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Hillside, IL 60162

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Hillside IL divorce lawyerIf you and your spouse have not been happy for a long time, getting a divorce may be able to give you the relief you need. However, getting a divorce is not a walk in the park. Resolving matters like the division of marital property can be complicated, and if your spouse is reluctant to provide you information about his or her finances, you may need to take advantage of the discovery process to get the information you need to make well-informed decisions.

What Is the Discovery Process?

The discovery process allows divorcing couples to gather important information and documents, usually related to each other’s finances, after the filing of the initial divorce petition. Sometimes, spouses willingly share such information, but it is often necessary to use a more formal legal process to better ensure all relevant information is exchanged. Through discovery, each spouse gets access to the same information when coming to decisions regarding their divorce. If you and your divorce attorney gather this information, you may have an easier time reaching a fair agreement.

What Are the Different Types of Discovery Tools?

Divorce attorneys use several discovery tools to help them gather important information. For example, interrogatories are written questions that each spouse can submit, often concerning the other spouse’s income, debts, assets, work history and educational background. Spouses must answer these questions within 28 days of receiving them. Similarly, requests for admissions of facts allow one spouse to ask the other to either confirm or deny certain facts. Admissions of facts can be particularly helpful when trying to verify the validity of documents and to discover hidden assets.

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Oak Park IL family law attorneyDuring the Illinois divorce process, parents have an important responsibility to fill out a “Parenting Plan” document which states the details of parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities between the two parties. Parents may cooperate in the creation of a single parenting plan, or each parent may feel the need to draw up their own plan during the divorce case. With either approach, once the divorce is finalized and a plan is approved by the judge, it becomes legally binding. However, if your circumstances change after the divorce, you may be able to modify the parenting plan.

When It May Be Necessary to Modify a Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is not necessarily set in stone. If you, your former spouse, or your children go through major life changes after your divorce, a judge may agree to modify the plan. Here are a few situations that may warrant a modification.

  • One parent moves out of state.

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Oak Park divorce attorney parental alienation

Rarely are divorces completely amicable, without any disagreements throughout the divorce proceedings. Divorce often can be an emotional, life-altering process that can be difficult for some people to deal with in a healthy manner. When children are involved, many times the disagreements can increase. Unfortunately, some divorcing parents wrongfully involve their children in their disputes with their soon-to-be-former spouse, and some parents even deliberately attempt to turn their children against their other parent. These kinds of attempts are known as “parental alienation syndrome.” If you suspect that this is occurring in your divorce, you should contact a skilled family lawyer to help protect your rights with regard to your children throughout the case.

Is Parental Alienation Diagnosable?

The term “parental alienation syndrome” (PAS) was coined in 1985 by a child psychiatrist who noticed certain symptoms in children who were exposed to parental alienation attempts. This kind of alienation can occur when one parent attempts to negatively influence his or her children’s relationship with their other parent, sometimes out of jealousy for that parent-child relationship, or sometimes as a way to supposedly hurt his or her former spouse. Whether or not the negative effects of parental alienation are actually a “syndrome” is questioned by some mental health professionals. The American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations do not recognize PAS as a mental health condition, nor can it be diagnosed by a professional; however, the damaging effects of parental alienation on children can many times be apparent.

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Hillside legal parentage lawyer

Parentage (which is also known as paternity) is the legal relationship between a parent and his or her child. If a couple was married or in a civil union when their child was born or within 300 days before the birth, the mother’s spouse is presumed to be the father. However, if the mother and father were not married or in a civil union, paternity must be legally established. Naming a child’s legal parents is important, because it ensures that both parents have a right to participate in the allocation of parental responsibilities, and it allows the child to receive the necessary child support. For fathers who are trying to protect their parental rights or mothers who wish to confirm the parentage of their child, it is important to speak to an experienced family law attorney.       

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

If there is a mutual agreement between two parties about who the father is, a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) can be completed, signed, and filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). This will allow the father's name to be added to the child's birth certificate. A VAP can be completed at any time after the child is born, and the signing must be witnessed by a person who is 18 years or older who is not named on the document. 

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Hillside prenup lawyer alimony property division

Marriage is a big decision, and before entering into that legal partnership with your spouse, you may want to take steps to protect your rights, your property, and your finances. In many cases, a prenuptial agreement can be beneficial for both spouses. However, before entering into a premarital agreement, you will need clarification on what can and cannot be included in the prenup. Discussing your thoughts and ideas with an experienced family law attorney will ensure that you understand how to create an agreement that meets your needs.  

Personal Matters

Before getting married, you may want to address how certain matters will be handled between you and your spouse. While a prenup may include certain rules about personal issues such as chores, holiday plans, friendships, or hobbies, these terms will typically not be legally enforceable. For example, you may want to make an agreement about who will be responsible for cooking and cleaning, but a prenup cannot impose penalties if one spouse fails to abide by these arrangements. You should speak to your attorney to discuss whether to include these types of terms in your prenup.

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