Chicago Family Law Attorney
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 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, 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.
Speak With Us Today!
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 lawyer, 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.
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 where 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.
How will the court determine our parenting arrangement?
If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement regarding parenting time, a court will make this decision on your behalf. This means that they will create a schedule for you that you must abide by. The court makes this decision based on various evidence that points them in the direction of what is in the best interest of the children involved. The court will listen to things like:
- What both parents want
- What the children want
- What school communities the parents can offer
- What both parents’ relationships are like with the children
How is spousal support determined?
Spousal support can be determined by various factors, including how long the marriage lasted, what each spouse’s needs are, and what each spouse’s earnings are.
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.
What can mediation do for you and your family?
During a time of family legal problems, sitting down and talking can truly be one of the most difficult tasks. Especially when you are getting a divorce, having a coherent, friendly conversation can sound like the last thing that will ever happen. However, that is what mediation is for. Mediation can help:
- Get you and your spouse in the room together to hash out problems you are going through.
- Bring a third party in to observe and help you reach an agreement on issues that have remained unresolved.
- Make a divorce less contentious and help both parties end up with things they want.
- By avoiding a more public courtroom proceeding if you are able to avoid litigation.
- Give you and your spouse control over your assets more if you are able to come to an agreement without a judge needing to make decisions.
- By bringing in experts on resolving issues that have come up.
What do I do if I feel like the mediator won’t take my side on anything?
If you are concerned that there is a problem with the mediator or that your spouse is getting more out of this than you are, speak with your attorney. Your attorney will ensure that the mediator is not leaning more toward one side than the other. It is the mediator’s responsibility to assess what is going on with both parties and provide a fair agreement. However, your family law attorney may encourage you to continue pursuing litigation if they feel that an unfair deal has been made. Even if you do decide to pursue litigation, you may find that going through the mediation process helped you and your spouse resolve some of the problems that you had, making the litigation process smoother and quicker.
An Overview of Family Law
Family law encompasses many different topics. Some of these include:
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements – Prior to a couple getting married, and combining their incomes, assets, and property, they may choose to draft an agreement that dictates how everything will be divided should they divorce.
Legal Separation – This is not the same as a divorce, but rather a change in marital status that comes with various obligations and rights. Legal separation may be an option when a couple is not ready to divorce, or cannot divorce because of religious reasons.
Divorce – When a divorce is applicable, a Chicago family law attorney may be necessary. This is particularly true when one or both people have been in the military, own a business, have a lot of assets, or are disputing the divorce. Each of these factors brings its own unique challenges that should be overseen by an attorney.
Spousal Support or Modifications – Often known as alimony, this support is ordered by the court at the time of a legal separation or a divorce. An attorney can help to recover support or fight against paying it, but without a legal advocate, this area can be challenging to navigate.
Child Custody – Child allocation judgments are issued by the state and include detailed parenting plans which explain which parent is responsible for what. The laws in Illinois allow one of the parents to be responsible for things like education, choosing the schools, and so forth; whereas, the other parent might be responsible for medical care and costs.
Child Support and Modification – Child support is based on guidelines that are provided by the state and consider both parent’s incomes, the time each parent spends with the child, and more. If you are seeking child support, or a modification of support, let a Chicago family law attorney help you.
Domestic Partnerships – Same-sex marriage is legal in Illinois and also recognized on the federal level. If you need help with domestic partnership laws, let our firm answer your questions and concerns.
Father’s Rights – Unwed fathers have rights, and sometimes, they might feel that their rights are being violated. If you are seeking custody of a child, would like to spend more time with your child, or need help to prove the paternity of a child, seek a legal advocate from our firm.
Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection – Domestic violence is taken very seriously and can result in both criminal and civil orders. The offender can be prosecuted and may face many consequences. If you are a victim of domestic violence, call us today. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911, and if possible remove yourself from the situation.
Pet Custody in Divorce
In 2018, Illinois divorce law was changed regarding how pets are treated in a divorce. Today, divorce judges who are presiding over an Illinois divorce are able to award ownership of a pet after considering the well-being of the pet. The law actually refers to pets as companion animals and specifically exempts service animals from the law. If you are going through a divorce and have a pet you fear your spouse will try to keep from you, a Chicago family law attorney can help.
Under the old law, a judge made decisions on which spouse got to keep the family pet without considering if that spouse was the best person to take care of the pet. But with the updated law, a spouse now has the opportunity to show the judge that he or she is best suited to take care of the pet. The law doesn’t specify how this will be shown, but spouses can rely on testimony from family and friends, or by presenting documentation showing that one “fur” parent had the primary responsibility of caring for the pet.
As a Chicago family law attorney can explain, although the law changed, pets continue to be viewed as property. The companion animals or pets that are covered by the law are those that are considered marital property. Generally, this means that if one spouse owned the pet before marriage, the pet is more likely to be awarded to that spouse. However, this may not apply in every case, especially if the court decides that there were actions taken after the marriage that transformed the pet into marital property.
The changes do not mean that a spouse who is awarded sole of joint possession of the pet can seek financial support for maintenance of the pet. The person who is awarded possession is responsible for meeting the needs of the pet. Pet owners are free to make an agreement regarding the possession of the pet, and they may decide to share the financial responsibility for the pet among themselves. If the agreement is otherwise legal, a court would enter an order making it enforceable.
As with other divorce-related agreements, even if you are in a low conflict divorce, it is best to have your Chicago family law attorney look at the terms of the agreement and advise you if signing the agreement is in your best interest.
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, LLC.