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CRIMINAL DEFENSE AND FAMILY LAW

When a child is harassed or bullied at school, the results can be tragic; some bullied children have been driven to suicide. Bad outcomes, such as depression, increased absences from school, and lack of school engagement, increase significantly as the number of personal characteristics involved in bullying increases. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves using a power imbalance to control or harm others. Bullying is any action that: Causes a student to fear harm Harms a student's physical or mental health Affects a student's grades, class participation, or participation in school activities. In an effort to stop bullying,...

Chicago has a reputation for having more violent crimes than any other city in the country, and much of this is due to gang violence. The Chicago Crime Commission estimates that there are 70 to 100 gangs in the Chicago metropolitan area, with membership estimates ranging from 68,000 to over 150,000. According to an ABC news report,  last year brought a record number of shootings and the most homicides in two decades. There were 3,550 shooting incidents and 762 murders last year, averaging two murders and nearly 10 shootings every day.  Violence in Chicago is mostly on the south and west...

As if figuring out who pays what when it comes to child support wasn’t complicated enough, on July 1, 2017, a major change took place in Illinois.  Public Act 99-764 amended the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to replace the old percentage guideline formula with an income shares model already in use in 39 other states and the District of Columbia.  This law is for new cases, but affects older cases that have a change in circumstances. Instead of relying on the net income of the non-custodial parent to pay the custodial parent, the new law creates an income-share...

Understanding “Joint Custody” Laws in Illinois

In Illinois, both parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children. In a separation or divorce situation, one parent usually makes child support payments to the other.  If that parent stops paying, the consequences are severe – being held in contempt of court, paying fines and even jail time.  If nonpayment continues, it may even lead to criminal charges. If you find yourself in a situation where your ex stops making child support payments, or if you are the parent who cannot make them, it pays to seek legal assistance. The compassionate and experienced Illinois family-law attorneys...

Emancipation in Illinois occurs when minors are released from the custody and control of their parents or guardian and legally allowed to live independently and exercise greater control over their own lives.  Emancipation automatically occurs at age 18, unless the minor is disabled, but a special emancipation order can be issued for children between the ages of 16 and 18. Emancipation laws are designed to give legal protections to those teens who, through no fault of their own, wind up living on their own. Once minors are emancipated, parents no longer decide if or where they go to school, whether they...

Mail fraud not only exists -- it is illegal and can be punished under both Illinois statutes and federal law.  Since state statutes mirror the federal laws and have the same elements, both federal and state charges can be brought against anyone accused of mail fraud, and this can lead to the possibility of increased prison time and costs. Potential penalties are based on the dollar value of the property involved or financial loss due to the fraud. The higher the loss amount, the longer the possible jail time and the higher the possible fines. Since white collar crimes such as...

Raising children is expensive – one estimate of costs necessary to raise a child through the age of 17 is $233,610 per child, or nearly $14,000 per year.  Although most parents’ primary concern is the well-being of their children, their own financial considerations are important as well, especially in a divorce situation. Illinois recognizes the right of every child to expect financial support from both parents and has changed the law to better enable this to happen.  On July 1, 2017, Public Act 99-764  went into effect that changed how the state calculates child support and what each parent is responsible...

Summer should be a fun time for parents and children, but when a family is fractured by divorce, working out a summer parenting time schedule can be difficult. If parents live long distances apart, scheduling becomes much more complex, as it does if the divorce is a hostile one. Illinois child parenting time (previously called visitation) guidelines are flexible, so as long as you and your co-parent are in agreement, you can come up with a summer schedule that suits the lifestyles of both parents and children. A good lawyer will help develop scheduling plans in advance so you don’t run...

If you are facing trial in Illinois, you may be considering the use of trial scientists, consultants such as psychologists, and communication experts who aid attorneys in the evaluation and presentation of a trial or lawsuit. Because they understand how people and groups make decisions, trial consultants are used to help prepare witnesses, improve arguments and rhetoric, and select juries that may be favorable to your defense. While trial consultants can help, they add an extra layer of expense to your defense costs, and it is questionable as to whether the science involved is always accurate.  The experienced and seasoned Illinois criminal law attorneys at...

The United States arrests and imprisons more people than any other country, and as a result, as many as one in three American adults have some type of criminal record. Unfortunately, incarceration carries a lifetime of consequences.  According to the Center for American Progress report titled “One Strike and You’re Out,” having even a minor criminal record can be a life sentence to poverty, presenting obstacles to employment, housing, education and training, public assistance, financial empowerment, and more. And if you are a parent, your entire family, especially your children, will be negatively impacted. The experienced and compassionate Illinois criminal law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec,...

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