Divorce is often one of the most devastating life events people may unfortunately endure.
Divorce should always be a last resort. But when it is the only option, you need a law firm that focuses on resolving the case efficiently while fighting for what is most important to you. We fight for you like it was our own case. Our family law attorneys at Koth Gregory & Nieminski (KGN) can guide you through this emotionally trying time. We can protect your assets and help create a situation where your kids have the best opportunity to not just survive the divorce, but thrive as they go through this difficult time with you. We know the right financial consultants, therapists, and child specialists to help you through this as well. When you come to KGN, you don’t just get a divorce attorney, you become part of our family at a time when you and your children need family the most.
We have a unique and effective approach to family law cases. Unfortunately, many lawyers are overly aggressive and advise their clients to fight over every little thing because family law cases are billed hourly, and more conflict means more money for the lawyer. Our goal is to minimize conflict, resolve the issues efficiently, and help our clients obtain what is most important to them so they can move on with their lives in a healthy way. We feel a sense of purpose from practicing law this way and it aligns with the values of the people that work in our office.
When we first meet with a prospective client, we listen intently to what he/she says and when it seems like there is still hope for the marriage, we encourage him/her to refrain from pursuing divorce.
Unfortunately, the marriage is often not salvageable in which case we encourage the couple to first pursue mediation as an attempt to resolve conflict. Our attorneys are certified mediators and we strongly believe in this process. We feel called to be peacemakers before, during, and after our role as litigators. We have close relationships with the family law judges in McLean County and know that they appreciate our perspective on amicable conflict resolution.
If there are some issues that are not resolved through mediation, we have the tough conversations with our clients about what is most important to them and encourage them to think about their life and the lives of their children from a spiritual point of view. We have found that this allows many of our clients to see their case more clearly and not waste time, energy, and money fighting over things that are not truly important to them when they are honest with themselves. As a result, our law firm has a reputation with the judges as not being overly litigious, so they often give us the benefit of the doubt when there is something we are adamant about.
Our attorneys have attended marriage classes, parenting classes, and read materials written by many well-respected psychologists such as John Gottman, etc. We have also discussed with local psychologists the effects of divorce on the divorcing parties and their children. The judges know our extensive background in these areas and do not take our recommendations lightly.
For us the case does not end once the judge enters a final order. We often send our clients messages of encouragement after their case is over and many of our clients have become good friends. We enjoy welcoming our clients to be a part of our family at a time when they need family the most.
For a law firm representing the heart of Illinois for over 30 years, our hourly rates are relatively low and we urge you to look around and try to find better representation at a lower cost. One way we keep our costs down is to have our paralegals work on portions of your case that do not need to be handled by the attorney. At KGN, we are further able to keep our costs down by utilizing multiple research tools and software programs that save our attorneys from having to do many tasks manually. Our advanced research tools and sophisticated software allow us to identify and equitably divide marital property, systemically generate child support and maintenance (alimony) payment schedules, and locate your spouse/spouse’s employer if necessary when child support and/or maintenance (alimony) payment(s) are being intentionally withheld. Our efficiencies allow you to be represented by one of McLean county’s top family law attorneys at a cost you can afford.
Many law firms have scheduling inefficiencies that make it difficult for them to meet with new clients timely. Another benefit of using KGN is that we have several family law attorneys and we intentionally schedule our court appearances so that a lawyer is always physically in the office ready to meet with a prospective client at the client’s convenience. We make this a top priority because we understand that you may have a court date approaching and you are not sleeping well because you have a million thoughts running through your mind. The sooner you meet with a divorce attorney, the sooner you can get answers to your questions and begin to relax knowing that you are in good hands.
While we prefer in-person appointments, we also offer appointments via phone and zoom if that is more convenient for our clients. During this initial meeting we address any questions or concerns you may have and develop a plan tailored to your individual needs.
Continue reading for more information on specific issues that your divorce may include such as Property Division, Maintenance/Alimony, Child Custody & Visitation, and Child Support.
The issue of dividing property can be emotionally charged. Spouses often struggle to determine what is shared “marital” property, what is each party’s “non-marital” property, and how to divide their property equitably. Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means courts will divide property fairly, but not always equally, based on a combination of factors the court deems appropriate.
Determining what is equitable can be challenging for someone without significant family law experience. It can be especially tedious to determine the valuation and allocation when the parties have several different types of assets such as businesses, retirement accounts, investment accounts, pensions, and cryptocurrencies. Our attorneys are fully prepared to assist you with even the most intricate property division matters. At Koth Gregory & Nieminski, we use a sophisticated software program that assists our attorneys in calculating the value of the property involved and dividing it equitably to help secure what is rightfully yours.
It is important to hire a divorce attorney capable of ensuring that your rights and future interests are protected. We know the best research tools to discover assets people try to hide through our extensive experience in protecting creditors’ rights in collection cases. Most divorce lawyers do not also have such collection experience. Also, in today’s digital world, it is important to have a divorce attorney who understands cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens, etc. because your spouse could have money invested in these digital assets and try to avoid equitably dividing their value with you. KGN’s divorce lawyers understand digital assets well and have experience recovering them.
Continue reading for more information on Maintenance/Alimony, Child Custody & Visitation, and Child Support.
Maintenance (formerly known as Alimony) is spousal support payable from one spouse to the other in a divorce case. If a party requests maintenance, the court must first make a finding as to whether a maintenance award is appropriate. The court will consider several factors based on your circumstances, which your divorce lawyer at KGN will explain. Some of the most common factors courts consider are the parties’ individual and marital income, property, debt, tax consequences, future earning capacity, needs, limitations, number of years married, standard of living during the marriage, contributions by the party seeking maintenance to the education and career of the other spouse, and any agreements between the parties.
If the court finds that a maintenance award is appropriate, the court may order either guideline maintenance or non-guideline maintenance. Guideline maintenance looks at the amount of the parties’ earnings/income and the length of the marriage and uses a formula from which the amount and duration of maintenance is calculated. The court can deviate from the statutory formula and award non-guideline maintenance, but it must have a reason for the variance (i.e., the parties’ combined annual gross income is $500,000.00 or higher, etc.). At Koth Gregory & Nieminski, we have sophisticated software that allows our attorneys to cost-effectively calculate maintenance. The software allows us to provide you with precise results for less money by reducing the potential for human error and eliminating unnecessary time/cost spent manually calculating you and your spouse’s information. This is one of the many advantages of using KGN, a law firm with dedicated divorce and family law attorneys with access to the best technology.
If maintenance is awarded, the court’s order will state the amount of maintenance and whether the maintenance is for only certain period of time, indefinite, reviewable, or reserved by the court. Your divorce attorney at KGN can explain these potential outcomes to you in greater detail.
If you believe you may need maintenance (alimony) to support yourself during the divorce proceedings, your family law attorney at KGN can file a petition for temporary relief so that you receive the support you need during this process.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (formerly known as Child Custody & Visitation under the old Illinois statute)
First, it is important to clarify that based on changes in the law, the courts in Illinois no longer use the terminology “child custody” and “visitation”. Rather, the courts in Illinois use the terminology “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities” which includes “parenting time” (formerly known as visitation) and “significant decision-making responsibilities” (formerly known as child custody). There are four significant decision-making responsibilities: education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities.
Issues involving parenting time and decision-making can be very stressful because of the intense emotions parents have for their children. In Illinois, both the mother and the father are presumed to have certain rights, and the family law attorneys at KGN work hard to protect your rights when it comes to your children. Our goal is to help you get the parenting time and decision-making arrangement that you feel is in your children’s best interests.
Courts determine the allocation of parenting time based on the best interests of the child. A court can award 50/50 parenting time or a majority of parenting time to one parent. While the schedule for the parenting plan can vary, the court assumes that each parent is suitable to be with their child. However, if the court determines the child’s physical, mental, or moral health would be endangered by spending time with one or both of the parents, then the court may order restrictions on parenting time (i.e. supervision, exchanges of child in a protected setting, etc.).
The parent who is awarded the majority of parenting time is often also awarded the significant decision-making responsibilities, but not always. For example, the parent who does not have most of the parenting time may be a doctor and thus the judge may award that parent the decision-making responsibilities for health decisions.
The court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL). The GAL is a lawyer who represents the child’s best interests. The GAL investigates the facts of the case that affect the children and makes a recommendation to the court as to what is in the best interests of the child with respect to parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities.
The court considers numerous factors when determining a child’s best interest for purposes of allocating parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities. At KGN, our divorce attorneys take the time to explain these factors to you, listen to your story, and fully understand your family’s situation. This allows us to analyze how your circumstances align with these factors and develop the best strategy for your case.
We strive to diffuse conflict and amicably resolve the parenting time and decision-making issues that arise, while remaining conscious of the potential impact this process may have on the children. If necessary, our office can consult with child therapists, counselors, developmental experts, and educational specialists to ensure your children receive the attention and care they deserve during this difficult time.
Continue reading for more information on Child Support.
The court may order a parent to pay child support for the reasonable and necessary physical, mental, and emotional health needs of the child. The court determines child support in each case by applying the child support guidelines unless the court determines it is in the child’s best interest to deviate from the guidelines.
For purposes of child support, the court defines “child” as any person under the age of 18 years old and any person 19 years old or younger who is still attending high school. However, financial support may be required for a non-minor child who obtains additional education after high school (i.e. college, vocational, professional, or other training, etc.), or has physical or mental disabilities.
Courts require each divorcing spouse to fill out a Financial Affairs Affidavit to provide a complete picture of the parents’ financial situations before making a decision on child support. At Koth Gregory & Nieminski, we have sophisticated software that allows our attorneys to precisely calculate a child support payment schedule based on your financial circumstances. This can potentially save you a substantial amount of time and money because by having the software automatically generate the payment schedule, we do not spend additional time doing the calculations manually, which reduces your bill.
If you believe you may need financial assistance to support your child during the divorce proceedings, your attorney at KGN may file a petition for temporary relief so that your child receives support during the divorce process.