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Can I Represent Myself in My Illinois Divorce?

If you are considering divorce or been recently served with divorce papers, you may be asking yourself, “Can I represent myself in my divorce?” The answer to this question is yes. Regardless of the legal proceeding, you always have the right to represent yourself. However, the more important question is ,“Should I represent myself in my divorce?”

Since the process of divorce is complex, both legally and emotionally, seeking legal representation for your divorce case can protect your rights and increase your chances of a favorable outcome. You may have your own set of ideas of how the division of your marital assets, the allocation of parenting time, and other aspects of your divorce should be handled. Unfortunately, what you believe is most fair may be contrary to what Illinois divorce laws state.

To avoid becoming confused or frustrated by how a judge may rule in your divorce case or making an error that costs your thousands of dollars more than you would have paid, you should consult a skilled, experienced divorce lawyer. If you elect to represent yourself initially and later retain an attorney, your attorney may spend a significant amount of time attempting to undo mistakes that have already been made. Sometimes, mistakes made during self-representation cannot be fixed. Therefore, it is in your best interest to receive legal counsel at the very beginning stages of your divorce.

The decisions made during divorce will determine what happens with the things that are most important to you: your home, your retirement, your life savings, and your children. Rather than trying to tackle your divorce on your own, you should contact an experienced attorney at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. We have been assisting clients from DuPage, Kane, and Kendall Counties for decades, and we look forward to helping you reach a favorable outcome to your situation. Call us at 630-665-7300 today.

Can Employers Ask About Expunged or Sealed Criminal Records?

Often times, people choose to expunge or seal their criminal records after they have dealt with consequences such as fines, jail time, and probation. By expunging or sealing your record, you can increase your chances of landing a job, attending college, and/or qualifying for financial aid. Expunging or sealing your record is a step towards restoring your reputation and moving on with your life.

If you have had a criminal offense expunged or sealed, you may be wondering whether you have to inform a potential employer. The good news is that, with the exception of certain state and government agencies, you do not have to disclose your record, because employers cannot consider an expunged or sealed offense when determining whether to hire you.

In fact, under Illinois law, an employment application must contain a specific warning which states that the person applying has no obligation to disclose a sealed or expunged record. You should be cautious, however, because a new law which gave certain employers the right to omit the warning from their employment applications and place it on their website instead became effective January 1, 2018.

A sealed or expunged record can give you a fresh start when searching for employment. At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we will determine whether you can expunge or seal your record and increase your chances of securing a job. Contact us today at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.

How To Calculate Spousal Maintenance or Alimony in Illinois

On January 1, 2016, the current spousal maintenance statute in Illinois went into effect. Spousal support is now calculated using two main factors: the gross income of the spouses and the length of the marriage. Under the formula, maintenance is calculated by taking 30 percent of the gross income of the spouse who earns more minus 20 percent of the gross income of the spouse who earns less. However, the amount of maintenance plus the gross income of the party receiving maintenance cannot exceed 40% of the parties’ combined gross income.

How long spousal maintenance is paid depends on the length of the marriage. The number of years of the marriage is calculated by the percentage put forth in the spousal maintenance statute. For example, if the couple was married for 7 years, then the number 7 is multiplied by 40%. This means that maintenance will be paid or 2.8 years. The statute outlines the percentages that coincide with the duration of the marriage as follows:

  • 0-5 year marriage: Number of years of the marriage is multiplied by 20%
  • 6-9 year marriage: Number of years is multiplied by 40%
  • 10-14 year marriage: Number of years is multiplied by 60%
  • 15-19 year marriage is multiplied by 80%
  • 20 years or more of marriage is multiplied by 100% (this means that spousal maintenance will be paid until either spouse is deceased)

There are some situations in which the spousal support formula does not apply. For instance, if the divorcing couple's combined income is $250,000 or more, the new support guideline will not apply. In addition, if the spouse that earns more has a support obligation from a previous marriage or relationship, the formula would not apply to him or her. Finally, the court is granted the discretion to award more or less maintenance than what the support guideline dictates.

After a judge has completed the maintenance calculations outlined above, the judge will add the amount of annual maintenance to the gross income of the party receiving maintenance. When the maintenance is added to the spouse's income, the judge will ensure that the sum of the maintenance and spouse's income does not exceed 40% of the couple's combined income.

With the new family-related laws in Illinois, calculating child and spousal support can be difficult and complex. At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we can help you determine exactly how much you owe in spousal support payments. If you would like to challenge your spousal maintenance order or you are going through a divorce, schedule a consultation with our attorneys. Call us at 630-665-7300 or contact us online. We serve clients in Kane County and DuPage County.

New 2017 Illinois Law Expands Eligibility to Seal Records for Most Offenses

In previous years, only a few select felony offenses could be sealed in Illinois. In the event that an offender wanted to seal an offense that was not eligible under the law, they would have to petition the governor for a pardon. The process of petitioning the governor for a pardon took a great deal of work, and the pardon was only granted in rare cases.

Fortunately, on August 24, 2017, eligibility to seal criminal records expanded to most felony offenses in Illinois. Under the new law, you may be able to seal your record if you were convicted of burglary, possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, possession of a stolen vehicle, retail theft, or forgery.

With a sealed criminal record, your criminal background will not show up on background checks and, you will be in a better position to land a job or rent a property. Since the new law offers a “one shot” chance, if you are convicted of another felony once your record has been sealed, you will be ineligible to apply to seal your subsequent conviction. Additionally, a court will have the right to unseal your previously sealed record.

If you have been convicted of a nonviolent felony and would like a fair chance at securing a job or housing, it is in your best interest to contact our offices to learn about your eligibility for record sealing or expungement. You can depend on Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC to guide you through the process and represent you as you petition to have your record sealed or expunged. Call us at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.

How to Calculate Illinois Child Support After the July 2017 Law Change

On July 1, 2017 child support guidelines changed in Illinois. Now, child support will be calculated using an income shares formula which is used in forty other states. The model takes into account two main factors: each parent’s income and the amount of income that is usually spent on the number of children involved.

The new child support guidelines can significantly impact your child support obligation and payments. If your divorce case involves child support, or if you have any questions about how the new guidelines will affect the amount of support you pay or receive, contact the family law attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. Our lawyers can help you determine the amount of child support you will be legally required to pay.

One factor included in the new child support formula is the parents' net monthly income. Parents can use a standardized tax amount formula or an individualized tax amount formula to determine their net monthly income. Once each parent’s net income is determined, the two incomes are combined. Using this combined income and the number of children the parents share, tables published by the state of Illinois will be used to determine the amount of income that would ordinarily be spent to care for the children. For example, if the parents' combined income is $10,000 and they share one child, that amount is $1,445 per month.

After the amount required to care for the children is established, the amount each parent should contribute in support is determined. This amount is determined based on the contributions each parent makes to the monthly net income. If the non-custodial parent makes $7,500 per month, and the monthly net income is $10,000 per month, that means the parent contributes 75 percent to the net income. The percentage of contribution the parent makes is multiplied by the amount of child support obligation:

75% x $1,445 = $1,083.75 per month

Therefore, the parent would be obligated to pay $1,083.75 per month in child support.

The amount of parenting time each parent has with a child also affects the calculation of child support. The calculation above is true if the non-custodial parent has the child for less than 146 nights per year. If each parent has the child for 146 or more nights per year, the standard formula may not apply, and other factors will be considered when determining the amount of child support.

It can be difficult to understand exactly how the new child support guidelines in Illinois will affect your support obligation and orders. To determine the amount of child support you will be required to pay, contact our Wheaton family law attorneys at MKFM. Call us at 630-665-7300 or contact us online. We serve clients in Naperville, Wheaton, Oak Brook, and throughout DuPage County.

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1737 South Naperville Road, Suite 100
Wheaton, IL 60189
630-549-0960
Evening and weekend hours by appointment.

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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