Family Law Attorneys Near Me
Once upon a time, most children lived in “traditional” families. That meant a married mother and father who had never been married to anyone else, along with their pure biological children. Today, most children live in blended or non-traditional families. The household may be a single-parent household or, more likely, the children live with a stepparent and stepchildren. For various reasons, these households need the services of family law attorneys near them.
At Delaney Heckman, our compassionate lawyers understand the ongoing challenges facing blended families in Chicagoland. We provide a wide range of family law services, including divorce actions, modifications, and enforcement. We want to build a relationship with your family so we can always be there when you need a nearby family lawyer.
Divorce, Parenting Time, and Property Division
The divorce rate has declined somewhat since the turn of the 21st century. But it is still about twice as high as it was a generation ago. Additionally, the divorce rate for second and third marriages has not declined very much at all.
Our commitment to your family begins with solid premarital agreements. These pacts are not just “divorce insurance.” They put your marriage on a more solid foundation. Furthermore, thanks to some new laws, there are fewer legal loopholes and, if disputes arise, they are easier to resolve.
Some of the aforementioned legal changes also affected marriage dissolution. Today, the process is much more streamlined. The old evidence-based grounds for divorce are gone. As long as one spouse has lived in the state for 90 days and there are irreconcilable differences between the spouses, a divorce may be available without a waiting period.
In Illinois, a divorce takes care of all emotional and financial issues. That usually means both parenting time and property division matters. Parenting time divisions must be in the best interests of the children. There is a presumption that children benefit from consistent and meaningful contact with both parents. However, only one parent can be designated as the primary, residential custodian.
Furthermore, the property division must equitably divide debts and assets. “Equitable” is not necessarily the same thing as “equal.” The property division usually accounts for things like alimony, as well.
Modification and Enforcement
Divorce decrees are not meant to be permanent. Families go through both emotional and financial changes, and divorce orders should reflect the family’s current situation.
A family law attorney near you can modify a divorce decree if circumstances have materially and substantially changed. Common modifications include spousal and child support changes and alterations to the parenting time division.
Even if both parents agree, it is always important to incorporate these changes into the decree itself. Informal side agreements are never enforceable in family court, even if they are in writing. Illinois law fast-tracks agreed modifications, so these matters are not tied up in court.
If one parent refuses to obey court orders, an enforcement action may be appropriate. Without such intervention, the situation will probably get worse. Support enforcement actions are common.
Count on an Experienced Lawyer
Modern families need effective legal representation and sound legal advice. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Chicago, contact Delaney Heckman. We routinely handle matters in Cook County and nearby jurisdictions.