Family Law

Chicago family law attorney Shelley Kalita understands the importance of personal, individual service to every client as they endure the often difficult, stressful process of a divorce or a custody battle. She will help find amicable and dignified resolutions to such disputes whenever possible, but also offers vigorous representation in negotiations and in court when necessary. Her family law practice includes not only the difficult and often unpleasant divorce, child support, and child custody processes, but also happy occasions like adoptions.

Divorce

Divorce in Illinois requires a judgment from a state judge. Most divorces are considered “no fault,” which means that a court does not have to find evidence of any specific actions by either spouse. In order to get a “no fault” divorce, spouses must have lived apart for at least two years and must show “irreconcilable differences” that make reconciliation impossible, although a waiver of the two-year requirement is possible. Illinois also allows divorce on fault-based grounds, in which case the spouse claiming fault must prove the fault occurred and must prove that they are not also at fault.

Issues in a divorce may include spousal maintenance (formerly known as alimony) and division of marital property. Courts always prefer for spouses to work out these issues themselves, but Illinois law allows judges to make determinations on whether to award spousal maintenance and to whom, and how to divide the spouses’ property in a fair manner. A spouse considering divorce should consult a Chicago divorce lawyer to learn more about the process.

Child Support

Child support refers to the financial support provided by the non-custodial parent to the other parent. Child support is usually calculated based on a mathematical formula set by Illinois statute beginning at 20% of the parent’s net income, and that number increases for each additional child up to 50%. Courts may also consider any special needs of the children or the other parent and the standard of living the children previously enjoyed.

Child Custody

Courts determine child custody based on the “best interest of the child” standard. This standard is highly subjective and left largely to the discretion of the judge hearing the case. Joint custody arrangements allow both parents involvement in the child’s day-to-day life, but the child resides primarily with one parent. Parents should have a plan for handling the various trials of childhood, including health and education decisions. Courts may consider all facets of the child’s and the parents’ lives, looking into who may provide the best environment for the child. Again, courts prefer parents to resolve these matters themselves, and an acrimonious custody battle can be harmful to children. Parents should nevertheless present their best case for custody if they believe it is in the child’s best interest.

Guardianship

When an adult becomes unable—due to illness, injury, or some other reason—to make responsible decisions for his or her own care, Illinois allows a court to appoint a guardian to handle decision for the disabled adult. State law requires a court to only grant the decision-making powers that are necessary to a guardian in order to protect the disabled adult’s rights. A “limited guardian” only has the rights the court deems necessary, while a “plenary guardian” has authority to make all decisions regarding the finances and health of the disabled person. A proposed guardian must clearly demonstrate the need for a guardianship and must tale steps to safeguard the disabled adult’s interests.

Adoption

Many families choose to offer a home to children through the adoption process. Adoptions may be done within Illinois under state law, across state lines under federal law, or from foreign countries in accordance with international treaties. Adoption requires a review of the adoptive family’s home environment, interviews with state or hospital officials, and possibly trips out of state or abroad to meet the child. The process must balance the desires of the adoptive family with the needs and best interest of the child. The process can be long and cumbersome, but it aims for a joyful resolution. A skilled Illinois family law attorney can help make sense of the procedure and give a child a new loving home.

Contact the Kalita Law Group, P.C. today at their website or at (312) 829-2465 to discuss your case today.

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