Marital & Family Law 2020-01-26T01:45:28+00:00

Divorce & Family Lawyers

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Divorce Attorneys in Rockford

Family law involves the most sensitive areas of your life, and that’s why you need us, reliable and caring attorneys who will help you throughout any emotional or stressful family law matter.  Divorce signifies the end of a marital life, and we totally understand the emotional stress that is brought about by divorce. The attorneys of our law firm are skilled enough to deal with complex divorce cases. We handle a high case load of divorce matters, which makes us adept at providing you with legal solutions. Our lawyers will help you identify your key objectives and then slowly develop a legal strategy that will assist in achieving those goals. The lawyers have experience resolving conflict through the process of both negotiated settlements and litigation.

Separate from your spouse, NOT your livelihood. Contact Canfield & McKenna to assist you with marital law matters.

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Let us help you resolve:
– Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
– Child support
– Maintenance
– Division of Assets
– Division of Debts

Don’t be coerced throughout your divorce

Divorce can be a complex legal process. When children are involved, even an amicable divorce can become an overwhelming emotional battle. It is important to take action to ensure that your future interests are addressed. Although technically a divorce is a decision made and carried out between two people, the truth is that the choice to enter into a divorce will have much wider-spread ramifications.

Don’t let your spouse’s attorney make your divorce any more difficult than it already is. Contact our honest attorneys to help you through the trying divorce process. Our attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience with family law matters and can also help you with both mediation and prenuptial agreements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

In Illinois, the only grounds for divorce is irreconcilable differences, and thus, every divorce is a “no-fault” divorce.  This is a departure from prior law, which allowed a spouse to allege that the other had committed wrongs like abandonment or extreme and repeated mental cruelty.  

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which the parties negotiate and come to an agreement on all of the issues surrounding the divorce prior to filing for divorce.  An uncontested divorce can be completed with a single court appearance and is inexpensive.

What is the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce?

Like a divorce, a legal separation is a formal court proceeding that can resolve issues such as spousal maintenance, child support and allocation of parenting time and responsibility while the parties live separate and apart.  However, unlike a divorce a legal separation does not permanently end the marriage and allows for the possibility of reconciliation. If reconciliation does not occur, the ultimate divorce may be less contentious and costly after legal separation because many of the issues surrounding the divorce have already been resolved in the previous court proceeding.

What is Marital Property?

As a general rule, any assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage are considered marital property during a dissolution proceeding and are subject to division by the court. Exceptions include assets received by gift or inheritance by a spouse during the marriage.  Such gifts and inheritances are considered that party’s non-marital property and are not subject to division by the court during a divorce.

What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

A Marital Settlement Agreement (“MSA”) is an agreement between parties to a divorce that resolves non-parenting issues surrounding the divorce such as division of assets and liabilities, spousal maintenance, and child support.  If the parties are able to resolve all of these issues through an MSA, a trial will not be necessary.

If the Court Awards Maintenance (formerly known as alimony), How Much Will I Receive?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides a formula for calculating the amount and duration of maintenance if it is awarded.  The amount is calculated by taking 33 ⅓% of the paying spouse’s net income and subtracting from it 25% of the receiving spouse’s net income. However, if the that amount, when added to the receiving spouse’s net income would result in the receiving spouse having more than 40% of the parties’ combined net income, the maintenance amount will be reduced.

Here’s an example.  Spouse A has a net income of $40,000.00 and Spouse B has a net income of $100,000.00.  Spouse B would be the paying spouse and Spouse A would be the receiving spouse. 33 ⅓% of Spouse B’s net income is $33,333.33.  25% of Spouse A’s net income is $10,000. The maintenance amount would be $23,333.33 (being $33,333.33 minus $10,000.00). However, their combined net income is $140,000.00, and 40% of that is $56,000.00.  Paying the full $23,333.33 in maintenance to Spouse A would mean he or she would end up with $63,333.33, which is over the 40% maximum. Spouse A’s maintenance would be reduced down so he or she doesn’t receive over 40% of the combined net income.  The maximum Spouse A can have is $56,000.00, and because he or she earns $40,000.00, the maintenance would be reduced down to $16,000.00. 

Courts determine how long spousal maintenance payments will continue using a table that multiplies the duration of the marriage by a factor that increases as the duration of the marriage increases.  This sounds complicated, but the bottom line is that the longer you have been married, the closer the duration of your maintenance payments will get to equalling the duration of your marriage. If you have been married 20 years or more, the duration of spousal maintenance will either be equal to the duration of the marriage or continue indefinitely.  

Is Child Support the Same as Maintenance?

It is not.  Maintenance is support for the spouse, whereas child support is paid to help support the children.

How is Child Support Calculated in Illinois?

In Illinois, child support is calculated by determining the total amount that the parents will be jointly responsible for contributing toward the care of the child using economic tables propounded by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.  Then, each parent’s personal responsibility for contributing to this amount is determined by comparing the parents’ incomes relative to one another. The more you make relative the other parent the more you are likely to pay (or the less you are likely to receive) in child support.  The formula also takes other factors into account including how many overnights the child or children have with each parent, whether either parent pays for the child or children’s health insurance premium or child care, whether either parent supports other children from another relationship.  Because the formula takes many factors into account, the calculation is not one that can be completed easily. To help with this, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has a child support calculator available on their website.

How Does Child Support Work in Shared Parenting Situations?

A “shared parenting situation” is when each parent is responsible for the child for at least 146 overnights per year.  In a shared parenting situation, the total amount that the couple must contribute toward child care is increased by a factor of 50% and the amount of time each party spends with the child is factored into the calculation.  The more time a child support obligor spends with the child, the less he or she will pay in child support.

Is Child Support Automatically Deducted from My Spouse’s Paycheck?

The support will not be deducted from your spouse’s paycheck until an Income Withholding Order is sent to his or her employer.  After a child support order is entered by the Court, an Income Withholding Order can be sent by the State, an attorney, or a private individual.

What is the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities?

In Illinois, the Courts no longer award parents “custody” and “visitation”, but rather, the Court allocates parental responsibilities.  This consists of two categories: Parenting Time and Decision-Making Responsibility. Parenting Time is the schedule of when the child is with each parent.  Decision-Making Responsibility involves making decisions for the child regarding education, medical care, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing.  Parents can have joint decision-making responsibility for the child, or one parent can have sole decision-making responsibility.

How do Courts Determine Parenting Time in Illinois?

If parents are unable to agree as to when the child or children will be with each parent, the court will set forth a parenting schedule in a Parental Allocation Judgment.  After an investigation and a hearing, the court will weigh several factors to determine what schedule will be in the best interest of the child, including, in part, the wishes of the parents; the wishes of the child; the relationships between each parent and the child; the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community; and the mental and physical health of the parents and the child. For a complete list, please see 750 ILCS 5/602.7(b).

How do Courts Determine Decision-Making Responsibility?

If parents are unable to agree as to who will make decisions for the child, the court will allocate decision making responsibility.  After an investigation and a hearing, the court will weigh several factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child, including, in part, the wishes of the child; the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community; the mental and physical health of all individuals; the ability of the parents to cooperate in making decisions; the level of each parent’s past participating in making significant decisions for the child; the wishes of the parents; the needs of the child.  For a complete list, please see 750 ILCS 5/602.5(c). 

What is an Order of Protection?

An Order of Protection is what people commonly think of as a “restraining order.” It is a court order stating that the Respondent (person the order is against) must stay away from you, your home, your work, and other protected addresses that the Court approves. It also prohibits the Respondent from having any electronic, phone, or third-party contact with you. For example, the Respondent can’t have a third-party deliver a message to you from them. An Order of Protection gives the Petitioner (or person seeking the Order) a legal recourse when and if violations of the Order occur. For example, if the Respondent sends harassing text messages while the Order is in place, the Petitioner can call the police and the Respondent may be criminally prosecuted.

In a family case, an Order of Protection can also act as a temporary child support order and a temporary parenting time order, as the Judge can set both of these things on a temporary basis.

An Order of Protection may be linked to a criminal charge if the conduct alleged as the basis of the order is the same conduct used to charge a criminal case. However, Orders of Protection are civil in nature and do not entitle either party to court-appointed representation. However, certain advocacy requirements may be triggered if the Order of Protection is linked to a criminal domestic violence case. 

How Can Paternity be Established in Illinois?

Paternity can be established by consent at birth if both parties sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity that is provided by the hospital.  In this case, the father’s name will be added to the birth certificate and paternity can be formally established by filing this form along with a verified petition to declare paternity with the court.  

If the parents are not in agreement about establishing paternity, or if the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity is not signed near the time of birth, then paternity is established by filing a petition to establish paternity.  The alleged father will typically undergo DNA testing, and this will be used as evidence for or against paternity at a court hearing.  

The establishment of paternity causes the father to be financially responsible for the child by way of child support, however it does not necessarily grant him rights to see the child.  These can be established through the same or a separate court proceeding to determine parenting time and responsibility.