Since 2005, the Chicago Family Law Group, LLC has been in the business of supporting the legal needs of middle-class families and protecting children during times of conflict so that their futures are SECURE! Our lawyers have more than 25-years of experience!
And during all of those years we have learned a lot of what TO do and also what NOT to do. So, without further ado, lets reveal the the TOP 5 Biggest Mistakes in Illinois Family Law (the envelope please):
- Unmarried Parents Failing to Formalize Parenting Terms in Court. I’ve written more extensively on this topic here with a slant towards a male perspective but this cuts both ways. And sadly the child or children are ultimately damaged by this failure to formalize parenting terms. Checkout the post above on how TERRIBLY vulnerable you and your kid(s) are if there’s no court order.
- Paying Child Support NOT via State Disbursement Unit (SDU). I have a client right now where we’re in a huge fight regarding past due child support and I know he’s not behind or minimally behind on his child support obligation. Yet, we’re having to FIGHT LIKE HECK to protect him from an alleged $75,000 + arrearage because until recently his payments were not made via the SDU. On all sides of a child support issue, simply paying through the SDU takes all the guesswork out of child support payments if there’s ever a question in the future.
- Attempting Your Uncontested Divorce Pro Se. Here’s a video I recorded at our YouTube channel entitled, Sometimes You Need a Lawyer and Sometimes You Don’t so I surely don’t think you always need a lawyer (you don’t). However, I’m not sure that an uncontested divorce isn’t the area where using a good divorce lawyer doesn’t get you the best value for your buck. Just because you and a spouse are in agreement on terms doesn’t change the fact that those terms you agree too are IMPORTANT and your ‘real world’ agreement must become LEGALLY enforceable. I could regale you with stories of people’s divorces being undone years later since it wasn’t done right, losing huge $$$ in pension/401k divisions and house splits, and not getting child support when the payor had a steady job the entire time. Lastly, with a good divorce lawyer the time YOU must spend dealing with the case is like 1-2 hours vs. 5-10 hours of frustration (at least) on your own.
- Over Litigating the Decision-Making Issues for Minor Children. First, decision-making powers (formerly called custody) have nothing to do with child support (I think many people fight for shared decision-making power because of this misinformation). Second, unless there’s an Order of Protection in place, regardless of how decision-making is allocated a parent is entitled to unfettered access to school/medical/child-care records. If there’s a DIFFERENT fight re: parenting-time, fine. But if there’s not and one parent is clearly the ‘majority’ time parent, ask yourself REALLY do you disagree with a school district? A doctor/dentist a kid has seen his entire life?
- TRYING to Fight a State Child Support Case on Your Own. The IL Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services does not technically represent a party in a child support case, however, you’d never know the difference in the courtroom. So, if there’s a State child support case against you the reality is you are very vulnerable to being taken advantage of. YET, the other side of the coin is that if you have a good, family lawyer like us you’re actually in a pretty good spot to actually take advantage of this situation to YOUR benefit. Partly because our Firm is excellent. But also because the State’s lawyer’s are generally brand new lawyers AND very over-loaded with cases. Check this video I did entitled, Do you have a child support case with the State of Illinois?