Naperville family law attorneyFor a majority of families, divorce is a relatively peaceful, cooperative process that runs much smoother than the media leads us to believe. Not all divorces are messy or ugly; in fact, many separations lead to healthier, happier homes and more peaceful relationships between spouses and children.

When Things Do Not Go According to Plan

However, there are, of course, circumstances that arise for certain divorcing couples that cause a great deal of strife, particularly when it comes to financial support and visitation or custody issues. When you find yourself in one of these situations, it is only natural to experience a wide range of emotions, from anger and resentment to fear and confusion.

When the other parent goes off the radar, fails to pay child support, or refuses to cooperate with the parenting plan you have negotiated, it is easy to feel helpless and out of control of the situation. This is where the help of a professional comes in, and it is during this time that you benefit from arming yourself with as much information as possible.

If your partner refuses to cooperate or is deliberately making your child support, visitation, or custody arrangements difficult, here are some things you need to know:

It Might Be Time to Initiate Enforcement Actions

Unfortunately, not all spouses meet their obligations to pay spousal maintenance, child support, or adhere to parenting time agreements. It might fall onto your shoulders to enforce court action against the other parent. You can rest assured knowing the state can do a number of things to ensure payments are being made. For example, the state can withhold income, place liens and holds on licenses, assets, and property, and, in extreme cases, can even intercept tax refunds and seize property. In regards to visitation time, the court also has the power to modify existing orders and permissions granted to parents with fewer parenting responsibilities.

An Attorney Well-Versed in Family Law Can Help Protect Your Rights

There is no better advocate in the case of deadbeat parents than a professional, competent attorney who specializes in family law topics. If you are experiencing unfortunate roadblocks with your child’s co-parent during your divorce, speaking with a qualified DuPage County divorce attorney can provide you with the guidance and insight you need. Call Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC at 630-355-5222 today for a consultation.



DuPage County divorce lawyerWhether you have heard it referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support, alimony is an important part of the divorce process as it impacts each partner’s financial standing and well-being after the split. Many separating couples have questions about alimony as they end their marriage: Who will receive spousal support? How much will they receive and who will be responsible for the maintenance? What happens if one partner refuses to pay?

How Do I Know If I Will Receive Alimony After My Divorce?

One of the most common questions about alimony right off the bat is usually, “Am I guaranteed alimony after my divorce?”. The answer to this question is no. Not every spouse is eligible for alimony, and there are many factors that determine this outcome. In general, the court will decide if you get alimony and how much, based on your specific circumstances. The decision is always made on a case-by-case basis, according to Illinois law.

First, the court considers all of the following factors (and more) to determine whether or not a temporary or permanent maintenance award for either spouse is appropriate:

  • The needs of each party;
  • The current and future earning capacity of each party, and any relevant impairments in this area;
  • The time it will take for either party to acquire the necessary training and/or education for a certain job, trade, or career path;
  • The standard of living that was established during the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
  • Any pre-existing, valid agreements between both parties;
  • The emotional state of both parties; and
  • Economic circumstances and how the effects of property and asset division.

Should the court find that alimony is appropriate, the amount to be paid must be determined, as well as the length of time for which such payments should continue. The law in Illinois provides a formula for calculating both of these considerations, which should be used in most divorce cases. A court, however, retains the discretion to deviate from the statutory guidelines based on the circumstances of the situation. 

If you are inching your way through the divorce process and want to explore your spousal support options, you should speak with an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney who can provide you with some guidance and insight. Call Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC at 630-355-5222 today for a consultation.



Naperville divorce lawyerWhile most couples recognize that divorce can be an emotionally difficult process, many underestimate the toll it can take on their finances. This impact can extend well beyond the cost of the divorce itself, reaching into your financial future and your retirement. Careful planning prior to filing can help mitigate these effects, and may even improve your overall outcome. Understand why it is important, and how you can successfully implement proper planning techniques into your pre-divorce period.

Taking on a Life of Your Own

Obviously, divorce means that you will no longer be sharing the expenses for housing, utilities, or financial purchases and obligations. But taking on a life of your own is more than just the money you have coming in and going out. You also have to consider banking elements, financial planning, saving for your own retirement, and carrying your own health insurance. Start working on this process as soon as possible. Create a budget for yourself, and live by it. Track your own personal expenses, and explore options for retirement and health care coverage. Lastly, separate any finances that you legally can now. This can help you feel more prepared with the actual split occurs.

Your Financial Future and Retirement

When most couples go through divorce, they are thinking less about the future, and more about the present moment due, in large part, to the emotions and stresses inherent to the divorce process. This mentality, though understandable, can significantly impact your financial future and even your retirement. Protect yourself from possible consequences down the road by effectively examining your joint assets so that you can receive an equitable settlement. Ask your divorce attorney about how you may be able to protect your retirement fund. Additionally, you should consider ways that you may be able to increase your earning potential, both now, and in the distant future.

Seek Skilled Legal Experience With Your Divorce

If you are planning on filing for divorce or even just considering it as an option, our seasoned Naperville family law attorneys can help. Backed by decades of experience, we can provide skilled assistance with asset and property division, spousal maintenance (alimony), and all other financial aspects of your divorce, including those pertaining to high asset divorce. Schedule your free initial consultation with Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC to discuss your divorce today. Call us at 630-355-5222 and get the representation you deserve.




Naperville family law attorneyWhile most parents recognize that it is important they get along and work together to raise their child, many struggle with this concept after a divorce. Even a few moments with their ex may spark feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness, sadness, or guilt. When those feelings lead way to an argument, children can begin to feel as though they are responsible for the continued conflict. This may be the exact opposite of what caring, loving parents want, but they cannot seem to find a way to co-parent successfully. In these situations, parallel parenting may be a viable alternative.

What Is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting seeks to reduce conflict between parents by encouraging disengagement between parents, rather than engagement. Each works independently toward the best interest of their child, focusing solely on their personal relationship. No ill words are spoken about the other parent around the child, each household is run as each parent sees fit, and there is very little contact between parental units. Success in this parenting method is hinged upon the respect for one another’s boundaries and privacy. As such, a comprehensive plan should be developed, generally with the assistance of a skilled legal professional, such as a family law attorney.

Tips for Implementing a Parallel Parenting Plan

In a parallel parenting plan, parents should avoid contact as much as possible. Of course, they still have a child to raise together, and that requires at least some level of communication. Preferably, this communication should take place through fax, email, or another form of written communication. However, when there is a need to discuss matters in person, some basic boundaries may be able to help you avoid unnecessary conflict. Ideas could include:

  • Formal meetings, scheduled at a mutually convenient time;
  • Public calls and meetings to reduce the risk of emotional outbursts;
  • Keeping conversations to 30 minutes or less;
  • Using written communication to outline and confirm what was agreed upon at the meeting;
  • Employing the assistance of an impartial third-party individual when necessary;
  • Never discussing personal details or asking personal questions;
  • Always maintaining a polite, business-like approach to conversations; and
  • Never telling the other parent how they should parent.

Need a Parenting Plan for Your Divorce or Child-Related Dispute? Our Attorneys Can Help

There are a lot of tiny details that go into a successful parenting plan. Parents, often still reeling through the emotional aspects of a divorce, may struggle to consider each and every one of these elements. A skilled and experienced family law attorney can help ensure you have covered all of your bases, ease the mental and emotional burden, help you understand how certain aspects of your parenting plan may change over time, and even advise you as to how your decisions may affect the future of your family.

At Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC, we understand the mental and emotional struggles you are facing, and we empathize with your desire to provide a healthy and happy life for your child. Our seasoned Naperville, Illinois family law attorneys can help you find a path and a plan to make that happen, regardless of the complexities of your divorce or child custody case. To learn how, call our offices at 630-355-5222 and schedule your initial consultation today.




Posted on in Divorce

Naperville divorce lawyerDivorce is far from easy. Life changes in ways you might not have predicted, and for maybe the first time in a long time, everything is resting on your shoulders. There is no one to remind you to turn the coffee pot off, or to bring the important documents you left on the kitchen table. It does get easier with time and practice, but a little knowledge really can go a long way in giving you a head start at making this transition in a more successful way.

The Secret of the Elite

A New York Times article divulged a secret trick used by some of the country’s most elite divorcees – the use of a post-divorce planner. This hired individual can help with everything from setting up vacations and selling second homes to finding new insurance and staying on top of daily tasks. Of course, not everyone can afford such a service (average cost is approximately $350 a month), and not everyone who can afford it actually wants it. Either way, you need some reasonable and attainable methods for handling the madness that often ensues after divorce.

Seek Out a Support Network

Of all the positive changes you can make now, the support of a network of friends, coworkers, family, and even therapists is probably one of the most critical. Those that are without one after divorce often struggle with intense feelings of intense loneliness and isolation. In contrast, those that have a good support system in place often transition much easier because, when times are tough, they have someone to listen, distract, validate, or simply hug them.

Feel Good About Redefining Yourself

When in a relationship, people tend to think of themselves as part of a unit. The things they do, the places they go, even the foods they eat may be hinged (or at least partially based) upon the other person’s wants, needs, or preferences. Hobbies may have been sacrificed. Personality traits may have been suppressed. Dreams may have been unified. But, as you forge forward with your divorce, start to consider what it is that you want. What are your hopes and dreams? What sort of hobby have you always thought of doing, but have never had the time for? Explore this, and other ideas that come to mind, and enjoy the process of redefining your life.

Ready to Move Forward with Divorce? Our Attorneys Can Help

If you are planning on filing for divorce and are ready to move forward, our experienced Naperville, Illinois divorce lawyers can help. Skilled and compassionate, we advocate for your best interest, every step of the way, and pursue the very best outcome possible. Get the representation you deserve. Schedule your initial consultation with Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC. Call us at 630-355-5222 today.



Posted on in Divorce

Naperville divorce attorneyIt may seem that most divorces occur later in life, at least due to stereotypes of divorcees in movies, and divorces that are widely-publicized, namely celebrities and politicians. Therefore, it may come as a surprise that the average age of divorce is actually 30, and that the divorce rates, at least for most age groups, has been consistently dropping since 1996.

Additionally, while it may seem that if  a person is going to remarry, he or she will do so with the intention of making sure that it is better the next time around, statistics show that the rate of divorce actually increases as the number of marriages increases. Just over 40 percent of all first marriages end in divorce, while 60 percent of second marriages do and an estimated 73 percent of third marriages do. This may go to show that some people are just more prone to divorce, or at least less prone to maintain a marriage.

Struggles for Younger Divorcees

Regardless of how old you are, or how long you had been married at the time of divorce, ending your marriage can be complicated and painful for all parties involved. If you are particularly young at the time of your divorce, or were only married for a short time,, marital dissolution may feel particularly painful or unexpected. There, however, are several good things about divorcing young that people who have been through it look back and are grateful for later on in life.

Potential Positives

The first reason that divorce as a younger married couple may be somewhat beneficial is that you have plenty of time to consider the rest of your life, and to meet someone new. If you have children, they will be young enough to grow up understanding that their parents just do not live in the same home—not that their parents love them less. It is likely that you will have a larger and wider social support system the younger you are, which not only will help you to move on when you feel ready to date or seek the company of someone else, but also provide the emotional support you may need as you navigate the divorce process. There is also the recognition that going through something difficult early in life sets the groundwork for a person to be stronger and wiser moving forward.

If you or someone you know is considering divorce, no matter how old you are, qualified legal help can make the process easier. Contact an experienced Naperville divorce attorney today for a free initial consultation.



Naperville divorce attorneyWhether it is because of a higher divorce rate, or because people are living longer these days, more are reportedly deciding to sign prenuptial agreements prior to getting married. In addition, it is not just the wealthy that are doing it, a 2015 study says. Even those without substantial assets are signing these premarital contracts. But is it really the right option for your marriage? If so, how do you talk about it with your spouse-to-be? The following provides some important tips, considerations, and strategies for those considering a prenuptial agreement before marriage.

To Prenup or Not to Prenup

Deciding whether or not you should actually craft and sign a prenuptial agreement is an extremely personal decision. If, however, you want to protect your spouse from debt in the event of your death, want to protect your assets in the event of a divorce, have a potential for serious financial gain or loss in the future, or – for those who are so inclined – want to prove you are marrying your spouse for love, and not money, then a prenuptial agreement may be right for you.

Talking to Your Soon-to-Be Spouse

One of the biggest mistakes that individuals make when it comes to prenuptial agreements is not talking about the possibility of one until the very last minute. That can lead to feelings of betrayal, bitterness, and anger – some of which may not have been present, had you discussed the matter sooner. Prenuptial agreements that are signed without a reasonable period of consideration may prove to be unenforceable. So, even if you have not made a solid decision about whether or not you should have a prenuptial agreement, it is important to discuss it with your spouse-to-be as soon as possible.

Taking a Thoughtful Approach to Your Prenuptial Agreement

The need to discuss and set expectations that you can both agree upon further supports the need to discuss the matter with your soon-to-be spouse early on. This thoughtful approach – key in creating a successful agreement – is heavily reliant on effective communication, which is an important cornerstone of a healthy marriage. Thus, the process can actually set a positive tone for the upcoming years you will spend together.

Talk about your goals, your values, and your thoughts about how finances will be handled while you are together. Be open to new ideas, listen and be willing to understand, and avoid interrupting. Most of all, remember to negotiate matters in a loving way and focus on the positive aspects of both your relationship and your decision to create an agreement that benefits you both.

Ready to Draft Your Prenuptial Agreement? Our Attorneys Can Help

Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC has been serving couples in the Naperville area since 1973. Skilled and dedicated to helping you and your soon-to-be spouse create a thoughtful and effective prenuptial agreement, we can ensure that all aspects of the law are considered and that you are prepared for the unexpected. To start the process, contact our experienced Naperville, Illinois prenuptial agreement attorneys for a free initial consultation. Call 630-355-5222 today.



Naperville divorce lawyerEffective May 1, the Social Security Administration closed the “file and suspend” loophole. How does this change affect divorced individuals?

Previously, a married person could file for Social Security benefits at age 66, or at any other eligible age, which triggered his or her partner’s spousal benefit. If the person voluntarily suspended payments, his or her benefits continued to increase at roughly 8 percent a year, and the couple pocketed the spousal benefit, or half the beneficiary’s benefit, as the unpaid benefits continued to accrue interest.

Lawmakers eliminated this option, which was also called the “claim and suspend” strategy, in the 2015 budget bill, citing concerns that wealthy retirees were manipulating the system.

Divorce and Retirement

Although the government closed this loophole, the former spouse rule remains in effect. This rule allows eligible divorced spouses to claim retirement benefits if they were married at least ten years and do not remarry.

Nevertheless, a late-in-life divorce often has a significant impact on retirement planning. As a rule of thumb, maintaining separate households requires at least 25 percent more resources, and many older individuals are tempted to stop making retirement contributions, or cash in their plans, to make up the difference.

These strategies nearly always have long-term consequences. Instead, financial planners suggest the following:

  • Sell the House: If the house is sold as part of the divorce while Husband and Wife are still legally married, they can double the capital gains tax exemption to $500,000.
  • Protect Spousal Support Payments: Divorce disability insurance is rather inexpensive and will ensure that payments continue if the obligor spouse dies or becomes disabled.
  • Stay on the Job: To remain in the workforce as long as possible, consider asking for flex time at work, and remember to use Family Medical Leave Act leave time, if it is available.
  • Use Assets: Think of marital assets, such as stock options and deferred compensation, as retirement assets, and make sure they are divided accordingly.

About a quarter of all married couples over 50 will divorce, and divorced women in this age group are more than twice as likely to be impoverished as divorced men of a similar age.

Gray divorce has financial and emotional consequences. For a confidential consultation, contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney. Convenient payment plans are available.



Naperville divorce attorneyA cursory internet search about the average cost of a divorce will yield thousands of results, and almost none of them are insightful. The financial cost of a divorce varies so much on a case-by-case basis, due to the unique facts in each matter as well as the geographic location of the action, that about the only honest answer to the question “what does an average divorce cost” is that “in most cases, the cost will be higher than you anticipate.”

Divorce has other costs as well. In addition to the time spent away from work, family and friends, marriage dissolution creates a great deal of fear and anxiety over an unknown future. In addition, while some people embrace the conflict in a divorce, others abhor it and will do almost anything to avoid a fight.


Mediation may offer at least a partial solution. Because it requires less preparation and presentation time than a trial, the cost savings can be substantial. Furthermore, instead of waiting several months for a court date that may very well be put off for another several months, mediation is over in a day in most cases.

There may be other benefits as well. Some research suggests that mediated settlements have a higher voluntary compliance rate than court-issued resolutions, because the parties feel as though they have more invested in the outcome.

The Process

Mediation is more than a light at the end of the tunnel. The process itself is attractive, because it combines the competitiveness of a trial with the problem-solving perspective of a settlement conference.

Both attorneys present opening statements, so the parties feel as though they have their “day in court” where their voices are heard. Afterwards, the parties retire to separate rooms, and a trained mediator conveys settlement offers between the parties while attempting to facilitate a resolution.

There is almost no risk. If the mediation is not successful, the litigation process resumes, eventually culminating in a trial or out-of-court settlement. On the other hand, there is so much to gain, from both a financial and emotional standpoint, that mediation is almost always at least worth a try.

For prompt assistance in this area, contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney. We routinely handle divorce and other family-related matters throughout Chicagoland. 



Naperville family law attorneyMost judges in DuPage County and other jurisdictions issue standing personal conduct orders in family law matters. Among other things, these order prohibit a parent from interfering with the parenting time of the other party. In many situations, an angry parent will impede the other biological grandparents’ visitation time, in an effort to bypass these orders and “get back at” the other party.

Effective January 1 of this year, the Legislature repealed and replaced the existing grandparent visitation statute, as part of major rewrites to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. But grandparents still have the right to file a petition for contact in some circumstances, and it is still possible to win these actions.


According to Section 602.9(b), a grandparent is eligible to file a petition for access to a grandchild if:

  • In loco parentis: If a child’s biological parent is legally incompetent, missing or deceased, the grandparents may essentially take that parent’s place, in terms of parenting time.
  • Denial of contact during divorce: As mentioned above, most petitions are based on a denial of contact. In addition to a denial, at least one parent must not object to the petition and the granting of said petition cannot diminish the parenting time of the unrelated parent.

Roughly the same rules apply if the parents are not married to one another.

Overcoming the Parental Presumption

Section 602.9(b) also contains a rebuttable presumption that a denial of contact is “not harmful to the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health.” To overcome this presumption, the petitioner can introduce evidence of:

  • Children’s Wishes: Can the children explain why they have a preference, as opposed to simply stating a preference?
  • Mental and Physical Health: Do either the children or grandparents have special health situations that make unsupervised contact difficult or impossible?
  • Nature and Quality of Prior Relationship: Were the grandparents essentially babysitters, or did they actively take part in the children’s lives?
  • Motivation: Do the grandparent and/or parent want what is best for the children or do the grandparent and/or parent want revenge on the other party?

The judge may also consider “any other fact that establishes that the loss of the relationship between the petitioner and the child is likely to unduly harm the child's mental, physical, or emotional health.”

If you, or someone in your family, had a healthy relationship with grandchildren that has now been cut off or limited, contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney. After hours appointments are available.



Posted on in Divorce

mediation, DuPage County family law attorneysDramatic courtroom showdowns are a staple of many movies and TV shows for much the same reason that millions of viewers watch Game 7 of the World Series: many of us are riveted by the high stakes, winner-take-all atmosphere. While a divorce trial certainly has those elements, when your money and your future hang in the balance, and intimate details about your family become public record, a trial may lose this appeal.

A trial may be beneficial in some cases, especially if there is the need for emotional closure or the parties are unable to agree on terms. But in most cases, mediation is an attractive option, provided that the right elements are present.

Preliminary Questions

In DuPage County, judges nearly always refer contested family law cases to a mediator, unless there is an “impediment” under the rules or the parties have already unsuccessfully attempted mediation in that particular case. Most other jurisdictions, including Will County, have similar rules. Only a select number of mediators are qualified to handle family law cases, because these matters have very specific legal, factual and financial implications that other civil cases do not have.

Parties can also voluntarily attempt mediation at any time; the mediator should always be a family law attorney who practices in the area.

Procedural Issues

Before the parties arrive, most mediators review the active pleadings to familiarize themselves with the issues and events in the case. Perhaps more importantly, such a review offers insight into the current routine in terms of custody, visitation, support and other items.

Most mediations take place in an office-type setting that has at least two conference areas. After the attorneys make brief opening statements, each party retires to a separate conference area, and the mediator conveys settlement offers back and forth. The separation often allows for an effective “cooling off” period that helps ensure decisions are made based on the facts, and not based on emotion.

The session typically lasts a full day. If a settlement is not reached, the mediator usually declares an impasse, although it is not unheard of for negotiations to resume again later, if the parties are close to an agreement.

Mediation is often a good alternative to a trial, but is not suitable for every situation. To learn more, or for a confidential consultation with an experienced Naperville family law attorney, contact our office. Convenient payment plans are available.



agreements, Naperville divorce attorneyWith the new baseball season upon us, now is a good time to look back on the moment when the resurgence of a Major League Baseball team converged with divorce and prenuptial agreement law.

In 2011, the West Coast billionaire power couple who owned the Los Angeles Dodgers filed for divorce. At the time, the team was in bankruptcy and the franchise’s value was lower than it had been in many years. The wife, who was then a co-owner, agreed to relinquish her share of the franchise in exchange for “the security of a guaranteed $131 million payment, plus more than $50 million in real and personal property,” according to a court ruling.

Several years later, after the acquisition of several high-profile players and a nearly unprecedented revival, the husband sold the team for a whopping $2.15 billion. His ex-wife sued for roughly $900 million, which she claimed should have been her share of the sale's proceeds. To get out of the prior agreement, she claimed that her husband had misled her about the team’s value.

Upon review of the approximately 220,000 pages of documents that he submitted during the divorce, the court ultimately sided with the husband, and even ordered the wife to pay an additional $1.9 million in legal fees.

Spousal Agreements

Even though California is a community property state and Illinois is an equitable distribution state, they are both Uniform Premarital Agreement Act states, so in this area, roughly the same law applies in both jurisdictions.

Both states have something else in common: voluntary agreements between spouses receive considerable deference from judges. In order to overturn such a pact, the challenging party must show evidence of:

  • Involuntariness: Some states have a list of factors that would show involuntariness, but in Illinois, such a determination in almost entirely within the judge’s discretion.
  • Unconscionable: Not only must the division be so uneven as to shock the conscience, it must have been unconscionable when it was made. In the above example, when the 2011 property agreement was signed, it was not deemed unconscionable.

The UPAA contains a severability provision, which means that if one part of a premarital agreement is subsequently declared invalid, all other provisions remain in effect.

Spousal agreements that conform to the UPAA are nearly ironclad in most cases. For a confidential consultation, contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney. We routinely handle property division matters throughout Chicagoland.



temporary orders, Naperville divorce lawyerWhen it was dedicated in 1889, the Eiffel Tower’s builders intended it as a temporary structure to decorate Paris during the World’s Fair and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. At that time, World’s Fairs were major international events, bigger even than the Olympics. Officials were ready to demolish it in 1909, but decided to keep it as a radio tower. Today, the Eiffel Tower draws more visitors than any other paid tourist destination on the planet. The most famous landmark in the City of Lights is not the only temporary thing that becomes permanent. In most Illinois divorces, the judge enters temporary orders within a few weeks, or even a few days, after the petition is filed. Although they are meant to be temporary, in many cases, these orders may eventually become permanent.

The Law

Either party may request temporary child support and/or temporary spousal maintenance. Many times, these orders are prepared on the basis of affidavits that are submitted along with supporting financial documents, such as paystubs and tax returns. If there is a compelling need, the judge may hold an in-person hearing.

Temporary orders govern custody, visitation, and support matters until the divorce is finalized. Such temporary orders generally also include:

  • Financial Restraining Order: Parties are prohibited from transferring or spending money in anything other than the usual course of business, normal living expenses, and attorneys’ fees payments.
  • Personal Restraining Order: Children may not leave the county or the state for any purpose or for any length of time, absent extraordinary circumstances and the judge’s written permission.
  • Case-Specific Orders: For example, when there are allegations of domestic violence, the judge may order parties to attend counselling or surrender any dangerous weapons in their possession.

If there is evidence that “irreparable injury will result to the moving party,” orders may be entered without hearings. Temporary orders are always subject to modification and, in many cases, are appealable.

The Procedure

Temporary orders often become permanent because judges generally favor the status quo, and are reluctant to upset it unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Additionally, the same judge that enters or approves the temporary orders is often the one that will approve the final decree, and no one likes to admit that they made a mistake.

That being said, the temporary orders are not set in stone. In many cases, information comes to light during discovery that radically alters the situation or a social investigator unearths evidence that pertains to the best interest of the children. Moreover, the judge almost always accepts whatever agreement the spouses reach, even if it alters provisions in the temporary orders.

Events transpire quickly in divorce proceedings, so it is important to put an experienced Naperville family law attorney on your side as soon as possible. Contact us today for prompt assistance.



divorce rate, Naperville family law attorneyWith a new Justice League movie on the big screen, some are asking why the costumed superheroes are no longer on network television. According to one observer, no-fault divorce laws may have closed the Hall of Justice, accomplishing what Lex Luthor and his ilk could never pull off.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Superman, Batman, and the rest of the Super Friends/Justice League might draw 20 million viewers on a Saturday morning. By the 1980s, that number had dwindled to two million, and that decline coincides with skyrocketing divorce rates. It seems that part-time parents were no longer content with allowing to stare at the TV screen for several hours each weekend, as divorced moms and dads sought more “quality time” with their children. Other factors, most notably the rise of kids-only cable channels that were exempt from federal broadcasting rules, also contributed to the change.

After years of decline, the last “Saturday morning cartoon” signed off in 2008.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

California Governor Ronald Reagan signed one of the country’s first no-fault divorce laws in 1968; over the next ten years, most other states followed suit. Effective January 2016, Illinois abolished all evidence-based divorces, like adultery and cruelty, and all marriage dissolutions in the state must now be based on “irreconcilable differences.” While many observers hailed the end of the need for couples to air their “dirty laundry” for everyone to see, some expressed dismay as abuse victims seemingly lost some of their power.

But fault in the breakup of the marriage can still be relevant for property division purposes, because dissipation (waste) of community assets is expressly relevant for property division purposes, and arguably relevant in determining the amount and duration of spousal support payments. Such dissipation takes place if, for example, Husband spends thousands of dollars buying gifts for various girlfriends or Wife maintains a “love nest” with another man.

It may be unrealistic to expect a night-and-day difference in the property settlement or alimony determination, because these laws are not designed to punish wayward spouses. The judge, however, will certainly consider any and all inequities when making a division.

For prompt assistance with a marriage dissolution matter, contact an experienced family law attorney in Naperville today. We routinely handle cases throughout the greater Chicagoland area.



child support, Naperville family law attorneyFaced with possible shutdown because of the ongoing budget crisis, the state's Title IV child support collection arm should now have enough money to remain operational through the end of the fiscal year.

Kane County officials recently approved a $310,000 emergency loan, which coupled with federal funding, should allow local four-attorney division of the State's Attorney's Office to meet its $700,000 budget. According to reports, the state of Illinois had not made a payment on the contract since last August and, after having met payroll in February, the agency was out of money. The county may file suit against the state to recover the $310,000, but one official said such action would be “a last resort.” Going forward, there are plans to merge Title IV with federal programs, as the county cannot afford to continue footing the bill.

Title IV collected a little over $25 million in past-due child support last year.

Child Support in Illinois

The Land of Lincoln is one of the few remaining states that utilize a percentage-of-income system for child support determination purposes, as most states have adopted a model that considers other factors in addition to the obligor’s income, such as the amount of parenting time.

There is a sliding scale which begins at 20 percent for one child and ends at 50 percent for six or more children. With a few exceptions, such as permanently physically or mentally disabled children, the child support obligation ends when the children turn 19 or graduate from high school, whichever comes first.

If the judge determines that the guideline amount is not “appropriate after considering the best interest of the child,” the amount may deviate based on:

  • Child’s Resources and Needs: Some children have income from part-time jobs or annuity payments, while others have special physical, emotional, or educational needs.
  • Parents’ Resources and Needs: It may be inappropriate for a low-income obligor to pay guideline child support to a high-income obligee.
  • Specific Costs: The statute lists uninsured medical expenses, child care expenses, extracurricular activities, and educational expenses.

Child support may be modified based on a material change in circumstances, such as a good faith job change. Changing needs of the child may also necessitate an order modification.

Many area families depend on regular support payments. For prompt assistance in this area, contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney. We routinely handle cases in DuPage County, Will County, and nearby jurisdictions.



college expenses, Naperville child support lawyersCollege expenses are increasing nationwide, but why has tuition at Illinois public universities doubled over the past ten years, and what effect does that increase have on child support orders?

The pension fund crisis has touched institutions of higher learning. In 2005, 20 percent of the higher education budget was earmarked for pensions; by 2015, that proportion was 53 percent. So, drastic tuition hikes were deemed necessary to keep facilities up to date and otherwise remain competitive. Moreover, state institutions of higher learning are hiring 50 percent more administrators than instructors, resulting in a payroll imbalance. According to one estimate, the University of Illinois’ chancellor’s salary could have funded more than 320 Monetary Award Program grants for low-income students.

Tuition and fees at the University of Illinois-Springfield are about 30 percent above the national average.

Paying for College After Divorce

In most cases, regular child support ends after the children turn 18. But college expenses are one of the most notable exceptions. And despite recent amendments to Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, including a cap on college expenses, a limit on the length of payments, minimum grade point requirements, and the inclusion of 529 plans and other assets, much of the law is highly discretionary.

Many of the likely areas of contention are in Section 513(d), which says that the parents may be ordered to divide the cost of:

  • Tuition and Fees: There is a significant difference between a year at a local community college and a year at the University of Illinois. Furthermore, what obligation (if any) does the student have to borrow money?
  • Housing Expenses: The amount is capped, in most cases at a double-occupancy dormitory room at the University of Illinois, but once again, the actual amount for housing can vary significantly, depending on both the location and type of housing.
  • Living Expenses: This category is vague as well. For example, “transportation” is included, but does that mean a new car with full insurance and a gas/maintenance stipend, a pair of one-way bus tickets to get from home to school and back again, or something in between?

The judge may award a reasonable amount based on the evidence and arguments of counsel, underscoring the need for thorough preparation and effective advocacy.

Division of college expenses is an oft-overlooked element of child support. For a confidential consultation, contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney. We routinely handle cases in DuPage County and nearby jurisdictions.



property division, Naperville family law attorneysIn a bygone era, Illinois and most other American jurisdictions were all common law states, regarding marital property distribution. Under this system, marital property belonged to the spouse’s name that appeared on the title, irrespective of anything else. That formula worked well through much of the nineteenth century, as it was generally illegal for women to own property.

Needless to say, a lot has changed in the Land of Lincoln since the man himself was first elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1834. Now, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act stipulates that all marital property must be divided equitably, which is not necessarily the same thing as equally, no matter whose name appears on the title.

Pre-Distribution Procedure

Generally speaking, marital property is anything that was not acquired before the marriage or by gift. But property division is usually not as simple as that categorization implies.

In most marriages, especially those of a rather long duration, property often becomes commingled. For example, Husband might use funds from his paycheck (marital property) to restore a classic car he bought before the marriage (non-marital property), and Section 503(c) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act addresses these issues.

The first question is whether or not the commingled property has transmuted, or lost its identity. To return to the previous example, if Husband only used his paycheck for new tires or new upholstery, the community property has probably been transmuted. This inquiry is very much fact-based.

If the property has not been transmuted, and the contributing estate can establish contribution by clear and convincing evidence, that estate is entitled to reimbursement. Such reimbursement often comes in the form of a lien that is payable when the property is sold.

Distribution Factors

Once the property is categorized, it must be divided in accordance with the factors listed in the statute. Some of the more prominent ones include:

  • Agreement: Most divorces are settled out of court, and the judge typically approves any agreement that was voluntarily made and not manifestly one-sided.
  • Children: If Wife maintains primary responsibility for minor children, she will may be awarded the house and a family-sized car, if the parties own these things.
  • Relative health: If one spouse is older or in poor health, that spouse may be entitled to a greater property share, because of a diminished income-earning capacity.
  • Relative economic circumstances: The same argument may apply if one spouse is a cardiologist and the other is a teacher’s aide, or if one spouse is entitled to a substantial inheritance and the other is not.

For prompt assistance in this area, contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney for a confidential consultation. Convenient payment plans are available.



Posted on in Child Custody

order modification, Naperville family law attorneyIn the late Cold War, President Ronald Reagan adopted an old Russian proverb, “doveryai no proveryai,” in nuclear arms reduction talks with Russian Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. When translated into English, the phrase means "trust, but verify." That same philosophy applies to family law modification procedures: agree whenever possible to facilitate effective co-parenting, but always get any changes in writing and make sure those documents are enforceable. Such orders often including co-parenting plans, allocated parental responsibilities, and parenting time schedules.

If too much emphasis is placed on either side of the equation, the family’s life will be out of balance. It is not cost efficient, from a financial or emotional standpoint, to constantly file motions and counter-motions based on new circumstances. At the same time, an over-reliance on informal agreements and the hope that the other party will “do the right thing” is a recipe for disaster.

It is important to note that side agreements between the parents, even if they are in writing, are never enforceable in family court. But under new changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, such side agreements could streamline the modification process.

Expedited Modification

Under the new Section 610.5(e), these agreements can serve as the basis for a motion to modify the parenting plan, even if it has been less than two years since the existing order went into effect. To qualify, the agreement must be:

  • In Use: The parents must actually be exchanging the children at Mom’s house instead of Dad’s house, for example, and not merely talking about making such a change.
  • Period of time: The agreement must have been in effect for at least six months before the motion to modify is filed.
  • Mutual: Both parents must actually agree; if one parent abides by the terms but does not really agree, the modification may be contested.
  • Voluntary: The same result applies if there was excessive arm-twisting or any other such coercion.

The expedited path is also available for “minor” modifications, a word that is not defined but probably means items like typographical errors or changing a pickup time from 12:00 pm to 12:15 pm. An expedited proceeding is also possible if the modification is necessary to correct a glaring error, like granting unsupervised visitation to a person with a pending criminal case in this area.

Contested Modification

If the expedited path is not available, the motion must be based on a substantial change in circumstances, such as:

  • Job change,
  • Removal of disability,
  • Substance abuse relapse, or
  • Remarriage.

If a contested motion is brought within two years of the existing order, the movant must also show that there is a danger to the children’s emotional health or physical well-being.

When life changes make the prior parenting orders unworkable, contact an experienced efamily law attorney in Naperville for a confidential consultation. We routinely handle cases in DuPage County, Will County, and nearby jurisdictions.



spousal support, Naperville divorce lawyerFor the fourth time in four years, the Florida House of Representatives wants to follow Illinois’ lead and largely end permanent spousal support in the Sunshine State. The measure likely has enough support to make it through both the House and Senate. Two years ago, Governor Rick Scott vetoed a similar bill, because it applied retroactively to prior property divisions. Last year, advocates removed the retroactivity provision but another controversial element – a presumption that equal time-sharing was in the children’s best interest – caused that bill to fail. Another bill died because the session expired.

One family law attorney welcomed the proposed changes because the mathematical formula makes alimony awards more predictable and thus more negotiable during mediation.

Alimony in Illinois

Permanent spousal support is already mostly a thing of the past in the Land of Lincoln, as the wave of alimony reform that keeps crashing ashore in Florida touched Illinois lawmakers several years ago.

As of January 1, 2015, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act treats spousal support much like child support, in most cases. Instead of nearly unlimited discretion regarding both the amount and duration of payments, judges must now apply a mathematical formula that utilizes:

  • 30 percent of the payor spouse’s gross income;
  • 20 percent of the payee spouse’s gross income; and
  • The length of the marriage.

The gross income for spousal support purposes is calculated much differently than the net income used in child support calculation. Gross income refers to all income from all sources without any allowable reductions.

Specifically, the amount of support is found by subtracting 20 percent from the payee's gross income from 30 percent of the payor's gross income. The duration of the order is based on a percentage of the length of the marriage, according to a table provided in the statute.

Assume that Wife earns $150,000 per year, Husband earns $30,000 per year, and they are divorcing after a 15-year marriage. Wife would pay husband $39,000 ($45,000 minus $6,000) per year for 12 years (15 multiplied by 0.8).

Is Spousal Support Needed?

Before that formula is even applied, however, the requesting spouse must introduce evidence that support is necessary. That decision is based on:

  • Each party’s income, property, and economic circumstances,
  • Relative age and health of the parties,
  • Duration of the marriage,
  • Noneconomic contributions to the marriage, and
  • Any spousal agreements.

Fault in the breakup of the marriage is not relevant to alimony determination. Cases in which the combined income of the parties exceeds $250,000 per year or involve alimony or support from previous relationships will be handled on a situational basis at the discretion of the court.

For prompt assistance in this area, contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney. Convenient payment plans are available.



Posted on in Uncategorized

child support, Naperville family lawyerOnly about half of child support obligees receive the full amount they are owed, resulting in a staggering $5 billion annual arrearage. Moreover, there is about a 4-to-1 ratio between administrative costs and money collected. So, in order to collect $100 million in unpaid support, a state must spend at least $25 million. In many cases, that is money which the state simply does not have.

As a result, child support enforcement cases that are turned over to the Attorney General or other public agency often languish due to lack of attention. And, once the case finally begins to move through the system, the state attorney does not represent you or your family.

Conversely, a private attorney is a strong advocate who is committed to upholding your legal and financial rights. Also, an experienced child support collection lawyer has the exact same tools that are available to a state attorney.

Procedural Matters

A judge normally authorizes a withholding order when the divorce or child custody paperwork is signed, but this order is usually not issued. If the obligor parent becomes delinquent, and the obligor parent has a W-2 job, that withholding order can normally be served on the person’s employer. Typically, that order can withhold up to 50 percent of the obligor’s check for both current and past due child support.

Serving a withholding order is sometimes easier said than done. Many times, employers use off-site companies to handle payroll matters; other times, the obligor parent’s employer is in another state, and may hesitate to respect an Illinois court order.

In addition to wage withholding, there are a number of other coercive measures that can be taken, including:

  • Drivers’ license and/or passport suspension;
  • Asset seizure;
  • Tax refund seizure; and
  • Jail time and/or probation.


In most cases, the only element that an obligee parent must establish is that the obligor willfully failed to pay support. That is not the same thing as an “intentional” failure to pay; normally, if the obligor paid any other bills during the time period in question, there was a willful failure to pay child support. Involuntary unemployment due to a physical inability to work is typically the only defense.

Unpaid child support is crippling to many Chicago area families. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Naperville family law attorney, contact our office. Convenient payment plans are available.



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Roscich & Martel Attorneys has provided high-quality legal representation in divorce, family law, real estate, estate administration, probate, wills, Advance Health Care Directives (living wills), and powers of attorney to residents of Naperville, Aurora, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Wheaton, Warrenville, Winfield, Downers Grove, Lisle, Kendall County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Will County in Illinois.

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