Divorce

Beermann divorce attorneys have the knowledge and experience to represent any client in any family law matter; from the most basic, uncontested divorce, to highly complex financial and parenting disputes. Whether a client is hoping to proceed collaboratively or needs an attorney and/or team of attorneys to zealously advocate for them in court, the firm has the resources to provide the highest level representation available. See our Divorce Litigation and Collaborative Law sections for more details on the different types of divorce processes we offer.

In a divorce, each party will be assigned his or her non process. Parties, and their attorneys, must strike a balance between what are often competing desires of the parties to retain marital assets and income and yet to still maintain the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage.

The goal for all parties involved, is to find a financial future that they both can accept. 

Non-marital property, such as assets owned by one party before the marriage, gifts given to one party, or inheritances, are generally unaffected by divorce proceedings but can affect the ultimate allocation of marital assets. Marital property will be allocated equitably between the parties without regard to marital misconduct, as Illinois is a “no-fault” state. 

This doesn’t mean everything is automatically divided down the middle, although that is a common result. Spouses can negotiate asset division themselves, but if they cannot come to a resolution, the court will determine how assets are allocated. The court makes this decision by weighing many factors including the length of the marriage, the assets awarded to each party, dissipation (marital funds spent for a non-marital purpose) by either party, whether there is a prenuptial agreement and other factors the court deems relevant.

Additional complexities may arise if there is a business or other assets that need to be valued.

Beermann’s attorneys have extensive experience when it comes to asset division and have access to a vast network of financial experts who can help ensure that the parties’ assets are properly and fairly valued so the client can consider this in arriving to an ultimate resolution of the case.

If one party is seeking spousal support from the other, the court will first determine whether maintenance is appropriate. In doing so, the court will consider the relevant factors, including the length of the marriage, the income, assets and earning capacity of each party, the age and health of the parties, and the standard of living established during the marriage. Courts can order maintenance to be paid on a temporary, short-term, or indefinite basis. 

The amount and duration of maintenance paid is generally determined with the help of a statutory formula considering each party’s net income and the length of the marriage. 

Beermann attorneys have extensive experience analyzing a wide range of income scenarios and are committed to helping secure a financial future that provides a client peace of mind as they move forward into the next phase of their life.

Illinois uses an income share model as a starting point to calculate child support. This means that the court will consider each party’s income and determine the appropriate amount of support based upon each party’s share of the total income earned.

The statutory guidelines are a starting point, and there are several additional considerations that guide child support judgments such as the needs of the child, spousal support, health insurance costs, and how many overnights a child spends with a parent. A judge can also make a decision on child support above or below statutory guidelines if they deem such a deviation to be in the best interest of the child. In addition to child support, the court can, and typically will, allocate certain child-related expenses based upon the parties’ incomes. These expenses include childcare, extracurricular activity expenses and uncovered medical expenses.

In recent years, the term “custody” was eliminated and replaced with allocation of parental responsibilities. While wordier, it is more specific and less confusing than the previous term “custody,” which was often confused as referring to the parent who had the majority of parenting time. When determining the allocation of parental responsibilities and decision-making, the Court will consider the child’s best interest, including the ability of the parents to cooperate, the level of each parent’s past participation in decision-making, the wishes of the child, and the child’s needs. The areas of decision-making include education, health, religion and extracurricular activities. There is no hard and fast rule determining which parent receives primary parenting decision making authority in a divorce.

The court will take a holistic view and decide what is best for the child based on a number of factors, including past parenting performance, the ability of two parties to make joint decisions, and the overall wellbeing of the child.

It is important to ensure decisions like education, healthcare, organized sports and activities, and religious commitments are handled with the child’s interests in the foreground.

Our attorneys work with clients to navigate the complexities of child custody and explain options, rights, and possible solutions.

Our first approach is always to try and resolve parenting disputes outside of litigation, as the litigation process can be lengthy, costly, and can have a traumatic effect on a child. However, should litigation become necessary, Beermann attorneys have extensive courtroom experience and will passionately and strategically represent your interests.

Recently the term “visitation” was eliminated and replaced with the term parenting time. Parenting time is also determined consistent with the child’s best interest, considering the wishes of the child and parents, the history of care-taking, the distance between parents houses and any other relevant factor. The court will try to maximize the amount of quality time with each parent. Parenting time includes regular time with a child, and special occasions, including vacation and holiday time. If parents cannot negotiate a parenting time schedule on their own, the court will make a determination of what that schedule should be based on what it believes to be the best interests of the child. The general goal of the court is to ensure the child will spend as much time as possible with both parents, and that the parenting time schedule is consistent and reliable. 

In cases where the parents are unable to agree upon a parenting schedule, the Court will typically require mediation before the matter is addressed in Court. If mediation is unsuccessful, sometimes a child representative Guardian ad Litem, (“GAL”) or attorney for the child can be appointed to advocate on behalf of a child or children and help guide parents to an agreement.

Child representatives or GALs also make  recommendations to the court as to what is in the best interest of a child or children. 

Ultimately, if the parents are unable to reach an agreement on parenting time, the Court will make the final decision, considering the input of the Child Representative or GAL, and any other expert appointed by the Court.

Relocation disputes arise when a parent seeks to move more than 25 miles away and wants to bring the child with him or her. 

Whether across state lines, or across the country, these cases are among the most difficult issues in family law, as they are both contentious, situationally unique, and difficult to settle as there is no middle ground. There is no unified precedent in relocation matters, and they are decided on a case-by-case basis. 

If parents cannot come to an agreement, a court will make the decision of whether to allow a parent to move with a child following litigation.

The court will make a decision based on the best interests of the child and will reach that decision by weighing myriad complex factors, often with the aid of a child’s representative or GAL. 

At Beermann, we have decades of experience in relocation cases and take a thoughtful, strategic approach in advocating for our clients in one of family law’s most intricate areas, both in and out of the courtroom.

While LGBTQ couples face many of the same legal concerns as heterosexual couples, there are certain legal issues unique to the LGBTQ community. 

Beermann is knowledgeable and experienced in the complex and evolving LGBTQ legal landscape and is committed to supporting and empowering the LGBTQ community. 

We take a comprehensive approach to client services, and it is important to retain an attorney who understands all facets of a dispute both in and out of the courtroom.

Beermann attorneys have the skill and experience necessary to craft solutions tailored to the unique needs of LGBTQ individuals in all areas of family law. We have extensive experience dissolving civil unions and marriages, conducting second-parent adoptions, drafting prenuptial and postnuptial/civil union agreements for LGBTQ couples, and handling any other issues which may arise.

Our firm remains at the forefront of this evolving legal arena and can counsel LGBTQ clients through the advanced pre-marital or post-marital planning required to protect them and their family. 

Adoption 

Illinois is one of a select few states that allows for second-parent adoption, meaning a non-biological parent can adopt a child without impacting the biological parent’s legal status. 

A legally recognized parent/child relationship is critical, as it allows a non-biological parent to be on equal legal footing with the child’s biological parent for all purposes.

This is important because of the variance in state law. If a couple is legally married in Illinois, the non-biological parent is immediately legally recognized as a parent to a child once the child is born. But if same-sex spouses live in or even visit a state that does not recognize their marriage, that parental relationship is also not recognized.  

Second parent adoptions ensure that a parent who raised a child from birth is not considered a stranger (in the legal sense) to that child in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. 

Divorce- Dissolving Marriages and Civil Unions

While Illinois does not differentiate between heterosexual and same-sex couples in terms of civil unions or marriage, federal law does. 

Beermann’s experience will help guide LGBTQ couples through the complexities of divorce and civil union dissolutions at both the state and federal level, and our attorneys will provide the knowledgeable representation needed to get equitable results while preserving the integrity of the family. 

Orders of Protection are designed to protect a victim and his or her loved ones from physical, mental, and emotional abuse by restricting what the abuser can do.  They can bar an abuser from a shared residence, prohibit them from contacting a party, and limit contact with a child, among a myriad of other remedies.  Orders can be issued to protect a person’s personal property or force an abuser to surrender weapons, attend counseling, or refrain from drinking.

At Beermann, protecting our clients is our number one priority, and our attorneys have obtained numerous protection orders as part of civil cases, divorce cases, and criminal abuse cases. We have extensive knowledge of the process and will ensure that clients get the security they need quickly and efficiently so they feel safe.