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With the divorce rate near 50%, more couples are choosing to cohabitate before marriage or in place thereof for various reasons. Some opt to live together to “test drive” what marriage would be like while others cohabitate because they believe that such an arrangement would allow them to avoid certain responsibilities or financial burdens that may come with marriage.
Whatever the case may be, those who cohabitate should consider forming a cohabitation agreement to protect themselves and their possessions.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
A cohabitation agreement is a contract between two unmarried parties who live in the same household
Continue Reading Living Together Without Being Married? How Cohabitation Agreements Can Protect Assets

Children deserve to grow up in a nurturing environment, but a safe and stable home is not always a possibility with their legal parents. Foster care offers individuals and families looking to adopt the opportunity to provide a temporary solution for children and young adults in need that may lead to a permanent adoption.
Illinois Foster Care System
Foster care involves individuals and families providing a home to children who are unable to find safety, security and love in their current environment. Although beginning as a temporary solution with the goal of familial reunification, foster care can also serve as
Continue Reading Fostering Environments of Love through Foster Care Adoption

Summer vacation – a time for fun in the sun, relaxation and trips with the family but potential disagreements may arise among co-parents with regards to travel. What should parents do when they disagree in this situation?
Review the Parenting Agreement
Many parents incorporate a vacation and travel provision in their parenting agreement if one is already in place. Before a divorced parent decides to travel with their child, they should check their parenting agreement to see what it says about travel and vacation time with their child.
If the travel plans contradict the parenting agreement, it is important to
Continue Reading Addressing Summer Travel Plans and Disagreements Between Co-Parents

Many parents relocate their families over the summer – often from the city to the suburbs – as to not disrupt their children’s school year. Co-parents may not realize their parenting agreement has specific provisions about where and when they move.
Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act mandates that if the parent with the majority parenting time or equal parenting time wishes to relocate with the children, he or she must give the other parent at least 60 days written notice if the move is more than 25 miles from their
Continue Reading Co-Parents Should Consider These Aspects Before Their Summer Move

Adoption can seem daunting but the comfort of adopting a family member can make the process more reassuring. While not applicable to all adopting individuals, relative adoption offers the opportunity to establish a permanent family without breaking familial ties.

What is Relative Adoption?

Relative adoption involves the adoption of a minor child by an immediate relative, including:

  • Grandparents
  • Aunts, uncles or cousins
  • Step-family members

As adoption is permanent, moving forward requires the voluntary or court-ordered termination of the legal parents’ parental rights, even if the child remains in the family. Legal guardianship presents an alternative to relative adoption for families
Continue Reading Maintaining Family Ties with Relative Adoption

A child’s overall safety and stability are vital to their well-being and development. While the United States has processes in place to protect citizens and their children from abuse and neglect, there are also proceedings available to immigrant children seeking safety from familial harm.
When immigrant children experience unsafe situations in their home country, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) provides a path to protection with additional immigration benefits. Kogut & Wilson attorneys navigate SIJS to help children and young adults find safety in the United States.
What is SIJS?
SIJS is a special immigration classification designed to protect children from
Continue Reading Special Immigrant Juvenile Status as a Path to Protection and Residency

After many years as a domestic violence survivor advocate, Kogut & Wilson’s Sabrina Karakaya will continue to support those affected as a Trainer for Mutual Ground, a counseling, advocacy and education shelter for individuals and families experiencing domestic violence.
Sabrina will host presentations, discussions and panels on various topics related to domestic violence including:

  • Domestic and sexual violence basics
  • Impact of trauma on children
  • Recognizing signs of abuse and mandated reporting
  • Trauma and trauma-informed care
  • Trauma-informed practice for legal professionals
  • And more

Mutual Ground aims to empower those who have been affected by domestic and sexual violence and the harms
Continue Reading Sabrina Karakaya to Serve as a Trainer for Mutual Ground

With the excitement of a wedding and the stress of last-minute preparations, a prenuptial agreement (also known as a premarital agreement or prenup) may be the last item on a couple’s mind before heading to the altar but it should not be overlooked.
While meeting with an attorney to discuss a couple’s rights and responsibilities may not be the most romantic aspect of an engagement, establishing a prenuptial agreement protects both parties and sets expectations for the marriage and beyond, should things go awry.
Kogut & Wilson details what couples should discuss when drafting a prenup to avoid surprises in
Continue Reading Prenuptial Agreements: Considerations Before Saying “I Do”

Eva Matela Kogut will discuss financial neutrals in the Collaborative Divorce Illinois’ (CDI) Fellows Collaborative Skills Training webinar on Friday, April 8 from 12:00 to 3:15 pm CT.  
In the webinar, “The Financial Neutral’s Value,” Eva and legal and financial professionals, Kim Grady, Jeff Kostis, Theresa Beran Kulat, Brandi Ruffalo and Anne Schmidt, will evaluate a financial neutral’s role in collaborative divorce proceedings to share insight on topics including: 

  • Financial Neutral Roll Overview 
  • Attorney Views on the Financial Neutral 
  • Financial Neutral Activities 
  • Data Collection 
  • Income for Support Calculations 
  • Drafting Marital Balance Sheet 
  • Turning Words into Numbers 
  • Do I Have Enough


Continue Reading Eva Matela Kogut to Share Financial Neutral’s Importance to Collaborative Divorce Teams in Upcoming CDI Training

When considering adoption, individuals may not realize the options available to establish a permanent family.

In Illinois, adoption may take several different forms, each with their own restrictions and requirements. Kogut & Wilson offers an overview of the forms of Illinois adoptions to aid prospective adopting parents in determining which path makes the most sense for their family.

Agency Adoption

In an agency adoption, children are placed with adoptive parents that have been interviewed and vetted by an agency. Potential adoptive parents can file a Petition for Adoption and be granted an interim order of custody during the pendency of
Continue Reading Six Types of Adoptions in Illinois

While adoption is beneficial for biological and adoptive parents alike, the complex decisions involved can lead to disputes concerning parents’ rights and the viability of adoption.
In some cases, legal parents dispute adoptions leaving the process at a standstill and the other involved parties unsure of the outcome.
Kogut & Wilson elaborates on contested adoptions and why they occur to keep prospective adopters informed of potential setbacks.
What Are Contested Adoptions?
Contested adoptions occur when a legal parent does not consent to the adoption, typically in private adoption cases. If the adopting parents still want to pursue finalization, a trial
Continue Reading Contested Adoptions: How Parental Disputes Can Impede the Adoption Process

The college application process can be daunting, especially when it comes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FASFA provides economic relief to college students based on parental income, however, the process raises questions for non-traditional families regarding how to report earned income and additional required information.
As the first step in the FASFA process, Kogut & Wilson details the options parents have when reporting their income whether divorced, separated or separated but filing jointly.
Divorced
FASFA defines divorced parents as those who have been legally divorced by a state. In deciding which divorced parent’s income to report,
Continue Reading FASFA Parent Reporting: Options for Divorced, Separated and Joint Filers

While filing taxes this year, parents must claim payments made as part of the 2021 Child Tax Credit in addition to their normal income and asset reporting. For divorced parents, accounting for the Child Tax Credit can present challenges as only one parent can claim dependents on his or her 2021 tax return.

Kogut & Wilson discusses how to determine which parent should claim the credit for this year’s tax season.

What is the Child Tax Credit?

The Child Tax Credit, part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, refers to a tax benefit granted to parents or guardians
Continue Reading The Child Tax Credit’s Impact on 2021 Tax Returns

For members of the LGBTQ+ community, building a family can take many different paths. Adoption is one option that offers an opportunity to build a permanent family without a biological connection.

Kogut & Wilson shares the available options LGBTQ+ individuals have when looking to adopt. 

History of LGBTQ+ Adoption in Illinois

Illinois has recognized the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and couples to adopt since 1995, following the Appellate Court’s decision of Petition of K.M. In its decision, the court held that “same-sex cohabitants have standing to jointly petition for adoption as the statutory provisions allow a reputable person of legal
Continue Reading LGBTQ+ Adoption in Illinois

When couples seek to reduce their legal obligation to their spouse but not dissolve their marriage permanently, legal separation presents an opportunity to maintain the marriage without a financial or physical commitment.
Kogut & Wilson attorneys outline legal separation and what the process entails.
What is Legal Separation?
Legal separation is a court-approved agreement between two spouses to live financially and physically separate from each other. In contrast to divorce, a judgment of legal separation does not legally and permanently end a marriage, meaning the parties remain legally married after separated.
The Legal Separation Process
The legal separation process shares
Continue Reading Separate but Together: The Legal Separation Process

Starting a family is an exciting time in one’s life, especially when that means providing a permanent home for a child in need.
Adoption is a life-changing experience and the process can be daunting for new families with varying requirements throughout the country. Kogut & Wilson attorneys answer pressing Illinois adoption questions to de-mystify the process and help families decide if adoption is the right choice for them.
Q: What is adoption?
A: Adoption is the process of becoming the permanent and legal parent of a child. Through this legal action, the adoptive parent assumes full responsibility of the child,
Continue Reading FAQs: Adoption in Illinois