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Archive for July, 2018

What to Ask a Divorce Attorney During the Consultation

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If you have a scheduled consultation coming up and you’re clueless as far as what to ask your divorce attorney, you’ll definitely want to figure it out ahead of time. In fact, getting as much information as possible during the consultation can save a lot of time and money in the divorce process.Client-Talking-to-Attorney-in-Office

Here are some vital questions for which you will want answers if you are going for your first consultation:

What is Your Fee Structure?

The first and one of the most important questions you will want to ask is what is their fee structure. Do they charge for each hour spent on your case or one flat fee? Keep in mind that divorces can also last years, so it is important to also ask about any financial implications.

What are the Divorce Procedures?

Every state will have different divorce procedures in which must be followed by both you and your attorney. The exact length of time necessary to complete the divorce will depend on the complexity of your situation (child custody, property division, disagreements with both parties, etc.). Be sure to inform the divorce attorney of all aspects in your divorce so they can give you the most accurate estimate and timeline of your divorce.

Keep in mind that if you work full-time or have other needs that require the majority of your time, knowing the requirements and commitments of the divorce ahead of time will help while you prepare.

What if I Need Alimony?

Each state will differ in regards to allowing a spouse to seek alimony from the other. Some cases will depend on the length of the marriage, whether a spouse stays home with the child, or the difference in income between the spouses.

Whether you are seeking alimony or your spouse is seeking it from you, let your attorney know during the initial consultation so they can inform you of any liabilities that can occur during the divorce.

Mother-Daughter-Smiling-Laughing

What about Child Custody?

If you are not able to agree with your spouse as to who will have custody of your children, ask about the factors that are most important to the judge when determining custody. This can include income, the amount of time spent with the child, how involved they are in their children’s lives, their ability to provide for the children, and more. You should also ask about your chances of having custody of your children.

It is often that child custody issues can prolong the divorce process, so it would be good to know which issues to surrender to and which to challenge. You can also ask about alternative dispute resolution, such as a mediator or arbitration if you want to avoid going to trial.

How Should We Split Marital Assets?

Many states will differ in regards to marital assets, but their process is pretty simple as far as allocating joint assets to each spouse. Generally, they will state the ownership of each spouse. Just make sure to ask your attorney about the procedure for splitting marital assets in your state.

How Long Have You Been Practicing Divorce Law?

Having an experienced attorney is extremely important, especially if your situation is more complicated. Knowing how many years they have been practicing, their specialties, with which attorney you will be working, the number of cases they have won, and other general information about the firm.

Who Will be Working on My Case? And Will You Be Involved as Well?

An experienced family law attorney will often work with a team to gather as much information as possible. But it is important to know who exactly will be working on your case and to have their contact information if you have any updates or questions throughout the divorce. You will also want to know who will be in charge and how you will be billed for that work.

If I Call and Nobody Answers, How Long Will it Take to Get a Response?

Asking this question during the consultation might seem silly, but some firms are busier than others. It would be good to pay attention to the amount of clients present in the office and if the attorneys always seem busy. A good divorce lawyer will answer all emails and calls within 24 hours, or will have their staff respond earlier.

How Familiar are You with the Local Courthouses and Judges?

If you are in a situation where mediation is not an option, having an attorney who knows the local judges and court system well is important. Having someone who knows what judges favor, their process, and even the best times to reach them can be very helpful to your case.

Will I Get Copies of Documents Generated Throughout My Divorce?

A good attorney will provide you with all copies of documents generated during the divorce process. They also shouldn’t be forgetting to send documents to you after receiving a settlement offer from your spouse’s attorney.

Is There a Retainer and How Much Is It?

This is extremely important as well as having the money to pay the fee upfront. Ask what it covers and if you reconcile or switch attorneys, ask whether the retainer will be refunded or not. Some attorneys also charge additional retainers when the initial one is depleted.

Work with An Experienced Divorce AttorneyCheri-Costa-Family-Child-Custody-Attorney-Oak-Lawn-IL

Finding an experienced attorney that stays within your budget can be difficult but not impossible. Generally, it is recommended to find one that you can trust, has experience in cases similar to yours, and is responsive to your emails and calls.

One such law firm that can provide these to you is Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our divorce attorneys have over 50 years of combined legal experience, working with clients in unique situations while working to establish the best solutions. Our specializations cover many aspects, including child custody, domestic violence, property division, father’s rights, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, alimony, post-decree issues, and more.

If you are contemplating getting a divorce, or if your spouse has served you with divorce, you will definitely want to work with an attorney. Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. can provide you with the answers you need while determining what is in your best interest.

Give us a call at (708) 425-9530 for more information about our law firm or to schedule your consultation. We are located in Oak Lawn, IL and look forward to serving you soon!

Illinois Divorce Law

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Divorce is oftentimes one of the most challenging events in an individual’s life. A once-meaningful relationship has turned sour, and the family falls apart. Enduring the uphill battle of divorce proceedings is an emotional and financial struggle. Having a general understanding of the basics of Illinois divorce law can somewhat ease the complicated process of navigating through the legal system.

Uncontested Divorce

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Many states will vary according to divorce law. here is what Illinois states.

If you and your spouse agree to dissolve the union and are on friendly terms, an uncontested divorce will save each party significant hardship. You’ll avoid going to trial if all matters related to the divorce can be handled by filing a joint petition and attending the final hearing.

Certain qualifications must be met for both spouses to proceed with an uncontested divorce. These criteria include but are not limited to:

  • The length of marriage has been eight years or less.
  • The couple have no children, and the wife is not pregnant.
  • Both parties have lived apart for six months and are separated.
  • The right to receive alimony is permanently waived by both spouses.
  • Either spouse has lived in Illinois for 90 days prior to filing for divorce.

A joint simplified dissolution requires both spouses to agree on all the major points of the divorce.

While a friendly divorce is rather uncommon, contested divorces appear more frequently before a judge.

Filing for Divorce

Spouses who wish to legally separate ways should start by filing for divorce. The individual who first files the case is known as the plaintiff. The defendant is the spouse who must answer the initial petition within 30 days.

At least one party must be a resident of Illinois for 90 days in order to file for dissolution in the state. A non-resident spouse, who is not under the jurisdiction of the Illinois court, cannot be ordered by the court to pay for child support, alimony, or debts.

Length of Divorce Proceedings

The divorce process is lengthy. Paperwork alone takes one month to complete before receiving a final court date. An unresolved case will go to trial. Divorces can linger in court for a minimum of one year.

Maiden Name Restoration

A spouse whose divorce is granted can request that her maiden or former name be reinstated.

Divorces Based on Fault

Illinois recognizes several faults as being grounds for divorce. These marital misconducts include, but are not limited to:

  • Adultery
  • Impotence
  • Bigamy
  • An attempt by one spouse on the other spouse’s life
  • Drug or alcohol addictions
  • Transference of an STD from one spouse to the other
  • Felony or other criminal conviction
  • Abandonment

Fault-based grounds like these rarely make an impact on the divorce outcomes, since the division of property and alimony decisions enforced by the courts do not rely on them. Rather, the judge will consider the faults when evaluating matters surrounding child custody and visitation.

No-Fault Divorce

On the other hand, a no-fault divorce means that neither spouse is at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. Requirements for a no-fault divorce in Illinois involve four simple criteria:

  • The spouses have separated, living apart for at least two years (spouses can still live under the same roof and be separated; however, they must demonstrate that they live separate and apart)
  • Irreconcilable differences (one of the most commonly heard reasons for divorce)
  • Efforts toward reconciliation have failed
  • The family would not benefit from any possible reconciliation

No-fault grounds for divorce do not require proof of any marital misdoings.

Property Division

Illinois divorce law is established with the aim to provide equitable and fair divisions of property—which does not necessarily mean equal. Any property, such as stocks or pension benefits, acquired by either spouse after the marriage is deemed marital property. Marital property is divided according to several criteria (none of which consider marital misconduct), such as

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s contribution toward the acquisition or maintenance of the marital property
  • The economic state of each spouse when the division of property becomes effective

When children are involved, the court may set aside a portion of the estates in a trust or fund to support the overall welfare of any minor or dependent children.

Child Custody

Parents of children who have resided in Illinois for at least six consecutive months may be granted custody of the children. Child custody decisions are evaluated and made by the courts. The judge’s determinations are based on a set of relevant factors, such as

  • The preferences of the parents as to custody
  • The preferences of the child(ren) as to his or her custodian
  • Any relationships between the parents, siblings or significant adults that would affect the child’s welfare
  • The child’s adjustment to a new school or community
  • Any presence of repeated abuse
  • Whether or not a parent is a sex offender
  • The physical and mental well-being of all parties involved

When determining child custody, Illinois courts favor joint custody, especially when the situation will be in the best interests of the minor.

Help with Illinois Divorce Law

Spouses entangled in the intricate web of divorce, with its seemingly limitless laws and requirements, should seek the services of an experienced family law attorney, one who can provide a clear path toward marital dissolution.

Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. retains a staff of experienced divorce attorneys. Our team offers over 50 years of combined experience in all areas of divorce law. Our lawyers stay knowledgeable about current Illinois divorce laws and practices, which are updated by lawmakers over time.

The Attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd.

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If you have any questions or need help with your divorce, give the attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. a call and we’ll schedule an initial consultation.

The Berry K. Tucker & Associates Ltd. team of divorce lawyers serve our clients in several areas revolving around divorce. Child support, visitation, spousal support, and division of property are common areas that the divorce lawyers handle with ease and dedication. Other relevant areas of expertise include pre- and post-nuptial agreements and post-decree issues.

While it helps to be familiar with Illinois divorce law, you can rely on the divorce lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. to manage your case with professionalism, experience in Illinois divorce law and commitment to your case.

Give us a call at (708) 425-9530 in Oak Lawn, IL.

How to File for Child Support in Illinois

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Children must be supported by their parents, whether the parents are divorced, separated, or unmarried. In order to allow each child to be adequately supported by parents, states enforce certain laws applicable to child support.

What is Child Support?Mother-Daughter-Smiling-Laughing

Child support goes beyond covering the basics, such as food, clothing and shelter. Rather, the financial support one parent pays to the other covers a range of expenses that allows for the well-being of the child. Examples of how child support may be used include the following: education-related expenses (uniforms, books, tuition fees, tutors), medical costs (medical, dental and vision insurance), childcare expenses, basic entertainment (games, Internet, movies), extracurricular activities (Girl Scouts, summer camp, clubs) and even college expenses in some situations.

How Much Does Child Support Cost?

The amount of child support one parent pays the other is determined by a set of guidelines specific to the state of Illinois. The parent paying child support can expect to pay a percentage of his or her net income. For instance, in Illinois, courts follow a set percentage that increases with the number of children needing support. Non-custodial parents who pay child support in Illinois pay:

  • 20% for one child
  • 28% for two children
  • 32% for three children

This formula is set in place in Illinois; however most other states have updated their guidelines to include the net income of both parents. Illinois law may alter in the future, as well.

Adjustments to Child Support

Adjustments to the above child support formula may be made in the event of a child’s specific educational needs, the child’s financial needs and the physical and emotional condition of the child. A high-earning parent may pay more than the aforementioned guideline, while a parent with low-earning power will pay far less.

Parents will pay child support based on their net income, whether earned or unearned. Examples of income include investments, wages, commissions, and self-employment income. Parents who expect to pay child support can estimate the minimum amount of support expected by filling out the Child Support Obligation form, which is available on the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services.

Department of Healthcare and Family Services

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services handles child support cases in Illinois. The Division of Child Support Services is an Illinois agency that is responsible for numerous child support agencies throughout the state. Any of these nine regional offices offers a locale for parents to travel to in order to file for child support in Illinois.

Illinois is heavily involved in child support cases, with the state establishing paternity, locating a noncustodial parent and enrolling a child in a health insurance program, among other scenarios relevant to the child.

Applying for Child Support

An application for child support services starts the process to obtain child support in Illinois. Keep in mind that going through the Division of Child Support Services only helps a parent receive child support and not custody or visitation rights.

An alternative to filling out an application with the Division of Child Support Services to file for child support is to hire a lawyer. A family law attorney is more expensive than going through the Illinois agency. However, a lawyer can take the child support case to court quicker and better represent you.

Once you fill out the online application for child support, it is necessary to deliver it personally, by mail or via fax. Government agencies establish deadlines for paperwork to be submitted. Be sure to adhere to any and all deadlines provided on your application. Any difficulties that prevent you from submitting the necessary paperwork on time can best be handled by contacting the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Speak to the staff member and keep a record of the name of the person you spoke with, the date and time of the call, and any relevant notes.

Waiting for Approval

A request for child support is not answered immediately. Even a change in status will take time. Modifications in a current support order can only be achieved with proof of a parent’s change in circumstance.

In Illinois, child support is only permitted to continue until the child turns 18. If the child is still attending high school, the child support will terminate once the child graduates from high school or turns 19, whichever occurs first. Parents with children who are disabled or who are incapable of providing self-support may receive child support beyond the child’s 18th birthday. In Illinois, judges may even extend child support to help a parent with expenses for children attending college.

Family Law Attorneys

When your family will benefit from child support, contact the Oak Lawn area’s most trusted family law firm, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our lawyers will advocate for you and your child, using legal expertise and over 50 years of combined experience.

Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd.child-custody-oak-lawn

Our attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. investigate and research parental responsibilities, including how much time is spent with the child, who cares for them when the child is sick and who ensures the child is in school. The results from these investigations help our legal team build a strong case and be prepared for all situations that arise. We will help you, as a parent, receive a fair resolution as quickly as possible, allowing you and your child to return to your daily lives.

Laws change rapidly. The family law attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. stay up to date on current Illinois laws and apply them to your case. We are prepared for each hearing, as a result. While fighting for child support can be an uphill battle, the lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. will work with you throughout the process to offer a sense of relief.

We have a wealth of experience fighting fairly for the rights of mothers, fathers, and their children. A consultation is available to parents who are involved in child support cases.

Every Case is Unique

Fill out the form below to submit your case for a consultation.

5210 West 95th Street
Oak Lawn, IL 60453

708-425-9530

708-425-2454