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Kane County family law attorneyWhile parents all want to do what is best for their children, including allowing their voices to be heard, sometimes their wishes are not what is in their best interest. Depending on the circumstances, this may also prove to be the case in divorce and parental responsibility proceedings. In many instances, a judge will consider a child’s wishes regarding which parent they live with, but a child’s wishes are not the deciding factor.

What Does the Law Say?

Illinois law holds that a child’s wishes regarding residential living arrangements can be taken into account as long as the child’s “maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preference” is appropriately considered. In other words, the wishes of a child who is better able to express themselves in a manner consistent with them forming an independent opinion will be given more weight than that of a child who simply parrots their parent or older sibling. Generally, this means that older children’s opinions will have more impact, but this is not always the case. An extremely articulate younger child might very well have a firm grasp on the situation and could, therefore, be taken more seriously.

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Kane County divorce attorneysDivorce can affect couples from all walks of life, even the financially flush. However, when wealthy people decide to end their marriage, the proceedings can differ somewhat from those who have relatively few assets to divide. For a wealthier couple, there will understandably be a more prolonged discovery period, as well as a focus on ensuring that all assets are properly identified and evaluated.

What Is Equitable Distribution?

The primary issue in high-value divorces is that because so much is at stake, each party is more likely to dig in and fight for what they see as their rightful share. In some cases, however, it is not the spouses but the court that decides what is an appropriate distribution. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that property is not divided 50/50 as it would be in a community property state. Rather, experts help evaluate each asset so that each party may receive a share that is equitable and fair based on the circumstances of the situation.

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Kane County family law attorneyDivorce is a difficult decision to make. Sometimes, a couple may hesitate on pulling the proverbial trigger even though they are well aware that their marriage is in trouble. If you are in this situation, a legal separation may be an idea, as you receive many of the benefits of divorce without giving up all of the benefits of being married just yet. Be advised, however, that most people “separate” colloquially, meaning that they take no steps to protect their assets like bank accounts or titles to vehicles. Legal separation, by comparison, has specific procedures that must be followed.

Changes to the Law

Before changes were enacted in 2016, legal separation was used by many couples who did not have sufficient grounds to divorce, or by couples whose religion either prohibited or frowned upon divorce. With the abolition of fault grounds, fewer people use the procedure because obtaining a divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences is much easier than it was in the past. However, it is still the choice for many who simply cannot make the decision to divorce for whatever reason.

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Kane County family law attorneyIn many cases, receiving court-ordered child support is the difference between being able to pay the bills and being in financial trouble. Sometimes, however, child support simply does not get paid. Whether the failure to pay is the result of malicious reasons or because unexpected expenses occurred for the supporting parent, you may have to go to court to obtain what you are owed.

Most Common Methods

The most common way that noncompliant parents are made to pay their support obligations is to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU), via automatic income withholding (AIW), under the federal Family Support Act. Illinois has adopted a version of this law that is functionally identical to the federal statute, though other states have made modifications. Income withholding applies to divorce decrees that have both child support and spousal support or that only discuss child support. In other words, you cannot request income withholding through the SDU, if your former spouse is behind on maintenance payments only, at least not in Illinois. AIW generally takes effect automatically unless the parties specifically agree to another form of recourse in the event that back child support has accumulated.

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Kane County family law attorneySometimes, life happens. A new job, new relationship or death in the family may necessitate a move, but to relocate a family is almost never easy. This is true because Illinois law does set some restrictions on relocating children, especially during or after divorce. Very often, one parent’s interest in seeking new opportunities must be balanced with the other parent’s right to parenting time and their children’s interests in staying where they are comfortable.

Recent Changes to Relocation Laws

Before 2016, Illinois law held that a parent could uproot their children for any destination within the state, but if he or she chose to leave the state even by a very small distance, permission of either the other parent or a family court was required. With the revamping of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a new approach was adopted.

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1737 South Naperville Road, Suite 100
Wheaton, IL 60189
630-549-0960
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We serve clients throughout Kane County, Illinois including St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elgin, Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elburn, Hampshire, Huntley, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sleepy Hollow, Wayne, West Dundee as well as throughout DuPage County.

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