NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq

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In 2015, Illinois passed the Parentage Act. This provides parentage guidelines for same-sex partners. According to this act, a person can be presumed parent of a child under the age of eighteen in the following situations: 

  • Spouses were married in a civil union when the child was born 
  • The child was born 300 days before the end of a marriage or civil union 
  • The child was born during a marriage or civil union, but later the union was declared invalid 
  • If after the child’s birth, the birth mother marries someone and also adds them to the birth certificate 

Parentage laws
Continue Reading Parentage and Child Custody for Same-Sex Couples 

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 defines domestic violence as an act of abuse (harassment, physical abuse, wilful deprivation, intimidation of a dependent, or interference with personal liberty) that is perpetrated against a family or household member. Since 2019, domestic violence cases have increased, leaving many people wondering how they can legally protect themselves and their families. Domestic violence is a serious crime that produces family disharmony and affects healthy childhood development. If you are a victim of domestic abuse and are filing for a divorce, an attorney can help get you the protection you need and show
Continue Reading How Can I Protect Myself and My Family From an Abusive Spouse During Divorce? 

An unfortunate but common feature of many divorces is accusations of abuse or neglect made by one parent about the other. Sometimes these accusations are legitimate, and sometimes they are made out of hurt, anger, or a desire for vengeance. While parents usually seek what is best for their children, the hostility of divorce can sometimes make it difficult to prioritize a child’s best interests over involvement in adult conflict. 
Sometimes these accusations are made exclusively in divorce court. Other times, however, they are made to outside agencies – Child Protective Services (CPS) in particular. Finding out that you are
Continue Reading Do I Need to Cooperate with Child Protective Services During Divorce? 

Saying you want to get divorced is one thing, but as anyone who has successfully finalized their divorce knows, agreeing to the complex terms of a divorce with a soon-to-be ex-spouse is another thing entirely. Divorcing couples are required to negotiate and communicate over very sensitive matters during a time in which they could hardly dislike each other more.  
Understandably, therefore, remaining fair and balanced during divorce negotiations is challenging – especially when it feels like so much is at stake. However, couples do not have to manage this process alone. Between their divorce attorneys and other professionals, such as
Continue Reading Will Mediation Be Helpful in My Chicago Divorce? 

In cases involving divorced or separated parents of minor children in Illinois, one parent is nearly always responsible for making child support payments to the other. Although Illinois law on child support is quite clear, this does not necessarily prevent parents from experiencing conflict over child support, especially when one parent is reluctant to pay or struggles to make payments while also affording their own lifestyle. But while the government bureaucracy that manages unpaid child support works slowly and perhaps inefficiently, it has enormous power to take action to recover unpaid child support. To avoid running into legal issues around
Continue Reading How Much Are Child Support Payments in Illinois?

All couples fight – in fact, relationship experts say that couples who do not fight may be in deeper trouble than those who fight frequently. However, what is key for a healthy relationship is that a couple fights fairly and that they can come back together after facing conflict. 
When you are in a relationship, especially one that involves a lot of conflict, it can be difficult to know just how much conflict – and what kind of conflict – is normal. This is especially true if you grew up in a home with high-conflict parents. If you feel unhappy
Continue Reading Is My Spouse Abusive or Do We Just Fight a Lot? 

An Illinois divorce has several important issues that must be resolved. If there are minor children, child support and custody schedules need to be decided. The question of whether spousal support should be paid needs to be answered. Finally, couples need to divide the assets and money they have accumulated during their marriage according to Illinois law. 
While some states require spouses to divide their marital estate equally, Illinois requires asset division to be fair, leaving neither spouse with a disproportionate amount of marital assets or marital debt. This means each couple will have a different outcome in their asset
Continue Reading How Do We Divide Our Belongings in an Illinois Divorce?

Domestic abuse victims frequently stay with their abusers because they fear an increase in dangerous violence if they try to leave. Unfortunately, research supports the idea that abusers often do become more dangerous when their victims end the relationship. But that does not mean that you should stay trapped in a terrible marriage forever. Whether you are heterosexual or part of the LGBTQ community, there are protections for victims of domestic violence in Illinois. Having a skilled divorce attorney in your corner can help you prepare for divorce when you have a violent spouse. 
Emergency Orders of Protection
One
Continue Reading You Can Get Divorced, Even From a Violent Spouse

During divorce, legal separation, or the establishment of a first-time custody arrangement for non-married parents, there can be a number of legal requirements that might seem overwhelming at first. Creating a plan for child custody, which is divided into “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” in Illinois, can seem like an insurmountable amount of work. An experienced family law attorney can walk you through the process step-by-step. 
In our last blog, we discussed a broad overview of what a parenting plan needs to contain to get approved by an Illinois family law judge. Today, we will look at
Continue Reading The Right of First Refusal in Illinois Parenting Plans 

When parents of minor children get divorced in Illinois, they need to submit something called a “parenting plan” to a judge for approval. In the best-case scenario, parents will have already created a parenting plan together and can simply submit it to the court as part of an uncontested divorce. When this is not possible, however, parents can still work together using the help of a mediator or collaborative divorce team to negotiate a parenting plan. If absolutely necessary, a judge can intervene and make custody decisions on behalf of a couple who cannot negotiate the terms of
Continue Reading What is a Parenting Plan, and What Does it Need to Include in Illinois? 

Regardless of whether a spouse is paying or receiving alimony (technically known as “spousal maintenance” in Illinois), each party will want to know when, and under what circumstances, alimony payments might end. While more women in the workforce and greater equity between spouses means alimony is awarded less often today than it has been in the past, alimony can still be a crucial support or a major financial burden, depending on your perspective. Both men and women can be recipients of spousal maintenance if the circumstances merit it.
Illinois has laws specifically addressing when alimony can be changed or terminated;
Continue Reading When Do Alimony Payments End in Illinois?

While Illinois parents who have gotten divorced are usually relieved to be rid of each other in their day-to-day lives, the conflict and differences of opinion that existed in the marriage can be resurrected over and over again when minor children are involved. Child support is frequently a cause of disagreement between divorced or never-married parents, and one of the most common concerns we hear is that the parent paying child support believes the other parent is using the money for him or herself rather than the child. If you are in this situation, this blog may be helpful to
Continue Reading What Can I Do if My Ex Spends All the Child Support Money on Themselves? 

Often, the first thing that comes to a parent’s mind when faced with the prospect of an Illinois divorce is what the custody arrangements will look like. Unfortunately, child custody tends to be one of the most contentious aspects of divorce, making it difficult to achieve a parenting plan that everyone can feel good about. In this blog, we want to answer some common questions about how the custody process works in Illinois. Keep in mind that this is not legal advice and that the best place to get your questions answered is in a consultation with an Illinois divorce
Continue Reading How Can I Get Custody of My Child in an Illinois Divorce? 

When a couple decides to end their marriage, it is not so easy as simply agreeing to get divorced. Depending on the circumstances, a divorce can be quite a complicated and difficult process and the right steps will depend on your preferred strategy and goals. However, the general process of most divorces is fairly similar and follows a necessary set of steps. If you are interested in starting the divorce process or have more questions about how divorce works in Illinois, schedule a meeting with a Chicago divorce attorney right away. 
Should We File for Divorce in Illinois? 
The first
Continue Reading Five Common Questions About Divorce in Chicago

While nobody gets married expecting to get divorced one day, the statistics speak for themselves. Nearly 1 in 2 Illinois couples who get married can expect to eventually get divorced. Finding good information about divorce is not easy, especially if you are in a “non-traditional” marriage. Perhaps you worry about being judged by an attorney, or have questions about whether the divorce process is the same for you as it is for other couples. If you have questions about LGBTQ divorce in Illinois, check this blog for answers to common questions and then speak with a compassionate LGBTQ divorce attorney
Continue Reading Answers To Your Questions About LGBTQ Divorce in Illinois