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RESOURCES | DEFINING THE LAW

Pucci | Pirtle Resources: Defining the Law

Divorce, custody and matrimonial matters are complex enough to maneuver; let’s take the legal jargon to a level we all can understand.

Legal Separation

Legal separation (sometimes judicial separationseparate maintenancedivorce a mensa et thoro, or divorce from bed-and-board) can involve a court order declaring that a couple is no longer living together, and that all the issues concerning the marriage have been resolved (child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, distribution of property, attorney fees, and personal conduct), but the marital status of the couple remains unchanged. A legal separation may be sought by a couple who wish to stay legally married to protect significant religious, financial, social or legal interests. is a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de facto separation while remaining legally married. A legal separation is granted in the form of a court order.

(Source: https://definitions.uslegal.com/d/domestic-relations-legal-separation/)

Divorce | Dissolution of Marriage

Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the legal termination of a marriage by a court in a legal proceeding, requiring a petition or complaint for divorce (or dissolution in some states) by one party. There are two types of divorce — fault and no-fault. A fault divorce is a judicial termination of a marriage based on marital misconduct or other statutory cause requiring proof in a court of law by the divorcing party that the divorcee had done one of several enumerated things as sufficient grounds for the divorce.

Divorce should not be confused with annulment, which declares the marriage null and void, or with legal separation.

(Source: https://definitions.uslegal.com/d/divorce/)

Shared | Joint Custody

When both parents share custody of a child after a divorce it is called joint custody. Joint custody may be either legal or physical custody. Physical custody designates where the child will actually live, whereas legal custody gives the custodial person(s) the right to make decisions for the child’s welfare. Child custody can be decided by a local court in a divorce or if a child, relative, close friend or state agency questions whether one or both parents is unfit, absent, dead, in prison or dangerous to the child’s well-being. In such cases custody can be awarded to a grandparent or other relative, a foster parent or an orphanage or other organization or institution.

The basic consideration on custody matters is supposed to be the best interests of the child or children. In most cases the non-custodial parent is given visitation rights, which may include weekends, parts of vacations and other occasions. The custody order may be modified if circumstances warrant.

Laws on shared custody vary by state. most states have adopted laws to encourage the involvement of both parents.

(Source: https://definitions.uslegal.com/s/shared-custody/)

Sole Custody

There are two kinds of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Custody battles most often arise in a divorce or separation, requiring a court’s determination of which parent, relative or other adult should have physical and/or legal control and responsibility for a minor (child) under 18. When both parents share custody of a child after a divorce it is called joint custody. Sole custody is both legal and physical custody by one parent. Physical custody designates where the child will actually live, whereas legal custody gives the custodial person(s) the right to make decisions for the child’s welfare. In sole custody arrangements, one parent has custody and is allowed to make all the important decisions in a child’s life, and are not required, but may consult their ex-spouse. Child custody can be decided by a local court in a divorce or if a child, relative, close friend or state agency questions whether one or both parents is unfit, absent, dead, in prison or dangerous to the child’s well-being. In such cases custody can be awarded to a grandparent or other relative, a foster parent or an orphanage or other organization or institution. In some jurisdictions, if a child is old enough, their preferences are taken into consideration. This term is no longer commonly used in Illinois.

The basic consideration on custody matters is supposed to be the best interests of the child or children. Mental anguish suffered by the child due to visitation or lack thereof is one factor that may be considered in determining a child’s best interest. In most cases the non-custodial parent is given visitation rights, which may include weekends, parts of vacations and other occasions. The custody order may be modified if circumstances warrant.

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sole_custody)

Child Support

In family law and public policy, child support (or child maintenance) is a parent’s legal obligation to contribute to the financial care and costs of raising his or her child. Usually support is provided until the child reaches the age of majority, or child’s emancipation before reaching majority or the child’s completion of secondary education. This obligation is enforceable both civilly and criminally.

In the context of custody or divorce action it refers to the money legally owed by one parent to the other for the expenses incurred for children of the marriage. In such cases, child support is determined as part of the divorce settlement along with other issues such as alimony, custody and visitation. In other cases, either parent can file a petition for child support.

Child support laws and regulations vary from state to state. Most states have laws providing guidelines on how to calculate child support payments. Most of the states require that it should be based on the best interests of the child. The right to child support being a child’s right it cannot be waived and any divorce decree provision waiving child support is void.

(Source: https://definitions.uslegal.com/c/child-support/)

 

Restraining Order

A restraining order is a court order restricting a person from doing something. It can be temporary or permanent.

For example, a court order prohibiting family violence is a restraining order. This type of order is issued most commonly in cases of domestic violence. The court order can prohibit a person from harassing, threatening, and sometimes merely contacting or approaching another specified person.

A restraining order may be issued in a divorce matter to prevent taking a child out of the county or to prohibit one of the parties from selling marital property.

Also, a person who is a victim of harassment may seek a restraining order from the court. The person or guardian of a minor who is the victim of harassment may seek a restraining order on behalf of the minor. The restraining order prohibits harassment. A restraining order may be issued against an individual who has engaged in harassment, or against organizations which have sponsored or promoted harassment. The distance required to be maintained is governed by the language of each specific order, which may include places of work, school, etc.

(Source: https://definitions.uslegal.com/r/restraining-order/)

Order for Protection

An Order for Protection is a court order that protects a victim from domestic abuse. Any family or household member may ask the court for an Order for Protection. Specific procedures vary by court, so local court rules need to be consulted. A family or household member means married or divorced people; parents and their children; persons related by blood (such as brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, or grandparents); and people who live together or have lived together in the past. People who have never lived together may also ask for an Order for Protection if they have a child together or have been involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.

You can also apply for an Order for Protection to protect a child, elderly person, or dependent adult in your family or household. A protection order may include: stop domestic abuse, no direct or indirect contact with petitioner, no stalking, evicting the respondent, housing for the petitioner when the respondent is the sole owner or lessee, temporary custody of minor children, financial support, counseling.

(Source: https://definitions.uslegal.com/o/order-of-protection/ )

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