IL divorce lawyerFor couples that have children together, there are many decisions that must be made in a divorce. These decisions can be made during mediation or collaboration, or a judge can make the final determination during litigation. Mediation and collaborative law allow the couple to retain control over the process and come to an agreement that is best for both of them. During these processes, the couple will have to create a parenting plan, and there are three very important terms to include within it.

Parental Responsibilities and Child Custody

Child custody is the issue that most people know to include within their parenting plan, but it is also important to include parental responsibilities within the plan. The parent that spends the majority of time with the child is known as the custodial parent, while the other spouse is the non-custodial parent. The terms for both physical custody and legal custody, which is the parent that can make decisions for the child, should be included in the parenting plan.

It is important to not only determine which spouse will be the custodial parent, but couples should also create a parenting schedule. Parenting schedules can work in a number of ways. Some individuals choose to plan the schedule on a weekly basis, while others may decide on a bi-weekly basis. These are just two options for a parenting plan. When the couple can decide this for themselves, it can work just about any way that suits them best.

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IL divorce lawyerSocial media is a significant part of the lives of so many people today. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can help you connect with your support group, and you may find that particularly important when you are going through a divorce. Unfortunately, posting to social media usually hurts a person during divorce more than it helps. This is particularly true when you are going through child custody hearings. The best advice is to stay off social media altogether, but that is becoming quite difficult today. So, if you are going to use social media during this difficult time, avoid posting about the three things below to protect your case.

Venting About Your Case

Divorce is a frustrating experience. Your spouse may infuriate you, or you may adamantly disagree with decisions the judge makes in the case, such as if they award temporary custody to your ex until the divorce is finalized. Even though you may feel as though you need to vent about these things so you can feel better, your post can be held against you. A judge will not look kindly on you venting about them on social media and, if the judge deems it necessary, they may even issue a restraining order against you, making it difficult to see your spouse, and maybe even your children.

Your Social Life

You may think that going out for a night with your friends is not a big deal, and it probably is not. However, that does not mean that your spouse will not use photos of when you went out for drinks against you. Or, you may start dating and want to share your experiences on social media. Again, this could anger your spouse and cause them to use those posts against you. They may use pictures you post to show that you are not dedicated to your children, or that you are confusing them by bringing dates home, even if you are not. Limit talk of your social adventures to phone conversations with your loved ones and keep them off social media.

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IL divorce lawyerGetting engaged is an exciting time. You are likely busy planning for the wedding, and cannot wait to talk about it with your family and friends. Although this is a time of celebration, it is also time to really consider your future, and how you can protect it. Premarital agreements are no longer only for the wealthy, and they are not seen as the romance killers that they once were. Instead, premarital agreements can actually strengthen your relationship, and provide the security you and your soon-to-be spouse both need. If you are planning on getting married, below are four reasons to get a premarital agreement.

You Own a Business

A divorce can greatly threaten your business. If it is considered a marital asset, which businesses often are, it will be subject to property division rules and therefore, you may have to sell it as part of the divorce. A premarital agreement can identify your business as a separate asset and protect it from being divided or sold.

You Have Been Married Before

If you have been married before, you may have another family and legal obligations attached to them. You may have to pay alimony to your former spouse, or you might have to pay child support. These obligations do not stop when you get married again. A premarital agreement can very clearly outline these obligations and state what funds are going where.

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IL family lawyerWhen a married couple has a child in Illinois, it is assumed that the two spouses are the biological parents of the child. The same assumption is not made, however, when a child is born to unwed parents. In these cases, it must be proven that the father is the biological parent. It is important to do this soon after the child is born. Establishing paternity, and doing it early, has many benefits for the mother, father, and the child.

How to Establish Paternity

Unfortunately, simply including the father’s name on the birth certificate is not enough to establish paternity. After the birth of a child, both parents may voluntarily establish paternity by signing the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. If there is a dispute about paternity, each party has two choices.

The first option is to establish paternity through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. If this agency proves paternity, they will file an Administrative Paternity Order indicating who is the biological father of the child.

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IL divorce lawyerCouples that want to get a divorce but that always want to avoid the lengthy and costly process of going through litigation will often turn to alternative dispute resolution methods, such as collaborative divorce or mediation. Both methods are extremely effective and can help the parties maintain a respectful relationship, which is important, particularly if there are children involved. However, there are differences between these two dispute resolution methods, and couples that are interested in them should know what they are.

Fees

Mediation and collaborative divorce are both less expensive than going through litigation. Of the two, collaborative divorces typically cost a little more than mediation. In a collaborative divorce, both parties are always represented by attorneys, and this is not always the case for couples going through mediation. If the attorneys cannot agree on a certain aspect of the case, such as the value of a business, they may bring experts in, which will increase the costs of a collaborative divorce.

Mediated divorces are typically less expensive, with sessions costing approximately $100 to $200 an hour. The two parties also do not have to hire an attorney, although it is strongly recommended that anyone going through a divorce is represented by legal counsel.

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