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Posted on in Adoption

There are many ways to add a child to your family. Many couples conceive their children biologically while others choose to adopt. Some individuals find themselves facing parenthood when they marry their partners who already have children from previous relationships.

For couples who wish to have biological children but cannot, for whatever reason, carry a pregnancy, surrogacy is an option. Surrogacy is an agreement between a couple and female third party where the third party becomes pregnant with the couple’s child and gives birth, after which the couple takes and raises the child without her involvement. This woman is known as a surrogate. There are two different ways families can go about working with a surrogate to conceive and give birth to a child and each way comes with unique legal obligations. Before you begin working with a surrogate, contact an experienced family attorney to find out your obligations as a prospective parent.

The Gestational Surrogacy Act and Types of Surrogacy

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce mediation, alternative dispute resolution, Kane County divorce attorneyIs there such a thing as a hassle-free divorce? Probably not, given the emotional, financial, and legal difficulties that follow in the wake of a divorce. However, that does not mean you and your divorcing spouse are destined to spend tens of thousands of dollars in court fighting over such trivial questions as who gets the family lawn chairs. In Illinois, there are a number of options to help your divorce be as conflict-free and cost effective as possible.

Mediation in Illinois A growing number of divorcing couples choose mediation. Divorcing spouses in Illinois may choose to use a mediator to help negotiate one or more aspects of their divorce. Mediation has a number of benefits, including the following:
  • Cost Benefits - The mediation process can save you money, especially compared with the prospect of an expensive, drawn-out court battle. You and your divorcing spouse may split the cost of the mediator.
  • Time Savings - Mediation offers a more rapid way to solve your divorce-related disputes than litigation. If you choose to go to court, it can take a year or more just to get a court date, and several years longer if either party appeals the decision. For couples who wish to move past the divorce as quickly as possible and start their new lives apart, mediation is an attractive option.
  • Relationship Preservation - As a less contentious forum than a courtroom, mediation offers an opportunity to negotiate a divorce while still preserving some kind of relationship with your ex-spouse. For divorcing couples who will need to have regular contact even after the divorce--for example, when future decisions will need to be made regarding the care of a child--mediation can help end the marraige on amicable terms.
  • Mutual Satisfaction - The goal of mediation is to reach an agreement that both sides can live with. This differs from the winner-take-all court system, in which each side presents an argument and then the judge decides who wins and who loses. Additionally, mediation offers an opportunity to address extra-legal issues that are not ordinarily susceptible to determination by a court. When couples play a part in negotiating their divorce agreements, they often feel happier about the results.
Even in a Mediation, You Need The Help of An Attorney Even if you choose to use a mediator to help negotiate your divorce agreement, it is essential that you speak with a skilled Illinois attorney. Those individuals who do not understand their rights in a divorce may end up disappointed and hurt from a mediation. Further, an attorney can help you select the right mediator, explain the mediation process, and even attend the mediation with you. Contact a Divorce Mediation Attorney If you are considering divorce and have questions about how to preserve your legal rights while ending your relationship with your spouse as amicably as possible, it is vital that you contact a skilled family law attorney. The professionals at Goostree Law Group are dedicated to helping individuals involved in divorce proceedings understand their rights and reach the outcomes they desire. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. We work with families in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County, and many nearby communities.
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Posted on in Family Law

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.
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Posted on in Premarital Agreement

marriage IMAGEMarriage can be a very joyous time in the life of a couple, but it can also be an extremely stressful experience as well. There are often hundreds of decisions to consider, details to be addressed, and legal hurdles to overcome. Future couples have to address certain legal issues, such as the marriage certificate, and the determination that the future marriage is not void for any number of reasons. There is one aspect though, which couples often do not want to address: a prenuptial agreement. Considering a prenuptial agreement now can save time and inconvenience in the future.

The Prenuptial Agreement

In Illinois, 750 ILCS 10/ establishes the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. A prenuptial agreement is your opportunity to define rights in the event of divorce or separation, and to identify your rights in the event of an untimely death. For many, acting prior to the marriage to secure these rights will promote more open discussions and full disclosure between the parties.

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Change is one of life’s undeniable forces. People’s beliefs and situations change and, as such, so do their needs and desires. The laws of the land have recognized this fact, and created situations in which a divorce decree can be modified, depending on the circumstances of the parties involved. Illinois recognizes the importance of changed circumstances and allows for modification of divorce agreements.

divorce decree modification IMAGEThe Law

In Illinois, Section 510 of 750 ILCS 5, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, specifies the scenarios under which a modification is warranted. Under Section 510, there can be a modification of provisions for maintenance, support, educational expenses, and property disposition. Section 510 establishes that a judgment concerning maintenance or support may be modified, but only “as to installments accruing subsequent to due notice by the moving party of the filing of the motion for modification” unless the judgment expressly precludes or limits modifications.

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