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One of our main practice areas is family law, which concentrates on the rights and responsibilities related to family matters and domestic relations.  Our attorneys remain current on the most recent legal precedent and statutory changes in Illinois and actively advocate for clients throughout Central Illinois. 

With our offices located in both Springfield and Taylorville, Illinois, we are able to serve a diverse base of clients.

While there are many aspects to family law, Coady Law Group focuses on:

GUARDIANSHIP

A guardianship is a legal process appointing a “competent adult” (guardian) to be responsible for the care, custody, and control of a child or disabled adult.  A guardian has the duty and right to act on behalf of the individual, making decisions affecting their daily living arrangements, medical care, education, and social activities.  Coady Law Group works with families to assist them in the process of obtaining guardianship over their loved ones and protecting their legal rights and interest.  There are often many questions regarding guardianship, and we hope the following FAQs will help you navigate through the process.

Who can be a guardian?
You do not need to have a “blood” relationship to a disabled adult or child to serve as his or her guardian.  To have standing to petition the court as a guardian you must meet the following criteria: 

- 18 years old or older
- Resident of the United States
- Of sound mind
- Not found to be disabled
- Not been convicted of a felony
- Capable and willing to provide a safe and suitable environment for the child or disabled adult

How is a guardian appointed?
To ensure a proper guardian is found for a child or disabled adult, the court takes steps to ensure that guardians are properly screened.  The first step is the filing of a petition with the court asking that a guardian be appointed.  After a petition is filed a guardian ad litem is appointed for the ward (the minor child or disabled adult).  The guardian ad litem is a court appointed representative (usually an attorney) that interviews the parties, the ward, and other witnesses and reports to the court with recommendations as to the best interest of the ward. 

What is short-term guardianship?
The parent(s) or custodian of a minor child may appoint someone to take care of his or her child on a short-term basis (up to one year) without the necessity of going to court. 

Can I appoint a guardian to take care of my child if I should die?
Parents can nominate a guardian of their children in their will and in certain circumstances in a “stand-by” adoption.  Appointment of permanent guardianship is not automatic and requires court approval.  While the best interest of the minor child(ren) is always the court’s primary concern, courts do give consideration to the wishes of the parent.  Parents can also name a Trustee to manage assets left to a minor child in their will without the necessity of court involvement.

ADOPTION

Adoption is a judicial process in where there is a creation of the parent-child relationship between individuals who are not naturally related.  The adopted child is given the rights, privileges, and duties of a child and heir by the adoptive family.  One of the biggest fears that plague adoptive parents is the risk that the birth parents may change their minds about the adoption.  The laws and regulations governing adoption are extremely complex and every adoption case is unique.

At Coady Law Group, we understand that adopting a new member into your family is a huge undertaking.  With so much at stake, it is imperative to have dependable, experienced legal counsel to guide you through the adoption process.   Our firm helps clients in all types of adoptions including:

  • Private adoptions
  • Newborns and infants
  • Foster children
  • Adult adoptions
  • International “re-adoptions”
  • Related child adoptions, such as stepchildren

CHILD SUPPORT

Every parent has a duty to financially support his or her child.  Child support can not only be a part of a divorce case, but may also arise in other family law cases such as parenting plan modifications, paternity, non-parental custody, and guardianships.  The family courts have a duty to ensure that an appropriate child support arrangement is reached in all cases that involve children.

Illinois has established statutory guidelines for support.  These guidelines are the minimum amounts that the court can order for child support obligations without making specific findings deviating from that support obligation.

Child support cases are often complex, requiring representation from a knowledgeable attorney.  Coady Law Group’s child support attorneys have the experience and knowledge to assess your support scenario and provide assistance in calculating support obligations, modifying support, and enforcing court ordered child support obligations.  We are happy to help answer all of your questions and invite you to Contact Us to set up a consultation. 

DIVORCE

Divorce proceedings are emotional and very personal legal proceedings which should be handled with compassion and respect.  Coady Law Group understands the emotional turmoil which accompanies divorce proceedings and is committed to delivering supportive and successful legal results for our clients.  Throughout your case, we will provide attentive and personalized services of negotiation, mediation and/or litigation of any issues which may arise during your case such as property division, allocation of parenting time, decision making, child support, college expense, and spousal maintenance (alimony).  We are happy to help answer all of your questions and invite you to Contact Us to set up an appointment. 

PARENTING TIME (Visitation and Custody)

Perhaps the most emotionally difficult issue in any divorce case arises during disputes involving children.  The Illinois legislature has recently revised the concept of child custody and visitation in the State of Illinois.  Concepts of “sole custody”, “joint custody” and “visitation” have been eliminated in favor of a more a child-centered approach with the concept of “allocation of parental responsibilities”.  Instead of the court determining “custody” and “visitation”, courts will now make determinations as to “decision making” and “parenting time”.  With the change of terminology, there is a desire of the legislature and the courts to shift focus squarely upon the needs of the child.

At Coady Law Group, we try to help clients understand how the court is likely to view the objective truth of their circumstances and work within those parameters to negotiate the best parenting arrangement for all involved.  We take significant care in handling decision making and parenting time issues.  We recognize that all parents have certain rights of access to their children and we strive to ensure the best interests of the children are met.  We are happy to help answer all of your questions and invite you to Contact Us to set up an appointment. 

ORDERS OF PROTECTION

Coady Law Group understands the power of orders of protection, and how the misuse of one can cause undue harm to individuals, as well as their relationships with family members.  Our attorneys not only assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking to obtain orders of protection and no-contact orders, but we defend against unlawfully obtained orders.  Contact our office to set up a consultation.

The following are questions we receive frequently from clients:

Who is eligible for an Orders of Protection?
Under Illinois law, in addition to remedies in the criminal court, victims of abuse or harassing conduct have remedies in civil court.   Most common is an Orders of Protection.  An orders of protection is a court order which restricts an abuser from contact (direct or indirect) with a victim.  Orders of Protection are typically only available to family or household members.

If I am eligible for an Orders of Protection, what relief can the court order?
If you meet the criteria for an Orders of Protection, an order may be entered with the following relief:

  • Prohibit abuser from continuing threats and abuse
  • Bar abuser from shared residence
  • Order abuser to stay away from you and other persons protected by the order and/or bar abuser from your work, school, or other specific locations
  • Require abuser to attend counseling
  • Prohibit abuser from hiding a child from you or taking a child out of state
  • Require abuser to appear in court or bring a child to court
  • Give you temporary physical possession of children or give you temporary legal custody
  • Specify visitation rights (if and when visitation is awarded)
  • Bar abuser from accessing child's records
  • Give you certain personal property and require abuser to turn it over, or bar abuser from damaging, destroying or selling certain personal property
  • Require abuser to pay you support for minor children living with you, require abuser to pay you for losses suffered from the abuse, require abuser to pay for your or your children's shelter or counseling services
  • Require abuser to turn weapons over to local law enforcement, if there is danger of illegal use against you


Can I obtain an Orders of Protection on behalf of my child or disabled relative?
If a minor child is the victim of abuse by a family or household member, or witnessed an act of abuse between family or household members, a parent or guardian may include the minor child as a protected party under the Order of Protection or may bring seek an Order of Protection on behalf of the minor child.

What effect does an Orders of Protection have on my FOID card?
As a result of the entry of an emergency or plenary (an order of protection lasting up to 2 years) Order of Protection, the court or Illinois State Police may suspend your FOID card.  In the event that your FOID card is suspended you are required to release possession of your FOID card and any firearms in your possession to law enforcement.  Your suspension will be mailed to the address on file with Illinois State Police, whether you are permitted at that address or not.  The suspension may be lifted upon termination or dismissal of the Order of Protection.

What if I am the victim of non-consensual sexual conduct by someone other than a family member?
If you are the victim of non-consensual sexual conduct, you can obtain a Civil No Contact Order from the court to prevent your abuser from the following:

  • Knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance
  • Having any contact, including non-physical contact, with you directly, indirectly, or through third parties, regardless of whether those third parties know of the order
  • Knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance from your residence, school, day care, or other specified location


In addition to the above remedies, the court can also order your abuser to stay away from any property or animal owned, possessed, kept, or held by you and forbid your abuser from taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, harming, or otherwise disposing of the property or animal.

Can I obtain an Orders of Protection against a non-family member who is stalking or harassing me?
If you are the victim of two or more instances of stalking, you can obtain a Stalking No Contact order from the court to prevent your stalker from doing the following:

  • Threatening to commit or committing stalking
  • Having any contact with you or a third person specifically named by the court
  • Knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance of you or your residence, school, day care, or place of employment, or any specified place that you frequent
  • Possessing a FOID card or possessing or buying firearms

DCFS INVESTIGATION

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is responsible in Illinois to investigate claims of child abuse and neglect. When someone calls DCFS, DCFS decides whether the person calling the hotline has reasonable cause to believe a child under 18 has been abused or neglected and the report meets the factors determined by the state to be accepted as a child abuse and neglect report. If DCFS decides to take the reported abuse, he or she gets more information about the case, and the information constitutes a report of child abuse or neglect. The next step is a DCFS investigation.

If DCFS decides that there is credible evidence that you have abused or neglected a child, it designates the case as “indicated.” An indicated report goes into the permanent DCFS record called the Central Registry.  Persons who are “indicated” by a DCFS report have a right to appeal the finding that the report was indicated. The best line of defense against a possible DCFS investigation is to contact a lawyer who understands Illinois law in regards to a DCFS Investigation.  Coady Law Group aggressively defends clients against DCFS allegation.  If you are being investigated by DCFS, contact our office to set up a consultation.