As a leading Chicago family law attorney, we understand how complicated the family unit can be. After all, it includes the most important people in our lives as well as some complex challenges and complications. When it comes to Illinois family law, there is a broad range of rules, topics, and guidelines that are governed by the city, state, and federal courts. These laws can significantly impact families, and the outcome any one person or unit is seeking.
A Chicago family law attorney may practice law that concerns the obligations and rights of all family members, including children and domestic partners, as well as, same-sex marriages, divorce, child abuse, and domestic violence.
Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC are leading Chicago, IL family law attorneys with years of experience in helping people with family law matters. We understand many of these issues come with heated emotions, sensitivity, and young children. Rest assured, we keep your interests, and that of your family, in mind throughout our working relationship. For a consultation with one of our attorneys, call our firm today.
A family law attorney can be of the utmost assistance for a variety of different family-related issues. These attorneys have the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience with helping clients reach a solution to the issues they are facing. They are also a wealth of information when it comes to providing sound and caring guidance to clients. It’s important to seek the services of these types of attorneys in order to overcome difficult obstacles like divorce, child custody, and more. Reach out to Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC today to get the assistance that you and your family need.
What an Attorney Can Help With
In child custody cases, attorneys play a crucial role in representing parents’ interests. They can help demonstrate a parent’s eligibility for custody, often involving complex legal and emotional aspects. Child custody isn’t always decided in court; lawyers can often negotiate out-of-court agreements for joint or sole custody, considering factors like the child’s best interests, parental abilities, and unique family circumstances.
Determining child support involves a range of factors, including each parent’s income, the child’s needs, and the parents’ living expenses. Lawyers help navigate these factors to arrive at a fair and legal amount of support. They can also assist in modifying support orders when circumstances change and in enforcing support agreements if a parent fails to pay.
Divorce cases encompass a broad spectrum of issues, including alimony (spousal support), division of assets and debts, child custody and support, and more. Attorneys guide clients through the legal process, from filing for divorce to finalizing agreements or court orders. They provide counsel on legal rights and obligations, negotiate settlements, and represent clients in court if necessary.
Parenting and Visitation Problems
Family law attorneys negotiate visitation schedules that protect the child’s welfare and the parents’ rights. This includes determining the frequency and duration of visits, holiday schedules, and guidelines for special circumstances. They also handle disputes that may arise over visitation rights and work towards solutions that serve the child’s best interests.
International Family Issues
In cases involving international elements, such as cross-border custody disputes or immigration issues related to family law, attorneys offer specialized knowledge. They assist with understanding and navigating the complexities of international laws, treaties, and regulations, ensuring proper legal procedures are followed for issues like international relocation, abduction, and compliance with foreign court orders.
Family law attorneys provide critical support and guidance across a range of family-related legal matters, helping clients to navigate complex legal landscapes and achieve outcomes that are in the best interests of their families.
Help is Available
Families are the backbones of everyone’s life. When a divorce occurs or other family issues it’s important to get as much help as possible to preserve the family as best as possible. Our attorneys have years of experience in helping keep families intact and helping them get through difficult times. Reach out to Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC today to get the help you and your family deserve and need.
Joint Dissolution of Marriage
Joint dissolution of marriage is an alternative to having an uncontested divorce, although the two share some similarities. For example, a joint dissolution means that you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are filing for divorce, only here, you’re filing together as opposed to only one of you files. Typically, this is an even faster process than an uncontested divorce, but not every couple can file for a joint dissolution. For one, your divorce has to be uncontested or no-fault for you two to file under this option. Other Illinois requirements are:
- You and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse have enjoyed marriage for less than eight years.
- You do not have any children together, including none by adoption, and there’s no current pregnancy.
- Together, you two gross less than $35,000 a year.
- Neither of you earns more than $20,000 individually.
- Your marital property is less than $10,000 altogether.
- Neither of you earns real estate
Determining If Mediation is Right For You
When you seek help from our family law attorney you can trust in Chicago, you may be wondering if mediation is right for you and your spouse during the divorce process. In fact, many couples who are having marital or family issues and not necessarily going through a divorce may choose to utilize family mediation as well. We understand that not all conversations can be easy. Especially if you are getting a divorce, you may find that you and your spouse are not able to agree on everything. To help, your attorney can help set up a mediation session.
Dividing Debt in a Divorce
Payment of debts during and following a divorce is often a difficult issue to resolve. The reality is that both spouses may struggle financially during a divorce, simply because one household has split into two separate households, each of which has its own share of expenses. Since non-payment of debts can have such a lasting impact on your credit and your financial future, it is imperative that you enlist the assistance of an experienced Chicago family law attorney who can help you reach an acceptable resolution to the payment of your marital debts.
Why Dividing Debt During Divorce Is So Important
Dividing marital debts in your divorce is just as important as dividing marital property. If you and your spouse have any joint car loans, mortgages, personal loans, credit card accounts, or lines of credit, you both are financially responsible for those debts. This means that even if your spouse is supposed to pay a particular debt, but he or she doesn’t do so, you are still legally responsible for paying that joint debt. To be sure, the creditor can take legal collection actions against you for that debt, even if your now-ex-spouse is supposed to pay for it. Additionally, even if your spouse separately incurred a debt during your marriage, you could be held responsible for it, depending on the situation. These facts make it essential that you work closely with experienced divorce lawyers who can help ensure that you don’t end up saddled with all of your spouse’s credit card debt.
How a Court Divides Marital Debts
In many cases, spouses are able to come to an agreement about who will pay what debt. In other cases, however, it is up to the divorce court to make a decision about a fair and just allocation of debts between you and your spouse. The court will consider different factors, such as your income, assets, existing liabilities, earning potential, and current employment situation in determining which spouse is responsible for each debt. If you are in a significantly better financial position than your spouse, for instance, and earn substantially more income, then you may end up with more than half of the marital debt, or even being responsible for debts that your spouse solely incurred. It is up to the discretion of the court to devise a resolution that is just and equitable for both parties involved. Your Chicago family law attorney will make sure that the court is aware of all the factors necessary to ensure a fair division.
Managing Your Finances During Divorce
Divorce is a complex and challenging process, and effective financial management is crucial for a smooth transition into post-divorce life. Here are detailed strategies and considerations for managing your finances during a divorce, as may be recommended by a family law attorney from Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen Law in Chicago.
Assessing Prenuptial Agreements
Firstly, examine if you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement. This agreement can significantly influence how assets are divided, potentially superseding state laws. Understanding the terms of a prenup is essential in planning asset division and financial settlements.
Updating and Separating Bank Accounts
Joint bank accounts require immediate attention. It’s advisable to establish individual checking and savings accounts, ensuring that future incomes and expenses are managed separately. This separation is crucial for two main reasons: it simplifies the division of assets and protects you from potential financial misconduct by your spouse, such as accruing debt that could affect your credit score.
Retirement Portfolio Adjustments
Divorce can necessitate changes to your retirement plans. This includes updating beneficiaries on life insurance policies and retirement accounts. If your spouse is currently a beneficiary, consider changing this to a child or another relative. Additionally, consult with your company’s HR department regarding any 401(k) plans or pensions, and understand the implications of withdrawing or closing these accounts, as your spouse might be entitled to a portion of these assets.
Comprehensive Document Collection
Gather all critical financial documents, which is a vital step in understanding and dividing marital assets. This includes bank statements from joint accounts, credit card statements, mortgage information, life insurance policies, and investment portfolio statements. These documents not only aid in asset division but also provide a clear picture of your marital standard of living, which is essential when restructuring your budget for a single-income lifestyle.
Planning for a New Financial Reality
Post-divorce life often means adjusting to a new financial reality. By following these steps, you can ensure a more organized and less stressful transition. It’s important to work closely with your attorney at Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen Law to navigate these changes effectively and set yourself up for a stable financial future post-divorce.
Do’s and Don’ts Regarding Divorce
Do Get Familiar With the Legal Process
It’s important to know what’s coming. During your initial conversation with a Chicago family law attorney from Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen Law, you should ask for an overview of coming events.
Do Stay Respectful of Your Spouse
If you have kids, your spouse is going to be part of your life whether you like it or not. Set out on the right foot and stay respectful of your spouse.
Do Plan For the Future
Think about the possessions you want to leave the divorce with and what you’re willing to exchange for getting them. Don’t forget to consider marital debts. Your Chicago family law attorney may have a checklist to help you remember everything.
Do Choose to Be Happy
You can be going through a hotly contested divorce and be miserable, or you can be going through a hotly contested divorce and be miserable. Either way, you’re going through a hotly-contested divorce. Happiness is a choice; make it a good one.
Do Forgive Your Spouse
Holding on to resentment and anger only hurts you. Free yourself from those feelings by forgiving your spouse for whatever you’ve blamed them for.
Don’t Act Without Thinking Things Through
It’s easy to act rashly during divorce proceedings. Make sure you take the time to think about your actions before you take them. You could also act aggressively toward your spouse, which could hurt you when it comes to the custody of your children.
Don’t Involve Your Kids
Whatever else you do or don’t do, above all else, don’t involve your children in your divorce. Make it crystal clear to them that the divorce is between you and your spouse, it’s got nothing to do with them, and that you and your spouse both love them very much. Don’t ask children to relay messages or take your side, and don’t disparage your spouse in front of them.
Don’t Ignore Any Court Orders
If you ignore court orders, you could find yourself in contempt of court and facing potential jail time and/or fines. Your Chicago family law attorney can advise you on how to comply with those orders.
Don’t Agree to Anything Without Consulting Your Lawyer
Even if what you’re being asked to agree to sounds great, consult your Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen Law attorney before you agree to it. Your lawyer may see potential pitfalls you might have missed.
Chicago Family Attorney Infographic
Working With a Family Attorney For a Prenuptial Agreement
When you are hoping to create a prenuptial agreement before you get married, working with a family law attorney in Chicago, Illinois may be one of the best moves you can make. A family attorney can ensure you cover everything you need to before saying “I do.” Creating a prenuptial agreement comes with a stigma: many people believe if you create this document it is dooming your marriage.
However, we believe that a prenuptial agreement is one of the smartest things you can do when you are entering into marriage. Instead of thinking that it dooms your marriage, consider it a solid step in your marriage. You and your partner can discuss the different assets you are each bringing to your marriage and how that is divided up, especially in the event of a divorce.
5 Ways to Consider Your Children When Separating From Your Spouse
Marriage separation can be stressful and worrisome when children are involved. It’s imperative to remember that although you and your spouse no longer want to live together, you still have your children’s feelings to consider. Here are a few ways you can make a marriage separation easier on your children.
- Don’t Ever Just Walk Out
While you may think it’s necessary to simply pack up and leave, cool down, and discuss things rationally with your spouse at a later date, your children will see your departure as abandonment. Children are sensitive, and even temporary abandonment can emotionally scar them for life.
- Be Open With Your Children
It’s hard for children to understand why their parents no longer want to be together. Sit them down and talk about some of the more basic reasons behind your separation. Many children are prone to blame themselves when their parents argue, so make sure they understand that they are not the cause of your separation. Make it clear that despite the changes, both you and your partner still love them dearly.
- Make Sure Both Parents Have Time With the Children
Once you and your partner are living separately, ensure that your children have a safe and comfortable environment at both of your separate homes. If you have custody, don’t withhold your children from your spouse out of spite. Unless abuse is involved, your children should have regular contact and quality time with both of their parents.
- Don’t Speak Badly of Your Partner
Perhaps you no longer love your partner, but you can never forget that to your children, your partner is still a beloved parent. Hearing one parent speak ill of the other can be heartbreaking for a child.
- Give Your Children Normalcy
It’s paramount that you maintain some sort of normalcy in your children’s lives. Marriage separation is a big deal, but neither you nor your spouse should let it define you as a parent. It is important to remember that you are still co-parenting, and you are both responsible for the health and happiness of your child. Family traditions, holidays, and day-to-day life will be different, but make sure that they are still fun, and that your children can enjoy them equally with both of their parents.
A broken marriage can be hard for children to understand, and there will be some unavoidable bumps in the road. However, that does not mean that you and your partner cannot part ways without negatively impacting your children. Talk to a family attorney, who may be able to help you with a marriage separation that will take your children into account.
If you’re planning to get divorced, you may want to speak to a Chicago family law attorney. A divorce is a complicated process and you want someone knowledgeable and experienced on your side. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about family law.
Chicago Family Law FAQs
Is Illinois a No-Fault State?
Yes. In order to get a divorce, you don’t have to prove that your spouse committed adultery, abused, or acted in some other bad manner. Illinois lawmakers abolished the option to file a fault divorce in 2016. Stating that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences is enough to get a divorce.
How Long is the Separation Period in Illinois?
In the state of Illinois, there is no mandatory separation period. However, if you and your spouse don’t agree to a divorce right away, a judge may require you to live separately for six months. Once the time period has passed, a judge will agree that there are irreconcilable differences.
How Does the Court Determine Child Custody?
If you and your spouse have minor children, custody will be one of the main matters in your divorce. A judge will look at many factors before determining child custody, such as each parent’s mental and physical health, the living situation of each parent, and proximity to schools. If you wish to gain custody of your child, it’s important to work with an experienced Chicago family law attorney.
How long does the divorce take?
It is very hard to tell what the divorce timeline can be because these timelines can vary with courts as well as the amount of documentation that you have to fill out by both parties. It is a very lengthy process and becomes even lengthier if a party does not agree on another matter and negotiation takes time. Typically the average ranges from 3 to 18 months but it can take longer if your divorce is more complicated and complex.
How do I file for divorce?
If this is your first divorce we’ve never looked into how to file for a divorce, the very first step is to file a petition with the court. And in Illinois, there is no waiting period to file a divorce but you are required to be a resident for at least 90 days prior to entering for a divorce judgment, or for your spouse to be an Illinois resident for 90 days prior.
What happens if I am served with a petition for divorce?
When you receive a petition in divorce in Illinois, you have 30 days to file an appearance or hire a Chicago family attorney to file one for you. If you do not file within this time, your spouse could default you into the divorce judgment with their requested terms and you get no say.
Can I request financial support for my spouse during the pendency of the divorce proceeding?
While your divorce is pending, depending upon your access to funds in the income of your spouse and yourself, you may be able to receive financial support from your spouse. This is typically the case if there is a large income disparity, and it would be a temporary relief while the divorce is pending. These are temporary but they can provide some financial relief to help you with spousal, child support, and even contribution to household and child expenses.
Can my partner and I both use you for our prenuptial agreement?
Just because you are getting married does not mean we can represent both you and your partner. You want to make sure that both of you are protected and to do that, you should each work with an attorney you can trust. Remember, this does not mean you do not trust each other or that you are suspicious of each other. Instead, it means you each have an attorney who can fully represent you and who can fully take care of your own assets.
Can we discuss children in our prenuptial agreement?
When it comes to children, that is best saved for marriage. If you go through a divorce, your attorney will work with you to discuss child support and child custody/visitation. When this happens, a judge will make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the children involved. You cannot make these decisions before marriage or before there are even children involved.
What happens if I do not provide all of my financial information for the prenup?
Your family law attorney will advise you to provide as much information as you can. If you hide assets or fail to provide the necessary information, there are no guarantees that these assets will be protected if you divorced your spouse.
Is a separation different from a divorce?
Getting separated and getting divorced are not the same thing though they do share some similarities. Getting legally separated and getting legally divorced mean you are choosing to be away from your spouse. Being separated legally will give you and your spouse the opportunity to consider different decisions like child support and spousal support without the awkward meetings that would occur if you were living together. That said, a separation does not mean your marriage has ended. This can also be a time when you and your spouse reconsider whether you would like to get a divorce or whether you want to choose to work things out and remain married.
What does it mean to have an uncontested divorce?
If you are going through an uncontested divorce, it means that you and your spouse have come to an agreement on important decisions regarding assets or child arrangements after your divorce is finalized.
More specifically, couples who have an uncontested divorce don’t spend taxing amounts of time in court disputing who should get what, child custody, marital property, and so on. Rather, you two are able to handle the dissolution of your marriage without engaging in a nasty dispute, often because you two had a prenuptial agreement in place or attended mediation. Whatever the reason, most divorcing couples who have an uncontested divorce have come to a mutual agreement regarding the following:
- Who’ll get the house
- Who’ll get the pet(s)
- Child custody
- Child visitation arrangements (including traveling inside and outside the country)
If you are interested in seeking help from a family law attorney in Chicago, we are here for you. We know that if you are seeking help from a family attorney, you are likely dealing with a great amount of stress in your life and we would like to help take some of this burden off of your back. Family disputes, divorces, and child custody battles can all become quite messy and it is helpful to have an attorney on your side who can guide you through the process and give you the facts before making decisions and signing any documents. Want to see how we can help you? Call our office now.
Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC Chicago Family Law Attorney
Contact Our Family Law Firm for Legal Assistance
The above is just an overview of family law. Our firm assists clients with these matters and many more. If you need a dedicated advocate, call a Chicago family law attorney now; call Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC.
“John Kay handled my divorce. He made a very difficult situation manageable. He listened to me, responded in a timely manner and was not afraid to challenge the opposing attorney. I would recommend him to anyone facing this difficult life choice.” Liz Nesbit