Family Law Lawyer in Hoffman Estates
Ever since German settlers first moved to this area and started what would become Hoffman Estates, family has been the building block of community. But the appearance of that building block has changed considerably over the years. Gone are the days when most children grew up in “traditional” households. These families, a married mother and father and their pure biological children, still exist. But most children now live in “nontraditional” households. Adoption, divorce, single parenting, and other once-taboo arrangements are now commonplace.
Since these families must overcome some additional financial and legal hurdles, the dedicated family law attorneys in Hoffman Estates at Delaney Heckman are here to help. We begin every case with a long conversation, so we can determine your goals and needs in a particular situation. Then, once we develop a plan of action, we never stop fighting for you. This approach helps us secure long term and cost effective solutions that uphold your legal and financial rights.
Parenting Time Divisions
For the most part, family laws in Illinois have kept pace with the changing nature of the American family. The last major change was in 2016, when lawmakers adopted a co-parenting law. This mandate included some window-dressing provisions. For example, it replaced the term “custodial parent” with the term “residential parent.” The law included some substantive changes as well, such as the co-parenting presumption.
Residential parents are similar to custodial parents in most respects. This parent determines the child’s primary residence. But the co-parenting presumption is different. The law assumes that children benefit when they spend time consistently, meaningfully, and frequently with both parents.
So, the traditional every other weekend and every other holiday timeshare arrangement no longer fits the bill, at least in many cases. Some alternatives include:
- Extended Weekend: The traditional arrangement divides parenting time about 70-30. A simple change, such as starting weekends on Thursday and ending them on Sunday, brings the division much closer to 50-50.
- Block Scheduling: Timesharing is often an unpredictable juggling act of Dad’s weekends and Mom’s weekends. Block scheduling addresses this problem. Children spend two weeks with Parent A, two weeks with Parent B, and then the cycle repeats. With a few alterations, the same schedule remains 12 months a year.
- Empty Nest: In these first two alternative arrangements, as well as the traditional one, the children move back and forth between the parents’ residences. An empty nest arrangement reverses these roles. This division might not address unequal timesharing, but since the children stay in the same place, they usually benefit significantly.
Parenting time designations and divisions are subject to future modifications. The judge will grant such modifications if circumstances have materially and substantially changed. Additionally, the requested modification must be in the best interests of the children.
Family Support Obligations
Child support and alimony determinations are usually much more straightforward. Typically, statutory formulas determine the amount and duration of payments in each area.
Since Illinois is an income share state, the child support formula is quite complex. It uses a number of factors, such as the proportional income of the parents, the age of the children, and the timesharing division, to calculate an amount. Illinois’ spousal support formula usually considers the length of the marriage and the spouses’ proportional incomes.
The formulas are not universally applicable. For example, Illinois child support usually ends when children graduate from high school. But in some cases, the judge may extend child support to postsecondary needs, like tuition, fees, and living expenses.
Much like parenting time matters, alimony and child support orders are subject to future modification. The amount can be increased or decreased.
Connect with an Experienced Cook County Attorney
Various legal solutions are available for your changing family. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Hoffman Estates, contact Delaney Heckman, Ltd. After-hours and virtual visits are available.