Legislative Update

Life Insurance and Divorce:

Effective January 1, 2019, Public Act 100-871 makes any insurance policy that names the former spouse after a judgment of dissolution of marriage is entered by the Court ineffective.

There are three (3) exceptions:

  1. The judgment designates the insured’s former spouse as the beneficiary;
  2. The insured re-designates the former spouse as the beneficiary after judgment is entered; or
  3. The former spouse is designated to receive in trust for, on behalf of, or for the benefit of a child or dependent of either former spouse.

If the life insurance beneficiary designation is not effective under this bill, the proceeds of the policy payable to the named alternative beneficiary or, if there is not a named alternative beneficiary, to the estate of the insured. This bill does not apply to life insurance policies subject to regulation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

Guardianship and Visitation:

Effective January 1, 2019, Public Act 100-1054 allows an adult, child, spouse, adult grandchild, parent, or adult siblings to petition the Court for visitation privileges with the ward. However, the Court may not allow visitation if it finds that the ward has capacity to evaluate and communicate decisions regarding visitation and expresses a desire not to have visitation with the petitioner (the person filing the petition).

Legally yours, Susan

Free Divorce Consultation

The initial divorce consultation is the most important decision you will make during your divorce. It is understandable that you want free advice and many divorce lawyers will give you free advice. Those attorneys will give you 30 minutes over the phone, via email and, if you are lucky, in person.

30 minutes is simply not enough time for the attorney to learn the facts of your case in order to answer your questions, learn your concerns, and understand your priorities. It certainly is not enough time for you to decide if you are comfortable with me and if I am comfortable with you.

A free consultation is bait attorneys use to hook you in and hire them. After they are hired, they will charge you – at their hourly rate – to gather the facts of your situation and to really answer your questions. At the end of the day and simply stated, the “free consultation” winds up to costing you more.

At the consultation, it is my job to provide legal advice based on your circumstances. I cannot do this in 30 minutes. For the past 30+ years, I have reserved an hour and a half for a consultation and I have charged $100 for it. During that time, your questions will be answered, you will have a much better understanding of the divorce process, and you will have enough information to determine if you have confidence in me and if you are comfortable having me on your team.

The best divorce lawyers charge a fee for a consultation. Why? Because it is fair and you will receive invaluable advice. If you would like to schedule an initial consultation, please contact me to schedule a mutually convenient time to meet for 90 minutes. I look forward to meeting with you.

Legally, Susan

Who is the best divorce lawyer in Kane County?

If you are looking for a divorce lawyer, do you simply want “the best divorce lawyer” in Kane County? No. What you want is the best lawyer for you! The divorce process is stressful and personal and you need a divorce lawyer you can be honest with and trust. During the divorce process, you and your lawyer are a team and you need to work well together.

Read websites, send emails, make telephone calls, and schedule an initial consultation. After the consultation, ask yourself, was she: Honest? Knowledgeable? Professional?

Did she: Explain the reasons for the advice she gave me? Listen to me? Answer all of my questions?

Most importantly, ask yourself: Am I comfortable speaking with her? Do I feel confident in her abilities to properly and competently represent me? Will she and I make an excellent team?

Choosing a divorce lawyer is an important, personal decision and you need to choose the lawyer who is right for you!

Legally, Susan

Are You Familiar with the Latest Mediation Laws?

I am a certified Family Law Mediator – mediation is a non-binding confidential process by which a neutral third party, who is either selected by the parties or selected by the court, assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement regarding their children.

Mediation is required pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule for parents who disagree over allocation of parental responsibilities (custody), relocation, parenting time (visitation), and other non-child support issues related to their children. If the parties cannot agree to a mediator, the court will appoint a mediator for them.

The role of the mediator is to assist in identifying the issues, lessening misunderstandings between the parties, to explore and clarify the parties’ respective interests and priorities, and to identify and explore possible solutions. The goal of mediation is to find compromise and to reach an amicable resolution of some or all of the issues in dispute.

Mediation for non-child related issues may be ordered by the Court, by agreement of the parties. Examples of non-child related issues that may be subject to mediation include, but are not limited to, disputes over debts, assets, and the division of either or both.

If you are looking for a family law mediator in Kane or the surrounding counties, please contact me.

Legally yours, Susan

Dogs, Cats, Goldfish, Parakeets, and Then There Are the Children

Hello Folks,

My blog has discussed the new custody rules regarding pets – the Court must consider the best interests of the pet. And, my blog has discussed proposed House Bill 4113 where the Court would not have discretion to consider the best interests of the child – it would be presumed that shared parenting responsibilities and parenting time would be in the best interests of the child (except in extenuating circumstances). So, here is my question to you – why the presumption of equality regarding children and not pets? And, or visa versa? I welcome your thoughts and appreciate them.

Legally, Susan

The Legislature is in Session…

…And that means that new laws are being proposed and debated. This session many of the new laws impact domestic violence. Senate Bill 2330 would allow the Court to waive the publication requirement for a domestic abuse victim to change his or her name and allow the victim’s address to be omitted from Court documents. I will be discussing some of the other proposed laws the legislature is considering in the weeks to come so, please keep checking with me for updates.

Legally, Susan

Pets and Divorce

Did you know that as of January 1st, if you are going through a divorce and you have a pet (that is not a service animal), the Judge can consider the well-being of your pet in deciding whether to award joint or sole ownership? This is a shift toward treating pets more like children instead […]

Follow up to House Bill 4113 regarding parenting time and responsibilities

Today there was close to a two hour hearing on the House Bill brought forward by Father’s rights groups that was sponsored by LaShawn Ford. If passed, the Bill would increase the evidence needed to determine if a parent is unfit and would require a Judge to explain his or her decision if he or she deviates from the presumption that equal parenting responsibilities and equal parenting time are in the best interests of the child. The current statute does not prevent a Judge from granting equal parenting time but the proposed Bill will practically mandate it! No vote was scheduled on the legislation – but, it will be in due time – more to come on the hearing and the eventual vote so, please stay tuned.

Legally, Susan

Illinois’ Parenting Law

Did you know that there is a controversial change being proposed to Illinois’ parenting laws and it’s called House Bill 4113. If passed, this Bill would require a Judge to presume equal time with the children and equal parental responsibilities are in a child’s best interests. Among the Bill’s proponents are parental rights groups including Fathers for Equality. Currently, the Bill is slated to be heard by the House’s Restorative Justice Committee. Stay tuned for more!

Legally, Susan