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Rockford, Illinois Family Law Blog

Can you get emergency custody of a grandchild?

American grandparents have long been pressed into service for informal childcare. Sometimes, however, what starts out as a temporary situation rapidly becomes more permanent.

If you have been keeping your grandchild because their parents were sick or otherwise unable to care for them, what do you do when it looks like their parents won't be returning anytime soon?

Can you get the court to lower your child support payments?

Not being able to pay child support when you're struggling to make ends meet is an agonizing feeling. You naturally want to support your child as much as you can -- and you know that the consequences for failing to live up to your obligation can be severe. You can lose your driver's license, face contempt proceedings and more.

Will the court lower your payments? Maybe. You can ask for a modification to your obligation if there's been a substantial change in your income. Here's what you should consider first:

  1. Is your situation likely to continue for a while? The court will need to see evidence of your current income before they make any adjustments. If you're out of work for just a couple of weeks, that's very inconvenient and troublesome. However, the court may not think that's "substantial" enough to warrant a modification.
  2. Are you at fault for the change in your income? Layoffs and job losses happen, and that's perfectly understandable. On the other hand, if you decided to abandon your job to focus on writing a novel or to pursue your musical dreams, the court probably won't have any sympathy for your financial distress.
  3. Have you tried to remedy the matter? If you lost your job, the court may want proof that you're either unable to work right now or are actively seeking employment somewhere.

Adopting your stepchild: Where to start

You love your family -- and you don't draw any distinction between your biological children and your stepchild.

Unfortunately, that's not how the world sees your relationship. You find yourself frustrated whenever someone refers to you as "just the stepparent." It comes up on school papers, in doctor's offices and other places.

Illinois has specific requirements for determining maintenance

If your marriage is ending and you worry about how you will support yourself, you may be a candidate for alimony, which Illinois law refers to as maintenance.

While marital factors do affect whether or not the judge determines support is necessary, the amount generally depends on a formula.

Why the end of summer spells the end of so many marriages

Have you and your spouse been drifting further and further apart over time? Do you suspect that your spouse is thinking about divorce? Have you been thinking about divorce?

If so, don't be surprised if August is the tipping point in your marriage that starts the process. New divorce filings increase every August -- and experts are pretty sure they know why:

When you share custody and you want to change a child's school

What happens when you're divorced and you decide that a school isn't providing the right environment for your child's needs? What happens if your child wants to change schools?

These kinds of problems can cause conflicts even when parents are married -- and that only intensifies after divorce. If you think a change in schools is necessary for your child, here's what you need to know:

What happens if you get pregnant during your divorce?

If you're getting divorced, you already know that life doesn't always go according to your plans. An unexpected pregnancy can really through a wrench in the works. However, it won't necessarily stop your divorce.

Here's what you need to know:

Your marital home, your beach rental and property division

If you and your spouse are facing divorce, the matter of real property will be a focal point in the property division phase of the process.

You have decisions to make regarding the disposition of not only your marital home but also other pieces of real estate, especially those that generate income, such as your beach rental.

What's post-secondary child support?

Illinois is somewhat unique in that family court judges have the option of ordering a divorced parent to pay what's known as "post-secondary child support."

Under the law, either or both parents (depending on their means) can be required to pay for their child's higher education expenses well after their 18th birthday. Parents can generally be required to keep paying until that child turns 23 years of age, although support can (rarely, and only with good cause) be extended until the child's 25th birthday.

Hiring a real estate agent during your divorce

You're getting a divorce -- and that means selling the house because there's no way that either you or your spouse can afford it alone.

The good news is that it's pretty much a seller's market out there right now. The bad news is that you and your spouse have to work together at least long enough to pick a real estate agent.

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