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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, dissolution of marriageWhen a couple chooses mediation for their divorce, they are choosing to forgo traditional litigation in favor of creating their own settlement with help from a mediator, considered a form of alternative dispute resolution. A mediator is a neutral third party who is trained to help divorcing couples work through their issues and reach a settlement that fits both of their needs. Many couples who choose mediation report higher levels of satisfaction with their settlement and better relations with each other after the divorce than couples who choose traditional litigation.

But mediation is not the right choice for everybody. Sometimes, a couple's personal circumstances make them unable to work together openly and honestly. If a couple cannot do this, they cannot have a successful mediation.

Mediation Is Not the Right Choice When:

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

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, non-custodial, parental rights, shared parenting,If you are a parent with a custody agreement for your child, moving out of Illinois is not as simple as finding yourself a new home and job to pay for it. Your child needs to have a relationship with both of his or her parents and as such, you will need to get permission from the court to move your child out of state. This requirement is written into the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Your former partner may oppose your request to move and in some cases, the court may deny it. If you have an opportunity outside of Illinois, such as a promising new job or an opportunity that would greatly improve your quality of life, you may need to prove to the court that such a move is in your child's best interest.

Contact an experienced family attorney to discuss your unique case before petitioning to the court to move out of state. The court will consider various factors when determining whether or not to approve your request, including the following:
  • How will this move affect the child's relationship with each parent? Will the parents realistically be able to maintain a fair visitation or custody schedule?
  • Is the child being moved out of a dangerous, unsafe, or unhealthy environment?
  • How much will the parent's opportunity in the new state affect the child's quality of  life and is that effect substantial enough to justify moving the child from Illinois and his or her other parent? Could the parent find a similar opportunity within Illinois?
  • Will this move damage or destroy the child's relationship with his or her parent remaining in Illinois?

The factors the court considers are known as the Eckert factors. They are named after a benchmark 1988 case of a parent challenging their child's other parent's decision to move out of the state.

Order of Removal

Posted on in Child Custody

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, joint tenancy, cohabitation agreement,Over the past few decades, society has dramatically changed the way it views unmarried couples living together. What was once a taboo topic and referred to as “living in sin” is now not only accepted socially, but considered by many to be a pragmatic way to determine one's compatibility with his or her partner before marriage. Legally, unmarried individuals who live together are considered to be separate parties. This means that any assets either party owns, such as a retirement account or a piece of real estate, belongs solely to him or her regardless of the other party's contributions to the asset. In some states, unmarried couples who meet a specific set of requirements are considered to be in a common law marriage, which grants them certain rights regarding their shared property. Illinois outlawed common law marriages in 1905.

Unmarried Parents' Rights

If a child's parents are not married when he or she is born, the child's father must establish his paternity to gain the right to seek custody of the child. This is also necessary if either parent wants to seek child support from the other. A father can establish his paternity by signing a Voluntary Order of Paternity. Other options for establishing paternity include using an Order of Paternity from a judge or an Administrative Paternity Order, which is issued by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services' Child Support Services.

Posted on in Uncategorized

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, marriage, asset division,There are two types of property that a married individual may have: marital property and separate property. Separate property is anything that an individual owned before getting married or received as a gift or through inheritance. Marital property is the property that a married couple purchased or created together during the course of their marriage, such as their home or a joint savings accounts. During a divorce, the couple's marital property is divided among them according to Illinois' equitable distribution rules included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. This law states that unlike in community property states where marital property is divided 50/50, Illinois couples may have their property divided according to what the court determines each partner contributed to the property. This results in settlements that are not necessarily completely equal, but are tailored to the couple's unique circumstances and needs.

When one partner hides or attempts to hide assets from his or her spouse, the couple's property cannot be fairly divided. Fortunately, there are methods in place that attorneys may use to discover hidden assets.

Ways to Discover Hidden Assets

There are many ways an attorney can determine if his or her client's spouse is hiding assets from him or her. Some of the ways an individual might hide assets from a spouse include:

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