Family Law Success Stories
Pre and Post-Decree Child Support Cases
In a post-decree child support dispute, the opposing party claimed that she did not receive child support for a period of almost seven years and was owed in excess of $65,000.00. Child support payments were paid directly to the mother, and hand-written receipts were exchanged between the parties. At trial, the attorney presented the testimony of a forensic handwriting expert who, after examining the hundreds of receipts in question, determined that both of the parties actually signed the receipts. The attorney's client was exonerated of contempt findings, did not have to pay in excess of $65,000.00, and no longer faced being incarcerated.
In a pre-decree divorce and removal case, the mother sought custody of the minor child and wanted to move out-of-state. The responsible attorney went to trial on behalf of the father, and after a lengthy trial with numerous witnesses for both sides, the client was awarded joint legal custody and very liberal visitation. The mother's request for removal was denied.
An attorney successfully represented a mother in a post-decree support matter where the father wanted to reduce his support obligation and be reimbursed for alleged overpayment of maintenance. The father was self-employed and claimed the recent economic downturn adversely affected his earnings. After an in-depth analysis of bank accounts and other financial documents, the attorney obtained an increase in child support for the mother and the father's over-payment of maintenance was off-set by expenses that mother had already paid. In this case, the attorney's extensive family law experience helped her client obtain an increase in support and prevented the father from taking back any of the maintenance he had paid.
The DHFS claimed that our client owed in excess of $20,000, in past-due child support. The client had been laid-off and was receiving early social security retirement benefits. The responsible attorney successfully argued that the dependent benefit allocation for the minor child satisfied the client's child support obligation, retroactive to the initial payment of same. The client's "adjusted" arrearage was under $3,000.00, saving her client more than $17,000.
2008 - In a post judgment divorce case, our attorney prevented his client's ex-wife from increasing the amount of money his client would have to pay in spousal support. He also prevented his client's ex-wife from extending the number of years she would receive maintenance. The attorney investigated the matter and pointed out that she had not sold or refinanced the marital residence as provided in the judgment. The ex-wife's motions were denied, her maintenance terminated and the ex-wife was ordered to sell the house or pay the ex-husband his share of the equity in the home.
On a pro bono basis, the attorney represented a father in a parentage case who had been denied contact with his minor child for more than two years. The attorney was able to reconnect her client with his son and implement a visitation schedule.
A Husband filed a Petition to Invalidate (annul) the parties' marriage. The parties had been married four (4) years. Husband alleged that Wife made promises to Husband that she would change/stop certain behavior (including occasional recreational drug use). Husband's petition was brought, pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/301, which sets forth the grounds for bringing such an action. Husband claimed that he was induced into marrying Wife, and relied upon Wife's promises to cease the above behavior.
The wife filed a Motion to Dismiss Husband's Petition, and said Motion was granted.
We successfully plead and argued that in order to constitute fraud sufficient to decree a marriage invalid, an existing fact, such as being underage at the time of the marriage or having a physical impediment, must have been concealed or misrepresented. A promise not to do something in the future would not suffice. Additionally, we argued that Husband had to show that Wife's "fraudulent" representations (promises) affected the essentials of the marriage, making it impossible to perform the duties and obligations of said marriage.
We further successfully argued that the degree of fraud that would be sufficient to vitiate an ordinary contract was not sufficient to invalidate a marriage; Wife's character and personal qualities are not essential elements of a marriage. To invalidate such a marriage based upon those factors would be against public policy.
We were successful because we did our "homework," had case law that supported our arguments (including cases decided in 1907 and 1929), and presented cohesive arguments. The case proceeded to prove-up on Wife's Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
In an uncontested divorce matter where our attorney represented the wife, she was able to negotiate permanent, lifetime maintenance for her client in the amount of $5,300.00 per month. In addition to being permanent, this maintenance award was non-modifiable, meaning that it could not be altered based upon the husband's employment and/or other circumstances. The client continues to receive her monthly payments.
Mevorah Law Offices LLC represented the Wife in a contested divorce. The Husband listed his assets on a Court Ordered document that was required by the Court. However, the Husband hid on the family computer many additional assets including mutual funds in many other countries that he did not disclose on the Court Ordered documents, which the Wife subsequently found. When the Husband was confronted with these hidden assets at the hearing, he admitted he lied about his hidden assets. The case eventually settled with the Husband not only accounting for the hidden assets, but paying the Wife's entire attorney's fees as a result of our attorney and the Wife uncovering the Husband's deception.
Mevorah Law Offices LLC represented a Wife in a contested divorce where there was domestic violence against the Wife. Our attorney used a novel legal theory, by filing a separate lawsuit against the Husband for battery, and once the battery case was filed, the divorce case quickly settled after that.
After her divorce, the client and her young son moved in with a convicted sex offender. Her former husband (son's father), urged by his new wife who had no children, filed a petition to transfer custody away from our client. After a three week trial before Judge Demling in DuPage County, Our attorney kept custody with his client-although the sex offender had to leave.
Our attorney successfully obtained sole custody for the father who was concerned over the safety of the children when they were with their mother. After a contested Order of Protection and Custody Hearing the Court allowed only restricted and supervised visitation for the mother. The attorney was successful in moving the children permanently to the father's house, establishing a life for them with him, and preventing the Mother from allowing any harm to happen to the children. They are now excelling in school, making new friends, and thriving in their new, safe environment.
One of our clients was concerned for the safety of her daughter based upon the fact that the child's estranged father had attempted to remove the child from preschool without the mother's knowledge. The client originally obtained an Emergency Order of protection, and it was set to proceed to a contested hearing regarding the Order of Protection. Our Attorney was able to negotiate an Agreed Order, which imposed restricted and supervised visitation between the father and child, and put our client's mind at ease with regards to her daughter's safety.
Recently, a man came into our office in tears about the fact that he was unable to see his children and that his ex-girlfriend was making false accusations against him. The ex had filed several emergency motions against him which were set to be heard in 3 days. The repercussions of the Motions and the requested relief were potentially devastating - granting the children's mother sole custody and limiting our client's ability to see his daughters. By immediately immersing herself in the preparation for this case, our attorney was able to successfully defeat the mother's Motions. Additionally, the attorney ensured that her client was awarded joint custody and liberal, unrestricted, and unsupervised visitation with his kids.
One of our attorneys obtained residential custody for her client away from a functioning alcoholic father who drank primarily in the home with no outside witnesses to back up the mother's and sons' claims. The attorney worked with her client to gather evidence to support facts asserted by her client - such as the date and time of alcohol purchases shown through a Dominick's Fresh Values card records. Also, knowing that boys both loved their father and feared retribution from him, the attorney worked with her client's sons to build their confidence for the hearing. The boys successfully told the judge what they saw, what scared and concerned them, and what they wanted - in their own words. The judge awarded her client residential custody and child support.
One of our attorneys was successful in returning her client's teenage daughter from the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). A hospital social worker reported to DCFS that the girl, who was sleepy and highly medicated, claimed past abuse by her step-father. DCFS gained protective custody by alleging a threat of current and extensive abuse against the daughter and her half-siblings. Through her analysis and investigation, the attorney found a discrepancy between the social worker's notes in the medical records and the hotline report rendered by DCFS. The attorney further found a gap in communications between the initial DCFS investigator, who concluded that no abuse occurred, and a subsequent case worker who after 50 days acted based on the inaccurate DCFS hotline report. Our attorney's forceful arguments and thorough preparation including the drafting of a detailed written motion and the uncovering of multiple witnesses resulted in great success. Her actions convinced the prosecutor's supervisor to become involved and conduct her own investigation. The supervisor concluded that DCFS was wrong and had the daughter returned weeks before the scheduled custody hearing.
Our Attorney obtained custody for a father whose wife left the state with their son without his knowledge or consent. Her client's wife packed up the family's truck, grabbed their son, left the state, and called her husband from the road. She told him that the mother always gets custody and that he could see his son the next summer. She filed for divorce in Kentucky claiming to have been a resident for six months and that their son was also a resident. Our attorney filed for divorce and an emergency order for protection in Illinois. As a result of her arguments and testimony, the Illinois judge contacted the Kentucky judge and they decided to give the Illinois courts jurisdiction to hear arguments on which state had jurisdiction over custody and the divorce, thereby forcing the wife to return to Illinois and saving her client the time and expense of traveling to Kentucky. At the hearing, the attorney presented documents and witnesses establishing her and their son's residence in Illinois. She showed that their son had attended school in Illinois within the last six months, that the wife had purchased furniture for delivery to the family home in Illinois, that the wife had obtained medical treatment in Illinois, and that the wife and son maintained their possessions and slept in the family home during that time. The Court held that Illinois had jurisdiction, awarded custody to the father due in large part to the wife's misconduct, and ordered the wife to immediately return the child to his father's care. Due in large part to the court proceedings, the wife agreed to give the husband residential custody in the divorce.
The Mother of a ten (10) year old child filed a petition to remove the child from the Will County area to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Father hired Mevorah Law Offices LLC to resist the move, and to file a Counter-Petition for Custody. After a six (6) week trial, it was proven that the Mother's new Husband was teaching the children to be racist. Our attorney was successful in stopping the move to Louisiana, and was also successful in transferring custody from the Mother to the Father.
Alimony, Child Support & College Expenses
One of our attorneys recently encountered a client already in the midst of a highly contentious divorce. Through a grave miscarriage of justice, this client had been ordered to pay temporary maintenance to his soon-to-be ex-wife in the amount of $3,000.00 monthly, despite the fact that his net earnings were approximately $3,500.00 per month. Through perseverance and the exhaustion of all possible avenues for a legal remedy, the attorney was able to have this man's maintenance obligation reduced to $850.00 per month, which represented only exactly one-half of the couple's mortgage payment.
Our attorney obtained $550.00 per month in maintenance for a client whose income during most of the 20-year marriage was greater than her husband's, but at the time of the divorce was several thousand dollars less.
Our attorney recovered outstanding maintenance payments from a spouse that had disappeared for years. The attorney located the spouse in Indiana then worked with local authorities to serve him with notice of contempt proceedings and caused him to appear and answer to the court in Illinois. When the spouse requested time to hire an attorney, we persuaded the court to institute payments of $2000.00 per month toward the outstanding amount during the interim and to have those payments garnished from his paycheck. Due to the Attorney's arguments and evidence presented at the hearing, the court found the spouse in contempt, awarded over $78,000 in back maintenance, awarded over $14,000.00 in interest, increased the garnished payments to $3000.00 per month, entered a judgment toward attorney fees and costs, ordered the spouse to submit his income tax returns annually, and required the spouse to make a full year of timely payments if he wants to avoid jail time for his contempt.
Our attorney obtained college expense contributions from a father whose paternity was not established until after the child turned 18 and who claimed an inability to pay. Structured a payment plan that required direct payments toward tuition during school and monthly payments extending beyond school toward current and retroactive non-tuition college expenses. Successfully argued for monthly payments based on the estimated total that would be incurred through completion of the degree program and the court's findings on what the father could pay each month.
Orders of Protection
When faced with a Petition for an Order of Protection by his wife, a crying father came into our office. The relief the wife was seeking included having their 5-year old son as a protected party on the Order of Protection. Our client was in danger of not being able to spend unrestricted time with his young son. Through thorough preparation of caselaw and our client, our attorney was able to walk into Court and negotiate successfully with the wife's attorney. The negotiations resulted in that our client had temporary physical custody of the boy, and there was no hearing on the Order of Protection.
Father hired our firm to file a divorce from his wife and to seek an Order of Protection not allowing the Wife to take the parties' eight (8) month old daughter to the Wife's native country, India, because he feared that he would never see the child again. Unbeknownst to the Father and our attorney as they were successfully obtaining the Order of Protection from the Court, the Wife was at the airport waiting to board a plane headed for India with the parties' eight (8) month old child. With multiple telephone calls made by the Father and the responsible attorney, and with the help of the FBI, State Department, German Government, and the West Chicago Police Department, during the stop over in Frankfurt, Germany, on the way to India, the Wife was ordered to return the child to the Chicago area, which she did; and the Father is now seeing his child on a regular basis.
The Husband hired our attorney to defend him on an Order of Protection where he was accused of violence by the Wife. Despite the fact that the Wife not only testified against the Husband, but she had an eye witness testifying on her behalf as well. The responsible attorney was successful in pointing out substantial inconsistencies in the Wife's testimony and that of her eye witness that she brought to Court, the Court did not believe the Wife or her eye witness, and the Order of Protection was dismissed.
Our attorney recovered visitation time for a non-custodial father who had admitted to the court that he had smoked marijuana in the past. The father had an informal visitation arrangement with his child's mother for over two years. He enjoyed overnight time with the child and even babysat for the mother when she needed extra help. Both parents used illegal drugs in the past but trusted the other to not use in the presence of their child. After a fight between the parents, she denied him his time on Christmas Day and would not let him even see the child afterward. Faced with this breakdown in the relationship, the father filed a case to formally establish his parental rights as a father before retaining our office. At the first court date, the mother's attorney accused him of using illegal drugs to which the father admitted he had in the past but did not bring up the mother's past usage. He was ordered to take hair follicle drug tests regularly and faced defending the mother's demands for supervised visitation. Once hired, our attorney filed a petition to immediately set visitation time during the litigation and advising the court of the father's side of the story. The attorney appeared at hearing with witnesses, evidence, and case law showing that the father posed no threat to the child's well being and that the mother's past acts of allowing the father to have unsupervised visitations discredited her current claims. The mother's attorney, unprepared and surprised by what she faced, practically begged the court to continue the hearing so that she could bring in more witnesses. Instead, the mother backed off on her position, set up an unsupervised visitation schedule with the father, and instructed her attorney to work out the details with our attorney.