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It is generally presumed that it is in the best interests of children to have a relationship with both of their parents when the parents are not in a romantic relationship or marriage. However, this is a rebuttable presumption, and in certain circumstances, is negated entirely. Where one parent is causing harm to the child, it is the duty of the other to take steps to protect the child. It is important to understand the legal boundaries of what a parent may and may not do in an effort to keep the child safe. Harm may come in the forms
Continue Reading Options for Protecting Children From a Harmful Parent

A significant percentage of spouses who divorce in modern times are not required to engage in a courtroom battle in order to terminate their marriage. Many elect for cooperative divorce techniques including but not limited to mediation and attorney-facilitated negotiation. Cooperative divorce is often employed regardless of the level of amicability, as the issues incident to divorce can be resolved by mutual agreement even without bringing the spouses face to face. Yet, certain circumstances can render collaborative divorce impossible or impracticable. 
If your spouse is unwilling or unable to cooperate with these alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, it may be prudent
Continue Reading When to Prepare for Divorce Litigation

Trust and honesty are extremely important in a relationship. You and your spouse should be comfortable telling each other just about anything – especially when it comes to their financial status. Yet, it happens all the time that people sign a prenuptial agreement thinking they have all the right information, only to find out that some very important things were left out. If you were not represented by a lawyer when you signed your prenuptial agreement, you probably did not do a huge amount of fact-checking. After all, this was the person you were about to marry. You were likely
Continue Reading What If My Spouse Took Advantage of Me Using a Prenuptial Agreement?

Orders of Protection can be great tools for helping you keep yourself and your children safe during a divorce. However, what these orders can and cannot do is not always well-understood. Some people—women particularly—refrain from getting a protection order even though they are eligible for one, often due to misconceptions about how they work. While protection orders are civil, rather than criminal, your spouse can be arrested if they violate one. This is often enough of a deterrent to keep domestic violence offenders away from their victims.

However, civil protection orders should not be used as tools of manipulation
Continue Reading What an Order of Protection Can and Cannot Do in a Divorce

As you might imagine, money is a huge factor in any divorce case. This is especially true in contested divorces. When a spouse gets divorced, he or she is expected to provide financial information in a financial affidavit. In Illinois, this document helps to determine things like child support and property division during divorce.
Unfortunately, some spouses lie on their financial affidavits. They may intentionally undervalue their assets or fail to list all sources of income to make their financial situation appear bleaker than it actually is. Spouses may also inflate debts and expenses to reduce financial obligations like child
Continue Reading How Do Financial Affidavits Influence Divorce in Illinois?

No one wants to be involved in a child custody dispute, but if you have a difficult relationship with your child’s other parent, it can be tempting to resort to unsavory tactics to gain more parenting time. While many divorced or never-married parents dream of getting sole custody, it is rare in Illinois. Your desire to spend as much time as possible with your children is very understandable, but it is important to play by the rules. Here are some common tactics that you should avoid when you are involved in a child custody dispute. 
How Not to Fight a
Continue Reading What Not to do During a Child Custody Dispute

During a divorce, it is not uncommon for one parent to claim that the other is an unfit parent in an effort to get sole custody. You may be reading this because your (soon to be ex) spouse has called you an unfit parent and threatened to take sole custody of the children. If this is your situation, you should know that your spouse is not very likely to succeed. Unless you have truly endangered or harmed the children and there is proof, it is exceedingly rare for a court to deem one parent unfit and award the other
Continue Reading What Does "Unfit Parent" Really Mean?

It is common for the mother of a child to initiate a parentage case, hoping to positively identify her child’s father and seek child support. It is a bit less common for such a case to be opened by a father, but in Illinois, either parent – or alleged parent – can petition a court to declare parentage. Fathers often do so when the mother of the child they believe is theirs is not letting them see the child. Establishing paternity opens the door for a father to seek court-ordered time with his child. This sometimes happens when the mother
Continue Reading Can a Potential Father Start a Paternity Case in Illinois?

This is a fairly common question – and the answer is yes, you can divorce your spouse while they are incarcerated. There may be a few extra steps and some complications, but it can be done. In fact, you may have somewhat of an advantage in your divorce if your spouse is currently locked up. Prisons and jails rarely, if ever, allow inmates to appear in divorce court. Your spouse can retain their own attorney to represent them, however. Especially if your spouse is incarcerated for a crime against you or your children, like domestic violence or child abuse, it
Continue Reading Can I Get Divorce While My Spouse is in Jail?

One of the few reasons that divorced parents still need to see each other is to make custody exchanges. Generally, both parents need to be present at a child custody handoff unless there is an agreed-on third party with authorization to pick up or drop off a child. For parents whose divorce is still pending, these exchanges can be very tense. Both parents may be tempted to use child exchanges as a time to find fault in the other parent. For those whose divorce is far from amicable, handing off a child can even turn into an argument. It is
Continue Reading Tips for Smooth Custody Exchanges During Divorce

Prenuptial agreements can be a great tool during divorce proceedings. Spouses who have one in place often find that their divorce goes much quicker and smoother than it would have without one. Those who have prenuptial agreements are likely to be able to file an uncontested divorce, as most of the divorce terms are likely already agreed upon. However, an unfair prenuptial agreement can serve as a roadblock to divorce. Women are more likely to be disfavored in a prenuptial agreement than men and are less likely to seek a divorce if they believe that their prenuptial agreement will leave
Continue Reading Is My Unfair Prenuptial Agreement Even Enforceable?

Leaving a controlling spouse can be very difficult. If you have been married for a long time, it might feel like you do not know what to do with yourself without your spouse there to dictate your every move. You may be socially isolated or even separated from your family. Getting a divorce in this situation is the best way to protect yourself and your future. It can be challenging, but it can be done. You will want to make sure that you are represented by an aggressive lawyer. Controlling spouses are skilled at bending the will of their spouse
Continue Reading 5 Strategies for Divorcing a Controlling Spouse

As a parent, your children are probably the most important part of your life. A parent’s greatest fear is losing their children. You probably cannot imagine your life without your children in it. So when you and your children’s other parent split and go to court for child custody, you hold out hope for the most possible time with your children. Nothing is scarier than hearing that the other parent is demanding exclusive custody. The prospect of your former spouse or romantic partner taking your children out of your life is enough to send any parent into full-blown panic.
Continue Reading What to do When Your Child's Other Parent Tries for Full Custody

Divorce can bring out the worst in people. When a divorce is not amicable, each party is trying to prove that they are more responsible, a better parent, and a better spouse. Unfortunately, some people will resort to trying to throw their spouse under the bus in an effort to get a better result for themself. Others will resort to flat-out lying to the court or even falsifying evidence. Some will make ridiculous demands that you know are completely unfair. Being the spouse whose name is getting dragged through the mud by a vindictive spouse can be a humiliating and
Continue Reading What To Do When Your Spouse Will Not Play Fair During Divorce

An increasing number of same-sex couples are raising children together. The growing number of same-sex couples with children is one of the reasons that Illinois now uses the term “parentage” instead of “paternity.” A child growing up with two moms or two dads will consider both adults their parents. It is very important to make sure that the law also sees both same-sex partners as the child’s legal parents. While it may not be possible for a same-sex couple to have a biological child in common, it is certainly possible for same-sex couples to have a legal child in common.
Continue Reading Establishing Parentage for Same-Sex Couples

Sibling relationships can be incredibly important for children. Siblings are often a child’s first and best friends. Even in blended families, step and half siblings may share a bond. When parents are splitting up, siblings may rely on each other for a sense of stability at a time when major changes are occurring. Illinois courts are often reluctant to separate siblings who enjoy a close relationship. However, this type of bonding does not occur for all children with acting parents in common. In some cases, sibling relationships are difficult or even abusive. In that case, the court may find that
Continue Reading Child Custody and Protecting Sibling Relationships