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Hillside, IL 60162

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Recent Blog Posts

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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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 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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How Is Child Custody Decided in Illinois?

 Posted on September 25, 2020 in Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Oak Park, IL parenting plan lawyerIn 2016, the way in which Illinois courts determine child custody was changed substantially. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA ) now calls child custody “the allocation of parental responsibilities,” and visitation is now referred to as “parenting time.” Divorcing parents must fill out a “parenting plan” document which states each parent’s parenting time and parenting responsibilities, as well as certain child-related rights and requirements. Reaching decisions about these issues can be challenging – especially in the midst of a contentious divorce. In some cases, the court will make decisions about parental responsibilities and parenting time for the parents.

Resolving Parenting Plan Disputes

Illinois parenting plans must contain a number of provisions, including provisions that address the following:

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Do I Qualify for a Child Support Modification?

 Posted on September 14, 2020 in Post-Decree Matters

Hillside child support attorneyChild support in Illinois is determined using what is known as the “Income Shares” model. This calculation method takes into account each parent’s net income, and, in cases involving shared parenting, it also takes into account the amount of parenting time assigned to each parent. A parent’s child support obligation is intended to be reasonably affordable, while still providing the financial support the other parent needs to cover child-related expenses. However, if circumstances change, the amount of child support a parent pays may no longer be appropriate, and a child support modification may be necessary.

Changing Your Illinois Child Support Order

Child support orders are legally-enforceable court orders that must be closely adhered to. If a parent does not pay his or her child support in full and on-time, he or she may face serious consequences. If you need to decrease your child support obligation, or if you are the recipient parent, and you need to increase the amount of child support you receive, you will need to petition the court for a child support modification. Illinois courts may modify an existing child support order if:

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When Is a Prenuptial Agreement Invalid in Illinois?

 Posted on August 14, 2020 in Divorce

Hillside prenup attorney enforceabilityUncertainty about the future can leave many engaged couples nervous about their marriage, and they may wonder whether getting married is the next best step. Fortunately, a prenuptial agreement can be a good option to make use of for any couple intending to get married. While they may have previously been reserved for the rich and famous, prenuptial agreements have become more and more common as couples have opted to get married later in life with more financial assets to bring into their marriage. It is always advisable to sign a prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle, since this legal agreement can help alleviate any concerns that may arise regarding the possibility of divorce. Prenups can save you a great deal of time and protect you from emotional turmoil in the future, but only if all of the terms are valid and enforceable. You should be aware of certain problems that could make your prenuptial agreement invalid, including the following:

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What Is Parental Alienation and Can It Affect My Child Custody Case?

 Posted on July 30, 2020 in Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

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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How Long Will Spousal Support Last After an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on July 09, 2020 in Divorce

Oak Park divorce attorney spousal maintenance

For some, the financial implications of a divorce may be more harmful than the end of their relationship. It can take months, or even years, for couples to make the decision to file for divorce and their romantic relationship has often deteriorated long before they have even come to this realization. Some spouses may stay together simply because of their financial reliance on each other. In order to prevent people from remaining in an unhappy marriage due to their inability to live financially independent, Illinois courts will evaluate the individuals’ financial situation during the divorce process and determine whether or not financial assistance is needed for either party. It can be a shock to transition from living off of a combined income to barely scraping by on a single income, but often the spouse with the lower income is likely eligible to receive financial assistance, known as spousal maintenance, or spousal support, or alimony, from his or her former spouse.

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