Family Law Attorneys in Illinois
Family law refers to the laws governing family-related issues and domestic relations, including, but not limited to: marriage, divorce, alimony, child support, child custody, adoption, and paternity. The following is an overview of some of those areas. If you would like an attorney referral or just have questions please contact us. We are Illinois attorneys who will talk to you for free. The lawyers we recommend are not free, but they are all very experienced and have a history of success. After talking to you we will suggest the lawyer we know that seems like the best fit for your unique situation.
Divorce in Illinois is called dissolution of marriage. The divorce process will depend upon many factors, including the personalities of the spouses, their attorneys, the issues, the level of trust between the spouses and their ability to remain cooperative and civil despite the divorce. The quicker you can agree on every issue, the quicker the case will be over. The longer it takes the more it costs. When you meet with a family lawyer concentrating in divorce they will help you to determine the most important issues such as child custody and support, division of property, maintenance (alimony), division of assets, debt and anything else that needs to be resolved. A good divorce attorney will then provide choices, possible alternatives and possible solutions for the problem, as well as give the chances of success for any particular course of action you should choose. No one wants a divorce, but if you have a game plan and goals it seems to go smoother.
Oftentimes, once the parties have filed for divorce they enter into a separation agreement.
In Illinois, a separation agreement is an agreement between parties who remain married but are no longer going to live together and outlines their legal obligations and responsibilities to each other and to their children. Family lawyers in Illinois help their clients carefully draft these agreements because they are typically used in the later divorce proceedings and are legally binding for years to come.
Another big area of work for family law attorneys, whether there is a divorce or not, is child custody. Child custody refers to the guardianship of children involved when a relationship ends. A parent may be awarded physical custody and/or legal custody over the child. Physical custody refers to where the child lives. This can be awarded to one parent(s) with the other having visitation rights, or to both parents according to an agreed upon schedule. Legal custody refers to decisions made regarding the child's lifestyle and can be awarded to one or both parents. Some decisions that take place involve school, religion, health, etc.
Despite what you may hear, custody doesn't go automatically to a mom or a dad. It's based on the best interests of the child. That can include many issues such as safety, schooling, the support system in place, how the other parent's rights will be balanced and the child's personal interests. Kids don't get to decide where they will live, but as they get closer to 18 they have some influence depending on their reasoning.
Along with custody comes child support. Child support is a monthly payment made to the parent with whom the child primarily resides. Under Illinois law, there are certain guidelines for determining a percentage of income that one parent should pay for child support. For example, if you have one child you pay 20% of your net take home pay. Two kids is 28%. Three is 32%. Each parent also pays half of daycare expenses and unpaid medical expenses. Of course there are a lot of exceptions to these rules.
Family lawyers help individuals during the most difficult and stressful experiences in life. Attorneys who practice in the area of family law not only must be successful litigators, but also successful negotiators in order to avoid costly court battles and to resolve issues with the clients through alternative methods such as mediation and arbitration. The lawyers we recommend who practice in this area are skilled in working with people who are going through major life events and changes, such as divorce, adoption, child support and custody. We try not to recommend attorneys who "bleed the file" which means make a case drag on so they can bill a lot of hours. The best family law case, if possible is an amicable one.
If you have questions or would like an attorney referral please contact us at any time.