Monthly Archives: June 2014


Child Custody Arrangements Versus Child Support

child support

Child Custody Arrangements Versus Child Support

While child custody arrangements and child support impact one another, legally, they are separate concepts.  A parent still has visitation rights even if child support is delayed or has not been paid. This is an obligation that should still be followed by the residential parent, despite the frustration they may experience from a lack of financial support.

Per Section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the residential parent is typically entitled to child support from the non-custodial parent.  A common misconception is that child support does not apply in joint custody scenarios.  Joint custody is a legal principle and does not impact whether there is a designated residential parent, who would most likely receive child support.  Child support is calculated according to percentage guidelines as set forth by statute. read more

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Who Pays Spousal Maintenance or Alimony?

spousal maintenance

Alimony, also known as maintenance, refers to one spouse paying a monthly stipend to his or her spouse during or after a divorce or legal separation. Only married couples are eligible for spousal support. This does not apply to parentage cases for child custody; in those scenarios, support is given to the child and that is referred to as child support. In divorce cases that also involve children, there will also likely be a provision for child support, which is separate from alimony. read more

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What Chicago Family Law Firms Might Not Tell You

chicago family law firms


It has become increasingly undeniable that we live in a very litigious society. Even with simple tasks such as entering to win a free cup of coffee, getting a new credit card or signing up for an email list, you are bombarded with extensive, confusing legal jargon. Moreover, when dividing assets during a divorce or negotiating child custody arrangements, things can get really convoluted to a lay person. We certainly can’t change the way the world works, but we can try to bring some simplicity into your lives, by sharing information on what many Chicago family law firms may not tell you. read more

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How to Locate Top Divorce Attorneys in Chicago

top divorce attorneys in Chicago

Locating Top Divorce Attorneys in Chicago

If you are reading this, chances are you are experiencing lots of turmoil in your personal life and are desperate to seek answers. Going through a divorce, seeking child custody arrangements or needing a child support attorney is typically not a pleasant experience.  Finding the top divorce attorneys in Chicago is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will make in your life and should not be taken lightly.

This blog post is here to advise (but not provide free legal advice, more on that topic later!) people on what steps to take, and make recommendations on how to seamlessly ask the right questions during your quest to find prospective Chicago family law firms. One caveat before we continue, we stress divorce attorneys in CHICAGO, because every state has different jurisdiction. We, The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., are a group of Chicago divorce lawyers, so we can only properly provide facts on Illinois law. read more

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What’s Mine is Yours: Non-Marital vs Marital Property

marital property

Unlike other states where property between divorcing spouses is divided equally (community property states), Illinois is an “equitable division” state, meaning that property is divided “equitably,” opposed to equally. The disposition of property is governed by Section 503 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Under Illinois law, all property acquired by either spouse during a marriage is presumed to be marital proprty. This is true regardless of whose name the property is titled in or whose money was used to purchase the property. Non-marital property is any property acquired before the marriage or property acquired during the marriage by one spouse by way of gift, legacy, or descent. Under Section 503, the court will consider the following relevant factors when dividing marital property: read more

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The Discovery Process in Divorce and Parentage Cases

discovery process

A look in the Discovery Process…

A major component of litigation is the discovery process. This article is a guide to the basics of navigating through a process that oftentimes is the most time-consuming, most expensive, and most informational aspect of a case. In both parentage and divorce cases, the discovery of the other party’s income, assets, and liabilities is a crucial part of evaluating one’s case, preparing for hearings and trials, and being prepared for settlement discussions. read more

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Child Support in Illinois: The Basics

child support in Illinois

How is Child Support calculated in Illinois?

The payment of child support is governed by Section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Under Illinois law and public policy, all parents have an absolute obligation to support their child, regardless of how much time they spend with the child, whether there is a visitation schedule in place, or whether they were ever married to the child’s other parent. Typically, when a child resides with one parent more than fifty percent if the time, the other parent (non-custodial parent) is required to pay child support in Illinois. read more

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Grandparent Visitation in Illinois

grandparent visitation in illinois

How do Illinois judges determine grandparent visitation?

One area of family law that has seen a lot of change and involvement in the last decade is the area of grandparent visitation. Grandparent visitation in Illinois is governed by Section 607 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Grandparents are permitted to petition for visitation with their grandchildren by filing a case in the circuit court of the county where the children reside. They may also file a petition for grandparent visitation and/or any electronic communication rights within the parents’ divorce case or any other court case involving custody of the children. read more

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Joint Custody vs Sole Custody in Illinois

joint custody

How do Illinois judges determine joint custody or sole custody?

Determining child custody is typically the most highly-contested and heated issue one will encounter, for obvious reasons. Litigants who are encountering divorce (or a parentage action) for the first time are typically without the requisite knowledge regarding the differences between joint legal custody and sole legal custody of a child.

Joint Custody is predicated on two parents working together to co-parent a child. A joint custodial relationship requires good communication between the parents and the ability to work together to make important decisions regarding the child. For example, decisions concerning the child’s health, education, and religion must be made jointly by the parents, taking the child’s best interests into consideration. A stipulation between parties as to joint custody will culminate in the entry of a joint parenting agreement, which outlines the respective rights and responsibilities of the parents when it comes to parenting their child. In the event the parties to a joint parenting agreement have a disagreement when it comes to decisions impacting the child, the joint parenting agreement will direct the parties to attempt to resolve the issue with a certified mediator, prior to returning to court. In the event the mediator is unable to resolve the issue with the parties, the last resort will be bringing the issue before a judge for adjudication. read more

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A Blog is Born! An Introduction.

Consider this our introduction. This being the first blog entry for The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., we might as well take some time to tell you a little bit about us and what we do. We are a law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Skokie, Illinois concentrating on the practice of family law.

We pride ourselves on providing superb representation to our clients, resulting in an excellent reputation and ranking among the elite family law firms in Chicago, Illinois. We look forward to sharing our thoughts with you on a weekly basis. For more information on our firm, please check out our law firm’s website. read more

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