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Posted on in Paternity

Rights and Responsibilities of Known Sperm DonorsWhen it comes to artificial insemination and parental rights, there is an important distinction between a known and unknown sperm donor. A man waives his paternity rights and responsibilities when he donates sperm to a medical facility that uses it to impregnate an unrelated woman. The man could not later claim parenting time, and the woman could not force the man to pay child support. However, some men and women enter private agreements for the woman to use a sperm donation to have a child. Illinois courts may not recognize private agreements that claim to waive a father’s parental rights.

Entering an Agreement

Some prospective parents prefer to know the man who will be the biological father rather than using a sample from someone anonymous. They may place a public notice to look for a donor or even ask a friend. When entering a private sperm donor agreement, it is wise for both parties to create a contract that outlines whether:

  • The father will have any rights as a parent;
  • The mother can request financial support from the father; or
  • The father can have a relationship with the child.

It is useful to write out each party’s expectations from the agreement, even if they are unsure whether the contract is legally enforceable.

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Posted on in Divorce

Divorcing Someone with Addiction ProblemsYour spouse’s addiction can take a toll on your marriage and eventually lead to divorce. You may feel guilty about leaving your spouse when he or she needs help, but your own health and safety are also important. You spouse may:

  • Betray your trust in order to feed his or her addiction;
  • Squander your money to pay for the addiction;
  • Be less physically or emotionally intimate with you; 
  • Behave erratically or violently; or
  • Put you and your children in dangerous situations.

Your spouse’s addiction will affect how you settle your divorce and what your spouse is likely to receive from the agreement.

Parental Rights

Your spouse may have a limited allocation of parental responsibilities if he or she is still dealing with addiction. A divorce court must consider each parent’s fitness when dividing parenting time. A person with addiction problems may be an unfit parent because he or she may:

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Illinois paternity attorney, Illinois family law attorney,One of the greatest inequities in the ongoing abortion debate is the male partner's right to opt out of parenthood. While a pregnant woman can choose whether she wants to terminate a pregnancy or not, her male partner does not have this option. Naturally, this is upsetting to many men, especially those who have been in situations where they wanted their pregnant partners to abort but instead became fathers against their will. 

So what are your options if you do not want to become a father? You do have the right to relinquish your parental rights to the child. In fact, if you are not married to your partner, you do not have to acknowledge any right to the child in the first place by opting not to sign the birth certificate. If you find yourself in a situation where your partner is pregnant and you do not want to be a father, you need to have a serious discussion with her about your expectations and your plans regarding your role, if any, in the child's life. Although you cannot force a woman to terminate or keep a pregnancy, you can certainly voice your opinions to her about it. You can also work with an Illinois paternity lawyer to determine your rights as an individual who has voluntarily relinquished his parental rights.

Opting Out of Signing the Birth Certificate

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Posted on in Adoption

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois adoption lawyerYou might face the reality of your parents having their parental rights terminated. Naturally, you want to protect your minor sibling and ensure that he or she is taken care of, rather than allowing him or her to enter the foster care system and be raised by a stranger. If you are in this situation, you might be wondering if it is possible for you to seek custody of your sibling or even become his or her adoptive parent.

It is possible to seek custody of your younger sibling if your parents have their rights to him or her terminated. In fact, it is often preferable that an adult relative of a child in this situation take custody of him or her rather than the foster system. This preference was written into the recent revision to the Illinois Children and Family Services Act, which now states that when a parent's parental rights are terminated, the Department of Children and Family Services must seek any adult relatives, such as adult siblings, grandparents, and aunts and uncles, who can care for the child before placing the child in foster care.

Guardianship vs. Adoption

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parental-responsibilityMost parents choose a child's religion before the child is born. For many, the religion in which their children will be raised is determined before the couple marries – this, along with plans regarding whether one parent will stay home with the children and whether to home school or send the children to public school, can be a divisive factor to the point that it becomes a deal breaker for some couples.

Under the changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act that went into effect on January 1st, handling a child's religious upbringing is one of the parental responsibilities that the court assigns during a divorce proceeding. The parent who is granted this responsibility may then choose how the child is raised religiously, such as whether the child will attend regular church services or participate in certain religious traditions. When a couple of different faiths divorces, their child's religious upbringing can be a source of conflict. Work with a family law attorney to minimize this conflict in your divorce and subsequent relationship with your former spouse.

How Does the Court Assign Religion as a Parental Responsibility?

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