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Posted on in Adoption

St. Charles IL adoption lawyerChoosing to adopt a child is a truly life-changing decision for all involved, and in order to ensure it goes successfully, it is important that you have an attorney who understands what is at stake. The adoption process can be very complex, even for legal professionals, and there are certain questions that you should ask in order to ensure you get a knowledgeable attorney who is equipped to handle it.

#1: What Is Your Background in Adoption Law

This is perhaps the most important question to ask. The process can be complicated for anyone, even those with experience, especially for certain types of adoption that may require you and your attorney to work with an international agency or biological parents who seek to contest the adoption. These challenges can be significant roadblocks for an inexperienced attorney.

#2: What Types of Adoption Do You Handle?

There are multiple types of adoptions, including related, private, open, agency-assisted, and others. Some attorneys prefer not to work with adoption agencies, and others may not handle adoptions from specific countries. It is important to ask about this upfront, so that you know whether the attorney will be able to handle your case..

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St. Charles IL divorce attorneyWith so many attorneys in practice in the United States, it is important for potential clients to know how to weed out those who will fight for them from those who simply want to look busy. It can be very helpful to come into an attorney’s office with a list of questions to ask and to know which answers you want to hear. Divorce is one of the most stressful events most people will experience, and ensuring you have a quality attorney on your side can make an enormous difference. Some important questions to ask include:

#1. What Is Your Experience Level?

While some people think family law is a “safe” or easy discipline, it is in fact extraordinarily complex. In Illinois, it is arguably more so, as many rules and laws do not necessarily align with those of other states. It can be a game-changer—for the worse—if your attorney does not have significant family law experience, as regulations frequently change and the stakes in these cases tend to be very high. 

#2. Will You Handle My Case Personally?

It is sadly common for attorneys to bait and switch, highlighting the most experienced or reliable member of their firm to land a case, and then delegating most of the work to a junior associate or even a paralegal or other staffer without a law degree. If an attorney is evasive as to whether or not they will be personally handling your case, it is rarely a good sign. 

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Kane County paternity lawyerAny time parents have a child and are not legally married, they have a number of issues to address when it comes to the child’s rights and future. Establishing legal paternity in the state of Illinois is one of the first and most critical steps. Doing so is important for a number of reasons, particularly because it allows parents to protect their children and their own rights as a parent. Without legal paternity, a father’s rights are especially at risk.

How Legal Paternity Can Benefit You and Your Child

While there are other ways to establish legal paternity in Illinois, the easiest way is for both parents to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, also called a VAP. This is typically done right at the hospital, as soon as the child is born. If one or both parents are unavailable at the time of birth to sign the form, however, the VAP can be completed and submitted on a later date. In cases where there is apprehension or doubt about signing a VAP, paternity can also be established by means of an Administrative Paternity Order from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services or an Order of Paternity issued by a judge.

Some important ways the father and child will benefit from establishing legal paternity include the following:

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St. Charles child custody attorneyThere is a long-standing debate among psychologists and in divorce courts as to a specific definition of the term “parental alienation syndrome”. While child psychologists have been discussing parental alienation syndrome for over three decades, the debate surrounding it continues in part because it is not always easy to correctly identify.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation syndrome, or PAS, is alleged to occur when one parent creates a contrived illusion to the child or children regarding the child’s other parent. This often leads to the child experiencing manipulated, negative emotions toward and detachment from the other parent.

In cases where there are allegations of PAS, it is often because one parent believes that the other parent is deliberately working to undermine their relationship with the child. This may occur in situations where one parent is disrespectful to the other parent in front of the children or when one parent perceives that the child has developed angry or dismissive feelings toward them due to the actions or words of the other parent. 

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Do Grandparents Have Rights to Visitation with Their Grandchildren in Illinois?For some families, the relationship and connection between family members means everything, especially the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. In some situations, the dynamics of a family can deteriorate to the point where the child is no longer allowed to maintain that relationship with his or her grandparent. In Illinois, parents are considered to have inherent rights to spending time with their children. Grandparents are not afforded the same rights, but Illinois laws do give grandparents the ability to ask the court for visitation time in certain situations. 

Can I Ask for Visitation with My Grandchild?

Illinois law presumes that parents will make decisions based on what is in their child’s best interests. If a parent is denying a grandparent visitation time, Illinois courts will assume that there is a reason for it. It is up to you as the grandparent to prove that the denial is actually harming the child in some way. You may be able to obtain visitation rights if one of these criteria apply:

  • The child’s other parent is dead or has been missing for 90 days or more.
  • One parent has been deemed incompetent or unfit.
  • One parent has been in jail or prison for 90 days or more.
  • The child’s parents are divorced, and one parent has no objections to your visitation.
  • The child’s parents were never married, they are not living together, and one of the parents is your child.

Factors Used in Making Determinations

Once you file your petition for visitation, the courts will examine your situation to determine whether your petition should be granted. Though the court will start with the presumption that the parent’s actions and decisions regarding your visitation time are not harmful to the child’s overall well-being, the judge must examine a variety of factors. These factors include:

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