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Wes Cowell

Wes Cowell’s Answers

3,227 total


  • New DIVORCE Maintenance Law in IL - DATE OF DETERMINATION OF MARRIAGE?

    Everything I've read and all the information (from previous attorneys I interviewed...) that I have says that the date used to determine maintenance under the new law is that ACTUAL DATE OF DIVORCE. We filed in 2010 but weren't actually divorced u...

    Wes’s Answer

    There is a link, below, you can go to to learn more about the new law.

    The new law doesn't define the end point of the "length of the marriage" -- it just says "The duration of an award under this paragraph (1) shall be calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage by whichever of the following factors applies:"

    Your lawyer was probably advised by the judge in a pre-trial conference that the judge would use the date of filing instead of the date of the final judgment This is probably because the judge (and the lawyers) think that to go by the actual date of the divorce could possibly lead some litigants to try to drag out a case so as to cross one of the threshholds that define the various durations of awards. That position, however, ignores the fact that the court is authorized to deviate from the guidelines when warranted. So, if a litigant engaged in deleterious tactics to drag out a case -- in an effort to cross a threshhold and thereby increase the duration of the maintenance award -- the court could still use the date of the final judgment as defining the "length of marriage" and then just dial down the duration of the final maintenance award so as not to reward the delaying litigant with a too robust maintenance award.

    Personally, I think the judge and lawyers in your case (and the others you've talked to) are just flat-out wrong. I think the court is supposed to use the date of the final entry of the dissolution for three reasons:

    1. During the pendency of your case, you're still married, and the law says to look to "the length of the marriage." If the legislature wanted judges to use the "date of filing," the legislature would have written the law to read "the date of filing;" not "the length of the marriage."

    2. the formula in the law specifically defines "maintenance payable after the date the parties' marriage is dissolved shall be in accordance with subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph (1), unless the court makes a finding that the application of the guidelines would be inappropriate." Those words -- "after the date the parties' marriage is dissolved" -- is as clear as it gets. The legislature knew all about how to define "length of marriage" and, when it laid out the duration part of the formula, it said "length of marriage -- it did not say "date of filing."

    3. To use the filing date would create bad public policy -- it would give some spouses an incentive to file for divorce at the first sign of trouble, at a time when, perhaps, the marriage could be saved.

    Check out the link and think about talking with other lawyers.

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  • Child support

    The father and I have never been married. The lawyer is trying to get us to enter an agreed order where he only pays 50.00 bi weekly because he's unemployed. She said that because he's unemployed, the most he can pay is 25.00 per week. Is that true?

    Wes’s Answer

    Unemployed obligors (parents who pay support) cannot skip out on their obligation. Usually the unemployed obligor receives unemployment compensation. Is this unemployed obligor receiving unemployment compensation? If so, have the dependent's (child's) allowance forwarded to you. If not, why not?

    Support can take into account assets as well as the obligor's income. Does the obligor have any assets?

    The obligor should also be required to maintain a job search diary. He can be ordered to:
    maintain a job search diary,
    report to IDES for job search services
    report to the Jobs Training Partnership Act provider
    report to DHFS for job training and job search services.

    How is this obligor paying bills?

    You need to talk with an attorney.
    There is more information at the links, below.

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  • I've been pet. In Tn.4 cust. of daughter. Splitting 3wks in Chi./ 3wks in mem. Mom just arrested can i file Emerg. Temp. Cust.?

    Mother has hist. of prost. I've been traveling from mem. To chi. Every 3 weeks sharing cust. Equally during case responsible 4 all travel expenses. Last wk. she was arrested again, this time in Nashville for prost. I'm due to return my daughter in...

    Wes’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I understand your post. You've got an excellent claim, here, that only gets weaker as days pass. Strike while it's hot. Get your Emergency on file today. Talk with your lawyer or, if you don't have one, hire one. The judge should be informed of this situation TODAY!

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  • Can my ex wife who resides in texas file a motion and state on it that she resides in illinois? shes trying to garnish my wages

    my divorce agreement stated i pay alimony for 5 years which i did and now she's stating i owe 1 more year, she lives in texas but states she resides in illinois on the motion she filed, can she legally file this motion?

    Wes’s Answer

    She CAN legally file the motion. One may "live" in one state but "reside" in another. Does this technicality matter? You need to confirm that your maintenance obligation is done. Call a lawyer for help. You should be able to derail the garnishment with tour proof of payments.

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  • How can I get my son back?

    When I was 17 (2007) I let my mom take guardianship of my 1 year old son, no contest. Now I'm 25, employed, married (not the bio-dad but a wonderful father figure for my son) we 100% own our vehicles, rent 2br apt, can live comfortably while still...

    Wes’s Answer

    You start by hiring a lawyer. You say what sort of guardianship you signed and you don't say by thing of its terms. Do you have a copy of the court papers? If so, share them with your lawyer. If not, your lawyer will get them (if they exist) and share them with you. THEN you'll be able to map out a strategy.

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  • I am currently going through a divorce and have a question regarding inheritance and spending funds that have been commingled.

    My spouse created a contract that we both signed dividing our assets.He is now trying to back out of the contract (in part, it states we divide everything in our joint accounts equally). This is due to his inheritance,which he received last year.W...

    Wes’s Answer

    You need to talk with your lawyer about this, in detail. The fact the he "told you" the moneys was "ours not his" is probably meaningless. The fact that he put the money into a joint account means nearly everything. IThe money is now presumed to be marital property.

    You need to get a notice of dissipation claim on file, too.

    The judge cannot make you ask for money back from your parents. The judge CAN for yor to sell the car to pay back his inheritance.

    You need to talk with your lawyer about all of this. If you don't have a lawyer, you need one. Pick up the phone. There's a link, below, you can follow for more information.

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  • What kind of custody agreement can a father expect in an out of state situation?

    I have an 18 month daughter in Chicago. I live in TN. I would like to get visitation, but I do not know what to expect. I have only seen her 2x because the mother does not want me involved. What kind of visitation would I recieve living so far away?

    Wes’s Answer

    Your heading says "custody" and the body of your post says "visitation."

    You should get papers on file quickly. Don't delay. The reason is that, since you never married the mother, you are not an automatic shoe-in for visitation as you would be had you married. Illinois law requires unmarried, non-custodial parents to demonstrate FIRST that it would be in the child's best interest to have visitation with that parent. That's not a hard thing to do for a 1.5 y.o. child; but wait until the kid is 6 or 7 and it becomes much more difficult. Don't drag your feet.

    Custody is decision-making power. Sole custody give all decision-making to Mom. Joint custody means you and Mom make decision, jointly. We're not talking about whether the child should get a haircut or pierced ears. We're talking about which school she'll go to, medical treatments, etc. It doesn't sound like there's any reason you can't be involved in decision making; so joint custody should work for you.

    The only hold up . . . is you. There's a link below you can follow for more information.

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  • Can I pick my daughter up from daycare outside of my visitation times outlined on my JPA? (joint custody)

    So I have joint custody of my daughter although my ex wife has residential. The Regular Visititation clause outlines my visitation time and then says "(father) shall also have parenting time with the child at any other such times as agreed to by...

    Wes’s Answer

    All time is either Mom's time or Dad's time. You seem to think that there is a third kind of "time," like "undefined" or "unassigned" It doesn't' work that way. The parent to whom the evening is assigned is the one to pick up from daycare.

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  • In regards to having Sole Custody, What actions can I take for the non custodial parent seeking non urgent medical care?

    I am the custodial parent with sole custody of our children. Their father has two 3 week summer visits with the children. Upon returning from their first visit I have been informed by the child there is a doctor appt made for a specialist and I h...

    Wes’s Answer

    Talk with your lawyer. Have your lawyer send a love letter to the Dr. canceling the appointment and include a copy of the judgment awarding you sole custody. Send a copy to Dad. File a Petition for indirect criminal contempt and drag Dad in to court to teach him a lesson. While you're at it, enter an order restraining him for the abusive threats, harassment, name calling. If you want, you probably have grounds for an Order of Protection, but that would make things more complicated and expensive.

    If you don't have an attorney, you need one. Your children deserve it. Lawyer up.

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  • Changing child support visitation orders?

    In my child visitation orders, it states that my ex will claim my son on even years for taxes, and myself on odd numbered years. My son is now 7 years old and this order began when he was 2 years old and since then, his dad has only seen him maybe...

    Wes’s Answer

    Yes, you can get this done and it shouldn't cost nearly that much. Many lawyers will handle cases like this on a low, flat rate. Others offer services to help you with the papers and coach you so you can get it done in court. Call a lawyer -- you'll find good legal help you can afford.

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