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What Can I Do If My Spouse Won't Let Me See My Child?
After a divorce, nothing is more important than the time you get to spend with your children, regardless of whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent. Parenting plans are a top priority in divorce decrees, to ensure there is no ambiguity with custody and visitation time once a divorce is finalized.
If your former spouse is violating the child visitation order within your divorce agreement, contact a family law attorney immediately.
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we understand how much you value time with your children, and we will pursue immediate legal action against anyone who unjustifiably impedes your ability to see them in accordance with your parenting agreement. This crime is not taken lightly, and repeated violations can result in severe penalties, including significant jail time.
Some parents believe they can withhold visitation if the other parent is behind on child support payments. The law clearly says that is not the case. Parenting time and child support are two separate issues, and neither can be used as a tactic to force the other.
Illinois law says anyone who violates visitation provisions is guilty of a petty offense, which is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, possible probation of up to six months, restitution to the victim, and court supervision.
Any further interference after two previous instances results in a Class A misdemeanor charge, punishable up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
The law contains three provisions under which a court may decide someone justifiably interfered with a child visitation agreement:
- The individual did so to protect the child from imminent danger, and that the action was reasonable considering the perceived threat.
- The act occurred with the mutual consent of all parties who have a right to custody and visitation.
- The act was justified by law.
To pursue a parenting time interference case, it helps to have an accurate, truthful log of all events related to the act(s) in question. An MKFM family law attorney can help you compile evidence that supports your claim, so a judge can determine if an illegal action took place.
As long as your child is safe with you, no one has the right to interfere with your parenting time. If your ex-spouse does so, act quickly, and let MKFM Law handle your case to ensure proper court action and future adherence to the visitation order laid out in your divorce agreement. Contact a DuPage County divorce attorney at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.
Do I Have to Pay Alimony to a Spouse Who Was Unemployed or Underemployed By Choice?
Divorce can put a person who makes far less money than their spouse at a serious disadvantage when they restart their life after marriage, especially if they put their career on hold to dedicate much of their time to raising children.
Spousal maintenance (also called alimony or spousal support) is meant to ease that transition after a marriage ends. Eligibility for maintenance is determined based on a number of factors, including the income of each spouse, and their respective present and future earning capacity.
So what happens if an individual chose to remain unemployed or underemployed, despite a spouse begging them to do otherwise, while they were married?
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we know the many complexities related to alimony, and we can provide a detailed estimation of what you can expect to pay and the length of time those payments may be expected.
The answer to that question involves a lengthy list of variables, including but not limited to:
- Length of the marriage.
- Potential of both spouses to become economically self-sufficient.
- Education and employment history.
- Age and health status.
- The amount of marital property and how it will be divided.
- Previous standard of living.
- Contributions by a spouse to the other's education, career, or income earning ability.
If a judge determines that a spouse has refused to get a job or intentionally earns less than they should be able to based on their education, skills, and work experience, they may "impute" income for that spouse. That is, they may determine an amount the person should be able to earn and use that figure when determining whether spousal support should be awarded.
In Illinois, spousal support is in no way based on behavior that might have led to the divorce. Eligibility for spousal maintenance is determined by one spouse's need to receive it and the other's ability to pay the ordered amount for a set period of time. Temporary spousal maintenance may be required throughout the divorce process, and it may last until the divorce decree is finalized.
In a change to federal tax law, with all divorces finalized on or after January 1, 2019, spouses paying alimony cannot deduct spousal support from gross income when calculating taxes owed.
An experienced divorce lawyer can discuss potential spousal maintenance outcomes, along with all other aspects of an impending divorce. It is critical that you secure qualified legal representation early in the process, to ensure your long-term financial interests are protected.
If you feel your ex-spouse is not entitled to alimony because they chose not to work full-time or at all, the court may agree. Contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.
During a Divorce, Are All Family Pets Considered Under the New Illinois Companion Animal Statute?
The new statute in Illinois regarding pets during a divorce only applies to those that are determined to be companion animals. The law does not expressly define a companion animal, but it does specifically exclude service animals. If the parties cannot agree, the court will determine if an animal should be considered a companion animal.
The recently-amended Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) gives divorce courts the power to “allocate the sole or joint ownership of and responsibility for a companion animal of the parties.” The IMDMA does not, however, provide a definition for a “companion animal.” The law does expressly state that a companion animal does not include a service animal as defined in a separate law called the Humane Care for Animals Act. A court’s definition of a companion animal may also be based on that same law.
The Humane Care for Animals Act defines a companion animal as “an animal that is commonly considered to be, or is considered by the owner to be, a pet.” The Act also provides that companion animals include but are not limited to dogs, cats, and horses.
Using this definition of a companion animal, virtually any animal that you treat as a pet can be considered under the amended divorce statute. If you can demonstrate that you, as the owner, consider an animal to be a pet, the court is likely to determine that the animal is a companion animal.
Unfortunately, the courts are not always predictable, especially during divorce proceedings. That is why you need an experienced attorney who can help you present your case clearly and efficiently. Contact MKFM Law to schedule a confidential consultation at either of our two office locations. Call 630-665-7300 today. Our firm represents clients in and around DuPage County, Kane County, and the rest of Northern Illinois.
I Don't Want to Get Divorced. Can I Fight It?
You entered into a marriage believing the vow, "until death do us part," but now it appears the end will come much sooner. Perhaps your spouse filing for divorce caught you by surprise, or maybe it was a foregone conclusion after years of difficulty. Either way, if you think you want to fight the divorce in court, you should consider the following:
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we understand the emotional and physical strain caused by divorce, whether you expected it or not. If your spouse filed for divorce, your thoughts should now shift from marriage preservation to protecting your interests and your future.
A divorce filing strongly suggests that your spouse already has legal representation for what lies ahead. Do not delay any longer in securing a skilled divorce lawyer. At our firm, we have decades of experience in:
- High net-worth divorce
- Child custody and visitation
- Spousal maintenance/alimony
- Child support
- Property distribution
Once your divorce is finalized, if any issues arise in the weeks, months, or years ahead, we can assist with any necessary post-divorce modifications or enforcement and alterations of child support or child custody orders.
Even if emotions are high, and collaboration with your soon-to-be former spouse does not seem likely, mediation could help bridge the gap between you. It can provide a method to reach agreements together and avoid the anger that often escalates as a divorce works its way through the court system. It is less expensive than divorce litigation, and it may reopen the lines of communication for long-term co-parenting success.
You do not have to agree on everything as long as you approach the mediation process with a positive mindset. You might not feel like you can do that at first, but take some time, and weigh it against the alternative. An MKFM attorney can sit down with you to discuss all available options so you can decide the path that is best.
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we strive to make the divorce process as easy as we possibly can for you. This is a difficult chapter in your life, but there are many good ones ahead, especially when you plan for your future with an experienced legal professional. Contact a Wheaton, IL divorce attorney at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.
What Is Considered When Determining Who Will Care for Pets After Divorce?
When spouses cannot agree on how the family pet will be cared for after a divorce, Illinois law now allows the court to resolve the issue. The court will consider which spouse has cared for the pet during the marriage and which spouse is more willing and able to continue providing for the well-being of the animal.
Household pets are often more than just animals. They are part of the family in which they live. A recent update to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act gives divorce courts in Illinois the authority to “allocate the sole or joint ownership of and responsibility for a companion animal of the parties.”
When making this determination, the court must consider the “well-being of the companion animal.” This means that the court will take into account more than just which spouse took the animal to the vet or who fed the animal most often. The court’s decision must also be based on what arrangement would provide the animal with a stable, healthy, and loving home.
Each spouse’s willingness and ability to care for the animal will also be considered. For example, one spouse may want full responsibility for the pet, but his or her work schedule might not be best for the animal. If the divorcing couple has children who have bonded with the pet, the court may consider the parenting time arrangements as a template for pet ownership and responsibility.
Making arrangements for the family pet is just one of the many important elements of a divorce. If you are a pet owner who is considering filing for divorce, an experienced attorney at MKFM Law can provide the guidance and advice that you need. Contact our office to learn more. Call 630-665-7300 and schedule a confidential consultation today. We serve clients throughout DuPage County, Kane County, and the surrounding areas.