In a divorce or custody dispute, we understand that you want to be treated with fairness and respect. This goes both ways. You have certain rights under Illinois law, and you have certain obligations to your children,to the other parent, and to the court.
Our team at Boyer Law Office covers all aspects of divorce and family law in Will, Grundy, and Kendall Counties in Illinois. We will take the time to understand your situation and help you develop your goals and strategies. We also explain how the process works, how the court is likely to rule, and what you should and should not do to put yourself in position for the most favorable outcome. Contact our office for a free initial consultation.
Client Rights and Responsibilities
- Put everything on the table — You have a legal responsibility to be forthcoming about financial matters. You should never try to hide money or transfer assets to family or friends in anticipation of divorce. You should not underreport your income to avoid paying child support or alimony. Everything you own and earn is subject to the discovery process, and holding anything back could backfire severely. On the other side of this issue, I will use forensic accountants and subpoenas if you believe your soon-to-be-ex or co-parent is cheating the system.
- Don’t take the kids and run — If you are trapped in an abusive relationship, you may be tempted to leave with the children. This is not the answer. The court will look unfavorably on depriving the other parent of custody rights. If you have been assaulted or threatened, call 911 or go to the police and file for a domestic violence order for protection. The abusive spouse or partner will be arrested and removed from the home.
- Don’t badmouth the other parent — It’s tempting to tell the judge and anyone who will listen about the other party’s bad behavior and poor parenting skills. If you are seeking primary custody or greater visitation time, this will come back to haunt you. The courts lean toward awarding custody to the parent who is most likely to foster an atmosphere of cooperation, communication and respect. Parental alienation (turning your child against the other parent) can result in losing custody.
- Don’t make big decisions without the other parent — Even if you have residential custody, you still share joint legal custody. The other parent must be consulted about major decisions regarding health care, schooling, religious upbringing and extracurricular activities. If you repeatedly cut the non-custodial parent out of the loop, you not only create feuds but may find yourself in court facing sanctions.
- Don’t mess with the visitation schedule — The temporary orders or final parenting plan you agreed to are on record with the court. Denying visitation, failing to have the child available or otherwise interfering with or intruding on the other parent’s scheduled time can result in make-up visitation, court-ordered revision of the parenting plan, or even reversal of custody or jail time.
- Choose your battles — You don’t want an ongoing custody war until your child turns 18. Litigation is expensive, stressful for everyone (including your children), and rarely ends the dispute. Avoiding litigation does not mean compromising your values. It’s about setting priorities, being thoroughly prepared for negotiation and seeing the Big Picture.
As your attorney, our job is to make sure you put your best foot forward with the court. We want you to enter this process optimistic but realistic, and focused on clear, long-term goals. We will help you sidestep unnecessary litigation, take full advantage of mandatory mediation and stand your ground on the truly important issues.
We offer a free, confidential consultation to discuss your rights and responsibilities in family law proceedings. To speak directly with an experienced Joliet area lawyer, contact us at 312-313-3022 anytime.