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guardian ad litem, fees, Geneva family law attorneyIf you are—or expect soon to be—in the midst of a complicated child-related legal dispute, there is a very strong possibility that the court will appoint a guardian ad litem to assist in the case. A guardian ad litem, or GAL, works essentially as an extension of the court in matters relating to allocating parental responsibilities—formerly child custody—adoption, guardianship, parental relocations, and any other proceeding that is expected to impact or protect a child’s best interests. While it may be useful to have a trained, objective attorney helping the court make a decision in your case, you should be aware that the services of a GAL are not usually free, and the court itself will probably not be picking up the tab.

Filing of Fees to the Court

Within 90 days of being appointed, the GAL must present a detailed invoice to the court and both parties for services rendered. These services include the GAL’s assigned duties to investigate the circumstances of the family’s situation, to interview appropriate parties, and to prepare a recommendation. If the GAL has been required to testify in court, he or she may include this time in the invoice as well, along with any other reasonable expenses incurred. Should the GAL’s services be required beyond those contained in the original invoice, he or she must file a new invoice every subsequent 90 days.

spousal support, Illinois family law attorneyIf you are receiving spousal maintenance, you probably know—or, at least, assume—that your former spouse’s financial obligations to you will end in that event you ever get remarried. It only makes sense. When you get remarried, you become financially interdependent with your new spouse, all but making your ex all but irrelevant—children’s needs notwithstanding. Depending on your situation and your desires, however, you may be inclined to shy away from marriage for a time after your divorce, as your last formal commitment may have soured you a bit on the institution. As an alternative to getting married, you may decide to move in with your new partner, but you should know that, in most cases, cohabitation is grounds for ending spousal maintenance as well.

Growing Trend

Evolving social mores and more liberal views on interpersonal relationships have led to an increasing number of unmarried couples living together. Many choose the arrangement as a precursor to marriage, while others are content to remain cohabiting indefinitely. While sociologists and religious authorities continue to debate the morality of cohabitation, legal systems around the country have been forced to contend with the changing concepts of household and family.

child support, Geneva child support attorneyUnder Illinois law, a supporting parent is usually required to pay at least 20 percent of their net income to their former spouse to support a child, a percentage that only goes up with each additional child to be supported. The exact percentage of child support that must be paid should be recorded in the divorce decree. In many cases, however, supporting parents are unable to make these payments because of changing financial circumstances, or are unwilling to meet their obligations for some other reason. If this has arisen in your situation, you do not have to accept your former spouse’s noncompliance with the court order. You can take him or her to court and require that they show cause as to why they are not paying child support.

Filing a Petition for Rule to Show Cause

A petition for rule to show cause is a motion filed with the court after it has entered an order directing one or both parties to do something. In a petition for rule to show cause, the petitioner asks the court to have the other party come before it and explain why they are not following the court order. As applied to child support proceedings, this means making your former spouse appear before the judge to explain why they are not making child support payments.

divorce planning, Geneva divorce attorneyGetting a divorce is one of the biggest decisions of your life. Just like with other major decisions, the process will be much smoother if you have a plan. Working with a divorce attorney before you file can help you protect your assets. It can also give you a strategic advantage when you are ready to file.

Gathering Documents

During the course of the divorce, you will need access to a great deal of information. One of the best ways to prepare for a divorce is to gather as much information about your family’s financial situation as possible. This information will help your lawyer come up with a plan of action for dividing the marital assets and may prevent your spouse from hiding any assets after the divorce is filed.

Posted on in Family Law

courtroom procedures, Geneva family law attorneyFor many people, the scariest part of any divorce or family law case is knowing what to do when they get into the courtroom. Although your lawyer will do most of the talking, you still need to understand what is expected of you and how to handle yourself in front of the judge. Even if you do not say a word, you can still leave an impression with the judge that affects your case.

How to Dress

The best way to make sure you are dressed appropriately for court is to dress like you would for a job interview. Shorts, t-shirts, and other casual clothes should be avoided. You should also not wear any clothing with profanity or a vulgar message. Dress conservatively. One of the ways you can show the judge that you respect him or her and the proceedings is by appearing presentable in court, even if you will only be there for a short hearing.

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