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IL family lawyerWhether it was several months or years ago that your current order on parenting time was entered by a family law court, you probably recall some of the general legal concepts. Illinois’ statute on allocation of parental responsibilities covers both decision-making on important issues involved with raising the child AND the parenting schedule. The former terms of custody and visitation may no longer be used, but the underlying legal issues remain the same. Another notion that has not changed is that the court’s parenting plan order is legally binding. Even by agreement, co-parents cannot alter the provisions without court approval.

Of course, life may throw a curveball that you did not expect when the existing order was entered. Illinois laws presume that your circumstances will change over time, which is why there is a process for modifying the parenting time schedule under certain conditions. It is wise to retain an experienced Lombard child custody and visitation attorney to handle the legal tasks, but some answers to common questions about modifications may be helpful.

What are the grounds for modifying parenting time in Illinois?

In order to establish the need to modify the visitation schedule, you need to prove two factors:

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IL family lawyerIf what you know about paternity comes from daytime soap operas, TV dramas, or blockbuster films, there is a strong possibility that you do not have a clear picture of how the laws work in Illinois. You probably understand the fundamental principle under state statutes on parentage, which is that all children are entitled to the physical, mental, emotional, and monetary support of both parents. However, if parents were not married when the child was conceived and/or born, serious disputes can develop over these responsibilities.

When you realize that there is a lot you do not know about paternity proceedings, you soon understand that you put your parental rights at risk unless you retain a skilled Wheaton parentage lawyer. Because relying on misinformation could harm your interests, it is important to review a few lesser-known facts about Illinois paternity laws.

Establishing Paternity in Illinois

Parentage arises by legal presumption when parents are married, which means it can be rebutted by evidence to the contrary. However, between individuals who were never married, the two most common ways of proving paternity are:

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DuPage County family law attorney paternity

In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly common for parents to have children while they are unmarried. However, this can lead to issues when it comes to establishing the paternity of that child. Establishing paternity is an important step in securing the same parental rights and responsibilities for the father of a child that are not automatically granted when parents are unmarried. Most of the time, paternity cases are aimed toward proving the paternity of a child, though in some cases, disproving the paternity of a child can be just as important. The easiest way to deny the paternity of a child is to sign the Denial of Parentage form at the hospital when the child is born; however, this does not always mean you are off the hook for parental responsibilities.

Fighting the Presumption of Paternity if You Are Married

In the state of Illinois, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if he was married or in a civil union with the mother at the time the child was born or during the 300 days prior to the child’s birth. This is true even if the child is not the man’s biological child, which is where issues can arise. If the presumed father is not the child’s biological father, he can sign a Denial of Parentage form, stating that he is not the father. However, he will still be considered the child’s legal parent and held responsible for child support unless the biological father signs a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form confirming that he is the child’s biological father. 

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DuPage County family law attorney guardian ad litem

Many of the most important issues that must be resolved during the divorce process are related to the couple’s children, including parenting time, parental responsibilities, and child support. Often, divorcing parents place their children’s best interests as a high priority, and they may even be willing to work together to agree on a parenting plan without the court’s intervention. However, sometimes child-related issues in a divorce can be much more contentious, and the court may enlist the services of a guardian ad litem (GAL) to ensure that all decisions made are in the best interests of the children. If the court has assigned a guardian ad litem in your divorce, it is important for you to know what to expect.

What Does a Guardian ad Litem Do in Illinois?

One of a guardian ad litem’s most important responsibilities is to thoroughly investigate the case to which they are assigned and the issues at hand to gain an understanding of what would be in the child’s best interests. As part of this investigation, the GAL will interview the child and both parents, and they may also interview relatives, teachers, and other parties who have a relevant perspective, as well as request additional information regarding the child’s education and medical care and the parents’ criminal history.

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modification, Lombard child support lawyersWhether you make or receive court-ordered payments of child support, you probably realize how much your children depend upon compliance with the order. As time goes by, however, an order may become out of sync with your child’s needs or your own financial situation. Fortunately, Illinois law provides several scenarios in which a modification of a child support order may be appropriate.

Substantial Change in Circumstances

Assuming that you pay child support, dramatic changes in your life or the life of your child can, obviously, affect your ability to make payments or the amount of support needed to truly help your child. For example, if you are injured in car accident, you may not be able to work for a time, making compliance with your support nearly impossible. Similarly, if your child is diagnosed with a serious medical condition, he or she may require additional support to help subsidize medical treatment. According to the law, a child support order can be reviewed for modification "upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances."

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text message, Lombard divorce lawyers"Merry Christmas"

These two words were the entire contents of the first-ever text message, sent on December 3, 1992, by a 22-year old software engineer. Since that time, text message communication has become a way of life, with upwards of six billion messages exchanged every day in the United States. Text messages are short, simple, and quickly accessible for nearly every American adult, which explains their explosion in popularity. However, the very same characteristics that make text messaging so convenient can also create problems for those involved in legal proceedings, especially proceedings related to divorce or children.

Too Available?

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new law, Senate Bill 57, Kane County Family LawyersLawmakers in Illinois recently sent Governor Bruce Rauner a bill that would make a number of sweeping changes to a number of family law provisions in the State. The legislation takes aim at several different family-related concerns including parental relocation regulations, child custody agreements and spousal maintenance issues. It will also significantly impact divorce proceedings around the State in two primary ways.

Irreconcilable Differences

Known currently as Senate Bill 57, the new law, if enacted, would eliminate the at-fault grounds for divorce from the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. As a result, every divorce would be handled as a no-fault divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. A large number of Illinois divorces already cite irreconcilable differences under the existing law, and, by law, fault cannot be considered in property division or spousal maintenance proceedings anyway. The proposed law would simply remove fault grounds such as infidelity, impotence, and physical cruelty as an option in divorce.

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Posted on in Paternity

denial of paternity, paternity law, Illinois family law attorneyUnlike decades ago, when most children were born into the "traditional" family – where the biological mother and father were married – in today’s society, there are a variety of different familial scenarios into which a child may be born.  As such, there is great deal of information available when it comes to legally establishing paternity for a child, both from a mother’s point of view and from a father’s point of view. One topic that is not commonly discussed is how a may legally deny paternity.

The law in Illinois regarding paternity is an interesting one, as it must account for a number of potential situations. If a woman is not married to the child’s father when she conceives or gives birth, then there are certain steps the parents must take in order to legally establish paternity of the child. Under the law, there are three acceptable ways to establish paternity:

  • Both parents must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) document in order for the father’s name to be placed on the child’s birth certificate. By signing a VAP, the father is not only acknowledging paternity, but also acknowledging that he understands that he could be held legally responsible for child support, medical insurance, and medical expenses for the child;
  • If the father has not signed a VAP, the State of Illinois& Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Child Support Services can enter an Administrative Paternity Order; or
  • An Order of Paternity can also be entered into by a judge.

If a woman is married at the time she conceives or gives birth to a child, then the state says her husband is the legal father of that child.  The state makes this assumption whether or not the husband actually is the biological father of the child. That means unless there is some legal action which removes the husband as the child’s legal father, the state will hold him responsible for child support, medical insurance, and medical expenses. The child would also be legally entitled to a portion of the husband’s estate should he pass away.

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mental healthThere are many reasons which cause people to make the decision to file for divorce. Sadly, one of those reasons is when the other spouse suffers from mental illness. Studies have shown that people who suffer from mental illness have a higher rate of divorce. One study that was conducted in 2011 actually put that divorce rate increase at between 20 to 80 percent.

The multi-national study was conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The researchers found 18 different mental disorders which not only had an effect on whether or not a person dealing with one or more of those disorders stayed married, but also affected whether or not they married in the first place.

The mental disorders which had the largest impact on divorce rates were alcohol abuse, major depression, and specific phobia, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

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child custody modificationLife happens, and a child custody order which may have been perfectly workable for both parties can quickly become outdated, unfair, and harmful to the children. A job change, a new relationship, a midlife crisis and countless other items can significantly disrupt a divided family’s life.

As a rule of thumb, most family law orders need to be formally modified, or at least updated, every three or four years. Many parents are concerned about visitation and custody provisions which may no longer be in the children’s best interest. What does a party need to prove to modify custody in Illinois?

Time

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balance in marriageIke and Mamie, Franklin and Eleanor, Ron and Nancy, Bill and Hillary are all examples of power couples who have made their mark on America’s political landscape. How do these political front runners, as well as other industry power couples, maintain marital balance and avoid consulting with a high power divorce attorney?

As per a recent article published by The Huffington Post, power couples tend to do marriage a bit different than the rest of us, although their marital strategies may offer some helpful hints for all marriages.

Brainstorming Together

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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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Arlington heights family law attorney, finding a lawyer, divorce, Illinois, Lombard family lawyerOne of the most important steps in going through a divorce is choosing your attorney. Having the right attorney can help determine how smooth, or how wrought with delays and frustrations your divorce will be.

When choosing an attorney, you should consider several candidates. Get referrals from several sources. If you have friends who have recently gone through divorces, ask them. Depending on how their divorces went, some may even recommend their ex-spouse's attorney instead of their own. It is also a good idea to get referrals from other attorneys. If you have an attorney you consult with for business or an estate planning attorney, contact them and ask them for a referral. You can also visit the websites of your local and state bar associations to get names of family law attorneys.

After gathering referrals, take the time to research each one in order to help whittle down the list of you will make interview. The Internet is a good place to do this research. Check out the attorney’s website, as well as their LinkedIn page and other social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.  Some of the things to consider while conducting your research are:

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orphan adoption, The Orphan Foundation, Lombard family lawyer, Lombard adoption attorneyAccording to a recent article by Joe DiDonato, Co-founder and Chairman of The Orphan Foundation, adoption is experiencing new found advancements driven by a completely new set of personal motivators. No longer does the word "adoption" equate to couples experiencing infertility or solidifying the blended step family. What the Foundation found by implementing a grant program shows a totally different aspect of the adoption process.

With the acceptance of grant proposals by the Foundation, what the Board has found is that adoption is now geared toward helping children worldwide, often those with special needs releasing the stereotypical notion of why families turn to adoption.

Listed below are two examples of the first three proposals submitted to the Foundation for grant consideration.

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Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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