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Parental Alienation: What Are My Options?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Child Custody

parental alienation, child custody, Illinois family law attorneyWhen you have separated from or divorced your child’s other parent, you know how difficult cooperation with him or her can be. As most parents in similar situations have discovered, the challenge often lies in keeping the negative feelings you may have toward your ex-partner, valid as they may be, from interfering with your child’s relationship with the other parent. This type of interference is known as parental alienation, and can present serious problems for divorced or unmarried parents, as it may affect a parent’s rights to custody of the child.

Understanding Parental Alienation

Children fare best when they have the love and support of both parents, regardless of the relationship between adults. Sometimes, however, the relationship between the parents is allowed by one or both adults to directly affect the child’s view of and relationship with the other parent. Parental alienation is estimated to be a factor in up to 15 percent of divorces involving children. While not always intentional or necessarily severe, the impact can be serious, not only on the parent-child relationship, but on the child’s own mental health.

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Reasons Your Prenuptial Agreement May Not Be Valid

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Prenuptial Agreement

prenuptial agreement, invalidating an agreement, Illinois family law attorneysBefore your wedding, you and your fiancé went through the process of drafting a prenuptial agreement. Like many couples, you decided that it was in your best interest to create an arrangement for financial security in the event of a divorce or premature death. Maybe you were not fully on board with the idea, but you loved him so much that you were willing to do just about anything to marry him.

Now it is several years later, your marriage has come to an end, and you realize that some of the terms and clauses in your prenuptial agreement seem to be a bit one-sided or unfair. You may even be wondering if it the agreement is valid and enforceable. Depending on the circumstances, it is possible that a prenuptial agreement may be invalidated for several different reasons.

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Choosing a Mediator for Your Divorce

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Mediation

mediator, mediation, Illinois divorce lawyersWhile deciding to end a marriage is never easy, some situations are certainly more difficult than others. Couples who are able to work together through the divorce process, however, often find that doing so leads to much more manageable stress levels and reduced difficulty in coming to a workable divorce agreement. Mediation, for many such couples, offers the opportunity to minimize the challenges of divorce while promoting a cooperative spirit that may last long after the divorce is finalized.

Is Mediation Your Best Option?

Before you and your spouse begin looking for a mediator to help you through the divorce process, you must first understand what your needs are. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method and is generally of value only to cooperative couples with unresolved issues in their divorce. If you and your spouse have already come to an agreement on most of the inherent details, it is possible that you would be better served by a divorce attorney who can help you file the necessary paperwork. However, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement regarding important concerns, a mediator may be able help you do so.

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Division of Property: What are Marital Assets?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Distribution of Assets

martial assets, division of property, Illinois Divorce AttorneyDivorce can present an entire spectrum of challenges for any couple, as they must contend with a large number of concerns. Depending on their specific circumstances, they may need to negotiate considerations for their children, determine new living arrangements, and establish an agreement regarding spousal support. Despite the difficulties inherent to any those issues, couples frequently have the most trouble in property division negotiations.

Equitable Distribution

Illinois law concerning divorce requires that, in the absence of a reasonable agreement, the property which constitutes the marital estate is to be divided between divorcing spouses. Unlike some states, however, Illinois property division guidelines require the equitable distribution of marital assets and debt as opposed to equal division. While equitable distribution will be addressed in more detail in a separate post, it essentially means that the property should be divided fairly, not necessarily 50/50, based on the consideration of circumstantial factors.

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Division of Property Continued: Equitable Distribution

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Uncategorized

equitable distribution, asset division, Kane County Divorce lawyersFor a large number of divorcing couples, property division is among the most challenging aspects of the entire divorce process. Of course, much of the difficulty depends on how long a couple was married and how much property they accumulated during the marriage. Couples with few or no assets of significant value may be able reach an agreement rather easily, while couples with more complex concerns may end up having to finalize their arrangement through court proceedings. When the court gets involved, the division of property in divorce is governed by the state’s equitable distribution guidelines.

Determining and Valuating the Marital Estate

Prior to the application of equitable distribution principles, the court and the couple must establish what is to be considered marital property. A previous post covered marital and non-marital assets in greater detail, but, in short, marital property is any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, with certain exceptions for assets such as gifts or inheritances.

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Do My Child’s Wishes Matter in a Custody Case?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Child Custody

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.

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Am I Entitled to Visitation as a Grandparent?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Family Law

grandparent, rights, visitation, Lombard family lawyerIf you are like most grandparents, spending time with your grandchildren is among the greatest joys in life. You, no doubt, look forward to having them come over or interacting with them at family gatherings, just as they eagerly anticipate getting to see you. In some family situations, however, things are often much more difficult, as a failing relationship between the parents may create challenges for fostering such a special bond. Grandparents in cases such as these may have no other option than to petition the court for visitation privileges.

Rights vs. Privileges

Under Illinois law, a parent who is not granted custody of his or her child maintains the right to reasonable visitation. These rights can only be restricted by an action of the court, and may only be done for cause. Visitation for all other family members is considered a privilege, and is not assumed by law in any way.

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He Stopped Following Our Divorce Agreement

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

divorce agreement, enforcement, Illinois family law attorneyLike many divorced individuals, you have probably worked very hard to rebuild your life after divorce. You have made sacrifices for your children, possibly moved into a smaller home, and maybe even changed your entire lifestyle. In addition to doing what needed to be done for yourself and your family, you also recognize that your divorce agreement spelled out certain responsibilities for which you were responsible. You have done your part, but now it seems obvious that your ex-spouse is no longer living up to his responsibilities under the terms of your agreement. So now what?

Divorce, under the best of circumstances, is never easy. It is, however, a civil proceeding, the results of which are legally binding. This means that your divorce agreement amounts to court order mandating that each of the outlined requirements must continue to be met. In the event that you or your ex-spouse fail to meet your obligations, whether in regard to spousal support, child issues, or any other related matter, legal action may be appropriate. There are some things you may consider doing, however, before going back to court:

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Helping Your Teen Deal with Your Divorce

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Children of Divorce

teen, talking with teens, Kane County Divorce AttorneyDivorce is not an easy situation for anyone involved, especially children. For young children, it is easy to dismiss the challenges they may be facing based on the generally accepted maxim that kids are flexible and will adapt to the new situation. While there may be some degree of truth to that idea, children are often more impacted by divorce than their parents may realize. Teenagers, as well, are frequently affected strongly by the divorce of their parents, and there are some things to keep in mind as you try to help your adolescent make sense of the situation.

Let Your Teen Have Feelings

In some ways, divorce is similar to the death of a loved one, and coming to terms with it is often an extended process. Just as you likely are experiencing a wide range of often conflicting emotions, your teen is too. He or she may not understand exactly how to handle such feelings, but should not be made to feel guilty for how he or she feels. Allow your child the space he or she needs, and, conversely, do your best be available when comfort is needed.

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Denial of Paternity in Illinois

 Posted on December 00, 0000 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:

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