Family Law Attorney Bloomington IL
Selecting the best family law attorney Bloomington IL will make a big difference in your case. If you need a family law attorney in the Bloomington-Normal area, you will be in good hands at Koth Gregory & Nieminski.
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2. Convenient Appointments. Office, zoom, or phone.
3. Attorney Fees. $300 initial consultation fee. Retainer fee discussed at the initial consult.
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Divorce – Family Law Attorney Bloomington IL
Family Law is a broad term that comprises several types of cases. Some of the information on this page focuses on divorce, but we recognize that many people have important family law issues that do not involve the dissolution of marriage. This page addresses most of the family law issues people may have, but if you have one specific issue you want to learn more about, below are links to a few of the most common issues.
Child Custody | Child Support | Modifying Court Order | Prenuptial Agreements
SERVED WITH DIVORCE PAPERS? –A FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY BLOOMINGTON IL CAN HELP
– Book an appointment today
– Develop strategy
– Get case started on the right foot
– Protect your assets
– Protect your children
– Protect your future finances
If you have been served with a petition to dissolve the marriage, you need to immediately meet with a family law attorney Bloomington IL. Your spouse already has a lawyer, and they have probably spent several hours or days developing their strategy to protect his/her interests. You need to do the same.
Koth Gregory & Nieminski has the experience and resources to begin right away and make sure your case gets started on a good path.
NEED A FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY BLOOMINGTON IL TO FILE YOUR DIVORCE?
Filing for divorce in McLean County requires filing a petition with the court to dissolve the marriage. Then, you can have either a private process server or the sheriff serve your spouse with the divorce petition.
The private process server or sheriff can leave a copy of the summons and divorce petition with your spouse personally or by leaving a copy at your spouse’s usual residence with some other person residing there who is 13 years of age or older.
If you think your spouse is avoiding service, there are other options such as possibly serving your spouse at his/her place of employment or by filing a motion for service by special order of the court.
A motion for service by special order of the court explains to the court how regular service mentioned above is impractical and you can explain and request from the court that drop service is the only practical method of service.
Drop service means when a private process server or the sheriff places the documents within the immediate vicinity of the person being served (i.e., immediately outside your spouse’s front door).
If you are also seeking some type of relief from the court, such as child support or alimony, then it is also necessary to file a Financial Affairs Affidavit.
To complete the document filing requirements of a Financial Affairs Affidavit, you need to provide your family law attorney Bloomington IL with the following documents:
1. Pay stubs or other proof of income
2. Income Tax Returns
3. Bank Statements
4. Proof of Debts
5. Proof of Assets
6. Other relevant financial documents
It is helpful if you bring these financial documents to your initial consultation, but not essential. Some clients need a little time to gather the documents and that is perfectly fine as long as your situation at home is not an emergency.
Our job is to guide you through this process, but we understand that this is a very challenging time for you, so we try to move at your pace.
CHILD CUSTODY – FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY BLOOMINGTON IL
In cases involving matters such as child custody and visitation (now known as allocation of parental responsibilities which includes parenting time and decision making responsibilities) in Illinois, judges determine the parenting arrangement based on a variety of factors. For example, judges take into account the age of your child, your wishes, your ex-partner’s wishes and the support you are each capable of providing. Judges will also consider the wishes of the children when they are old enough.
In addition, judges want to be sure that neither parent will attempt to stop the other from seeing the child. Other considerations are whether there have been instances of abuse or neglect, or either partner has a history of abuse or neglect.
The judge is supposed to make a decision that is in the child’s best interest based on all of the relevant factors. However, parties frequently disagree about what that means.
Many parents begin a child custody dispute thinking the other party is not as good of a parent, but “which parent is better” is not necessarily a determining factor for the court.
There are many instances where one parent is not responsible, a poor caregiver, or even does drugs, and the judge may still award that parent visitation rights.
This is not to say that the “better parent” won’t receive primary custody of the children. “Better parents” just need to be prepared for the fact that courts are reluctant to eliminate a parent’s rights altogether.
Many judges feel it is important to maintain the parent-child relationship as much as possible. To prove the other parent is unfit to spend unsupervised time with the children requires a strong case of criminal or unsafe behavior.
As a practical matter, Illinois law states that family cases regarding child custody (parenting time) should be filed where the child lives. If one parent files a family law case in a county that is not where the child primarily resides, then the other parent can file a motion to change venue to the appropriate county court. Changing counties must be done quickly so if you have received notice that the other parent has filed a family law case in the wrong county then meet with a family law attorney Bloomington IL immediately.
GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL) IN CHILD CUSTODY CASES
It is common for the court or a party to suggest the services of a guardian ad litem (GAL). The GAL is a court ordered attorney whose job is to meet with the parents and child as well as any other relevant people (i.e., teachers, doctors, etc.). The GAL develops an opinion about what is in the best interest of the parties’ child with respect to parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. Then the GAL reports his/her recommendation to the judge.
Judges make the ultimate decision, but many judges rely heavily on GALs because the judge doesn’t witness each parent’s home setting and reactions with the child. The GAL has unique insight into what life is really like for the child and judges take that into consideration.
Make sure that you have a sound plan for your custody matters created by a knowledgeable, experienced Family Law Attorney Bloomington IL.
If you think you might be in need of the services of a family law attorney, but still aren’t fully sure, read on for more helpful information. On this page, we will address child support, alimony, and a few other types of family law cases including some of the most common signs that you should immediately consult with a Family Law Attorney Bloomington IL.
CHILD SUPPORT & ALIMONY
A skilled family law attorney Bloomington IL can advise you on child support and alimony.
Child support and alimony are important financial issues that are frequently addressed in a divorce case. If your case involves these issues, hire and experienced family law attorney Bloomington IL to represent you.
Child support is typically awarded to the parent who has more overnights with the child. Obtaining primary custody of the child is usually the first priority for parents. However, receiving child support can be an added benefit.
The amount of child support depends on several factors outlined by the Illinois statute. Koth Gregory & Nieminski uses sophisticated child support calculation software that makes it simple for clients to understand the amount of child support they may receive or be ordered by the court to pay.
KGN’s software also helps with alimony calculations. Alimony is also known as spousal support or maintenance. The purpose of the court awarding one spouse alimony is to put that spouse in the same position he/she would have been in had the marriage continued (a.k.a. maintain the standard of living).
This is not a perfect science, but in general courts are not fond of one spouse being left in financial ruin because of the divorce simply because they were a homemaker or do not earn as much income as the other spouse.
ENFORCEMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT
If you have a child support order, but your former partner is not making payments per the child support order you need to immediately hire a highly experienced family law attorney Bloomington IL who is knowledgeable in the area of child support enforcement such as Koth Gregory & Nieminski to thoroughly protect your rights.
Typically, a motion for contempt is filed with the court explaining how the other party is willfully disobeying the child support order and not making payments as ordered by the court. If a parent does not pay child support per court order, the court does not take this lightly.
Evidence of noncompliance with a child support order makes out a prima facie case for indirect, civil contempt. The burden then rests on the parent in contempt to show that his/her noncompliance was not willful.
After a finding of civil contempt, the contempt can be purged by compliance with the order that is the basis for the contempt. (i.e., payment of the child support arrearages will purge the contempt).
Some of the consequences of unpaid child support may include:
- Garnishments of non-paying parent’s wages or bank accounts,
- Interception of the non-paying parent’s state and federal income tax returns,
- Liens on the non-paying parent’s property,
Suspension of the non-paying parent’s driver’s license,
- Court probation,
- Jail time.
Contact an experienced family law attorney Bloomington IL at Koth, Gregory & Nieminski to handle all of your child support issues so that you can rest assured that your rights are protected and you get what you rightfully deserve.
Order of Protection (OP)
Many people are familiar with the term order of protection. However, there are several different types of protective orders, which include:
1. Emergency Order of Protection (EOP)
2. Plenary Order of Protection (POP)
3. Illinois Civil No Contact Order (CNCO)
4. Stalking No Contact Order (SNCO)
5. Firearm Restraining Order (FRO)
An experienced family law attorney Bloomington IL can explain the differences of each type of protective order in depth. However, it is helpful if clients have a basic understanding of the options available.
Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) / Plenary Order of Protection (POP)
An EOP is an emergency order to immediately protect a person from a family member or household member’s abuse (i.e., harassment, physical abuse, stalking, willful deprivation, intimidation of a dependent, exploitation of a high-risk adult with disabilities, neglect of a high-risk adult with disabilities, and/or interference with personal liberty) and stays in place typically for two weeks until there is a formal hearing for a plenary order of protection in which the court may order that the person seeking the order of protection be protected from abuse for up to 2 years.
An EOP/POP needs to be ordered against the petitioner’s family member or household member. So, there needs to be a family member or household member relationship between the person seeking the order of protection and who the order of protection is against.
However, a person may file a petition for an order of protection on behalf of a minor child or an adult who has been abused by a family or household member and who, because of age, health, disability, or inaccessibility, cannot file the petition.
If the court finds that the petitioner has been abused by a family or household member or that petitioner is a high-risk adult who has been abused, neglected, or exploited pursuant to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, the court will enter an order of protection prohibiting the abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
One of the differences between EOP and a POP is that an EOP may not include the counseling, legal custody, payment of support or monetary compensation remedies which may be included in a POP.
When to Meet with a Family Law Attorney Bloomington IL to Discuss EOPs and POPs
An EOP hearing can often be handled by the person seeking the order without a family law attorney Bloomington IL. However, it is still a good idea to meet with a family law attorney Bloomington IL beforehand. After a hearing on the petition for an EOP, you should meet with a family law attorney Bloomington IL immediately to help you achieve the longer lasting POP.
Plenary Order of Protection (POP) Remedies & Protections
Below is a list of available remedies and protections that a Plenary Order of Protection (POP) can provide. However, there may be other remedies available that are not specifically mentioned below. Your family law attorney Bloomington IL can discuss strategy with you and determine whether an alternative remedy if more appropriate for your situation.
- Prohibit abuse, neglect, or exploitation
- Grant exclusive possession of residence
- Stay away order and additional prohibitions
- Physical care and possession of the minor child
- Temporary allocation of parental responsibilities: significant decision-making
- Parenting time
- Prohibit removal or concealment of minor child
- Grant exclusive possession of personal property
- Protection of property
- Protection of animals
- Order for payment of support
- Order for payment of losses
- Prohibit firearm possession
- Prohibit access to records
- Order for payment of shelter services
- Order injunctive relief
Illinois Civil No Contact Order (CNCO)
A Civil No Contact Order (CNCO) is a protective order often used to protect victims of sexual assault. However, it can be used for many other purposes as well. Your family law attorney Bloomington IL can speak with you and let you know whether your situation qualifies for a Civil No Contact Order.
Any person who is a victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual sexual penetration, or who has been harassed in some way, can file for a CNCO with the court.
However, just because you can file a CNCO, does not mean you will necessarily win. It is important to discuss the pros and cons with your family law attorney Bloomington IL to better understand whether pursuing a CNCO is in your best interest.
There only needs to be one incident of non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual sexual penetration to warrant a CNCO. Someone can file for a CNCO on behalf of a minor child or adult who is a victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual penetration if the victim cannot file the CNCO on their own because of age, disability, health or inaccessibility.
Also, a family or household member can file on behalf of a victim if the victim gives consent. “Family or household members” include spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, and persons who share a common dwelling.
There are different types of relief that the court can order such as:
• to stay away from the victim,
• no contact with the victim by any means, and/or
• other relief that is determined by the court to be necessary or appropriate.
Civil No Contact Order Example
It is common for parties to enter into an agreed mutual CNCO if they have a history of yelling, using inappropriate language, or harassing each other over the phone, via texts, or social media. If one party is the primary offender, the other party can seek a unilateral CNCO.
A common example of when a CNCO would be appropriate is if one party consistently texts the other party using abusive language. People say things they shouldn’t in texts all the time, so a few instances does not typically warrant a CNCO. However, if there is a consistent pattern that warrants protection, a judge may enter a CNCO prohibiting communications via text and require the parties to communicate through a family law communication application like Family Wizard.
Family law communication apps like Family Wizard are monitored so if one of the parties says something inappropriate, it can be brought to the judge’s attention and the violating party may suffer more severe consequences.
Your family law attorney Bloomington IL can explain whether your situation warrants a unilateral or mutual CNCO.
Stalking No Contact Order (SNCO)
A petition for a SNCO may be filed when relief is not available to the victim under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act such as an order of protection.
The following people can file for a Stalking No Contact Order:
1. Victim of stalking;
2. Person on behalf of a minor child or an adult who is a victim of stalking but, because of age, disability, health, or inaccessibility, cannot file the petition;
3. Authorized agent of a workplace;
4. Authorized agent of a place of worship;
5. Authorized agent of a school.
In order to obtain a SNCO, there has to be at least two separate occasions of unwanted contact or monitoring that leads to physical or emotional distress. However, even if there has only been one incident, do not wait to contact an experienced family law attorney Bloomington IL. Your lawyer can give you some good practical and legal advice to help your situation.
There are different types of relief that the court can order in a SNCO such as:
• prohibiting the respondent from threatening to commit or committing stalking;
• ordering respondent not to have any contact with the petitioner or a specifically named third person;
• prohibiting the respondent from knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within a specified distance of the petitioner or the petitioner’s residence, school daycare, or a place of employment, or any specified place frequented by the petitioner (If respondent is noticed of the hearing, the court may also order the respondent to stay away from the respondent’s own residence, school, or place of employment);
• prohibiting the respondent from possessing a Firearm Owners Identification Card, or possessing or buying firearms; and/or
• ordering other injunctive relief the court determines to be necessary to protect the petitioner or victim.
Firearm Restraining Order (“FRO”)
A family member of the respondent or law enforcement may petition the court for a FRO. A police report / criminal charges are not needed. A FRO may be issued by the court if the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself/herself or another in the near future by having in his/her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm, ammunition, and firearm parts that could be assembled to make an operable firearm.
In the petition for a FRO, you should also describe the number, types, and locations of any firearms, ammunition, and firearm parts that could be assembled to make an operable firearm presently believed by the petitioner to be possessed or controlled by the respondent.
A FRO enjoins the respondent from having firearms or ammunition in their possession and respondent must surrender his/her Firearm Owner Identification Card. The court may issue a search warrant directing law enforcement to seize Respondent’s firearms, ammunition, and firearm parts that could be assembled to make an operable firearm.
Firearm safety is important as are people’s individual liberties. This is not a situation to be taken lightly. Consult with a family law attorney Bloomington IL immediately if there are safety concerns. Your lawyer can help you evaluate whether pursuing a FRO is in the best interest of you and your family.
OTHER AREAS OF FAMILY LAW
Some of the areas included in family law are adoption, paternity, and modification cases (due to a change in circumstances).
Adoption. This can be a drawn out and complex procedure, which is why it is wise to have an experienced family law attorney Bloomington IL navigate it with you.
Paternity. (now known as Parentage) A common example of this type of case is when a biological father files a petition to establish parentage and allocate parental responsibilities in order to obtain a court ordered parenting plan so that he can spend time with his child. Another common example of this type of case is a mother filing a petition to establish parentage, allocate parental responsibilities, and allocate child support in order to establish a parenting plan and start child support payments.
Modification. Are you noticing any sudden changes with regard to the arrangement between yourself and your ex-partner? Family-related problems will not just affect you but your children as well. Changes may include an ex-partner choosing to marry again or relocating to a different state. It may also include other difficult problems like drug or alcohol abuse or a criminal conviction. Consult with a Family Law Attorney Bloomington IL right away.
CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY IF ONE OF THESE ISSUES IS PRESENT
-Your former partner has a lawyer. In the event that your “ex” is already meeting with a Family Law Attorney Bloomington IL, you should promptly find one for yourself, too. You will want to ensure that a legal professional is representing your interests and rights in order to gain the best possible outcome for your case.
-New challenges. Has your former partner requested a change to important child custody issues such as visitation? Or, perhaps you believe your former partner plans to seek full custody and claim you are not fit as a parent? Hire a lawyer to ensure that you are protected.
-Your children are in unsafe circumstances. If you have reason to believe that your children’s safety is at risk, it’s a family problem you do not want to overlook. Call 911 if you suspect your children are in danger and then contact a lawyer.
Obtaining a restraining order against a former partner may be appropriate in such a situation.
Click here to schedule a meeting with an experienced Family Law Attorney Bloomington IL.
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