Understanding Your Rights in Family Court
For the majority of Americans, family court is the first and only place where the average citizen interacts with the judicial system. Most people never commit crimes or have a lawsuit. Instead, millions of people each year end up in court because of disagreements with their spouse, other family members, or a dating partner. Matters can quickly get out of control when emotions are high. When children are caught in the balance, it can be very painful to resolve differences. This is why it is so important to work with an attorney who will actively try to help you resolve your disagreements as quickly and painlessly as possible. No one wants a lawyer to create more hardship than what already exists. So, whether you need to get divorced or are fighting over custody, turn to a lawyer who will listen, treat you and your situation with dignity, and tirelessly advocate for you and your children.
In Illinois, you have to go through the court system to get a divorce. There is no such thing as a "common law divorce." Instead, someone must file a petition with the court seeking dissolution of marriage. The parties must either come to an agreement about things or a judge will have to decide. Issues can include:
- Who gets time with the kids and when?
- Will one person have to pay maintenance (formerly called "alimony")?
- How will property be divided?
- What happens with retirement accounts?
- Who gets to claim children on the taxes?
- Who will be responsible for paying for health insurance for the children?
- How much child support will be paid?
- Are there assets being hidden?
Even if you have no children and the divorce is amicable, you may still wish to work with a lawyer. There are plenty of ways that you can accidentally file the wrong forms or miss key statutory requirements, and soon discover that you are making repeated trips to court just to get the job done. At Crossroad Legal, we work with people from all walks of life. Our fees are straightforward and competitive. So, contact Crossroad Legal now, by calling (618) 515-5555, and discover the options available for your unique family court matter.
Once called custody, the courts now refer to this as allocation of parenting time and responsibilities. While one parent usually will get slightly more time with the children, the goal in most cases should be to create a fair and suitable outcome where two people can share parenting responsibilities and co-parent with ease. Our office works to find creative and workable solutions that will reduce friction and limit the future chances of drama and contention. A parenting plan is created to set forth all of the rights and responsibilities - much like a contract - so that people have clarity and certainty when co-parenting. Ultimately, courts look to the best interests of the children in determining how this will be handled.
Support & Maintenance
Child support has always been a big sticking point in divorces and legal separations. One person generally feels as though they are being unfairly forced to pay the other parent money that he or she should not have to. but in truth, child support is nothing more than a mathematical calculation. A good lawyer should take the time to explain this and help you understand the amounts, reasons behind them, and even give you hypothetical scenarios so you know how your future conduct could affect your bottom line.
Alimony (now called maintenance) is basically spousal support. It is most appropriate when one spouse has been the primary breadwinner for the family and the other spouse will now need some time to adjust to the working world and begin earning a living on their own again. The amount and length of maintenance payments will vary widely, depending on income, duration of the marriage, and other factors.
There is likely no more painful and unfair area of law than taking a divorce case to trial. The rules of engagement can be complex, and many attorneys who handle contested and litigated divorces are terrible at keeping the peace. Some will actively work to increase their own income by creating conflicts between the parties. Others may become emotionally involved in the litigation or have difficulty separating their own personal issues from the case. These and many other reasons can cause divorces to get expensive. Further, where there is a history of domestic or sexual abuse or violence, just about anything can happen. You truly want a lawyer who can act as both an advocate and a counselor to help you stay grounded and in control of not only the case, but also your own emotions.
Our office handles contested and uncontested family law matters. Whatever you need in family court, Crossroad Legal is happy to help you find the right path forward to resolving your legal issues. Call us today at (618) 515-5555.