involved in the business have to pay out the retained earnings as dividends to him or herself?

Whether other individuals are part owners or shareholders in the company and what the couple chooses to do with the business upon their divorce can also determine whether its retained earnings may be divided among the spouses. Some couples choose to sell their businesses and split the profit while others opt to continue them, either jointly or with one spouse buying out the other’s share of the company.

Divorce Attorneys in the Chicago Area

Anderson & Associates, P.C. is proud to serve clients throughout the Chicago area in our five accessible office locations: downtown Chicago, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and Wheaton. To discuss your unique circumstances, call 312-345-9999 to speak with one of the experienced Chicago divorce attorneys at our firm.

Can You Appeal a Divorce Ruling?

April 21st, 2015 at 5:46 pm

divorce appeal, divorce ruling, Illinois Divorce LawyerAn appeal is a request to change the court’s official ruling after the ruling has been made. Any final court decision can be appealed, including divorce decrees. The individual who appeals the court’s decision is known as the appellant, and the other party involved with the appeal is known as the appellee. When an individual appeals a ruling, the case goes to appellate court, rather than back to trial court.

An appeal can be used to challenge the trial judge’s interpretation of the law, admissibility of evidence, or the application of the law to a particular case. An individual may file an appeal once a final order is entered by the trial court. He or she has up to 30 days after the ruling to file a notice of appeal, which communicates the appellant’s intention to appeal the case’s ruling to the court. The right to appeal a divorce ruling is included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

The Appeal Process

The process of appealing a divorce ruling involves multiple steps. It can be a lengthy process and there is the possibility that your appeal will be rejected, leaving the original ruling in place. It is recommended that you work with a knowledgeable divorce attorney to develop and pursue your appeal.

Once you have filed your Notice of Appeal, the next step is to deliver your case’s certified trial court file to the appellate court.  You then will have the opportunity to file your appellate brief, which is your chance to argue in writing why you think the trial court’s decision was wrong. Work with your attorney to develop a well-crafted argument for your position that your divorce was decided incorrectly by the judge. If your former spouse files a response brief, you may then file a reply brief, having the last word about your case before it goes to the appellate court for a decision.

Under some circumstances, the appellate court may request an oral argument for your case. Discuss this possibility with your attorney to determine if you may need one. Once the briefs are submitted and oral arguments are held, you will receive the appellate court’s decision. Ultimately, the appellate court will decide to reverse the original ruling, send it back to trial court to be heard again, or affirm the original ruling

Divorce Attorneys in the Chicago Area

If your divorce was recently finalized and you feel that it was somehow unfairly decided or poorly handled by the judge, consider filing an appeal. Your appeal could be your opportunity to change the court’s decision and get a fairer settlement for your divorce. Contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. at 312-345-9999 or on the web to discuss your case with one of the dedicated Chicago divorce attorneys at our firm. We proudly serve Illinois residents in our five convenient locations: Schaumburg, Orland Park, downtown Chicago, Wheaton, and Northbrook.

 

Child Support in an Illinois Divorce

April 17th, 2015 at 3:14 pm

child support, children of divorce, Illinois family law attorneysWhen a couple with a child divorces, two of the most important issues they have to work out during the divorce process are child custody and child support. Child support is the money paid from one parent to the other to cover the child’s basic needs, such as his or her food, clothing and housing until the child becomes an adult. In some cases, child support may continue even after the child turns 18 years old..

When beginning to analyze a child support amount, the court is required to first consider specific guidelines. The guidelines that the court must use to determine a couple’s child support agreement are included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

The court’s goal is to ensure that your child’s needs are met and apportioning the child’s financial needs between both parents. Generally, a parent of one child can expect to pay 20 percent of his or her net income for child support. This percentage increases with each additional child being supported. However, this is only a starting point– other factors may be considered when determining a child support amount, and a parent may end up paying more or less than this amount depending on what the court finds to be in his or her child’s best interest. This is known as a deviation from the child support guidelines.

Calculating Child Support in Illinois

If the court is going to deviate from the guidelines under law for determining an appropriate amount of child support, it will consider the following factors:

  • Each of the parents’ income and current financial resources;
  • The child’s specific individual needs, including his or her academic or health care needs;
  • The standard of living that the child had before the divorce; and
  • Any financial resources the child may have.

Talk to your attorney about how your individual financial circumstances may affect your child support order. Significant changes in your family’s financial circumstances, such as job loss or retirement, can be a cause to seek a modification of your child support order.

Child Support Attorneys in the Chicago Area

If you are a parent planning to file for divorce in the near future, contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. at 312-345-9999 to learn more about what you can expect from your child support hearing. Our skilled Chicago family law attorneys proudly serve Illinois families in our five office locations: Schaumburg, Northbrook, Orland Park, Wheaton, and downtown Chicago. Do not wait to contact our firm – when you are working through any type of legal issue, it is always in your best interest to be proactive and seek legal guidance as soon as you can.

How Can DCFS Being Called Affect Your Child Custody Agreement?

April 16th, 2015 at 6:42 pm

protective services, DCFS, Chicago Family LawyerAlthough the possibility of initiating a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) complaint is often dismissed as an empty threat, it should be taken seriously. Every day in Illinois and the rest of the United States, children are subjected to dangerous neglect and abuse by their parents. Social service departments like DCFS exist to get children out of these kinds of situations and prevent them from being endangered in the future. Certain cases may require established custody orders to be altered.

When somebody calls DCFS with a concern about your child’s safety or welfare, the agency is required to investigate the claim. If a representative finds that abuse, neglect, or any other form of child endangerment has occurred in your household, your custody agreement may be changed. You could, depending on the severity of the mistreatment that occurred, lose custody of your child, have restrictions placed on your visitation, or lose all parenting rights completely. DCFS can not determine your custody agreement, but its input can play a role in the court’s decisions regarding your child’s custody.

If you find yourself in an open case with DCFS, contact an experienced family attorney to learn more about your rights as a parent and what you need to do to keep your custodial rights.

Child Protective Services in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is the agency that handles all child welfare issues in Illinois. It is tasked with investigating allegations of child abuse or neglect, facilitating adoptions, reunifying children with their families, and licensing day care facilities. It also provides professional services for families throughout the state who are involved in a pending DCFS case.

If DCFS Gets Involved With Your Family

Although it may be difficult, it is important to keep in mind that DCFS is most interested in the well-being of your child. If and when a DCFS investigation becomes necessary, it is important to cooperate with reasonable requests from the representative who comes to your home. This will generally permit the agency to quickly reach a conclusion and make a finding in your case.

Cooperate with the court as well. If your custody or visitation order is modified and you would like to return to your prior arrangement, you will need to prove to the court that it is in your child’s best interest. In some situations, the court may order an in-home evaluation to ensure that you are providing a safe and health environment for your children. It is important to attend court and follow the orders entered by the judge.

Chicago Child Custody Attorneys

If your family is invovled in a DCFS case, contact a skilled Chicago family attorney at Anderson & Associates, P.C. to discuss the impact it can have on your child and your child custody case. You can reach us at 312-345-9999 and at one of our five convenient office locations in downtown Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Orland Park, or Northbrook. Our firm will work to advocate for you when working with the Department of Children and Family Services.

Heavy Social Media Use Linked to Divorce Rates

April 14th, 2015 at 6:30 pm

social media, divorce rate, Illinois divorce lawyerCould your constant Facebook posting, Twitter use, and other social media posting be cause for concern in your marriage? A new study says it can and shows a correlation between social media use and divorce. The cause for divorce is not the use of social media, but rather those who use social media more than those who do not are more likely to get a divorce.

The researchers compared data collected about married couples from 2008 through 2010 with data from a 2011 study of married couples. The growth of Facebook and other social media sites were found to be correlated to the rise in divorce rates during the same time periods.

According to Boston University’s director of the Division of Emerging Media Studies, James E. Katz, “the apparent association between the use of Facebook and other social networking sites and divorce and marital unhappiness in the United States raises troubling questions not only about how we use these tools, but how their use affects marriage.”

Stopping the Social Media Use Conflict

When it comes to social media use and marriage, if someone is unhappy in their marriage, it is easy to see why they may turn to social media and become immersed in social media. They make connections on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites. The friends they have on those sites are supportive and listen. They can give encouragement and lend a virtual shoulder to cry on.

Turning to those virtual friends, which sometimes leads to real-life friendships, does not always help mend the problems in the marriage. It can turn into an serious problem, though. Spending more time on social media and interacting on social media sites may have characteristics similar to other behaviors that may cause marital conflict. Continual heavy usage of social media and not communicating with your spouse may lead to divorce.

If your spouse is spending more time on social media sites than they are communicating with you, you may start feeling resentful and unhappy in your marriage. If you are considering filing for divorce, you should speak with an experienced Chicago divorce attorney. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from one of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.

Ways to Make a Divorce Less Stressful

April 7th, 2015 at 2:47 pm

less stressful, divorce, Chicago divorce attorneyMany people think going through a divorce is stressful and all about fighting to get what you want from your soon-to-be ex-spouse. However, this does not necessarily need to be the case. There are many couples who have gone through the divorce process without excessive stress or contentiousness. Some ways to make a divorce less stressful are:

Be Willing to Talk

When a petition for a divorce is filed, one party may feel betrayed and become hurt or angry. Completing a divorce, however, often requires negotiation and communication regarding a number of relevant issues. If you are not able to speak with your spouse, you can have your divorce attorney communicate with your spouse or his or her attorney to try to reach agreements during the divorce process.

Remain Civil

Especially if you have children, staying polite with your spouse can make the process considerably less stressful. It can also help during negotiations and while speaking in front of the court. Avoiding negativity and angry or harsh words with your soon-to-be ex-spouse may help you keep a better relationship with your children. It also demonstrates to your children that you do not wish for them to be caught in the middle.

Consider Mediation or Collaborative Law

If you are able to negotiate with your spouse, speaking with a certified mediator or collaborative law attorney may be the way to save some time and money in your divorce process. Mediation takes place with help of a neutral third party mediator, with lawyers present only if necessary or appropriate. Collaborative law generally requires parties to have an attorney, but is a lower stress alternative to courtroom litigation. Both options look to save the parties time and money while helping them to reach agreements with each other. It also allows both parties more control over the eventual divorce agreement rather than leaving it up to a judge.

Know What You Have and Its Worth

Whether it is real estate, physical property, or other assets, be aware of what you have and its value. It is also helpful to know exactly what debts you owe individually and with your spouse. In some cases, one party may have hidden assets, not necessarily because one party did not inform the other of the purchase, but because some assets are undervalued. You will want to make a list of all assets you had before the marriage and what was acquired during the marriage. This will make the division of property, assets, and debt much easier. Illinois is an “equitable-distribution” state, meaning that marital property, assets, and debt are not divided equally, but rather fairly as determined by the court. Staying organized and knowing what you own,how much it is worth, and how much debt you have will help make this process less stressful.

Help In Making Your Divorce Less Stressful

An estimated 33,000 marriages come to an end in Illinois every year,  and not all of the couples went through a long, stressful divorce. Many people were able to keep the divorce-related stress to a minimum by speaking with an experienced divorce attorney they trusted to work in their best interest.

If you are considering filing for divorce or your spouse has already filed for divorce, you should contact a skilled Chicago family law attorney. The lawyers at Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you understand the divorce process, help you understand your divorce options, and will work with you to achieve your goals. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from one of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.

Cohabitation and Your Rights to Your Home and Your Children Following a Break Up

April 1st, 2015 at 5:22 pm

property rights, cohabitation agreements, Illinois Family Law AttorneyToday, it is not uncommon for unmarried couples to live together, purchase real estate and other property together, and have children. Many individuals live with their partners for decades without marrying. However, choosing cohabitation comes with unique challenges. When a couple gets married, they get certain legal protections. These protections include the right to share property such as their home and their bank accounts and the assumption that any children born to the couple are biologically related to their father, allowing him to seek custody and child support without having to prove his paternity if the relationship deteriorates.

If you are not married, you will need to sign certain documents to assert your rights to your home and your child. Talk to your attorney about your obligations as an unmarried parent or homeowner and how to protect yourself in the event your relationship ends.

Child Support and Custody for Unmarried Parents

If a child’s parents are not married when he or she was born, paternity must be established through a Voluntary Acknowledgement  of Paternity or through an order from the court . This is required by the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984.

Once a child’s paternity is established, either parent may seek child support from the other. This also entitles the father to add his name to the child’s birth certificate and seek custody or visitation rights with the child. Until paternity is established, the father is considered to be the child’s “alleged father.”

Tenancy Options for Unmarried Homeowners

When an unmarried couple decides to buy a house together, they need to establish an agreement regarding the type of shared tenancy they will have. There are two options available for unmarried homeowners: joint tenancy, and tenants-in-common.

With a joint tenancy agreement, the couple has an equal right to use and enjoy the home. If they break up and decide to sell the house, each partner is entitled to half of its value. If one partner dies, the other is entitled to take over full ownership of the home.

In a tenants-in-common agreement, the partners can have different percentages worth of ownership of their home. This may be based on the amount of money each contributed to purchasing it or the amount of maintenance each partner puts into the household. With this type of agreement, an individual’s share of the house becomes part of his or her estate, not his or her partner’s property, upon his or her death.

Regardles of type of ownership you choose, it will also be wise to an agreement about how the household expenses will be paid. Which agreement you choose depends on your relationship and your resources. Talk to both your partner and your attorney about your choices regarding shared ownership of your home to determine which is best for you.

Chicago Family Law Attorneys

To learn more about your rights following a break up, call 312-345-9999 to schedule your free legal consultation with Anderson & Associates, P.C. Our experienced Chicago family law attorneys focus on divorce and family topics and will advocate for you through every step of the legal process. We proudly serve our clients with offices in five convenient locations: Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago.

Seeking Unpaid Child Support

March 27th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

unpaid child support, child support order, Chicago Family Law AttorneysAfter a child’s parents end their relationship, the court may order that the noncustodial parent make child support payments to the custodial parent. It does not matter if the parents are divorcing or if they were never married – any parent may seek payment of child support from the child’s other legal parent. Under the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984, if a child’s parents are not married when he or she is born, the father must officially establish his paternity in order to seek or receive child support payments and for the child’s mother to seek such support from him.

When a child support order is in place, both parents are required to comply with it. If the supporting parent fails to meet his or her obligation, the parent receiving the support may take legal action against him or her to collect unpaid child support.

Taking Legal Action Against a Delinquent Parent

If your former partner consistently fails to make his or her child support payments and has not sought a modification for the order, you may initiate contempt proceedings before the court. With the help of an attorney, you can request that the court take any of the following steps to procure the money that your former partner owes:

  • Suspending his or her driver’s license;
  • Suspending of any vocational or professional licenses that he or she holds;
  • Obtaining a judgment which would create a lien, a public document that states he or she owes money, against his or her property; or
  • Garnishing of his or her wages.

Your former partner may also face penalties for his or her delinquency, including fines or jail time, as outlined in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. These penalties depend on how much is owed and how long he or she has failed to make child support payments.

Child Support Attorneys in Chicago

If you have a child support order in place and your child’s other parent has missed a significant number of payments, call 312-345-9999 to schedule your free legal consultation with an experienced Chicago family law attorney. At Anderson & Associates, P.C., our dedicated team proudly serves parents and families in the Chicago area with offices in five convenient locations: Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago. We can help you determine the best way for you to seek the money your child needs.

 

How to Talk to Your Child about Your Divorce

March 26th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

 divorce, talk to your child, Illinois Family Law AttorneyDivorce is a difficult topic to discuss with anybody, let alone your child. But if you are considering filing for divorce or you have already done so, you need to be clear with your child about the big changes that are going to occur in his or her life. Your child needs your guidance and support now more than ever, and it is your job as a parent to be truthful with him or her without overwhelming your child with unnecessary or inappropriate details.

The following guidelines can help make these discussions easier for you and your child. It is important that you take your child’s age and maturity level into consideration when you speak with him or her about your upcoming divorce – a detail that may be crucial to tell a 14-year-old might be best left out in a talk with a four-year-old, for example.

Do Not Speak Badly About Your Spouse to Your Child

It does not matter why you are divorcing or which partner is to blame. Under no circumstances should you ever insult, degrade, or otherwise speak poorly of the other parent to him or her. This extends to other adults involved as well – do not speak badly of your spouse’s new partner if one enters the picture or of any other individuals, such as your spouse’s attorney or the judge who decides your case.

Present a Unified Front

If possible, it is always best for you and your spouse to have the initial conversation with your child together about your divorce. Back up each other’s statements and allow your child to direct any specific questions he or she has to the intended parent.

Discuss Appropriate Means of Expressing Emotions

Your child may feel angry, sad, anxious, or frustrated about your divorce. He or she might not realize the depth of these feelings and lash out inappropriately. It is important that you tell your child what is and is not appropriate behavior and encourage him or her to express these emotions in healthy ways, such as talking about them with you or keeping a journal.

Take Initiative

Tell your child that you are always available to talk with him or her, and make it a point to live up to your promise. Although your child might not want to talk to you about your divorce right away, it is important that he or she knows the option is always there. Be patient with your child and assure him or her that he or she is not responsible for your divorce.

Chicago Divorce Attorneys

If you are considering filing for divorce and you are unsure about how to approach the topic with your child or want to learn more about your options, call 312-345-9999 to schedule your free legal consultation with the skilled Chicago divorce attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. We proudly advocate for parents and families throughout the Chicago area, with offices in five convenient locations: Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago.