Family law covers a large variety of issues including those listed below. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) defines the statutory requirements for divorces and other family issues.
Divorce is one of the most stressful time in one’s life. The process of dissolving a marriage requires a comprehensive approach which includes property division, financial issues, and child issues. By taking a strategic approach, we identify and narrow the issues and work toward a negotiated settlement. Moreover, through clear communication and effective legal planning, one of our goals is to help reduce the possibility of litigation.
Parenting Time (formerly known as child visitation)
The courts will apply the best interest of the children standard to come to an equitable split of parenting time. The statutory requirements under Illinois law are complicated and the court has the discretion to ensure the allocation of parenting time is equitable (not necessarily equal) and in the best interest of the child. Our firm will strategize with you on the parenting time of each parent for the best interests of the child and advocate vigorously for your position.
The Illinois Parentage Act seeks to address the rights and responsibilities of unmarried parents and their children by providing for recognition of a parent-child relationship as well as tackling the issues of support, responsibilities, and parenting time. The Act has equalized the rights of unmarried fathers to those of married fathers with respect to parenting time. Parenting time which is determined by the best interest of the child standard by the court. Our firm is adept at handling contested and agreed paternity, support, and parenting time matters with discretion and skill.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities – (formerly known as custody)
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities refers to major decision-making responsibilities of a parent including important decisions affecting your child’s education, religion, health, and extracurricular activities following a divorce or a separation. Our statutes and courts encourage parties to reach an agreement regarding parental responsibilities to serve the best interests of the minor children. However, if no agreement by the parties is reached, the courts are prepared to make determinations of parental responsibilities following a trial. Our firm is skilled at negotiating the terms of parental responsibilities and, if necessary, going through the trial process.
Illinois law recognizes the importance the obligation of supporting children with the necessary financial resources and, thusly, provides for child support to be paid by one parent to the other. The amount is determined by a variety of factors set forth under Illinois statutory “guidelines.” Illinois statute allows for deviation from the proscribed amount either by agreement of the parties or by court order. The court determines child support by using the net income of both parties, which means the payer’s income from all sources less certain statutory subtractions such as taxes, health insurance premiums, prior obligations of child support, and spousal maintenance to name a few. We are adept at working with the intricacies of the determination of child support.
Also called spousal support which is determined under the IMDMA as a calculation based on each parties’ income and a list of factors the court considers in determining the amount and duration of time maintenance that will be paid by one spouse to another. The factors include the length of the marriage, lifestyle of the marriage and other factors listed in 750 ILCS 5/504. As your attorney, Berna Family Law & Human Rights, LLC knows how to develop a lifestyle analysis and to analyze income, cash flows and tax consequences in order to present effectively the facts necessary to optimize spousal support either through settlement negotiations or by means of a trial.
Modification of Support
Under 750 ILCS 5/510, modification of support must be requested by filing a motion of modification. The statute defines the requirements that would allow for a modification. Our firm will advise you on the process of modifying your child support or spousal support and advocate for an equitable revised amount.
Abuse of Parenting Time
If your former spouse violates the Judgment for the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time, you can petition a court to use one of the remedies under 750 ILCS 5/607.50 for corrective action. Our firm will advocate for the proper remedy for the abuse of parenting time by your spouse.
Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection
Greta is a certified Domestic Violence Professional. At times, domestic violence enters a marriage or family and requires the use of protective orders to prevent further injuries or emotional harm. This may prevent contact between spouses as well as children in some cases. Our firm will help you during this difficult time and if necessary file for an Order of Protection against the abusive spouse.
Probate is the legal process of proving a will is valid after the will’s holder had died or of administering estates when the decedent does not have a will. In Illinois, probate attorneys must first file the will with the appropriate court, then petition to have the court approve it and appoint an executor. The executor then administers the estate once it is approved by the court. If the will is not approved, the court distributes the estate according to Illinois law. Our goal is to find the fastest path through this complex system, striving to keep costs down while doing everything necessary to see that your loved one’s goals are accomplished.
Human Rights/Human trafficking
Human trafficking involves individuals of all ages, who may be subject to sexual or labor exploitation as a result of being tricked, lured, coerced, or forced into a vulnerable situation by traffickers. Federal law, through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, defines trafficking as:
1. “Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age;” or
2. “[T]he recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”
Human trafficking comes in a variety of forms and may be difficult to distinguish. It may include individuals involved in prostitution, exotic dancing, domestic servitude, sweatshops, begging and/or agricultural work. In 2000, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act providing protection to immigrant victims of trafficking. This law provides survivors a means to qualify for a T visa to remain in the United States and to have a path to legal residency.
Our firm can provide effective help in expunging convictions related to human trafficking, and seeking remedies that is allowable under Illinois law for survivors of human trafficking.
Alternatives to Divorce Litigation
Uncontested Flat Fee Divorce – if you and your spouse want the lowest cost divorce and ALL issues of financial, property, support, and child issues are agreed upon, our firm offers an uncontested flat fee divorce. Our firm will process all the necessary court filings and agreement preparations as required under IMDMA.
Mediation - Greta is a Certified Mediator with training regarding domestic violence and its impact. Mediation is a cost-effective way to problem solve and resolve disputes. The mediator has no stake in the outcome and the process is balanced and equitable. Mediation is a voluntary process through which parties come together to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement with the assistance of an impartial mediator. The parties maintain control over the decisions affecting your life rather than accepting a settlement imposed by the courts. If you chose Greta as your mediator, Greta may not represent either party in a divorce proceeding. If you would like to engage Greta as a mediator, please obtain the consent of your spouse and contact my office to schedule an appointment.