children, Kane County divorce attorneysWhen a married couple with children decides to split, often their biggest concern is how the divorce will affect their children. Many parents who have chosen to live their lives apart worry that their children will think the breakup was their fault or will resent the parents for it. Divorced parents are also often concerned that their children will not be the same after a divorce, but research shows that there is reason to be hopeful. Most children of divorce are able to adapt to their new two-home family and end up thriving in it.

Studies Show Most Children Adapt Well 

A 20-year study conducted by noted psychologist Constance Ahrons and confirmed by others shows that about 80 percent of children of divorce are able to adapt to the divorce and lead happy, successful lives afterward. The majority of children whose parents get divorced do not experience permanent negative effects on their grades, social development, or mental health.

Developmental psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington from the University of Virginia came to similar conclusions through a study of 2,500 children of divorce. Other researchers consistently find similar results when they study how divorce affects children: in the long run, the majority of children of divorce see no lasting negative effects from the divorce.

Children Need Support, But Not Necessarily from Married Parents 

This is certainly good news for any parent who has worried about how their separation or divorce will affect their children. A meta-study by child development expert and Cambridge University professor Michael Lamb clarifies what he believes children really need to be well-adjusted. In his study, Mothers, Fathers, Families, and Circumstances: Factors Affecting Children’s Adjustment, he explains that in order to be supported, children need:

  • A close relationship with both parents, but this relationship can occur in the same house or separate houses;
  • Stability and consistency from both parents regarding discipline;
  • Emotional responsiveness from each parent;
  • Adequate resources and safe housing; and
  • Social support.

In short, an intact nuclear family is not necessarily required for a child to be happy and healthy.

Considering Divorce? Let Us Help 

Although no one gets married with the intention to get divorced, ending a marriage does not mean that the couple or their children will never be happy again. In fact, many families find that they are healthier and more contented after a divorce than before it.

If you are a parent considering divorce and are concerned about how the divorce will affect your family, you do not have to face these worries alone. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., and get the help you need. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at our St. Charles office today.



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modification, St. Charles family law attorneysThe purpose of divorce is to separate two peoples’ lives that have been intertwined through marriage. When two people get married, they not only combine their personal lives but also their financial lives. In order to divide them again during a divorce, a judge will decide what is a reasonable amount of marital property, spousal support, and/or child support to assign each spouse. These decisions are made based on several factors such as each spouse’s income, their contributions during the marriage, and their respective parental responsibilities. But, what happens if these factors change after the divorce is finalized? In a case like this, a divorced individual may need to seek a divorce decree modification.

Verbal Agreements Are Not Enforceable

Circumstances which would necessitate a divorce modification include substantial changes in income, illnesses, relocation, or remarriage. Generally, courts do not make changes to the original property or debt division, but modifications of spousal support or alimony, child support, and parenting time, are more common. Couples who wish to modify the terms of their divorce agreements by way of a verbal agreement should be ward that such verbal agreements are not enforceable by the court. Modifications must be in writing and approved by the court to be effective.

Motion for Modification

If a former couple agrees to modify terms of the original decree, they should do so in writing submit it to the court. Sometimes a hearing is required to ensure that both parties consent to the new terms of the agreement. Once the court is satisfied, the agreement is signed off on by the judge and becomes a legally-binding court order. If one spouse wishes to change the terms of the divorce agreement, but the other does not, a motion for modification must be filed. The two former spouses will need to attend a hearing. The spouse asking for a modification must have evidence to show that the change in circumstances warrants the modification. In matters related to parental responsibilities and parenting time, the person seeking a modification will also need evidence to prove that the change will be in the children’s best interest.

Do You Wish to Modify Your Divorce Agreement?

The experienced Kane County divorce modification attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. have the knowledge and legal skills to help you file a petition for modification that fits your unique needs. We serve clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, the Fox Valley area, and across the State of Illinois. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today at (630) 377-7770.



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hiding assets, St. Charles divorce lawyersDuring a divorce, it is a legal requirement that each spouse disclose information about his or her financial situation. This includes detailed information about property, income, expenses and debt. However, some people are dishonest in their financial reporting. Sometimes a spouse will attempt to hide assets from his or her partner, and this can happen for several reasons. Often, a spouse does this to avoid having to share those assets with the other party in the divorce. Other times, a spouse may not want to report all of his or her income so that he or she will have to pay less in spousal support (alimony) or child support. Hiding assets during a divorce is against the law and can result in serious penalties.

Some common ways that spouses hide assets include:

  • Hiding, or undervaluing marital property;
  • Overstating debts;
  • Underreporting income; and
  • Reporting higher than actual expenses.

According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, approximately a third of US adults who combined assets with a spouse admit to being deceptive about money. The penalties for doing so can be strict. For example, in one famous incident, a woman won $1.3 million in a lottery before filing for divorce. She did not report this income and attempted to hide it. When the judge preceding over the divorce case found out, he awarded the entire $1.3 million to the husband.

Courts do not take these types of deceitful behavior lightly. If a spouse is found to have hidden assets during a divorce, the judge may:

  • Hold the spouse in contempt of court;
  • Sanction the spouse and force him or her to pay monetary fines;
  • Force the spouse to give up his or her share in the asset and relinquish it to the other spouse; or
  • Force the spouse to pay more support.

Dedicated Legal Counsel for Finding Hidden Assets 

At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., our attorneys recognize how important full financial disclosure is to an unbiased divorce process and especially to the allocation of marital property and spousal maintenance considerations. If you believe that your spouse is hiding income or property, or lying about his or her debts and expenses, you need the help of an experienced Kane County family lawyer. We will work with you to help you uncover the truth and ensure that you receive your fair share of property. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.



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abuse, Kane County family law attorneysDomestic violence is a serious problem in this country. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 10 million women and men are abused by a romantic partner every year. This works out to an average of almost 20 incidents every minute. Many of the couples affected by domestic violence have children. In fact, 1 in every 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year. Children are deeply affected by witnessing domestic violence, and exposure to it may cause them serious anxiety, fear, sadness or even guilt.

In Illinois parental responsibility cases—formerly called child custody—every effort is made to make decisions which are in the child’s best interest. Therefore, most courts will not order a child to live with or have visitation with a consistently abusive parent. However, if this abuse is not known to the court or is not documented, the courts may allow arrangements that place the child in danger. This is why it is important for each parent to notify the judge of any issues involving either parent that relate to domestic violence or protective orders.

Emergency Orders of Protection

If you are currently in an abusive environment, do not hesitate to seek help. If you are in immediate danger, call the police. If you are currently safe but fear what will happen in the future, you should apply for an emergency order of protection. An order of protection is a court order that prohibits your abuser from contacting you or your children among other restrictions that could be enforced.

If your spouse is found to be a danger to your children by the courts, he or she may be completely denied parenting time rights. Other times, a judge will allow parenting time but will take other steps to keep the child and child’s other parent safe. For example, a judge may order that your address remain confidential from the other parent or that parenting time take place at a public place. Sometimes, abusive parents are allowed to communicate with a child through the phone or email but not face-to-face. In cases of extreme abuse, the court may terminate parental rights.

At our law firm, we realize that toll that domestic abuse can take on a family. If you have been the victim of domestic violence and are considering divorce, contact a compassionate St. Charles family law attorney right away. We will help you petition the court for an order of protection and assist you in securing safety for yourself and children. Call 630-377-7770 for a free confidential consultation today at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.



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child support, Kane County family law attorneysEvery child deserves to have a safe, comfortable home in which to grow up. When parents divorce, one of the courts main duties is to make decisions which will benefit the children of the marriage. Often, this means that one of the spouses will be compelled to make child support payments to the other in order to help them raise the children.

When Is Child Support Awarded? 

Child support is almost universally granted to one of the spouses during a divorce. Illinois courts base their child support decisions on an “income shares” model. This model considers both parents’ incomes and the number of children, as well as the amount of parenting time each parent has. The amount of child support is based on an estimation of the total cost of raising the child. This cost is then equitably divided between the parents based on each of their respective net incomes. The parent with more parenting time will usually receive the support payments.

Can I Appeal a Child Support Order? 

If you believe that a mistake was made when the court awarded child support, you may appeal the decision. A person ordered to pay child support cannot appeal the decision just because they do not like the result. In order to appeal a child support order, a petitioner must have legal grounds to do so. For example, if you believe that insufficient evidence or prejudice played a role in the ruling, you may benefit from appealing the decision.

What Happens if Someone Refuses to Pay Child Support? 

If a parent ordered to pay child support consistently fails to comply, he or she may face serious consequences. The Illinois’ Division of Child Support Services can enforce wage garnishment, property liens, revocation of licenses, and interception of tax refunds in order to collect child support payments. If a parent fails to pay court-ordered child support for more than a six-month period, or they owe more than $5,000, they may face criminal prosecution.

I Have Doubts About My Paternity, Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support? 

When a married woman becomes pregnant, the husband is presumed to be the father of the child. In cases where parents were not married, paternity may need to be established. This can be done voluntarily if both parents complete a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form (VAP). If there is question as to who the child’s father is, DNA genetic testing can be used to establish paternity. Because these types of situations can become very complex, a skilled attorney may need to step in to help those with doubts about their paternity.

Let Us Help 

If you are a parent and you have questions about child support, contact a skilled Kane County family lawyer to get the help you need. Call Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. at 630-377-7770 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.



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parenting time, Kane County family law attorneysIf you do not receive primary residential responsibilities regarding your children during your divorce, you will almost certainly be awarded visitation rights, now referred to as parenting time. However, all visitation is not created equal, especially if there have been alleged problems with your conduct toward the children or your former spouse. It is a good idea to try and familiarize yourself with the types of restrictions on your parenting time that you may face if you have encountered allegations of being a danger to your child.

Supervised Visitation

By far the most common type of restriction placed on the exercise of parenting time is supervision, meaning that the other parent or a third party must be present at all times during the restricted parent’s parenting time. Generally, if any allegation of dangerous conduct is made during divorce proceedings, a hearing will be held on the subject. If the conduct is proved by a preponderance of the evidence and that the child’s physical, mental or emotional health would be endangered by unsupervised parenting time with that person, supervision is the most common remedy assessed. The Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) has the right to oversee continuing supervised visitation, if it is deemed warranted.

Keep in mind that a child tends to benefit from having both parents in their life unless it can be shown definitively that it would not be in the child’s best interest. Mental health issues or substance abuse problems are not sufficient to preclude visitation, though it is grounds to refuse or deny it if the parent is unable to control those issues in the presence of their children.

Time and Place Restrictions

Even if you are able to avoid having third-party supervised parenting time, restrictions still may be placed on your ability to exercise it if there is some question of your fitness as a parent. Different restrictions may be used depending on the different problems that may exist in your case. For example, if the a parent lives in an area that is considered unsafe, or with people that might be considered unsafe, a court may order that his or parenting time occur in someplace that is not their home. Sometimes, the court will even require the visits to take place even in the other parent’s home.

It is also important to keep in mind that if you are ruled to be a danger to your children’s physical, mental or emotional health, you may not under any circumstances use someone else’s visitation time (for example, a grandparent’s) in order to contact your children. If you do, there is a strong possibility that their visitation will be revoked and you can face consequences. In extreme cases, contempt of court is possible, which can result in fines or even jail time.

Contact a Dedicated Family Lawyer

Most parents want any kind of contact with their children that is possible, but some may stretch the rules or misunderstand them in order to get more. If you are in a position where your parenting time may be restricted, our experienced Kane County parenting time attorney can help answer your questions. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation today.



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child support, Kane County family law attorneysBefore July 2017, the way child support was calculated in Illinois was considered by many to be outdated and ineffective. The previous method of calculating child support was based almost solely on the income of non-custodial parent—the parent with fewer parental responsibilities. These child support laws and calculation procedures were criticized for placing an unfair burden on the paying parent.

An Outdated Model

For several decades, Illinois child support payments were determined as a percentage of the paying parent’s income based on the number of children being supported. Many people found such a method to be inherently unfair for two main reasons. First, fewer families rely on a single income than they once did, especially in the wake of a divorce, but only one parent’s income was considered when calculating child support payments. Doing so failed to account in any real way for the child’s standard of living or the income of the parent with primary residential responsibilities.

The other main reason for the criticism was the old law’s lack of consideration for shared parenting time.  For example, parents who had their children three nights a week were required to pay the same amount of child support as a parent that had parenting time infrequently or never. This meant that parents had to pay for their child’s meals, family outings, household needs, and other daily expenses during their parenting time on top of paying child support.

The New Law

The new guidelines for calculating child support were enacted on July 1, 2017, and utilize what is called an “income shares” model. Instead of assigning a flat percentage of income to be paid regardless of parenting time, the new model takes shared parenting into consideration. If a child spends at least 146 nights a year with a parent, this will be considered when calculating the parent’s child support obligation. The new system of calculating child support also takes both parents’ incomes into consideration.

The income shares model for child support is based on three main factors:

  • Each parent’s income (including spousal maintenance), minus taxes and other deductible expenses;
  • The amount of parenting time each parent enjoys; and
  • Any additional costs that the child may incur such as child care costs or medical or health insurance expenses.

The calculations are more complex than they were previously, but with additional variables taken into account, the result is generally more equitable for both parents.

Let Us Help

If you are a parent with questions or concerns about any aspect of child support, you need legal guidance you can trust. The experienced Kane County family law attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. will answer your questions and help create a personalized plan for your unique situation. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.



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accused, St. Charles family law attorneysTragically, domestic violence in the United States is shockingly common. It is estimated that 10 million women and men become victims of physical domestic abuse each year. This means that, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are abused by a significant other or a member of their family.

Domestic violence can cause not only bruises and scars but also years of psychological trauma. Some victims choose not to make public accusations against their abusive partner for fear of retaliation or because they are afraid to anger their abuser. Fortunately, victims of domestic violence now have more options than ever for escaping the abusive relationship and holding the perpetrator accountable.

Regrettably, this leads some people to falsely claim that they were abused by a romantic partner in order to gain power over him or her. Sometimes, the person who claims to be a victim is actually the one attempting to manipulate the other. This despicable behavior can put the accused at the risk of undeserved criminal consequences, career damage, and personal heartache. Allegations of abuse can also seriously complicate family law issues such as divorce, custody, or adoption.

False Emergency Protection Orders

If a person is legitimately being physically hurt, psychologically tormented, stalked, other otherwise abused by a family member—including an intimate partner—obtaining an emergency order of protection can be a critical step in keeping that person safe. An emergency protective order allows an abused person to call the police and immediately have an alleged abuser arrested if he or she comes within a certain distance of that person or crosses other boundaries established by the order. A person does not need to undergo an investigation or have any indisputable evidence of the alleged abuse when requesting an emergency order. He or she only needs to file an affidavit, along with accompanying testimony to validate the information either contained in or set forth in the affidavit, regarding the abuse to request one from a judge. When used correctly, protective orders can be potentially life-saving. When used incorrectly, such as when a person fabricates a story of abuse in order to convince the judge to issue an order unnecessarily, it can have serious consequences for both the accused and the accuser.

Call Us for Help

Many individuals who file false reports of domestic violence are attempting to gain an advantage in their divorce or child custody proceeding. Virtually every child-related legal matter requires the court to consider any allegations or incidences of violence in the household and toward in the children. It is critically important that you fight back against any false accusations of abuse, especially during family law proceedings. The skilled St. Charles family law attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. have the experience and knowledge to help you protect your rights and obtain the outcome you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.



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spousal support, Kane County divorce lawyersIf you have been considering filing for divorce, you probably have many questions and concerns. One such question may be “Will I have to make support payments to my ex-spouse?” Spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony, helps limit the negative financial effects of a divorce by providing a continuing income to a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse. In the past, payments were almost always made by an ex-husband to his ex-wife. Today, both men and women are recipients of support and both men and women may be required to pay it. Spousal support can be based on a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement or a court decision.

How Is Alimony Awarded? 

Courts have the authority to make decisions about spousal support during a divorce. A judge will look at several factors in order to determine what the fairest arrangement would be. When making decisions about spousal support courts must consider:

  • Both individuals’ age, physical condition, and emotional health;
  • The couple’s standard of living during the marriage;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The spouses’ assets (including non-marital property) and income;
  • The present and future earning capacity of each spouse;
  • The length of time the recipient of spousal support would need to become self-sufficient;
  • The ability of the paying spouse to pay support payments;
  • Any impairment to the earning capacity of the spouse requesting support due to time spent raising children or maintaining the shared home; and
  • Contributions that a spouse made to the other spouse’s education or career.

Alimony or spousal support is intended to be rehabilitative and it is usually meant to help the recipient spouse to become financially self-supporting.

It is important to note that spousal support is not always awarded in Illinois. In some cases, both spouses are capable of providing for their own support and there is no need for support payments to be made to either spouse. If there is a marked difference in income between the two spouses, courts may choose to account for the difference by awarding more of the marital property to the lower-earning spouse in lieu of ongoing payments.

Are You Considering Divorce?

If you are starting the divorce process, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of decisions you are facing. Divorce can be a complicated process emotionally as well as logistically and financially. Fortunately, our skilled Kane County divorce attorneys are ready to assist you. We can help you find the answers you need, and we will work with you to create a plan which meets your needs and protects your rights. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free initial consultation.



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infidelity, St. Charles divorce lawyersIt seems like the subject of infidelity is everywhere. Most of us know someone who has been affected by unfaithfulness in their relationship, or we have been the victim of infidelity ourselves. Recently, musician Jay-Z admitted to cheating on his wife, pop sensation Beyoncé. He spoke of the emotional toll that cheating has on a person saying, “The hardest thing is seeing pain on someone’s face that you caused, and then have to deal with yourself.” Unfaithfulness in a marriage is fairly common. In fact, surveys show that in a third of marriages one or both spouses admit to cheating. Approximately 22 percent of men surveyed admitted to cheating at some point in their lives, while about 14 percent of women admit to it. As any couple who has dealt with cheating knows, it can be devastating to a marriage.

Social Media and Smart Phones Have Changed Affairs

Couples therapist and noted author Esther Perel has spent much of her career helping couples navigate their marriage post-affair. She says that the popularity of social media and smart phones has changed the way affairs unfold. “It’s never been easier to cheat — and it’s never been more difficult to keep a secret,” she says. “The majority of affairs would normally have died a natural death. Today they are discovered primarily through the phone or through social media or through the computer.”

Our Expectations for Marriage

Perel also cites the increasingly unrealistic expectations for marriage as a reason that couples cheat. She explains that many individuals look to a spouse to not only be a life partner but to also be their best friend and soulmate. While it is obviously important that there be a romantic connection in a loving marriage, Perel believes that men and women are expecting too much from their marriage. A should be a source of companionship, economic support, and, when necessary, physical care, but he or she should not be the foundation of another person’s identity.

Considering Divorce?

Some marriages can weather the storm infidelity causes, and others cannot. If you have reached a point in your marriage where you are considering divorce, you need an experienced Kane County divorce attorney to help analyze your situation and your available options. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.



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