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There are many circumstances in which a guardianship may be necessary. This may occur when the biological parents are not able to care for their child or are absent for a long period of time. Opting to become a guardian for a child is a major life decision that deserves careful consideration, but help may be available. It is important to understand the process and legalities surrounding this choice.
Adoption vs. Guardianship
There are a few key differences between adoption and guardianship. When adopting a child, the biological parents’ parental rights are permanently terminated. In a guardianship, however, the child’s
Continue Reading How to Become a Guardian for a Minor Child in Illinois

Kogut & Wilson proudly announces Sara Riddick has joined the firm as an associate, focusing her practice in family and matrimonial law and expanding our team of compassionate, experienced attorneys.
Sara provides clients with honest, empathetic and thoughtful advice to best fit their needs. She first served Kogut & Wilson as a law clerk, gaining a substantial understanding of the field by working closely with the firm’s attorneys and clients. Through this experience, Sara familiarized herself with the firm, learning how to develop individualized plans that benefit each individual and family.
Prior to her law clerk experience with the firm,
Continue Reading Kogut & Wilson Expands Roster with the Addition of Sara Riddick

When a family or individual decides it’s time to have children, an increasing amount of people have opted to utilize third-party reproduction methods including surrogacy and egg donations.
With these methods comes a unique set of challenges, with separate legal regulations and requirements, that individuals considering these options need to assess.
Surrogacy is the term for an arrangement between a surrogate — an individual who agrees to carry the child — and the intended parent(s). In these arrangements, the surrogate agrees to give birth to a child for another individual or couple and agrees to surrender the child at
Continue Reading Considering Surrogacy or Genetical Material Donation? Laws and Regulations to Know When Opting for Third-Party Reproduction

It takes a village a raise a child, but sometimes even a village doesn’t feel like enough support. For parents already struggling to communicate effectively, making decisions regarding their child or children can become even more overwhelming.
Parenting coordinators are individuals appointed by a court or by agreement of the parents to support successful communication, resolve conflicts between parents and assist in decision-making for the child’s best interests.
What is a Parenting Coordinator’s Role?
The parenting coordinator can be a mental health professional, attorney or an individual that has met the qualifications of a mediator with Family Mediation Services
Continue Reading Solving Conflict Through Parenting Coordinators

In a courtroom, the judge plays a vital role in ensuring all actions follow procedures established by law and is responsible for determining the outcome of a case, especially in family matters where a jury is not present.

Given the important nature of a judge, clients have the right to ask for a change of judge if certain conditions are met, including:

  • A conflict of interest
  • As a matter of right, or
  • For cause

Conflict of Interest
The court may grant a substitution of judge if a conflict of interest exists. This situation may arise if the party feels there
Continue Reading Can Families Request a Different Judge in Illinois Divorce and Family Law Cases?

As the holidays quickly approach, now is a great time to address and solidify holiday travel plans and parenting time schedules to minimize potential conflict before it’s too late.
What is a Holiday Visitation Schedule?
When both co-parents want to spend time with their children over the holidays, it is important to create a holiday visitation schedule. This schedule, usually agreed upon by both parents, allocates parenting time with each parent during the holidays. There are various forms that these visitation schedules can take, such as alternating major holidays year to year or allowing for out-of-state travel during certain holidays. Courts
Continue Reading It’s Never Too Early: Addressing Holiday Plans with Your Co-Parent

Adoption is an opportunity for individuals to create a permanent family without a biological connection. Though every adoption is different, some biological families may wish to maintain contact with their adopted child, grandchild or relative even after an adoption has finalized.
What is an Open Adoption?
Open adoption are ones in which the biological and adoptive families agree to continuing contact post-adoption. The type of contact varies depending on each adoption but can include:

  • Yearly updates and/or photos provided to the biological parents
  • Limited video or in-person visits, like yearly or during holidays
  • Video or in-person visits on a consistent

Continue Reading Can Biological Families Maintain Contact with an Adopted Relative Post-Adoption?

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