The Law Office of Christina Martell

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Under Illinois law, if you are a married woman and you have a baby, your husband is legally presumed to be the father of your child. However, if you have a child while you are unmarried, you may assume that the father’s willingness to help raise the child is sufficient to ensure that your son or daughter has the support necessary for a comfortable life. However, without taking action to establish legal paternity, you may run into issues as time goes on. In many cases, establishing paternity is easy to do, and it provides significant benefits for mothers, fathers,…
If you and your spouse have come to a mutual decision to get a divorce and you are confident in your ability to cooperate on an agreement, an uncontested divorce can be a great option that allows you to save money, time, and stress, and retain control over important decisions that affect your family’s future. Many couples considering an uncontested divorce fear that involving attorneys will only complicate the process and therefore choose to work toward an agreement on their own. However, the right attorney can be a valuable asset even in an uncontested divorce and can help you ensure…
When you get married to someone who is already a parent, you often form a close bond with his or her children as well. In some cases, you may decide that it is in the children’s best interest for you to become their legal parent. Step-parent adoptions can be a great way to ensure that children are provided for and supported by a two-parent household, and if you believe this option is right for your family, you can take the necessary legal steps to make sure the adoption goes smoothly with the help of a family law attorney who is…
Buying a home can be one of the most exciting events in your life, but it can also be overwhelming, especially for first-time homebuyers who are unfamiliar with the process. Before you close on your home, you will likely be working with a variety of people who can help make your closing possible, including a real estate agent, a mortgage lender, and a real estate attorney. The more you know about what each of these parties can do for you, the smoother your home search and closing process will be, allowing you to celebrate the purchase and the future…
Open adoption allows a child’s birth parents to have additional rights and future access to their child. However, they must form a solid relationship with the adoptive parents to utilize said rights. Whether you are looking to release yourself from the allocation of parental responsibilities, or gain them through adoption, be sure to consult with a knowledgeable adoption attorney. Open Adoption Overview An open adoption is a form of adoption that allows the birth parents to have some sort of relationship or contact with their child even after he or she has been adopted. After the adoption process is complete,…
For many individuals, purchasing a home is a dream come true. Unfortunately, that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare if proper precautions are not taken. To protect your rights and interests in this major purchase, it is imperative to confide in a knowledgeable real estate attorney, who understands the laws in Illinois. A Title Search Overview  Performing a title search is the first step to clearing a title. A title search uncovers any potential issues with the property that could affect your purchase. When performing a title search, a real estate attorney will assess the following elements: All Public…
Going through a divorce is never an easy task. Emotions are high, marital assets must be divided equally, and financial instability can cause issues. When one or both spouses are members of the military, things can become even more complicated. Fortunately, you have options to protect you, your rights, and your responsibilities. If you or your spouse is an active member of the military and are seeking a divorce, it is important to contact a skilled legal professional to help navigate your case.  Waiting Period Members of the military, especially those overseas, are subject to safeguard under the Servicemembers Civil…
You have just found your dream home, and your offer has been accepted. You may think the hard part is over, but complications can still arise. Although the home inspection may have been completed without any major issues, you may have an uneasy feeling about the home inspector and his or her judgment regarding a few elements of the property. Fortunately, you have options that can protect you, your offer, and your financial situation. Seeking the legal guidance of an experienced real estate attorney can make sure your rights are protected during the process of buying your home.  Home Inspection…
Going through a divorce involves much more than signing a few papers. For a stay-at-home parent, divorce includes emotional, legal, and financial preparation. A mother or father who stays at home typically manages the household, takes care of the kids, and completes many different day-to-day tasks. It really is a 24/7 job. As a stay-at-home parent, the end of your marriage can be extremely daunting, since you may be concerned about your ability to support yourself and your children, and you will want to understand how divorce will affect child custody and whether you will need to return to work. Therefore, it is…
Typically, only parents are allowed to make decisions based on their child’s well-being. However, in certain situations, parents may be unable or unwilling to care for their children, and someone who is not the parent of the child may become their legal guardian. A guardian is able to make sound decisions for a child and assume the parental role in the child’s life. It is important to note that guardianship can also apply to disabled adults. Before anyone takes on this responsibility, it is crucial to understand what it entails by seeking professional legal guidance from an experienced family law attorney. …
Summer vacation is often a time of bliss for your children, but it may be less exciting for you. If you are divorced, you and your ex-spouse must create a parenting plan before finalizing your divorce. This legal document essentially states who will make decisions for your kids and how those determinations will be made. The plan outlines who will be allocated the parental responsibilities (child custody), in addition to parenting time (visitation). In addition, it should include how each parent receives important information about your children (medical or educational records), as well as how they will be transported between…
Whether it came out of the blue, or whether times in your marriage have been tough for a while, it is frightening to hear your spouse say, “I want a divorce.” Most couples who file for divorce are unprepared, and they are often not even on the same page. If you have children together, that can make the proceedings even more challenging. There are many issues that will need to be addressed, including the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) as well as the division of assets and property. You and your spouse may not agree on how these…
Family is an important part of life. Because of this, many couples who are looking to start or expand their families turn toward adoption. According to the Donaldson Adoption Institute, 6 in 10 Americans have had a personal experience with adoption. This means that they themselves, a family member, or friend was adopted, had adopted a child, or had put a child up for adoption. There are many factors that can influence your decision to adopt. If you are considering adoption, it is a serious endeavor that should not be taken lightly. Whether you plan on adopting as a foster
You have found your dream home, made an offer, and have been notified that your offer was accepted. However, you should not celebrate just quite yet, as a number of different items must be completed before the previous homeowner can hand you the house keys. The closing, also known as completion or settlement, is the final step within a real estate transaction. Your closing date will be established, and it will usually be several weeks after your offer has been accepted. Once the closing is complete, the house will officially become yours. Read on to learn a few things…
The state of Illinois has established spousal support guidelines for those in the midst of a divorce. Spousal support, also referred to as alimony or maintenance, is a court-ordered payment one spouse must pay to the other for an extended period of time. Spousal support is calculated by taking 33.33 percent of the payor’s net income minus 25 percent of the receiver’s net income. The final calculation, when added to the receiver’s income, cannot surpass 40 percent of the spouses’ combined net income. In the event the final calculation is above 40 percent, it will be reduced to meet…
A child’s best interest is the key focus of any custody decision in an Illinois divorce. If parents do not agree on child-related issues, Illinois courts will intervene, and they usually favor a shared parenting arrangement. However, if a parent is believed to be a danger to the child, that parent may not be allocated any of the parental responsibilities, or their time with the child may be restricted or supervised. The job of the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) is to protect children. If they see, hear, or believe a child is a victim of…