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Posted on in Divorce

chronology of divorce casesAs you are undoubtedly aware, divorce cases can drag on for months and even years, preventing the parties from moving on with their lives. But why does it take so long? The lifespan of a divorce begins even before either party files for dissolution of marriage under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, and lasts until a full agreement has been reached. Many cases involve complex circumstances that take longer to sort out. Below you will find more information on the main phases of a divorce.

Filing of a Petition for Dissolution

Your case officially begins when your lawyer files a petition in court. Once the petition is filed, you can wait before telling your spouse, if it is to your advantage, but you cannot wait forever. An attorney can help you decide when the time is right to ask the sheriff to serve your spouse with divorce papers.

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Posted on in Child Custody

adoption, Illinois family lawyer, DuPage County adoption attorney, childrenThere are many people who dream their entire lives of becoming parents. For those who are not able to have their own biological children, this dream might never become a reality if it was not for the option to adopt. Others may choose to adopt outright and provide a loving home to a child in need. Whatever the motivation, adoption is a noble cause that can prove to be a fulfilling life decision for all of those involved.

Questions About Adoption

Many who consider adoption likely have a variety of questions and concerns about the adoption process. While it is advisable to discuss specific situations with a licensed attorney, here are some common questions asked by many prospective adoptive parents, taken from the National Adoption Center website:

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children of divorce, divorcing parents, Illinois divorce lawyer, DuPage family lawyerCouples who decide to divorce face a difficult decision, particularly when children are involved. Many parents worry about their child’s well being throughout the divorce process, however, many cases suggest that parents themselves are the ones who have the most impact on their child’s ability to bounce back after the marriage has ended. While one may be hard pressed to find someone who would not do anything they could for their child, divorce proceedings may appear to be an exception to that rule. Some parents may let their contempt for the other parent cloud their judgement and use children as a weapon, whether it is intentional or not.

Causing Damage

A recent article suggests that children of divorce can suffer far-reaching and life-changing damage when not treated properly. Children are often victims of divorce, and they are sometimes used by parents as weapons to hurt one another in the breakdown of the marriage. This tactic not only deviates from doing what is in a child’s best interest, but truly hurts the child’s well-being in a very real way. Parents often think that divorce is an adult process, but children’s lives are just as impacted, if not more.

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child support, income withholding, parenting, life after divorce, children of divorce, Illinois child support lawFor many, it may be hard to believe that any parent would not do all they can for the well-being of their child. However, the fact remains that in many child support cases, particularly contentious matters that involved a bitter divorce or a relationship gone sour, a parent who owes child support may pull whatever strings possible to get out of the obligation.

This may be because of the payor parent’s feelings of ill will toward the custodial parent, but no matter the reason, the one who is hurt most in cases like this is the child or children involved. Luckily, with the help of an experienced attorney in child support matters, these situations can be avoided when possible and addressed when they occur.

Income Withholding

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parenting time, parenting, children of divorce, child custody, shared parenting, life after divorceA recently published article discussed the problem that some parents face in child custody disputes and the changes that some are calling for in order to level the playing field. Many parents who are involved in divorce cases where children are involved face the possibility of a diminished parent-child relationship. The parent who is not the custodial parent often becomes just a visitor in the eyes of the family. Because of this perceived inequity, many parents who lose out on significant time with their children are trying to make changes to the legal process.

Shared Parenting

Advocates of equal parenting time are trying to get legislation passed that would divide custodial time more fairly between both parents. Their position is that children are better served when they spend equal time with both of their parents. These parents are against laws that would award custody to one parent over another, except in cases where one of the parents is deemed by the court to be unfit. Their proposed legislation would include a clause that mandates both parents get a minimum percentage of parenting time with their children each week.

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paternity, parentage, children, marriage, Illinois family lawyer, DuPage County family law attorneyThere are certain circumstances that require the relationship between a father and his child to be established. This is especially true in circumstances where a child was born to parents who are not married. There is a legal process for establishing paternity in Illinois depending on the facts of a particular situation.

How Do I Establish Paternity? According to Illinois law, if a child was either conceived or born when the mother was married, her husband is presumed to be that child’s father. For fathers of children who were not conceived or born to married parents, paternity must be legally established.

A father can establish paternity in three ways:

  1. Both mother and father complete, sign, date, and witness a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form;
  2. The State of Illinois' Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Child Support Services enters an Administrative Paternity Order; or
  3. A judge enters an Order of Paternity in a court of law.
Is it Important to Establish Paternity? There are many benefits to legally establishing paternity, including:
  • Ensuring the child’s legal rights in connection with the father-child relationship;
  • Adding the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate;
  • Protecting the rights of the parents;
  • Enabling access to medical information on the father’s side of the family; and
  • Ensuring the child obtains benefits that he or she is legally entitled to, including but not limited to financial and medical support, Social Security, inheritance, and other benefits.
What is the Court Process for Establishing Paternity? Usually, one of the parties, either the mother or the father, petitions the court to establish paternity. The parties are then notified when a hearing is scheduled, and both parties are expected to appear in court along with a representative from the State’s Attorney’s Office. This process may involve DNA testing either being compelled from the father or submitted by the father. After the hearing, the judge will issue an order regarding paternity. What is the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP)? The VAP is the easiest way to establish paternity for unmarried parents. The form is available at the hospital and can be completed by the parents when the child is born. The form contains sections relating to information about the mother, the father, and the child. All sections must be completed and other requirements, like signing, dating, and having the form witnessed, must also be completed in order for the form to be valid. This process can also be used for married mothers whose husband is not the father of the child, but must also be accompanied by a Denial of Paternity Form. Unless both documents are signed and completed, the mother’s husband will legally be considered the child’s father. Parentage Attorney The attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC have experience in parentage matters and are prepared to handle your case. Feel free to contact us today for a consultation to discuss your case. We represent clients in Cook and DuPage Counties, as well as surrounding areas.

Posted on in Divorce

child custody, relocation, children of divorce, child of divorce, Illinois divorce lawThe dissolution of a marriage can bring with it a number of significant life changes. After divorce, one of the spouses may wish to relocate in order to get a fresh start. Normally, this would not pose a problem, but for an ex-spouse with children, it may not be as easy. Depending on what their child custody plan provides for, a parent may have to follow certain requirements set by law in Illinois in order to permanently or temporarily remove their children from a certain jurisdiction. Parent’s Rights In general, custody plans designate one parent as custodial and the other as non-custodial, even if both parents share time with the children. In fact, the custody plan itself may speak to the issue of removing or relocating the children out of state. Otherwise, Illinois law states that a custodial parent is able to relocate, either permanently or temporarily, with their children as long as they provide the non-custodial parent with advance and sufficient notice of their plans. The non-custodial parent may agree with the move; in that case, the parents may be able to reach an agreement outside of court. If the non-custodial parent is against the move, the custodial parent must ask the court’s permission to relocate. It is important to note that according to Illinois law, a custodial parent does not need a court order to relocate with their children within the state. As long as the move will not affect the non-custodial parent’s visitation schedule, a relocation should be allowed without court involvement or a change to the terms of the custody plan. Illinois Law on Out of State Removal In situations where the parents do not agree about relocation, the law provides protection of a non-custodial parent’s right to have regular visits with their children. In order to procure an order from the court allowing a parent to remove their minor children outside the state of Illinois, certain standards must be met. A custodial parent seeking the court’s permission to relocate must prove that removal is in the child’s best interests, and also must demonstrate an important reason for the move. Important reasons may include a new job prospect or access to certain necessary services that are only available outside the state, such as specific medical treatment. In considering whether the move is in the child’s best interests, the court will consider the following factors, among others:

  • Whether the move will enhance the quality of life for the parent and child;
  • The motives of the parent seeking to relocate;
  • The motives of the non-custodial parent in opposing the move;
  • The custody schedule currently in place;
  • If a realistic visitation schedule can be followed if the move is allowed;
  • The effect the move will have on the non-custodial parent’s visitation;
  • Any potential harm to the child if the move affects the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent;
  • If it is impossible to reach a reasonable visitation schedule; and
  • The overall effect of the non-custodial parent not participating in the child’s life on a daily basis.

Child Custody Attorney If you are considering relocating with your children, or have been served with a relocation request as a non-custodial parent, it is important to seek help from an experienced professional. Contact the family law attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC today for a consultation. We serve clients in DuPage, Cook, Will, Kane and Kendall Counties.

conscious uncoupling, divorce of the future, divorce, family law, illinois divorce attorney, parentingGwyneth Paltrow has been making headlines lately, and the stories do not necessarily cast the movie star in a positive light. She’s been known to make out-of-touch comments in the past, and recent events have been no exception. One remark alluded to the fact that “regular” moms who work 9-to-5 jobs have a more manageable schedule than film stars, who often have to work 14-hour days for a few weeks in a row. The backlash from women across the country was palpable immediately following the interview. The other communication that earned Paltrow notoriety in the press was her announcement recently that she and her husband have decided to part ways by what she described as a “conscious uncoupling.”

Changing the Concept of Divorce

In the announcement, Paltrow made her intentions clear to remain separate from her husband and move on from their marriage, although she refrained from using the word “divorce.” It is not that Paltrow does not intend to go through the legal proceeding, but the information she published along with her announcement indicates that modern times call for a new view of divorce. It suggests that the idea of a lifetime partner is not realistic in modern times for many reasons, among them being our increased life expectancy, idealizing our partner to our own detriment in the early stages of marriage, and our lack of flexibility when adapting to changes in relationships.

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child of divorce, best interests of the child, Illinois child custody lawyer, child custody, DuPage County IllinoisThere are few challenges in life more difficult than divorce. It is certainly a hassle to gain a legal end to your marriage and determine how to divide important family assets, such as the family home. Often the biggest challenge in a divorce though is figuring out the custody arrangements of children. Such a process can be fraught with complications and emotions.

The Standard in Illinois According to Illinois law, when determining the custody of a child during a divorce proceeding, Illinois courts use a “best interests of the child” standard. This requires courts to try to determine the child’s best interests (as opposed to the interests of parents or family members) when determining which party will have custody over the child. Judges will follow this standard regardless of any agreement you and your divorcing spouse may have reached. Determining the Best Interests of the Child To figure out what the best interests of the child are, courts will look at a number of factors. No factor will carry more or less weight than another factor. Some of these factors include:
  • Who is the Primary Caregiver? - The court will look to see who is the primary caregiver of the child. This is the person who provides the child with food, takes them to school, purchases their clothes, and performs other necessary duties.

  • What is the Fitness of Parties Involved?  - The court will examine the physical and psychological well being of the parties seeking custody. In addition, courts will look at others associated with the parties, such as a party’s spouse or other children residing with that party. The courts will also consider evidence of abuse by a party against that party’s spouse or other children.

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guardianship, limited guardianship, plenary guardianship, disabled teen, disabled adult, testamentary guardianshipRaising a disabled child, particularly one who has psychological or intellectual disabilities can be a difficult and trying experience. As your child approaches his/her 18th birthday, there are a number of things to consider. In most states, the responsibilities of a young adult are assigned when a youth turns 18. Assuming guardianship of your child may be the best option to help you protect your child as they enter adulthood.

Under Illinois state law, there are two types of guardianship that you may consider. The first of these is limited guardianship. This type of guardianship is used when the disabled person can make some, but not all, decisions pertaining to themselves and their finances or estate. When assuming limited guardianship, the powers granted to you must be specifically listed within the court order. This type of guardianship can grant you limited guardianship of the person, finances/estate, or both. The second type of guardianship is plenary guardianship. This type of guardianship is more restrictive than the first, and is used when the “individual’s mental, physical, and adaptive limitations” make it necessary for the guardian to make all important decisions regarding personal care and finances. There is one other option that you need to consider: testamentary guardianship. This is used by parents of a disabled child to designate a guardian upon the death of both parents in your will. While the final guardian will still need to be appointed and approved by the court, this ensures that the courts will take your wishes for guardianship into account before making their decision. It is important to remember that should your proposed guardian be found inappropriate, the court will still have the power to appoint someone else. Knowing which type of guardianship to consider and what steps are necessary to assume guardianship can be difficult. Having a qualified family law attorney can help make the process smoother for your family. Contact the experienced family law attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC today for a consultation on your case.

child's emotional health, divorce, routine, children, parenting, raising childrenOften in divorce or child custody cases, the primary concern is, or should be, the well being of any children that are involved in the case. In fact, the standard the court uses to make decisions regarding custody and support is always what is in the best interests of the child. Now, a recent article suggests that establishing routines for children to follow is found to boost their social and emotional health, which would be in their best interests, and may help when adjusting to new lifestyle changes, such as divorced parents and split schedules.

Routines that Focus on Consistency

The article features a number of parents who testify to the fact that routines and providing children with constants in their lives helped them adjust to change while also teaching them to be flexible. The idea is not so much focused on sticking to a tight schedule, but rather valuing consistency that give kids a sense of security and belonging by providing them with structure and a stable environment. Research shows that this leads to kids feeling more competent and confident.

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child custody, parenting, lawyer, attorney, DuPage County, child of divorce, Illinois divorce lawyerThe end of a marriage is an emotionally tumultuous time. This is especially true when children are involved. The prospect of fighting an ex-spouse in court over the legal and physical custody of shared children is overwhelming for most individuals. It usually represents a dramatic life change, affecting parents and children equally. While a court decision regarding child custody may solidify one parent’s relationship with their child, it could irreversibly damage the other’s. A recent article discussed the damage that this system could have on a family, and why courts should favor a shared parenting approach.

The Reality for Non-Custodial Parents Child custody and visitation schedules often result in one parent missing out on a significant portion of their child’s life. This affects not only the parent, but that entire side of the child’s family. Many times, a non-custodial parent is relegated to just a few hours per week and every other weekend to spend with their child. This is sometimes true even in cases where the non-custodial parent has provided care and been involved in the child’s life from the beginning. This schedule allows for very little quality time, and does not allow for the non-custodial parent’s meaningful contribution to their child’s life, which can prove damaging to both the parent and the child and negatively impact the child’s future relationships. Illinois’ Shared Parenting Bill Illinois House Bill 5425 is a proposal aimed at avoiding the damaging effects of a skewed custody arrangement. Under the bill, parents would have 90 days to reach an agreement regarding shared parenting. If they cannot do so, but are deemed to both be good and fit parents, the bill would guarantee the non-custodial parent be awarded at least 35 percent, and as much as 50 percent, of parenting time per week. The purpose of the bill is to promote equal bonding time between the children and both parents. The exact amount of time awarded depends on the best interest of the child or children involved. Although the bill has not yet been passed, it has gotten strong bipartisan support. Opponents of Shared Parenting While the bill may seem like a good idea, not everyone is behind it. Some say that divorce is a complicated issue and each situation must be determined on a case by case basis. While many child custody cases may support a more even split among parents regarding custodial time, not every case would benefit from the same. Opponents say it is best to leave the matter of ordering custody up to the discretion of the judge, who is in the best position to view the evidence presented and make an appropriate determination. Child Custody Attorney It is imperative to consult with an attorney experienced with child custody and support matters if you are a parent fighting for your children. At Davi Law Group, LLC, our attorneys have had successful results in representing clients in such matters. Please contact us for a consultation. We serve clients in Chicago, Wheaton, and Warrenville.

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