Palatine Family Law Attorneys
At one time or another, divorce or a similar family law matter will affect almost every household in Cook County. When these things happen, they usually involve both financial and emotional issues. Support obligations must be reasonable for both parties, marital property must be divided equitably (which is not necessarily the same thing as equally), and parenting time provisions must be in the best interests of the children. Additionally, a Palatine family law attorney must resolve the case both expeditiously and completely.
The diligent attorneys at Delaney Heckman understand all these aspects of a family law case, and they approach them one at a time. Rather than becoming distracted and allowing emotional issues to bleed into financial and legal ones, your legal team remains focused. This focus begins at your initial consultation. That is where we lay out a specific approach for your case. Then, we stick to that approach and work hard to bring about the best result possible under the circumstances.
Family Support Obligations in Cook County
FSOs usually mean child support and spousal support. Illinois law recently changed in this area. Today, these two subjects are quite similar.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Statute sets forth presumptive child support amounts. The formula is quite complex. But essentially, it considers the parents’ total income, the parents’ proportional income, the number of children before the court, and the parenting time division.
If the guideline amount is too low, or too high, either party may ask the court to reconsider the amount. Some factors in this reconsideration include:
- Special medical expenses,
- Daycare costs, and
- Other sources of income, like a child’s income or savings.
These same factors are also relevant in modification proceedings. Furthermore, the court may also modify child support if the obligor’s income has increased (or decreased) by at least 10 percent. “Income” in this context may not be the same as the bottom line on a paycheck. Only certain pretax deductions are allowable, and non-cash compensation, such as free housing, might also be a factor.
Before 2015, the alimony process was almost entirely subjective. Now, there is a set formula much like the child support formula. The court must consider the relative income of each party and the length of the marriage. Similarly, if the presumptive amount is too low or too high, either party may request reconsideration. Furthermore, either party may request modification later down the line. This motion must be based on changed financial circumstances.
Palatine Family Law Attorneys and Property Division Matters
In most cases, Cook County family law judges martial property 50-50. However, a number of factors go into this decision. Some of these factors include:
- Contributions to the Marriage: Economic contributions are generally easy to calculate. Non-economic contributions (a/k/a the “caregiver” or “homemaker” factor) are more subjective. Generally, such contributions receive more weight if the spouse gave up career opportunities to stay at home.
- Custody of Minor Children: Typically, it is in the child’s best interests to remain in the family home. If that is the situation in a given case, the judge will often not order the house sold. Additionally, if the residential parent needs help paying house-related bills and expenses, the judge may divide other martial property appropriately.
- Agreements Between the Parties: This factor may be the most important one. Judges almost always approve formal or informal agreements as long as they are not blatantly one-sided and each party had an equal voice in the agreement process.
If the judge makes a disproportionate award, there must be substantial evidence in the record that supports that decision.
Parenting Plans That Work for Your Family
Once upon a time, every other weekend/every other holiday/summer vacation parenting time division went into effect in almost all cases. In many situations, this model is still the best. But in other situations, an alternative arrangement might be better. A Palatine family law attorney might suggest one of the following:
- Empty nest (the parents switch houses instead of the children),
- Block scheduling (e.g. one week with Parent A, one week with Parent B, and so on), or
- Extended Weekends (weekends begin on Thursday and end on Tuesday).
These alternative arrangements often ensure that the children have consistent and meaningful contact with both parents, which is generally a requirement in Illinois.
Work with an Experienced Lawyer
Pretty much every family in Cook County will need a family law attorney at one time or another. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Palatine, contact Delaney Heckman. We routinely handle matters in Cook County and nearby jurisdictions.