Family Law & Divorce
Child Related Issues
Can I Restrict My Former Spouse's Parenting Time?
In an ideal post-divorce world, a parent has nothing to worry about when their child visits their other parent. Unfortunately, it does not always work out that way, and sometimes a parent has to make the decision to protect their child from an unsafe situation.
While Illinois law is strict when it comes to parenting time interference, there is an allowance for dangerous situations.
Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC understands the stress you face if you are concerned about your child's safety whenever they spend time with your former spouse. If you suspect physical or mental abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, or other serious problems that put your child at risk, you have legal options.
While a quick, emergency decision is understandable, the best course of action you can take is to contact an experienced family law attorney and law enforcement before you attempt to prevent a visit. If you fail to do so, the other parent may retaliate with a contempt of court charge if you act on your own. Instead, you want maximum protection and representation in place to take swift legal action.
While Illinois law protects the rights of parents from parenting time interference, it also provides recourse for legitimately concerned parents who fear for the well-being of their child. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states parenting time (formerly called visitation) is allowed unless it "would endanger seriously the child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health."
To make a change to parenting time or the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly called custody), the court must see convincing evidence that your child's health or safety are threatened. While visitation and custody can be denied to a parent who endangers a child, if a parent takes action to prevent a visit without sufficient proof of a dangerous environment, their custody may be challenged as well. Unjust denial of parenting time may result in make-up visits or a complete change in the allocation of parental responsibilities.
If you believe your child's safety is not guaranteed when they visit your former spouse, do not delay in taking necessary action to ensure their safety. MKFM Law can immediately seek a modification to custody and visitation. Contact a Wheaton, IL family law attorney at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.
What Can I Do If My Spouse Won't Let Me See My Child?
After a divorce, nothing is more important than the time you get to spend with your children, regardless of whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent. Parenting plans are a top priority in divorce decrees, to ensure there is no ambiguity with custody and visitation time once a divorce is finalized.
If your former spouse is violating the child visitation order within your divorce agreement, contact a family law attorney immediately.
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we understand how much you value time with your children, and we will pursue immediate legal action against anyone who unjustifiably impedes your ability to see them in accordance with your parenting agreement. This crime is not taken lightly, and repeated violations can result in severe penalties, including significant jail time.
Some parents believe they can withhold visitation if the other parent is behind on child support payments. The law clearly says that is not the case. Parenting time and child support are two separate issues, and neither can be used as a tactic to force the other.
Illinois law says anyone who violates visitation provisions is guilty of a petty offense, which is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, possible probation of up to six months, restitution to the victim, and court supervision.
Any further interference after two previous instances results in a Class A misdemeanor charge, punishable up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
The law contains three provisions under which a court may decide someone justifiably interfered with a child visitation agreement:
- The individual did so to protect the child from imminent danger, and that the action was reasonable considering the perceived threat.
- The act occurred with the mutual consent of all parties who have a right to custody and visitation.
- The act was justified by law.
To pursue a parenting time interference case, it helps to have an accurate, truthful log of all events related to the act(s) in question. An MKFM family law attorney can help you compile evidence that supports your claim, so a judge can determine if an illegal action took place.
As long as your child is safe with you, no one has the right to interfere with your parenting time. If your ex-spouse does so, act quickly, and let MKFM Law handle your case to ensure proper court action and future adherence to the visitation order laid out in your divorce agreement. Contact a DuPage County divorce attorney at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.
I Don't Want to Get Divorced. Can I Fight It?
You entered into a marriage believing the vow, "until death do us part," but now it appears the end will come much sooner. Perhaps your spouse filing for divorce caught you by surprise, or maybe it was a foregone conclusion after years of difficulty. Either way, if you think you want to fight the divorce in court, you should consider the following:
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC we understand the emotional and physical strain caused by divorce, whether you expected it or not. If your spouse filed for divorce, your thoughts should now shift from marriage preservation to protecting your interests and future.
A divorce filing strongly suggests your spouse already has legal representation for what lies ahead. Do not delay any longer in securing a skilled divorce lawyer. At MKFM Law, we have decades of experience in:
- High net-worth divorce.
- Child custody and visitation.
- Spousal maintenance/alimony.
- Child support.
- Property distribution.
Even if emotions are high, and collaboration with your soon-to-be former spouse does not seem likely, mediation could help bridge the gap between you. It can provide a method to reach agreements together and avoid the anger that often escalates as a divorce works its way through the court system. It is less expensive than divorce litigation, and may reopen the lines of communication for long-term co-parenting success.
You do not have to agree on everything, just approach the mediation process with a positive mindset. You might not feel like you can do that at first, but take some time, and weigh it against the alternative. An MKFM attorney can sit down with you to discuss all available options, so you can decide the path that is best.
At MKFM Law, we strive to make the divorce process as easy as we possibly can for you. This is a difficult chapter in your life, but there are many good ones ahead, especially when you plan for your future with an experienced legal professional. Contact a Wheaton, IL divorce attorney at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.
Do I Have to Pay Alimony to a Spouse Who Was Unemployed or Underemployed By Choice?
Divorce can put a person who makes far less money than their spouse at a serious disadvantage when they restart their life after marriage, especially if they put their career on hold to dedicate much of their time to raising children.
Spousal maintenance (also called alimony or spousal support) is meant to ease that transition after a marriage ends. It is largely determined by the income of each spouse, along with present and future earning capacity.
So what happens if an individual chose to remain unemployed or underemployed, despite a spouse begging them to do otherwise, while they were married?
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we know the many complexities related to alimony, and can provide a detailed estimation of what you can expect to pay and the length of time those payments may be expected.
The answer to that question involves a lengthy list of variables, including but not limited to:
- Length of the marriage.
- Potential of both spouses to become economically self-sufficient.
- Education and employment history.
- Age and health status.
- The amount of marital property and how it will be divided.
- Previous standard of living.
In Illinois, spousal support is in no way based on behavior that might have led to the divorce. It is determined by one spouse's need to receive it and the other's ability to pay the amount for a set period of time. Temporary spousal maintenance may be required throughout the divorce process, until the divorce decree is finalized.
In a change to federal tax law, with all divorces finalized on or after January 1, 2019, spouses paying alimony cannot deduct spousal support from gross income when calculating taxes owed.
An experienced divorce lawyer can discuss potential spousal maintenance outcomes, along with all other aspects of an impending divorce. It is critical that you secure qualified legal representation early in the process, to ensure your long-term financial interests are protected.
If you feel your ex-spouse is not entitled to alimony because they chose not to work full-time or at all, the court may agree. Contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.
My Ex-Spouse Threatened to Quit Working to Avoid Paying Child Support in Illinois. What Can I Do?
During a divorce or paternity case, child support is often a highly contested topic. The payor (that is, the spouse who pays support) may become angry regarding the amount they are ordered to pay. Not only can this lead to disagreements, but the payor might also make threats to avoid paying the court-ordered child support.
If your ex-spouse expresses plans to avoid their support obligations, chances are it is just a threat. Court-ordered support is not something that can be ignored, and there are actions that you and your attorney can take to ensure that you receive what you are owed.
If you are not receiving your child support payments, the experienced divorce attorneys at MKFM Law know how to help.
There are several serious consequences for not paying child support, including property liens, seizure of bank accounts, interception of tax refunds, hiring collection agencies to assist in collecting, and suspension or revocation of the delinquent parent's driver's license.
Unpaid court-ordered support will accrue interest, and the unpaid support and interest can be ordered collected by the court through garnishment of wages.
Even if the delinquent parent lives in a different state, child support orders can still be enforced. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) is a federal act that establishes jurisdiction matters for cases where more than one state is involved. States are required to defer to the child support orders that were entered by the courts in the child's home state. The state where the order was originally entered is granted continuing exclusive jurisdiction (CEJ), and only the law of the state with CEJ may be applied in any modification or enforcement requests.
In the event that the non-custodial parent does not have financial means to afford the court-ordered child support payments, they are not off the hook. If they do not have the income to afford full payments, the court requires that they file a formal motion to request modification of the child support order. This process may require them to present pay stubs or bank statements to illustrate their financial means. While their monthly support amount may be reduced, it will still need to be paid.
If you are not receiving the court-ordered child support payments you are owed, contact an experienced DuPage County child support lawyer at MKFM Law by calling 630-665-7300. Every child has the right to support from both parents, and every parent has an obligation to support their children.