At Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C., we understand that families value peace of mind and security for the ones they love above all else. We understand this may be a difficult time in your life and will work to make sure you are aware of your legal rights and how to best resolve your family law matter. We also recognize that financial constraints exist for many new and growing families in central Illinois. For these reasons, our attorneys strive to offer families the planning and other services they need at fees they can afford. We are straightforward with you regarding what our services entail and how much you can expect to spend so you can make an informed decision when you choose to work with us.
We routinely represent clients in family law matters in Sangamon, Montgomery, Menard, Christian, Macoupin, Logan, and Morgan Counties, as well as the surrounding areas. Our clients routinely refer their family members, friends, and co-workers to us. We help clients resolve their family law disputes when it comes to divorce, parentage, child support, child custody, and visitation matters. We handle and prepare marital settlement agreements, separation agreements, property settlements, and pre-marital agreements.
- Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody and visitation are the most commonly disputed issues in divorce because of the emotional and financial effects. The guiding principle in all child custody matters is "the best interest of the child," but often parents do not agree on what is really in the child's best interest. Even after divorce or separation, parents must still work together to provide for their minor children. Our attorneys can help parents negotiate a framework for custody, visitation, and child support and, if necessary, can litigate to achieve a fair and workable arrangement that serves the best interests of the child, or, if necessary, work with you to present the issues to the court for resolution.
- Child Support
While child support is more straightforward and involves much less court discretion, it is still important for each party to understand the extent of their rights and what facts and figures are considered in setting an amount. Our attorneys can help you negotiate an agreement that fits your individual situation while still being reflective of everyone’s rights under the law. If negotiations fail, we can help ensure that the court fully appreciates your unique circumstances before it enters or modifies a support order.
- Division of Assets
Identifying and determining a fair distribution scheme for marital assets can be a challenge. Our attorneys understand how courts are likely to handle asset division issues and help you negotiate fair and workable property settlements. Because property division is such a complex issue, it should be cooperatively resolved between the spouses whenever possible. Nevertheless, spouses need to understand what type of property division they could expect a court to award so that they avoid accepting less than a fair share or bargaining away crucial rights. Our experienced divorce attorneys can provide the information and counsel you need to negotiate a fair and realistic property settlement, or, if a settlement cannot be achieved, we can assist you in litigating a conclusion to the dispute.
- Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage
When two people are married, nearly every aspect of their lives becomes intertwined. Divorce is essentially the process of disentangling two lives to the furthest extent possible and creating a framework for interaction if former spouses must continue to cooperate, such as with raising of children. Our attorneys thoroughly understand the many facets of divorce and provide our clients with the guidance they need throughout the process. Our attorneys will assist you through every aspect of the divorce process, including related issues such as custody and child support.
- Grandparents’ Rights
- Maintenance and Alimony (Spousal Support)
When custody and visitation are not agreed upon, parties will be required to mediate those issues before asking the court to address those issues. Mediation is a confidential, win-win approach to dispute resolution that helps the participants reach their own decisions in a fair, sensible, and cost-effective manner. In family court mediation, the parents are the decision makers.
During mediation, an impartial and neutral third party (the “mediator”) attempts to facilitate negotiation between the parties but does not force any decision upon them. Instead, mediators identify the issues that are blocking compromise and then offer creative and mutually beneficial solutions to those issues. This leaves the parties free to settle in a manner that ultimately works for them.
Mediation is not an official court proceeding. There is no record, and what transpires is strictly confidential and cannot be used during subsequent litigation. It is also informal, which can reduce the overall expense of the divorce process. Because it is not subject to the court calendar, it can be substantially faster as well.
Mediation usually works. In addition, it helps to preserve a working relationship between the parents.
- Orders of Protection
Domestic violence is a situation that can arise between a divorcing couple or a couple who has never been married. Whether you are attempting to obtain a restraining order or defending yourself against one, an experienced lawyer can help. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the alleged domestic assault or abuse, If you have been subjected to violence or threats of violence, you may seek a restraining order to protect your safety and obtain legal relief. Conversely, if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence and your partner is seeking a restraining order, act immediately to protect your rights. Unfortunately, some individuals make false allegations of abuse to obtain an upper hand in divorce proceedings. If your spouse has sought an order of protection, there is a chance that he or she is about to file for divorce, and an order of protection can have long-lasting implications, expecially when children are involved.
A parentage action is essentially the process of declaring parenthood and creating a framework for interaction of the two parents to cooperate in raising their child or children. This requires determinations regarding child custody, visitation, and child support. Our attorneys provide can provide you with the guidance that you need.
- Pre-Nuptial Agreements
Settling complex financial and parenting issues alongside the emotional turmoil of divorce is always a challenge. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are arrangements between spouses or spouses-to-be that establish the rights and obligations of each spouse both during and after a marriage. Prenuptial agreements are executed prior to the marriage, whereas postnuptial agreements are executed after the marriage. Our attorneys can help couples settle these issues ahead of time with clear heads and can even strengthen marriages by settling marital disagreements before they occur.
Our compassionate and thorough legal team understands your needs and expectations. We use all the resources at our disposal to provide services tailored to each client. Contact Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C. by calling our office at 217.525.1571 to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney.
The field of family law encompasses more than litigious issues like divorce and custody. Sometimes families need sound legal advice to add a new member through adoption or to address issues that arise before or after the loss or incapacity of one or both parents. At Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C., our dynamic family law practice goes beyond resolving issues between separating spouses or partners.
Adoption is the legal process of creating a parent-child relationship between two people when none existed before, and it is a process the law takes very seriously. Individuals or couples seeking to adopt must go through many steps, including evaluations, reviews, hearings and sometimes even litigation, before they can legally say the adoptee is their son or daughter. Without proper management, the adoption process can quickly become protracted and cost-prohibitive.
Whether you are adopting a stepchild, completing an arranged adoption, or adopting a child through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, adding a new member to your family is an exciting event. Many times these are joyous occasions, but sometimes the circumstances surrounding the adoption can be difficult. As you focus on the interpersonal situations at play, we will carry the legal burden, ensuring that the child is protected as well as your rights. Our experienced adoption lawyers can lend their knowledge to help you navigate the process with minimum hassle and expense.
- Civil Unions
While same-sex marriage is recognized in Illinois, our attorneys can help you understand what rights a civil union in Illinois offers and walk you through the process of establishing one.
- Estate Planning
This area of law includes counseling and advice in planning for death or disability, including drafting wills, trusts, powers of attorney, directives to physicians, prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and other estate planning instruments. This law firm has significant expertise in complex estate and tax planning, including integration with business ownership and transition considerations. For more information, visit our Estate Planning page.
- Guardianship of Minors
There are different ways a non-parent can obtain custody of a minor child; one way is a guardianship. Guardianship of a minor is unusual and only available in fairly extreme circumstances. There are many situations when family members may need to step in to care for minor children when their natural parents are no longer able to do so. A guardianship is less complex than adoption and may be a good alternative. But even for minor children, courts do not take the guardianship process lightly. A formal legal process must be followed. Our family law attorneys can help you obtain the legal authority you need to care for a child in your family through the guardianship process.