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Wheaton family law attorneysWhile some couples are able to completely end their relationship with a divorce, others must continue to interact with one another because of the children they share. This new relationship, a process that is more commonly referred to as co-parenting, continues (at least) until the child turns of age. How you navigate it - not just during the divorce, but long after - can make a massive difference in how your child adjusts to the new structure of their family. Increase your chances of success by using these five tips for successful co-parenting, and discover how a seasoned divorce lawyer can help improve the outcome in your Illinois divorce. 

1. Keep Your Child Out of the Divorce 

Though children are inevitably affected by the divorce of their parents, they should not be privy to all the details of the case. It is a personal and financial matter between adults who wish to end their relationship. The child’s relationship with each parent usually continues, however, so long as it is in their best interest (which it usually is). Allowing them to overhear details could taint the child's perception of the other parent, and that could ultimately create maladjustment issues for them. Alternatively, if you lean on your child and overshare details with them, you could potentially harm your child’s relationship with not just the other parent, but yourself as well. Avoid such issues by ensuring you keep your child out of the divorce as much as possible. 

Do not argue with your spouse when your child is nearby, avoid phone conversations when your child is around, and be sure to make sure your child is not within earshot when speaking to friends and family about the divorce. If asked directly about the divorce, be honest with your child but only share as much information as necessary. 

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Illinois grandparent rights attorneysParents are not the only influential people in a child’s life; grandparents can have a lasting and loving impact as well. Sadly, there are situations in which a grandparent may be denied time or visitation with their grandchild. What rights might you have while facing such a situation, and how can you exercise them? The following information explains, and it outlines how an experienced family law attorney can help.

Grandparent’s Rights Under Illinois Law

While Illinois law does recognize the importance of a child’s extended family – especially during divorce and other family law proceedings - not every grandparent has legal rights to exercise. Thankfully, there are certain extenuating circumstances that may open an opportunity to pursue legal rights to a grandchild. These situations include:

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DuPage County family law attorneysTerminating a parent’s rights to their child is not something that occurs regularly, but it is sometimes necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. How, exactly, does one go about doing this? Can it be applied in all situations, or are there only certain scenarios in which a parent’s rights can be terminated? The following answers these questions, and it provides important details on how an experienced family law attorney can assist you with the process, should it be warranted in your case.

Terminating a Parent’s Rights for Stepparent Adoption

Perhaps the best scenario in which a parent’s rights may be terminated is when there is a prospective adopting stepparent who wants to become the child’s legal guardian. Mostly, this is done with the consent of the biological parent. However, there are scenarios in which the family must go through the courts to prove that the biological parent is unfit, unsafe, or otherwise incapable of providing the love and support that the child deserves. In either scenario, the guidance and assistance of an experienced attorney is highly recommended. Note that grandparents, siblings, and other family members may adopt a child if both parents are willing to terminate their parental rights.

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DuPage County family law attorneysDivorce, in and of itself, is a complex legal process. Abuse, particularly the abuse of a shared child, can complicate matters even further. Thankfully, there are actions that you can take protect your child during the divorce process. Learn more, including what an experienced divorce attorney can do for you, with help from the following information.

Focus on Safety First

If you and your child are in an abusive situation, find a place where you can be safe. Family, friends, and even domestic violence shelters are examples of viable emergency options. It is also advised that you develop a safety plan and that you seek assistance with a restraining order. Both can provide additional protection while you are going through the divorce process.

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Illinois divorce attorneysAlthough children of any age can struggle with divorce, toddlers may be especially vulnerable to the stress and changes within their environment. To make matters worse, to children in this developmental stage, parents are everything. They are the center of their world, the place they turn to when they feel hurt, alone, or scared. Divorce can disrupt that bond, especially when one of the parents leaves the home. Thankfully, parents can mitigate against this issue. Learn more with help from the following information, and discover how an experienced divorce lawyer can help you through the process.

Keep Conversations Simple and Child-Centered

Telling your child about the divorce is the first step in the process, and it should be approached with great care and consideration. Keep the conversation simple and straightforward, focusing mostly on the ways that the divorce will impact (or not impact) your child. Remember: toddlers are self-centric, and they are unable to grasp the complexities of divorce, so the impact that it will have on them is the information they want and need most.

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DuPage County family law-attorneysManaging life and the kids during and after divorce can be stressful, especially in the beginning. Thankfully, with a few good tips and a little time, everyone starts to find their new routine. Learn more how to improve the back-to-school transition while going through a divorce, and discover how an experienced attorney can smooth the process for everyone involved.

Start with Realistic Expectations

Unrealistic expectations can be extremely toxic to the co-parenting process, and can often lead to arguments, hurt feelings, and coping problems. As such, parents are encouraged to be patient with one another (and themselves) and understanding with their child. After all, everyone is trying to adjust to a new life, and it takes some time to accomplish that.

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DuPage County family law attorneys, Illinois DCFS investigationsWhen you receive word that you are being investigated for child abuse allegations by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), it can seem like your world has been turned on its head. While there are plenty of horrific cases handled by DCFS, there are also many that are unfounded or simply a misunderstanding. If your matter falls within one of those categories, you are no doubt overwhelmed and distraught. Fortunately, you can fight the allegations and it is best to do so with an Illinois DCFS hearings lawyer by your side.

Call-in to the DCFS Hotline

Investigations into child abuse and/or neglect start with a call into the State Central Register Hotline, a call center in Springfield, IL, that is dedicated to dealing with child abuse situations. An employee for DCFS answers the call and takes information from the caller, in an attempt to determine whether the facts support the possibility of harm or risk of harm to a child. Anyone can make a call to the Hotline, including family members, friends, teachers, neighbors, and other individuals. After the DCFS staff member completes the call and necessary paperwork, he or she forwards the information to the agency county office where the child resides to officially initiate the investigation.

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interstate child custody issues, DuPage County family law attorneysWhen parents and their children have lived in different states throughout the duration of the marriage, extremely complicated issues arise regarding child custody in a divorce case. In Illinois, the key for handling disputes is jurisdiction—a court’s authority differs when handling divorce matters versus child custody battles. Jurisdiction may be proper over one aspect of the case, but not appropriate for the other. Because of the highly complex nature of the legal issues involved, it is wise to retain an Illinois divorce attorney with experience in interstate child custody issues.

Divorce Jurisdiction

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a court has jurisdiction to enter an order of dissolution of marriage so long as one of the spouses was a resident of the state when filing for divorce. In addition, jurisdiction is proper if one of the spouses was stationed in Illinois as a member of the armed services. The spouse must be a resident or have military presence in the state for at least 90 days prior to initiating divorce proceedings. Once the filing spouse meets the 90 day requirement and submits the petition for divorce, the case will proceed in Illinois regardless of where the other spouse lives.

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DuPage County family law attorneys, orders of protectionIf you have a temporary order of protection issued by an Illinois court to protect your safety and that of your family, it can be terrifying to think about what the abuser may do when the designated time period expires. By its terms, a typical restraining order may last anywhere from a few weeks up to a couple of years, depending on the circumstances.

Fortunately, Illinois law does provide alternatives to letting an order of protection expire, but the process to extend or modify can be complicated. An attorney with experience in restraining orders can tell you more about the proceedings.

Types of Orders of Protection Under Illinois Law

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DuPage County family law attorneys, Illinois guardianship casesA legal battle stretching from Illinois to Indonesia found its way into a Cook County courtroom in March 2017, as a judge ruled against granting guardianship and custody to a baby’s grandmother. According to an ABC 7 Chicago News report, the infant’s parents are serving a prison sentence in a Bali murder case, having been convicted just before the child’s birth. The girl had been allowed to stay in jail with her mother until her second birthday, and her mother entrusted an Australian woman with her care on that date.

The basis of the judge’s ruling was that the child’s parents must give written consent before a decision on the grandmother’s guardianship petition would be proper. There are complicated issues involved in any Illinois guardianship case, as an experienced attorney can explain.

Illinois Probate Act

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DuPage County family law attorneys, Illinois divorce casesThe already-contentious divorce between Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Sandi Jackson is becoming even uglier as attorneys for the spouses spar over jurisdiction issues. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the dispute centers on whether Illinois courts have jurisdiction over Ms. Jackson, who lives in Washington, D.C. with the couple’s two children. Mr. Jackson’s lawyers allege that there is a valid legal basis for the divorce case to remain in Illinois due to Ms. Jackson’s connection to the South Side residence the couple shared: She contributed to household expenses since purchasing the home in 1994 and uses the space when she is in town. A decision on the motion filed by Mr. Jackson’s attorneys may not come for some time, yet the case raises important questions about jurisdiction in Illinois divorce cases.

Two Types of Jurisdiction for Divorce Cases in Illinois

In general, jurisdiction determines where you file for divorce, because you must initiate your case where you reside—not where you were married. There are two types of jurisdiction you must satisfy to proceed with your divorce in Illinois.

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DuPage County family law attorneys, temporary spousal supportWhen a couple files for divorce, there may be a great discrepancy between their incomes—a difference that can make life very difficult for the lower wage earner when the other spouse is no longer contributing to the household. To avoid such a situation, Illinois divorce law provides for a proceeding called a Petition for Temporary Support and Other Relief.

If a judge grants the petition, one spouse may be required to pay spousal support to the other to assist with living expenses; the arrangement is temporary and only lasts until a final order is entered to conclude the divorce. There are strict rules governing the petition process, so it is wise to consult with an Illinois spousal maintenance attorney for assistance.

Petition with Supporting Affidavit

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DuPage County family law attorneys, right of first refusal, parenting timeA parenting plan for decision-making and parenting time is a part of any Illinois divorce when minor children are involved, whether it is by agreement of the parties or ordered by the court. The provisions of the plan that cover parenting time refer to the periods where one parent is responsible for care-taking duties. However, provisions may not address what happens when something “comes up” to impact the normal schedule.

Illinois law regarding the right of first refusal is intended to alleviate issues that may arise under these circumstances. You should discuss your situation with a qualified parenting time lawyer. Still, some answers to the most common questions on right of first refusal should be helpful.

What is the Right of First Refusal?

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DuPage County family law attorneys, child supportParents must stick to a court’s order on child support—an order which is intended to cover the costs of basic necessities. However, there is more to a child’s life than food, shelter, and clothing.

Under Illinois law, a judge has the discretion to include additional expenditures in the amount of child support if doing so is in the child’s best interests and is equitable between the parents. Not all costs will qualify for an additional financial stipend above and beyond the basic obligations, so discuss your options with a knowledgeable child support attorney.

Qualifying Expenses

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DuPage County family law attorneys, child's best interests, Illinois lawIn 2016, a number of changes were implemented to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act—changes that cover divorce and child custody issues. One of the sections that was overhauled deals with the allocation of parental responsibilities as they relate to decision-making.

In general, the law provides that the court will determine these obligations according to the child’s best interests and it enumerates a total of 15 factors that a judge should consider when making a decision. Because the law deletes a few sections from the prior one, and incorporates new criteria, it is worth taking a look at the seven new provisions for allocating parental responsibilities in Illinois.

Cooperation

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County family law attorneys, annulmentsAnnulments are often thought of as a legal process you go through after using bad judgment during a trip to Las Vegas. However, an annulment is a very specific proceeding under Illinois law. The official term according to the statute is “Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage,” and it is not as available as you might think.

There are exacting requirements to qualify for the annulment process, and the rules regarding eligibility are quite strict. Therefore, if you are considering an annulment, you should discuss your circumstances with an Illinois divorce lawyer who can advise you on annulments and other available options.

Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage Versus Divorce

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DuPage County family law attorneys, relocation of a childCircumstances may change for parents of minor children after a divorce, and the terms of your parental responsibilities and parenting time may have to adjust along with them. In a common scenario, your former spouse may want to relocate your child from his or her normal residence for different reasons.

No matter what the justification for moving, you do have rights under Illinois law regarding relocation. The child’s best interests are always paramount, but it is possible to defeat your ex-spouse’s removal efforts before, during, or afterwards. Always discuss your specific situation with an Illinois divorce lawyer. Consider the following information to help you understand the process.

Location of Relocation

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preparing your child for divorce, DuPage County family law attorneys,One of the most difficult conversations you may ever have with your child is the announcement that you and your spouse are ending your marriage. Children feel the impact of divorce perhaps as extensively as their parents, and how they react will depend on their age, personality, and unique circumstances. These young people will feel a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, anxiety, and surprise.

If you are divorcing in Illinois and you have decided that the time is right to tell your child, there are a few things you and your spouse can do to help them endure these difficult times.

Initiating the Conversation

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DuPage County family law attorneys, spousal maintenanceThere are several matters that a court will determine during the divorce process in Illinois, and spousal maintenance is among the top issues that a judge will decide. The term spousal maintenance refers to the financial support that one ex-spouse pays to the other, commonly known as “alimony.”

The first consideration that a court will review is whether spousal maintenance is appropriate under the circumstances; Illinois law lists a number of different factors to weigh, including income, earning capacity, property, and duration of the marriage.

One point that is often hotly contested is when one spouse’s role is focused primarily on domestic duties during the marriage. Two factors under the Illinois divorce statute speak to exactly this type of situation.

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Posted on in Adoption

DuPage County family law attorneys, Illinois adoptionCongratulations are in order if you have decided to move forward with adoption, but there is also a lot to do to get ready for your new member of the family. From initial legal considerations to making the child feel welcome on arrival, you want to make sure things runs smoothly through every step of the process. While every family’s situation is unique, you can set the stage for success by following a few tips on preparing for your Illinois adoption.

Consult with Your Family

The decision to adopt a child will impact the entire household, so it is important to discuss the situation with your family. Even if you and your partner—or you alone—have embraced the idea, minor and adult children should be given the chance to weigh in on adoption. You need to answer their questions and address their concerns if you want to ensure a smooth transition.

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