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 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, 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 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.
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 the 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 parents’ 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.
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 incomes, 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.
Contact an Attorney for Legal Assistance
Divorce is always a difficult process, and the payment of debts can be a definite stressor as you and your spouse attempt to resolve your differences and reach a mutually acceptable divorce settlement. If you are in this situation, it is essential that you achieve a marital debt division that is fair and equitable. In this case, you need the assistance that only an experienced Your Chicago family law attorney can give you.
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 or joint possession of the pet can seek financial support for the 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.
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.
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 the 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 there a right time to sign a prenup agreement?
Yes! The sooner the better. If you sign the prenup too close to your marriage and something goes wrong in your marriage, your spouse may say that they only signed it under threat or coercion.
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.
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.