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Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.
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Wheaton, IL divorce attorney for appealsMost divorcing spouses hope to avoid going to trial. They may attempt to reach an agreement about unresolved divorce issues through their attorneys, with help from a third-party mediator, or through the collaborative law process. Unfortunately, not every couple is able to reach a settlement outside of court. During divorce litigation, a judge hears arguments and evidence from both sides and then issues a judgment. If your divorce judgment did not turn out the way you had hoped, you may wonder what your options are for appealing the court’s decision.

When Should I Seek an Appeal?

Many people assume that they can file an appeal if they disagree with the terms of their divorce judgment. However, successfully appealing a divorce judgment is a complex legal pursuit that is only possible under certain conditions. A person cannot appeal a divorce simply because he or she is unhappy with the outcome of the case. Circuit court decisions, including divorce judgments, may only be appealed if there is a possibility that the decision resulted from errors of law. Examples of situations in which an appeal may be justified include:

  • The judge made his or her decision based on incomplete or false information
  • There was a procedural mistake that influenced the outcome of the case
  • The decision was based on the judge’s incorrect interpretation or application of the law
  • Evidence was used which was inadmissible or insufficient

What Does the Appeals Process Involve?

If there are reasons to warrant an appeal of your divorce judgment, it is important to act quickly. Appeals must be filed with the Illinois appellate court within 30 days of the final judgment. The appealing party must explain the grounds for the appeal and what the alleged mistakes are. The appellate court’s function is to examine what happened during the trial court proceedings and determine whether legal errors occurred. Illinois appeals are heard by three judges. They will evaluate the evidence, hear arguments, and then make their decisions. The judges may uphold the circuit court’s original decision, amend the divorce judgment to correct the mistake, or vacate the judgment and send the case back to the circuit court.

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DuPage County child support and parenting time attorneyThe average cost of raising a child from birth until age 18 is almost $300,000. If you are a single parent, you know just how quickly child-related expenses can add up. Child support is a vital source of financial assistance that many single parents come to depend on. When an obligor parent is not paying his or her court-ordered child support, the recipient parent may wonder what he or she can do to make the other parent pay. In some cases, the parent who is owed child support may decide to withhold visitation, technically called parenting time, from the other parent until he or she becomes current on his or her child support payments. However, withholding visitation can have significant civil and criminal consequences.

Parenting Time and Child Support Are Two Separate Issues Under Illinois Law

Illinois law considers child support and parenting time to be two distinct concerns. A court will not limit a parent’s access to his or her children because he or she falls behind on child support. The only time that a parent should be denied parenting time is if there is proof that allowing court-ordered parenting time would present a danger to the well-being of the child. If your child’s other parent is not paying child support, this does not negate his or her legal right to parenting time. In fact, by withholding your child from the non-paying parent, you may be violating your parenting plan, and you could face serious consequences as a result. You may face fines, the suspension of your driver’s license, probation, mandated parenting classes, and even jail time. Even more importantly, refusing to let your child see the other parent may punish your child more than it punishes the non-paying parent.

How to Enforce an Illinois Child Support Order

If your child’s other parent has stopped making child support payments, you do have several options for enforcing payments. You can file a petition with the court to enforce child support obligations, and different methods may be used to collect the support that is owed, including but not limited to:

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Wheaton divorce lawyerWhether it is from medical bills, student loans, credit cards, or another source, most adults have debt. In fact, the average American is about $38,000 in debt. If your spouse has a high amount of debt, you may have questions about who is responsible for paying this debt after you get divorced. You may assume that any credit cards or loans that are in your spouse’s name will be his or her sole responsibility after you end the marriage. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are several different factors that influence how debt is divided in an Illinois divorce.

Debt is Divided Similarly to Property

Illinois is an equitable distribution state. Any property that was obtained during the marriage is considered part of the marital estate and is subject to division during divorce. Property that a spouse obtained before getting married is considered separate property and is not subject to division. Debt is handled in a similar way. Any debts that were acquired by either spouse during the marriage are generally considered to be marital debts shared by both spouses. Debts acquired before the spouses got married are typically considered separate and are assigned to the spouse who acquired the debt.

However, there are exceptions to these generalities. For example, if a spouse’s student loans led to a higher salary and therefore increased standard of living for both spouses, it is possible that both spouses would be responsible for repaying the loans. On the other hand, if a spouse’s gambling addiction accumulated significant debt, the other spouse may not be responsible for paying it off since the debt did not benefit both spouses.

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Wheaton step-parent adoption lawyerDeciding to adopt a child is undoubtedly one of the most consequential decisions you will ever make. Whether you are thinking about adoption because of fertility issues, a desire to formally adopt your stepchild, or any other reason, you probably have many questions. The adoption process varies significantly depending on the type of adoption and the circumstances of the case, but there are a few basic steps that are almost always involved in an Illinois adoption.

Avenues for Adopting a Child

One of the most common types of adoption is a relative adoption, such as a stepparent adoption or grandparent adoption. A child can only have two legal parents. If you wish to adopt a child related to you, you may need to first get consent from the child’s biological parent(s). One or both parents may need to voluntarily terminate their parental rights before you can adopt the child. A biological parent's rights may be involuntarily terminated by the court if the parent has abandoned, neglected, abused, or consistently failed to show any interest in the child. 

An agency adoption involves adopting a child from a private or public adoption agency after the birth parents gave the child up for adoption or had their parental rights terminated. A private adoption involves adopting a child directly from the birth mother. Legal guidance from an adoption attorney is recommended for any type of adoption. However, it is especially crucial to get reliable legal support when pursuing a private adoption.

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Wheaton divorce lawyerIf you are planning to divorce, you probably have questions about alimony or spousal maintenance. There are two avenues through which maintenance is typically awarded in Illinois: a marital agreement or a court order. If you and your spouse have already decided upon a spousal maintenance arrangement through a valid prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, you will likely be subject to the terms contained in that agreement. If no such agreement exists, you or your spouse may petition the court for a spousal maintenance order during your divorce. If you are considering divorce, it is important to know the basics of how and when spousal support is awarded in Illinois.

Is Spousal Maintenance Always Ordered During an Illinois Divorce?

Only a small number of divorce cases involve an order for spousal support. When determining whether or not a spouse is entitled to maintenance, the courts consider a variety of economic and circumstantial factors. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Each spouse’s income, assets, present earning capacity, and future earning capacity.

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