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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, adoption laws,Today, it is not uncommon for parents to divorce and remarry. It is also not uncommon for people to have children without ever marrying at all. When an individual with a child marries, his or her spouse may adopt the child and become his or her legal guardian. When this happens, the spouse becomes the child's stepparent. Although many families use this term to refer to a parent's spouse, the spouse must officially adopt the child to be legally considered the child’s stepparent. Adopting a spouse's child gives the stepparent certain rights regarding the child, such as the right to seek visitation with the child or even custody of him or her following a divorce.

Choosing to adopt your spouse's child is a life-changing decision for you, your spouse, and the child. Before becoming a stepparent, talk to an experienced family attorney to learn more about all that a stepparent entails. Adopting your spouse's child is different from adopting a child through an agency or a private adoption. The differences between the various methods of adoption are detailed in the Illinois Adoption Act.

Issues An Adoptive Stepparent Can Face

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child abuse, Illinois family lawyer, Kane County, child abuse, lawyer, attorneyA heartbreaking story of child abuse broke early this year, on January 21st 2014, when 6000 pages of allegations against 68 Chicago priests were released to the public. Of course, the problem of abuse in the Church did not just recently surface. Accounts of child abuse date back 500 years; one of the reasons cited for the Protestant Reformation includes Martin Luther’s dismay at questionable conduct he witnessed at the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church on his first pilgrimage there. In 1517, he traveled to Rome a devout follower of the Catholic faith, and he left determined to start a movement against it. Despite the sordid side of its history, the Catholic Church is certainly not the only institution involved in such indignity – other churches, schools, daycares, colleges, residential care facilities, and private homes have all had instances of abuse.

Legal Ramifications Even where abuse cases are reported years later, brave victims may receive some solace in the public acknowledgment of the crime, and the resulting formation of better practices to reduce the number of new victims. The allegations surrounding the Chicago incidents were published online as part of a settlement agreement between the Chicago Archdiocese of the Catholic Church and attorneys of the victims. Most of these cases of abuse occurred prior the 1990 and apparently all of them were eventually reported to authorities. Part of the outrage in Chicago, similar to the scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky at Penn State, was based on how various authorities – specifically the hierarchy in the church – handled, or mishandled, reports as they came in. In order to protect individuals and the reputation of the church as a whole, officials chose to transfer offenders to new churches as a temporary solution, and cast a blind eye where possible. Friends and family members of victims have responded strongly to this organizational conspiracy however, and the criminal laws punishing perpetrators of child abuse are significant.

In addition to being registered in the sex offender registry, convicted sexual abusers of children in Illinois can receive considerable penalties, including:

For sexual abuse of a child:
  • 1st offense – felony, 1-3 yrs in jail and/or up to $25,000 fine; and
  • 2nd offense – felony, 3-7 yrs in jail and/or up to $25,000 fine.
For predatory sexual abuse of a child, which includes penetration:
  • 1st offense – felony, 6-30 yrs in jail and/or up to $25,000 fine; or
  • 2nd offense (drugging the child) – felony, 50-60 yrs in jail and/or $25,000 fine.
Legal Assistance If you have been abused or know of someone who has, an experienced attorney can give you guidance about what legal actions you might take. There is additional helpful information for victims on the Illinois Department of Family and Children Services website. In the arena of family law, at a domestic level, child abuse often comes into play regarding parental rights of custody and visitation. The experienced attorneys at Goostree Law Group standby, ready to talk in complete confidence and assist you however we possibly can.

property division, divorce, cohabitation, lawyer, attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer, Chicago divorceThe definition of marital separation is changing. Traditionally, it involved the movement of one or both spouses out of the marital home into smaller houses, or possibly an apartment across town. As more couples deal with upside-down mortgages and a buyer's housing market, the apartment across town becomes the apartment in the basement.

 Many married individuals cannot afford the luxury of a true separation and family law judges are recognizing these financial complexities when making determinations about separation requirements. Ending a marriage often involves the disposition of the marital home. Whether you decide to sell the home and split the proceeds during asset division, or to refinance and “buy out” your spouse, the family home is often the most valuable asset for division in a divorce proceeding. The bursting of the real estate bubble left many married couples owing more than their houses are worth, and selling would leave the family in financial ruins. Those who do choose to sell must wait while their houses sit on the market for months or even years with no response. The only viable alternative is to separate under the same roof in hopes of a real estate turn-around. For some couples, the decision to stay under the same roof is centered around the well-being of the children. Maintaining a sense of stability and routine is just as important as maintaining a roof over their heads. Many parents decide that co-parenting is the best course of action for the children, even in the midst of a painful separation. This can prove beneficial because many judges prefer for parents to make decisions about their children, without necessary intrusion from the court.  How Cohabitation Affects Separation Requirements

Illinois law requires at least a six month separation period before a couple will be granted. divorce. Some states are strict in their definition of separation, mandating that the parties live in completely separate dwellings. In some jurisdictions, one night of cohabitation is enough to break the continuity of separation. Other states are much more liberal, allowing for co-habitation, as long as you maintain different bedrooms and refrain from sexual intercourse throughout the separation. Many jurisdictions fall in the middle of the spectrum, using a totality of the circumstances model to determine whether a true separation has occurred.

 In the past, some Illinois courts have found parties to have met the separation requirement even while living under the same roof. With the widespread phenomena of financial hardship, recent trends suggest that more family court judges are willing to grant divorces for separations occurring under one roof. From a public policy standpoint, separation is meant as a cooling off period, to let feelings settle and perhaps bring about reconciliation. The argument for divorce can be strengthened when reconciliation does not occur among parties under the same roof.  Contact an Illinois Divorce Lawyer An experienced Illinois divorce attorney can advise you about the separation requirements in your case and help you determine whether your housing decisions will impede the process of your divorce. Contact Goostree Law Group, P.C. for a consultation today.

grounds for divorce, reason for divorce Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County Divorce Attorney, Illinois divorce, lawyer, attorney, Kane County lawyer, Kane County divorce attorneyThere are times when a couple simply can’t work out their differences during a marriage. Most couples don’t take the idea of divorce lightly. For anyone seeking a divorce, thoughts about the time and money spent on the marriage are exacerbated by the time and money that will be spent in getting the divorce.

In Illinois, sometimes a couple does not give a reason for their desire to seek a divorce, and in those instances, the couple is said to have “irreconcilable differences.” When divorcing couples do give a reason for the divorce, the reason is considered the “grounds” for the divorce.

Grounds for Divorce

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As the year wraps up, so does another 12 months of fascinating research into marriage and divorce. Across numerous fields, divorce has been a hot topic for study, leading to some of the most interesting research of the year. Take a look at these findings to see what researchers discovered or published in 2013. Divorce Can Have a Serious Impact on Men’s Health divorce in Illinois imageResearch from the Journal of Men’s Health showed that serious physical and emotional challenges are faced by men post-divorce. Relying on support systems and adjusting to new life, along with the healing powers of time, can help to mitigate these concerns and reduce risks. Unreasonable Behavior Leading Cause of Divorce This year, “unreasonable behavior” surpassed infidelity as a leading reason for divorce, according to research done by Co-operative Legal Services. Fewer Siblings Linked To Lower Divorce Risk Come from a big family? You might be facing an increased risk of divorce, at least according to scholars at Ohio State University. Drinking Habits Linked to Divorce Do you and your spouse have completely different drinking habits? If so, this might be a factor linked to your likelihood to divorce. Researchers at the University of Buffalo followed more than 600 couples to generate this conclusion. Divorce Might Be Contagious If you have close friends or family members that have gone through a divorce, you have an increased change of splitting up your married, too. According the Pew Research Center, those individuals who have had a close divorce encounter through a friend or loved one face higher risks themselves. If all this started you thinking about your own marriage, it could be time to take the next step with your case. If you’re ready to talk options, reach out to an Illinois family law attorney today. You can get a fresh start in life if you are thinking about divorce.
Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 200
St. Charles, IL 60174

 630-584-4800

 400 S. County Farm Road, Suite 300
Wheaton, IL 60187

 630-407-1777

Our Illinois divorce attorneys represent clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County, including Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, Virgil, Lily Lake, Aurora, North Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Gilberts, Millcreek, Maple Park, Kaneville, LaFox, Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Bristol, Newark, DeKalb, Sycamore, Naperville, Wheaton, West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Oak Brook, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Schaumburg, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Plainfield, Sandwich, Yorkville and many other cities.

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