Lady Justice Chicago Blog

2017 Open Enrollment Period and Divorce

It is that time of year again.  It is time to select health insurance coverage for 2018.  Open Enrollment period is from November 01, 2017 to December 15, 2018.  It is important to enroll during this period, or you may not be eligible for 2018 health insurance coverage.  However, certain life events allow individuals to enroll in a healthcare plan outside of the Open Enrollment Period.  This period outside of open enrollment called the Special Enrollment Period.  If you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period, then you should enroll within 60 days of a qualifying “life event”.  If you are going through divorce proceedings, moving, or losing coverage, then these events classify as life events. Please note these are not the only life events that may allow an individual to qualify for the Special Enrollment Period.

Going through a divorce is difficult.  It is important that all parties involved transition to divorcée as seamlessly as possible.  Preparation and Planning can make the transition smoother.  As an effective financial plan, it is important to calculate the cost of insurance.  Plan accordingly by researching healthcare market plans.

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Alyease Jones
2017 Changes in Child Support

The past few years have been very exciting in the world of family law.  Why?  Illinois is making quite a few changes.  The method of calculating child support is about to change.  Beginning July 1, 2017, Illinois will join approximately 40 other states and use the Income Shares model to determine child support payments.  What does this mean?  Child support payments will no longer be calculated using a flat percentage of the non-custodial parent’s net income. 

Under the new law, the child support payment is determined by first calculating the net income of each parent.  Then, the net incomes of the parents will be combined to determine the total income of the family.  It is important to note that the new law treats parents who “share” parenting time differently.  If a parent is in the physical care of a child at least 146 overnights a year, the court may first multiply the basic child support obligation by 1.5 to calculate the shared child support obligation.  Next, each parent’s child support obligation is calculated by multiplying each parent’s portion of the shared child support obligation by the percentage of allocated parenting time.  The parent who owes more child support will pay the difference between the two amounts to the other parent.

With these changes, there may be more litigation in the courtroom about parenting time.  Only time will tell.  However, the most important thing to remember with these changes is a child should be supported by both parents.  When practicable, it is always in the best interest of a child for the parents to work together.

Alyease Jones
Happy Holidays!

The Law Office of Alyease Jones wishes that the upcoming holidays are filled with laughter and love.  Please take the time to enjoy your family and friends.  Happy Holidays!

Alyease Jones
National Love Your Lawyer Day

Why not celebrate a day of love?  Today is no exception.  November 04, 2016 is “National Love Your Lawyer Day”.  Seriously.  There is a day that has been designated to shower love on the legal profession, specifically lawyers.  Is this a stupid holiday?  You be the judge. 

However, lawyers need love too.  It should not be limited to one day of the year.  Service is the center of the legal profession. Lawyers serve their clients, and the best of the lawyers understand that service is the core of the profession.  15 years ago this day was created.  The creator of this day must have realized that there are times when lawyers feel unappreciated and undervalued. 

Will this day fill that void?  Of course not, but if you know a lawyer take the time to appreciate them today and every day.  To all the lawyers:  be careful not to violate any rules of ethics while accepting all this “love”.

Finding the Right Attorney to Represent You

Attorneys come in different sizes, shapes, and colors.  As a potential client, it is important to find the right attorney to represent you.  When selecting an attorney for any matter, a potential client must decide several things.  I have come up with a quick list of things a potential client must decide when choosing the right attorney to represent their interest. It should be noted that this list is not all-inclusive. First, a potential client must decide do they “like” their attorney.  This may be an odd thing to state. However, it is important that you like the person that you hire to represent you.  It is difficult to assess a personality in a short consultation, but a person can determine if their attorney is likable.  During your first meeting, determine if you like the way the attorney represents themselves to you.

Second, a potential client must decide the objective in hiring an attorney.  A potential client should know what is the purpose of hiring an attorney to represent your legal needs.  The potential client reaching out to an attorney should have a rough idea of why an attorney is needed.  In some cases, it is very easy to determine your objectives.  For instance, if you are researching a family law attorney because your marriage is “on the rocks”, then more than likely you want a divorce.  It is important that a potential client decides what is their purpose in hiring an attorney.

Finally, a potential client must decide if their attorney is affordable.  When hiring an attorney, it is important to be realistic about your personal finances.  Find an attorney that is affordable.  Please keep in mind that finding someone affordable does not mean foregoing quality. Some mistakes are costlier than others, and hiring the wrong attorney can be expensive and time-consuming.  A potential client cannot afford to hire the wrong person.

“Lawyers are like wine—you can pay a lot of money for a fancy bottle that tastes like vinegar, or you can find a good deal that fits your budget and your palate alike” Karen A. Covy.

Happy Father's Day!

Father's Day is just around the around the corner.  No more ties or coffee mugs for gifts.  Let's show dads that we really care.  Of course, it is NOT about the gift.  Fathers are just as important as mothers.  Fathers teach their children life lessons and practical skills. Fathers teach their children the importance of picking a mate and changing a tire (some moms do too).  Fathers provide an extra sense of security. I can not stress the importance of fathers being active in their children's lives.  I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to all the fathers in the world.  I hope this Father's Day brings you cool gifts and lots of love.  For great gift ideas for dad click here

Happy Mother's Day

A mother's job is never done.  Today, I would like to take the time to thank all the mothers. Thank you for your hard work, sleepless nights, and never-ending love. This weekend please take the time to appreciate all mothers-but most importantly, your mother. 

“This is the role of the mother, and in that visit I really saw clearly, and for the first time, why a mother is really important. Not just because she feeds and also loves and cuddles and even mollycoddles a child, but because in an interesting and maybe an eerie and unworldly way, she stands in the gap. She stands between the unknown and the known. In Stockholm, my mother shed her protective love down around me and without knowing why people sensed that I had value.”- Maya Angelou

Do I Really Need An Attorney?

Last week, I had someone ask me did I think an Attorney was necessary for their matter.  My response, “I’m an Attorney—of course I think an Attorney is necessary”.  Everyday people enter courthouses without an Attorney present to handle their legal matter. In the legal stratosphere, these individuals are called pro se. 

These individuals make a decision that either an Attorney is not necessary to handle their legal matter or that an Attorney was necessary, but instead of paying an Attorney it is more beneficial or efficient to handle their own matter. Pro se litigants may not realize the value of an Attorney.  Attorneys are experts in the law, but Attorneys also provide their clients with a peace of mind.  It is difficult for many individuals to handle their everyday life and worry about a separate, pending legal matter.  Attorneys handle the law while you handle your everyday life. 

Most Attorneys, the attorneys that are really invested, assist you with handling your life issues as well.  Attorneys are not only experts in law, but Attorneys are counselors.  If you ever have a conversation with a lawyer, then I am pretty certain they can tell you about a time where they counseled their client with a “life” issue.  Yes; you really need an Attorney.  However, you do not have to take my advice.  I am an Attorney.  But,  “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” 

The Importance of Teamwork

A popular phrase is "team work makes the dream work".  Last week, more than ever, this phrase was applicable. While in parentage court, I was very attentive to other cases.  Most of the parties had children in common, but were never married.  There were a wide range of issues-- from parenting time (visitation) to child support.

However, there was a common theme throughout each case--dissension. Somewhere along the way, these parents decided that court intervention was needed.  The Judge said something that resonated with me "in order for a child to have the best life both parents have to come together and recognize the importance of working together".   Working together allows each family member to achieve their highest potential.

Children should grow up in an environment that allows them to see their parents in a caring and nurturing state.  This includes the relationship of the parents. When a child sees their parents working together, it cultivates a sense of love and security.  I'm not a psychologist, but a loving environment allows individuals to achieve a greater sense of self-worth.  A greater sense of self worth allows individuals to be more productive.  The old adage states that it takes a village to raise a child.  Ultimately, team work makes the dream work. 

Facing a Divorce

Unfortunately, for many marriages divorce is inevitable.  There comes a time when a couple has to decide if staying together is "worth it".  There are many factors that lead to a divorce. Surprisingly, I have recently discovered the state you live in is an indication of the success rate of your marriage.  To view an interesting article that discusses the divorce rates according to States click here.   

Divorce is a word that is associated with mixed emotions.  For some, a divorce triggers deep-seated emotions and pain.  For others, a divorce is a reason to rent a party bus and celebrate with their closest friends--it is an exciting, new chapter in life.  Regardless of how an individual views divorce, it is a process that an individual should not enter into alone.  If you are considering a divorce, then I urge you to find someone you can depend on or find a support system.  

Divorce doesn't indicate failure; divorce may be a step in the right direction.  Honestly, the end of a chapter indicates the beginning of a new chapter.  Wisdom teaches you that "sometimes the right path isn't the easiest one" Grandmother Willow, Pocahontas.