630-462-9500

After Hour New Client Telephone Number 630-690-6077

1776 S. Naperville Road, Building B, Suite 202,
Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

DuPage County legal separation attorneyThere are many different factors that influence the sustainability of a marriage. For many married couples, knowing whether it is time to formally end a marriage through divorce is not easy. One option that many married couples utilize when they are not ready to divorce is legal separation. However, it is important to understand that living apart or separating from your spouse is not the same as obtaining a legal separation. Couples that are legally separated are still technically married, but they gain much greater protection under the law than couples that are simply living apart. Some reasons you may consider legal separation include:

There Is Still a Chance for Reconciliation But You Want to Separate Finances

Divorce is a very definitive action. There is no undoing a divorce. If you and your spouse have had major marital trouble, but you believe that there is still a chance for you to reconcile in the future, a legal separation may be right for you. If you obtain a legal separation, you will be able to gain many of the benefits of divorce without actually ending your marriage.

When spouses are simply living apart, the spouses’ finances are still legally intertwined. This means that a spouse may be responsible for the consequences of the other spouse’s financial decisions during the physical separation period. Spouses who are legally separated are subject to a court order called a separation agreement that formally separates the spouses’ finances. Furthermore, a spouse is not responsible for debts accumulated by the other spouse after the legal separation has gone into effect. 

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Wheaton family law attorney for termination of parental rightsIllinois courts presume that it is in a child’s best interests to have both parents involved in their life. However, it takes a great deal of responsibility and attention to adequately care for a child. If a parent cannot satisfactorily provide for a child’s needs, or if spending time with the parent may put the child in danger, the parent may be considered “unfit.” When a parent is declared unfit, the courts no longer presume that it is in the child’s best interests to spend time with that parent. When addressing family law issues, the parties involved will want to understand how parental fitness laws may affect the outcome of their case.

Illinois Law Regarding Parental Fitness

The issue of parental fitness is often explored during adoption. Typically, consent from both biological parents is required for an adoption to occur. However, if a parent is found to be unfit by “clear and convincing evidence,” the parent’s parental rights may be terminated. The adoption may then be permitted even without that parent’s consent. An unfit parent is typically defined as a parent who does not have the child’s best interests at heart. In Illinois, parental rights can only be terminated through a juvenile case initiated by the state or in conjunction with the Adoption Act. During a parental fitness hearing, the burden of proof is on the party claiming that the parent is unfit.

The following issues are often used as grounds to establish that a parent is unfit in Illinois:

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DuPage County family law attorney for grandparent visitationGrandparents can be some of the most important figures in a child’s life. If a child’s parents get divorced, grandparents may worry whether they will get to see their grandchildren as often. Divorcing parents have the right to reasonable amounts of parenting time, sometimes referred to as visitation, with their child. However, parents can lose this right if they are not fit to care for their child properly. In Illinois, grandparents will not always have the right to visitation with their grandchildren, although they may be able to petition for visitation if there are special circumstances. 

When Can Grandparents Be Granted Visitation?

If you are a grandparent, and you want to ensure that you will be allowed to spend time with your grandchild, you may wonder if the court can require a parent to allow their child to spend time with you. Illinois courts may grant visitation to grandparents if one or more of the following circumstances are present:

  • The parents are divorced, and at least one parent agrees to grandparent visitation

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DuPage County parenting plan lawyerIf you are an unmarried parent or parent going through a divorce, you may have concerns about sharing parental responsibilities and parenting time with your child’s other parent. Going from a situation in which you spend every day with your child to one in which you have to share custody can be extremely difficult. In order to maximize the amount of parenting time, or visitation, you have with your child in a shared parenting arrangement, you will want to make the most of a “right of first refusal” provision in your Illinois parenting plan.

Your Right to Spend Time with your Child

An Illinois parenting plan or parenting agreement is a required document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of divorced or unmarried parents. The plan includes directions for how parental responsibilities are allocated, how major decisions about the child will be made, a parenting time schedule or method for determining parenting time, transportation arrangements, and more. Parents are encouraged to create their own parenting plan, but if parents cannot come to an agreement on parenting time and other issues, the court will decide on behalf of the parents. One item that often gets overlooked in Illinois parenting plans is the right of first refusal. Put plainly, the right of first refusal gives you the right to care for your child if the other parent is not able to care for the child during his or her scheduled parenting time.

Elements of the Right of First Refusal

Consider this situation: you are a parent who only gets to see your child every other weekend. You miss your child on the off weekends and wish you got to see him or her more often. On one of the weekends that your child’s other parent is allotted parenting time, he or she decides to take a trip out of town. The other parent hires a babysitter to watch your child during his or her absence. Due to your limited time with your child, you will likely feel that you should be the one to care for your child rather than an outside party.

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DuPage County family law adoption attorney

Deciding to adopt a child can be one of the most rewarding choices of your life. Adoption can change the future of the adopted child as well as yours. According to recent statistics, there are over 100,000 kids waiting to be adopted in the United States, and more than 400,000 children are in foster care. However, it is important to note that adoption requires more than just welcoming a child into your home and lots of paperwork. Below are some practical tips to help you prepare mentally for expanding your family through adoption. 

Consider the Responsibility

Make sure you are on the same page as your partner. Adopting a child can be a long and taxing process that will require much work from both of you. If one of you is having doubts, or if your heart is not in the process, then things between the two of you may become difficult and lead to arguments. Make sure adoption is something you both want before taking this monumental step.

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