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IL divorce lawyerAlthough there is light at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine for coronavirus being administered now, the economic impact may be felt for some time. Many non-essential businesses such as bars, restaurants, casinos, fitness centers, and salons were closed to stop the spread of COVID-19. As a result, workers across the country, including Illinois, had to file for unemployment for the first time in their lives. The financial impact of this can be especially difficult for a divorced person.

In some cases, an individual may either pay spousal maintenance (alimony) or receive it as determined in the divorce decree. Spousal support refers to the legal obligation to provide financial support to an ex-spouse in a legal separation or divorce. The purpose of this maintenance is to help the ex-spouse eventually become self-supporting. However, if either spouse loses his or her job, it is important to understand how this unemployment can impact the support payments moving forward.

Spousal Maintenance 101

According to Illinois divorce law, spousal maintenance is intended to help the supported spouse maintain a similar financial situation as he or she had during the marriage. It is often awarded to the lesser-earning spouse or one who did not work outside of the home. Before this type of financial support is awarded, the court will review certain factors, including each spouse’s income, if child support will be paid, and whether one spouse needs financial assistance. A judge can order maintenance for a short or indefinite period with a periodic review depending on the details of the marriage and divorce. For example, if a couple was married a long time and one person has medical issues that prevent them from working, the support may be permanent.

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non-custodial parent, custodial parent, child custody, Illinois law, Illinois divorce, family lawyerA new study conducted on behalf of Nebraska's State Court Administrator's Office revealed that non-custodial parents spend an average of five days per month with their children. The results came from analyzing child custody and divorce decisions made in Nebraska's family courts for the past 10 years.

The State Court Administrator's Office said that although the numbers were low and inequitable for non-custodial parents, more and more custody decisions that are being made do include a more equitable amount of parenting time, although the office does admit that change has been a slow, gradual one. Multiple past studies have shown that children who have equal contact with both parents do much better emotionally and physically than those who have limited contact with their non-custodial parent. Children also do much better in school. The study looked at 392 cases that came from 67 of Nebraska's counties. There were 663 children whose custodies were decided. Most of the custody cases involved divorce. Some of the findings included:

  • In the majority of the cases, it was the mother who was the plaintiff and father who was the defendant.
  • Mothers were granted sole custody in 50 percent of the cases. In about 30 percent of the cases, mothers were granted joint custody with the father. Fathers only received sole custody in about 20 percent of the cases.
  • One-third of the parenting plans were weekly visitations with the non-custodial parent. Another one-third of the cases had children visiting every other week with the non-custodial parent. The rest had a variety of other arrangements.

Child custody can be the most difficult area to agree on in a divorce. Although this study was conducted in the state of Nebraska, issues of inequitable time and access for non-custodial parents is an issue nationwide, including Illinois. If you are involved in a custody battle, you need an experienced Wheaton divorce attorney representing you and fighting for your parental rights in the courtroom.

paternity IMAGEA Utah man has filed a $130 million lawsuit against the biological mother of his son, who he claims, put their son up for adoption without his knowledge. According to his lawsuit, Whitney Pettersson Demke "essentially kidnapped" his son, and she conspired with the adoptive parents and the adoption agency in an "illegal, deceit-ridden infant adoption" that has kept him from his son.

In 2010, Jake Strickland was dating Demke when she told him she was pregnant. Although the two did not remain a couple and stopped dating before the baby was born, they both agreed to co-parenting responsibilities for the child. According to Strickland, during the pregnancy, they picked out a name for the baby boy - Jack - and he gave Demke money for medical and other expenses, attended doctor's appointments with her, and had even decorated a room in his home for his son's nursery.

On December 29, 2010, Strickland's son was born. However, Demke not only didn't tell him of the baby's birth, but she put the baby boy up for adoption the day after the birth. On the child's birth certificate, she wrote that she did not know who the father was.

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