Family law cases are often emotional in nature, which can lead to poor and reactive decisions. There are a lot of mistakes one can make in a family law case when they don’t seek legal representation. However, we’ve found four of them to be particularly common and detrimental to clients’ cases. When you have a Chicago divorce lawyer in your corner, there’s a much smaller chance you’ll make the following mistakes, which could cost you money, your parental rights, and peace of mind.
Not Getting Court-Ordered Parenting Terms
If you’re unmarried, failing to formalize parenting terms in court leaves you — and your child — extremely vulnerable.
When parenting terms aren’t outlined in a court order, the other parent can take advantage. They may deny you parenting time because they aren’t satisfied with the amount they’ve received from you, or aren’t happy that you’re moving on after the separation. They may even pick-up and move out of state with your child, which is considered “legal kidnapping.” If the court is overseeing decision-making powers, there are consequences to these behaviors.
Not Paying Child Support Through SDU (State Disbursement Unit)
Child support payments can be made in a variety of ways — money orders, personal checks, online payments, etc. Regardless, if you’re mailing a child support payment in Illinois, the mailing address should always be the following:
State Disbursement Unit
P.O. Box 5400
Carol Stream, Illinois 60197-5400
Unless the court-issued child support order explicitly says to do so, child support payments should never be made to the other parent. If child support is paid to the other parent, they may say money is still owed, whether they’re intentionally trying to obtain more money or lost track of what was paid to them. Either way, the paying parent can end up owing an alleged arrearage, which they’ll have to fight to avoid paying by going to court.
Litigating Every Aspect of Decision-Making for a Child
Divorce litigation is daunting for parents, but can be even more daunting for children who never ask to be involved. Over-litigating decisions regarding child care can lead to unneeded stress for parents and children. Decision-making powers (formerly known as child custody) don’t concern child support; they concern parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities.
While both parents have a say in child care, education, and medical care, if one is the “majority” time parent, it may be worthwhile not to litigate each of their proposed decisions unless it truly is harmful to the child.
Navigating a Child Support Case Alone
This can apply to any Chicago family law case. However, when it comes to a child support case, you’ll always be vulnerable without legal representation. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is unbiased, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your best interests will be considered every step of the way. That’s why it’s helpful to enlist an Oak Park divorce lawyer experienced with child support.
Our team of legal professionals will make sure you’re ordered to pay a fair amount of child support, benefiting you and your child.
Avoid These Mistakes When You Turn to Conniff Law Offices
Whether you need assistance with asserting your parental rights or proceeding with a child support case, Conniff Law Offices can help. Our Chicago and Oak Park family law firm is here to guide you through these often emotional situations with expertise, determination, and care for you and your family. Schedule a consultation today.