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Kane County divorce attorneyWhen you have made the decision to get divorced, there are many things that you need to do to prepare for the process. Among these is finding a divorce attorney who is willing to advocate on your behalf and fight to protect your best interests if necessary. Once you find the right lawyer, you will want to meet and spend some time with him or her so your attorney can best represent you. The more information you provide, the better your attorney is able to handle your case.

As you go into the first meeting with your lawyer, there are a number of things that you should be sure to cover, including:

What Information Do I Need?

For your discussion with your lawyer, you want to bring documentation that illustrates your financial contributions to the marriage. Most commonly, this includes tax returns, proof of income, bank statements, stocks, bills, and insurance paperwork. You also want to include debt information, including outstanding loans. Take the time to collect documents such as tax returns, pay stubs, credit card bills, and insurance policies so that your lawyer can have a good starting point for building your case.

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Posted on in Adoption

Kane County stepparent adoption lawyerAdoption is a lifetime commitment to a child that should not be taken lightly, and no matter how rewarding the ultimate outcome may be, it is rarely an easy process. Adopting a child of your spouse is often more straightforward than the adoption of a non-biological child, but it is still important to have competent representation. A qualified family law attorney can help you through the process of a stepparent adoption and ensure that your family’s rights are protected.

Stepchild Adoption in Illinois

In Illinois, an adult who is at least 18 years old, has a good reputation, and is under no legal disability can adopt a child. For some kinds of adoptions, the adopter must have lived in Illinois for a minimum of six months, or for 90 days if he or she is in the armed forces. However, this residency requirement can be waived in the case of a related adoption, including one involving a stepchild.

To legally adopt the child of your spouse, the parental rights of the child’s other biological parent must be terminated. A parent may voluntarily terminate their parental rights, or a court may terminate the rights of a biological parent if evidence shows that they are not fit to take care of the child. Some examples in which a court may decide to terminate parental rights include:

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Posted on in Divorce

Kane County uncontested divorce attorneyDivorce does not have to be bitter and expensive. In many cases, a couple has the basic agreement worked out before the divorce is even filed. This is generally known as an uncontested divorce, and such a resolution may be possible if you and your spouse are able to work together amicably. It is a good idea, however, to ask a qualified divorce attorney to at least review your agreement before you submit it to the courts.

Advantages of Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce means that the two sides have no issues to argue over. They file jointly for a divorce and ask the court to approve the agreement they have already worked out. In some cases, the agreement may need to be amended slightly to address minor details, but the spouses have agreed in principle to make it work.

The main advantages of an uncontested divorce are that the two sides save themselves time, frustration, and money by agreeing to everything in advance. While both sides should have the help of a lawyer in drafting and reviewing any agreement, the attorney fees will often be much lower than in cases with multiple court hearings and piles of legal documents drafted.

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St. Charles IL family law attorneyIt is one thing to tell your spouse that you want a divorce. However, telling your children that you and their other parent will be divorcing is another thing altogether. While parents are likely to worry about how their divorce will affect their children, it can actually be the best option for both the adults and children. Rather than experiencing regular conflict and tension between parents, children can benefit from growing up in a less stressful environment. When breaking the news of divorce, parents will want to approach the conversation in a way that helps children understand and prepare for how their lives will change.

Talking to Younger Children

The approach to telling your children that you and your spouse are getting a divorce is going to differ depending on their ages. A younger child may have a harder time understanding what a divorce means, but they could have an easier time adjusting to the change. If your children are far apart in age, you may wish to discuss the divorce with each of them separately. 

There is no definitive guide for telling your child about your divorce. Every family is different, and every child will have a different level of emotional intelligence. That said, here are some tips that may help you talk about getting a divorce with your school-aged children:

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Kane County parental responsibilities attorneyGetting a divorce is not easy, especially when children are involved, and it is important to understand the decisions you and your spouse will need to make regarding your children. Prior to 2016, Illinois still used the terms physical custody, legal custody, and visitation when dealing with divorces that involved children. After substantial reforms to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act in 2016, there are now two major components that you must address if you have children and are seeking a divorce: parental responsibilities and parenting time. These changes were made in recognition of the way parenting actually happens in families. Rather than having one parent as the sole child-rearer, the law encourages parents to share parenting time and responsibilities. 

Legal Definitions of Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5), there are specific definitions for both parenting time and parental responsibilities:

Parenting time refers to the time each parent spends with the child, during which they are responsible for performing caretaking functions, as well as making non-significant decisions pertaining to the child. Caretaking functions may include:

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