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Kane County family law attorneyIf you have been ordered to pay alimony—legally known as maintenance in Illinois—your payments are meant to ease the financial effects of the divorce on your ex-spouse. A court may also order maintenance to allow a financially disadvantaged spouse to maintain a standard of living reasonably similar to that which you both enjoyed during your marriage—especially if yours has not markedly changed. In the years that follow your divorce, however, your spouse may find a new romantic partner and begin a relationship. Depending on the nature of that relationship, your obligation for spousal support payments may be affected.

Duration of Support Orders

Most orders for spousal maintenance are set for a predetermined number of months or years. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides a formula for calculating the length of the order as a function of the length of the marriage to be used in most situations. Longer marriages result in relatively longer orders for maintenance, and some cases may result in permanent orders. While Illinois law does use the word “permanent,” it is not an ironclad guarantee that payments must continue until one spouse dies. There are certain occurrences that could permit you to stop making maintenance payments in spite of a permanent order.

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Kane County divorce attorneysA divorce can be extremely stressful and difficult for everyone involved. Regardless of how long the marriage lasted or whether or not there are any children involved, virtually all divorcing couples face complex legal considerations and lifestyle adjustments. When divorce decisions are left to the discretion of the court, it is common for both spouses to be somewhat disappointed in the outcome. In some cases, a spouse may even believe that the court made a mistake in interpreting or applying the law. While many people assume that a divorce decree is final, this is not always the case.

When to Appeal a Divorce Decision

In any legal matter—especially those that make to trial—at least one of the parties is going be left feeling that the outcome was unfair. A divorce is fairly unique in that most judgments represent a compromise of sorts meaning that there is no clear “winner” or “loser.” If, however, the judgment seems to favor the other party, it is understandable to experience feelings of frustration and disappointment. Simply being dissatisfied, however, is not sufficient grounds for an appeal.

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Kane County family law attorneyDisputes over child-related matters can often be quite contentious. The resulting bitterness and resentment can affect the relationship between the parents for years to come. Issues involving child custody—now called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois—parenting time, child support, and any other concern related to children are complicated, and when parents cannot reach an agreement, the court will need to step in and make long-term decisions for the family. In some cases, the court will appoint an independent attorney called a guardian ad litem to assist in the decision-making process, and it is important for you to understand why he or she may have been appointed.

What Does a Guardian ad Litem Do?

To appreciate the reasons behind the court's appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL), you must first understand the role that the GAL will play in your proceedings. The GAL does not represent either parent or the child; instead, he or she works essentially as an extension of the court and an expert witness. He or she has the power to investigate the family's situation by conducting interviews, reviewing documents, and examining any other relevant information. Based on the results of the investigation, the GAL provides a recommendation to the court of what the ideal outcome should be in the case. Because eligible GALs undergo specific training required by the county, their recommendations are given significant weight by the court.

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Kane County family law attorneysIf you are a parent whose time with your child has been limited due to a divorce, it can be very difficult for you to maintain the relationship with your child that you wish to have. This may be especially true if the other parent has been granted a majority of the parenting time and you only see your child a few days each month. Illinois law, however, allows parents in such a situation to include provisions in their parenting plan that could create extra parenting time opportunities under certain circumstances.

Defining the Right of First Refusal

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), your parenting plan should address what is called “the right of first refusal” regarding your child. If you have the right of first refusal, it means that the other parent must contact you and offer you the opportunity to care for your child if the other parent would otherwise need to find a sitter or alternative child care. Depending on how your parenting is structured, you may be required to offer the same opportunity to the other parent if and when you need someone to care for your child. It is important to note that including the right of first refusal in your parenting plan does not obligate you to accept every such opportunity; the right of first refusal refers to optional additional parenting time.

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Kane County family law attorneysThe process of divorce can often take much longer that you expect. Depending on the circumstances of your case and the considerations that must be made, the proceedings can carry on for months and, in some situations, even years before a final judgment is entered by the court. During that time, of course, your life does not simply stop. You must continue paying your mortgage and utility bills and providing for your children—only now you are faced with managing such things on your own. For this reason, Illinois law provides courts with the authority to issue temporary orders that can offset some of the financial difficulties that many divorcing individuals face.

Temporary Spousal Support

It is not uncommon in a marriage for one spouse to earn significantly more than the other. Such an arrangement may serve a couple perfectly well while the marriage is intact, but once divorce proceedings have been initiated, things can change quickly. A financially disadvantaged spouse may file a motion for temporary maintenance with the court. Based on the circumstances as they exist at the time, the court may order the higher-earning spouse to make support payments directly to the lower-earning spouse. The court could also require the higher-earning spouse to cover certain expenses—such as those related to the marital home—for the duration of the divorce.

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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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