Divorce can be stressful under the best of circumstances. At Kollias & Giese, we provide our clients with high-quality legal representation in family law matters that may be simple or complex, contested or uncontested. Our DuPage County divorce lawyers represent people in DuPage County, Cook County, Kane County, Will County, and the surrounding collar counties. We also handle matters related to bankruptcy, as well as probate and estate planning.
We are committed to a common-sense, problem-solving approach based on understanding each client’s particular needs. We provide each client with a thorough explanation of his or her legal rights and obligations so that he or she can make fully informed decisions. Recognizing that each client and each case involves a unique set of circumstances, we then design a personalized strategy that responds to the facts of each case.
In Illinois, you need to have been a state resident for a minimum of 90 days before filing for a divorce from your spouse. You can file for a divorce in the circuit court of the county where your spouse or you reside. Illinois is a no-fault state, meaning the grounds generally alleged are irreconcilable differences. You can obtain a divorce if you have lived separately for a minimum of six months, and either reconciliation efforts have failed, or these efforts go against the family’s best interests. In other cases, you may need to meet the criteria for a fault-based divorce. Our divorce attorneys can help DuPage County residents pursue a divorce as needed.Parenting Time & Parental Responsibilities (Formerly Visitation and Custody)
In Illinois, the law generally prefers both parents to be involved as much as possible with regard to the child or children’s wellbeing. Allocation of parenting time and decisions (formerly known as custody) in Illinois is divided into two categories: parenting time and parental responsibilities. Parenting time, which was formerly known as physical custody and visitation, involves determinations about how much time each parent should spend with the child. Meanwhile, legal (joint or sole) custody is now known as allocation of parental responsibilities. The court will evaluate who should make important decisions about a child’s welfare, such as their medical care, religion, education, and activities. The court can specify different arrangements for each of these areas.Child Support
Both parents owe a duty to support their minor children under Illinois law. The parent who has most of the parenting time may meet their duty of support by paying for basic necessities. A parent who has less parenting time may need to pay child support to the other parent. Sometimes the parent paying child support resents making the payment, but it is important to keep in mind that the child support is paid for the child’s benefit. It is the child’s right to receive child support to cover such matters as shelter, food, and clothes. Illinois follows a formula to determine how much child support should be paid by the parent with less parenting time. Our DuPage County divorce attorneys can help parents understand how the formula may apply to their circumstances.
In addition to child support, the court can also require parents to pay for additional expenses for the child, including but not limited to childcare or daycare expenses, out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses, medical and dental insurance costs, school expenses, and extra-curricular activities.Spousal Maintenance
The court can order one spouse to pay the other spouse maintenance (also called spousal support or alimony) both on a temporary basis during the pendency of the case, for a fixed duration, or indefinitely after the couple divorces. Maintenance is ordered when the recipient spouse needs help supporting herself or himself which is determined considering a host of factors set forth in the law. These include income, property, earning potential, marital lifestyle, age, the duration of the marriage, the emotional and physical condition of the spouses, and any agreements made between the spouses. Both men and women can be recipients or payors of maintenance and the spouses’ behavior will not be considered in the determination of support.. If the court determines maintenance is appropriate, Illinois law now contains a statutory formula for calculating maintenance which takes into account both parties’ incomes and the tax consequences (depending on whether the parties were divorced before or after January 1, 2019).Paternity and Parentage
Paternity or parentage cases are covered by many of the laws governing divorce matters. Executing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity form does not give a father custody or visitation rights, and it is simply the basis for child support to be triggered and to establish the father-child relationship. If the parents request it, the court can order a DNA test so that a child’s paternity can be confirmed. A determination of paternity can be important in connection with parenting time, parental responsibilities, and child support. Sometimes the parties in a paternity case can resolve conflicts related to parenting time and parental responsibilities through mediation or negotiation. In other cases, litigation is required to assist in the resolution of the dispute.Modification of Allocation Judgment
Unfortunately, sometimes the divorce judgment or allocation judgment is not the last conflict between the parents. An allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time may need to be modified when the situation changes after the entry of the allocation judgment. Our divorce and family law attorneys can help DuPage County residents, Kane County residents and people in the surrounding areas pursue a modification if warranted. Parenting plans are valid until a judicial modification is made which is in accordance with the best interests of the child or children. However, modifications are usually not allowed until two years after an order went into effect.Modification of Support
While a child support proceeding is pending, a temporary child support order can be entered. A final judgment may establish child support, but the child support obligation can be modified from the time that the order is made until the payor’s obligation is terminated. In order to obtain a modification of child support, the party seeking the modification will need to show a substantial change in circumstances since the last order was entered. Typically, this includes a change in income (decrease or increase) or another change in employment. The child support obligation can only be modified retroactively to the date of the petition to modify. If a modification is necessary due to a change, it is important that the payor parent timely seek a modification in court rather than simply stop making payments.Relocation
If one parent wants to move away with a child, it may disrupt the other parent’s ability to spend time with the child. There are now limits on how far a parent can move before asking the court for its permission to move. A parent wanting to move a certain distance with the child needs to send written notice to the other parent, stating an intention to move. The notice must say when the move would happen, where the new address will be, whether the move is temporary or permanent, and how long the parent would live in the new location. The notice needs to be given to the other parent at least 60 days before the move, unless the court orders something different. Sometimes a non-moving parent agrees, and in that case, she or he must sign the written notice. When the non-moving parent does not agree, the parent seeking a move needs to file a petition asking the court for permission to relocate. Our DuPage County divorce lawyers can help you pursue relocation or challenge the other parent’s request to relocate.Adoption
Adoption is controlled by state laws. In Illinois, an adoptive parent needs to establish residency in the state for a minimum of six months. A child, an adult living in the adoptive home for two years, or a relative can be adopted. It is possible for the birth parents to choose privacy, which means that they can keep their identities secret. If a parent opts out, and the other parent does not opt out, an adoptee can find out what the name of one birth parent is.Prenuptial Agreements
There are many reasons why couples may decide to enter into a prenuptial agreement, even though some people find them unromantic. Prenuptial agreements are a way for prospective spouses to make an agreement about how they are going to treat assets, debts, and other property and finances during the marriage and if they divorce. For example, a prenuptial agreement might specify whether one spouse will need to pay the other spouse alimony after the divorce, or it might address a spouse’s ownership rights in the death benefit from the other spouse’s life insurance policy. Our divorce attorneys can explain to DuPage County residents and other clients what a prenuptial agreement may cover. A valid agreement will be in effect only once the couple marries. All prenuptial agreements should be in writing and signed by both spouses.Bankruptcy
The two most common kinds of consumer bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The former is what most people have in mind when they think of bankruptcy. You can only file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you qualify based upon your income or the means test.. If your disposable income is too high to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which requires you to create and follow a debt repayment plan over a period of 3-5 years. Although bankruptcy is a federal process, filing for bankruptcy in each state involves different laws related to exemptions. Exemptions designate certain kinds and amounts of property as being unavailable to creditors, regardless of how much money is owed. Our attorneys are familiar with the interplay between bankruptcy and family law cases and if you or your spouse has filed for bankruptcy, you should consult with an experienced attorney at our firm to understand your rights.Probate & Estate Planning
Estate planning involves drafting various instruments to determine where your property will go when you die. All of a person’s belongings, real estate, and personal effects make up an estate. Often, estate planning entails the drafting of a will. If there is no will, the probate court will follow intestacy laws to determine how the estate should be distributed. Other instruments that may be drafted in the course of estate planning include trusts, living wills, and durable powers of attorney. Some assets are not subject to probate, such as assets held in a trust, assets with named beneficiaries, and assets held by joint owners who have rights of survivorship. When someone dies, the executor of the will or administrator of the decedent’s estate must decide which assets were owned and how they were held, and they must ask the court to probate those assets. If an interested party thinks that a will admitted to probate is subject to fraud, undue influence, or incompetence to make a will, they can petition to contest the validity of the will.Consult an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in the Chicagoland Area
Family law matters can be acrimonious and stressful. It is helpful to have a skillful and experienced attorney on your side, advocating for your family’s best interests. Our attorneys can also address your related needs including estate planning and bankruptcy issues. Call Kollias & Giese, P.C. at (630) 407-1200 or complete our online form to find out more about how we can help.