Monday, March 28, 2011

$3 Billion Dollars Owed In Child Support in Illinois

According to an article in the Chicago Sun Times today, Illinois children are owed $3 billion in back child support.  Meanwhile the state takes in only about 58 percent of current support due.
One part of the problem, according to Mark Lopez, Cook County Circuit Court associate judge, is that many parents don't contact child support services or seek legal action to have the child support amounts reduced after losing a job or having income reduced.  When a non-custodial parent loses a job, or otherwise has decreased net income, that parent can be eligible to have the support lowered.
“The arrearage is caused because they didn’t know enough to come into court to ask for a modification,” Lopez said. “They lose their job, and quite often a couple of years will go by before they ever go in. They’ve got two years of arrears now, but they are still unemployed or marginally employed, and they just don’t have the means to make up the difference.”
If you have recently lost a job or some other major change in your circumstances has occurred, hire an attorney to help you modify your child support now.  Don't wait, or the arrears will pile up.
Andrew Hawes

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Illinois DIVORCE: Why there can and should be agreement within your divorce.

By the time you or your ex files for divorce, the relationship likely cannot be repaired.  With that in mind, you will save yourself considerable expense and stress if you can come to an agreement about the disposition of any property owned by either you or your ex, maintenance of you or your ex, and custody and visitation of your children.

Coming to an agreement not only will cost you less money and stress, but you will be able to personally decide what happens to your property and your children.  The alternative is to have the judge, someone who doesn’t know you or your family, decide for you how your property will be divided and what your relationship with your children will be like.

Coming to an agreement is the best way to decide your own future.  In Illinois, under Section 502(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the court is bound by your agreement unless it finds, after considering the economic circumstances of the parties and any other relevant evidence produced by the parties, on their own motion or on request of the court, that the agreement is unconscionable.  This is a high standard and the court is unlikely to find an agreement unconscionable.

To ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your case, I recommend your obtain an attorney working in this area to help you.

Andrew Hawes

Illinois Child Support: If you get a divorce, what will you owe in child support?

 In Illinois, Section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “IMDMA”) provides for the amount that you owe for child support.  The duty of support owed to a child includes the obligation to provide for the reasonable and necessary physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child.  The court can order either parent to pay child support, but typically the court will order the non-residential parent to pay.

The Court will determine the minimum amount of support by using the following guidelines:  for 1 child, 20% of the supporting party’s net income; for 2 children, 28% of the supporting party’s net income; for 3 children, 32% of the supporting party’s net income; for 4 children, 40% of the supporting party’s net income; for 5 children, 45% of the supporting party’s net income; for 6 or more children, 50% of the supporting party’s net income.

The Court will follow these guidelines unless the Court finds the guidelines would be inappropriate after considering the needs and resources of the children and parents.

“Net income" is defined as the total of all income from all sources, minus deductions for Federal income tax, State income tax, Social Security (FICA payments), mandatory retirement contributions required by law or as a condition of employment, union dues, Dependent and individual health/hospitalization insurance premiums, prior obligations of support or maintenance actually paid pursuant to a court order; expenditures for repayment of debts that represent reasonable and necessary expenses for the production of income, medical expenditures necessary to preserve life or health, reasonable expenditures for the benefit of the child and the other parent,  and foster care payments paid by the Department of Children and Family Services for providing licensed foster care to a foster child.

If you need an attorney, hire one that specializes in this area of law. 

Andrew Hawes
Contact me at:

Illinois Child Support: What can happen to you if you don't pay child support?

There are serious consequences of not paying child support. So if you are thinking of not paying child support, think again. If you are financial unable to pay, you need to take action so that the court knows about your circumstances and does not punish you. An attorney can help you.

1.  You can be put in jail.

If you fail to comply with an order to pay child support, you can be held in contempt of court. In addition to other penalties provided by law the Court may, after finding the parent guilty of contempt, order that the parent be: (1) placed on probation with such conditions of probation as the Court deems advisable; (2) sentenced to periodic imprisonment for a period not to exceed 6 months; provided, however, that the Court may permit the parent to be released for periods of time during the day or night to: (A) work; or (B) conduct a business or other self-employed occupation. The Court may further order any part or all of the earnings of a parent during a sentence of periodic imprisonment paid to the Clerk of the Circuit Court or to the parent having custody or to the guardian having custody of the children of the sentenced parent for the support of said children until further order of the Court.

2.  You can be prosecuted criminally and be put in jail for a criminal offense.

In addition to the civil penalties or punishment that may be imposed, any person whose conduct constitutes a violation of Section 15 of the Non-Support Punishment Act [750 ILCS 16/15] may be criminally prosecuted under that Act. In short, a person commits the offense of failure to support when they willfully fail to pay support but have the ability to do so, or if a person leaves the State with the intent to evade a support obligation (if the obligation has remained unpaid for a period longer than 6 months, or is in arrears in an amount greater than $ 10,000). There is a legal presumption that you have the ability to pay support. You can be sentenced to anything from a misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony depending on the circumstances of your case. You can also be fined, and may be ordered to perform community service under Section 50 of that Act [750 ILCS 16/50] or participate in a work alternative program under Section 50 of that Act.

3.  You will pay more because of interest and fines.

A support obligation, or any portion of a support obligation, which becomes due and remains unpaid as of the end of each month, excluding the child support that was due for that month to the extent that it was not paid in that month, shall accrue simple interest as set forth in Section 12-109 of the Code of Civil Procedure [735 ILCS 5/12-109]. Additionally, the Court may, in certain circumstances, order business assets of the non-paying parent to be applied towards payment of child support. A lien arises by operation of law against the real and personal property of the noncustodial parent for each installment of overdue support owed by the noncustodial parent.

4.  You can have your driver’s license suspended.

In cases where the parent is 90 days or more delinquent in payment of support or has been adjudicated in arrears in an amount equal to 90 days obligation or more, the Court may order the parent's Illinois driving privileges be suspended until the court determines that the parent is in compliance with the order of support. The court may also order that the parent be issued a family financial responsibility driving permit that would allow limited driving privileges for employment and medical purposes in accordance with Section 7-702.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code [625 ILCS 5/7-702.1].

5.  You cannot get a U.S. Passport.

Finally, if you owe over $2,500 of arrears in child support, you cannot get a U.S. passport.

Consider hiring an attorney to help you.  You should hire an attorney specializing in this area of law.

Andrew Hawes

Illinois Divorce: Don't let your ex deny you visitation of your children!

In Illinois, under Section 607.1 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, visitation abuse occurs when a party has willfully and without justification: (1) denied another party visitation as set forth by the court; or (2) exercised his or her visitation rights in a manner that is harmful to the child or child's custodian.
In other words, if your ex does not follow the court order for how and when visitation is supposed to occur, you can take them to court to remedy the situation.  Doing so will ensure that your ex does not deny you visitation in the future.

After hearing all of the evidence, the court may order one or more of the following:  (1) Modification of the visitation order to specifically outline periods of visitation or restrict visitation as provided by law, (2) Supervised visitation with a third party or public agency, (3) Make up visitation of the same time period, such as weekend for weekend, holiday for holiday, (4) Counseling or mediation, except in cases where there is evidence of domestic violence, as defined in Section 1 of the Domestic Violence Shelters Act [20 ILCS 1310/1], occurring between the parties, (5) Other appropriate relief deemed equitable, (6) Hold the offending party in contempt of court (which may be punishable with imprisonment).

A person convicted of unlawful visitation or parenting time interference under Section 10-5.5 of the Criminal Code [720 ILCS 5/10-5.5] cannot be punished civilly for the same conduct for which the person was convicted of unlawful visitation interference or subject that person to the sanctions provided for civilly.

That said, you may also proceed criminally against the offending party under Section 10-5.5 of the Criminal Code.  Under this law, it is a crime for a person who, in violation of the visitation, parenting time, or custody time provisions of a court order relating to child custody, detains or conceals a child with the intent to deprive another person of his or her rights to visitation, parenting time, or custody time commits the offense of unlawful visitation or parenting time interference.  A person committing unlawful visitation or parenting time interference is guilty of a petty offense. Any person violating this law after 2 prior convictions of unlawful visitation interference or unlawful visitation or parenting time interference, however, is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

As always, you should consider hiring an attorney to help you in your case.

Andrew Hawes
George Pecherek & Associates, P.C.

Thursday, March 24, 2011



1. Skonsultuj sie z adwokatem.

Uzyskanie informacji na temat wlasnych praw i obowiazków jest najbardziej kluczowym krokiem procedury rozwodowej. Doswiadczony adwokat rozwodowy bedzie w stanie doradzic w kwestiach prawa stosujacego sie do faktów konkretnej sytuacji i zalecic najlepsza droge postepowania, oraz rzeczy, których nalezy unikac. Oto dobry przyklad: powiedzmy, iz ty i twój wspólmalzonek bezustannie klócicie sie i spory te powoduja wielki stres dla waszych dzieci. Wspólmalzonek odmawia wyprowadzenia sie. Decydujesz sie wziac dzieci i zamieszkac w domu rodziców do czasu zakonczenia rozwodu, a wówczas chcesz przeprowadzic sie do domu malzenskiego. Z punktu widzenia prawnego przenosiny do domu rodziców, chocby tymczasowe, moga byc wielkim bledem. Jest to jedna z wielu rzeczy, które adwokat rozwodowy omówi podczas konsultacji.

2. Dzieci musza byc najwazniejsze.

Ze wszystkich stron w rozwodzie, dzieci czesto cierpia najbardziej. Podczas procedury rozwodowej warto utrzymac rozklad zajec dzieci mozliwie bez zmiany. Jezeli ty i wspólmalzonek klócicie sie w obecnosci dzieci – przestancie. Jezeli ty i twój wspólmalzonek nie mozecie byc razem z dziecmi bez klótni, ustalcie grafik osobnego przebywania z dziecmi. Badz zaangazowany lub zaangazuj sie w nauke, zajecia sportowe i towarzyskie dzieci. Nie obgaduj wspólmalzonka przed dziecmi. Nie posluguj sie dziecmi jako zródlem wsparcia psychologicznego. Dzieci potrzebuja i zasluguja na milosc i uwage obydwu swoich rodziców, 
przed, w trakcie i po rozwodzie. Niech dzieci pozostana na pierwszym miejscu.

3. Zrób spis majatku i dlugów domowych i rodzinnych.

Zrób liste majatku: rachunków bankowych, kolekcji, mebli, sztuki, bizuterii, urzadzen domowych, samochodów, itd. Nie zapomnij sprawdzic zawartosci skladzików w domu oraz bankowego sejfu, gdzie moga znajdowac sie przedmioty wartosciowe. Zrób liste dlugów: hipoteki, kart kredytowych, kredytów studenckich, itd. Popros o historie kredytowa wlasna i twojego wspólmalzonka, aby upewnic sie, ze znasz wszystkie dlugi. Postaraj sie w mozliwie najwiekszym stopniu poprawic swój wynik kredytowy.

4. Zrób kopie wszystkich dokumentów.

Przejrzyj dokumentacje domowa i wykonaj kopie wszystkiego, co znajdziesz: rozliczen podatkowych, wyciagów z kont bankowych, listy wypisanych czeków, wyciagów z kont inwestycyjnych, wyciagów z kont emerytalnych, informacji o swiadczeniach pracowniczych, polis i ubezpieczenia na zycie, dokumentów hipotecznych, tytulów wlasnosci, zestawien finansowych, wyciagów z kart kredytowych, testamentów, wyciagów z Social Security, tytulów wlasnosci samochodów, itd. Jezeli wspólmalzonek pracuje na wlasny rachunek, istotne jest zgromadzenie mozliwie kompletnych informacji na temat stanu finansowego firmy. Nie zapomnij sprawdzic komputera domowego, który jest dobrym zródlem informacji finansowych. Wielu ludzi sledzi stan swoich finansów za pomoca arkusza kalkulacyjnego albo oprogramowania do sporzadzania budzetu domowego. Sporzadz kopie wszelkich danych finansowych przechowywanych w komputerze domowym.

5. Poznaj wydatki domowe.

Jezeli jest to mozliwe, przejrzyj liste wypisanych czeków z ostatniego roku i zapisz koszty wszystkich swiadczen, dlugu hipotecznego oraz inne comiesieczne wydatki domowe. Zapisuj, ile wydajesz gotówki na codziennie potrzeby, aby byc w stanie ocenic swoje miesieczne wydatki gotówkowe. Znajomosc wydatków domowych jest istotna na poczatku sprawy, kiedy chodzi o ustalenie wysokosci tymczasowych alimentów. Jest równiez istotna przy zakonczeniu sprawy, kiedy trzeba dokonac realistycznej oceny zdolnosci do utrzymania domu po rozwodzie.

6. Zorientuj sie dokladnie, ile zarabia wspólmalzonek.

Jezeli wspólmalzonek dostaje regularna pensje, latwo jest przejrzec odcinki czeków, aby zorientowac sie w jego dochodzie. Ale jezeli wspólmalzonek pracuje na wlasny rachunek, jest wlascicielem firmy lub dostaje jakakolwiek czesc swojego dochodu w gotówce, o wiele trudniej jest ustalic wysokosc jego dochodu. Jezeli wspólmalzonek jest partnerem w firmie, byc moze ustalisz sposób wynagradzania partnerów podczas przypadkowych rozmów z nimi. Jezeli wspólmalzonek pracuje na wlasny rachunek i jest oplacany gotówka, warto sledzic wplywy pieniezne przez szereg miesiecy.

7. Zbuduj swoja „skarbonke”.

Nawet jezeli rozwód jest odlegla mozliwoscia, zawsze nalezy zachowac dostep do wlasnych pieniedzy. Jezeli wspólmalzonek wyprowadzi sie i przestanie placic rachunki, pieniadze beda potrzebne do czasu uzyskania tymczasowych alimentów przyznanych przez sad. Jezeli to ty wystapisz o rozwód, bedziesz potrzebowac pieniedzy na zaliczke dla adwokata. Jezeli myslisz o wyprowadzeniu sie z domu rodzinnego, beda potrzebne pieniadze na depozyt i na zakupy domowe. Zacznij oszczedzac juz teraz - jezeli konieczne bedzie wszczecie rozwodu, bedziesz miec skarbonke do wykorzystania.









Why you need a lawyer:

You might be smart, eloquent, and capable, but should you really represent yourself pro se? Probably not. Here are some of the top reasons that you should hire an attorney to handle your legal matters:

1. A lawyer knows the law
This sounds straightforward enough, but I can't stress how important this is. I have seen some very educated pro se "(i.e., "for yourself" -you represent yourself in court without an attorney) litigants that think they know the law. But the simple fact is that a professional lawyer will know a lot more about the thousands of state laws, federal laws, evidence rules, procedural rules, Supreme Court rules, local court rules, and individual judge rules. You wouldn't try to remove your own cavity after reading a brochure on it, so why would you ever want to represent yourself in an important matter in court?

2. A lawyer knows the law in action
The law may say one thing, but every good attorney knows that in the real world the law is applied in a different way. Attorneys are paid to argue about the interpretation of laws, and therefore the laws meaning has developed through case law. The pro se litigant will simply lack this depth of understanding over the law.

3. A lawyer knows the judges
Most importantly, a lawyer goes before the same judges every day. This is a huge advantage. A lawyer can see how a judge is going to rule on a given set of facts. This experience will allow them to better craft an argument that the judge is more likely to accept in your case. Further, good attorneys can develop a relationship with a judge. This is another way lawyers can develop get leeway in your case.

4. A lawyer can reduce stress in your life, at the most stressful times
You typically need an attorney at the most stressful times in your life: you got hurt in an accident, you're getting a divorce, or you're getting sued. You've probably never dealt with this before. But an attorney deals with this every single day. Let their experience guide you. You don't have to worry about what to do. Further, once you have an attorney, the other side cannot contact your directly. They have to bug your attorney, and not you.

New Blog

Pecherek & Associates, P.C. is proud to announce the launch of a new blog!  We will be providing you with free information regarding issues of family law and divorce law.  For more information or legal counsel, find us at http://www.pecherek.com/index.html