Divorce, also referred to as “dissolution of marriage,” occurs when a marriage is legally terminated. Illinois law governs all matters concerning divorce, legal separation, child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division.
Is it possible that you and your spouse can resolve your divorce amicably? If so, an uncontested divorce may be an option for you. An uncontested divorce is when neither party will be opposing any of the points that need to be addressed in your divorce and is often a cost-effective method that allows two people to end their marriage as efficiently and amicably as possible. At Scannell & Associates, we go into every domestic relations case assuming that both parties will be amicable and will see the benefits of working together to forge reasonable and fair agreements.
Dealing with any divorce is difficult enough, but when spouses cannot agree with respect to key issues that must be resolved, they can find themselves facing a contested divorce. An adversarial divorce such as this may not only be expensive and time consuming for both parties involved but may also have a lasting emotional impact on the spouses and any children. If a contested divorce is unavoidable, the attorneys of Scannell & Associates will vigorously represent you to protect your interests.
Illinois recognizes legal separation. A person seeking a legal separation goes through the same process as a person seeking a divorce, in that the court will determine issues like property distribution, maintenance and child support. Legal separation might be the right option if you have religious objections to a divorce, or in some cases to save eligibility for your spouse’s health insurance or pension benefits. A person who has been adjudged to be legally separated will be treated in many ways as though they are divorced, but the person would not be able to remarry legally. Talk to our experienced attorneys about this option.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
Courts in Illinois no longer use the term “child custody.” Courts now refer to an allocation of each parent’s responsibilities. These issues are common in parentage cases and in uncontested and contested divorce cases. If you are attempting to protect your parental rights and secure the best interests of your children without the assistance of a divorce attorney, you may end up with a less than acceptable outcome of your case. The attorneys at Scannell & Associates will ensure that your rights are protected in this very important area.
A child’s welfare is the most important aspect of most parents’ lives. When a divorce occurs, their well-being can be greatly affected through economic changes in lifestyle. When confronting the issue of child support, having a skilled child support attorney is crucial to ensuring your children will have the financial support to maintain their quality of life. Illinois recently switched to an “income-shares” formula, which now considers the income of both spouses in determining child support, and factors in the amount of time the children spend with each parent to determine the appropriate amount of child support. Many people operate under the mistaken belief that if you equally share parenting time, that you will not be obligated to pay child support, which is not the law in Illinois. You may also be able to adjust the child support you were ordered to pay under the old formula, under certain circumstances. It is very important to talk to an experienced child support attorney to ensure your support obligation is fair and correct
Property Division – Equitable Distribution of Assets
Most couples accumulate many things during their years of marriage. Whether you have been married a short time or a very long time, there will undoubtedly be a good deal of common property that belongs to both of you that will need to be divided between the two of you during your divorce. The distribution of your assets, property and debts should be done according to your prenuptial agreement or by the laws of the State of Illinois if no such agreement exists. You also may be able to protect any money or property that you owned prior to the marriage. It is very important to have an experienced attorney in your corner to protect your rights.
Parenting time, formerly known as “visitation,” is one of the most important elements of any domestic relations case. Parents have a right to seek parenting time with their children if they do not have residential custody. The only exception may be if a court has determined that the parent poses a threat to the child’s safety and well-being. Seeking parenting time can be a complicated process, particularly if there are other issues that need to be addressed, such as establishing paternity or enforcing/modifying an existing parenting time order. Talk to your attorney to review your parenting plan to ensure that your rights to parenting time are not taken advantage of.
Maintenance, formerly known as alimony, may be ordered in a divorce case, but the rules regarding a maintenance award are complex. A Scannell & Associates attorney can help you understand this difficult area to ensure that your rights are protected.
The decision to adopt a child can be one of the most important decisions that a family will ever make. Adoption is a complicated process. Talk to a Scannell & Associates attorney to see if we can help you through this process.
Have you had a child out of wedlock, or have you been accused of fathering a child out of wedlock? If you are an unwed mother, we can help you quickly establish your child’s parentage and help you obtain child support for your child. If you have been named as a putative father, we can help you through that process so that your rights are protected.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
If you are contemplating marriage but are concerned with what might happen to the assets that currently belong to you, we can help you craft an agreement that protects your assets in the event of a divorce. If you are already married, but now have a more complicated financial situation than when you were first married, we can help you with a post-nuptial agreement that will ensure that you are protected in case you get divorced.
Registration of Foreign Judgments
Have you recently moved to Illinois with an existing divorce decree? We can help you register a foreign judgment in the State of Illinois, so that you can seek to protect yourself and your family in the state in which you live.