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Hillside, IL 60162

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Recent Blog Posts

What Does the “Right of First Refusal” Mean in Illinois Divorces?

 Posted on February 28, 2021 in Divorce

Oak Park divorce attorney parenting time

When a couple with children gets divorced, they must make several decisions regarding the children’s care and upbringing going forward. In most cases, both parents will be awarded a designated amount of parenting time (visitation) depending on the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) between them. A "right of first refusal" is a subject which arises when a parent intends to leave his or her child with a caregiver for a portion of his or her normal parenting time; that parent must first ask the child’s other parent if he or she can watch the child instead. Parents may reach an agreement on this subject in their divorce, but if they cannot agree, the court will consider whether to award one or both parties a “right of first refusal” in connection with caring for a child during the other parent's regular visitation time. 

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The Benefits of Establishing Paternity for the Father and the Child

 Posted on February 16, 2021 in Paternity / Parentage

Oak Park family law attorney paternity

When a couple is married and they have a baby, it is presumed that the man is the legal father of the child. However, when two people are not married, paternity (parentage) has to be legally established before the father is eligible for specific parental rights, and before the child is entitled to certain benefits. Studies have shown that children thrive most when they have a relationship with both of their parents, so confirming parentage is important for everyone’s best interests and well-being of all parties. Establishing parentage for children born out of wedlock can also help provide a basis for obtaining child support payments, and for fathers, it may be necessary for the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and can allow them to be more involved in their child’s life moving forward.

Legally Recognizing Parentage 

In Illinois, when parents are in agreement on who the father of the child is, both parties can fill out and sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” (VAP) form, which legally establishes parentage. In situations where the parents do not agree on the father’s identity, they can do either one of the following:

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Can I Modify the Division of Property After My Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on January 29, 2021 in Post-Decree Matters

Oak Park, IL divorce attorney property division

It can sometimes take a long time for a couple to come to the realization that their marriage should end. Regardless of the reasons for the relationship breakdown, sometimes it is for the best. The legal process of ending a matrimonial union involves many steps and decisions regarding various issues. Divorce laws vary by state, but in Illinois, the division of property follows the equitable distribution method. This means that marital property and assets are divided in a fair way, but not necessarily 50/50. Any property that is acquired during the marriage is subject to division. However, if your ex-spouse did not disclose all of his or her financial information, the divorce settlement is likely unfair. With the help of an experienced divorce attorney, you may request a modification of the property division orders.  

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4 Tips for Making the Transition Easier for Children in an Illinois Divorce

 Posted on January 19, 2021 in Divorce

Oak Park divorce attorney parenting time

The period immediately following your divorce can be among the most challenging times of your and your family members’ lives. If you are a newly divorced person who shares children with your former spouse, you and your kids may be entering into uncharted waters over the next few months. Both you and your children are likely to be experiencing a sense of grief, though this emotion arises differently for different people. There is no “one size fits all” approach to overcoming your post-divorce emotions, but how you handle the transition period can help your kids move forward into your new future as a family more resilient than before.

Build a Unified Gameplan

As previously mentioned, there are no cookie cutter means by which to make this transition feel natural. You and your co-parent should, however, have a clear understanding of how you will proceed in terms of caring for your kids and maintaining a civil, if not amicable, relationship. You should have a specific plan of action before notifying your children that divorce is your next step as a family. Who will live where? How often will they stay with their other parent? Where is their other parent moving to? You should have answers to all of these questions so that you are prepared to present your kids with a unified front moving forward. This will reassure them that despite your impending divorce, both of their parents will continue to be actively involved in their lives.

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Should My Spouse and I Separate Before Filing for Divorce in Illinois?

 Posted on December 28, 2020 in Divorce

Hillside divorce attorneyWhen the thought of divorce becomes a real possibility, couples can face a few different options: try to make things work with some additional help, separate to see if divorce is the right decision, or move forward with the divorce. Many couples will actually go through each of these options before determining that divorce is in fact the right choice moving forward. No one is expected to know that divorce is the right choice from the get-go, which is why many marriage counselors and professionals will suggest a trial period of separation before starting a divorce case. Whether you and your spouse decide to try a trial separation, or sign legal separation documents, there are some things that you should know.

Update to Illinois Law

Before 2016, those filing for divorce in Illinois were required to provide a reason for their divorce, such as infidelity, and to live apart for a certain period of time before filing. The law was updated four years ago to reflect the most accurate ground for divorce: irreconcilable differences. This term means that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and that neither spouse wishes to be married any longer. Irreconcilable differences is now the only ground for divorce available in Illinois. The updated law also no longer requires couples to be separated for a specific period of time before filing for divorce. If, however, one spouse does not agree to the divorce, six months of separation is considered enough evidence of irreconcilable differences in an Illinois court of law. 

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Can I Become My Sibling’s Legal Guardian in Illinois?

 Posted on December 15, 2020 in Guardianships

Hillside guardianship attorneyEvery child deserves to live in a loving household, with the ideal goal being two loving parents who can care for them. In today’s world, however, this is not always the case. Some families have single parents, others have blended households, and some children lose their parents at a young age. If a child’s parents die unexpectedly, and a Will that outlines those parents’ wishes was not  prepared,,  a  court will need to determine what the next best course of action will be regarding who will take care of the child. Throughout the U.S., anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor and must have a legal guardian caring for them. For some children, this  could require another family member taking care of them , while for other children, foster care may be their only option. 

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How to Deal With Your Supervised Parenting Time in Illinois

 Posted on November 25, 2020 in Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Hillside divorce attorneyIf you are a parent who is filing for divorce, there are certain aspects of your current everyday schedule which will now need to be reevaluated. For instance, your responsibilities as a parent,  which likely come naturally to you, will be reviewed and divided between you and your ex-spouse in a process known as allocation of parental responsibilities. The time that you spend with your kids will no longer be around the clock, but rather, will be scheduled and known as parenting time, or visitation. As part of the legal process, the court will be assessing your role and competency as a parent, which in some cases can lead to restrictions in the form of supervised parenting time.

What Does Supervised Parenting Time Entail?

No one enjoys the feeling of being scrutinized for their parental decisions and abilities. However,  this is a part of the divorce process if you and your spouse share children. In most cases, this evaluation will be fairly quick and the court will divide the responsibilities and parenting time fairly equally. In more contentious cases, tho, a judge may require one parent’s visitation time to be monitored by a third party. If the judge determines that you are in any way a danger to your child, or unable to fully perform your parenting duties, a court-appointed official will be present during your parenting time to monitor your parenting abilities. This is often a temporary order before the court makes a final decision, which is why the way that you handle these orders can ultimately determine your parenting role moving forward.

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Do I Qualify to Be My Loved One’s Guardian in Illinois?

 Posted on November 10, 2020 in Guardianships

Hillside guardianship attorneyTaking on the responsibility of becoming another person’s legal guardian is laudable, but it can also be very difficult. This is especially true for children who are becoming their parents’ legal guardian. Having to take on the role of caregiver to your own parent can be physically and emotionally taxing, and some people may not even know if their parents meet the criteria for needing a legal guardian. Before taking legal action on behalf of your loved one, review your ability to become a legal guardian, as well as the common signs that show they need this additional support.

Who Can Be a Guardian?

When petitioning to become a legal guardian, there are a few minimum requirements that you must meet, before a judge can even determine if you are the right person to fulfill this role. Under Illinois law, legal guardians must: be at least 18 years of age, be of “sound mind,” have never been convicted of a serious crime, and be deemed a suitable guardian by the court. In addition, those who wish to become a legal guardian must demonstrate their ability to provide a suitable plan in their role as guardian. 

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Do I Have Any Child Custody Rights If I Am Not Married To My Child’s Mother?

 Posted on October 30, 2020 in Paternity / Parentage

Oak Park family law attorney child custody

In today’s world, families come in all shapes and sizes, including parents who are not married. As an unmarried father, you may be wondering what your rights are with regard to your child. Historically, mothers have taken on the role of primary parent and caregiver. Illinois courts, however, often favor having both parents involved in the child’s life, so long as this is what is best for the child. If you are not married to your child’s mother, and do not intend to be, there are a few steps that you should take to be sure that your rights as a father are protected.

Establishing Paternity

Before any custody decisions are made, you have to legally establish yourself as the child’s father. For fathers who are married, this is accomplished by signing a “Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity” (“VAP”) form. The law assumes that a mother’s husband is the father of her child, and both parties recognize that this is true by signing a “VAP”. For parents who are not married, proving paternity requires a few additional steps. It is often advisable for unmarried fathers to obtain proof of their biological connection to their child. This involves taking a DNA paternity test to provide the court with proof of your connection to your child, and to ensure that your rights as the child’s father are upheld.

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How to Successfully Deal With Co-Parenting During COVID-19 in Illinois

 Posted on October 09, 2020 in Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Hillside parenting planNow into its eighth month of significant impact in the U.S., COVID-19 continues to be a daily concern in all areas of life. In public, masks and social distancing are required. In the workplace, many are continuing to work remotely to avoid infection. And in schools, each district has its own arrangements for how students are completing their assignments. Illinois is now in its fourth phase of the reopening process, with stay-at-home orders now ended but group gatherings continuing to be restricted. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 restrictions, divorced parents have still had to continue abiding by their existing court-mandated parenting plans. This includes each parent’s scheduled parenting time as well as their child’s dual living arrangements. Due to the unpredictability of COVID-19 and the vulnerability of particular populations, at the present time, some families may be unsure of how to navigate these unprecedented circumstances.

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