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Divorcing parents in Illinois are asked to create a “parenting plan” that describes each parent’s child-related rights and responsibilities moving forward. Reaching an agreement about the elements of the parenting plan can be very challenging. Many divorcing parents disagree about how parenting time or parental responsibilities should be distributed. They may worry that they will not get to spend as much time with their child as they want to. One element of the parenting plan that many parents overlook is the “the right of first refusal.” Understanding this important right is crucial to maximizing the benefits of your parenting plan.   Required…
If you are a single parent, you know just how difficult it can be to pay for child-related expenses on your own. Making ends meet without financial support from your child’s other parent can be exhausting. According to Illinois law, both parents are expected to financially contribute to their child’s upbringing even if the parents are unmarried or divorced. A parent is also expected to provide financial support even if he or she does not have parenting time, or visitation rights, with the child. If your child’s other parent is not paying child support, there are several actions you…
According to Illinois law, both a child’s parents have a right to parenting time unless there is some reason that a child’s safety would be at risk around the parent. A parent may lose his or her right to parenting time if he or she has physically, emotionally, or sexually abused the child. Sadly, some parents attempt to use false accusations of child abuse as leverage in a child custody dispute. Not only do unfounded allegations of abuse rob a parent of his or her right to spend time with his or her child, but they also have devastating effects…
is a process during which a divorcing couple attempts to resolve issues such as the division of assets, allocation of parental responsibilities, and spousal maintenance. The couple works with a specially trained family law mediator who helps them negotiate the issues, find common ground, and reach practical solutions. Mediation can be a very useful tool in reaching a divorce settlement; however, it is not right for everyone. There are some situations in which mediation may not be an appropriate choice. In cases such as these, it is recommended that the spouses work with their respective attorneys to…
When a mother gives birth to a child, she automatically receives legal privileges and responsibilities referred to as “parental rights.” If the mother is married, her husband is presumed to be the baby’s father and therefore he gains parental rights as well. Unmarried fathers can establish paternity and obtain parental rights by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). However, there are some circumstances in which a parent may wish to give up his or her parental rights. Often, a parent seeks to terminate his or her parental rights so the child can be adopted. Voluntarily Giving Up Your…
When a person files a petition for divorce, called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Illinois, he or she must serve his or her spouse with the divorce petition. This sometimes involves one spouse simply handing the paperwork to the other spouse or it may be accomplished through a process server or other qualified third party. However, there are some circumstances where serving a spouse a divorce petition may be nearly impossible. When a spouse cannot be located, you will need to take special steps in order to be granted a divorce. Attempting to Find a Missing Spouse…
If you are considering divorce, you may understandably be feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused. The idea of dealing with the court system can be daunting – especially if you have never stepped foot inside of a courtroom before. Your confusion and anxiety may be exacerbated by well-intentioned friends and family who give you divorce advice that is simply untrue or does not apply to Illinois divorce cases. Fortunately, you do not have to face divorce alone. An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to give you the legal guidance you need to manage this difficult time in your…
Domestic abuse or intimate partner violence affects millions of people across the country, including in the state of Illinois. According to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence. Physical abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, or stalking can make a person feel as if his or her own home is a prison. If you have been the victim of domestic violence, one option you may want to consider is an emergency order of protection (EOP). Sometimes called restraining orders, EOPs are legally enforceable court orders that require…
Asset division during divorce involves much more than simply splitting a couple’s bank accounts. Complex assets, such as stocks and retirement funds, must also be accounted for. If you are considering getting a divorce in Illinois, you may have concerns about how your combined property will be divided between you and your spouse. You may also be unsure of which assets your spouse is entitled to and which assets are yours alone. Retirement account assets may be the result of years, if not decades, of hard work so they are often a significant portion of the marital estate. Understanding how…
Technology has changed the way we communicate with loved ones, do our jobs, and generally interact with the world. If you are getting divorced, there are several things you should keep in mind with regard to your digital life. Social media is becoming increasingly relevant in divorce cases and family law disputes. Your use of technology and the Internet may seem unrelated to your divorce at first glance, but there are many different ways that social media, smartphones, email, and other online-based services can impact the outcome of your divorce. In some cases, it can affect spousal maintenance (alimony)…
TV shows and movies often depict divorces as dramatic confrontations inside the courtroom. However, the vast majority of divorce cases do not go to trial. Litigation is only necessary when a divorcing couple is unable to reach agreements on issues such as property division, the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, and spousal maintenance. Most divorcing couples are able to resolve these issues through lawyer-facilitated negotiations, mediation, or collaborative law. If a couple cannot reach a settlement, the case may go to trial.  What Should I Expect During a Divorce Trial? Divorcing spouses may…
In Illinois family law cases, the terms “child custody” and “visitation” are not referred to as “allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” When divorcing parents cannot agree on an arrangement for dividing parental responsibilities and parenting time, the court may need to intervene. Custody-related legal proceedings can be stressful for both the parents and the children. If you are in a legal dispute with your child’s other parent, you may have concerns about your child’s involvement in the case. Child testimonies are sometimes, but not always, used in Illinois child custody disputes. Fortunately, Illinois courts…
You may not be surprised to learn that arguments about money are one of the main sources of conflict in many marriages. While some spouses are eventually able to reach an agreement about how to handle finances, others are not able to resolve their differences and end up filing for divorce. According to one 2017 survey, about 21 percent of divorced individuals named money as the cause of their divorce. Interestingly, the higher a person’s income, the more likely they were to report financial conflict as the main reason for ending the marriage. About 33 percent of individuals with…
In Illinois, divorcing couples with children and unmarried parents who do not live together are asked to create a “parenting plan” that addresses the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and other issues related to the couple’s children. This plan will describe each parent’s rights and responsibilities and include information about how parenting time, sometimes referred to as visitation, will be divided between the two parents. The parents may decide on the terms of their parenting plan through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative law. If parents cannot reach an agreement about one or more terms, the court will…
Divorce can sometimes bring out the worst in people. In some cases, a resentful spouse may resort to stalking or harassing their spouse in an attempt to get their attention or intimidate them into meeting divorce-related demands. Stalking can include repeatedly showing up at the spouse’s home, school, or workplace, or it may involve repeatedly contacting the spouse over the phone or via text messages, email, or social media. Whether you have been a victim of abuse, stalking, or another form of domestic violence, you should know that you have several options under Illinois law that can help keep you…
Annulments are often associated with celebrity marriages gone wrong or last-minute Las Vegas weddings. However, there are many situations that may cause a person to seek an annulment. Unlike divorce, annulling a marriage makes it as if the marriage never took place. Not every marriage is eligible for annulment, however. If you are interested in having your marriage annulled, make sure you understand the criteria for annulment in Illinois. Next, contact an experienced family law attorney for help. What Is the Difference Between Divorce and Annulment? When a married couple wants to end their marriage, they typically file for…