Last July Illinois changed the child support law.  Now payments are based on how many overnights each parent has with their child as well as the joint incomes of both parents.  There is a table that shows what payments should be based on these factors as well as the number of kids that you have.

Nobody was sure how this was all going to work out and it’s still not 100% settled as some aspects of the law are being challenged at the Appellate Court.  But I asked a Chicago family law attorney his thoughts on the law and here are some of the highlights he gave us:

  1. Many parents in custody cases are trying to get to 146 nights with their kids to try and lower their potential child support payments.
  2. In cases where one spouse is getting permanent maintenance on 20+ year marriages and the maintenance is being reviewed, child support payments are going down because the maintenance is being considered as income.
  3. Many cases are getting rejected when the changes in income are relatively minor.  Essentially Judges are rejecting the cases and applying the old law even though if the case was brand new the payments would be much less.  That is a big area of appeals right now so time will tell how this shakes out.
  4. In cases where modifications to child support are being made, it’s very rare to see one where payments are going up.  So in most cases if you are paying support you’d want to consider a modification, but if you are receiving it you’d want to sit tight.
  5. Some parents aren’t doing a great job of documeting their actual overnight time.
  6. The same issues of people being paid under the table still exists and is being used to try and hide income and lower payments.

It’s been only nine months since the new law was put in to place so you can expect that a year from now we’ll have a much clearer picture on how things are working. If you have any questions or would like a referral to a Chicago area child support attorney, please call us at (312) 346-5320.  All calls are free and confidential.  While we don’t promise a result, we do promise that every attorney we recommend has tremendous experience and a great track record.

I’ve been helping people find the right lawyer for their case since 2001.  I’ve helped almost 400,000 people and I almost never see a situation where I don’t know a lawyer for the person who needs help.

But I’ve come across a person who is so difficult that he keeps losing lawyers.  He claims to have a lot of money and it’s a really high profile case.  Attorneys love clients with money and they love high profile cases, but nobody wants to go near this case.  This guy not only claims to be hugely rich, but also says that everyone says so.  Yet top criminal attorneys like Dan Webb want nothing to do with him.

Part of the problem is that this potential client thinks he’s smarter than every lawyer out there.  He doesn’t need their advice because he knows more about law than all of them.  Everyone says so he claims.  When the lawyers tell him to stop tweeting about his case because it makes defending him more difficult and increases the chances he will be charged and convicted of a crime he shows them who’s boss and just tweets more.

It’s not too hard of a job really.  The number one thing a lawyer would have to do is prevent him from testifying under oath because if he does he will surely get charged with perjury and not the “it depends what the definition of “it” is type of perjury.  In fact, given how often he’s been sued in his life, it’s kind of a miracle that he hasn’t gone down for perjury already.

What qualifications does a lawyer need to represent this amazing client who can’t find a lawyer that wants his case?  Getting on Fox News would be a good start. Not being an uggo like Ted Cruz’s wife or a fatso like Rosey would certainly help, unless you are a man then you can look however you want.  The biggest qualifications would be the ability to silently listen as your client regales you with stories of the different women who want to f him, the people he knows who are total losers and on some days, stories of classified national secrets.  Knowledge of international finance laws and the Logan Act are probably helpful too.

Bonus available if you have no problem with your advice being ignored and getting yelled at for delivering bad news.  The client allegedly is worth billions, but would prefer to have you bill him and pay later as he says he always pays his contractors except for the losers and haters who he will gladly pay once he gets sued.

Interested parties can apply in person at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave or just @ him and see how that goes.  Act fast as many top law firms and lawyers want to represent him despite none of them actually doing so.

Most of the attorneys I know are great, but truth be told, some are just awful.  The worst ones usually are the attorneys who put their own bottom line above a potential client and try to take on a case in an area of law they either just dabble in or know nothing about.  They usually do it because they think they are smart, wrongly believe the case will be easy and most of all want to make money.  We see this the most with attorneys who pretend they are Chicago personal injury lawyers.

Usually what happens is an attorney handles basic stuff like traffic tickets.  They help out a client who then says, “My cousin was hurt in a car accident as a passenger.  Can you help him?”  What the lawyer should do is say, “I don’t handle those cases” or “I don’t handle those cases, but know someone who does and can refer you.”  Instead in their mind they think, “I’m not making a ton of money and since they were the passenger, how hard can it be?”

The truth is that it’s a lot harder than they think.  First off, it takes skill and experience to identify all the proper insurance available, especially when a commercial vehicle is involved.  Second, there’s the matter of making sure the client is treating with a proper doctor and getting the care they need.  Third is having the experience needed to investigate an accident scene and/or document an accident properly.  Most of all though, the first thing an insurance company does when they get a new case is look up the lawyer.  If they realize the attorney is inexperienced, they will play hard ball and if they make an offer it will usually be a low ball one.

On the other hand, if your attorney has a track record of success and experience in dealing with that insurance company as well as a history of taking cases to trial when needed, the insurance company is more likely to be fair.

The other issue we see is that some lawyers who take these cases really need money.  You might think that most attorneys are rich, but the truth is that many are struggling.  A recent caller to my office needed a surgery from a car accident and her lawyer was trying to get her to settle the case for a low dollar amount. He wanted money now and didn’t care that the case would be worth more to him and the client by waiting.  He didn’t care that it was best for the client to do nothing now.  Fortunately she sought a second opinion.

So when you get an attorney who dabbles in personal injury, the client gets screwed.  These lawyers are frauds.  Do not hire the first lawyer you can hire.  Get the best one you can hire. You wouldn’t have a doctor who delivers babies operate on your back.  You don’t want a general practice lawyer for a serious injury case.  Any attorney who takes this case without a track record of success is looking out for themselves, not you.

If you need help finding the right personal injury attorney or just have questions, call us any time at 312-346-5320 to speak with one of our lawyers for free.  We cover all of Illinois and tell it like it is.  We don’t promise a result, but do guarantee we will look out for what is best for you and you alone.

Note, we are Chicago lawyers who since 2001 have been providing free legal advice and attorney referrals for people with legal matters anywhere in Illinois.  We have a state wide network of great, experienced attorneys who have a track record of success.  If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys for free, contact us at (312) 346-5320.  For more information about lawyer fees in car accident cases, read on.

There is an awful injury law firm in Chicago that has the worst commercials ever.  That’s not what makes them awful though.  They suck because I get about five calls a week from their unhappy clients and they usually all have similar stories.  Their complaints are either A. They promised me things that aren’t true. B. I have a new lawyer on my case every month. C. They don’t return my phone calls. D.  They don’t answer my questions.  E. All of the above.

Essentially this firm markets themselves like crazy, but doesn’t care about their clients.  They lose a lot of staff because people don’t want to work for unethical attorneys.

A recent caller to my office had hired this shady firm for a car accident case.  What’s crazy is that this firm is really a work injury firm, but apparently is trying to get injury cases too.  The caller had the similar concerns as their other unhappy clients do, but also questioned their attorney fee.  This firm was asking for 37.5% fee just to take the case, 40% if a lawsuit is filed, more if it goes to trial and 50% if there is an appeal!

That fee request is nuts.  Basically they are robbing their clients who accept it.  There’s no law for attorney fees, but except for very difficult cases you should be able to get an outstanding attorney whose fee fill be 1/3 of what they recover.  Many lawyers charge 40% on every case because they can get away with it, but if I was you I wouldn’t ever pay more than 1/3 and in some major injury cases you can get that down tow 25-30%.

To make matters worse in this case, the firm, after the surgeon discharged the client from medical care, forced him to go to a doctor buddy of theirs for physical therapy.  Of course that was done to try and inflate the bills to make the case worth more, but what’s really going to happen is it will make the case worth less because the insurance company won’t pay for it.  Ultimately, since this is a big injury case, the doctor will get paid, but it will come out of money that should have gone to the client.

It’s a pretty shady operation all around.

Bottom line is that you should not pay more than 1/3 to any injury attorney and you should never give them money up front.  If they are asking for that it’s a bad sign for them.  If you want help finding the best lawyer for your case, contact us for an unbiased opinion.

It’s Valentine’s Day and while you hopefully are in a happy marriage, days like today cause many to take an honest evaluation of their relationship and for some they realize that they’d be happier if they were divorced.  With that in mind, here are 12 things everyone should know about getting divorced in Illinois.

  1. There is no set time limit for how long a case takes.  If you and your spouse agree on everything you can be divorced within 30 days.  If not, the case could take months or even years. In general, when kids are involved or you are fighting over property or a business it will cause the case to drag on.
  2. The cost of a divorce if you hire a lawyer depends on how much the lawyer charges and how long the case takes. In general you will be billed for everything an attorney does whether it’s appear in court, talk to you on the phone, draft a motion, talk to the other lawyer, etc.
  3. The best thing you can do for your case is to set a list of goals, both short term (what are you concerned about for the next six months) and long term (where do you want to live in five years) and work with your lawyer to make sure you are thinking about everything that you should think about.  Prioritize your goals.  The more you can achieve the more that settling makes sense.  The less you can achieve indicates you should go to trial.
  4. Beware of lawyers who over charge.  Ask for itemized bills every month.  There is one divorce law firm in Chicago that is famous for billing for “research” on basic issues.  There is no research being done, they are just stealing from their clients.  I’ve seen other cases where the attorney for one spouse charged five times as much as the lawyer for the other spouse.  It shouldn’t cost $100,000.00 to get divorced unless you have a difficult case.  In most cases it should be less than $10,000 and in many in can be under  $5,000.
  5. Joint custody refers to parenting decisions.  That is different than the amount of time you spend with the kids.  If spending a lot of time with the kids is important to you, document all of the things you do from driving to practices, helping with homework, playing with them, changing diapers, etc.
  6. As of July of 2017 there is a new formula for calculating child support in Illinois that is based on how many over nights each parent has with the child as well as joint income.  It can get tricky when one spouse doesn’t work or another either doesn’t report or hides income.
  7. Beware of law firms that market themselves in ways that makes you think they are special by saying things like “father’s rights.”  It’s a gimmick.  A good lawyer fights for their client, communicates, doesn’t over bill and does whatever they can to get the best result possible.
  8. Nobody is excited about getting a divorce.  It’s not fun.  What we’ve seen is that the process, since it’s rarely amicable, can wear on attorneys.  Many formerly great Illinois family lawyers become jaded or burned out.  You don’t want one of them in your corner because they won’t be in your corner.  If you see red flags like failure to return phone calls, yelling at you or having no idea what is happening on your case, switch firms before they ruin your life.
  9. You typically want a lawyer who has these qualities: 1. Just about 100% of what their practice is involves family law. 2. They’ve been practicing for at least ten years. 3.They do a lot of work in the county where you are getting divorced and know the Judges.  That usually means they are local.
  10. Don’t worry about the grounds of divorce.  Also don’t freak out if your soon to be ex sends a divorce petition that asks for the moon and contains nothing that the two of you talked about.  That’s often a lawyer’s “strategy” that gives themselves room to negotiate even though their actions make the case drag on, creates bad feelings and costs everyone more money.
  11. If you don’t have a lawyer, don’t ever skip a court date.  Even if the attorney for your spouse says they will do something, don’t take their word for it.
  12. One lawyer can’t legally represent two people in the same divorce.

Bonus tip.  I have a lot of good friends who have gotten divorced. They all have been miserable at first, plowed forward and come out on the other side happier and in better relationships.  Getting divorced isn’t ideal, but it can be the first step toward making you happy.

If you have questions or would like help with a case, call us at (312) 346-5320 for a free consultation.

Police officers in Chicago and most places are for the most part great.  But when you have tens of thousands of them, there are bound to be some bad actors who do bad things.  Given that police have tremendous authority and power, they can do a lot of damage to innocent people.

In the past few months we’ve read a lot about officers in many cities/states who have been accused of sexually abusing people they have arrested and we’ve actively helped people in Chicago and other parts of Illinois who have made similar claims.

The challenge in these cases is that it can be a he said/she said situation and the cops who are scummy enough to do this do it because they believe nobody will believe a “criminal” over a cop.  That’s the mentality we are dealing with. So what should you do if an unethical cop, sheriff or any other officer makes you perform a sex act on them?

  1. Even if you committed a crime that put you in this position, you are still a victim and this officer is a criminal.  File a police report against them as soon as you can.
  2. Go to the hospital as soon as you are able to.  This can help prove what you are saying and enhances your credibility.  There is no such thing as consensual sex between an arresting officer and a defendant.
  3. Preserve any evidence that you can.  In one case, to be graphic, a client spit evidence in to a bottle. A DNA test will lead to an arrest and substantially increase the value of the case because it will take away any ability to deny that it happened.
  4. Remember the body cams.  Some really stupid cops have committed this rape while a body cam was on and/or turned it off without good explanation.

In the big picture, if this happens to you it can seem like an uphill battle, but if you are telling the truth your chances of prevailing both with criminal charges against the scum bag as well as in suing to win a lot of money.  What’s shocking in these cases is how often the person who abuses their authority has a track record of having done terrible things yet still gets to be alone with people to do it again.

If you would like a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL consultation about getting help with one of these cases or anything else, call us any time at (312) 346-5320 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.  You can speak with an experienced lawyer for free, ask questions and get pointed in the right direction.  We help everywhere in Illinois and with sexual assault cases by law enforcement officers we will often help any where in the US.

Some parts of Illinois dog bite law are pretty straight forward.  If you are minding your own business and a dog attacks you causing an injury, usually their owner or handler will be liable.  Those cases typically come down to whether or not there is insurance or other money that can pay your damages.  Not all cases involving dogs and injuries are that straight forward.

Imagine playing with your child in your back yard when you hear your neighbors huge dog start to bark and aggressively come towards you. What do you do? Most people, just like Bijal Parkh, would run away.  Unfortunately, when he ran he also slipped in his garage and shattered his knee.  Is the injury caused by Mr. Parkh or did the dog chase cause the injury? Who is at fault?

According to the 1st District Appellate Court, the dog chase was not the proximate cause of his injuries.  Meaning the dog didn’t trip Mr. Parkh or do anything else specifically to make him fall. In fact, in this case, Mr. Parkh ran so far so fast, he was unaware of how close the dog even was to him at the time of the fall.

When the case went to trial, both sides argued over what instructions to give the jury.  Mr. Parrkh wanted “injury” defined to the jury as “an aggressive violent action designed to inflict an injury” or a harmless action that “under a particular set of facts results in an injury” which would still hold the dog’s owners liable for his own fall. Mr. Parikh’s request was denied as the court instead ruled the rules did not need further defining.

A dog chase is usually not enough  to hold a dog owner responsible, should something happen to you because of the chase. If the dog catches you and bites you or worse… that is a very different ending. Large dogs can be intimidating, especially when they are running right at you, or in this case, chasing you.  If you stumble an hurt yourself and the dog backs off without actually attacking you, you may be on your own for the medical bills.

Final thought.  Every case is different. So please don’t read this blog and assume you have no case.  Call us at (800) 517-1614 any time to speak with a lawyer for free and get an analysis to see if you have a case.

We are a group of lawyers who are here simply to help you. We offer a free consultation over the phone, will answer all of your questions, go over your options and then recommend a specific law firm to represent you. We are not paid by these law firms, so we can truly offer you free, fair, and unbiased confidential legal advice that is unique to your situation.

We have vast knowledge and experience in helping those who may have had issues that threaten their professional licenses. Doctors, nurses, real estate agents, mortgage brokers and others  all have been helped even in this specialized small area of the law. T

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations (IDFPR) is accountable moderating more than one million people in more than a hundred different industries, all in an effort to make sure the Illinois professionals are protected. Separately, They make sure that professional standards for safety, welfare and licensing standards are upheld. If you are facing an investigation from them, the #1 factor in hiring a lawyer is realizing that this is a niche area of law.  There are probably less than ten attorneys in Illinois who dedicate more than 90% of their practice to this work. If you hire a firm that only dabbles in it you are taking a huge risk.

There are two branches of the IDPR. First, the licensing and testing division makes sure that all of the requirements of licensed professionals are met within their chosen field in order to obtain licensing. The second branch is the enforcement branch. This branch enforces the laws that govern the conduct of many professionals in Illinois. In this case, professionals could be anyone with a license from a locksmith to a physician and everything in between.

If a complaint has been filed against an individual person holding professional license, an IDFPR investigator will be assigned to look into the complaint. That person will look into the situation to make sure no rules or regulations have been broken, and that the professional has all of their licensing up to date including ongoing education and notifying the proper boards of any criminal convictions, arrests or any other conduct that could be considered unprofessional.

The investigator will decide if any infraction is severe enough to be assigned to a prosecutor. That prosecuting attorney will then decide if a board disciplinary hearing or IDFPR Hearing is appropriate for the case. Often times, the result of these hearings can include no disciplinary action at all or the other side of the pendulum, total loss of a professional license.

Because of the severity of the possible disciplinary action, any professional who has an investigation brought against them, should get an attorney who knows what they are doing in their corner before the case gets too far.  These cases can be won and lost at the investigation phase.  We can help you find that attorney. Much like a criminal case, anything you say can and will be used against you.  Smart people have their lawyer do the talking for them.

We have helped hundreds of people in this situation and have a very high success rate with cases concerning professional license defense. If you would like our help, we will gladly take your call confidentially, listen to your situation and put you in touch with a qualified and experienced attorney to represent you. Our service is free and the lawyers we recommend are the  best at what they do in Illinois.  Call us any time at (800) 517-1614 or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you.

There is a basic premise under Illinois employment law that you can be filed at any time, for any reason, as long as it doesn’t violate a contract (e.g. you are in a union) or an illegal reason such as your race, religion, gender, age, etc.  So you can be fired for an unfair reason, a false reason or anything that isn’t illegal.  This includes being let go because you make too much money.

Say for example, a man has been at a construction job for 25 years. He is now 50 years old. He has always received excellent feedback from his supervisors and has moved up the chain of command as far as possible due to his work ethic and commitment to the company. Along with those steps up in the chain of command have come pay raises. Then on his 26th yearly review, he is given horrible feedback, and denied an annual raise. He later hears from his co-worker that they are starting to scale back the higher wage earners who happen to be mostly old-timers because they cost the company too much in benefits and salary. Giving poor employee reviews is simply the first step in trying to get rid of the people who make more than the younger people coming on board new with the company.

While it may seem like a no brainer that this is age discrimination, unless you have actual proof there is no case for legal action. Unfortunately, there’s no case at all unless it can be proven discrimination which is easy to suspect, but harder to actually prove. There are no laws about a company that lies to its employees during evaluation. There are no laws that guarantee you must be treated nicely or that everything that happens on a daily basis will be fair. There are laws and Court rulings that say a higher rate of pay and age are not correlated. Therefore, it isn’t a no brainer at all. In the above scenario, there is no evidence of age discrimination available without a statement that they are getting rid of you because you are too old or something else that actually proves what you suspect is actually true.

If you DO have actual evidence that you were terminated due to your age, race, gender or religion, please contact us to review the facts of your case. We can put you in touch with a qualified attorney in your area to help put your best interests first.  And if you just have questions, call us too. It’s always free to speak with one of our lawyers.

We receive about ten calls per day from people who are looking for a lawyer for an Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit. Our goal on these calls is to learn the facts of what happened, determine if there is a case worth investigating and if so, refer you to a malpractice attorney who has experience and a track record of success with a case similar to yours.

It’s important to know a few things about these cases: 1. They are marathons, not sprints.  By that we mean that these cases take on average 2-4 years to resolve and the time between when you first call a lawyer and a lawsuit is filed if there’s a good case is about six months.  That’s because all of the relevant medical records must be gathered and reviewed by an expert physician who is willing to state that malpractice occurred. 2. Even in the most obvious cases of malpractice, you can bet that the insurance company will try to fight the case.  Doctors win 80% of the cases that go to trial in Cook County and in other counties they never lose.  So don’t be surprised that the case will take some time and make sure the law firm you hire can demonstrate lots of success in these cases.

Beyond that, it’s important to know what medical malpractice is. In plain English it’s when a medical provider screws up AND causes a major, permanent injury.  For cases that go to trial it can cost a lawyer around $100,000.00 in expenses.  So if there isn’t a catastrophic result then it’s usually not worth pursuing.  By catastrophic we mean death, becoming paralyzed, brain damage, severe nerve damage, going from being able to work to permanently disabled, requiring constant medical care, etc.  It’s awful to say, but also honest to say that a physician can screw up badly and get away with it if there isn’t a bad result.

Sadly a medical provider can get away with being negligent if you can’t prove that the bad result wouldn’t have happened anyway.  For example, if they fail to diagnose pancreatic cancer in a 90 year old and that person dies, the defense would be that at that age you have almost no life expectancy and couldn’t get treatment for cancer that severe.  Like I said, insurance companies ruthlessly fight these cases.  I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a strong law firm in your corner.

It’s also important to know what malpractice is not.  A woman called me upset that her doctor had spoken too loudly in the office about her medical condition. A man was frustrated because his doctor was rude to him.  Another caller wasn’t happy that his doctor would no longer prescribe pain medications because he missed an appointment.  None of these examples are medical malpractice, they are customer service issues.  If you think your doctor has behaved in an inappropriate way you should file a complaint against them with the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulations as they license and discipline medial providers.

I hope this basic explanation clears up some myths.  We know and work with the best medical malpractice lawyers in Illinois. If you would like a free consultation or a referral, call us any time at (312) 346-5320.