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Wheaton, IL 60189
Wheaton Family Law Attorney
Recent blog posts

wheaton divorce lawyerAmong the most important factors someone must manage in their divorce is their overall financial picture - both now and in the future. It is crucial to make decisions during divorce that will protect you even many years after the divorce has ended. 

One frequently overlooked part of a divorcee’s finances are their Social Security benefits. These benefits are often forgotten or not addressed because, unlike other retirement resources such as 401k or Roth IRAs, Social Security benefits are not subject to the property division process. 

Nevertheless, understanding whether you are entitled to Social Security benefits as a result of your spouse’s work history is important for financial security in retirement. Federal law allows for circumstances in which one spouse can claim benefits based on their former spouse’s employment record. 


wheaton divorce lawyerWhen a child’s parents get divorced, the parents or the court must make arrangements for the child’s care that are written down and made legally binding in a document called a “parenting plan.” A parenting plan addresses the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, holiday schedules, and something called the “right of first refusal.”  Here, we will discuss what the right of first refusal is and how parents in Illinois can address the right of first refusal included in their parenting plan. 

What is the Right of First Refusal? 

When a parent has the right of first refusal, it means that, under certain circumstances, they are the first person who gets called when the other parent needs help with childcare. Because it does not always make sense to call the other parent for a brief trip to the grocery store, the right of first refusal only applies in some situations. A couple’s unique parenting plan will determine the circumstances that will trigger the right of first refusal. 

For example, if parents live very close to each other and have predictable work schedules, the parenting plan may require each parent to offer the right of first refusal whenever they will be away from their child for more than two hours. But if parents live farther away, or if they work at unpredictable times and need advanced notice to take time off work, the right of first refusal may only apply when a parent will be gone for half a day or more. 


illinois adoption lawyerIllinois couples and individuals considering adoption have many things to think about. How long will the process take? Which type of adoption is right for us? How will life change after the adoption is complete and a new child comes into our lives? In addition to other challenges potential adoptive families may face, the odds can seem overwhelming. 

In this article, we will look at the five different types of adoption available to parents in Illinois. Each option has benefits and drawbacks, and it is important to discuss your situation with a qualified Illinois adoption attorney who can help you decide which type of adoption is right for you. 

Private Adoption

Sometimes called an “independent,” “non-agency,” or “unrelated” adoption, private adoptions occur when the adopting parents have no prior relation to the child and an agency is not involved. Parents hoping to adopt using a private adoption work directly with the child’s biological family - usually a young, single mother - and adoptions usually take place immediately after birth. Private adoption is usually the best option for parents hoping to adopt an infant. However, private adoption can also leave prospective parents vulnerable to risks like the mother changing her mind.


wheaton divorce lawyerMany people are dissatisfied after their final divorce order is issued by an Illinois court. After months or years of attempting to resolve complex issues like marital asset division and parenting time, a judge may make a final decision that one or both parties are not happy with. Aggrieved persons may want to appeal the court’s divorce decree for something that is more in their favor. 

However, divorce orders are complex legal transactions and may only be successfully appealed in very specific circumstances. In this article, we will look at some common questions about divorce decree appeals. Keep in mind that the best source of advice and information about your unique situation is a qualified Illinois divorce attorney. 

When Can a Divorce Decree Be Appealed in Illinois? 

Unfortunately, it is simply not possible to pursue an appeal simply because you disagree or are unhappy with the terms of the divorce decree, no matter how unfair or biased you may think it is. The only time a divorce decree can be successfully appealed is when there is a possibility that the judge’s decision stemmed from an error in the interpretation or application of Illinois law. 


wheaton divorce lawyerWhen spouses are married, they generally file their taxes jointly and claim their children as dependent exemptions. But after the divorce is finalized, parents begin filing taxes independently. A question then arises: Who gets to claim the children on their tax returns? 

Divorce contains many such tax issues, and this article discusses general strategies for how parents might handle the particular issue of claiming children as tax exemptions. If you are in need of legal advice, contact a qualified divorce attorney. 

Tax Exemptions in the Divorce Decree

Everybody knows that the divorce decree addresses the most pressing issues related to children: Allocation of parental responsibilities, division of parenting time, and child support. But the divorce decree can also address important issues like which parent gets to claim a child as a tax exemption. Tax exemptions can be as good as cash in a parent’s pocket, but each child can only be claimed once - understandably, parents may disagree over who gets to claim the children. 

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