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 Legal separation is an alternative to divorce, offering the disputing spouses space, security, and time to evaluate their marriage. Although not a surefire precursor to divorce, like divorce, legal separation also requires a court order. To seek a legal separation, married spouses must live apart and address parental responsibilities, child support, and spousal support. Divorce can be emotionally strenuous and financially draining. Legal separation might be a viable solution as it can prepare families for the finalization of divorce or give them a chance of reconciliation.
Similarities and Differences between Legal Separation and Divorce
In a legal separation,
Continue Reading Ten Advantages of Legal Separation

Divorced and unmarried parents still need to provide financial support to their children. In Illinois, this is accomplished through child support payments. Many parents are confused about their child support rights and responsibilities in Illinois. They do not know how much payments will be or who will receive payments. Parents also have questions about what to do when a parent is not paying child support. Whether you are unmarried, divorced, or intend to divorce soon, it is important to understand how child support is handled in Illinois.
Calculating the Amount of Support
Divorcing spouses are able to reach their own
Continue Reading Child Support Basics for Parents in Illinois

As a parent, grandparent, or other individual tasked with caring for children, an accusation of neglect or abuse can be shocking and offensive. If you have been accused of neglecting your child, you may be unsure of how to respond to the situation. You may be full of questions. Will I be investigated by the DCFS? Will I lose custody of my kids? Will I go to jail? This type of uncertainty is normal. The best thing to do in a situation like this is to work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer experienced in defending against accusations of
Continue Reading I Was Accused of Child Neglect. What Next?

Many spouses are awarded alimony, or spousal maintenance, both during and after an Illinois divorce. Yet while alimony used to be nearly ubiquitous for women, who were generally the spouse responsible for raising children, Illinois law has changed to reflect the fact that women are often at least as active in the workforce as their partners. 
Among other modifications that modernized the law, there is now no guarantee that a wife will get either full custody or spousal maintenance after a divorce. However, if one spouse would be at a significant financial disadvantage after a marriage ends, a
Continue Reading Do Wives Always Get Alimony After an Illinois Divorce?

 Divorce is known for being expensive and people often put off pursuing divorce for many years because they fear the financial consequences will be too great. Much of the time, the people postponing divorce are women who have given up careers to be homemakers and who, without the assistance of their husbands, worry they cannot pay for an attorney. 
While many of the partners who are reluctant to file for divorce might receive spousal maintenance and money from their marital property after the divorce is finalized, it is impossible to predict how long a divorce will take. Fortunately, there
Continue Reading Is Temporary Alimony Awarded in Illinois Divorces?

Mediation can be one of the most valuable tools a divorcing couple has. When utilized wisely and efficiently, it can speed up the divorce process and make difficult areas less contentious. Spouses can benefit from mediation, but children perhaps benefit the most from the potential to reduce conflict between their parents during an otherwise difficult period. 
However, mediation is not appropriate for all divorce cases. Certain situations may make mediation unwise, unsafe, or impossible. If you are getting divorced in Illinois and are wondering whether mediation with a trained and experienced divorce mediator might be right for you, read on. 
Continue Reading Three Situations When Divorce Mediation May Not Be Appropriate

Couples and individuals considering adoption in Illinois are considering one of the most generous and loving acts a family or person could do. The adoption process is often long and complex and requires serious commitment and the help of experienced attorneys and other professionals to complete. For this reason, it is important to learn as much as possible about the different kinds of adoption in Illinois and which one may be right for you.
Related Adoptions
A related adoption is an adoption between a child and another family member, including grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, or stepparents. Related adoptions often happen
Continue Reading Five Different Kinds of Adoptions in Illinois

Many parents experience conflict in their divorce and one of the most contentious areas is often issues related to the children. Parents will often try to compete with each other to be the best parent and sometimes use the children as weapons in a sort of proxy war to “get back” at each other for the hurt they experienced in their marriage.
For other parents, however, there are legitimate concerns about the parental fitness of their former spouse and concerns about the wellbeing of the child. If you are interested in obtaining the majority of parenting time with your child
Continue Reading Can a Father Get Primary Custody in Illinois?

Divorce is hard on kids in Illinois. They have little to no control over the situation, very little understanding of why it is happening, and often are left to deal with intense emotional fallout from parents who cannot cooperate. Parents who are unable to agree on issues like parenting time and parental responsibilities can expose their children to protracted arguments in which the children feel pressured to take a side. While children are young and impressionable, parents may feel they have successfully “won” their child’s affection and managed to keep them from the other parent. 
But, eventually, children grow up
Continue Reading When Can a Child Choose Which Parent She Wants to Live With in Illinois?

Getting the news that you are being investigated by the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) may be one of the most frightening and confusing moments of your life. You may wonder who is responsible for making the report that triggered the investigation and feel angry that your parenting abilities are being called into question. In our last post, we discussed what the DCFS investigation process looks like and whether DCFS has the ability to take a child out of their parent’s home. In this post, we will look at some of the people who are frequently
Continue Reading Three People Who May Be Involved in an Illinois DCFS Investigation

Parents who have been contacted by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) may feel an entire range of emotions – fear, anger, confusion, uncertainty. All of these reactions are normal. The Illinois DCFS is an agency with significant decision-making power when it comes to the welfare of children in the state, and parents need to take investigations seriously.
However, it is important to remember that an investigation does not automatically signal the termination of parental rights or the removal of children from their home. If you just found out you are the subject of a DCFS investigation
Continue Reading Will I Lose Custody of My Children if DCFS Is Investigating Me?

 Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be helpful financial instruments when seeking to protect individual assets and debts in the event of a divorce. However, for these agreements to do either spouse any good, they must be written in a way that ensures they are enforceable. 
Understanding what might make a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement invalid is an important part of constructing a sound legal instrument that protects both spouses from dispute and heartache down the road. In an age where online legal resources are widely available, consulting a qualified Illinois prenuptial agreement attorney is well worth the time
Continue Reading What Can Invalidate a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement in Illinois? 

Parents getting divorced in Illinois have many different issues to handle as they create a parenting plan for their children. Determining how to allocate important decision-making responsibilities, creating a plan for parenting time, and agreeing about how the children will be moved back and forth are all questions that must be dealt with. 
In addition to these major well-known issues, there is an additional provision called the “right of first refusal” that parents must address in their parenting plan. As with other issues related to the children, parents who work together can create a right of first refusal
Continue Reading How Can I Include the Right of First Refusal in My Parenting Agreement?

A parent’s relationship with a child is one of the most precious and enduring joys of life. Unfortunately, sometimes the strength of this relationship can be threatened by divorce and the process of splitting a family into two separate households. Parents in Illinois are often understandably worried about what this means for their relationship with their children. As a result, making decisions about child-related issues during divorce can become contentious and difficult. 
About five years ago, the Illinois legislature updated the law regarding children’s issues when parents get divorced. Rather than referring to “custody” or “visitation,” Illinois law now uses
Continue Reading Is There a Difference Between Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities? 

Before divorce proceedings begin and a couple starts negotiating their differences, it can be difficult to tell whether a marriage is likely to end with hostility or respect. Spouses frequently surprise each other by the extent to which they are willing to fight over seemingly small issues. Likewise, a couple may also be surprised by how smoothly they can negotiate.
Although divorce is rarely predictable, certain things can let spouses know whether attempting mediation rather than divorce court is likely an effective strategy. Both mediation and divorce trials have pros and cons, and spouses getting divorced would be wise to
Continue Reading Should I Pursue Mediation or Divorce Litigation in Illinois? 

When questions arise in an Illinois court case regarding the best interests of a child, there are many different people who may potentially be involved. Attorneys for each parent, child welfare agents, and other parties advocating for the best interests of the child may each play a role with slightly different responsibilities. 
In this article, we will examine the roles of child representatives, guardians ad litem, attorneys for the child, and custody evaluators. If a guardian ad litem has already been assigned to your child custody case, read our previous article to find out more about what you can do. 
Continue Reading What are the Different Kinds of Child Advocates in Illinois?