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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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Posted on in Paternity

DuPage County family law attorneys, establishing paternityIllinois law takes a child’s well-being very seriously, specifically recognizing the right of every child to the physical, emotional, and financial support of both parents—regardless of whether they are unwed, married, divorced, or adoptive.

As many of today’s parents never marry, these different types of support are not as clear-cut as they are when the couple shares a household. Parentage, often termed “paternity,” comes into play in these situations. Both the mother and the father of the child have rights and responsibilities under the law. However, before they attach, it is necessary to legally establish paternity. There are three primary ways of addressing parentage in Illinois.

Legal Presumption

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DuPage County family law attorneys, parental responsibilitiesPartners to a civil union often deal with the same marital issues as any couple, so there can be many questions when the relationship comes to an end. One of the most important aspects to dissolution of a civil union is what happens to minor children, and Illinois law does specifically address parental responsibilities in the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. You should discuss the details of your situation with a DuPage County parental responsibilities lawyer, but the following includes answers to some common questions.

How Does the Civil Union Act Apply to Divorcing Couples?

In general, the Act establishes a status that offers all the rights, interests, and benefits of marriage to individuals without regard to their gender. The “civil union” became the legal equivalent of marriage for same-sex couples on Jun 1, 2011.

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Posted on in Guardianship

guardianship in Illinois, DuPage County family law attorneysWhether you are caring for a minor child, a developmentally disabled adult, or another person with special needs, certain situations may require you to go through guardianship proceedings to act on that person’s behalf. Illinois law provides for different types of guardianship matters depending on your circumstances.

Guardian of the Person

When a person is appointed the guardian of the person, he or she is responsible for the ward’s support, comfort, healthcare, educational needs, and other matters relating to personal care. The intent of the personal guardian is to aid the ward with guidance on these aspects of life, while also promoting self-reliance and an appropriate level of independence. Typical duties of a personal guardian may include fixing meals, arranging for medical care, reviewing medical records, and procuring necessary services and living accommodations.

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DuPage County family law attorneys, modifying spousal maintenanceYour circumstances can change considerably in the months and years after your divorce, especially your financial situation. The spousal maintenance arrangement ordered by the court as part of the dissolution of marriage process may not be appropriate anymore, but you do have options for amending the terms. While you should discuss the specifics for modifying spousal support with an Illinois divorce lawyer, an understanding of certain general information may prove helpful.

State Law on Spousal Maintenance Modification

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that an order for spousal maintenance can be modified by showing a “substantial change in circumstances.” Both the ex-spouse receiving support and the one paying it can request a change to increase, decrease, or terminate maintenance payments. The law lists a number of factors indicating a substantial change in circumstances, including:

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DuPage County family law attorneys, parental rightsIf you are currently going through divorce proceedings, you are probably aware that the court will address the needs of minor children. There are many considerations that will factor into a judge’s decision on parental rights and obligations, all of which focus on an arrangement that accounts for the best interests of the child. You should consult with a DuPage County parental responsibilities lawyer about your situation; however, some general information is a good start.

Parental Rights and Responsibilities 

There are two primary considerations involved with a parent’s legal obligations and rights in Illinois:

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Posted on in Family Law

emancipation of minors, DuPage County family law attorneysWhile typically a minor is under his or her parent's’ care and control until the age of 18, there may be some circumstances where it makes sense for a minor to be legally emancipated before this age. If you need to know more about emancipation, you should contact a knowledgeable family law attorney to answer any of your questions.

Emancipation

In Illinois, emancipation is governed by the Emancipation of Minors Act. Most children are under the control of their parents until they are 18. However, some 16 or 17-year-olds can get a special judicial order that legally emancipates them from their parents.

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domestic violence, domestic violence and children, DuPage County family law attorneysStudies show that children who witness a domestic violence attack grow up feeling isolated and vulnerable. Witnessing an incident can mean more than just seeing an attack happen. It can also mean a child hearing threats or fighting noises of an abusive situation, or observing the aftermath such as blood, bruises, crying, torn clothing, and broken items around the house. All of these can have long term effects on the child of an abusive relationship.

Exposed children can become more fearful or anxious when put into certain situations. This can result in keeping a secret from the rest of their family, whom could have helped the victim otherwise. In some cases, the burden of keeping this undisclosed information can cause adolescents to blame themselves for the abuse they witnessed and think that if they would have told someone or done something about it, then the abuse would not have continued. In extreme cases, children can become emotionally, physically, or even psychologically abandoned.

Domestic violence lawsuits may result in limited visitation for parents if their child has been affected. The option of having police present to be protected from an alleged abuser can be given in court. Children are often affected by domestic violence because the abuse must be committed by a family, spouse, parents, those who have children in common, or have been or are in a dating or engagement relationship.

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New Illinois Gun Law Affects Those with Restraining OrdersA new law was just passed in Illinois that affects people who have restraining orders against them. The law further restricts the ability to own guns for people who have orders of protection against them or other specific domestic violence charges.

The Law

The new law goes into effect January 1, 2017. The statute lets the Illinois State Police revoke gun owners’ Firearm Owner's Identification Cards and deny someone’s application for the cards if they have certain protections filed against them. If someone has an order of protection or an order of no contact for stalking that applies to them, then they are eligible to have their ability to own firearms restricted under this new law.

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DuPage County family law attorneys, taking your children out of state, Illinois child custodyThe Chicago Tribune recently reported that a woman from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was arrested and charged with several felonies and misdemeanors for taking her three children out of state.

The woman, recently divorced, had parental responsibilities of the children, though her ex-husband was granted visitation. She and her three children, ages 14, 12 and 10, were discovered in Georgia when another Lake Geneva resident, who was also vacationing in George, noticed the family and called the police.

Police and other authorities had been looking for the woman and her children after they were declared missing several days prior.

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County family law attorneys, divorce affect my jobGenerally, we think of divorce as a personal matter that remains private. However, once in awhile, a divorce or information that comes out as part of a divorce can negatively impact someone’s job.

Recently, an Illinois chief of police found this out the hard way when information that was being investigated as part of his separation from his wife led to his resignation.

The man had worked for the Columbia Police Department for 24 years before he resigned on May 16, 2016. This was after the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was called to investigate into a domestic matter involving the man and his family. The investigation was related to the divorce process in which he and his wife were involved. While it is not clear the specifics of the domestic matter, it was enough for the man to resign as the Columbia, Illinois police chief. The man's separation from his wife was also granted.

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