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Belleville Family Law And Criminal Defense Blog

Debunking marijuana possession charge myths

If you are ever charged with marijuana possession, you probably have a lot of preconceived notions about what the process looks like and your possible penalties and fines.

Below are a few debunked myths regarding marijuana possession in the area.

Identifying people unfit for parenting

Illinois residents involved with raising a child may benefit from learning more about how the state determines if an individual is unfit to be a parent. There are several conditions that may compel family courts to consider an individual unfit for parenting. It may be worth noting that individuals who relinquished a child within the parameters established under the Abandoned Newborn Protection Act may not be considered unfit.

However, people who have abandoned a newborn at the hospital, or in any setting where the individual seemingly relinquishes their parenting rights, may be considered unfit. According to family courts in Illinois, abandoning a child in almost any circumstance indicates that an individual is unfit to parent. State laws also describe individuals who have failed to maintain responsibilities, concern or interest regarding the child as being unfit as well.

Legal help for child support issues

If you are a parent going through a divorce in Illinois, our firm may be able help you to negotiate for a fair child support order. By carefully reviewing the financial situations of all of the parties involved, we work to ensure that our client's rights are respected and that the child support order is in compliance with state guidelines.

In Illinois, a noncustodial parent with one child can expect to pay child support in the amount of 20 percent of their monthly net income. Additional children will result in a higher percentage being paid with a maximum payment of 50 percent of the parent's monthly net income. Although the formula for calculating child support payments in Illinois can appear to be relatively simple, there is always room for parties on both sides to argue that the court should vary from the guidelines.

Maintenance payments in Illinois

In Illinois, a person going through a divorce may have to pay maintenance, or spousal support, to their former spouse. There are several types of maintenance awards issued in the state, including temporary, rehabilitative and reviewable. Numerous factors are taken into account when the courts are determining the amount and duration of payments.

In most cases, the standard of living for both parties will be lower after the divorce. While the courts look at the standard of living prior to the separation, they also review how long the couple was married, if there is an earnings disparity between them, custody arrangements for any children, age and health of the parties and the ability of each person to acquire income and assets moving into the future.

Divorce and separation in Illinois

The main purpose of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is to promote the cordial settlement of disputes and minimize the harm that could be done to family members by the legal process of dissolving a marriage. It also seeks to facilitate maximum cooperation and involvement of both parents in regard to the well-being of children throughout the divorce process. According to the Act, divorce proceedings will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of civil practice law.

In addition, the act eliminated any provisions regarding marital misconduct, or, in other words, Illinois became a no-fault divorce state. The initial pleading in all proceedings under the Act have to be denominated in a petition, which can be answered through responsive pleading. To put it another way, the person seeking the divorce must file a petition to be answered by the other spouse. In the event that one party is seeking an order of protection, the court will find out whether either party had either sought or been the respondent to an order of protection in the past.

The process of adopting a child

Some Illinois residents may be interested in learning more about adoption procedures in the state. Adoption is a procedure in which the rights and responsibilities of a child's birth parents are transferred to an adopting party. After the process has been completed, the child in question is issued a new birth certificate and his or her original stored in a sealed file.

In order for a married couple to adopt a child, both the husband and the wife must consent to the adoption and petition for it to occur. However, one is not necessarily required to be married in order to adopt a child. This is also true in cases of related adoption, where the at least one of the adopting parents is related to the child by blood.

Child custody hearings

Illinois has specific child custody laws that apply to someone who is seeking enforcement of orders issued in other states or of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The courts have a duty to enforce the Hague Convention or out-of-state child custody orders.

If an Illinois court cannot enforce an order of a sister state, it might instead set up a temporary visitation schedule. The new visitation schedule will be effective until the receipt of updated information from the person's former state. Once the notice is filed, the court will serve notice to the person listed in the document. The person then has the opportunity to contest the allegations within 20 days related to the child custody case. They must show that the courts had the right to modify the case. However, if they do not comply with the specified time frames, the court will not address their request. Illinois courts will not change any child custody orders that are effective in another state.

How much child support will I have to pay in Illinois?

Before a non-custodial parent is ordered to make child support payments, the court must determine how much the parent will be obligated to pay using the Illinois Statutory Guidelines. According to the guidelines, the amount to be paid each month is based on the non-custodial parent's net income and the number of children for which that parent is responsible.

A non-custodial parent's net income is calculated by deducting federal and state income taxes from total income. Social Security payments, union dues, insurance premiums and repayments for debt will also be deducted. Depending on how many children a non-custodial parent has, a certain percentage of what is left over will then go towards child support payments.

Avoid the most common financial pitfalls in divorce

Illinois courts use an equitable division of property statute when ordering a divorce settlement in cases where couples could not agree. This might be risky because equitable does not mean an even split. It means the courts will attempt to decide what is fair, which could leave one or both spouses without the marital property he or she wanted most. Negotiating out of court seems a more attractive option, but this could also leave room for mistakes that could cost individuals in the long run.

One of the biggest errors divorcing spouses can make is not considering tax ramifications. Some assets might be worth significantly less after one pays income taxes or other taxes. Some assets that will not lose value are Roth 401(k)s and Roth IRAs because these accounts are funded with income that was already taxed. Employer-sponsored retirement account benefits could also be transferred once without taxes using a court decree called a qualified domestic relations order. Some assets might even lower one's taxes, such as donations given to charity. After considering tax implications, spouses might change their mind on which assets they really want.

Understanding divorce in Illinois

Spouses in Illinois may benefit from learning more about the different types of divorce and how to initiate proceedings. A divorce is either classified as no-fault or fault, although the process to complete each is one in the same. In addition, a divorce will either be contested or uncontested. The quickest, easiest and least expensive divorce to complete is typically an uncontested no-fault divorce. In Illinois, irreconcilable differences is the term used to describe a no-fault divorce.

Irreconcilable differences describes an irretrievable discord in the marriage, and future attempts at reconciliation would be futile and impractical. The term also implies that any attempts to fix the relationship in the past have failed, and future reconciliation efforts may become detrimental to the family. The seven grounds filing a fault divorce in Illinois include conviction of a felony, adultery, infection of an STD, drunkenness or drug addiction, mental cruelty, physical cruelty or alienation of affection.