1012 Ekstam Drive, Suite 4, Bloomington, IL 61704
Family law is a practice area of civil law that covers cases of divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, adoption, and many more legal procedures. At the Stange Law Firm office in Bloomington, we provide Illinois parents and families with the legal representation they need to navigate the often-confusing rules of the McLean County family court system.
The Stange Law Firm has provided reliable family law counsel to families throughout our Midwest service areas since 2007. We have established a strong reputation as a compassionate, thorough, and experienced team of legal professionals with a firm commitment to protecting our clients’ rights and interests. If you expect to encounter any type of family law matter in the near future, such as a divorce and subsequent negotiations concerning child support and allocation of parental responsibilities, you can rely on the Stange Law Firm team to assist you through every step of your legal proceedings.
Why Choose the Stange Law Firm in Bloomington?
Bloomington, IL, is home to more than 77,000 people, and family law matters develop for countless reasons every day. While some legal issues may seem straightforward at first, the reality is that most people with no formal legal education or legal experience would have a very challenging time navigating the McLean County family court system without professional representation.
Illinois has one of the lowest divorce rates in the United States at about 7% of marriages ending in divorce. However, this does not exactly indicate that a married couple’s chances of remaining married in Illinois are automatically, inexplicably, higher. The state also has a relatively low marriage rate; less than 65% of people older than 15 are married. Ultimately, Illinois families and couples are just as likely to meet with divorce and related family law matters as they are in most other states.
At the Stange Law Firm, we approach every new case we accept with our focus firmly centered around the client. We understand that every family law case is unique, and there is no room for cookie-cutter legal representation when your family’s future is on the line. When you choose the Stange Law Firm in Bloomington, IL, as your legal representatives, our team will leverage the full range of our resources and experience to guide you through the family law procedures of Oklahoma, McLean County, and the United States.
Common Family Law Matters Our Firm Handles
Family law is a broad range of civil law, including many different types of legal issues such as:
- Divorce. When a couple decides to end their marriage, there are legal procedures in place to make it happen. The divorce laws of McLean County and Illinois aim for equitable divorces, and every divorce case is unique. Illinois state divorce laws allow couples to divorce on fault-based grounds, such as adultery, bigamy, impotence, abandonment, and several other possibilities. Still, the state also allows no-fault divorce proceedings on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences.”
- Allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. The McLean County court system, and every other family law court in the United States, has a legal duty to ensure the best interests of children involved in divorce cases. At the Stange Law Firm, we help divorcing couples determine the terms of parental responsibility and parenting time that make the most sense for their children and ensure the best chances of safe, enriching, and nurturing upbringing.
- Child support. Some divorce cases end with one parent assuming the majority of parental responsibility over their children. At the same time, the other spouse may have limited parenting time, or no parental rights or parenting time at all. Illinois law allows custodial parents to collect child support payments from noncustodial parents, and the amounts of these payments may fluctuate around many variables.
- Adoption. It’s common for a stepparent to assume legal parental rights over a stepchild, especially if the child’s biological parent has died, abandoned the family, or been incarcerated. The Stange Law Firm can help families with their adoption paperwork, including securing relinquishment of parental rights forms from biological and custodial parents to ensure adoptions are legally binding. Our firm can also assist with other adoption-related legal processes, such as legal name changes and birth certificate changes.
- Domestic violence. It’s an unfortunate reality that many family law matters arise from issues of domestic violence, such as spousal abuse and child abuse. When we accept a new client who has any domestic violence-related concerns, our team can coordinate protective orders, restraining orders, and orders of injunctive relief as necessary.
These issues require careful legal consideration from experienced family law attorneys. If you attempt to navigate any type of family law matter without an attorney, you could risk substantial losses, including unfair divorce decrees, insufficient child support payments, or even lose your right to make legal decisions on behalf of your children.
Navigating Property Division in Bloomington
One of the most complex issues you’re likely to face in a divorce in McLean County is the state of Illinois’ equitable distribution statutes when it comes to property division in divorce. Many states in the US uphold community property laws, which stipulate that the married couple jointly owns any property and assets gained during the marriage. In Illinois, the family law court will strive for an equitable distribution of marital assets between the divorcing spouses.
Your legal team will help you ensure that your property division in your divorce is as equitable as possible. Illinois law does not require an even 50/50 split, and the court will base its decision around numerous variables. Some couples divorce with 60/40 splits, 70/30 splits, or they may even conclude with one spouse obtaining ownership of all their shared property. Some of the factors that go into equitable distribution determinations in Illinois include:
- The length of the marriage.
- Each spouse’s financial contributions to the marriage.
- Each spouse’s record of prior marriages.
- Future income of each spouse.
- Tax obligations of each spouse.
- Value of the property in question.
This list is not exhaustive, and it’s vital to go into property division negotiations well prepared and represented by reliable and experienced legal counsel. Your attorney should be able to uncover physical evidence and documentation that supports your negotiating angle, and this will help ultimately maximize your share of the equitable distribution process and minimize the final cost of your divorce.
It’s also important to remember that the McLean County court may award maintenance instead of or in addition to an equitable distribution settlement. However, this generally opens the door to future disputes. The party paying support to the other may argue that financial circumstances have changed, and the maintenance agreement is no longer sound and tenable. The recipient may unknowingly commit some action that precipitates termination of their maintenance payments.
Typically, the McLean County court and other courts in Illinois prefer to end property division negotiations with a disproportionate property distribution in which the spouse who would usually receive maintenance receives a more significant share of the marital property instead, as this outcome leaves little room for the two parties to return to court in the future.
What to Expect From Negotiations of Allocation of Parental Rights
Unless your soon-to-be ex-spouse committed a serious crime, initiated domestic violence against you or your children, or presents any type of threat to your children’s healthy and safe upbringing, you should expect the court to determine an allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities that allow your kids to spend time with both you and your ex. Joint parental responsibility arrangements are most common when the two divorcing spouses intend to live in the same geographic area, and it’s feasible for their children to spend time with each of them at their own homes.
In a completely joint parental responsibility agreement, both parents have the right to make significant decisions involving their children’s education, health care, and upbringing. However, it is somewhat rare for divorces involving children to end in even 50/50 parenting time splits. When there are differences in parental rights and responsibilities between the two former spouses, child support arrangements may come into play to ensure the couple’s children have all the financial support they need to carry on with their typical lifestyles.
Negotiations concerning the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time are one aspect of divorce in Bloomington that most often leads to heated debates. Parents are likely to argue as strongly as possible to retain as much of their parenting time and parental authority as possible over their children, and the court must rule in favor of their children’s best interests. At the Stange Law Firm, we have extensive experience guiding our clients through McLean County’s family court system and managing difficult negotiations during their divorce proceedings.
Secure Legal Representation Today
If you are planning to divorce your spouse soon, or if you need assistance with an adoption, post-judgment modification to your divorce decree, or any other legal matter that falls within the purview of the McLean County family court system, you need trustworthy and skilled legal representatives. The team at the Stange Law Firm knows the Bloomington, IL, area very well, and we have probably already dealt with the judge who will oversee your family law case.
We can provide you with a reasonable estimate of what to expect from your family law proceedings and assist you through every phase of your legal process. Contact Stange Law Firm in Bloomington, IL, today to schedule your case consultation, and our legal team will let you know how we can help.