Category Archives: Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_domestic-violence_20191014-231545_1.jpgDomestic violence is one of the most common criminal acts in the nation, yet it rarely makes headlines, arrests are too few and far between, and the victim is often too fearful to speak out against the perpetrator or report the incidents to law enforcement. As such, millions of men and women, though mostly women, are trapped in marriages and relationships that are characterized by physical violence and mental/psychological harm. An experienced lawyer can help you get out of this situation as well as file for a restraining order to protect yourself and your children.

Homicide and Domestic Violence

One in four women and one in nine men are the victims of severe domestic violence, domestic partner stalking, or domestic partner sexual violence. Domestic violence obviously causes physical injury, but the true damage is often emotional and psychological, with many victims suffering from PTSD, depression, and anxiety for months and years they have left the abusive relationship. Even worse, many victims are trapped in abusive relationships for years or a lifetime. Domestic violence victims also suffer financially, with many losing their job or workdays due to the abuse they are subjected to. However, the danger of intimate partner violence does not stop there.

  • 4.6 percent of murder victims are the spouse of the perpetrator
  • 3.1 percent of murder victims are the children of the perpetrator
  • 72 percent of murder-suicides involve an intimate partner
  • 94 percent of murder-suicide victims are female

Firearms Increase the Likelihood of Homicide by 500 Percent

If the abusive spouse or partner has a gun, the chances of them committing a murder against you, your child, or a family member increases dramatically. A full 30 percent of domestic violence homicides are committed against the perpetrator’s own family (this includes the spouse, children, parents, siblings, and other family members), with many of the victims being family or household members who step in to stop the violence. For a tragic yet all too common example, a child may attempt to stop his father from hitting his mother and be killed by the father as a result. When guns are present in domestic violence situations, the risk of homicide is increased by 500 percent. After all, seven out of 10 homicides are committed with a firearm.

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IL divorce lawyerThere have been some major changes to Illinois divorce in the past few years, which have caused some confusion for divorcing couples. Three of these family law statutes are outlined below. If you are going through a divorce or a custody/support disagreement, a Hinsdale divorce attorney can help you understand your rights and responsibilities during the coming months, and will be in your corner ensuring that your best interests are upheld.

Grounds for Divorce No Longer Relevant

One of the most important changes in Illinois divorce law is the elimination of grounds for divorce. Illinois used to require divorcing couples to provide grounds, or legal reasons, for divorce. These included, infidelity, abandonment, spousal abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, and more. A married couple can now get a divorce for no specified reason and do not have to rationalize their decision for the court.

College Expenses Now Mirror the Cost of The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

For parents ordered to pay child support for college admission, Illinois used to base the level of financial support on the child’s needs and the parent’s ability to pay. While that is still taken into account, the maximum that a non-custodial parent has to pay is the cost of attending the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, whether or not the child is attending another college in Illinois or outside of the state. The total average costs for tuition, books, fees, room and board, and other expenses come to $31,390 to $36,394 Moreover, the child must maintain a C average and complete their degree before they turn 23.

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Hinsdale divorce attorneyOwning a small business comes with many perks when compared to working for someone else. You set the schedule, make the big decisions, and reap the majority of the rewards. There are obvious downsides as well—statistically high likelihood of failure, more working hours, extra stress, and no health insurance to name just a few that most people can come up with off the tops of their heads. Yet, few people truly understand the full complexity of small business ownership until they go through a divorce. If you own a small business, your spouse, who may have nothing to do with that business, may be able to claim partial ownership during a divorce. When you own a business together, things get even more complicated.

Businesses Can Be Marital Property

Illinois divides marital property through equitable division. Marital property is anything acquired during the course of the marriage, including income, bank accounts, stocks, 401(k) accounts, pensions, real property, automobiles, furniture, and virtually every other type of asset or debt. This includes businesses. Property owned by each party before marriage remains nonmarital property. However, if you or your spouse owned a business before marriage and the other spouse became a co-owner, or contributed to the business through labor, or contributed to it with funding, it too will be considered marital property even though it was owned by one party before the marriage began.

Dividing a Business Often Means One Spouse Becomes the Sole Owner

For spouses who started up a small business together during marriage, dividing that business without ruining it can be complicated and in many cases, neither spouse has a desire to continue operating the business with the other. As such, the best option may be to give sole ownership to one spouse while the other gets the house, for example. In the best-case scenario, one spouse will be inclined to a buyout. In more complicated cases, neither spouse wants to give up their ownership of the business, and additional compromises will eventually have to be made either through mediation or in a courtroom, ordered by a judge.

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IL family lawyerMany custodial parents do not receive full child support payments, and thousands of others in Illinois receive no child support payments at all. In fact, only 59 percent of the total annual child support payments are received annually. As a custodial parent, you have a few resources at your disposal to ensure that the paying parent is held to his or her legal obligation. An experienced family law attorney can help answer any questions you may have.

The Illinois Division of Child Support Services

Once a paying parent gets behind on their payments, the Division of Child Support Services automatically serves the payor’s employer with the delinquent amount, according to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. This income withholding for support is deducted from the paying parent’s wages until the support is paid in full. However, this may not be enough to get the noncustodial parent to pay, especially if they are self-employed, paid under the table, or are unemployed. As such, the Division of Child Support Services can also:

  • Intercept state and federal income tax refunds
  • Intercept state payments including lottery winnings
  • Intercept gambling winnings
  • Place a lien on property
  • Seize bank accounts
  • Use private collection companies
  • Deny or revoke the paying parent’s passport
  • Submit to credit reporting agencies
  • Submit to licensing agencies to revoke or deny professional, recreational, or occupational licenses
  • Suspend their driver’s license through the Illinois Secretary of State; or
  • Request state or federal criminal prosecution; and
  • Submit the name and photo of the parent on the Department’s Delinquent Parents Website.

How Non-Paying Parents Delay Collections

Unfortunately, there are a variety of tools and methods that paying parents use to delay collection or consequences from being issued, such as revoked licenses. One of these is to simply request that the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) review the delinquent account to ensure that the past child support order is correct. The DCSS is obligated to send a letter to the delinquent parent notifying them of the department’s intentions to use the previously mentioned garnishing or penalizing methods. As such, the DCSS cannot immediately begin garnishing wages or seizing bank accounts, and the noncustodial parent can delay even more by requesting that the DCSS check their records.

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IL custody lawyerDivorce and child custody are complicated enough for the average family. For families that have a child with special needs, figuring out the best living arrangement and caretaking responsibilities is even harder. Extra attention needs to be given to creating a carefully drafted parenting plan that takes all of the child’s best interests into account. An experienced Hinsdale child custody attorney will be able to help you throughout the divorce process.

Shared Custody Is Often the Best Custody Arrangement

Numerous U.S. and international studies have shown that children thrive the most when they have both parents in their lives. As such, shared custody is usually a desirable outcome for custody decisions. Even if the child lives primarily with one parent, as long as the other parent has a constant presence in their child’s life, the child will be much better off than if one parent is seldom around.

Parenting is a demanding job. For children with special needs, the demands placed on parents are greater. Having two parents play an equal role in caretaking, driving the child to appointments and school, and homemaking can be a great asset to everyone involved. However, in certain situations, it may be best to fight for sole custody if the other parent has proven themselves to be unfit for the job.

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