Free Initial Consultations

Phone630-657-5052
With offices in Naperville, Joliet, Wheaton & Chicago
Livas Law Group
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in DuPage County family law attorney

Wheaton grandparent rights attorneyWhile many families cherish the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren, there are exceptions. Whether a parent has personal issues with the grandparents or truly has reason to believe that the grandparents are a danger to their children, there are certain conditions in which contact between children and their grandparents may have been terminated. There are also situations in which grandparents may feel that children are better off with them than with the actual parents. However, there are specific necessities laid out by Illinois law that dictate whether grandparents can legally pursue visitation or custody rights.

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Illinois Chapter, the state of Illinois is very “pro-parent” and “anti-grandparent.” The rules for grandparents seeking visitation rights are fairly strict. The first prerequisite is that the parent or parents’ refusal of grandparent visits must be without good reason.

How to Know if You Have a Case

Aside from showing that parents have unfairly cut off your contact with your grandchildren, your case will need to meet one of the following conditions: 

...

DuPage County family law attorney, getting marriedCongratulations are in order if you have recently gotten engaged and are embarking on the planning phase of your upcoming wedding. As you are preparing the guest list, booking a venue, and making arrangements for the reception, the legal aspects of your nuptials may be the furthest from your mind. However, there are some important tasks you need to address as your wedding day approaches—matters that can ensure you are getting your marriage off on the right foot. Discuss your specific circumstances with an Illinois prenuptial agreement attorney, and consider these “must-do’s” before the big day.

Apply for Your Marriage License

Before Illinois will recognize your marriage as legal, you will need to secure a marriage license from the county clerk’s office where you or your soon-to-be-spouse live. You must both appear before the clerk in order to obtain the license, and bring proof that you are 18 years or older; a driver’s license, state-issued ID, or birth certificate will be sufficient. If either of you were married before, you will need to supply the information on why and when the previous marriage ended (death, divorce, etc.).

...

DuPage County family law attorney, mediation, Illinois divorce caseWhen you think about divorce in Illinois, you may see images of drawn-out, antagonistic legal battles involving repeated court hearings where spouses fight over children, the division of property, and spousal support. However, not all cases are so adversarial and can actually be resolved through mediation under appropriate circumstances.

Many spouses are able to agree on some issues or are close to compromise on disputed matters, making mediation an ideal solution to protracted, expensive litigation. Talk to an Illinois mediation professional about your situation after getting some basic information about the process.

How Mediation Works in Divorce Cases

...

DuPage County family law attorney, Illinois divorce caseWhen a couple decides to divorce, several steps are taken to begin the process. After the initial consultation with an Illinois divorce lawyer, your attorney will get to work on gathering information and filing the proper forms for your case. Research on property division, issues involving children, and potential strategies for spousal support will also be conducted. Additionally, your attorney will be touch with you about the work behind the scenes, which will include appearances in court. You may wonder what these hearings are about, since your case is not yet proceeding to trial. These court appearances are a necessary part of the process, so it is important to understand what is going on and what to expect.

Status Hearings 

Court appearances are scheduled by the judge to see where certain factors stand on divorce proceedings. Your attorney will attend to offer a report on whether there has been settlement on property distribution and/or spousal support, and if you and your spouse have come to an agreement on allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. If discovery and depositions are necessary to investigate and resolve certain outstanding issues, your attorney will update the judge.

...

DuPage County family law attorney, Voluntary Acknowledgement of PaternityOn its face, the Illinois Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) seems like a simple form. It requires basic information about the mother, the child, the person asserting parentage, and other details. The benefit of using a VAP is that paternity is established without having to go to court. However, it is critical that you know the legal implications of executing the form—no matter what position you are in as a parent.

Before you consider this method of establishing paternity and sign the VAP, make sure you talk to a qualified Illinois parentage attorney to fully understand your rights and obligations.

VAP Basics

...

DuPage County family law attorney, spousal maintenance agreementsIn many divorce cases, the parties are able to agree upon spousal maintenance and the terms of the arrangement are entered into the final dissolution of marriage order. Under Illinois law, the agreement is binding on the parties, but it can be modified under certain circumstances. At times, it may be necessary and appropriate to make changes, as many life-changing events can occur after the divorce is finalized. The ex-spouses must look to the specific terms of the agreement to determine whether it can be modified. Hence, it is important to consult with an Illinois spousal maintenance attorney before you sign.

Agreements Regarding Modification

The terms of a spousal maintenance agreement typically cover the amount one spouse pays to the other, how often, and whether there are any events that would cause maintenance to terminate. In addition to payment basics, a divorcing couple can also include different types of modification provisions in their spousal maintenance agreement:

...

DuPage County family law attorney, guardian ad litemChildren are impacted by a divorce just as much as their parents, but their situation is also unique due to their age. Minors cannot represent themselves in court and are often too young to understand their own best interests, which is the paramount factor in determining parental responsibility allocation. In a contested case or under other circumstances, a judge may decide to appoint an advocate for the child. Under Illinois law, the court has three options:

  1. Attorney for the Child;
  2. Child Representative; or
  3. Guardian ad Litem.

Each of these positions carries its own powers and capabilities, so it is important to understand the role of the guardian ad litem if one has been appointed for minor children in your divorce.

Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Defined

...

DuPage County family law attorney, orders of protectionIf you are in a situation where you fear for your own safety due to the actions of another person, Illinois law does provide you with options to protect yourself. Sometimes termed a “restraining order,” an order of protection can prevent harm by mandating that an abuser avoid contact or communication with you. It is critical to consult with an experienced DuPage County restraining order attorney about the three different types of orders of protection right away, before any further violence impacts your life.

Emergency Orders of Protection

Under Illinois law, you can obtain an emergency order to protect against violence solely through your own testimony to a judge, without the typical procedural rules that would apply in other cases. You do not have to notify the abuser and he or she does not have to appear in court, when the harm you are trying to prevent will likely happen if proper notice is delivered.

...

DuPage County family law attorney, parental responsibilities One of the biggest concerns that couples with children have during a divorce is with whom the children will live. There are many factors that go into decisions about where the children will live. Parents who want the child to live with them will be best served by working with a skilled family law attorney to help make their case in court.

The Best Interest of the Child 

The court makes its decisions based on the best interests of the child. The factors that go into best interests of the child are laid out in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. A number of factors that the court will examine include (depending on age) the child’s wishes, the needs of the child and parents, how the child will adjust to his or her school or community, whether the parents can get along, and if there has been any abuse in the family.

...

Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County family law attorney, parenting planIllinois law now requires divorcing couples with children to submit a “parenting plan” to the court in order to be granted a divorce. This is part of the changes made by the new Illinois family laws that went into effect January 1, 2016. There are several important rules and considerations surrounding parenting plans and it is advisable to work with a skilled family law attorney to make sure that the plan that gets approved will be one that is best for you and your children.

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a document that lays out the rights and obligations of both parents in relation to the children. A parenting plan specifically allocates parenting time (formerly known as custody and visitation) and other matters that need to be worked out in order to parent separately.

...

DuPage County family law attorney, parenting timeOne of the most difficult things to deal with is an allegation of domestic violence in the middle of a family law case. Because judges rightfully take domestic violence claims seriously, even unfounded allegations can drastically affect the way a family law case moves forward. Sometimes, even parenting time is cut off. If you are the subject of domestic violence allegations, you need to understand your rights.

Types of Allegations

There are several different types of domestic violence allegations. If one party accuses the other of abuse in a court filing or during testimony, the court will have to consider what proof is available to support these claims. While these allegations will be taken seriously, they are often given less credence than other types of allegations. 

...

DuPage County family law attorney, child support complicationsDetermining child support payments can be a difficult task—one that is further complicated for unmarried parents. Compared to more “traditional cases”, unmarried parents have many unique considerations to keep in mind when determining visitation rights, paternity, and child support.

Illinois Laws Regarding Child Support

Paying child support is a legal obligation, regardless of marital status. Non-custodial parents are required to continue to make child support payments until the minor child reaches age 18. If the child, upon turning 18, is still a full-time high school student and unmarried, the child support continues till they turn 19.

...

Posted on in Family Law

DuPage County family law attorney, testify under oathWhen considering filing for divorce, many people get nervous about when they think about the possibility of having to testify in court. While most divorce cases settle long before trial, testifying as part of the divorce case may be required.

When You May Have to Testify

There are typically three occasions when you may have to testify in a divorce case and they include the following:

...

DuPage County family law attorney, visitation interferenceDivorce and child custody are complex issues. These issues are even more complicated when one parent attempts to prevent the other parent from seeing his or her child during a court ordered visitation.

Visitation interference and visitation abuse are two common issues that a non-custodial parent may need to address. Therefore, if you are a non-custodial parent, it is important to understand the difference between visitation interference and visitation abuse. 

What is Visitation Interference?

...

DuPage County family law attorney, custody-evaluationsDivorce is a complex issue. The complexity only increases when the divorcing couple has children. The couple must make many decisions about child custody, visitation and parenting plans. Some couples are able to arrive at a decision on custody issues. Other times, the couple is not able to make a decision even after trying mediation or other efforts to settle. When this happens, it is not uncommon for the divorcing couple to ask the court to decide issues of child custody. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act directs the court to seek the advice of a mental health professional (e.g. psychologist, psychiatrist or licensed social worker) on child custody. The court may make this decision by requesting a child custody evaluation.  

When Do I Need a Child Custody Evaluation?

The child custody evaluation process allows a mental health professional to evaluate a child in his or her environment and then recommend a custody, visitation, or parenting plan. Child custody evaluations have tremendous influence on a court’s custody decisions. A custody evaluation is critical when the mental health of a child is a concern (e.g. eating disorder, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia). The opinion of a mental health professional will help the court determine a custody arrangement, which serves the best interests of the child, and will ensure the child's mental health will remain stable.

...

DuPage County family law attorney, divorce property divisionWhen you and your spouse are going through a divorce, you already anticipate the division of property and assets. However, most people fail to realize that debts are also a major part of this process. Most divorcing couples focus on who gets the house, car, or big screen television; still, they must also consider who handles the mortgage, car payments, and credit card debt. These debts might have been manageable when both spouses were paying the debt down, but it might be much more difficult to pay those debts on one's own.

Fortunately, when it comes to debts, Illinois law has certain provisions that deal with marital and non-marital debts. Under Illinois law, “Neither husband or wife shall be liable for the debts or liabilities of the other incurred before marriage, and they shall not be liable for the separate debts of each other, nor shall the wages, earnings or property of either, nor the rent or income of such property, be liable for the separate debts of the other.” Therefore, neither spouse will be liable for the debts of the other spouse. Creditors will not be able to go after assets you own when they are going after your spouse.

Exceptions to the Illinois Marital and Non-Marital Debt Provision

...

DuPage County family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawToday, in Illinois family courts, the divorce process is governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“Act”), which was passed in 1977. Society was different back then, and the Act was created to address the many issues families were facing. Today, however, the landscape of society has changed and families have several new needs that the Act can no longer satisfy.

In order to get divorced under the current statutory scheme, you have to identify a specific ground that provides for the dissolution of marriage or you must have been separated from your spouse for at least 24 months. There are many grounds for divorce in Illinois, some of which include adultery, cruelty (mental/physical), drunkenness, and irreconcilable differences. In certain instances, people desiring divorce have used these grounds to obtain an unfair advantage over the other spouse when it came to child custody or alimony, among others.

Senate Bill 57 and its Changes to Divorce Proceedings

...

DuPage County family law attorney, establishing a guardianshipIn Illinois, a guardian is appointed for a variety of reasons and has the same responsibilities to a child as a child’s natural parent. Guardianship arises in certain scenarios, such as when: a child’s biological parents cannot care for the child; a child’s parents died in an unfortunate accident; a minor child is disabled and is unable to provide for his or her own well being; or when elderly persons can no longer take care of themselves.

Under Illinois law, there are four types of guardianships available. These guardianships are: permanent legal guardian; guardian ad litem; standby guardian; and short-term guardian.

  • A permanent legal guardian assumes the obligations of the biological parents and is responsible for the child’s necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter, education and upbringing;

    ...

DuPage County family law attorney, child custodyCurrently, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“IMDMA”) determines the factors the court considers when deciding the best interests of the child during child custody disputes. As the law stands today, the court issues physical and/or legal custody to a single parent or both parents. These categories are commonly referred to as joint or sole custody. Essentially, if the parents do not cooperate, one parent will be granted custody and the other will be granted visitation, creating a winner/loser scenario.

The IMDMA directs the court to consider certain factors when evaluating the best interests of the child at issue in the child custody proceedings. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Wishes of the child;

    ...

Posted on in Adoption

DuPage County family law attorney, adult adoptionsThe adoption law in Illinois focuses on facilitating new family relationships. When parents to decide to adopt a child, it creates a legal parent-child relationship, just as if the child was their biological offspring. The same outcome applies when a parent, or parents, adopt an adult. Commonly, adult adoptions formalize relationships that have endured for a long period of time. Many states across the United States, including Illinois, permit adult adoption, where two adults legally enter into a parent-child relationship.

There are benefits to adult adoption. Adult adoption gives the adopted adult the inheritance right from the adopting parent(s), just as if the adult was the biological child of the adoptive parent(s). Likewise, it permits the adopted adult to make important medical decisions, should the parent become disabled or incapacitated. Often, adult adoptions occur in pre-existing relationships, such as the situation of a stepparent and stepchild, which is performed to ensure that the stepchild has inheritance rights.

If you are considering adopting an adult, you should contact an experienced attorney who will be able to advise you of the process, evaluate your situation and bring you one step closer to making the adoption become a reality.

...
Back to Top