630-462-9500

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

DuPage County Family Law AttorneyWhile fiercely litigated divorces and heated child custody disputes were more common in the past, Illinois family courts today try to ensure all children are provided with opportunities to have warm relationships with both parents. Unless there is a good reason to do otherwise, the assumption is that both parents will be involved in a child’s life. While parents are encouraged to resolve parenting disputes on their own or with the help of a mediator, when a judge does have to get involved, one of the factors she can use to determine whether a parent is suitable to spend time with a child is the nature of the relationship between the child and parent and whether it is psychologically healthy for the child. 

What judges do not want to see is one parent going out of their way to psychologically alienate a child from their other parent. This phenomenon, known as “parental alienation,” is known to cause lasting harm to children and has the potential to permanently damage the relationship between a child and her parent. If you are concerned that your spouse is doing this to your child, it is important to take action as soon as possible. 

What is Parental Alienation, and What Does it Look Like? 

The term “parental alienation” is subject to some dispute. What is not disputed, however, is whether the behavior that is often described by the term sometimes exists and is damaging to children. The hallmark of typical parental alienation involves efforts by one parent to create a hostile relationship characterized by negative perceptions about the child’s other parent. Parents trying to alienate a child from each other may try to: 

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DuPage County Family Law AttorneyAmong all the other important questions an engaged Illinois couple must ask each other is whether they want to sign a prenuptial agreement. Even if a couple feels completely committed to a each other, discussing a prenup can bring up some sticky issues. Is it bad luck to discuss a divorce this early? How much do you really want to share financially? Here are some things to think about as you consider whether a prenup is right for you and your fiancé. 

Potential Benefits of Signing a Prenup

While every couple starts their marriage off on a high note, realistic couples will be aware of nationwide divorce rates. While this should not necessarily scare anyone, it should place a serious tenor on the topic of marriage. Couples should consider the importance of marital commitment in the face of the consequences of getting divorced, especially if one or both spouses suffered in childhood from the stresses of having divorced parents. 

That being said, a discussion about a prenup can open up wonderful opportunities to think about what a couple would do should their marriage fail. While they are in the blush of love and positivity, a couple can consider how they would like to watch out for each other even under the worst circumstances. This may not only mean making sure each couple saves a portion of their marital estate for themselves, but it could also mean shielding each other from the burden of student loans or business debt. Even if you do not ultimately sign a prenup, the biggest benefit of discussing the possibilities is the openness and communication that comes from having conversations about tough subjects. 

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DuPage County Child Custody AttorneyThe family has never been as varied or flexible in its structure as it is today. While many families are still made up of the stereotypical two-parent mother-father household, many more families are built from strong, single parents–including people who are successfully co-parenting despite never having been married. If you recently discovered someone is expecting your child, you may be wondering if you have parental rights. Read on to learn more about establishing paternity and custody for fathers who have never been married to their child’s mother. 

Do I Need to Establish Paternity? 

Before you can establish any kind of relationship with your child, you need to be certain that you are considered the child’s legal father. You can do this easily if you are married; by simply signing the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) at a hospital, most fathers are given full rights to a child. But if you have never been married to your child’s mother, things are a little different. 

If both you and the mother agree, and you are in the hospital when the baby is born, you can sign a VAP and be considered the child’s legal father from birth. If you are not sure whether you are the father, or if the mother does not consent to have you present in the delivery room, you will need to request genetic testing. An Illinois court can order genetic testing and your attorney can help you petition for this. 

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DuPage County Family Law AttorneyThe idea of having to spend any time with your children under someone else’s supervision can feel humiliating and unfair, especially if the social worker is a supervisor and you are paying for their services. Yet there are parents in Illinois who are ordered to live with supervised parenting time every day, and understanding why this happens and what the court wants to see is essential for getting through this tough time. It is important to remember that supervised parenting time is not necessarily indicative of your skills as a parent and that, with the help of an Illinois parenting time attorney, it is possible to move beyond this stage. 

Why Would a Judge Order Supervised Parenting Time? 

Judges can order supervised parenting time whenever there is a question about a parent’s fitness or safety with the children in a particular case. In some cases, this concern is justified; other times, it is the result of false accusations made by a parent in the heat of a contentious divorce or custody case. Common reasons that judges might order parenting time include, but are not limited to: 

DuPage County Child Custody LawyerIllinois parents who are divorcing or who have never been married will need to create a parenting agreement that details how each parent will play a role in the life of their child. These agreements can be difficult to negotiate, especially when very young children are involved because infants and toddlers grow so quickly and their needs change often. When a child is a breastfeeding infant, parenting time can be especially tricky to manage because the child needs to frequently be with her mother. 

Do Children Need Their Mother More When They Are Very Young? 

This is a complex question with answers that vary depending on whether you examine the issue from a political, social, or child-development perspective. While only mothers can breastfeed, it is essential for fathers to be involved in an infant’s development. Learning to feed a child, care for a child, and manage the frustrations and joys of early parenthood is crucial for forming a strong bond between both parents and their infant. 

Illinois, like many states, has tried to move beyond the presumption that mothers are always the most nurturing parent. But when it comes to the question of a breastfeeding infant, the challenges are more logistical than ideological. Research is quite clear that, whenever possible, breastfeeding is important for child development. Furthermore, the mother needs regular access to the infant or a pump to keep up her breastfeeding schedule and milk supply. 

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