FAMILYLAW-HERO

Family Law Overview

Family law and divorce issues can be overwhelming and life changing. At Serpico Legal, we provide comprehensive legal services in all areas of family law including Divorce, Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (custody), Allocation of Parenting Time (visitation), Child Support, Spousal Support, Post-Divorce Modifications, Domestic Violence/Orders of Protection, and Paternity.

Serpico Legal understands that at the center of a family law dispute is a family. We strive to give each and every client the personal attention they deserve. Every family law situation is unique. At Serpico Legal, we take the time to fully understand your situation, work with you to devise a legal strategy, and keep you informed throughout each step of the process.

If you and/or your loved ones are dealing with any of these burdensome family law issues, it is imperative that you meet with Serpico Legal for a free consultation immediately. During your free consultation, you will gain insight on the applicable laws and available remedies that pertain to your unique situation. We welcome your questions in a completely confidential environment. There is no obligation and everything you say is privileged.

If you are looking for an experienced family law attorney who will give you the personal attention that you deserve, Serpico Legal is the choice for you.

Serpico legal not only understands family law, we understand families. Contact us today for your free consultation.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

 (Custody)

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, formally known as child custody, is one of the most sensitive issues relating to a divorce. At Serpico Legal, we understand that all custody disputes are unique. In a divorce, children are too often caught in the middle. Our understanding of Illinois family law, familiarity with court procedures, and strong advocacy on behalf of you and your child make Serpico Legal the most effective choice of representation for achieving what is in your child’s best interest.

In Illinois, the courts will examine what is in the child’s best interests by looking at many factors including the parents’ and child’s wishes, the relationship between the child and each parent and possibly their siblings, and the child’s adjustment to his or her home and school. When determining Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, the terms “Joint Custody” and “Sole Custody” are commonly used, yet no longer apply.

As of January 1, 2016, the new guidelines of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act no longer designate a parent as having “custody”. The statute encourages co-parenting where each parent is assigned certain decision making powers regarding Health, Education, Religion, and Activities. These powers are detailed in a comprehensive legal document called a Parenting Plan. This Parenting Plan also will allocate parenting time to each parent, formally known as visitation.

Effective Parenting Plans ensure that all issues are covered relating to your child so that litigation can be avoided in the future. Serpico Legal can effectively advocate for you and your child giving you the personal attention that you deserve.

Allocation of Parenting Time

(Visitation)

In Illinois, since January 1, 2016, the term visitation is no longer used and has been replaced with Parenting Time. Each parent will be allotted certain parenting time with the child based on a detailed schedule included in a legal document called a Parenting Plan. With the new Child Support Law that went into effect in July 2017, the scheduling of parenting time has become quite a hot topic. Once a parent has met a threshold of 146 overnights a year, the calculation of child support is done differently often reducing the amount of child support a parent is ordered to pay.

While the calculation of child support may be dependent on parenting time, a common misconception is that exercising parenting time and child support go hand-in-hand. This is not the case. Child support is a completely separate issue and parenting time cannot be withheld for non-payment of child support. Should a parent withhold parenting time without good cause (non-payment of child support not included), they may be held in contempt of court.

At Serpico Legal, we take significant pride in crafting Parenting Plans that keep the best interests of the child as the focus point. We understand that every parent, and in many cases grandparents, are entitled to the right to spend time and maintain a close relationship with your child. As a result, Serpico Legal utilizes several tools available to draft a schedule that is fair and in your child’s best interest.

Serpico Legal can not only negotiate a fair and workable parenting schedule for you, we can also petition the court to modify an existing schedule if it is not working or if the circumstances of the parties change. We can also help you enforce an agreement if a parent is denying parenting time in violation of a court order.

If you need help in protecting your right to parenting time or ensuring that your child’s best interests are protected, contact Serpico Legal for your free consultation.

Child Support

Child support payments are determined by the guidelines set in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Prior to July 1, 2017, this statue provided for guideline support as a percentage of the paying parent’s net income. However, all cases after July 1, 2017 are now governed under the new statute that eliminates percentages and accounts for both parents’ income as well as parenting time.

To determine child support where one parent has the majority of parenting time, both parents’ net income are combined and a Schedule of Basic Support Obligation created by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services determined the cost to raise a child based on the parents’ income. That cost is then allocated to each party based on the percentage of overnights they spend with the child. Once a parent reaches the mark of 40% of the overnights (146 overnights) a year, the scheduled amount is then multiplied by 1.5 to account for living expenses for the child. Litigation often deals with questions relating to the calculation of gross income versus net income and percentage of overnights.

At Serpico Legal, we provide families with representation in three areas of child support. First, we advocate on your behalf in conducting a detailed analysis of both parties’ income to determine the appropriate initial child support payment amount. Second, should the financial circumstances of either parent substantially change, we represent you in petitioning the court for a modification of a previous child support order. Lastly, we can help you enforce a child support order if a parent fails to pay his or her support. This is an all too common occurrence where, unfortunately, the one who suffers is the child. We will work to not only enforce your child support order but also to obtain judgments including penalties for late payment or failure to pay support.

Spousal Support

(Maintenance)

Maintenance, formally known as alimony, is designed to help financially dependent spouses maintain a lifestyle they became accustomed to during their marriage. Similar to child support, there is now a statutory guideline that provides the framework for calculation of spousal support in both amount and duration.

Financial disputes, often regarding spousal support, are at the center of prolonged litigated divorce proceedings. Under the new statute the court examines both parties’ gross and after-tax incomes and uses a formula to determine the amount of support to be paid. Disagreements as to income and potential to earn income are often at the forefront during this litigation. The duration of support is dependent on how long you have been married ranging from as little as 20% of the length of the marriage to indefinite support.

We at Serpico Legal represent both the financially dependent spouse and the financially independent spouse in such spousal support situations. We examine all of the complex factors in determining whether spousal support is appropriate, at what amount, and for how long. Negotiating spousal support can take many forms and have significant tax consequences. Spousal support is tax deductible for the paying spouse and taxable to the non-paying spouse. In some circumstances, a disproportioned property settlement may be a better resolution than spousal support.

Serpico Legal has the experience and the results you desire. Contact us today for your free consultation.