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Understanding the Potential Impact of Social Media

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

social media, divorce, Illinois Family Law AttorneysNever before in human history have people been as connected as they are in the Digital Age. While sociologists will argue for decades over the perceived depth or superficiality of relationships facilitated by social media, there is little question that society has changed as a result. In most situations, liking or sharing photos and posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter may be relatively harmless, but it is absolutely critical to understand the power of social media in the midst of legal disputes and divorce, in particular.

Before You Click Send…

…remember that you cannot take back what you are about to post. Anything you share to a social media site, or really, even most internet-based applications, have the potential to remain permanent. Yes, you may be able to delete a post or a picture, and certain apps like Snapchat purport to only keep your information for a few seconds at time. However, all it takes is for a single person to capture a screenshot of your post and your control over its permanence is totally lost.

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Dating After Divorce: Consider the Children

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Children of Divorce

dating after divorce, impacts of divorce, Illinois family lawyersConsidering all that you have been through during your marriage and divorce, nobody should deny you the opportunity to pursue happiness in your post-divorce life. You have the right to enjoy your new situation to its fullest, and, for many, that may mean starting a new romantic relationship. Casual dating and even a new, serious love interest can be very beneficial for your health and self-esteem following a divorce, but there are some things to keep in mind, especially if you have children.

It May Take Time

While you may have the freedom to pursue dating relationships after your divorce, you may not be ready for it immediately. This, of course, depends on what type of dating you are considering and your own emotional health. If you are ready to casually meet people for dinner and drinks on occasion, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you move directly from your marriage into another long-term serious relationship, you may want to give it a second thought, as you may not have healed yet from psychological impact that is usually inherent in divorce.

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Illinois Eliminates At-Fault Divorce

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

divorce, at-fault divorce, Illinois family law attorneyAs of now, a married individual in Illinois can seek a divorce on the grounds of his or her spouse’s behavior. Of course, divorces on such grounds have grown relatively uncommon since the introduction of so-called "no-fault" divorce in 1984. Beginning in 2016, however, fault divorces, or those based upon the specific actions of one party will no longer be available in the state, forcing all marital dissolutions to proceed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.

Current Law

Under the existing provisions of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, there are ten separate reasons upon which a fault divorce may be granted. By petitioning for divorce one of these grounds, the petitioner must show that his or her spouse:

  • Was naturally impotent at the time of the marriage and continues to be so;
  • Was still married to another at the time of the marriage;

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Baby Before Marriage No Longer Increases Divorce Risk

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

baby before marriage, divorce, Illinois divorce attorneyConsider a common scenario: a young couple, dating but not engaged, suddenly discovers that they are going to have a baby. They certainly have options, but depending upon their age, maturity level and decision-making skills, they may not be able clearly think through the various possibilities. So, they inform their families.  Just a few generations ago, and to an extent, probably even now, the families were likely to respond with some variation of "I assume you are going to do the right thing," heavily implying that marriage should obviously be the plan. This type of social pressure and the stigma of having a baby before marriage has, for many years, led to an increase the risk of divorce for such couples. Recent studies suggest, however, that this is not the case anymore.

Long-Term Research

Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth, researchers at Cornell University and the University of Michigan conducted a study published last month in the journal Demography. Led by Kelly Musick, associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, the team closely examined child-bearing couples in two separate periods, from 1985 to 1995 and from 1997 to 2010. What they found was that the landscape of marriage, relationships, and childbirth has drastically changed in a relative short span of time.

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Child Representation: Attorney for the Child and the Child Representative

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Child Custody

child representative, family law, Illinois family law attorneysA few weeks ago, a post on this blog discussed the role and responsibilities of a court-appointed guardian ad litem, or GAL. However, the GAL is just one of several appointments that may be made by the court to assist with child-related legal proceedings, such as those for custody, visitation, or support. In place of a GAL, the court may appoint either an attorney for the child or a child representative, two roles that may sound very similar, but are, in fact, quite different from one another.

Attorney for the Child

A lawyer appointed as an attorney for the child is exactly that. He or she is the assigned legal counsel for the child as a separate party to the case. The normal attorney-client rules of confidentiality and procedure apply, meaning that the attorney is bound by his or her client’s wishes, regardless of the ability of the child to recognize their appropriateness. For this reason, an attorney for the child is not very likely to be appointed unless the court identifies that a minor child is mature enough to make considered, reasonable decisions.

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Divorce Advice That May Do More Harm Than Good

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

advice, divorce lawyer, Lombard family law attorneysWhen family, friends, or coworkers learn you are about to go through a divorce, it is natural for them to want to help. Sometimes, that help comes in positive forms—a shoulder to lean on, an offer to help out with the children, or even just space to cope with the emotional baggage that often accompanies a divorce. But advice, often given with the best of intentions, may not always be helpful for a divorcing couple. In fact, sometimes divorce advice can end up doing more harm than good.

Most Common Forms of "Bad" Divorce Advice

In most instances, bad divorce advice comes from those that truly do want to help. Unfortunately, they may not fully comprehend the emotional or legal repercussions of what they are suggesting. Thankfully, it is pretty easy to spot poor divorce advice because most will involve "shortcuts" of one sort or another. Examples may include tips like:

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A Sad History: Same-Sex Struggles

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Same Sex Marriage

same sex, rights, Illinois family law attorneyFor most of this nation’s history, same-sex couples have not been given the opportunity to have their relationships legally recognized. While same-sex marriage was officially recognized nationwide earlier this year, for most couples, their relationship means more than a marriage license or a ceremony. It means a shared life together, complete with the rights to inheritances and property enjoyed by heterosexual married couples. A story in the New York Times this week, however, is a grim reminder of the struggles that so many faced for so long.

Partner Adoptions

The article recounts the story of a gay man from San Francisco who was living in New York in 1977 when he met a man with whom he quickly fell in love. The couple remained together for the next ten years until the death of one partner, the year before the words "gay marriage" appeared in the New York Times for the first time.

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What Needs to Happen After a Divorce

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

after a divorce, divorce, Illinois divorce attorneysAfter a divorce is finalized you can feel worn out. Even when a divorce was amicable, the emotions involved can take a toll. But, after you receive the final paperwork from the court, you still have a few things to set in order. Failure to make a few changes to your estate planning documents, taxes, and retirement accounts now could have disastrous consequences later.

Estate Planning

Often, spouses list each other as the beneficiary on a variety of documents without even thinking about it. After you are divorced, you need to go and make sure all those beneficiary designations are changed from your now ex-spouse to someone else.

After a divorce is also a good time to draft a new will or amend an old one. With the breakup of your marriage, you may now feel differently about where your property should go when you die. Failure to draft a new will or trust may mean the documents fail at your death because the divorce made them impossible to execute. It could also mean your ex-spouse inherits some of your property.

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Adoption in Illinois

 Posted on December 00, 0000 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:

  1. The adoption can be voluntary;
  2. It can be by consent of the child’s parents; or
  3. It can be ordered by a court.

Illinois also allows adults to be adopted in some circumstances.

Typically, the biological parents of children must agree to the adoption. The exception to this would be if the parental rights of the biological parent or parents have been terminated because they were unfit parents. If a biological parent objects, it can sometimes result in a court case where a judge must decide what is in the best interests of the child.

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#divorceselfie: The New Staying Together for the Kids

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

selfie, divorce, Illinois family law attorneyEarlier this summer, a snapshot quickly made the rounds on social media that raised a few eyebrows but created some very interesting discussions on the state of marriage and divorce in North America. It also has started a sort of copycat trend, with hundreds of similar images having been posted to Facebook and Instagram in the weeks since.

Photographic Commitment

The viral photo was of a Canadian couple who stopped for a smiling selfie—a self-shot photograph taken with a cellphone camera—in front of the sign on the Calgary, Alberta, municipal court building. Their happy faces and comfort together suggested that they just made a life commitment to one another. In fact, they had, but not the one you might think. The couple had just filed for divorce, but took the photo as a symbol that they had made the right decision and that they would continue to work closely together in raising their children.

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