What areas does Family Law cover?

Family law is a decree that covers domestic relationships, particularly those between married couples and between the children and their parents. Each state has varying sets of decrees. Depending on a particular state, the embodiment of decrees may be known as Children’s Code, Marital and Domestic Relations Code, Family Code or Domestic Relations Code. Though there are several issues covered by Family Law, specific provisions contained by the code of the state are more commonly referred to compared to others, including the ones governing child welfare, marriage, domestic violence, divorce, child support and child custody.

In Chicago one of the most common issues which lead to divorces are finances, with Chicago being the largest US cities in North America many times gambling becomes an addiction forcing families to separate and divorce. As a Chicago Divorce Attorney one has to be aware that many times divorces don’t occur because spouses grew apart but most cases in Chicago Divorce Law are related to one of the spouses gaining access to saved funds or gaining access to the other spouses account and using their money to further fiances their gambling addictions, in many cases these simple reasons have led many to divorces in Chicago.

Child Welfare

Every state has particular laws with regards to child neglect and abuse. They have an appropriate procedure for taking a child away from a dangerous or unhealthy environment. In certain circumstances, the parental rights of a parent or both may be subject for termination.

Marriage Contract

All state law set a legal age requirement for marriage, like a minimum age allowed for parties to get married without the consent of parents. The law also has the power to nullify certain marriages, like if one or both parties are already married, mentally unstable, forced into marriage or a minor.

Domestic Violence

In domestic violence cases, Family Law addresses the procedures involved in acquiring a protective order. The extent of the family violence is subject to the court’s decision. There is a protocol that is followed by law enforcement organizations to guarantee that the protection order is observed.  For suspected injuries, medical professionals may be requested to conduct a medical check up and report to the law enforcement agency to testify whether the said injuries resulted from domestic violence.

Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage

Every state has laws that govern divorce procedures, including the necessary requirements to file for divorce and waiting period involved before it is finalized. Divisions of marital assets are also established, including protection of properties that existed before marriage or was inherited. Family law also set conditions for spousal support called alimony.

Child Support

Family law sets a number of custody arrangements which can be requested by one or both parents. These usually include joint custody where only a single parent have legal custody, joint custody where both parents have legal custody and sole custody on the child. Though most states don’t show favouritism on any parent, there are still states which observe the “tender years” principle, which declares that it is always at the best interest of young children to stay with his/her mother throughout their formative years.

Child Custody

Every state has certain laws which establish the minimum child support amount that a parent should give to the spouse who has custody of the child. In most states, life and/or health insurance must also be provided by the parent providing financial support.

How to find the proper family lawyer?

A divorce is always an extremely stressful and difficult time for a couple, regardless of which party filed for it. The last thing you would want to do amidst all the chaos is to interview and hire a divorce lawyer. However, you have no choice but to find someone who will represent you, and a very competent one at that. Since your divorce lawyer will be dealing a very delicate matter, it is very important for you to be very careful in your selection. Listed below are tips on how to find the proper family lawyer.

  • Start searching for the top lawyers. Start searching for top lawyers in your area specializing in family law. It is a good idea to ask for a recommendation from family, friends and co-workers.
  • Verify the credentials and background of the lawyer. Since your lawyer will be the one responsible for tackling delicate family matters, you need to have the guarantee that you are investing on the right person. Check his/her biography, background, qualifications, working relationship with clients and success rates. If the lawyer is associated with a law firm, it would also help if you would check the firm’s reputation as well.

  • Assess your compatibility. Another significant thing that you need to take into account is the compatibility you have with the lawyer, whether you have good rapport with him/her. Trust is very important if you want an efficient and effective working relationship considering the fact that you will be sharing private details of your life with him/her. To sum it all up, you need to feel completely comfortable with your lawyer’s methods.

  • Check for affordability. Before you make the final decision of hiring a lawyer, it is vital for you to check all the relevant costs involved. Always ask for all the expenses and fees charged for the case. The experience, success rate and area where you live in are some of the factors which would determine your lawyer’s fee. Some of them would charge on hourly basis while some would make a one time charge for the entire duration of the case. Hiring a lawyer can have a significant impact on your finances; therefore, it is always best to shop around to find the best service with the most competitive price.

  • Ask questions. Before finalizing your deal, never hesitate to ask questions. This is one of the ways for you to assess the lawyer and to determine your rapport with him/her. By asking questions, you will be able to measure the extent of your lawyer’s expertise and familiarity with family law.

How are assets split during divorce?

Almost all things that couples acquired in the course of their marriage are considered marital property. Marriage gives you the right to take part not only with the gains, but the losses as well. In the event of a divorce, you might be wondering how assets are split.

The divorce laws and provisions of each state vary when it comes to division and classification of marital properties and debts. When it comes to community properties in some states, the court requires equal division of marital properties and debts between both parties. There are several factors which determine how assets are split during a divorce.

  • How the divorce case is solved. How the assets are distributed will greatly depend on how both parties would decide to resolve their divorce. In cases where spouses reach an acceptable mutual agreement, they can have greater control regarding the decision on how they will distribute and dispose their marital properties. However, in cases where conflict is involved, the family court intervenes and makes a decision based upon several factors stated by the state law. In most cases, the resolution of the court is usually unacceptable for the involved parties.
  • Nature of the assets. Marital assets disposition, whether achieved through court order or separation agreement, is determined by the nature of the assets involved. The most convenient ones to divide are liquid assets, like investment accounts, cash and bank accounts. Personal properties on the other hand can be appraised then distributed, same goes for real property. However, it might be quite a challenge to distribute real property or personal property weighed down by mortgages and loans, particularly if the spouse who acts as the recipient of the asset can no longer handle monthly payments or refinance acquired debt. In such cases, parties involved are usually required to put the asset up for sale and have the cash equity distributed.
  • Disposition of parties involved. This plays a major impact when it comes to how parties would divide their acquired marital assets, same goes for the manner a court would distribute them in the event of intervention for couples in conflict. One party or both can no longer handle monthly payments or refinance acquired debt on an important asset, like motor vehicle or residence. Specific assets, like construction or business equipment, could be important for one party but totally insignificant to the other. The parties involved with their respective lawyers and judge need to consider these aspects to base their decision regarding the split or marital assets.
  • Nature of the state court. The beliefs, prejudices and experiences of trial judges depending on the jurisdiction play an important role in the decision for marital assets disposition. In due course, lawyers specializing in family law in a particular country get a clear picture as to what factors are considered as the most important among judges. As a result, they base their arguments based on these elements in representing their client for a marital estate divorce case.

What’s the difference between Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

Divorce is one of the most difficult things that married couples have to face. Aside from the myriad of emotions involved, hurtful issues involving custody battles and division of assets may also arise.

Contested Divorce

There are two aspects which can describe a contested divorce. The first one is when one of the two parties is against the divorce itself. He/she can argue with the court against the petition which the other party filing. One of the things which can be done is to question the grounds filed by the spouse. The other and most common description is when both parties agree with the divorce process but can’t seem to reach a common ground on issues, like spousal/child support, property division and child custody.

Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested divorce describes the divorce process where both spouses have reached a mutual agreement on all issues relevant to the divorce. The divorce process merely serves as a formality for the court to legalize the arrangement. Couples filing for uncontested divorce usually think that hiring a divorce lawyer is unnecessary. However, since there are still a number of legal requirements connected with the divorce filing, a divorce lawyer is still needed to create pleadings and court documentations among other things.