Rainbows for All Children
The nonprofit organization, Rainbows for All Children, offers structured, age-specific, peer support groups, led by trained facilitators, for children ages 3-18 who are grieving the loss of a family member as a result of death, divorce, deployment, incarceration, a life-threatening illness, or other life-altering event. The peer support groups are offered for free to children from any economic, racial, ethnic, and religious background at sites all across the United States and in 10 other counties. For more information, or to find a group near you, please visit www.rainbows.org or call 847-952-1770.
Understanding Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative Divorce uses specially trained lawyers, divorce coaches, child specialists, and financial specialists to help you reach an out of court agreement, with privacy and respect. Download the Collaborative Divorce Illinois brochure on collaborative divorce to find our more.
Collaborative Divorce for Practitioners
If you are a practitioner (lawyer, family therapist, divorce coach, financial advisor, child specialist, etc.) looking for an alternative to divorce as usual, read more about it in this brochure on Collaborative Practice from the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.
Q. What is the difference between sole custody and joint custody?
A. This is sort of a trick question, because since January 1, 2016, there has been no such thing as “custody” in Illinois. But people still ask, so we answer! As of January 1, 2016, the court awards the “allocation of parental rights and responsibilities” to one or both parents. This term covers parenting time (both routine and holiday/special time) and decision-making in the areas of healthcare, education, extra-curricular activities and religion.
Q. How much parenting time will each parent be given?
A. There is no set formula, and if the parents cannot agree on a schedule, the judge will create a schedule based on the best interests of the child.
Q. What about holidays and vacations?
A. Whatever the parents decide is usually approved by the judge, but typically parents alternate the major holidays (ex. Mom has Thanksgiving in even years, and Dad has Thanksgiving in odd years), and each parent generally has the right to take a vacation with the children, after due notice to the other parent.
Q. If we get divorced, does that mean my spouse will get unrestricted or unsupervised parenting time even if that endangers the child? What is necessary to get restricted or supervised parenting time?
A. If the judge finds that unrestricted or unsupervised parenting time endangers the child, the judge can order that the parenting time be either supervised in a clinical setting, supervised by a professional supervisor outside a clinical setting, or supervised by someone chosen by agreement of the parties.
Q. Is child support impacted by the amount of parenting time each parent has?
A. Yes. Under the new income shares guidelines, if one parent has more than 146 overnights, then the calculation changes.
Fees and Costs
Q. How much will it cost?
A. Our office handles family law matters on an hourly basis and charges against a retainer that must be paid at the beginning of representation and must also be replenished when the balance goes below a certain amount.
Q. Can my spouse be ordered to pay my attorney’s fees?
A. Yes. The court can order “final” fees (all or part of the fees incurred during the case), as well as “interim” attorney’s fees for the other spouse in order to “level the playing field” during the litigation process. Again, it depends on the facts of the case, but generally if spouse A has access to marital funds with which to pay attorneys fees, and spouse B does not have the same access, then the court can order spouse A to pay “interim” attorneys fees to the attorney for spouse B.
Q. Can my spouse and I save money by having just one attorney represent both of us?
A. No. By law, an attorney in a divorce matter can only represent one party. However, in a basically uncontested matter, an attorney can represent just one party and the other party can represent themselves (called proceeding “pro se”). The attorney who represents the one party can communicate directly with the pro se party in order to finalize the necessary documents.
Q. What is Collaborative Law?
A. Collaborative Law is a non-adversarial method of obtaining a divorce through problem solving designed to reach a fair and equitable resolution. Each spouse hires his or her own collaboratively trained attorney, and then the parties and their attorneys (and possibly divorce coaches and a financial neutral) have a series of group meetings where they work out everything that will be needed in the final court papers. Often nothing is actually filed in court until everything is agreed upon in writing and ready for finalization by the court (saving attorney time for court appearances). (Please see “Collaborative Law” under Practice Areas for more information.)