Stavros Law Offices is a top-rated Illinois firm that is leading the way in family law. Stavros Law Offices represents clients in cases involving a broad range of issues, including contested custody and possession, parental alienation, complex property and high-asset property division, characterization of property, and jury trials. For years, our award-winning attorneys have been advocating for the rights of families and individuals in numerous jurisdictions around Illinois.
If you or a loved one are in need of assistance, Stavros Law Offices is here to help.
When you are faced with an important life decision regarding a family relationship, the assistance of a family law attorney can prove crucial to your understanding of the issues involved, and your satisfaction with the final outcome of the matter. Reaching agreements or resolving family law disputes requires the skill and understanding of an experienced Illinois Family law Attorney. Many times, an agreement can be reached through mediation or negotiation before heading to court. In other situations, litigation is the best way to protect your interests and the interest of your loved ones. The Family Law attorneys at Stavros Law Offices are accomplished trial attorneys and skilled negotiators who vigorously advocate for you and your families best interests.
The end of a marriage is always difficult, and a divorce is often as complex as it is painful. When going through a divorce, many people wonder what factors will matter, if their marriage will be treated differently than any other marriage, or if they will get stuck making alimony payments for the rest of their lives. Some people are uncertain as to whether they are even legally married. No matter what questions and worries you have, our experienced team will help you navigate the divorce process with ease. Schedule a consultation with one of our Divorce Attorneys today by calling 847-520-4810. Many people going through a divorce have questions regarding infidelity, spousal support, child custody, division of assets, etc; we would be happy to discuss these and any other questions you may have.
Child Custody and Parental Decision Making
Decisions regarding their children are the most important and difficult decisions our clients make. We take these issues very seriously, and we handle cases involving children with extreme precision and sensitivity. Many clients worry about how a judge or jury determines which parent should have custody. In evaluating child custody disputes, the court must determine what will be in the best interest of the child. In Illinois, there is a presumption that the child's best interests are served when both parents are involved in the child's upbringing. There is also a presumption that the parents will cooperate for their child's physical, mental, and emotional well-being. A presumption means the judge starts out by assuming those things; the presumptions can be rebutted (challenged) by a showing of evidence to the contrary. A judge or jury cannot base their decisions on gender or marital status. Instead, the court examines a multitude of factors to determine what is in the child's best interest.
The major factors that are considered in Illinois child custody disputes include:
- each parent's desires for the child's custody,
- the child's wishes,
- the child's relationship with each parent,
- the child's relationship with siblings or others,
- the child's involvement in school and the community,
- the circumstances of the child's home life,
- the physical and mental health of the child, the parents, and any other person who may be involved,
- a history of domestic violence by either parent, even if that violence was not directed at the child,
- whether there is a threat of physical violence against the child or any other person, and
- each parent's ability and willingness to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent
Child Support and Modification
Child support must be addressed as part of any custody or parenting time determination. The law requires both parents to financially support their children. The right to receive support belongs to the child so a court must approve any child support determination or modification.
Child support may be determined by following state guidelines or deciding on a different amount through negotiation. In Illinois, support usually follows the guideline amounts unless there are extraordinary circumstances. Changes in a parents health or employment circumstances may require a modification to a child support order. Attorneys at Stavros Law Offices can assist with obtaining an court order for child support, enforcing a child support order, garnishing wages of a parent in violation of a child support order and modifying a child support order after a significant change in circumstances.
In cases where the well-being of a child is at issue, sometimes parents will resort to inappropriate measures. Illinois law recognizes one of the most insidious—known as parental alienation—as a possible reason to adjust a parenting plan or custody agreement. Many people, however, do not understand parental alienation or how to recognize the signs of it.
Parental alienation occurs when a child is influenced into believing the worst of one parent, most often by the other parent—though sometimes by a grandparent or someone else close to the alienator. The goal of parental alienation is usually to get the child to totally reject the other parent. This most often happens during custody or divorce proceedings, though it can, in theory, occur at any time in a child's life and is always devastating to the parent who is the target of the alienation.
Children's minds are impressionable, therefore it is imperative to be able to spot parental influence toward alienation as soon as possible. Some of the Red flags include:
- The alienator being completely honest in every detail about the divorce. There are certain issues, such as those that are sexual or financial in nature, that a child should not be forced to hear, regardless of age;
- Showing sadness or jealousy at reports of the child having fun with the other parent;
- Denying or avoiding the other parent's exercise of their parental rights. For example, not granting a father a say in medical treatment of his child could be a sign of a deeper problem;
- Denying, avoiding or outright ignoring the former spouse's parenting time; and
Many other potential issues are evident in alienating parents that can have effects on their children's relationships with the other parent. Children of relationships where alienation happens may also exhibit psychological difficulties like depression, anger issues, and low self-esteem. However, these are understandably more difficult to link to potential parental alienation, at least by legal standards.
There may be legal recourse if you or a loved one is the victim of parental alienation. Proving parental alienation can be difficult, but if it can be done by an experienced attorney. The common legal remedy is to effect a change in custody—now called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois. The most oft-cited recent case on the subject is In re Marriage of D.T.W. , decided in 2011, and in it, a case was conclusively made that the mother, exerted considerable effort in trying to alienate her two children from their father. As a result, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's ruling granting sole custody to the father. The ruling gave the children a chance to truly spend time with their father rather than to buy into their mother's misinformation.
Parental alienation is very real, and it is grounds to petition for changes in parenting time and or custody orders. If it is happening to you, you need an advocate on your side. Contact an experienced Illinois Family Law attorney to get the help you need. Stavros Law Offices will fight for you to ensure you keep your relationship with your children. Call us today at 847-520-4810 to set up an appointment
Abuse and Restraining Orders, Orders of Protection
There are few things more intimidating than living with someone abusive. Never knowing what might set the other person off, not feeling safe in your own home, and feeling isolated from others can make help feel unobtainable. Although it might seem out of reach, support is available, no matter what type of abuse is inflicted. Contrary to common belief, abuse isn't always physical; abuse can also be emotional or financial.
We understand that asking for help takes a great deal of courage and strength, but if you're uncertain as to whether or not your partner is abusive, seek help immediately. Abuse often escalates to life-threatening levels, and your well-being is our top priority. Let the skilled attorneys at Stavros Law Offices, help you regain your voice, control, and freedom.
Protective orders and restraining orders are court orders that intend to safeguard survivors of family violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, or stalking from further hostility by prohibiting contact by the abuser and preventing the abuser from legally possessing a firearm. The court will look at the evidence pointing to an incident of domestic violence and assess the likelihood of its occurrence again in the future. Such orders are considered civil injunctions and do not create a criminal record; however, the violation of these orders is a crime. Additionally, in Illinois the issuance of an order of Protection automatically revokes the abuser's the FOID card and imposes significant hurdles to reissuance of the FOID card.
Protective orders and restraining orders are intended to protect survivors against further harm or harassment, and prohibit the offender from acting in any manner injurious to the protected person(s). These orders also signal to third parties involved with your family (schools, employers, daycares, the police) that something serious occurred. If a violation of an order occurs in the future (while it is in effect), the police will typically act swiftly and respond to any incidents immediately.
Attorneys at Stavros Law Offices can help you or your loved one obtain an order of protection or restraining order, call us immediately if you believe you or a loved one is in danger, 847-520-4810.
Mental Health and Addiction
There are many reasons people find themselves in a family law matter, but unfortunately, such issues are frequently due to an impairment of one of the parties. Regardless of whether the impairment is from an untreated mental health issue or substance abuse issues, the impact on the family is the same—chaos, confusion, and fear.
People living in these situations are often surprised to realize things have gotten as bad as they have, and many more are embarrassed to ask for help. We are experienced in providing support and legal guidance in these types of cases. If you think you are experiencing these issues with your partner or co-parent, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your children, and your future.
More often than not, cases involving high-conflict litigation typically have one parent with a personality disorder or other mental health impairment. The most common disorders we encounter are narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, anxiety and major depressive disorder. Finding relief from these relationships can be one of the most emotionally challenging (and sometimes even dangerous) processes you go through, and we will be with you every step of the way.
Some divorces or custody cases begin because one party believes the other is suffering from a mental health issue. Many more discover the existence of an issue during litigation. Sometimes a spouse will know something is wrong but won't know what. Other times, they may know of a diagnosis or have information from a marriage therapist that gives them some insight into what they are experiencing. Either way, not knowing where to turn and what to expect in your case can feel overwhelming. Clients often describe living or co-parenting with someone who has a mental health diagnosis as living in a constant state of “walking on eggshells.” Many more worry no one will believe their story or that—because the other spouse can present as charming and likable—the dangerous spouse will be able to effectively lie to the court, psychological evaluators, and mental health providers.
If you know or believe your spouse or co-parent is suffering from a mental health disorder, it's essential to address your concerns with the appropriate professionals to determine how this impairment impacts that parent's ability to parent.
Substance abuse is one of the most common causes of family destruction, marital unhappiness, and problems in every other area of the impaired person's life. A person with a severe chemical dependency is rarely able to function effectively in a marriage or as a parent. They are unable to prioritize anything above their addiction, including their children, marriage, job, or finances. When faced with someone who has an addiction, it's vital to have healthy boundaries, an understanding of what you're up against, and a plan of action. Sometimes, people with substance abuse issues don't present as impaired when they are under the influence, so you must educate yourself about the tools and resources available.
Our team is experienced in dealing with substance abuse issues and the impact these issues may have on the entire family system. We can guide you on what legal steps should be taken in a crisis, as well as what a long-term plan may look like for your family and your peace of mind. Unfortunately, no one can force an addict to accept help, but we can provide support to those impacted.