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chicago divorce lawyerWhen going through a divorce, one issue that often arises is the question of spousal maintenance, also known as alimony. In Illinois, spousal maintenance is governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. If you're going through a divorce in Cook County and are wondering about alimony, here's what you need to know.

Factors Considered in Determining Spousal Maintenance

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, there are several factors that will be considered when determining if spousal maintenance is necessary. These include:

  • The income and property of each party


Same-sex marriage has become an important issue across the United States, with federal and state courts ruling on its constitutionality. In Illinois, gay marriage was legalized in 2014, granting same-sex couples the same legal rights as opposite-sex couples. At NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq, our attorneys are here to provide legal guidance for same-sex couples getting married or divorced.

Our attorneys are committed to helping our clients navigate the complex legal landscape surrounding same-sex marriage. We offer advice on important considerations such as financial implications, rights and protections under the law, and potential challenges that may arise during a divorce.

Same-Sex Marriage in the United States

It is worth noting that despite the federal recognition of same-sex marriage, some states still do not recognize same-sex unions. Therefore, couples must understand their marriage's legal implications before moving to another state. Although the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 2013, there may still be inconsistencies between federal and state laws when it comes to the financial consequences of dissolving a same-sex marriage or civil union.


Modification of Your Divorce Decree 

Posted on in Divorce

chicago divorce modification lawyerAfter the tumultuous process of divorce, there are many crucial matters to address, including modifications to your divorce decree. In Chicago, Illinois, couples seeking a modification to their divorce judgment must navigate the complexities of the legal system, which can be challenging. Divorced individuals wishing to make a change to their divorce decree are encouraged to reach out to a family law attorney for help. 

Post-Divorce Child Support and Custody Modifications

Chicago bases child custody decisions on what's in the child's best interests, but things can alter after a divorce. A parent's relocation may require a modification to the custody circumstances. The custody may need to be changed if one parent proves unsuitable to take care of the child in their custody. Or, the child's preferences may be taken into account if they reach an age where they can express them.

You may need to change your child support order in certain situations. A significant change in one parent's take-home pay may necessitate a modification to the child support judgment. If the child's educational or medical expenses change, the child support judgment may also need modifications. Major changes to the parenting plan may also necessitate a child support modification. 


cook county divorce lawyerOne of the most frustrating parts of a divorce or child custody case is interpreting legal jargon and unfamiliar language. For example, while the term child custody is still sometimes used in casual settings, Illinois law refers to child custody as “the allocation of parental responsibilities,” and visitation is legally known as “parenting time.”

If you are a parent getting divorced, you may have questions about the language used in the parenting plan. One term many people are confused by is “the right of first refusal.” A skilled family law attorney can help you understand the right of first refusal and how you can use this element of your parenting plan to benefit you and your children.

Parenting Time Schedules in Your Illinois Parenting Plan

A crucial element of any parenting plan is the parenting time schedule. Illinois law states that parents must either create a schedule for sharing parenting time or a method for determining parenting time that is detailed enough to be enforced by the court, if needed. Some parents choose to alternate weeks, while others have the child stay with one parent during the week and the other parent during the weekend. If you and your child’s other parent can agree, you can divide parenting time however you see fit. But what happens when the parent who is assigned parenting time cannot watch the child? This is where the right of first refusal comes in.


chicago family law attorneyIn 2015, Illinois passed the Parentage Act. This provides parentage guidelines for same-sex partners. According to this act, a person can be presumed parent of a child under the age of eighteen in the following situations: 

  • Spouses were married in a civil union when the child was born 

  • The child was born 300 days before the end of a marriage or civil union 

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