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West Dundee, IL847-428-7725
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Kane County family law attorneysAs the number of cases of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) cases continues to rise in the United States, Americans are taking precautions by social distancing and staying at home. The first reported case of the highly contagious virus was in China, but it has since spread to countries around the world, including the United States, Italy, and England. The outbreak has led to the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring it a global pandemic. Those infected can experience mild to severe symptoms, with some resulting in hospitalization and even death. Although the older population is at a higher risk of life-threatening complications, children can also contract the COVID-19. In Illinois, schools, restaurants, and other businesses are temporarily closed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. With many people working from home or laid off and kids out of school, this can be a challenging time for co-parenting after an Illinois divorce.   

Co-Parenting During a Crisis

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a “stay at home” order for residents that began on March 21 and runs through April 7. This means only essential businesses are open during this time period. Healthcare, government, and some food retail workers are included in this group. Other non-essential employees who are able to work from home have been ordered to do so. 

With coronavirus on everyone’s minds, you may be wondering how to handle parenting time with your children. As a parent, the safety, health, and well-being of your child is your highest priority. That is why it is crucial that you work with your ex-spouse and be flexible if parenting time needs may change during these uncertain times. For example, if you are still going into work but your ex is laid off, he or she can take care of your child while you are at the office. 

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St. Charles paternity lawyersStudies have shown that a child thrives when he or she has a healthy relationship with both parents, regardless of the relationship between the adults. A mother and a father play different roles in the psychological development of a child. However, in some cases, the father’s identity may be in question for various reasons. For example, the mother might not have been married at the time she gave birth, and she may have had multiple romantic partners. 

Paternity refers to the legal relationship between a father and his biological child, which involves the rights and obligations of both the father and the child to each other. Even if both parents do not remain romantically involved, they can still work together for the best interest of their child by providing financial and emotional support. Establishing paternity is also important for protecting each parent’s rights.  

The Process of Establishing Paternity 

If a child's mother is or was married when the child was born or within 300 days prior to the child’s birth, the person the mother was married to (or in a civil union) at that time is presumed to be the child’s second parent. If the mother was married to a man, the man is presumed to be the child’s father. 

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Kane County dissipation attorneysAlthough it would be ideal, not every divorce is amicable. One spouse may have been planning to split for months, while the other spouse is blindsided by the news. In certain scenarios, one partner may have controlled all or most of the couple’s finances during the marriage. In these cases, one spouse is put at a disadvantage because he or she is financially vulnerable. 

Under Illinois law, the division of assets or property is subject to equitable distribution. This means any marital property that was acquired during the marriage will be divided in a fair manner. However, one spouse may be guilty of depleting and/or hiding assets in order to keep more for himself or herself after the marriage is legally terminated. Inappropriate spending in such a situation is called dissipation of assets, and a skilled attorney along with a forensic accountant can help in revealing this form of deception.         

How to Detect Wasteful Behavior

Dividing assets or property can be one of the most contested aspects of a divorce. The court considers several factors when determining who gets what. In some cases, the split could be 65/35 or 80/20, or all marital property could even be allocated to one spouse.  

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Kane County prenuptial agreement lawyersAlthough they are becoming more popular, only 5-10 percent of U.S. couples who marry draft prenuptial agreements. Once considered to be only for the wealthy, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can save a couple not only time and money but also mental anguish from disputes over property or asset division if they choose to divorce later. These legal documents let couples decide how they would like their marital property to be divided, as well as other considerations. However, there may be situations where a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may be deemed invalid and therefore unenforceable. If you are considering working with your partner to plan ahead, it is best to learn what to include in these types of agreements and what would make them null and void. 

Premarital Considerations

A prenuptial agreement, or “prenup” is a legal document that an engaged couple can create to determine how they will address property, assets, debts, and other financial issues throughout their marriage and if they decide to divorce at any time. With this approach, property can be divided in the way the spouses wish. For example, they could choose a 60/40 or 70/30 percentage split.
As many other states did, Illinois adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), which contains rules that dictate how courts decide whether a prenuptial agreement is enforceable. All prenuptial agreements must be put in writing and signed by both spouses for it to be enforceable. They do not need a witness to sign, and it does not have to be recorded with the court’s clerk. However, it is important to know that a court is more inclined to enforce the prenup if it can be proven that each spouse had prior knowledge of each other’s finances before signing it.

Postnuptial Factors

In some cases, a couple may not have considered a prenuptial agreement or did not have time to draft one if they had a short courtship before tying the knot. In these cases, a postnuptial agreement (postnup) may be an option. A postnup is a legal contract between spouses that defines what happens if the marriage ultimately ends. It can also be beneficial for those who are married and plan to stay together even after experiencing problems in their relationship, such as infidelity. 

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Algonquin family law attorneysThere is an old saying that no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. This adage applies to many marriages, where outward appearances can be deceiving. A couple who seems to have it all -- healthy kids, big house, fancy cars -- may in reality be dysfunctional and miserable. Domestic abuse is a serious problem that often leads to divorce and the breakup of a family. Under Illinois law, domestic violence is considered a crime. However, it does not just occur between married couples. 

Anyone who hits, kicks, chokes, threatens, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of a family or household member has broken the Illinois Domestic Violence law. These members include married spouses, blood relatives, romantic partners, roommates who share or shared a common dwelling, and even disabled individuals and their caretakers. Luckily, victims of domestic abuse and other forms of financial abuse can petition the court for special protections, known as orders of protection.    

Reasons for Seeking Protective Orders

Sometimes called a restraining order, an order of protection is a court-issued directive that can be entered against an alleged abuser. The court may enter this kind of protective order when an individual fears for his or her own safety (or that of his or her children’s) because of actual or threatened abuse by a family or household member. This type of order generally restricts what the abuser can do, such as coming into physical contact with the victim, and harassing or stalking the victim electronically. 

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West Dundee family law attorneysWhen going through a divorce, it might be hard to think about moving on. However, it is possible to find love again and even remarry. In some cases, one or both spouses may choose to give marriage another try with new partners. Many remarriages involve couples who have children from previous marriages, often referred to as “blended families.” Statistics show that approximately half of all families in the United States are blended rather than the “traditional” nuclear families. Creating a new family dynamic can be challenging for parents and kids, and there are many issues to consider. For example, one spouse may be paying spousal maintenance or child support to his or her ex-spouse. Parenting time also may need to be adjusted based on new home or work schedules. Following are ways to ease the transition of combining families after remarriage. 

Practical Advice for Joining Families

If you decide to get married again after taking a second chance on love, you might not necessarily think about how a remarriage could impact your children. After enduring years of unhappiness in your first marriage, it may be tempting to put your feelings ahead of your kids. However, it is important to remember that it is not all about you and your new love. 

Here are some tips for learning how to share your lives and create lasting bonds: 

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Kane County family law attorneyMany married couples grow apart and decide they can no longer live happily ever after. However, divorce is a big step, and some spouses may not be ready for such a drastic action. In Illinois, another option couples can consider is filing for a legal separation. This is a legal process that formalizes a separation, which is granted in the form of a court order, while the spouses remain legally married. 

Choosing between a legal separation and a divorce is sometimes a matter of personal preference. Some individuals have religious or personal beliefs that do not allow them to get divorced, but a legal separation permits them to stay married while living separate lives. Couples may think that a legal separation is not as involved as a divorce, but it still requires the couple seeking it to address certain issues, as well as follow the proper legal steps. 

Benefits to Separating Versus Divorcing

A divorce can be the right option for many spouses who are in dysfunctional relationships. However, there are scenarios where a legal separation is a more appropriate alternative. This option leaves the door open in case a couple decides to reconcile. It is important to note that a legal separation does not mean the spouses can remarry other people; that is only possible after obtaining a final divorce decree. A few instances where obtaining a legal separation might make more sense include the following:

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Kane County family law attorneysAdoption is a wonderful way to expand a family and give a child a loving home. The road to achieving this dream can be a long process, but well worth it. In certain situations, a couple may wish to adopt a relative if the child’s biological parents die or are unable to care for the child. In other cases, a person may want to adopt a stepchild after getting remarried. The procedures for related adoptions are different than traditional domestic or international adoptions, so it is important to learn the requirements before embarking on this journey.   

How Are Related Adoptions Different From Other Adoptions?

Unlike domestic or international adoptions, related (also called “kinship”) and stepparent adoptions are typically handled in a more streamlined process in the courts. In the majority of cases, background checks, family investigations, and home visits by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) are not required. To initiate a relative or stepparent adoption, all of the following must be true:

  • The stepparent relationship must be legally established (the stepparent’s marriage to the child’s birth parent is valid);
  • The child consents to the adoption, if he or she is at least 14 years old; and
  • The child’s other parent consents to the adoption and termination of his or her parental rights, or such rights are terminated by a judge.

In a relative or stepparent adoption, the other biological parent’s rights must be terminated before the stepparent can legally adopt his/her spouse’s child. If the other parent contests the adoption, grounds for terminating the other’s parental rights must be proven. Possible grounds can include the following:

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