Domestic relations or family law attorneys primarily deal with issues that are in some way related to divorce and/or child custody and visitation.The dissolution of a marriage and need to apportion parenting time and responsibilities between estranged spouses, create a range of issues that are rarely easy to navigate. The attorneys affiliated with the Law Office of Michelle L. Moore are well-versed in litigating complex domestic relations issues, helping clients navigate the difficult emotional, financial and practical implications of the divorce process. Our attorneysunderstand the sensitive issues surrounding divorce and child custody and treat all of our clients with compassion.tact, and an open, honest approach to addressing the personal, emotional and financial aspects of becoming separated and divorced and establishing new, post-divorce lives..
Responsibilities of A Divorce Lawyer
An experienced domestic relations attorney will focus on their client’s mental, emotional, personal and financial well-being at all phases of the divorce process, and recommend solutions for the issues that led to the dissolution of the marriage. A good family law practitioner will seek to protect their client’s dignity throughout the process, and facilitate problem solving and compromise, where possible, to best preserve the assets of the marital estate, and thereby, promote their client’s best interests and ability to move-on in a healthy and positive manner after the divorce judgment is entered.. In navigating the court process, our lawyers will advise on standard child support and maintenance, or alimony, formulae, as well as the various factors which may warrant an increase or decrease in statutorily based awards of support for former spouses or children.
In child custody and visitation conflicts, our family law attorneys will advocate for their client’s interests, keeping in mind the legal prioritization of the best interests of the child or children. Often, judges will appoint child representatives, or guardians ad litem, to interview the children, caregivers and others who have contact with the children to determine the relative roles of the parents, and with whom the children will be best placed.
The First Step of a Divorce Lawyer
Historically and culturally, our society places a priority on the sanctity of marriage and discourages divorce. As a result, when considering a divorce, the first issue an attorney will help you address is the grounds, or legal reason, for the divorce. If the client wishes to get a divorce, their lawyer must articulate a legal basis that merits dissolving the bonds of marriage. To do so, ,a diligent and experienced domestic relations attorney will set aside time for an initial consult, wherein she can gather all pertinent information from the client in order to properly assess the client’s situation and needs. Oftentimes, the first question one asks a prospective client is whether the couple has tried counseling or taken any measures to address their areas of conflict, so as to preserve the marriage. . While Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act sets forth several grounds for which a divorce may be granted, such as adultery or physical abuse, the most commonly relied upon ground is the existence of “irreconcilable differences,” resulting in the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Once grounds are established, ,our domestic relations attorneys will work with you to determine your wants and needs throughout the divorce process, and provide a reasonable road-map regarding the distribution of property and allocation assets and debts, as well as child custody, visitation and support, and spousal maintenance. . The divorce process, often fueled by emotion and anger, can be messy and quickly spiral out of control, causing increased legal maneuvering and an escalation of attorneys’ fees on either side of the case. . A responsible and attentive domestic relations attorney will protect his or her client from emotion-based decision-making, and provide solide legal advice as to the realities of the process, so as to avoid wasteful and unproductive litigation.
The Divorce Process
After the divorce petition has been servedupon the other spouse, the matter will proceed through the court system. Once both parties have filed appearances, the discovery process begins.. During this stage of the divorce, both parties will be required to disclose their assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. If both parties agree to the divorce, lawyers will then examine the documents and figure out issues surrounding assets and child custody, visitation and support. Divorces may either be resolved reasonably and amicably with both parties cooperating to exchange information and arrive at a Marital Settlement Agreement, or through a more drawn-out process requiring the intervention of the court, and a judicial determination as to an appropriate distribution of marital assets and liabilities, including marital and non-marital property, investments, pensions and retirement accounts; allocation of parenting time and responsibilities, child custody, visitation and support; and spousal maintenance. Any issues for which the parties cannot agree, will be decided upon by the judge.
The Job of A Child Custody Lawyer
Typically the most emotionally-charged aspects of a divorce deal with child custody and the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. Child custody issues may arise between persons who have never married, as well. These are classified as “Parentage” cases, often requiring the establishment of paternity, prior to a determination of parenting time, or visitation, and setting of child support.
The ‘custody’ determination governs which parent, if not both jointly, has the legal ability to make decisions regarding the child’s health and medical care, religious instruction, and education If parents are able to agree as to custody, parenting time and child support issues, , they will not have to rely upon the judge to make those decisions for them. . However, if the parties cannot come up with a mutually agreeable child custody, visitation and support arrangement, the court will do it for them. The judge’s decision will be primarily focused on what is in the best interests of the child. If the parents are capable of communicating effectively and prioritizing the best interests of the child or children, above their own personal desires, a JOINT CUSTODY determination is likely, where both parents have equal say in decisions effecting health and medical care, religious instruction and education.
In the event that the parties are incapable of communicating to decide together as to the best interests of the child or children, a SOLE CUSTODY determination, is more likely. An experienced and effective child custody lawyer will help you establish yourself as the best caretaker for your child or children, as well as help establish a visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent and outline the framework for receipt of support for the benefit of the children.