Family Law

Divorce Settlements

As Belleville family law and divorce attorneys, we help individuals facing divorce reach agreements that will work for the future. As Illinois child custody and support attorneys, we understand that child custody and support represent challenging issues in a divorce. As St. Clair County and Madison County, Illinois civil union attorneys, we understand the law and we can help you dissolve a union and related issues. The attorneys in our office are in Court on almost a daily basis in regard to child and spousal support, child custody, visitation and visitation abuse and non-minor support.

Negotiations in family law cases involve issues relating to custody, visitation, child support, issues regarding marital property, issues involving non-marital property, maintenance and pension or retirement plans.  We usually advise clients early on in proceedings to formulate a reasonable settlement demand including so as to attempt to save some additional time, fees and expense.  In that manner, and early in the case, there can be an attempt at narrowing the issues, and in determining matters that can be agreed upon and matters in regard to which further negotiations or a hearing may be required.  Parties sometimes have their own perspectives regarding the negotiation process.  Sometimes they do not wish to make the first offer because they have the belief  that the first offer is never accepted anyway.  Once an offer is made, sometimes parties do not understand that a counter-offer generally results in rejection of the original offer by the other side.  In order to facilitate resolutions, the law generally provides that settlement negotiations are inadmissible in the event of a hearing.  In settlement negotiations, we usually clearly identify letters of offer, acceptance or counter-offer as Settlement negotiations – not admissible in order that all attorneys and parties understand that if matters are not settled, those written communications clearly may not be introduced as evidence for any reason at a hearing.

Sometimes mediation takes one session and in other instances mediation can involve multiple meetings, usually directly with the parties, but sometimes including the parties, the attorneys and the mediator.  If a mediated settlement can be worked out, same is usually reduced to writing by the attorneys and then the parties can approve and the mediated settlement can be submitted to the Court for approval.

Contested Divorces

At Blake Behme Links Raney, P.C. we carefully guide you through the dissolution of marriage process. At our initial no charge fee consultation meeting, we explain the dissolution process and create a strategy to accomplish your goals. As an Illinois asset division attorney, and a Belleville property division attorney, we resolve differences regarding the division of marital property and we have options that will help you divide your personal assets with less time and costs through settlement.

You will discover that we guarantee to make the legal process understandable and that we have a proven track record for obtaining positive results for our clients.

Legal matters can cause anxiety and worrying about the process or results and can affect your health and well-being.  You will love having a law firm that gives priority to your individual
interests and you should expect we will use our best efforts to obtain results for you.

If we accept your case for representation, you can let us worry about obtaining a successful outcome for you.  In order to attempt to save you money and obtain the results you are seeking in an expeditious manner, we generally commence working on any case we accept for representation immediately and we keep you
timely advised in regard to the process.

We are never too busy to meet or communicate with you in any manner as may be appropriate.  You should know that if you are our client we will do our best to make sure your interests are protected and we will vigorously advocate your positions to obtain the best results.

Child Custody Litigation

Child custody can be a difficult issue in a divorce. At Blake Behme Links Raney, P.C., we help you determine a custody arrangement that takes into account the interests of the children. We typically attempt to reach settlements and agreements outside of Court. Child custody mediation can be successful. As an Illinois custody dispute attorney and Belleville child custody attorney, we understand that circumstances change as years pass and we guide parents through modification, removal, college expenses and other issues.

Factors which may influence the Court include the status quo (any current custody agreement), siblings (whether or not it is in the best interest of the children to keep siblings together), stability of environment (an environment of the child may include community, school and/or social setting), finances of the parents (suitable living space, safe neighborhood, adequate food and/or clothing), stability of the parents (whether a parent has an alcohol or drug problem, whether a parent has mental instability, whether a parent has a criminal history, whether a parent has a history of promiscuity), preference of the child (depending on the age, maturity and other facts and circumstances), etc.

Elder Law Issues

Grandparents can have rights to have Court ordered visitation or custody depending on facts and circumstances.  Although a Court Order for grandparent visitation can be viewed as an interference with a parent’s right to raise a child, under certain circumstances, Courts can consider grandparents being awarded custody, visitation or guardianship of grandchildren when parents may be unable or unfit to care for a child.

Paternity & Child Support

As with any type of lawsuit, we zealously advocate the rights of our clients, whether it be the father or the mother.  Since we have more attorneys regularly handling family law cases then most family law firms in the area, we have the advantage of comparing rulings in various cases in Courts throughout the Metro East and Southern Illinois areas.  It is only logical that cases involving father’s rights also involve mother’s rights. One attorney is advocating the position of his or her client and the other attorney is advocating the position of the spouse.

Here is the difference.  We believe the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.  In other words, we believe the outcome of any case can be affected by a variety of factors.  As soon as we accept a case for representation we immediately begin working on it.  We send confirmatory correspondence to any new client that we have accepted the case for representation and how we intend to proceed.  We respond to all telephone calls or inquiries from our clients and we make time for office conferences which result in our client having a comfort level that we are working assiduously on their case and that they are being kept timely informed of all developments.


We have been handling adoption cases for years, including complex areas where a natural parent cannot be located, or may reside in a foreign country.  We work through the Court system to ensure that adoption matters are handled correctly in order that problems may be avoided in the future.

Orders of Protection

If there is abuse by a family member or household member that may be enough to obtain an Order of Protection.  An abuser may be any family member, spouse, former spouse, parents or children, step-children or any other person who is related by blood.  An abuser may be someone that shares a common dwelling or someone that has a child with another and may also include a current former boyfriend or girlfriend.

Post-Divorce Issues

We have handled a variety of modification of custody cases.  In those situations, we emphasize what may be in the best interests of the minor child or children, taking into consideration numerous factors, including the circumstances of the natural mother, the circumstances of the natural father, what is occurring in the lives of the child or children, the ages of the child or children, the preferences and wishes of the child or children, etc.

Premarital Agreements

We have been involved in Premarital Agreements between parties for decades. Sometimes people seeking to marry wish to protect their respective interests in case matters do not work out. In other instances, parties seeking a dissolution of marriage have concerns as to whether or not a Premarital Agreement will hold up or if it may be set aside by the Court.

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