Interim Attorneys’ Fees and Contribution to Attorneys’ Fees
Due to a discrepancy in incomes or limited access to marital funds, it may be necessary to request interim attorneys’ fees from you opponent. Each party is entitled to representation, and when you are unable to pay your attorneys’ fees, the court can require contribution toward your attorneys’ fees. Interim fees are sometimes required to level the playing field.
Parties are also allowed to request contribution to attorneys’ fees at the conclusion of the case.
A parent must seek the court’s permission to permanently remove a minor child from the state and the move must be in the child’s best interest. Removal cases often involve a request for change in custody.
Whether you are the parent wishing to move or you are the parent opposing the move, contact the Family Law Office of Amy E. Richards to discuss your options
Enforcement of Prior Orders & Judgments
Unfortunately, not all parties follow the agreed settlement or judgment of the court. If you are experiencing problems enforcing the terms of your prior order, you can request compliance and attempt to hold the party not in compliance in contempt of court. If there is past due child support, the total amount of past due child support must be calculated.
If there has been a change in circumstances, a party can seek a modification of the prior court order, including the amount of child support, custody, visitation, and maintenance. The Family Law Office of Amy E. Richards can assist you in the filing or defense of a modification petition.
Drug Testing and Physical Evaluations
In certain instances, parenting abilities are affected by the abuse of drugs and alcohol. When an addiction is diminishing the parent’s ability to care for their children, the court may order drug testing, an evaluation and, at times, a recovery program. If the problem is an emotional or a physical ailment, the court can also order professional testing and evaluations, and other case-specific remedies.
Custody and parenting time will need to be addressed and possibly modified by the court.
The court can order an unemployed parent who owes child support to keep a job diary regarding his/her job search and return to court periodically to update the judge, attorneys, and parties regarding employment.
Once new employment is found, there will be a recalculation of child support.
Mediation can be a helpful tool. In many cases, a good mediator can help the parties reach an agreement even when both parties think an agreement is impossible. The mediator is not representing either party, so he or she is able to tell each party if their expectations are out of reach without that party feeling like the mediator is representing the interest of the opposition.
Mediation can help the parties evaluate their positions and lead to a path of negotiation and settlement.
Mediation is not binding on the parties, so the parties are free to discuss all decisions made in mediation with their attorneys before a final agreement is signed by the parties.
In some situations, a party will feel pressured into an agreement during mediation due to the other party’s overbearing or threatening behavior. By having your attorney review the mediation agreement, you and your attorney can discuss your options and whether or not the mediation agreement is fair to your position.
Mediation can reduce court costs and attorneys’ fees.
After you are fully advised of your rights and the opposing party’s position, you will need to determine your position on all disputed issues. Your attorney will help you attempt to reach a middle ground on those areas that are close to agreement. After written and oral communications between the attorneys, it is often helpful to have a settlement conference.
The Family Law Office of Amy E. Richards will attempt to negotiate a settlement when possible so the parties – not the judge - are the decision makers. However, there are times when settlement is not advisable or when the other party’s expectations are irrational and settlement attempts will fail.
In some situations, a legal separation rather than a divorce may be the preferred legal action. There are many areas of the law that need to be examined when making the decision to move forward with a separation proceeding and all options should be discussed with your attorney.
Declaration of Invalidity (formerly Annulment)
Illinois law allows the court to declare a marriage invalid. For example, if your spouse lacked the capacity to consent to your marriage, lacked the physical capacity to consummate the marriage, the marriage was prohibited by law, or if your spouse was a minor without consent or approval of adult, your marriage may be declared invalid.
In a variety of situations, the parties may be seeking to enter into a prenuptial agreement. Premarital agreements should not be entered into lightly and all agreements should be either reviewed or drafted by your attorney.