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St. Kane County family law attorney paternity

When a child is born to unmarried parents in Illinois, there are often complicated questions surrounding child support and custody, or even the identity of the child’s biological father. When the parents are in general agreement on the answers to these questions, a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) can help to simplify the process. However, in some cases, complications may arise in the midst of an attempt to voluntarily establish paternity, and it is important that parents know how to handle them.

Presumed Fathers and Denials of Parentage

When only one man has a claim of fatherhood, establishing legal paternity can be as simple as completing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form, ensuring that both parents and a witness sign it, and filing it with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). Upon completion, the acknowledged father will have an obligation to contribute to child support, and the parents can petition the court for an order allocating parenting time and parental responsibilities.

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Kane County family law attorney divorce

Ending a marriage is always a difficult process, but it is especially hard when you are trying to divorce a spouse who has been abusive to you or your children. An abusive spouse may try to stop you from filing for divorce in the first place, and they will likely do everything in their power to make the divorce process as difficult as possible, often including threatening your safety. It goes without saying that good faith negotiations are not possible in such circumstances, and your best option for protecting yourself and your interests is to work with an experienced attorney who can stand up for you.

Protecting Yourself and Your Property

Perhaps the most important consideration when divorcing an abusive spouse is securing the physical safety of yourself and your children. If you have been the victim of domestic abuse or you believe you are in danger, you can petition for an order of protection in Illinois court. An order of protection can prohibit your spouse from engaging in acts of abuse, or communicating with or coming near you or your children at home, work, or school. An order of protection can also grant you temporary exclusive possession of your home and other property, or prevent your spouse from taking or destroying marital property.

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Kane County family law attorney divorce

Parents who are getting a divorce face many challenges when it comes to their children. Not only will they need to reach a resolution that protects their children’s interests, but they will also face the difficult responsibility of helping their children process the many changes and stresses that come along with the end of a marriage and family unit. Children of all ages are bound to have questions throughout the divorce process, and parents should be prepared to answer them to the best of their ability.

Common Questions Kids May Ask About Divorce

Regardless of whether or not there have been noticeable signs of conflict in your marriage, your children will likely be surprised and shocked when you tell them that you are getting a divorce. Every child will react differently to this news, but most will have questions either immediately or after they have some time to process their emotions and thoughts. Some of the most common questions include variations of the following:

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Barrington divorce attorney parenting time

During the divorce process, “normal” is a relative term. Of course, you, your spouse, and your children are going through a monumental life change, and many of the things you have grown accustomed to will never be the same. That said, it is still important that you try to keep things as normal as possible for your children to help them cope with the things that are changing and assure them that they still have a stable support system.

Maintaining Consistency Throughout the Divorce Process

As your family goes through the upheaval of a divorce, here are some suggestions for promoting a degree of stability and normalcy for your children:

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Kane County divorce attorney parenting time

After a divorce, sharing parenting time with your former spouse throughout the year can be difficult, and sharing time on the holidays can be even harder. It is not easy to get used to the idea that you may be apart from your children at such a meaningful time, but it is important to recognize that your children need to be able to spend time with both parents. While you and your ex may not agree on every detail regarding holiday parenting time, you should try to practice healthy ways of managing this disagreement.

Co-Parenting Suggestions for Important Holidays

Whether this is the first holiday season after your divorce or you have been trying to successfully co-parent for years, these tips may help you manage conflict with the other parent more effectively:

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Kane County divorce attorney parenting plan

Divorce can be especially difficult for children. It can be hard for them to understand the reason why their parents’ marriage is ending, and they are certainly not the ones responsible for the final decision, but their lives will nevertheless be turned upside down as a result of the separation. As a parent, it is important for you to understand how a divorce can affect your children so that you can provide the best possible support for them now and in the future.

Common Effects of Divorce on Children

On a surface level, the most notable effect of a divorce on children is the major change to their routine, as they will likely be dividing their time between both parents’ homes. Working with your spouse to develop a thoughtful parenting plan that addresses parenting time and decision-making responsibilities can go a long way toward helping your children adjust to this transition and ensuring that their best interests are protected.

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Algonquin family law attorney legal separation

If you are confident that staying married is no longer in your best interest, the finality of a divorce may be what you need to move forward with your life. On the other hand, if you have doubts or reservations, divorce may feel like too permanent of a decision for your current situation. In this case, a legal separation may be a good option, but you should be aware of the potential benefits and drawbacks before you begin the process.

Advantages of a Legally Separating

During a legal separation, you and your spouse will live separately while remaining legally married. One spouse’s move to a new residence does not automatically initiate a legal separation, however. Rather, you will need to bring the action before your county court.

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Algonquin divorce attorney order modification

Once your divorce is finalized, it is important to recognize that the terms ordered or approved in court are legally binding and that there can be significant consequences if you fail to follow them. However, this does not necessarily mean that you are forever trapped by an agreement that puts you at a disadvantage, especially if your situation has changed significantly since your divorce. When circumstances call for it, you can pursue a legal modification to your divorce decree that considers your current state of affairs.

Reasons for a Divorce Decree Modification

The most common elements of a divorce decree that can be modified are spousal support, child support, and the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities. There are a number of possible situations in which a modification may be necessary or beneficial, including:

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Algonquin divorce attorney

The decision to get a divorce often comes with concerns over financial security, especially if you are a stay-at-home parent or homemaker who relied on your spouse’s employment for financial support. It may be intimidating to think about starting over on your own with little education or work experience, but a divorce can also be an opportunity for you to return to school and get an education that can help you support yourself while following your passions.

Tips for Pursuing Higher Education After Divorce

It is never too late to make a decision that can set you up for a better future. If you are interested in earning a higher education degree after your divorce, here are some suggestions to make the most of it:

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St. Charles divorce lawyer parenting plan

When you and your spouse have children together, one of the most important parts of your divorce agreement is a parenting plan that addresses how you will continue working together to raise and provide for your children after the divorce. A thoughtful parenting plan can help your children cope with the changes your divorce brings, and can also help prevent difficult arguments between you and your spouse for many years after the divorce. As you begin to formulate your parenting plan, you should be sure to consider all of the elements that you and your spouse will need to address.

Items to Address in Your Parenting Plan

A complete parenting plan addresses all important elements of your children’s lives with the goal of protecting their interests, needs, and family relationships. Some of the most important pieces of your parenting plan include:

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Kane County divorce attorney asset division

In this digital age, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects have skyrocketed. With the help of creative websites and television shows that teach viewers how to do their own projects, rather than hiring someone else, DIY has become a valid alternative in a number of areas. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our society and the way we do things has completely changed. The high number of cases and demands for social distancing have made many people wary of going out in public, even for things as important as legal advice. Those considering divorce during these unprecedented times may be researching ways to complete the process without the involvement of a legal professional. While do-it-yourself projects may be a good idea for some home improvement, it is not a smart option for legal proceedings.

How Does a DIY Divorce Work?

Every state has its own stipulations that go along with divorce, as is the case with all legal proceedings. However, if you simply type “divorce papers” into your favorite search engine, hundreds of options for DIY divorce papers will appear from which you can choose. They likely range in price, all of which promise lower rates than an attorney, yet the generic nature of these documents can lead you into dangerous territory. Simply requiring a signature and a few additional details, these documents may seem like a valid option to save you time and money, but armed with the following information, you should think twice about taking on this DIY project.

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Kane County family law attorneysOne of the main reasons a couple procrastinates filing for divorce is because they are worried about the effect it will have on their children. The thought of sharing time with their kids can be troubling to any parent. Depending on the circumstances, one parent may be allocated the majority of the parental responsibilities. The other parent is typically awarded parenting time (visitation). A parenting plan outlines the details, such as a schedule of when the children are with each parent. This is a legal document that is enforceable once the divorce is finalized.

Due to the Illinois stay-at-home order issued in response to COVID-19, regular schedules may need to be adjusted since kids are at home if parents’ work schedules are different. However, in situations such as these or if distance keeps you apart, virtual parenting time may be an option. 

Virtual Visitation

In some divorce cases, one parent may relocate out of state for a new job. Teleconferencing apps or video calls can help alleviate the stress of not having in-person visits by facilitating contact between parents and kids when they are apart. With today’s technology, parents in these situations can still see and communicate with their children, keeping them connected and involved in their lives. Through electronic devices, they can even play a game, read a book, or make a recipe or a craft together. There are also many online video games that two or more people can play together even if they are in different states. 

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Kane County family law attorneysThe decision to divorce is difficult, especially when a couple has children together. One of the main reasons parents stay together even if they are unhappy is because they do not want to lose any time with their kids. During divorce proceedings, many child-related issues must be addressed. 

In Illinois, “visitation” is now referred to as “parenting time.” This schedule can be agreed upon by both parents, or if they cannot come to an agreement, a judge will decide for them, keeping the best interest of the children in mind. The schedule is a part of the parenting plan, which, once approved by the court, is a legally binding document. It is important to follow the schedule as it was created, but parents may modify it if they both agree to the changes. As you might expect, the holidays present a unique challenge when it comes to parenting time, so the best approach is to be prepared. 

Adjusting Schedules

Creating a special holiday parenting time schedule can make things easier because it outlines where the children will spend each holiday without the parents having to negotiate every year. In many cases, parents rotate major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. Children are typically with their mom on Mother’s Day and their dad on Father’s Day. When the parents do not live close together, the schedule is adjusted for time to travel.

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Algonquin paternity lawyer

In Illinois, paternity must be established in order for a father’s name to appear on their child’s birth certificate. Also, it is essential in setting up child custody (officially called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois), parenting time (child visitation), and child support if the child’s parents are not married or in a civil union.

By legal definition, paternity is the official, documented relationship between a father and their child. When it is established, it provides a child with eligibility for health insurance, life insurance, Social Security disability benefits if their parent is disabled, veteran’s benefits, and inheritances. While paternity can be a straightforward and quick process, it can be complicated in certain scenarios. Either way, it is important to seek legal guidance from an experienced family law attorney.

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Kane County Family Law Attorney

Divorces are often contentious and stressful for everyone involved, including any children you share with your ex-spouse. Throughout the divorce process, you have to determine child custody, visitation, spousal maintenance, and more. Unfortunately, sometimes the child’s other parent will attempt to subvert their love for you and turn them against you.

This practice is called parental alienation and is considered by many psychologists to be child abuse due to the manipulative nature of the act. If you do not realize what is happening and your child becomes alienated from you, there are steps you can take to try to repair the damage that was done to your relationship by your ex.

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West Dundee divorce parenting time lawyerOne of the biggest concerns for divorcing parents is how no longer being married will affect their relationship with their children. Because both parents will likely be granted some parenting time and parental responsibilities, it is true that parents will probably see their children less than they did when they were married.

There are many misconceptions about how a court will determine these legal issues related to children. Many parents believe that a judge will assign the most parenting time to the parent who is the better person. For example, one may think that a parent who had an affair or a parent who has less money may not get as much parenting time.

This is not the reasoning that a court will use to determine parenting time, however. According to Illinois law, parenting time is determined based on what is in the best interests of the children. What is good for the parents or what is fair for the parents is not what the court will look at. By law, the courts must base decisions on what is best for the children.

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