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High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162

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Oak Park IL family law attorneyIn today's world, there is no such thing as an "average" family. Years ago, the traditional mother, father, and baby set-up was the norm, but nowadays, things are much different. According to the 2018 American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau, more than 6 million people lived in a household with a child who is not biologically related to them, including in a stepfamily. One reason for this is that many people who get divorced end up getting remarried, which often creates blended families, bringing children from prior marriages together in one household.

One question that may go through any stepparent's mind is whether they can adopt their stepchild. While there is definitely a legal way to adopt a stepchild, it can be a somewhat complicated process. There are many details pertaining to the adoption process that you will have to understand and address before you are able to adopt your stepchild.

Determining Adoption Eligibility

Before you can adopt your stepchild, you must be sure that you actually qualify to adopt him or her. In Illinois, adopting a stepchild requires:

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Oak Park IL divorce lawyerIf one were to ask, say, 10 married couples if they have ever hidden any type of financial information from each other, how many do you think would say that they have? Chances are, there would be a good number of them that answer, “yes.” According to a new survey from CreditCards.com, around 40 percent of respondents of all ages who are currently in serious relationships admitted that they were actively hiding a credit card, checking or savings account from their partner. Financial infidelity is common in marriages, but it can come back to haunt the guilty party during their divorce. A partner who commits financial infidelity during a marriage is also likely to affect the financial aspects of the divorce.

What is Financial Infidelity?

There are various definitions of “financial infidelity,” but most commonly it refers to any type of lying or deception about money matters between romantic partners who have combined finances. Many actions and behaviors can qualify as financial infidelity, and all of them can have a significant impact on their partner’s financial situation. Examples of actions that can be considered financial infidelity include:

  • Hiding debts that you currently owe

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Oak Park IL divorce attorneyOne of the first questions most people have when they find themselves beginning to look into the possibility of divorce is how much the divorce process will cost. One of the well-known facts about divorce is that it is not cheap. According to a recent article in USA Today, the average cost of a divorce ranges from $8,400 to $17,500, when all factors are accounted for, so clearly, there is no one price tag that you can put on every divorce. The actual final cost of your divorce will end up being based on a variety of factors, with one of the biggest factors being the cost of your divorce lawyer.

Factors Affecting the Cost of a Divorce

One of the basic factors that affects the cost of a divorce is simply where you live. In states and cities with higher costs of living, the cost of getting a divorce is likely to be higher. In states that have a lower-than-average cost of living, the cost of getting a divorce is also likely to be lower. Some of the other factors that can affect the cost of your divorce include:

  • Your attorney’s hourly fees. One of the biggest contributors to the cost will be the amount you pay to your attorney. The majority of people who get divorced hire a lawyer, as they can assist you greatly throughout the process. USA Today reported recently that the average rate for a divorce lawyer is $270 per hour.

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Oak Park, IL family law attorney gray divorce

A “gray divorce” is a term used when referring to a couple that gets divorced later in life, typically when they are over the age of 50. Perhaps they were waiting until their children were grown and out of the house, or an extramarital affair caused the split. Regardless of the reasons for the marriage ending, these older spouses will have to make some important decisions regarding their divorce settlement in order to move forward into the next chapter of their lives. One of the major issues with a “gray divorce” is that there can be more assets, and larger assets, to divide, which can cause conflict between spouses. Certain high-value assets can be more problematic when trying to determine which of these assets are marital property and subject to division. Also, often there is the emotional aspect of becoming single again after perhaps decades of marriage to deal with. 

Important Issues to Consider

Every marriage is different, and therefore every divorce is likely to have its own unique issues. Even if spouses are amicable and mutually agree to legally end their marriage, they may find the legal process quite challenging. In many “gray divorce” cases, it can be difficult for one party to think about starting over, moving into a new house, and/or finding employment after years of raising children and not working outside of the home. Here are some of the main elements that typically need to be addressed in a “gray divorce”: 

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Oak Park family law attorney divorce

The end of a marriage can occur for many reasons, including infidelity, abuse, addiction and financial problems. But sometimes, spouses may put off filing for divorce, especially if they have children. Parents often worry about the emotional impact their split can have on their kids in the immediate aftermath of a divorce as well as in the future. However, studies have shown that children can be more traumatized when parents who have a toxic relationship stay together. Constant exposure to arguments is not healthy and may prevent children from having positive attitudes or relationships themselves. Fortunately, there are ways for parents to minimize the negative effect of a divorce on their children so all involved can live “happily ever after.”     

Alleviating the Stress of the Situation 

How children react to a divorce typically depends on their age, personality and the circumstances of the breakup. The initial reaction may be disbelief, anger, sadness, anxiety or worry. During a divorce, kids can also learn valuable tools for dealing with stress, and as a result many children eventually become more flexible, tolerant adults. Navigating this major life change often depends on how the parents handle the process. 

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