Practice Areas


Child Support

Child support payments are non-deductible payments made to a parent for the purposes of assisting that parent with the expense of raising the couple’s children. Read More >

Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce avoids the costs and conflict of divorce litigation by utilizing the collaborative law process. This method of conflict resolution removes the couple from the courtroom and allows them to resolve their issues peacefully, with dignity and cooperation, while incorporating the advice and counsel of collaboratively trained professionals. Read More >

Custody and Parenting Time

Child custody refers to where a child resides and who makes parental decisions for that child. Read More >

Affordable Divorce Lawyer

Divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is a legal proceeding that ends a marriage. Read More >

Divorce & Small Businesses

Divorce can be especially complicated for small business owners. On a personal level, a divorce is likely to distract a business owner and consume valuable time. Legally, there are many scenarios where a small business will be considered an asset in the marital estate and subject to division. The repercussions of this can be broad and potentially damaging.

A small business owner must address a variety of problems when facing a divorce. First and foremost, it is possible that a court could find the small business to be marital property. There are circumstances where a businesses that began prior to the marriage may be found to be marital property. Even family businesses may become marital property. Where a family business that existed prior to the marriage is handed down to a married son or daughter through a restrictive stock transfer or other form of conveyance, that transfer or conveyance during the marriage would likely be treated as a gift to the marital estate. That gift to the marital estate may be subject to division upon dissolution.

The valuation of a small business may also prove problematic. Courts will consider business valuations in determining the division of marital assets between spouses and the ability to pay, or need to receive, maintenance and/or child support. Further, if the court determines both spouses have an ownership interest in the business, the business value will play an important role in any distribution of marital assets or buyout offers between spouses, assuming that the parties settle before trial.

A business owner must also consider the effect that maintenance and child support payments may have on his or her cash flow and liquidity. If these payments are not properly structured, a business owner may face financial strain.

Last, business owners bear the large responsibility of running and maintaining a business. A poorly-managed divorce has the potential to drain the business owner of his or her time and money, both of which are valuable assets for any small business.

Small business owners should only work with divorce attorneys who understand the complexities of their situation and their unique needs. While a small business owner’s divorce will proceed through the same legal channels as a regular divorce, the final agreement will likely be dissimilar from a standard marital settlement agreement.

Divorce Litigation

Divorce litigation is the process of bringing legal claims before a judge and having the judge make the final decisions about issues concerning a couple’s children, their assets, and family support. Read More >

Divorce Mediation

In divorce mediation, the parties meet with an impartial trained mediator to come up with solutions for disputes in their divorce, including issues such as custody, parenting time, division of assets and debts, child support, and maintenance. Read More >

Maintenance

Maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, is a sum of money given from one spouse to the other to provide for the other spouse’s support during or after the divorce. Read More >

What is a Negotiated Settlement?

A negotiated divorce settlement is an agreement crafted between the two parties with the assistance of their attorneys, and it is a very effective ways to resolve a divorce. Read More >

Property Division

Property division in divorce refers to the separation and assignment of the parties’ assets, including bank and retirement accounts, savings, and most physical possessions. Read More >

Uncontested Divorce

An amicable divorce is one in which the parties are willing and able to negotiate regarding the major issues in their divorce. Read More >

Child Support

Child support payments are payments made to a parent for the purposes of assisting that parent with the expense of raising the couple’s children. Read More >

Civil Union Divorce

To end or dissolve a civil union, a couple must rely on the same law that a married couple relies on to dissolve their marriage; they must proceed under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Read More >

Civil Union Divorce Mediation

In divorce mediation, the parties meet with an impartial trained mediator to come up with solutions for disputes in their divorce, including issues such as custody, parenting time, division of assets and debts, child support, and maintenance. Read More >

Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative civil union divorce avoids the costs and conflict of divorce litigation by utilizing the collaborative law process, a method of conflict resolution that removes the couple from the courtroom and allows them to resolve their issues peacefully, with dignity and cooperation, while incorporating the advice and counsel of collaboratively trained professionals. Read More >

Custody and Parenting Time

Child custody refers to where a child resides and who makes parental decisions for that child. Read More >

Dissolution of Civil Unions for Small Business Owners

Dissolution of a civil union can be especially complicated for small business owners. On a personal level, divorce is likely to distract a business owner and consume valuable time. Legally, there are many scenarios where a small business will be considered an asset in the union estate and subject to division. The repercussions of this can be broad and potentially damaging. Read More >

Divorce Litigation

Civil union divorce litigation is the process of bringing legal claims before a judge and having the judge make the final decisions about issues concerning a couple’s children, their assets, and family support. Read More >

Maintenance

Maintenance, also known as alimony, is a sum of money given from one partner to the other to provide for the other partner’s support during or after the divorce. Read More >

Negotiated Civil Union Settlements

A negotiated civil union settlement is an agreement that is crafted between the two parties with the assistance of their attorneys. Negotiated civil union settlements appeal to couples that prefer to work directly with one another and avoid court intervention. Read More >

Property Division

Property division in a civil union divorce refers to the separation and assignment of the parties’ assets, including bank and retirement accounts, savings, and most physical possessions. Read More >

Uncontested Civil Union Divorce

An amicable civil union divorce is one in which the parties are willing and able to negotiate regarding the major issues in the dissolution of their civil union. Read More >

Child Support and Child Support Modification

Child support payments are payments made to a parent for the purposes of assisting that parent with the expense of raising the couple’s children. Read More >

Child Support for Unmarried Parents

If parents are unmarried, the parent responsible for the child has a right to receive child support. Child support payments are usually based on the guidelines described in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. In addition to guideline child support, the non-custodial parent may be required to contribute to educational expenses, medical insurance, medical expenses, day-care, summer camp, extra-curricular expenses, and college expenses. Learn more about child support and how its calculated below.

Establishing Parentage in Illinois

What is parentage? Essentially, it’s a documented legal relationship between a parent and their child. Parentage can be established in Chicago whether a couple is married or unmarried with one of the following:

  • – Order of Paternity from the courts
  • – Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form (completed by both parents at the hospital)
  • – Administrative Paternity Order from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) Child Support Services

After a child’s parentage has been determined, one parent may be required to pay the other parent child support. Parental responsibilities and parenting time (known formerly as custody and visitation), however, must be established by the courts.

How Are Child Support Payments Calculated in IL?

Once paternity has been established, one parent can seek child support from the other. If you were found to be the parent of a child, the other parent can receive child support from you based on Illinois’ “income shares” model, which was established in 2017.

  • – This new model takes the income of both parents into account, and combines both incomes into a “Total Family Income.”
  • – This figure is then compared to the estimates of average intact families of a similar size with a similar income. This is how the basic child support estimate is reached, and can be modified to include other expenses like educational costs, healthcare costs, and extracurricular activities.
  • – The statue offers guidance on the types of expenses considered under each category and how the court should factor expense into its decision, based on both parents’ shared or separate child support obligations. The court will deem one or both parents responsible for a certain expense in proportion to their income in the Total Family Income figure.

Learn More About Unmarried Child Support from Conniff Law Offices

Whether you’re seeking child support payments from the other parent, or you have questions about establishing paternity, Conniff Law Offices can help. Contact us to set up a consultation on our Oak Park or Chicago office.

Custody

Child custody refers to where a child resides and who makes parental decisions for that child. Read More >

Establishing Paternity

Parentage actions are initiated to identify a child’s biological parent, typically the father. Read More >

Relocation and Modification of Custody Agreements

Most custody judgments have clauses prohibiting the custodial parent from removing the minor child from the state. Read More >

Post-Civil Union Agreements

A post-civil union agreement is a contract between the parties, executed during the civil union, that addresses what will happen financially during the course of the civil union, in the event of dissolution of the civil union or the death of a party, or in other agreed upon circumstances. Read More >

Postnuptial Agreements

A postnuptial agreement is a contract between the parties, executed during the marriage, that addresses what will happen financially during the course of the marriage, in the event of divorce, the death of a party, or in other agreed upon circumstances. Read More >

Pre-Civil Union Agreements (Prenuptial Agreements for Civil Unions)

A pre-civil union agreement allows for an efficient distribution of assets belonging to the parties and to the union. A pre-union agreement typically only takes effect in the unfortunate event of divorce or death. Read More >

Premarital and Prenuptial Agreements

A premarital agreement, also known as a prenuptial agreement, allows for an efficient distribution of assets belonging to the parties and to the marriage. A premarital agreement typically only takes effect in the unfortunate event of divorce or death. Read More >

Child Support And Child Support Modification

Child support payments are payments made to a parent for the purposes of assisting that parent with the expense of raising the couple’s children. Read More >

Contribution to College Expenses

During the marriage, parents have no legal obligation to contribute towards the college expenses of their children. However, after filing a petition for dissolution of marriage, 750 ILCS 5/513 requires both parents to contribute to their child’s college costs to the best of their ability, while considering the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved, the financial resources of the child, and the child’s academic performance.

How Much Are Contributions to College Costs?

It’s often difficult to determine each parent’s ability to contribute to college costs. One of our attorneys will assist with reviewing the other party’s and your financial information and evaluating the expected cost of college attendance, including all associated fees and costs — less scholarships and grants. Typically, college expenses are negotiated as a separate issue from child support while the child is a minor. Parents, however, can discuss college planning during or after divorce proceedings.

College Planning Options for Divorcing Parents

If you and your spouse are divorced, college expenses can generally be handled in three ways:

  • – Divorcing parents can create a college savings fund for the child during the original divorce proceedings. These college savings funds can help reduce conflict over contributions as the child gets older, as well as provide tax breaks where applicable.
  • – If a college savings fund wasn’t created during the initial divorce proceedings, the divorced parents will need to discuss how they’ll share expenses once the child is ready to start college.
  • – In cases where negotiations aren’t successful, the Illinois family law courts will step in and decide how much each parent should contribute depending on their financial circumstances. Unlike child support, the judge will take into account any income from the spouses’ second marriages as well.

Negotiate College Expenses with Our Expert Help

Again, if the parents can’t agree on their respective contributions, it’s necessary to bring the matter before the court before incurring any college expenses. Our team of lawyers can help minimize any unnecessary conflict involved in planning college expenses. Through calm and level-headed negotiation, we can assist in making the situation less arduous for parents and children alike. Contact us for a consultation at our Chicago or Oak Park office to begin the process.

Modification of Maintenance

Maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, is a sum of money given from one spouse to the other to provide for the other spouse’s support during or after the divorce. Read More >

Relocation And Modification Of Custody Agreements

Most custody judgements have clauses prohibiting the custodial parent from removing the minor child from the state. These clauses are typically added to permit both parents to play an active role in the child’s life. However, there are a variety of circumstances where removing the child from the state would be in the child’s best interests. In these instances, the court must be petitioned and the custody agreement must be modified. Read More >


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