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McHenry County Family Law Blog

Have a family-law issue: Get help

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Just as each Illinoisan is unique, so too are the family-law issues he or she encounters. Some Illinoisans get married, start a civil union or begin a domestic partnership. Others get divorced or dissolve their relationship. Some Illinoisans need an order of protection. Others need to create, modify or enforce a child-custody agreement. Some need to calculate child support; others need to enforce it.

Whatever the reason for an Illinoisan's journey into family law, the Law Offices of KML Associates is well equipped to help. We have decades of experience serving clients with difficult legal issues, from divorce to asset division, from child custody to child support. You do not have to handle these issues alone.

Attacking a prenuptial agreement

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When high-profile Illinoisans divorce a common topic is the strength of the couple's prenuptial agreement. When done properly, these agreements, along with postnuptial agreements, can be essential for almost everyone, from business owners to stay-at-home moms to those who want to make sure they get the pet in case of a divorce.

But doing a pre- or post-nuptial agreement right can be tricky -- hence the speculation every time a high-profile couple calls it quits.

Tips for Selecting an Attorney

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When you are in the process of selecting an attorney to represent you in a legal matter, consider preparing some questions before your consultation. To determine if the lawyer is a good fit for you, you will first want to find out about his or her experience. Some of the questions should include:

Unique Same Sex Marriage Laws in Illinois

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Same sex marriage was legalized in Illinois and became effective June 1, 2014. The statute not only promises full marriage equality under the law, it continues to leave in place the Civil Union Act which allows same sex unions as well as male/female unions.  That is not unusual with the trend toward legalizing gay marriage in our country.  What is unusual, especially for Illinois, which is never on the cutting edge of much of anything, is that Illinois has decided to retain jurisdiction over civil unions and gay marriages even when the parties live outside the State of Illinois, if they are in a state that does not recognize their union. Allowing access to an Illinois Court for dissolution of a civil union or same sex marriage is very unusual.  Normally, the statute requires that you reside in Illinois for at least 90 days prior to the judgment being entered.  However, since many of our sister states, including Wisconsin and Indiana do not recognize same sex unions either under a civil union act or a gay marriage act, people who wish to dissolve their union have no recourse in that state.  But, they can handle their dissolution in Illinois.  Illinois applies the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) to same sex marriages and civil unions.  The IDMA allows for the fairest dissolution of our marital type unions, rather than trying to apply laws that are unrelated to a marital type union which is more of a dissolution of a business partnership approach.

How does an Illinois court determine custody?

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When Illinois parents split, one of the key issues is child custody. But figuring out who will get custody of the child is sometimes confusing. Many believe that the courts favor mothers, but the reality is that courts favor the best interests of the child. Sometimes that interest means the child will live with the mother, other times with the father.

To decide what is in the best interest of the child, Illinois courts consider a myriad of factors. These include:

  • The wishes of the child
  • The wishes of the parents
  • The health (both mental and physical) of the parents
  • The relationship the child has with each parent
  • The adjustment necessary for the child to live with either parent

Oasis singer embroiled in child-support dispute

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For many Illinoisans, having a baby is one of the greatest moments of their life. The newfound life can bring great joy and purpose. But that milestone can become a painful wound if the parents have to endure an acrimonious breakup that centers on the child. Take, for example, Liam Gallagher, the singer for Oasis, and the mother of his child.

The two have been embroiled in a child support contest for a while now. So long in fact that the judge overseeing their case appears to be getting fed up. The court recently ordered the singer to attend a deposition to discuss why he has not reached a settlement agreement with the mother and why he has not been making his child support payments. The singer has reportedly turned down three settlement offers already.

Establishing paternity, legal rights and responsibilities

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A baby is a treasure, but he or she also is a life-altering adjustment. Nurturing that newly formed life from infancy to adulthood can be a tall task for even the most determined mother or father. That journey -- although enormously rewarding -- is also enormously time-consuming and money-intensive. To avoid meeting these commitments alone, Illinoisans may benefit from looking into establishing paternity.

When the parentage of a child is in doubt, establishing paternity of the child and the legal recognition that radiates from it can be a boon to the mother, father and child alike. Recognition can give the mother closure, the father a chance at a relationship and the child the support of two parents.

Discovery during divorce: Not just a personal journey

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For many Illinoisans, divorce is a study in transformation. He or she starts as one person and finishes as a different one. In part, this transformation is because of the journey of personal discovery that divorce takes most people through. But personal discovery is not the only kind of discovery that goes on during a divorce: Illinoisans also need to go through legal discovery.

Discovery of the legal variety is the process for exchanging divorce-related information between the separating spouses. This process can be informal (if cooperation is possible) or formal (if cooperation has evaporated). Under the informal process, the parties can simply exchange relevant documents. Under the formal process, the parties exchange information in response to various types of legally-binding requests.

Sanford divorce tries mediation

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For many Illinoisans, divorce can be a messy, difficult process. Emotions flare, words are said and dirty laundry is aired. In turn, tempers rise and litigation stretches forward, often for years. Take, for example, the divorce of Mark Sanford who is currently a United States congressman, but is better known for being the governor who arranged a romantic rendezvous with his Argentine lover by claiming to be on a hike through the Appalachian Trail.

When Sanford's deception was discovered, his wife left him. The divorce concluded in 2010, but for the last four and half years, Sanford and his ex-wife have been in and out of court over alimony, child custody and child support.

What is the government's role in Illinois child support?

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In many cases, Illinoisans never need to wonder about the state's role in enforcing child support. In these situations, no one needs to wonder because the parent who owes child support (typically the parent who does not live with the child) pays his or her child-support obligation on time and in full each month. However, not everyone is so fortunate. In these less-fortunate situations, the government's role can become pivotal in ensuring the non-custodial parent pays his or her child support.

Child support orders come from family law courts. Courts consult Illinois' child-support guidelines when they calculate the amount of support. This calculation is primarily determined by considering the non-custodial parent's income and the number of children. Other factors that can impact the calculation are the child's specific needs and the custodial parent's income.