Illinois Father’s Rights and Mother’s Rights
As with any type of lawsuit, we zealously advocate the rights of our clients, whether it be the father or the mother. Since we have more attorneys regularly handling family law cases then most family law firms in the area, we have the advantage of comparing rulings in various cases in Courts throughout the Metro East and Southern Illinois areas. It is only logical that cases involving father’s rights also involve mother’s rights.
One attorney is advocating the position of his or her client and the other attorney is advocating the position of the spouse.
Here is the difference. We believe the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. In other words, we believe the outcome of any case can be affected by a variety of factors. As soon as we accept a case for representation we immediately begin working on it. We send confirmatory correspondence to any new client that we have accepted the case for representation and how we intend to proceed. We respond to all telephone calls or inquiries from our clients and we make time for office conferences which result in our clients having a comfort level that we are working assiduously on their case and that they are being kept timely informed of all developments.
We try not to be a firm that spends a lot of money to advertise or market services. We also do not wish to be a firm that has so many cases that the client ends up being a number, or that the client feels that the law firm simply does not have enough resources, including attorneys and legal assistants, for the level of experience, competence and expertise they are seeking.
Simply stated, if we represent you, our goal is to do our homework, make ourselves available, keep you advised throughout our representation, to aggressively pursue your rights and to protect your interests in order to successfully achieve the best results for our clients.
We have been representing clients in contested and uncontested dissolution of marriages for years. We have vast experience in litigation, including issues involving property, custody, visitation, insurance, tax, maintenance and other matters.
We have represented fathers for years in contested and uncontested family issues. We understand the facts, strategies and nuances in this area of the law. Regardless of who we represent, we provide timely, aggressive and affective representation.
We have been handling adoption cases for years, including complex areas where a natural parent cannot be located, or may reside in a foreign country. We work through the Court system to ensure that adoption matters are handled correctly in order that problems may be avoided in the future.
We are aggressive and responsive in regard to child custody cases. In certain instances, this involves the taking of deposition of various parties, working with health and/or behavioral specialist, background checks, depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case, presentations to the Court regarding the best interests of the child, working with mediators and/or guardian ad litems regarding issues and matters related thereto.
We have represented clients in regard to obtaining current and back child support and we have represented individuals in regard to defending claims being brought against them in regard to unpaid child support, including by local or state agencies. In many instances, this involves providing representation at contempted Court proceedings and matters relating thereto.
Since we have been handling military divorces for decades, including involving Scott Air Force Base (which is located in St. Clair County, Illinois) and other military installations throughout the country and the world, we provide aggressive representation on behalf of our clients in this area of the law, including when it pertains to property division, child support and other characteristics of a military divorce.
International Family Cases
We have been involved in complicated family cases that have involved foreign countries, including Kuwait, Iraq, England, Japan, Canada, etc. It is not unusual for us to work with clients or attorneys in foreign countries, as may be appropriate under the circumstances.
We have represented numerous clients over the years in regard to paternity actions, both attempting to show a person is the natural father of a child or attempting to defend a wrongful claim that a person is the father of a child. In many situations, especially with children born out of wedlock, parties do not take timely action to establish certain rights or have orders entered by the Court.
Modification of Custody
We have handled a variety of modification of custody cases. In those situations, we emphasize what may be in the best interests of the minor child or children, taking into consideration numerous factors, including the circumstances of the natural mother, the circumstances of the natural father, what is occurring in the lives of the child or children, the ages of the child or children, the preferences and wishes of the child or children, etc.
We are often requested to provide counsel and advise regarding legal separations versus dissolutions of marriage. In those instances when legal separations may be appropriate, sometimes clients do not wish to proceed with a dissolution of marriage, or else there could be adverse consequences if they did proceed with a dissolution of marriage, including either the wife or husband no longer being able to be covered by the spouse’s insurance.
Child Support Cases
We are sometimes requested to defend child support cases, including collection activities directed against the non-custodial parent or efforts to have the non-custodial parent increase child support. In other instances, we represent clients who are seeking reductions in child support, either because of substantial changes in financial condition, the ages or circumstances of the children, or changes in regard to other facts and circumstances.
Protection of Children
A parent who becomes aware of facts and circumstances that threaten his or her children’s safety can file pleadings with the Court to attempt to protect the child or children. Parents wish to protect their children, whether they are the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent. Sometimes actions can be brought requesting ex parte relief, which is relief being requested under exigent circumstances where notice to the other parent may not be given. In other cases, a moving party may be asking for injunctive relief to enjoin certain matters for the protection of the children. It is not unusual for a parent to request modification of custody and/or visitation, taking into account the relevant circumstances of the parties, and the best interests of the children.
Interference with Relationship with Children
A goal of family law is the protection of the relationship between parent and child. There should not be interference with custody. If possible, divorcing parties should promote the children’s love, respect and affection toward the other parent. It is not unusual for the Court, prior to or after a hearing, to explain to the parties, that the parties may be held to the highest standards of conduct in ensuring that the best interests of the children are protected, including by fostering the love, respect and affection of the children toward each parent.
The Father-Child Relationship
Just as the mother-child relationship has always been viewed as important to a child’s upbringing, a father-child relationship is just as important. In regard to the well-being of the children, if parents divorce, the mother-child relationship and the father-child relationship, to the extent possible, should weigh heavily in regard to issues concerning the best interests of the children, the type of custody, the nature and extent of visitation and other issues that directly or indirectly affect the children and their parents.
Family Law Negotiations
Negotiations in family law cases involve issues relating to custody, visitation, child support, issues regarding marital property, issues involving non-marital property, maintenance and pension or retirement plans. We usually advise clients early on in proceedings to formulate a reasonable settlement demand including so as to attempt to save some additional time, fees and expense. In that manner, and early in the case, there can be an attempt at narrowing the issues, and in determining matters that can be agreed upon and matters in regard to which further negotiations or a hearing may be required. Parties sometimes have their own perspectives regarding the negotiation process. Sometimes they do not wish to make the first offer because they have the belief that the first offer is never accepted anyway. Once an offer is made, sometimes parties do not understand that a counter-offer generally results in rejection of the original offer by the other side. In order to facilitate resolutions, the law generally provides that settlement negotiations are inadmissible in the event of a hearing. In settlement negotiations, we usually clearly identify letters of offer, acceptance or counter-offer as Settlement negotiations – not admissible in order that all attorneys and parties understand that if matters are not settled, those written communications clearly may not be introduced as evidence for any reason at a hearing.
In many cases, we explore the concept of mediation with our clients. Although mediation is often times associated with custody disagreements, mediation can also be used in regard to other issues involved in divorce and family law. Mediation can be through a third-party lawyer, or a retired judge or others. There can be one or more mediation sessions. Usually the mediation sessions do not involve the attorneys for the parties, although sometimes this process involves a mediator, the parties and their attorneys. Mediation can occur at a neutral location, or at a venue identified by the mediator. A general concept of mediation is that if matters have not been resolved over a period of time through litigation, mediation may be recommended as a way to move the case toward settlement on all remaining issues.
We are often asked by clients to provide representation relating to modification of custody, including when there has been a change in circumstances that substantially affects the best interests of the child or children. In those situations, attention is given to the actions of the parents, and/or the circumstances of the child or children, and the Court can take into consideration factors in determining how custody may be modified in the best interests of the child or children. The older the child or children, the more likely the Court may take into consideration the wishes of the child or children in regard to who the child or children believe should have custody, or the type of custody, and/or visitation that the parents should have.
Changes to Visitation
Sometimes visitation ordered by the Court does not work. Even if the parents agree to a visitation schedule, there are facts and circumstances which can arise, and which were possibly unanticipated at the time of the divorce, which results in modification of visitation being recommended. For example, sometimes the non-custodial parents engages in activities that are not in the best interests of the minor children. In other instances, the non-custodial parents knows may not show up timely for visitation periods or may use visitation as a strategy or a tool to disrupt the parent-child relationship of the custodial parent. A divorce decree may not necessarily be the end of animosity, disputes or litigation between the parents. As a practical matter, issues relating to custody, visitation and support can be a source of continuing disputes even though a divorce may have taken place years ago. It has been our experience that on some days in Court there are just as many post-divorce cases pending, as there are cases pending where divorces have not yet been granted.