Although many people associate family law with divorce, the reality is that this area of the law encompasses a variety of legal matters ranging from property division and child custody to spousal maintenance and establishing paternity. Each of these issues comes with its own set of unique difficulties, so if you or a loved one is grappling with a family law-related matter, you might wonder, “Do I need to speak with an experienced family law attorney near me?” The answer is yes.
Coming up with a child custody arrangement, in which parenting time and parental decision making are divided is one of the most commonly raised issues in Illinois family law courts. While these arrangements are usually brought up as part of a couple’s divorce proceedings, this is not always the case, as courts are often tasked with creating a parenting plan for parents who were never married, or for non-parent relatives who are seeking visitation.
When parents are not able to come to an agreement on how decision making responsibility and parenting time will be divided, courts are required to step in and create a parenting plan on the parties’ behalf, a determination that is based on what would be in the child’s best interests. Although all decisions regarding custody are made on a case-by-case basis, Illinois presumes that the participation of both parents in a child’s life is in the best interests of both parents and children alike.
Before courts will finalize a couple’s divorce, the parties must grapple with a series of complicated legal issues, including whether one of the parties will be required to pay spousal maintenance to the other. When making this determination, courts assess a variety of factors, including:
In the event that a court decides that spousal maintenance should be awarded to one party, it will determine the amount and duration of the payments by applying a series of predetermined guidelines and formulas, as set forth in I.M.D.M.A. 750 ILCS 5/504, et seq.
Child support is another legal issue with which family law courts are often required to contend. Recently, Illinois changed the way that it calculates child support to require the use of the income shares model. This model takes the net incomes of BOTH parents and then determines a child support amount based on specific guideline tables, as well as the amount of time that each parent spends with the child, and the number of children that must be supported.
Although child support-related issues are often decided as part of divorce proceedings, this is not the only time that courts address these matters. In fact, many child support hearings are held after a divorce has already been finalized because one parent is seeking the modification of a prior order based on job loss, change or increase in income, or another significant life change.
To speak with one of the dedicated family law attorneys at Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd. about your own family law matter, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete one of our brief online contact forms.