- Alimony / Maintenance
- Child Support
- Dissolution of Marriage
- Domestic Relations
- Domestic Violence / Order of Protection
- Marital Agreements
- Post Divorce Modifications
- Premarital Agreements & Post Nuptial Agreements
Alimony / Maintenance
Maintenance is a payment that one spouse makes for the support of the other after the marriage ends. Where one spouse is not self-supporting after dissolution of marriage while the other spouse is both self-supporting and able to contribute to the other spouse’s support, maintenance is generally ordered. The amount and duration of maintenance vary depending on a number of criteria provided for by statute. Illinois law provides no formula by which to calculate the right amount for maintenance.
Child support is usually a monthly payment made to the parent with whom children under 18 primarily reside and is intended for their support and maintenance. Illinois law provides guidelines for determining a percentage of income that one parent should pay for child support to the parent with whom the child primarily resides. However, courts or parties—with court approval—may set child support above or below the guidelines considering a variety of factors.
Because children are the most precious product of a marriage, custody and visitation are two of the most emotionally draining issues that arise when marriages or other relationships fail. Problems also arise when one party wishes to move to another state with a child. There are instances, called “Hague Convention” cases, when a child is taken out of the United States or brought into the United States by a parent over the objection of the other parent.
Dissolution of Marriage
Dissolution, also known as divorce, ends a marriage. A marriage is dissolved by a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage issued by an Illinois state court. The court also decides related issues such as custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance, division of property, and responsibility for the payment of marital debts.
Domestic Relations Law, sometimes referred to as Family Law, Divorce Law or Matrimonial Law, involves a form of litigation unlike any other.
Domestic Violence / Order of Protection
Illinois has a Domestic Violence Act that seeks to prevent repeated physical abuse and harassment among family and household members These are emergency matters that need immediate attention and a good understanding of the system to achieve needed protection. Other cases involve a party who is wrongly accused of abuse and harassment and who needs representation to defend against a false claim.
Marital Settlement Agreements are agreements incident to a dissolving of the marriage. A Separation Agreement is an agreement between parties who remain married but are no longer going to live together and who want to define their legal obligations and responsibilities to each other and to their children. These agreements provide the road map for the parties’ financial future and their relationship with their children.
In our society many children are born to couples living together without the benefit of marriage, or to single women who have sexual intercourse during a dating relationship and who later claim that their child resulted from those sexual relations. In some cases, the sexual partner claims to be the father of the child. In all these cases, the relationship has produced a child needing support. We are experienced in determining the legitimacy of parentage claims and, if the claims are legitimate, in prosecuting or defending the determination of reasonable child support. Although the amount of child support is defined by statute, which specifies guideline percentages based on the non-custodial parent’s income, the parties and the court may vary from the guidelines if there is a proper basis to do so.
Post Divorce Modifications
Modifications of support may become necessary if a party’s income changes or the needs of the other party or the children increase. Other changes in circumstance that are addressed in post-judgment litigation are those situations in which a parent desires to change visitation or custody or to move with a child to another state.
Premarital Agreements & Post Nuptial Agreements
A Premarital Agreement, also commonly referred to as a Prenuptial or Antenuptial Agreement, is a contract entered into by the parties before marriage that defines what will happen when the marriage ends, either by dissolution or the death of one of the parties. A Postnuptial Agreement is an agreement that spouses may enter into after they are married in circumstances where they choose to remain married but want to divide their assets or provide for a specific division in the event of dissolution of marriage or death. Parties contemplating these agreements need lawyers who understand the delicate balance necessary for the marriage to occur or be preserved when negotiating for the financial results the parties seek to achieve.