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Lombard estate planning attorneysWhen the average person thinks about the concept of estate planning, they tend to think about wills, trust funds, inheritances, and other methods for passing assets down to the next generation. While these images are not really incorrect, they do not tell the whole estate planning story. In fact, there are many good reasons to create an estate plan that have almost nothing to do with possessions or money.  With this in mind, estate planning is an important consideration for any family, regardless of their wealth or overall net worth.

Reason 1: Privacy Considerations

Unless you plan ahead, Illinois law will likely require your estate to go through probate. Probate is the legal process through which an estate is settled when there are no alternative plans for doing so, and the process can be unpredictable, time-consuming, and cumbersome. You should also know that probate proceedings are usually matters of public record, which means that your affairs are available to be reviewed by the public at large. Through estate planning, you can minimize the effects of probate or even avoid it completely, thereby keeping your family’s personal matters private.

Reason 2: Minor Children

If something were to happen to you tomorrow, who would care for your children? If you answered, “My spouse,” let’s take the hypothetical situation a step further. If something were to happen to you AND your spouse tomorrow, who would care for your children? While you might have an idea regarding which family members might step up to help, it is important to have plans for your children’s care recorded in your estate plan.

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DuPage County estate planning attorneysAlthough it is not necessarily a pleasant thought, even young parents who are in good health should not hesitate to start creating an estate plan. Parents of minor children need to plan for the possibility that they may pass away before their children reach adulthood. Because those under 18 years of age do not have the legal standing or rational thinking ability to make decisions about their care and finances, an adult must act on their behalf.

When parents of minor children create an estate plan, two of the concerns they should address are who will be the guardian of their children should they pass away and who will manage their children’s assets. By planning for the worst, parents can have the peace of mind knowing that if something ever happened to them, their children would be raised and cared for by individuals that the parent’s themselves selected.

Planning for the Future

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Lombard estate planning attorneysIt is never easy to think about our own mortality. In the back of our minds, we realize that we will not live forever, but the topic can certainly be uncomfortable and overwhelming. Unfortunately, this leads many people to procrastinate when it comes to estate planning, convincing themselves that they will address the issue when they are a little older or closer to retirement.

Sometimes, individuals need a wake-up of call of sorts in order to get motivated in their estate planning efforts. If you have not completed an estate plan yet, consider questions such as:

If you and your spouse both die, who will raise your children?

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Lombard estate planning lawyerWhen most people think about estate planning, they think of wills, inheritances, and other ways to pass down a person’s property and assets to their heirs. Such an image is not necessarily wrong, but it certainly does not tell the whole the story. There are a number of reasons for estate planning that have very little to do with money and possessions, which makes the process important for every family, regardless of wealth or net worth.

1. Control Over Privacy

Without proper planning, your estate will be required to go through the process of probate, which is often long, cumbersome, and unpredictable. Probate is also a matter of public record, meaning your family’s affairs are made available to the general public. By taking steps in advance, you can limit the impact of the probate process and possibly avoid it altogether. In doing so, you can keep your personal details within your chosen circle.

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children, communication, Lombard divorce lawyersAs a parent, you probably feel like you spend half of your day repeating yourself to your children. Despite their best intentions, it can be challenging to get your message across for a variety of reasons. In many ways, talking to your children about an imminent or ongoing divorce is much the same. It is not a conversation that you will have one time, never to be revisited or brought up again; in fact, the reality is quite the opposite. You will want to be sure that the lines of communication between you and your children remain open throughout the divorce, which can help you all better adjust to the upcoming changes.

Share, But Not Too Much

Once you begin to discuss divorce with your children, make sure that they know that they can ask questions and talk to you about what is on their mind whenever they need to do so. Their questions are likely to address what may have happened between you and your spouse, and how their lives will be affected. You will need to tailor your answers to match each child’s age a maturity level, and to only share information that you know they are prepared to handle. For example, you may be able to tell your teenage daughter about more complex relationship concerns, while a younger child may just need to know that you and your spouse will not be living together anymore.

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Posted on in Adoption

adoption laws, illinois adoption, Arlington Heights family law attorneyAdoption is one of the ways family law works to create happy, healthy families. The laws that govern the adoption process are in place to create a balance between the rights of biological parents and what is in the best interest of children. Legal adoption is when someone who is not the biological parent becomes the legal parent of the child, with the same rights and duties as if the child had been born to them.

Paths to Adoption

There are three major ways an adoption process can be completed:

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divorce considerations, questions, Illinois divorce lawyerThinking about ending your marriage can be a devastating undertaking. Your marriage vows promised that both of you would commit your lives to each other. However, one day you may realize that you are unhappy in the marriage, or not able to connect with or find joy in being with your partner. It is important to remember that you are not a failure; people change as they develop in their careers and other parts of their life. In some cases, one partner’s actions can damage the marriage beyond the hope of reconciliation. Sometimes, the healthiest option for both parties is to consider a divorce.

Emotionally Healthy Living Environments Are Important for Children

Although staying together for the children is a tempting reason to remain married, this can lead to stressful interactions and potential bitterness among family members. Living in a family environment that harbors shouting, hostile feelings, and manipulation on a regular basis is extremely damaging to both the adults and children involved. In situations where domestic violence is present (physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological abuse, financial manipulation, etc), it is critical to seek help immediately.

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wishes, child custody, Lombard family lawyersFor an unfortunately large number of divorcing or separating parents, battles over child custody become very contentious. Emotional turbulence and bitterness can cause parents to lose sight of their child’s best interest, while each parent tries to "win" against the other. Other parents, however, have a truly difficult time in determining what exactly lies in the best interest of the child, even without acrimony and hostility between them. If you are in such a situation, you may know what you want for your child, but what about his or her desires? Will the court give consideration to the wishes of a child?

The short answer to the latter question is yes. The court does, in fact, consider the wishes of the child when making a determination for child custody. Illinois law requires a court to do so, but only as a part of the overall decision-making process. The child’s wishes are not sacrosanct, and the court may find that child’s desires would not actually serve his or her best interest, but they will be taken into account.

In considering a child’s opinion, however, the court must also bear in mind the child’s age and maturity level. A very young child typically lacks the capacity to fully understand child custody situations, and may express wishes that are not feasible. An older child, however, may have a better grasp of the circumstances, and can base his or her opinions on more reasonable evidence, such as home and school environmental factors.

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child support modification, support orders, Illinois family law attorneyLaws in every state around the country require a parent to contribute to the support of his or her child, regardless of the relationship with the other parent. In many cases, a formal order requiring financial child support from one or both parents may be necessary and appropriate. As family situations and the needs of the child change, however, the terms of an existing arrangement may need to be updated. For this reason, Illinois law permits parents to seek modifications of a child support order.

Existing Child Support Orders

An order of child support is entered by the court on the basis of considerations that exist at the time of the proceeding. Illinois law, in addition to providing an income-based guideline for calculating the amount to be paid, requires the court to look at a number of circumstantial factors related to the child’s needs and the needs and resources of each parent. The court is tasked with balancing such factors in such a way that creates a sustainable support order that provides for the child while considering the parents’ financial situation and requirements.

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child support, support orders, Illinois Family Law AttorneyThe state of Illinois, like every state, maintains under law that every child is entitled to the financial support of both parents, regardless of the relationship between them. Payment of child support is taken very seriously in the state and failure to meet ordered support obligations can result in significant penalties and wage garnishment. Understanding how the court system calculates expected child support requirement can significantly help a parent better prepare for the challenges ahead.

If you have a child and are divorced from or were never married to the child&s other parent, the law provides the possibility that you may be responsible for paying support. Statutorily, the state may require that both parents pay child support, but for practical purposes, the non-custodial or non-residential parent is most often the only obliged payor. As a non-custodial parent, it is likely that you will be ordered to pay support for your child or children.

Calculation of Support

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domestic abuse, false allegations, Arlington Heights Family Law AttorneyIn far too many American homes, domestic violence is a major concern, wreaking havoc on both the physical and emotional health of the victim. In the face of such actions, healthy relationships are virtually impossible. Justifiably, accusations of domestic abuse are taken very seriously by law enforcement and government agencies. During a divorce or other domestic proceedings, unfortunately, it is possible for one partner to try to take advantage of the system by making false allegations of abuse.

It can difficult for most people to fathom making unfounded accusations of criminal activity against anyone, especially their spouse. For those who do, however, they are often attempting to manipulate the law in their favor, usually related to property division or child custody. Most states’ child custody laws, including Illinois, include clauses that take violent acts or the danger of violence into consideration. The existence of an allegation or an order of protection may be all it takes to keep a parent from significant time with his or her children. While the safety of the children should certainly be paramount, no parent deserves to lose time with his or her children over fraudulent accusations. Accusations with no basis in fact often take the accused completely by surprise. He or she is often left feeling angry, betrayed, and overwhelmed. There are a few things that anyone accused of domestic violence can do, especially if the allegations are false: Stay Away from the Accuser

Being alone with the person who brought the initial allegations all provides further opportunity for new ones. By keeping a safe distance away, or by maintaining the buffer of witnesses, the accused will not be create the risk of additional false charges.

Remain Civil

Despite the stress and emotional difficulty a falsely accused person must be experiencing, it is very important to make every effort at staying calm and civil, particular in any communication with the accuser. Angry outbursts, sharp criticisms, or even sarcastic offhand comments can exponentially worsen the situation. It is also worth remembering that virtually all electronic communication, such as emails, text message, or Facebook posts, can eventually find their way into a courtroom proceeding. Extreme caution is recommended when communicating online with anyone, especially with the accuser.

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Posted on in Divorce

daughters divorce IllinoisPast studies have suggested that couples who have daughters are more likely to divorce than couples who have sons. In many research circles, the belief was held that the daughters were actually causing the divorces because fathers preferred sons over daughters and therefore the husbands did not want to stay married to women who did not produce sons. This thought was only confirmed for those researchers when the results of a study from 2003 were published with the following data:

  • Parents who have a daughter are five percent more likely to divorce than parents who have a son.
  • Parents who have three daughters are ten percent more likely to divorce than parents who have three sons.
  • Unmarried couples who are expecting a child are more likely to get married if the child is a boy.

Other researchers who disagreed with the theory that fathers were leaving marriages because of daughters pointed out that in 73 percent of marriage breakups, the wife initiates the divorce, not the husbands.

However, a new study from Duke University just may have discovered the answer to why the divorce numbers are higher for marriages with daughters. According to the study, the correlation between daughters and marriages may actually be occurring before the child is even born and is the result of female embryos being stronger and hardier than male embryos.

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dating after divorce, children of divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, Lombard divorce attorneySounds a bit strange, does it not? You are an adult, you have been married and you have been divorced. Currently you are on your own and now feel you are ready to take a chance on dating. Be prepared; your children may not be supportive of your decision.

According to Constance Ahrons, Ph.D, family therapist and author of "The Good Divorce" and "We’re Still Family," your decision to begin dating, no matter how long after divorce, is probably going to be received by your children with chilly resistance. It may also stir up a whole new cauldron of feelings for your offspring. In fact, your decision to begin dating may even be as traumatic an event as the divorce.

So how do you approach the subject? Try the following these tips and remember you are an adult and you are capable of making an informed decision.

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latchkey kid, single parent, parenting, Illinois family law attorney, divorce attorenyLatchkey kids. For many, these children live in single family homes either due to divorce or explanatory absence of one parent. The concept of latchkey kids dates back to World War II, when fathers left to serve and mothers entered war effort industries. Often awarded a key, dangling from a piece of string placed around their necks, latchkey kids arrived at an empty home and waited for mom to finish her shift. World War II moms often opted for the swing shift, requiring them to lock the door and slip off to work while their children slept. The country realized this was an issue, and promptly set up community centers where Latchkey Kids could safely await mom’s arrival.

These types of programs ended shortly after the war, leaving Americans still wondering how to work, support families and ensure the safety of their children. Sixty-nine years later, latchkey kids remain a societal issue of today’s generation.

Home Alone Act II

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parenting, children of divorce, parenting styles, Illinois divorce lawyer, reason for divorce, life after divorceOne of the biggest disagreements that can occur that parents have after a divorce is differences in parenting styles and boundaries. What’s acceptable at Mom’s house is forbidden at Dad’s – or visa-versa.

Issues such as bedtimes, appropriate television shows and the amount of television watched, video games and diet are just some of the areas where co-parents may disagree. There are ways to navigate frustrations that may crop up, which is especially important for the emotional well-being of the child. Remember to keep in mind that sometimes children play parents against each other in an effort to get the rules stretched. If your child says that they are allowed to do something at the other parent’s house that you don’t allow – for example staying up very late on a school night - check with the other parent to see if that activity is allowed on a regular basis or if it was just a one-time event. If you find out that there are things you disagree with that are allowed at the other parents house, don’t react angrily about it with your child. Calmly explain that the rules in your house are different. It’s important to accept that there are going to be things that you and your ex-spouse totally disagree on when it comes to raising your children, but remember that you both are committed to what’s best for your child. Differences in punishment can be particularly difficult to navigate, especially if one parent is stricter than the other. The use of corporal punishment by one parent can quickly escalate into a custody battle with the other parent citing child abuse. In Illinois, the law defines acts of child abuse when a parent or caregiver "inflicts excessive corporal punishment" but this law does not clearly define what constitutes "excessive." If you are concerned that the discipline techniques used by your ex-spouse on your child are harsh or excessive, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney today to find out what options you have to protect your child.

international adoption, foreign born adoption, children, Illinois adoption lawyerDeciding to adopt a child is an intensely personal decision. In some cases, parents attempt to adopt a child from within the United States, preferring a child who is culturally similar to themselves. A newly released census report shows this is not always the case, however.

According to USA Today, two percent of the 64.8 million children in the United States are adopted. Of those, thirteen percent were adopted from foreign countries, mostly within Asia. Interestingly, the rate of international adoptions increased by 12 percent from 2000 to 2010, and 28 percent of all adopted children were adopted by a family whose race was different from their own. In fact, 37 percent of children whose adoptive families were of a different ethnicity were born outside of the U.S. The article states that there has long been an interest in international adoptions in the United States, particularly by wealthier families. In fact, foreign-born adopted children were found to be more likely to live in households with incomes at or above $100,000/yr when compared to to U.S.-born adoptees. Pediatrician Jane Aronson told USA Today that this may be because families with higher incomes are more inclined to help children from poorer countries. This may also be due, in part, to the expense associated with international adoptions. Naturally, adopting a stepchild or a child who was born and currently resides in the U.S. will cost less than adopting a child from a foreign country. The travel expenses alone make international adoptions prohibitive for less wealthy families. Whether international or domestic, adoption can be a difficult and at times confusing process. It is always best in these situations to have a qualified family law attorney on your side to help you through the process. If you are hoping to adopt a child in Illinois, contact A. Traub & Associates today for a consultation. They can ensure that your adoption proceeds as smoothly as possible so that you and your new child can begin building memories as soon as possible.

in-laws, lawyer, attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois family lawyerWith summer drawing closer, many families are considering taking vacations to see their in-laws. While this would ideally be a happy, carefree time for families, unfortunately these visits are often the source of conflict as parents feel pulled in different directions. In fact, toxic relationships with the in-laws may lead to divorce in some cases.

According to The Washington Times, spouses across the country have tough relationships with their in-laws. In some cases, in-laws may use guilt and manipulation in order to coerce their children into following their wishes when it comes to visitation time with grandchildren. This can leave couples scrambling as they try to divide time equally between sets of grandparents. Unfortunately, all of this pushing and pulling can cause marital troubles if not handled correctly. It is important to discuss vacations and visitation schedules with your spouse in order to determine what will suit you best as both a family and a couple. In cases where your spouse may want to make one decision, while your parents or in-laws are pushing for a different choice, it is important to put the needs and wishes of your spouse first if you want your marriage to stay healthy. It may be helpful to come up with compromises ahead of time. You might consider rotating holidays between sets of grandparents, for example, or consider hosting your in-laws for a visit instead of traveling. Setting boundaries for visits may also help things go more smoothly. Unfortunately, sometimes the conflict caused by toxic in-laws can become too much for a couple to overcome. If you are considering filing for divorce in Illinois, it is important that you have an attorney to help you through the process. Contact the experienced professionals at A. Traub & Associates today for a consultation on your case. They look forward to helping you ensure your divorce moves as smoothly as possible.
family, adoption, adopted children, biological children, Illinois family lawyerTwisting and turning through the daily challenges of blending the lives of your adopted and biological children can certainly add a few new ones along the way. One being the subject of how to discipline and keep your household functioning on an even keel. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, finding a healthy balance is essential. For parents in this situation there is a certain disconnect when it comes to disciplining a blended family dynamic. There is a tendency for parents to hesitate to discipline an adopted child while setting fewer limitations on their biological offspring. This situation may also hinge on whether your adopted child has behavioral issues due to underlying issues. Each of your children are unique. Following these simple suggestions may define the house rules for all involved and keep you from second guessing your decision to choose adoption to grow your biological family. House Rules Involve your children in the rulemaking process. Provide them the opportunity to set a few rules or provide input to the rules you have established. Just remember to define rules according to the individual child's age. You may notice that since they have participated in the process, they will accept the new rules with less conflict. Consequences Just as you provided your children the opportunity to set the rules, give them the same opportunity to define the possible consequences when the rules are broken. Once again, consequences should be age appropriate. Consistency As parents, you also need to remember not to deviate from the rules or consequences. The rules are the rules, no ifs, ands or buts! Giving in every once in a while will only tempt your children to test the limits. Seems easy, right? Perhaps easier said than done. As the ruling executive branch of the household how you discipline is your choice but some of the following may assist with establishing a well-rounded discipline program. Time-out

One of the oldest and most effective discipline methods. Pick a specific time-out post for each child. When placing your child in his or her designed location set the length of the time-out based on the child's age plus one additional minute.

Time-in

If your adopted child has been diagnosed with attachment issues this method may prove more productive than the traditional timeout. The length of the time-in should follow the same format as time-out but the child is shadowing your every move while serving his or her time.

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child abuse, child neglect, DCFS, DCFS investigation, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois family law attorney, child safetyThe prospect of having to undergo a DCFS child abuse or neglect investigation is a horrifying thought to every loving parent out there. Unfortunately, false accusations do occur. If you find yourself facing the prospect of an abuse or neglect investigation, here is what you need to know.

According to the DCFS fact sheet, an investigation is launched 24 hours from the time a report is received. If the allegation is one of neglect or inadequate shelter, an investigative specialist will be dispatched to view the child’s living space. Initially, the specialist’s concern will be for the immediate safety of the child. The child in question and other children in the household will be interviewed along with other household members, extended family members, and other professionals, depending on the allegation. It’s always best to be completely honest and provide complete information to the specialist. In cases where the allegation is of serious physical or sexual abuse, the state law requires the investigative specialist to notify both the local police and the State’s Attorney. In these cases, the police may choose to conduct a joint investigation, or the police may conduct their own investigation. The police may also be contacted if the investigative specialist feels that family members or other concerned individuals are refusing to cooperate with their investigation. The state has a maximum of 60 days to complete their investigation, though most are completed in 30 days. In certain cases, a 60 day extension may be requested, particularly when the state is waiting on medical or police reports. You will be notified in writing of DCFS’ final findings, and the investigative specialist may also contact you. If the allegations are unfounded, the DCFS State Central Register will maintain the information pertaining to the investigation for one to three years. Facing an abuse or neglect allegation can be a frightening experience. Having a qualified family attorney at your side can help. Contact the experienced Lombard, Illinois family attorneys at A. Traub & Associates today for a consultation on your case. We have years of experience defending clients against unfounded abuse and neglect investigations can help you prove your innocence.

adoptionAccording to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adoption is the process whereby a person assumes parenting for another and, in doing so, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities, along with filiation, from the biological parent or parents.

In many cases all goes well with the process and integration of the adopted child into a thriving and loving family. So much so that the Adoption USA: National Survey of Adoptive Parents, supports that 81 percent of parents have established a "very warm and close" relationship with their adopted son or daughter. But what happens when  adoption turns out not to be the idyllic family portrait you were hoping for? The most infamous case was that of the young Russian boy who was returned to homeland by his adoptive mother. Another case highlights a former attorney from Spokane, Washington who after much concerted effort decided to place her adopted child, originally from Haiti, up for adoption to preserve the safety of her two younger children. ABC News', senior health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser agrees that these cases are heartbreaking, but atypical. Besser reports that 80 to 90 percent of all adoptions are successful and offers the following advice for parents considering adoption: Adjustment Period – take time to let your child relax and become familiar with the family routine. It takes a period of time to determine if any disruptions are due to adjustment issues or if the situation is hindered by a medical or psychological disorder. Realistic Expectations – for parents considering adoption, do not place high expectations on your child from the very beginning. For those children being adoptive from foreign countries, the majority of these children were institutionalized and may need a longer adjustment period. Do Your Homework – before finalizing the adoption, take the time and effort to research and learn as much about your child as possible. Come to know all of the circumstances of their "former" life and then adjust your expectations based on your findings. Rely on a Strong Support Network – enlist family and friends. Join an organized support group and seek out community based services available to families of adoptive children. Besser also recommends using a pediatrician experienced with adopted children. Raising a child, either biological or adopted is a lifelong challenge. No one can predict the outcome or the trials and tribulations along the way. It takes love, compassion, patience and guidance. For the majority of adopted children they will thrive in their environment but for those who have deeper issues that hinder growth development and evoke social and cognitive disorders we can only hope that one day they will find their way. As for the parents who tried we can only applaud their endless effort. If you are considering adoption and reside in the Lombard or Arlington Heights communities, the adoption attorneys of A. Traub & Associates understand your legal and emotional concerns. We are experienced in both domestic and international adoption and can guide you through the process with finalization within a few months. Adoption takes a strong commitment and we understand you also need a strong committed legal team with you every step of the way. For more information on how A. Traub & Associates can help you, contact us at 630-426-0196 for an affordable consultation today.
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