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Whether or not a child’s parents are married, the child often benefits from having both parents involved in his or her life. Many parents are also invested in securing and maintaining a relationship with their child. Unfortunately, for unmarried fathers, such a relationship is not necessarily guaranteed. However, there is a legal process that unmarried fathers can follow to secure the basic rights of parentage, along with an allocated share of parenting time and parental responsibilities in many cases. Establishing Legal Paternity Before an unmarried father can ask for parenting time or parental responsibilities, he will need to be…
All DUI charges are serious, and a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs can lead to the revocation of your driver’s license, the requirement to use an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, significant fines and legal fees, and even a prison sentence. However, you may face even more serious charges if you are accused of committing aggravated DUI, which is a felony offense. Aggravating Factors in DUI Cases In most cases, a first-time DUI or a second DUI will be charged as a misdemeanor. A third or subsequent DUI will be charged…
As a parent, one of your biggest concerns in the divorce process is likely how the divorce will affect your relationship with your children, especially if they will not be living with you full-time. Fortunately, in most cases the court will try to establish an arrangement that allocates substantial parenting time to both parents, provided that doing so is in the children’s best interests. However, there are circumstances in which parenting time can be restricted, and it is important to understand whether they may apply to your case.  Reasons for Restricting Parenting Time The primary reason an Illinois court will…
Not all Illinois couples who are getting a divorce will have to resort to litigation to reach a resolution, but those who do will need to prepare for an often lengthy process with multiple steps. One of the most important steps that takes place before a divorce trial is the discovery period. As you prepare for your divorce, you may have questions about what discovery entails, especially if you have not been involved in any civil court proceedings in the past. A Structured Exchange of Information The purpose of the discovery period is to allow both spouses, along with their…
Under any circumstances, it is important to thoroughly prepare for the divorce process so that you have a plan to achieve the best possible outcome. In the past year, uncertainty associated with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has made preparing for a divorce more difficult, but also more important. If you are looking to end your marriage, you should be aware of the ways in which the ongoing public health emergency can affect both the process and outcome of your divorce. Important Considerations for Divorce During COVID-19 Almost every major decision related to the divorce process may be impacted…
There are multiple ways that you could lose your driver’s license. Drunk driving is one of the most common reasons for the loss of driving privileges. A first-time DUI conviction will result in a one-year driver’s license revocation, and longer revocations will apply to second or subsequent DUI convictions. However, even if you are not convicted of DUI, you will be subject to a statutory summary suspension of your license if a chemical test performed after being arrested showed that you had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or more or if you refused to take a chemical…
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people struggling financially, including parents who pay and receive child support. If you are the receiving parent under the terms of your child support order, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do if your child’s other parent is unable or unwilling to continue making payments during this difficult time. Fortunately, you do have options, and a family law attorney can help you determine the course of action that has the best chance of success in your case. Options for Pursuing Court-Ordered Child Support Payments The first thing to note…
In an Illinois divorce, spousal support may be ordered when one party has a financial need or limited means of providing for oneself. However, these spousal maintenance payments usually are ordered for a fixed duration, after which the receiving party will be expected to support him or herself without the assistance of the former spouse. Under normal circumstances, it may be possible for the receiving spouse to attain financial independence before support payments end, but the economic stresses and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made this much more difficult for many people, especially now that they have…
A prenuptial agreement can help both you and your spouse enter your marriage with peace of mind regarding your finances, and if your marriage later ends in divorce, a prenup can make the process much easier by laying out the terms for property division and spousal maintenance. However, in order for the agreement to take effect and be upheld by the court at the time of your divorce, it must be legally valid. There are a few things that you can do when creating your prenup to make sure that this is the case. Establishing a Legally Valid…
Those who are facing criminal charges often struggle to navigate the justice system. In many cases, defendants are forced to remain in the custody of law enforcement because they cannot afford to pay the amount of bail set by a judge. This has led to increased rates of incarceration for people with low incomes and also people of color. Recently, Illinois took a huge step to reform this system by passing a new law that will eliminate monetary bail, along with a variety of other changes to the criminal justice system. HB 3653 Addresses Detainee Rights and Police Accountability House…
Alimony and other terms for the same concept, including spousal support and spousal maintenance, may commonly come to mind when you think about divorce, but the reality is that these payments are becoming less and less common. In Illinois, spousal support is usually only ordered when there is a significant imbalance between the two party’s incomes and assets and one of the parties needs it to remain financially stable and maintain their accustomed standard of living. Even then, maintenance generally does not last forever but is instead ordered for a specific duration based on the length of the marriage,…
If you and your former spouse share children who are still under the age of 18, moving to a new location after the divorce can be a complicated issue. While a parent may have legitimate personal reasons for the move, it is also often necessary from a legal perspective to consider whether the move is in the children’s best interests, as well as how it may affect the children’s relationship with their other parent. If you believe that your ex’s relocation will be detrimental to your family, you may have options to contest it in court. What is Considered a…
In Illinois, divorcing couples have a few options when it comes to how they reach a resolution on issues including property division, parenting time and responsibilities, and child and spousal support. Perhaps the first option that comes to mind is a court trial in which each party is represented by an attorney, but this is not actually the most common method for resolving a divorce. In fact, the large majority of couples are able to settle their divorce out of court. In many cases, it is a good idea to consider whether an uncontested divorce would work…
January 1, 2020, was a landmark day in Illinois since it marked the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in the state. Currently, marijuana is treated much like alcohol, in that adults over the age of 21 are allowed to possess and use certain amounts of the drug, but they are prohibited from driving while intoxicated. However, even though marijuana has been legalized, people should still be aware that violations of the state’s laws could lead to charges of drug possession or other criminal offenses. Potential Marijuana-Related Charges in Illinois Currently, Illinois residents over the age of 21 are…
Adopting a child is one of the most generous things that a person can do, as it often provides a child in need with a stable home and a loving family. However, the adoption process is not always easy, especially if one or both of the biological parents still have parental rights. This is often the case in a step-parent adoption or related adoption when the potential adopter or adopters are seeking to give the child a better life than the current legal parents are able or willing to provide. In these cases, it is necessary to terminate the current…
Divorce is difficult at any age, but couples divorcing after the age of 50 often face unique complications due to the way their lives have become intertwined over the course of a long marriage. Despite these complications, so-called “gray divorces” are becoming increasingly common. If you decide to get a divorce in middle-age or your later years, you should be prepared to address some of the common issues that these divorces often raise. Important Considerations in Your Divorce After Age 50  While the basic elements of a divorce are essentially the same no matter the couple’s age, they often affect…