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Lake County Family Law Blog

Why it is important to immediately file a support modification

Many parents in Waukegan, Illinois, and the surrounding parts of Lake County have child support obligations, but they are, at least in some respects, simply another bill. Perhaps, because they figure the support is going to help their children, they just pay the weekly amount as it comes due, even if they have experienced a job loss or some other big change that makes it hard for them to pay the support.

While there may be noble intentions behind this, or it may be that the parent simply lacks the time to deal with support issue, there are a couple of legal risk to waiting to ask for a child support modification that one is eligible to receive. For instance, in Illinois, the general rule is that support modifications are not retroactive. In other words, a parent cannot claim that he or she should have support reduced before the day he or she notified the other parent that he or she had filed the appropriate motion with the court to have the order changed.

Why it may be important to have an attorney in a stalking case

A previous post on this blog discussed what Illinois courts will consider "stalking" when they are being asked to issue what Illinois law calls a Stalking No Contract Order. The good news for Lake County residents is that such an order is powerful legal medicine. While a judge cannot force a person to stay away from his or her victim, they can give law enforcement the tools they need to stop such behavior by making an arrest and filing serious criminal charges against a stalker.

The problem though, is that stalking is not always the easiest thing to prove in court. The reason is that not every type of behavior, even if it makes someone uncomfortable or even if it is a little frightening, is going to be considered "stalking" since people have rights to be in public and interact in society.

What constitutes stalking in Illinois?

This blog has discussed on previous occasions how, following the end of a relationship, or in the course of an abusive relationship, one party may attempt to follow the other person around or otherwise make it clear to that other person that they are constantly lingering.

Being followed would make anyone uncomfortable, but that is especially so when that person is trying to get out of a relationship which in many cases was unhealthy or even abusive.

Getting the right value on a family business

Many husbands and wives in Lake County are not only run their households and families together but also work together, oftentimes with other relatives, to manage a family business. In many cases, these businesses are the couple's primary source of income and are also the family's most valuable asset.

Unlike large, publicly traded corporations, though, family businesses are hard to put a value on. There is simply no equivalent to a share of stock with set market price or even the equivalent of a Kelley Blue Book or set of real estate listings where one can turn and easily calculate how much their share in the family business is worth.

Resources are available for visits after domestic problems

Although courts generally prefer it when both parents are able to see their children without supervision and also prefer it when parents are able to trade off their children without help, when there is a history of domestic violence or other abuse, this is not always possible. Fortunately, the Lake County courts have made arrangements with a local not-for-profit organization, which is dedicated to preventing domestic violence, to have a place where parents can go to have supervised visits or exchange their children without the risk of high conflict.

The idea behind this safe place concept is that victims of domestic violence are likely not going to feel comfortable directly interacting with their abusers or, alternatively, may fall prey to further abusive and manipulative behavior. Moreover, many times abuse occurs in the midst of high conflict between two parents.

Making the right choices with your custody relocation case

When an unmarried or divorced parent discovers he or she is going to have to move because of a job or some other important event in their lives, what happens next with respect to the allocation of parenting time and decision-making authority could be just as critical as when child custody and parenting time were first decided.

The ultimate decision is important for the custodial parent who is trying to move because he or she could wind up with the painful choice of either cancelling a move or giving up child custody. Non-custodial parents, on the other hand, may have a bona fide fear that if the other parent gets permission to relocate, then they are going to have hard time even seeing, much less forming a relationship with, their children.

What rules apply if I need to move with my children?

Like other states, Illinois has laws in place that govern under what terms a single parent who is the primary caregiver of his or her children can move his or her family. These rules are in place to make sure the other parent gets treated fairly, as a move could affect that other's parent's parenting time with the children, as well as his or her overall relationship with them.

Under Illinois law, and in Lake County in particular, if a parent wants to move more than 25 miles from his or her current residence, then he or she will have to send an appropriate notice both to the other parent and to the proper court for filing. In other parts of Illinois, a parent may be able to move 50 miles from his or her current residence without this state law applying. It is important to note that this notice, required under state law, is in addition to any court order that might also require a parent to let the other parent know about a move.

The reasons to involve an attorney in a custody mediation

A previous post here talked about under what circumstances it might be appropriate for a Chicago resident to mediate a child custody issue. As that post said, while in most cases mediation is a good way to head off an emotionally draining custody conflict, it is not always the best option for every circumstance.

Whether it is by choice or because a court ordered it, many Illinois couples are going to wind up mediating things like legal custody, physical custody and parent time, as well as certain custody issues that are specific to the couple, like how they intend to work around each other's job schedules or other commitments when it comes to raising their children. Sometimes, parents and even mediators themselves might not want attorneys present during a mediation, which brings up a point related to the question of whether mediation is right for the circumstances in the first place. Should a parent in Illinois who is going to mediation insist on having their family law attorney present and, if so, to what extent?

What can I do if my ex could be making more for child support?

When two parents are living apart while trying to raise a child, it can be particularly frustrating since the other parent's biggest financial obligation is to pay child support each week. If a parent in Illinois flat out ignores the child support order, that parent can face serious penalties, including the possibility of jail time. However, sometimes parents who don't want to shoulder their share of the financial burden when it comes to paying child support try to skirt around the law instead. Oftentimes, they do this by masking or understating income, including by quitting higher paying jobs voluntarily or to take a job that does not make as much.

Fortunately, a parent who is counting on that child support has some recourse in such situations. However, the parent has to prove that the other parent is taking no job or a lower-paying job by choice, as the court is not going to punish someone simply for falling on hard economic times or even making an understandable but mistaken decision.

What the police can, and might not, do after domestic violence

Many people in Lake County and the rest of the greater Chicago area might not want to contact the police after their spouse or significant other physically or otherwise abuses them. For those who do take the courageous step of speaking up for themselves, it may be hard to understand what the police can and cannot do when they respond to reports of domestic violence.

Illinois law enforcement officers are actually required to do certain things to make sure that victims of domestic violence are appropriately protected. One rule they must observe is that if they feel after responding that there is enough information to believe someone broke Illinois's laws about domestic violence, then they must arrest the suspect. Referring the matter to the prosecutor without making an arrest will not happen.

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